Q. Have you decided whether or not to rest your starters Week 18? And if those calls haven’t been made yet, what is your general philosophy of the benefit of that versus continuing to play to stay sharp over whatever? (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: We’re talking through all that still. We haven’t decided anything there yet. We don’t have to decide right now. We’re preparing like we would normally prepare on a Monday for a game. Really, it’s like a Tuesday now that we got flexed to Saturday. So, we’re trying to get our plan ready, we’re trying to rip through that, and, again, like I said, we don’t have to make that decision quite yet.
So, I know there is a thing about resting and there is a thing about staying sharp. No doubt we’re taking everything into account, and we’ll discuss that later on today.
Q. If I can just follow up, you mentioned you are preparing as normal. I’m sure you guys have figured out already that your most likely round one opponent will be Tampa. Do you start to look ahead to them in any way even though you’re preparing for Dallas this week? (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: Same response I had kind of last week with all that. You just don’t look too far ahead, you don’t look too far behind. You think about each day, what you got to get done that day, and that’s been our motto all year. That’s what we’ve done all year. Keeping it one game at a time and we got to go out and be able to put our best foot forward and be ready to try to win this football game against a good football team in Dallas.
Q. You spoke last night about QB Jalen Hurts’ calming influence on the players around him. Serious question: You’re pretty wound up on the sidelines, we’ve watched you. Does he have a calming influence on you at all? Does Jalen’s demeanor affect you at all and help you? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, when he tells you to call anything you want, I’ll make it roll, I mean, that’s a calming influence for everybody. Not just the players, not just his teammates, but coaches too. That’s a great thing to have as a coach, to have your starting quarterback say that to you.
So, yeah, I think it’s got an affect on everybody.
Q. You mentioned still trying to figure out the plan for the upcoming week. How much do you weigh the potentially keeping your offensive flow against probably getting some more development for the younger players? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, things that I haven’t really thought too much about yet. Again, we came in here, we watched the tape of our game, then we started getting ready for Dallas.
So, everything is on the table to talk through all those things. Those are great points, too, and we’ll talk through that as well.
But right now, just focusing on how we get ourselves ready. The tape is put to bed. When the players get in tomorrow, we’ll review parts of it with them. The coaches have reviewed with our guys their part of it and then it’s just onto Dallas.
Q. Nick, in terms of your coaching past, have you been in this type of situation before on any of your teams? And how was that handled and what was your view there? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’ve been in seven play-in games. Seven. And then there was one time we were locked up in Kansas City, we had won the division in 2010 and we were locked up going into the last game.
So, I mean, that was quite some time ago, but the other ones, you were playing in on week 17 then – what did I say six, seven? We were in six of them, so we were – obviously that’s a different story.
But when we were in Kansas City, we rested some guys but not the whole team, again. So, I’ll look back at that scenario, call [former Chiefs Head Coach] Todd Haley, talk to him about it, call some different coaches and see what their opinion is.
Again, we’ll keep everything on the table. Not sure what we’re going to do quite yet.
Q. Kind of a lighter type of question. On the TV broadcast, near the end of the first quarter, you can hear Jalen Hurts yelling out “Delaware” a few times. Obviously, since that’s a paper I work for, I was wondering if there is any significance to that at all? What it meant, if it means anything to you guys? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: We try to go to great detail to not let those words out there, but I know the camera picks them up sometimes. It’s a competitive advantage when the team knows your words, so we fight like crazy to protect those words, to hide those words, to marry those words together to mean one thing but have something else happen.
So, I would be giving away a competitive advantage if I was giving that away, what that was. You know, there are things named after states. I’ll try to give you something here. There are things named after states. Unfortunately, didn’t have anything to do with the paper that you’re working for, but it has meaning for us and that’s why we called it that.
Q. I guess I’ll go light here, too, because you know how much I love to go light. What was your reaction to making the playoffs? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Exciting. I mean, you come home from a game and you’re always exhausted, even though I’m not playing, obviously. But coaching, just emotionally, takes a lot out of you and so you’re exhausted when you get home. So, by the time it was actually clinched – I don’t let myself get too excited, even though it was 37 to 10 at one point. You wait until the whole thing – I was ready to go to bed by the end of it.
Obviously, we’re really excited to be in the tournament, but like I said, we got to focus on beating Dallas and the plan that goes into that. Got to focus on getting better from the game we played yesterday. But obviously, we’re all excited to be in this situation, and the goal is obviously to run it out and go as far as we can in this thing.
Q. Was there any way that the team marked it, or the front office, your accomplishment of just making the playoffs? Was that one of those things you set as a goal before the season, tangibly? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think always your goal – you know, for whatever reason, you always have the goal of you want to win your division and you want to get into the playoffs. I think that’s always the goal in every team because anything can happen once you get in.
I’m not necessarily saying that we set that as a goal and said, ‘Hey, our goal is to make the playoffs,’ but I know that’s in the back of everybody’s mind each and every year.
Q. Let’s help Martin out here. How often do you change those words, and did he screw up Delaware for you? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: [Smiling] That depends – you change the words as you hear them on the television copy. We watch that television copy all the time. There are a lot of good teaching moments in a television copy.
When you’re watching tape with the guys, they’re very used to seeing the all 22 tape and being a little bit further away. But there is a lot of good things you can use technique-wise when you’re teaching a wide receiver, when you’re teaching a quarterback. Wide receiver, they’re right up on them and, obviously, on the defensive back as well.
The quarterback is like a sky cam view of him. Behind there, you can kind of put them in virtual reality when you teach them that, like they’re in the play reading the play.
