Q. What was the name of the play call to T Lane Johnson? (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: East Texas. Some of those gadgety ones, you don’t try to name everything because it’s hard to name it all. So, you kind of come up with a specialized name and Lane’s from East Texas, so that’s what we called it.
Q. WR DeVonta Smith said Lane was talking about being open or running that play throughout the game. Is that true? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, Lane was ineligible until that very play, so Lane couldn’t have been open. I don’t know what DeVonta is thinking right there.
But we had a lot of confidence in the play because of the way we practiced this week. Just confidence in Lane. I mean, Lane is a phenomenal football player. I don’t agree that’s he’s not in the Pro Bowl. I think you got a chance to have a guy who is going to be a first or second team all pro and not in the Pro Bowl, so it was great to be able to get him a touchdown.
He just deserves so much more credit than he’s getting. This guy is just — I’ve never been around an offensive tackle as talented as this guy. Like he could play tight end if he wanted. You should see him throw the football. This guy is so immensely talented, and I just got so much respect for him. It’s always great when you can reward guys that don’t get in the end zone with a touchdown like that.
I think it was his first touchdown since high school. I’m sure he scored a lot of them in high school because the guy is just a stud. Just so happy that he’s anchoring our offensive line and look forward to the accolades that he’s going to get because he deserves them.
Q. How long have you been running that play? Has that been in for a while? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: That’s not a play that can be in each week. We’ve had it in the plan before when it fits. Again, it doesn’t fit against every team in every system.
So, it’s been in the plan before, so we’ve had reps with it, but it hasn’t been in in a couple weeks. So, again, just a great job by our coaches and our players, the detail of how the coaches installed the play, and then obviously the detail of the way the players executed the play, being able to accomplish that in a short week.
Q. Do you think the short turnaround and your absence affected the performance? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t. You know what, our defense played an outstanding game. We all know that, how they came out and they were hitting them right from the beginning. Obviously, you never want to start a game on special teams by putting the ball on the ground right at the start.
[WR] J.J. [Arcega-Whiteside] was there to get the fumble recovery, but you don’t want to do that. We definitely weren’t executing the way we need to execute, but I got so much respect for that defensive coordinator and that defense that we just played today.
I think that’s a really, really outstanding defense. That’s a great defensive line. Coach Graham [Giants Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham] I think is just a really good coordinator that I’ve had a lot of respect for a lot of years now.
So, again, you got to say — any time you start off that way, you only score three points in the first half, it’s always going to be we didn’t coach well enough for sure. We didn’t play well enough. But hats off to them because that’s a good defense.
So, it’s a combination of all three, but I don’t put anything into the short week. This team has handled adversity all year through different things. That’s just what you have to do in the NFL. You have to handle adversity, because it rarely is going to go the way you think it’s going to go, just perfectly smooth the whole time.
Our team has handled adversity, and I think that has a lot to do with who the leaders are on this team and our captains with [C] Jason Kelce and [DT] Fletcher Cox and [S] Rodney McLeod, [QB] Jalen Hurts, [LB] Alex Singleton, [DE] Brandon Graham. Those guys lead the way, so just a lot of credit to our leaders on this team.
Q. Offense scored 24 straight points coming out of halftime. What was said to the offense and the team when you guys were back in the locker room? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Just, hey, good teams win games however they need to win games. If we have to grind this out and be grimy and let the defense carry the weight the whole time, we’ll do it that way. But, hey, just have that next-play mentality of forget the first half.
Have that next-play mentality and come out ready to go. They definitely did a good job of coming out and just forgetting — they did exactly that, forgot the first half and they executed in the second half.
Q. From your perspective, why was QB Jalen Hurts so much better in the second half than he was the first half? (Mike Sielski)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, I think that’s a combination of just how our entire offense played. He definitely missed some throws in the first half that he’s going to want back.
I thought he went to the right place with the ball. I know there is a question about – [Eagles Senior Vice President of Communications] Bob [Lange] prepped me for a question about a red zone play that we threw to [WR] Quez [Watkins] over the middle.
When there’s guys breaking this way and breaking that way you have to alert a certain player, which I’ll just try to explain to you as much as I possibly can without giving anything away. You alert a certain player and then your read starts somewhere else.
Our alert was to [TE] Dallas [Goedert] versus a certain coverage. It wasn’t that coverage, so now we read shallow to angle. That’s what he read, so his eyes aren’t there, so I’m not one bit concerned.
When you give a quarterback, and you say to him — when you know their reads as a coach you don’t ever get on them when he misses something like that because it’s not a miss. His eyes went here to here and Dallas is only a pre-snap read.
