Nick Sirianni

Q. What are your instructions to the younger guys, mainly the rookies, over the next six weeks? What do you want them to do and what do you want them to not do? (Reuben Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: That’s instructions to everybody. You want them to come back in great shape, and you want them to make sure they’re doing the right things off the field. But those would be the main two things that I’m going to say after practice would be to come back in the best shape of your life and make sure we’re doing the right things to stay out of the news.

Those are the main things we’d be talking about.

Q. What are some things that have maybe impressed you over the last five or six OTAs you’ve had together? What are some things that have stood out? (Ed Kracz)

NICK SIRIANNI: I think you just see the fundamentals continuing to grow. That’s from the guys that just got here, the fundamentals of what we’re trying to look like, but then just how much better, too, the guys that have been here are with their fundamentals. They just keep getting better. That’s just our message. That’s what we strive to do is to get better every day, and you’re really seeing that a lot of our players, that their fundamentals are really improving. One reason is because they’re really working hard at it, and two, we’re devoting a lot of time to it in our individual phases of OTAs.

Q. Are there any individual players in roles during the spring that have stood out now that they’ve been given an opportunity? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: A lot of guys are standing out to me. I have no problem singling one guy out that I think has just done a phenomenal job this off-season is [WR] Quez Watkins. I love his attitude, and I’ve said this to him, and I have no problem saying it here, some people around here, and it’s not in this building, we have a ton of confidence in Quez Watkins, but I kind of sense from him — he’s never said this, but oh, some people think I stink? Wait. Wait. That’s how he’s attacked every day. That’s how he’s attacked practices, and I think that he looks really good.

We know he has a lot of talent, and I’m excited about that. I really like the way he’s gone about his business because he can’t control anything but what he can control, and he can’t control what other people think about him. He can’t control anything like that. Can’t control things that may have happened to him last year, the opportunities that he got last year or did not get. All he can control is how he works, and I’ve really been excited about how he’s gone about his business.

Q. This time last year you had noted a jump in QB Jalen Hurts’ accuracy and decision making. I’m curious now at this point is there something that he had worked on in the off-season that you’re starting to – (Tim McManus)  

NICK SIRIANNI: Again, Jalen may be the most coachable person I’ve ever been around in my life. He’s just always looking to get better.

Now, that’s our job as coaches, to make sure we’re feeding him good information. He’s so coachable, he just keeps getting better, and he keeps getting better, and he keeps getting better.

I do, I see another jump in everything that he’s done with accuracy, with the decision making. We’re doing 7-on-7, so there is no rush, so there’s no pass rush except for the guys that are walking at him with the bags. But [Assistant Equipment Manager] Peter [Gould], our equipment manager, is not going to make a sack on him in that particular case.

But I do see his development continuing. That’s what we talk about with Jalen all the time. I don’t know what his ceiling is because he just keeps getting better, and he’s going to continue to do that.

So, I’ve seen that same jump, the speed with which he makes the decision, the accuracy of his throws. He’s really had a good spring.

Q. What’s stood out so far with DT Jalen Carter and LB Nolan Smith and how they’ve acclimated? (Dave Zangaro)

NICK SIRIANNI: I think you just see their athletic ability and the drill work. We’re doing a lot of 7-on-7, not team drills, but they’re getting a lot of individual work. So, you’re seeing the things that we saw, obviously, on tape of what they do well and the power, their athletic ability, their personalities.

You’re seeing that every day in drills, so it’s not the same type of measuring stick that you get from maybe a skill guy who is getting some team periods with the 7-on-7, but you’re seeing the development in the skill and you’re seeing their skill in the individual periods with Coach Rocker [Defensive Line Coach Tracy Rocker] and Coach Wash [Defensive Ends/Outside Linebackers Coach Jeremiah Washburn].

Q. What are you seeing from the running back room? You brought in two guys in RB D’Andre Swift and RB Rashaad Penny, plus you have RB Kenny Gainwell and RB Boston Scott? How is that competition coming along? (Martin Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: We have [RB] Trey [Sermon], too, who we’re really excited about, and [RB] Kennedy Brooks is doing a nice job.

Man, we have a really deep room there. You’re excited about the competition that we’re going to have there. Backs get a little bit more chance to shine when the pads come on. Now, they’re still out there doing some things, and Kenny and D’Andre have done a really nice job in the receiving area, and so has Boston. They all have. But really Kenny and D’Andre have really done a nice job there.

Some of those competitions sort itself out when they get the pads on, especially at that position.

But man, we’re deep there. It’s a good problem to have as a coach. It’s just a really good problem.

We’re really deep at that spot. It’s going to be great battles to who makes this football team, and they’re all going to be able to contribute in some sort of way.

