Q. What went into your decision to rest basically everybody and when did you make that decision? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Some of those decisions, with the COVID stuff, were kind of made for me on that. As far as with [QB] Jalen [Hurts], we thought a lot about that. He has done a really good job these last three games playing within the pocket and we have done a little bit less with running with him and everything like that. We just thought this was an opportunity to get him back to 100%. I know we have talked a lot about how we have to be our full arsenal of offense and not have any limitations to do what we want to do in the playoffs. So, that’s what went into that.
A couple of our other guys were dinged as far as recovering from some injuries with [T] Lane [Johnson] and [OL] Landon [Dickerson]. Again, we wanted to make sure with injuries that they are going to be ready to go and be full speed next week.
I feel really confident in the decision in the sense that I know how we practice. We have great intensity at practice because of the leaders that we have on this football team.
As far as [C] Jason Kelce, I wanted to make sure he got his continuous streak. I know some of the record stuff means a lot to me and to the guys. I want to make sure that when you can reward them and not put them at risk, and Jason obviously felt good too, obviously recovered from his COVID, we were able to do that and then rest him.
As far as [WR] DeVonta [Smith], when I talked to DeVonta earlier in the week, I asked him how important that record is for him, and he said, “I want to do what is best for the team.” But, I know, at some point, he wants that record. So, we were able to get it for him without a lot of risk taken with him. But, again, he is feeling good.
As far as receivers playing and the rest of the guys that played — I know we played some receivers with [WR] Jalen [Reagor] and [WR] Quez [Watkins], it was a good opportunity for them to be the guy and work on some things we wanted to work on.
Q. You mentioned the decisions that were made for you because of COVID stuff. Given that the protocols now are voluntary testing, after you clinched last Sunday, did you intentionally message to some of your starters that now would be a good time to test just in case? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: I mean, they got COVID. They weren’t feeling good.
Q. They were all symptomatic? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: They were either symptomatic or, again, I’m not going to get too much into COVID, but they had it, so I didn’t really do anything there.
Q. You didn’t tell them now was a good time just in case? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: They got COVID.
Q. How did C Jason Kelce’s streak come to your attention? (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: You’re always aware of stuff like that, and you’re just aware of some of the things. I knew we had to get 41 yards rushing to set an all-time record for rushing. I knew we needed a rushing touchdown. So, you know some of those things.
I mean, Roob [NBC Sports Philadelphia reporter Reuben Frank], where you at? Roob has all that stuff. Every time someone sends me something, it seems like it’s Roob doing the statistics.
But we just know that stuff. We got great guys in the media department telling us those things. Like I said, you want to reward those guys for those things.
Q. Was there any concern about Dallas playing their entire starting unit, and how do you factor in how they handled that? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Coach McCarthy [Dallas Head Coach Mike McCarthy] has to do what’s best for his team and I got to do what’s best for our team. Yeah, no concern. We didn’t know all week what they were going to do, and I don’t think they knew exactly what we were going to do. I took that as a good thing from our organization.
I knew that Jalen [Hurts] wasn’t going to play early on; [QB] Gardner [Minshew] got all the reps. I’m glad that never got out because now that defense had to prepare for two quarterbacks. That’s a tribute to our organization of keeping things in-house.
Q. You talked about the records and what they would mean for WR DeVonta Smith and Jason Kelce and you. What does having the most rushing yards in a single season in Eagles history mean to you? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously disappointed in that we lost here tonight. Our goal was to come out here and play the guys we played and win the football game.
But to get that record — and I get it, we played 17 games this year. The team that had the record, what year was that? I imagine they played 14 or 12.
Yeah, so, hey, we got more games than them. But I think it means a lot. I know it means a lot to us as coaches, it means a lot to the players. No other Eagles team in the history of the Eagles has rushed for as many yards as we have.
We all know that’s where we really started getting — as we started to play better and better on offense, it was because of way we ran the football, the guys up front, the guys running the ball. So, it was very exciting to go get that.
To be able to be successful in this game we were going to have to rush for 41 yards, so you were thinking you were going to get that anyway.
