Q. Now that you’ve been the head coach through at least some voluntary practices, how is it going for you personally, and are there things that are maybe different than you anticipated? (Dave Zangaro)
COACH SIRIANNI: Being out there as the head coach, again, every little step that I’ve made in my career, whether it was the ball boy, when I was real young, or even before that, just playing around at practice and my dad’s practices, or a ball boy or a player, backup player, then a starter, every little step, quality control, a position coach, there’s a change every little time you go through something like that.
And so it’s just a matter of it’s still football practice and it’s your responsibilities change. It’s just handling those responsibilities. Of course, it’s different being in charge of the entire team as opposed to the offense or as opposed to just the position group. So a little bit of adjustment, but it’s still football practice. It’s still working on getting guys better every single day. And I feel like I’ve adapted well.
Q. I was wondering what you want these guys to do over the next six or seven weeks before camp. Do you want them getting away from football mentally; do you want them staying in the books? What’s your approach as far as between now and camp? (Reuben Frank)
COACH SIRIANNI: That’s a great question, Reub. I kind of ended our last day out there today with my message of the three things that I kind of wanted them to do here. And continue to create good habits. And so when we talk about our habits, I just told them this: I told them our habits are our core values. It’s connecting. Continue to find ways to connect with guys. Continue to find ways to compete with guys, right? And really when you’re by yourself, at times, when you’re working by yourself as a football player, in that summertime before the fall season starts, it’s how do you compete with yourself?
I talked about accountability to them. And accountability is not going to show up — you’re not going to be — you’re not going to go out there every day and someone is going to ask you what they do. But it’s the day over and over and over again. Each day in and out, if you do what you’re supposed to do each day in and out, that’s going to show up when it comes time for the fall.
And I just encouraged them, yes, get in the books. Football IQ is so important, to get in the books, to watch the tapes over again from our practices and watch the installs over again. And when you’re out in the field, work on the fundamentals we talked about.
The other thing we talked about — my message was create good habits — or continue to practice good habits, pardon me, stay out of trouble, and then be ready to come into camp in the best physical shape of your life. Because when you’re in the best physical shape of your life, now your football IQ and your fundamentals can really show. That was the message to those guys and what I want them to work on in their offseason or in the summer.
Now, a lot of guys have different routines. That’s going to look different for each guy, because a lot of guys have been playing football for a long time. And they have their routine, and maybe they need to get away for a week. So how that goes is up to each individual player.
Q. T Andre Dillard spoke very thoughtfully yesterday about how being off social media has kind of helped him. I talked to WR Jalen Reagor about it last year and he had similar thoughts about social media. How do you caution these guys about being sure to take care of their mental health? And for you how does the social media factor into it? (Rob Maaddi)
COACH SIRIANNI: That’s a great question, Rob. Obviously mental health is so important. And it’s so important that they’re in the right space. My message has always been, hey, our job as coaches and our job as players is to get better every single day. I mean, I’m telling you, that is all I believe in is how do we get better every single day, because when you take care of the process every single day, then the results will come. And everything like that, the play time, the wins, the losses, everything will go off of if you got better every single day.
So we explain that to them, like, you’re going to get every single day by getting better at the core values we talk about every day. Those are the things that we kind of pinpointed, that’s what makes you a better player.
It’s what distractions are out there, you’ve got to talk about what distractions are out there that are going to stop that progress of every single day getting better. Just being — I like to say it this way — being obsessed with getting better. Being absolutely obsessed with getting better.
What are those things that are out there? And it’s different for everybody. I’m not going to go into every single one that we talk about, but social media is one. That might not be everybody’s crutch. I don’t have Facebook. I don’t know what they’re all called. But everybody’s distractions look a little different. It’s identifying what your distraction is and trying to put those aside.
My message has been you’re willing to do so many things to become a better football player, right — what you put in your body; how you work out. The sacrifices that you give to be a good football player are almost endless.
So if a distraction to you is social media and you feel like you’ve got to give that up, you’re doing all these other sacrifices, why not make it that as well.
I think Andre is aware of what his potential distractions are. That’s the first step, being aware of what is going to stop you from getting better every single day. So I heard about that and his comment there and I was really excited for him that he’s figured out what his distraction is.