Q. If WR DeAndre Hopkins expressed interest in coming here, is that something you would consider? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: I’m really pleased with the group that we have. [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and myself are always looking for opportunities to make the team better, but I really love the room that we have. I think we have a really phenomenal room led by [WR] A.J. [Brown] and [WR] DeVonta [Smith], who have had great springs. I’m excited about [WR] Quez [Watkins], I’m excited about OZ [WR Olamide Zaccheaus]. I’m just excited. [WR] Britain Covey has taken another step. We have some young guys in the fold that I really like.

So, I’m really pleased with that room. You never know what’s going to happen, but I really like our room, and I’m really pleased with that room.

Q. How much does practice change now that you had to move indoors for the air quality? (EJ Smith)

NICK SIRIANNI: We have to do this in the season, too, right, depending on the weather, depending on what type of day you’re looking to get, who we’re playing. If you’re playing in Dallas and it’s a snowstorm outside or super windy, we might not go out there.

This isn’t new to us. You handle adjustments, and even if it was new to us, this is the life of the NFL. You handle adjustments, and this is what it is. You can’t go outside today and work out. So, we’ll be inside. That’s just the way it is.

First and foremost, it’s always, always, always, always about our players’ health. We’re always going to put their health first and the people of our building, you guys. We don’t want you out there breathing it, either. [Jokingly] I’m not quite as concerned about you guys as I am about the players [laughter], but we’re always thinking about them first.

With the baseball games getting canceled and everything, again, we have the number of when we can be outside, when we can’t be outside. Our trainers and doctors do a phenomenal job of giving us the information, and obviously today it’s an indoor practice. But it’s business as usual. This is not new to us.

Q. Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai talked about wanting his defense to be palpable. He wants opposing teams to feel the defense. I’m curious if that was part of his pitch when you were interviewing and if that’s something you’ve sort of adopted like team-wide as opposed to just the defense? A lot of players have parroted that message. (Jimmy Kempski)

NICK SIRIANNI: I think you always want to be felt out on the field. Always, our personality as a team is to be physical. We talk about it all the time, how are we physical? One, we have really physical players. We have players that are physical. I think that’s an edge that we know we go into games with is that we’re a physical football team and our guys take pride in walking out on the field and saying, ‘Hey, we’re physical.’ This is a physical game.

For the past two years, I know that’s what we talk about a lot is ‘Who are we?’ We’re fast, we’re physical, and we’re for each other. I think that they feel that when you have those — being physical — they know that they have an advantage when they step out on the field. So, I think that’s offense, that’s defense, that’s special teams.

Q. Last week we were talking to LB Nick Morrow, and he mentioned something. He said he’s learned more about situational football in six weeks here than he has in six years. Why? What do you guys do that other teams don’t do when it comes to situations? (John McMullen)

NICK SIRIANNI: We talk about it a lot. We talk about it an awful lot. In the offseason, I can give you some things, but after we have a practice, after we have an OTA, we’ll come in here, we’ll review the practice film together as a team, our accountability piece, and then we’ll get into situations. Today it was two-minute. Yesterday was four-minute. The day before that was backed up. Whatever it is — and we go over the things that are required amongst that situation in the game for us to be successful.

So, we’re just diligent with that. We want our players to feel that. We want our players to walk out on the field and say, ‘Hey, we’re a physical team, we have an advantage here,’ and we want them to walk out there and say, ‘Hey, we’re a smart football team, we have a high football IQ, and we have an advantage here.’ You’re always trying to work on football IQ.

What did I say in my opening press conference that everybody would make fun of? I want a smart team. [Jokingly] That was really funny, everyone was making fun of it, but we’re a smart football team. I guess I was on to something there.

Anyway, that’s what you’re trying to do in those things. You’re trying to create football IQ, and you’re doing that through situational football.

It’s just something that is in our core values. I can’t say this enough. Core values aren’t just something on the wall that says connect, compete, accountability, football IQ, and fundamentals, and we say that, and we walk out, and we don’t do that anymore. We practice it and we preach it every single day, so I’m glad [Nick Morrow] feels that way because we want him to feel that way. We want our guys to feel equipped to handle situations. We want our coaches to feel equipped to handle situations.

Today, it was the two-minute situation about us as coaches putting them in the right call based off the situation, and then the players going out and doing that call. But I made it very clear to the coaches, we have to get you guys in the right call. We have to practice it so much.

We do, we feel like that’s an edge that we have when we step out onto the field because we work on it a lot.

Q. What time has been spent this spring on the gambling policy? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: Even in the season, we devote a day, a meeting a week to talk about any issues that popped up. It’s just their accountability piece. That doesn’t mean you don’t go through some of these issues or anything like that, but you go over it, and you talk about what’s happened and how we can avoid that and the resources that we have to avoid that. That’s if somebody gets in trouble or whatever throughout the year. You do the same thing with a situation like this, because it’s real, and you just try to educate. You try to tell them what the rules are. You try to tell them the resources we have. There are just so many things available to us.

Again, it’s just an education on it that you just talk about and you don’t hide problems. You put them out in the open in attempts that you don’t repeat problems or have the problems yourself.