Q. What are some of the things you’re looking to get out of your first minicamp as a head coach with the rookies? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: We set some goals for them, and really it was to go out there and compete, was to learn the offense, the defense and the special teams, get the basics down, get one percent better every day, connect with their teammates. Then finally, the fifth goal that we set for them was go out there and show us what you guys can do. That was the main thing. That was the main message is: go out there and show us what you guys can do.
My message to the coaching staff was, hey, let’s let these guys go out there and show us what they can do. Let’s keep the installs very simple. Let’s keep them very simple so they can get out there and they can exhibit their abilities on the field. So that was my message to the coaches and that was my message to the players today, this morning.
Q. After this camp, there’s a good chance you’re not going to be able to work with these guys until the mandatory camp. How much do those 10 days that you’re probably not going to get on the field and the 2,000 plus snaps, how much is that going to hurt these young kids and your quarterback who’s going to be learning a new system? (Paul Domowitch)
NICK SIRIANNI: We take every single day that we get with them on the field is definitely a true blessing to get out there, to work, because it is a process. You have to go through the ups and the downs of learning a new technique and learning a new offense and learning a new defense and learning a new special teams. So any day we miss is obviously something that you don’t want to happen as a coach or as a player that’s developing.
But it’s really just count the days that we have, make the days that we have really count, and get everything we can. When they’re here, we’re going to work our tails off and they’re going to work their butts off to get everything we can get out of those players so they can get better because that’s all it’s about.
Q. We always hear that you don’t really know a player until you get them in your building, and both WR DeVonta Smith and OL Landon Dickerson, your top two picks, have sort of been described as guys who can help sort of set a culture, be culture setters. What have you learned from those guys in just the couple days that you’ve had them in terms of their personalities? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, that’s a good question. DeVonta, again, it’s pretty early just these last two days with them, but DeVonta is kind of a lead by example. He’s just out there, and he just seems determined at all times, and he just really can’t wait for the information to get to him and can’t wait to get better. I think that’s contagious, and I know that’s contagious. Let me rephrase that. The way he kind of works and he’s gone about the meetings virtually. Then, today also was virtual and then being on the field with him.
And Landon, I know he works, too, and they’ve got different personalities, and that’s what’s cool about football, you can lead in so many different ways. You can lead in so many different ways, but the common denominator of both of them, they both love football, and they both work really hard, they’re both ultra-competitive and they’ve both got a lot of talent, and those are important parts of leading, as well. It’s been nice to get around them and kind of see how they lead because, yeah, they have that special quality of being able to lead.
Q. I was wondering obviously what you guys liked about QB Jamie Newman and if you were able to get any kind of impressions from him today at rookie camp. Obviously, he’s the only quarterback in camp. (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Jamie is an impressive — he’s got great stature. He’s a big man. As we watch tape on him, too, he’s hard to bring down. He’s a really good athlete, hard to bring down. He’s really sharp in the classroom. You can see why he was successful at Wake Forest when he was there.
You know, he’s got qualities that you want to be able to develop, and so good first day for Jamie.
Q. You kind of talked about your goals for the players. How about the goals for your coaching staff? Obviously the first day for them with the players. (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: The guys that are new to me, I think they wanted to come out and impress me and show me that I made the right decision of hiring them. So that was pretty cool to see them coaching. I know they have a ton of energy. You can’t fake what they have every single day because they bring it every single day. But the goal for them again, was keeping it simple for the players, and they’ve heard me talk about fundamentals and technique a million times. It’s one of those things where I’m not going to stop, either. I’m going to be a relentless pit bull about fundamentals and technique. That was another main thing.
Like we got individual time with them. When you guys were at practice today, that was our individual time. Like they got individual time to improve the fundamentals and technique. That’s what we know that through fundamentals and technique, that’s how a player gets better, and that is our job. Our job as coaches is to put them in the best positions they possibly can be in so they can excel and to get them better as a football player every day, and we know the lifeline of that is technique and fundamentals. That was something that we’ve just been stressing since we got here, and I know they were chomping to get out there and start teaching the way they teach their technique.
Q. Knowing that there’s a strong chance that QB Jalen Hurts will win the starting quarterback job, how much of the offense that you’ve installed is designed to take advantage of his duality, his mobility and athleticism, or is it just basically the offense as it is that you brought with you from Indianapolis and every quarterback has to kind of work to that system? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t believe that that’s good coaching when you just say, here’s our offense and let’s go. You learn it, your talents are ‘this’ and your talents are ‘that’, but here’s what we run. That’s just not good offensive football. Good offensive football and good defensive football and good special teams football for that matter is adapting to the players you have and playing to their strengths.