Q. When guys go off for the summer, a lot of guys work out on their own. A lot of guys work with personal trainers, personal coaches. Could be quarterback, could be footwork, offensive line pass rushers. I’m curious how you and your staff approach that, because maybe guys have different teaching methods. Do you impart something to different players and say this is what you’ve got to work on with your personal tutor or whatever? (John McMullen)
COACH SIRIANNI: Of course. I think a lot of times those personal guys that they have, it’s like having a coach right there on the field with them. And the guys are savvy enough — and what’s cool about the NFL is you work together. We work together to get better. We work together on those fundamentals to get better. Some of the best things I’ve learned as a coach is from different players.
And, so, again, you’re working together with them. And, so, there’s different ways to do it. Yes, we like to — they know what our coaching points are, but we’re not stubborn in the sense of hey, that coaching point is pretty good too; I like that. That’s good coaching is when you learn from other people and not being too egotistical or stubborn to say my way is the only way to do it.
So, love when they work with guys and they come back with new thoughts. But when we come back together, we’ll see if we all agree on those new thoughts again. So, when they’re working and working hard, that’s what it’s about, the biggest thing is that they’re working and working hard at their craft.
Q. You went through this. You’re done now until camp. You didn’t get to do real 7-on-7 or 11-on-11. What don’t you know that you would like to know at this point? And how did you feel about the process of working around the restrictions that were in place? (Les Bowen)
COACH SIRIANNI: Good question, Les. I’d say about what we do know. We’re able to really dive into the fundamentals of how guys work. It’s rare to have as much individual time at this time of year as we had each and every day. And so we were really — and that to me, like, what they do and how they mature as a person, how they mature in the weight room and how they mature in their fundamentals are the three major growths that a player makes. And then it’s about us as coaches putting them in the right spots to let those talents shine.
So what we did find out is what guys need to work on as far as their fundamentals go and what they’re really good at as far as their fundamentals go. And so that was the development there and what we kind of figured out.
Sure, we didn’t get to see 7-on-7, things like that and team drills, but what was great this year was that it felt — this is what it felt like this year. Last year we had none of this. Everyone was on the same playing field. You had nothing, so this is what it felt like to me and I know it felt like this to a lot of the coaches, every correction we made or every praise we made, like, even from walk-through or from individual drill, it was so exciting to make that.
Like, we’re just that much further ahead starting camp. We’re going to be just that much further ahead. And that’s three weeks of correction and praise when it’s done the right way. And like that’s what was so exciting to me. So a lot of great work was done. And we got a lot more to learn. We’ve got a lot more to learn. Your point was a very good point. We have a lot more to learn. But we know a lot about what our guys can do right now and still learn more.
Q. What did you learn in dealing with some of the veterans and finding that compromise for the offseason program? And as far as building these relationships, the connections with these established leaders, was that process beneficial? (Zach Berman)
COACH SIRIANNI: Yeah, I think just getting them in the building was beneficial so we could connect together. And we just got great leaders on this team. And there’s no surprise that this organization has won a lot, a lot, a lot of football games in this past decade.
It’s an amazing group of guys and a lot of these guys have been here for a while. It’s been great getting to know these guys in person. It’s different in Zoom. I look forward to getting to know you guys in person a little bit more.
But when you get to see them every day on the field, in the meeting room. Like, that’s different. That’s different to walk into the meeting room and talk to them about their family, smack their hand and say what’s going on. That was different.
So it was good just to get around those guys and build those connections like you’re talking about. It really was. And it was not wasted time. We had great competition, connection. Everything we talk about was just three hard weeks of that. And then also the additional, I believe it was four weeks, virtual before that.
Q. We got a look at some of those competitions that you put in around practice. Could you rattle off some others that maybe we weren’t able to see, some highlights from those competitions and also the ‘why’ behind it? (Tim McManus)
COACH SIRIANNI: Sure, of course. The why behind it is if you practice competing, you’re going to get better at competing. And this is such a cutthroat business. It’s such a cutthroat business. There are guys constantly coming in for their jobs.
It’s all about the wins and losses. And the games are tight, the parity is tight. So, all these games come down to one score. There’s constantly a guy coming in for your job, so you’re fending off a guy to take your job.
Just like we practiced on offense inside zone or defense over cover 3, we’ve got to practice competing as well.
I think about it, like, why am I competitive? I had two older brothers that beat the crap out of me all the time. I had to be competitive, and I wanted to be competitive, and my dad made me be competitive. There has to be something to that. I’ve always thought that.
So, when you practice competing, just like you practice those plays, you’re going to get better and better and better at it. That’s the main philosophy behind it.