Jalen doesn’t know that they’re going to bust — they busted the coverage. Jalen doesn’t know at the beginning of that play that they’re going to bust that coverage.
They made a mistake. They were out of position on that particular play and that was the read, and so I want to make sure that everybody understands that.
Again, he didn’t play his best first half and when he plays good, the offense rolls, and he did a great job bouncing back that second half.
Again, it’s just not on Jalen. We didn’t play good in the skill positions. We didn’t play as good as we played on the offensive line. We didn’t coach as good as we needed to coach in the first half.
But, again, just a credit to Jalen to rebound and play a good second half, because that’s what good teams do, they find ways to win.
Q. If the season ended today, you guys would be in the playoffs. What does that say about how far you guys have come, especially after the start? It’s pretty remarkable. (Jamie Apody)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think, again, it just speaks to the leaders we have on this team and the fact that we knew adversity was going to come. That’s just the way this league is. Adversity hits, whether it’s a two and five start, a postponement of a game and having to play a game off a 13-day rest or whatever it was and then play a game off — I mean, that’s what happens in this league, so you try to prepare yourself for adversity and be able to handle it.
That’s the whole message we talked about from the beginning of just dog mentality, next play, next play. Jason Kelce gave a message to the team last night which was awesome. His message was press on. Bad things happen, press on. Press on, press on, press on. He was awesome talking to the team last night. He’s just such a great leader.
So, it all comes back to the types of guys that we have in that locker room. A ton of credit obviously to [Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and his staff of how they assembled this team. I said to Howie in there — Howie said, ‘Great job coming back from a two and five start.’ I said, ‘Howie, great job. Like what other first-year head coaches are in the position I’m in? We have a great offensive and defensive line.’
Usually when there is a new head coach, it’s because the offensive and defensive lines aren’t any good. So, it’s just been a great team effort, a great organization we’re part of, and then it always comes down to the players and the type of leaders that we have.
Q. On the C Jason Kelce thing, is that abnormal or do you have somebody address the team every week? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, it’s been 12 weeks; 1 through 12 weeks, I addressed them. They were probably tired of hearing my voice, so we changed it up.
That’s something I’ve done in the past. I’ve been on teams that have done that in the past. [Colts Head Coach] Frank [Reich] has done that, let your captains talk at the end of the year and get the guys ready to go on Saturday night. I’ve always had a good experience with that.
Q. How big was the interception by S Rodney McLeod? You had that pick to set up a score, you had a pick six later in the game to ice the game. I mean, all praise to Jalen Hurts and the receivers, but your defense won this game for you. (Marcus Hayes)
NICK SIRIANNI: They played incredible. There is no doubt the defense kept the game a game when it wasn’t going well, right?
Huge, huge play by Rodney. Unbelievable rush by [LB] Genard Avery just to get pressure on the quarterback in the game they played up front. So you get that pressure, he sails the ball high, and Rodney gets a big play. It was 3-3 at that time and that was the first drive of the second half.
I mean, that was everything, right? You end up going up seven, defense feels like they are not going to get any more points. Like, we’re up seven? We aren’t fricking losing this game because the way our defense is playing.
Our defense knew that. So obviously they played unbelievable. It was just, again, the whole game, the pressure, how good they were in the run game, how good we were covering and taking away some of the dink and dunks, because that wind was blowing a little bit more than I think people realize out there today. Didn’t look bad in certain spots, but you see the flags up at the top, they were humming.
So again, just a great job by our defense.
And then the pick six, obviously that was huge. Put the game out of reach. We were able to take some guys out after that.
Again, just always starts up front and just a great job by the defensive line and trickles down to everybody.
Q. What was your vantage point on DeVonta Smith’s touchdown? It was a strange review. What was happening there? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t know exactly. I thought it was a touchdown they were reviewing and basically something happened. Might have went to a TV commercial. I don’t know what happened.
But they came back, and the time when I thought they were reviewing it, whatever was happening was happening, and then they decided to review it. I’m just glad it counted.
It felt like a long time we had to wait for it, but the refs did a good job, and they were communicating with us the entire game. Their job is never easy, and I value what they do out there.
Q. What about the catch itself? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: DeVonta has been really good on the back line and on the sideline all year, and that’s something you got to learn, right? Because you only have to have one in in college, right? So, he’s just been really good and clean with his footwork on the sideline for his first year.
He’s a technician. The guy loves football and wants to be better at football and we know that a guy can go from here to here because of the technique he plays with, and so DeVonta works endless hours to do that.
Again, he had a catch like that last week where he dragged the foot from behind. Great job to [Eagles Wide Receivers Coach] Aaron Moorehead drilling that as well. I know he drills that every single day. Then DeVonta obviously playing with great technique.