Of course, Jalen [Hurts] has strong qualities of being able to extend plays and move around and extend plays, so we’re definitely looking at those things and doing those things. We’ve all had a very extensive amount of time with quarterbacks that are mobile, and that’s the same thing for [RB] Miles [Sanders]. Miles, what does he fit? Again, these are things when we get on the field with him, we’ll figure out a little bit more, but that’s still to be determined of what everybody’s skill set is.
But we are putting in an extensive amount of offense and Coach Steichen [Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen] has done a great job and the offensive coaches of really relaying the message to the players and installing it, and the players have done a great job learning it.
Q. Just looking at some of these receivers up close here for the first time, some of them jump out at you as maybe looking a little bit bigger than they’re listed, WR Jhamon Ausbon maybe and maybe even WR Trevon Grimes. Grimes may be the right height, but he looks a little thicker. Can he be like a hybrid guy, and what about Ausbon? What about the catch radius for somebody like him? (Nick Fierro)
NICK SIRIANNI: The one thing that really is hard to teach and you can’t teach is that speed, and you can’t teach size. You got out there today and they are, they’re impressive. They have impressive statures about them. Obviously, we knew that about them and we knew their heights and weights. We knew them up close. We’ve seen them up close. And yeah, they have that size.
You know, I really was impressed with the way they moved out there today with that size. They had good catch radius and strong hands, and I just thought they did a good job of moving around. And [Eagles wide receivers coach] Aaron Moorehead did a good job of allowing them to see what the skills were, and Coach Steichen as he scripted the plays, he also was able to put their talents on display, too, so it was good to go out and see them today. And yeah, we’re excited to work with them because they’ve got tools, so also a tribute to [Eagles executive vice president/general manager] Howie [Roseman] and his staff of getting good free agents in here.
Q. There’s been no shortage of reports and speculation attaching you guys to prominent veteran quarterbacks out there, and you haven’t named Jalen Hurts the starter. What’s the messaging been to Jalen so that he has an accurate understanding of where things stand with him? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: You know what, we don’t comment on anybody on other rosters, so you know, there hasn’t been any talk about that. We just don’t comment on anybody from other rosters. Really no reason to go there with anything.
Q. How about to Jalen Hurts or the messaging to him so he has a good idea where things are? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: With Jalen it’s just working to get better every day. We’re learning the offense. We’re in virtual meetings. We’re learning the offense. Jalen has done a heck of a job learning the offense. I’ll say that. He’s impressive in there. He’s really got a good control of it. When we’re in these virtual meetings during virtual walk-throughs, again, I can’t say enough about the offensive staff when I’m sitting in there and watching them go through a virtual walk-through. I think that’s pretty awesome. And Jalen has just done a good job of taking the plays that have been taught to him, and he can really rattle off exactly what he’s supposed to do on every single play. It’ll be exciting to get on the field with him and see him do it physically.
Q. We had a limited sample size obviously watching you today. I’m curious, how do you allocate your time on the practice field as a head coach? Are you watching a particular position or the offense more or are you teaching, observing? What’s your strategy as a head coach during practice? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, you know, during individual, it’s important that I — I thought as a coordinator it was really important that I walked around to every position. As an offensive coordinator it was important that I walked around to every position. It’s just more players now, right, so I think it’s important as a head coach that I walk from offense, defense, all the way around and watch every position. So that was my strategy today as far as individual goes.
When team gets up there, you know, we’re all there together, so I’m able to watch both sides of the ball at the same time. But we just got a beautiful — this is a great facility, as you guys have all seen. The guys in the grounds crew do a great job of taking care of the field. It’s beautiful. There’s so much room to work and walk around, so I got a good workout going from drill to drill, I know that. So that was good, as well.
Q. How much of a priority is it for the Eagles in 2021 to find out if Jalen Hurts is the quarterback of the future in 2022 and beyond, and do you think one year with a young team and a young coaching staff is good enough to accurately assess whether he can be that guy? (Rob Maaddi)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, we’re just trying to get better every single day. I’m not even to that point right now of what 2022 is going to look like to be honest with you. It’s about getting better. It’s such a long process, and I love the process about it. It’s just every single day you’ve got a chance to get better, every single day, over and over and over again. Yes, that applies for Jalen to get better, and that applies for everybody on our team, to get a little bit better every single day. And that’s all we’re concerned about right now is how we’re going to be better tomorrow than we were today, are we going to put in the work today to be ready to be better tomorrow? Honestly, that is all we’re concerned about with every single player on our team right now.
Q. You’ve talked a lot about wanting to build a competitive environment with the team. I was curious at the quarterback position how you balance wanting to have competition versus the benefit of somebody knowing they’re the starter and the benefits that come with that? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
NICK SIRIANNI: [Jokingly/laughter] You guys won’t leave this one alone, will you? No, I mean, it’s competition at every position. Competition is great. Competition elevates everybody’s play. Everybody’s play. If you come in and you have somebody that’s competing with you every single day, it makes you better.