Some of the competitions we did today was what was great about today was we were — like I said to you before I got in here; I shot 3-point baskets — not well enough because [WR] Greg [Ward] beat the crap out of me. But I shot baskets with him. We just practiced competing. We just shot 3-point shots. He’s a great shooter, just so you know. That’s one.
But the things that we did in front of the team today was they practiced their skill and their craft.
What you guys saw, I believe, were the DBs doing a back-pedal drill against each other and racing each other. So, they had to do this drill with precision, great fundamentals, and intensity — great speed, like the game is going to be.
So, yes, we had fun doing the basketball shoots and this and that, but today was awesome because it was DB versus DB, and you were racing and seeing who was faster at what you need to do to be good at a game.
[WR] DeVonta [Smith] and [WR] Travis [Fulgham] went against each other and they threw the ball on the green ball machine we had. The running backs, [RB] Boston [Scott] and [RB] Kenny [Gainwell], went later in a Jugs machine. The defensive line, [DE] Josh [Sweat] and BG [DE Brandon Graham], they raced against each other in a fundamental drill.
We just kept on doing different things to, one, make them compete, and also the precision and intensity of the position drills that they were doing.
And the other things we’ve done is we have a ping-pong table in our meeting room. So guys played – [TE] Dallas [Goedert] played ping-pong at the end of a meeting right before — we broke the meeting, ready, break — hey, before we go out to walk-through and before we go out to practice, y’all compete. And Dallas – [LB] Eric Wilson might not want me saying this — but Dallas whooped up on Eric in a game of ping-pong.
And the person that’s incredible — now you have me talking about it a little bit — but the person that’s incredible that doesn’t lose at anything is [K] Jake Elliott. He’s phenomenal at everything. He can play ping-pong, throw the ball, kick. I haven’t seen him shoot a basketball yet.
But that’s the philosophy. And that’s the why. And it is the two major things that we talked about — again, getting better at what you do and your craft, and then practicing competing.
Q. It’s well documented that you have a really young staff, but that kind of allows you guys to take part in drills with the players. You’ve been involved in drills with Eagles linebackers coach Nick Rallis and wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead – we could all see that. Why is that important for you guys as coaches, and why is that important for players as well? (Mike Kaye)
COACH SIRIANNI: I don’t know how fast I’m doing these drills. I’m not wearing spikes out there anymore. But, that’s a good observation.
I just know how I learned. I’m a very visual person. The guys that have the ability to learn audial, that’s amazing to me. But I’m very visual. I feel like the guys – and it’s not everybody – but I feel like a lot of the guys that I’ve coached have been very visual. When you’re able to move your body the way you want it to move to demonstrate a drill – like, if I’m a quarterback holding the ball in the right particular spot, turning my body the way I want to throw it, if I’m able to do that like [Eagles quarterbacks coach] Brian [Johnson] does and [Eagles offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen] does, or if I’m able to get down into my break like a receiver does, or [Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan] Gannon does, or [Eagles assistant defensive backs coach] D.K. [McDonald] or [Eagles defensive backs coach] Dennard Wilson when they demonstrate – like, that is a huge advantage because now you can show them what you want instead of tell them. That is big.
That’s what I was taught as an education major back at Mount Union College, about finding different ways of how people learn and adapt to them, and it’s just been my experience that that’s how people learn. So, I think that’s a big benefit that we have.
Q. Do you know how many padded practices you’ll be allowed when training camp begins? And if so, how many do you plan on having? And when the players are wearing the full pads, will you have live hitting and tackling drills? (Jeff McLane)
COACH SIRIANNI: We are still working through all that. But I’ve got a great staff to work through that with – Jemal [Singleton], our running back coach; [Eagles passing game coordinator] Kevin Patullo; [Eagles vice president of player performance] Ted Rath; [Eagles vice president of football operations and compliance] Jon Ferrari. We’re just working together as a group to find out what works best for us.
So, that’s an ongoing conversation of what we have. But when we’re able to have the pads on, we’re going to have the pads on, because that’s how football is played. That’s when you can tell a lot. We’re just in shorts out there right now, but you can tell a lot about how a football player is when you put those pads on because, again, that’s how the game is played. We’ll definitely utilize that.
I’m sure there will be a period here and there where we’re going live to the ground. That’s still to be determined. That hasn’t been my experience in the past, to be honest with you. It’s been limited there. And I do believe in that for different reasons, that we don’t go live to the ground. Here and there we will, but not overly done. That’s as much as I can answer that question right now.