But we’re just excited that we were able to accomplish that feat. But make no mistake about it, we wanted to win that football game and we didn’t do a good enough job to do so.
Q. In your previous experiences in Indy and also the Chargers, does having momentum going into the playoffs, does that matter? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’ve never been in a scenario where we were able to rest. I think I was counting it up. I was either in six or — in my 12 years in the NFL, this will be my 13th, I’ve been in either six or seven play-in games for that last week.
I called a lot of people I trust and a lot of people I trust were able to give me some insight on it. I promise you, I didn’t leave any stone unturned. I felt like in this scenario, we had some guys dinged up. Some of the decisions were made for me, but I really wanted to make sure we got some guys back to full speed, back to full health, to be able to do what we want to do in the playoffs.
The goal is not to just make the playoffs. The goal is to win games in the playoffs and advance as far as you can advance.
That’s our mission and our goal. We’ll take it one day at a time, one game at a time, but I’m confident in the decision that I made. Like I said, did a lot of research into it and that’s what we came to.
Q. What’s tomorrow going to be like for you as you watch and figure out who you’re going to play? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: We don’t know obviously when we’re playing, right? Could be Saturday, could be Sunday. It’s going to have to be business as usual.
We’ll be preparing for multiple teams. We’ll take educated guesses to have a little bit more for one team than we do another team. We’ve been through things like this before, because you rarely know who you’re going to play in the playoffs.
If it shifts late, then we’ll refocus our attention to that other team. So, it will be a day that we’re just working, business as usual, and we’ll keep an eye on the television and see what’s going on there.
Q. In the past few days has the staff done work on Tampa Bay and the Rams? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: There has been some of that, yeah. There has been some of that by some of our coaches, so we have a little bit of a head start.
Most of our attention was going towards Dallas and trying to win that football game. Credit to them. They played a really good game. We didn’t play good enough.
Q. What are the points of emphasis going forward this week to try to get better as a team to play your first playoff game? (Sal Paolantonio)
NICK SIRIANNI: Really the same message we’ve had the entire time, right? So, the first message is – what’s that saying, ‘We didn’t come this far to only come this far.’ So, let’s make sure we’re locked into what put us in this position in the first place. Detail in meetings, starting with the coaches going to the players, full speed in walk-through to the snap and then high intensity at practice and just try to get a little bit better each day to put ourselves in position to go 1-0 this week.
So, that’s our formula, that’s our process and that’s what we’ll continue to preach throughout.
Q. Is there any specific area of improvement that you would like to see? (Sal Paolantonio)
NICK SIRIANNI: We haven’t started fast these last – obviously, today on defense we didn’t start fast, I thought the offense did a good job starting fast. We, obviously, want to get our game going quicker than we have the last couple weeks, so that’s one area that we need to improve.
And we know that we’re going to be in positions on defense that we’re going to have to be able to stop the pass. We’ve done a good job, and tonight was an exception, of stopping the run. We’re going to have to be able to stop the pass here moving forward.
Q. Silver lining, you got to look at a lot of players for more reps. When you’re coming off the field, obviously, you have to look at the film, but what are your first thoughts? What did you like? Did anything stand out to you? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Just off top of my head with some things, like obviously, you watch the game and I do have to go back and watch it, I thought [CB] Mac McCain was flying around on special teams. You really saw his speed out there and I just thought he did some good things. Again, I’ll watch the tape and go from there.
I thought [DT] Milton Williams continues to play really good football.
And then on offense, I’ll try to hit one guy in each phase. [WR] Quez Watkins just continues to be a playmaker with the football and Quez hasn’t had as many opportunities as [TE] Dallas [Goedert] and [WR] DeVonta [Smith], but when he does get opportunities, he makes plays.
It is not only DeVonta and Dallas, but it’s also our running game. So, he’s got limited opportunities, but what did he end the year with? Was he almost 700 [receiving yards]? Was it 650, somewhere in that? With the type of style offense that we are, I think that’s a pretty respectable number, right there.
So, those are some guys just off the top of my head that watching the game out there, as we’re calling the game out there, that’s what I saw. And I thought some of those guys made some good plays.