There are just so many good teaching moments from it, and again, you self-scout yourself all the time, right? ‘What are we doing out of this formation? What are we doing in this set? What are we doing out of this personnel grouping? Are we balanced, this and that?’
Well, you do the same thing with the television copy. ‘What words have they heard? What do the words mean to them? What are they seeing?’ So, you’re constantly trying to do everything you can do so the defense doesn’t have a beat on your offense and trying to set them off when you think they might.
So, we have a running list of those. No, Martin didn’t give anything away. That’s the first time we used the word ‘Delaware’ because we were changing it from something else. It meant something else, and now it meant that, and next week, now because Martin opened up his mouth, we’re going to have to change the word again.
I’m just teasing, Martin. We will change it again. Anything to throw the defense off, we will do, and make it easy for us and harder for them.
Q. As much as you might keep the blinders on, I’m sure you know you were the subject of some criticism, punch lines a few months ago. Is there any sense of vindication for you, personally, given how the season transpired? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: No. I don’t look too much into that. Again, I try not to hear the outside noise. I know sometimes, you’re going to hear it because, obviously, that’s part of my job, is to do the media multiple times in a week. You’re naturally going to hear some of that stuff when [Eagles Senior Vice President of Communications] Bob [Lange] is prepping me to do the media.
But everyone has a job to do and when we were not playing good, there was criticism. When we’re playing good, you get praise. I think when it’s the quarterback and the head coach, they get – I think when you’re winning, you probably get more praise than you deserve and when you’re losing, you’re getting more criticism than you deserve.
I know everybody has a job to do. My job is to block out the outside noise, whether it’s telling me that I’m really good – and this is how I want our players to think as well – or whether it’s telling me that I stink, and that my catchphrases about growing roots stinks [laughing].
No, but my job is to block all that out and focus on the task at hand, and I respect everybody’s job of what they have to do. I really do.
Hopefully I’m helping you guys do your job the way you need to do it.
Q. Are there any things you learned about yourself this year that you wouldn’t have known if you weren’t a head coach? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: That’s a good question. I don’t know. Shoot, I have been doing this football coaching thing for a long time, been raised in it.
I don’t think so. I would have to – kind of catching me off guard, so I don’t have a great answer for you. Ask me again on Thursday, okay? I’ll have a better answer for you.
Q. We saw Jalen Hurts yesterday kind of buy some time and keep his eyes down field. What does that take for a young quarterback with his skillset to learn that and figure out when to do that and when not to do it? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think you’re always – when you escape the pocket, you always want, as a quarterback, to be able to make the play down field with your arm and then run.
And [QB] Jalen [Hurts] has gotten better and better at that as the year has gone on. So, I think what you just see is he sees it on tape and sees the guys – I think the entire team has gotten better at that, right? It’s not just Jalen.
It’s how – if you looked at [TE] Dallas Goedert on the one where he breaks up the seam, he retraces and comes back to the football and Jalen gets the ball to him and he finds the open area.
Same thing with [WR] Greg Ward. Greg runs a sit over the ball, Jalen breaks right, Greg mirrors him and we get a big play from it.
So, it’s not just – a ton is on Jalen extending the play, keeping his eyes down field, but you would be surprised how much technique and detail goes into the receivers and the tight ends and backs finding the open spaces and how they find the open spaces and we’ve gotten better at that as the year went on.
I think as when Jalen was making plays with his feet early on, what we said to ourselves was, ‘Man, we’re a couple scramble throws away from being really explosive at this thing.’ And that’s been an emphasis as us as coaches and as players, and I know we’ve gotten better at that in a lot of different areas, and it really showed up yesterday.
Q. I know the last time the league moved a game last minute, it was very last minute and you just kind of found out on the fly. Was there any communication between the league and you guys before the decision was made to have you guys play the Cowboys on Saturday? And if so, you’re playing four games in 19 days. Have they told you kind of what to expect from a playoff schedule standpoint because of that change? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: There were rumblings about it that we might play on Saturday. We knew a little bit. Again, didn’t know for sure. And then I found out –
Q. Just to clarify, was that before this game or after? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: That was while I was watching the game. And then we found out for sure maybe five minutes probably before you knew.
Q. Have they told you anything about potential playoff timeline because you’ve had such a quick turnaround here? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, no, they haven’t mentioned – we haven’t asked, and they haven’t mentioned that, about if you’re a Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. There is a Monday night game now, right, I believe.
So, we don’t know anything about that. Like I said, it’s going to be hard for me to press and talk – I know you guys are going to try to get me to talk about the playoffs. I’m going to talk about Dallas. I haven’t really thought too much about it.
Again, just trying to get ready for Dallas.
Q. I might actually try to get you to talk about the playoffs here a little bit if you can tolerate one more. So, I’m wondering if you have any updates on RB Miles Sanders? And then the guys on IR, maybe not for this week, but next week, G Brandon Brooks or LB Davion Taylor, do they have a chance to come back? (EJ Smith)
NICK SIRIANNI: [LB] Davion [Taylor] is officially out for the year because he’s been put on IR twice, so he’s unable to come back. No new update on [G] Brandon [Brooks].
With [RB] Miles [Sanders], I’m not thinking Miles is going to be up this week. Not ruling it out, but I’m not thinking he’s up this week. Hopefully, he’ll be up the following week.
That’s why with Miles, it’s easy to talk about the playoffs, because you didn’t put him on IR because you wanted to get him back in this three-week span. So hopefully – I know that he’s progressing well. Not putting a timetable on him, but you guys know, we’re hopeful we can get him back for the opening round of the playoffs.
But no other update on the other guys.