This is all part of the strategy of we want everyone to feel that they’re competing for their jobs. I’m competing for my job. Shane [Steichen] is competing for his job. [Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan] Gannon is competing for his job. Like every single day, there are so many people that want to do what we do in the NFL, right? So we’ve got to compete — we’ve got to fight — everybody on this team has got to fight every single day to get better and to compete, and competition is never a bad thing. In my mind, competition is never a bad thing. It doesn’t matter the position. It’s never a bad thing. It takes people and the cream rises to the top when you compete.
Q. Just wanted to ask about TE Zach Ertz. Obviously, Howie Roseman was asked about him during the draft. There’s been speculation that he’s been given permission to seek a trade. Have you personally talked with him and have you stressed that you want him here in Philly? (Brandon Lee Gowton)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’ve talked to Zach, but my conversation with Zach, I’m going to keep that between Zach and I, but let’s just be honest, of course Zach is a great football player. He’s showed that he’s a great football player for a very long time. Man, he’s made a ton of plays. I got to see a ton of tape on Zach. Obviously, when I got here this year and then also in 2018, my first year with the Colts, we watched a ton.
So Zach is a heck of a football player, and he’s been a heck of a football player for a long time in this league.
Q. You mentioned your first impressions of DeVonta Smith off the field, but on the field, what was it like today and what stood out? (EJ Smith)
NICK SIRIANNI: As advertised, he catches everything. Like that ball touches his hands, he catches it. He’s really long. I think you guys saw that, right? He’s got long arms, and he’s got a big catch radius.
Again, you just don’t know exactly what — you’ve got a really good idea, right, of what you have, and then when you get him on the field, then you just be like, man, we can do this and we could do that, maybe he can do this that maybe we didn’t think he could do. You know, it just showed his length. He showed his unbelievable hands, and he showed — I just thought he showed excellent, excellent ability to change directions at the top of the route. Even better than what I saw on tape, to be 100 percent honest with you. So again, a lot of things that I expected, because we spent a lot of time watching him, all his catches the last couple years, but it was great to see him in person. He’s got a lot of talent to him, and look forward to working with him.
Q. How did it feel for you to take the field as a head coach for the first time? And second, Landon Dickerson was out there kind of jogging around, looked pretty good. What’s the plan for him this weekend and where does he stand in his rehab? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Good question. For your first question, for me as a head coach, I’ve been going to football practices since I’ve been four years old with my dad being a football coach, so this has been a thing I’ve been doing my entire life, right. So football practice to me, it’s the same over and over and over again, the things that I’ve been taught that are very important in football. It’s the same thing over and over again. It’s just I have different responsibilities.
When I was four, me and my brothers had those pads on the side, those dummies, and we were hitting each other with them with the ball and practicing good ball security. Just a little different now, right? So I’ve just been doing this my whole life.
So really the only difference is kind of to — I think it was Bo’s [The Athletic reporter Bo Wulf] question that I just kind of moved around the field more instead of just when I was a position coach I was with that position during individual. When I was an offensive coordinator, I was with the offense. Now I was just with the entire team. It was just football practice, business as usual. Sure, it was exciting for my first football practice as a head coach. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited and to FaceTime my wife and my kids this morning and say, ‘Hey, it’s my first day of football practice here as the head coach.’ I was excited, of course.
[In terms of Landon Dickerson] for him this weekend is just the walk-throughs, being involved in the walk-throughs, learning the offense. So a lot of the goals we just talked about with everybody else, obviously he can’t do them at the same speed. Not going to set a timetable on Landon and his return, but he is working hard. We’ve got a great training staff and great strength staff that are working hard with him to get him ready to go as soon as he’s able to.
Q. To kind of feed off the previous question about your first day, I imagine you were nervous and you said you were excited, but do you have any moments there where you’re going, wait a minute, I am the head coach, I am the head coach, I have to remind myself that I’m the head coach. Did you have any moments like that? And with the schedule being released this week and seeing your guys, I know it’s incredibly early, but when you look around, do you say, hey, this team can be special? I know people may not on the outside expect it to be special, but I know that we can do something special? (Jeff Skversky)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, you know, I’ve been the head coach for the last four months, so it wasn’t like I stepped on the field today and was like, hey, I’m the head coach. Maybe the first week I came in here I was like, I’m the head coach. But today — I’ve been the head coach for the last four months I’ve been here. So really didn’t have that moment.
Again, it was cool to talk about it with my wife this morning, but no, just business as usual on the practice field.
Yeah, I’m really excited about working with this team. And of course, our hopes are high, and we’re going to do everything we can do to get better every single day. That is our messaging. It’s a process. It’s a climb. We just love to climb. We love the process of trying to get better every single day in all that we do, in our core values, and then on the football field, as well.