Q. The question I have for you is about the preseason, and specifically, you mentioned putting on the pads and getting a chance to see what guys can actually do when they’re in them. A year ago there were no preseason games, so I’m wondering what your experience was in losing the preseason a year ago. And then this year, how do you plan to approach preseason games, in terms of veteran play, in terms of young guys? You’re implementing a new system, so how do you approach that? (Rob Kuestner)
COACH SIRIANNI: Phenomenal question. That really is a great question. And we’ve talked through that, of what we think it will look like, as far as how many series of starters are going to play game one, game two, game three, how many practices we’re going to have with other teams, et cetera.
And so I just don’t want to give that answer yet, just in case, because things constantly change. We’re constantly talking about it.
So again, I just had this great group of guys to be able to talk through these things with phenomenal experience. And so, not going to give that answer, but there has been a lot of thought to it. I will say this, we love the fact that this year we’re able to have preseason games and we’re able to have practices against other teams, because that’s huge. I’ve always thought that’s so important.
Sometimes when those lights come on, it’s a little different for some guys. You want everyone to be a really good practice player. That’s what you’re striving for. That’s what we’re demanding as a coach. But sometimes, man, the lights come on, and there’s a couple of guys that just do something a little different where you’re like, wow. We missed that a little bit last year. I’m really looking forward to getting that back this season.
Q. I’m curious what you learned about QB Jalen Hurts that you didn’t know before after getting a chance to work with him on the field? (Bo Wulf)
COACH SIRIANNI: I just thought that Jalen – he is a relentless worker. He is a relentless worker. He comes to work every single day with the intent to get better every single day. And I just saw, even from Zoom meetings when we got in, I just saw him take command of the offense, and really just take command of the offense and was just on it. You ask him a question, he’s on it. It’s really translated into walk-throughs on the field and in drill work.
So, really impressed with his command, his attention to detail, his work ethic. He’s got all those intangibles right there, and I was really impressed with that from him. And then just on the field, he’s just got a really compact throwing motion where he can get it out with ease, and super athletic when he’s throwing on the run and moving and reading the defense. So, really pleased with a lot of things he did.
Q. Wanted to ask you about the interior line guys. Obviously, you had Colts C/G Quenton Nelson in Indianapolis and you have G Brandon Brooks and C Jason Kelce here. How important are those guys to your offense? What have you learned about Brandon and Jason so far? (EJ Smith)
COACH SIRIANNI: So important. So important. You know, it feels like I’m with my brothers talking about their good teams, when they’ve had good teams. And we’re talking about the teams I’ve been on that have been good. And it’s the common denominator always is, like, it’s did you play good on the O and the D line?
It always the common denominator– were they good on the O and D line? My dad talks about that, like when we were talking about a team from the area, hey, did Jamestown High School win? No, they lost, just not as good on the O and D line this year.
It’s like it doesn’t matter what level of football. When you have the guys in the room like we have, gosh, these guys are special in the interior. And I’m talking about the entire — I know you asked about the interior — but it’s a special group of five, six, seven guys. Usually when you say that, it’s like it’s a special group of five guys, but here it’s like it’s a special group of seven, eight guys. They’ve got a phenomenal coach in Coach Stout [run game coordinator/offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland]. He’s unbelievable.
Just to be around [G] Brandon [Brooks] and [T] Lane [Johnson] and [C] Jason [Kelce] and [G] Isaac [Seumalo] and [T] Andre [Dillard] and [T] Jordan [Mailata] and [T] Jack Driscoll, they come to work every single day, ready to work every single day. They love football. I love that about guys. They’re ultra-tough. I can’t way to see them every single day with pads on, how even more tough they are.
So again, no surprise how many games the Philadelphia Eagles have won in the past, because they’ve always had good offensive and defensive lines.
Q. Wondering if you could tell us which of the young players, the first- or second-year players have kind of stood out to you during these spring drills. I know obviously you didn’t do the full team stuff, but if any of those guys kind of stood out for you going into training camp and everything? (Martin Frank)
COACH SIRIANNI: I just saw a lot of guys out there really working on those fundamentals, really working at their craft, football IQ. Holding each other accountable, connecting with each other, competing with each other.
I don’t want to single anybody out, because there were so many guys that were working together. And I know that’s typical. I do know that’s typical of a new staff. They want to impress.
I’m eager to impress my bosses, and they’re eager to impress us.
So, it was just over and over, I just felt like there was such good work by all the guys. Again, Jake Elliott could do so many things. Just phenomenal — don’t play him at ping-pong. So, it was just a lot of great work by our guys and it was a good starting point to kick us into the training camp.