Q. What did you think of the offense’s performance yesterday? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
NICK SIRIANNI: Any time you turn the ball over you’re not going to be happy with the results on offense. Now, what I did think is our defense was flying around. You could really notice the guys up front getting pressure on the quarterback, collapsing the pocket a little bit.
And our guys on defense not only got their hands on the ball, they finished with their hands on the ball. The catch that [CB] Avonte Maddox made yesterday on the interception, that’s an incredible play. The hustle of [LB] Davion Taylor to react off of [CB] Mac McCain’s deflection, and then… He’s in a hook drop down here, right, he’s in a hook drop about 20 yards away from it. He sprints, there is a batted ball, and he makes the play. That’s an unbelievable individual effort by both Mac and Davion. The third one was, again, we can’t turn the ball over – I’m just noting how good the defense looked. [S] Andre’s [Chachere] pick on the seam ball, I thought that was outstanding as well.
We did some good things on offense yesterday, but there were some really good teachable moments that we’re going to want to improve on. We are always going to talk about both sides of the football how do we win the explosive play battle and how do we win the turnover battle, right? That’s an emphasis at all times. You see how we start practice every single day with a ball security drill by the offense and the defense is doing takeaway drills.
You just hope that’s things are working on both sides. You don’t want to see turnovers by the offense, but you love seeing them by defense. I’m the head coach, so I guess when something like that happens I get to go to the side and let [offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen] be mad about the interception and I can celebrate with the defense on that one.
Q. WR A.J. Brown, he is kind of a unique player. Do you design plays for him or do you come up with plays that are designed to get him the ball? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, of course. [We] do that with all our playmakers. We did some much homework on A.J. and the things that he does well, and it’s not a projection, right? We saw him do these things in the NFL. And so we know a lot of the things he does well, and now it’s just coming out here and seeing it for yourself daily in and out of practice. That’s when you get confidence in things, when you see it in practice. As a coach you’re like, all right, that looked really good. Let’s get another rep of that and another rep of that. We are compounding reps here with A.J. to cement what we’re thinking there with him.
Yeah, of course. Obviously, that’s our secret. I’m not going to say what types of plays because that’s our advantage. No one has seen how the Philadelphia Eagles use A.J. Brown, so Detroit would have to be the first one that will see that.
We most definitely are planning plays for A.J., because he’s a heck of a playmaker.
Q. It looked like RB Miles Sanders took all of his work with the twos yesterday. Is there a particular reason for that? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I don’t know where that came from. Our backs rotate.
Those first three backs – Kenny [Gainwell] and Miles and Boston [Scott] – they rotate three plays in and out for the first two sessions of the period. So, the period is split into three areas – ones, twos, threes – and those three guys rotate that area.
Miles is our guy. Whether it was the way that the reps worked out yesterday that he was in a couple more – obviously [Senior Vice President, Communications] Bob [Lange] prepares me for these questions. I knew you guys were going to ask this question for this particular case.
But no. Just when I saw that and when Bob made me aware of that, that was my thought. I don’t think that happened. Then it just so happened to be the way the numbers worked a little bit. But Miles was in with the ones as well and Miles is our guy.
There is no secret. Miles is our guy, and we like to rotate our backs. But he’s the guy.
Q. Regarding walk-throughs and including them this year, what’s the value of that? What do the players get out of them? I think the initial reaction is, ‘it’s just a day off,’ but it sounds like there is a lot of value for them. (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: We’re trying to get better every single day with everything that we have, not just on the practice field. Like in the meeting. Our secret to… We don’t say to the guys, ‘Hey, get better every day’ and leave it. We don’t say to the guys, ‘Hey, catch the football’ and leave it and don’t give a coaching point. Or, ‘Hey, don’t fumble it’ and leave it and don’t give a coaching point.
We give a coaching point on how we want them to get better every single day, and that is very clear of how we talk about it. It’s high detail in meetings. If we just had a meeting day, then we would get better from that day. High detail starting with the coaches that the job description to the players is very clear. Here is your job on this play versus this look, this – and there are endless amounts of looks that you need to prep the guys for. Here is your job on this look, this look, this look, and this look.
The detail is there, and that the player understands his job description. High detail in meetings starting with coaches and understanding the job description. When we are in walk-through it’s full speed to the snap. That means we are jogging to our alignments, we’re doing our motion, and then the ball snap, but your mind is working full speed the entire time.
That’s of great value in the NFL with the way the practices have to work in the middle of the season as well. You’re going to have short weeks that you play on a Thursday night or you play on a Monday night or your team is going to be banged up, or whatever it is. Those walk-throughs are always necessary because you can only get so many reps.
And then the third thing that we talk about is high, high, high intensity at practice. That’s our formula. High detail in meeting, full speed to the snap in walk-through, and high intensity at practice.
So, okay, we got a couple more walk-throughs, but we expect intensity to be even harder at practice than ever before because your legs are going to be fresh. We do in a way that – you know, I made an incentive to the quarterbacks the other day. I think I answered your part on that.
I’ll just say I made an incentive to the quarterbacks the other day that, ‘Hey, I got something for you guys – and I made it for Gardner [Minshew] and I made it for Jalen [Hurts] – for every minute we get off the field earlier. That means I’m just making an incentive, and I won’t tell you what the incentive is, but for pushing the tempo at practice, because I want to be efficient at practice and I want to get conditioning work at practice, and I want to be in and out the huddle to simulate the game.
We are trying to practice hard, fast, and physical as much as we possibly can. That’s our secret to how we’re going to get better, a little bit better each day.
Sorry, long answer. You guys will use that. You guys are good writers.
Q. From the outside looking in, it’s kind of hard to figure out exactly where WR Jalen Reagor fits in. How do you see him? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, we have great depth at the wide receiver position. He’s battling. He’s battling for a spot, and he is working with the twos right now.
He’s gotten a lot of balls over the last two days out here, so he’s done a nice job and he is battling for a spot, he’s battling for his return spot. He’s worked hard in the offseason to come back in great shape. That’s something that we all noticed in the conditioning test, how good of shape [WR] Jalen [Reagor] was in. Yeah, he’s just battling for a spot.
Q. In terms of motion at the snap, you guys were at the lower end of the spectrum last season. Obviously, not to give away what you’ll do this year, but how do you look at that number in terms of what it does to the defense in order to increase it? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, that’s a good question, Jeff. I think that if you look at the history of offenses that I’ve been around and [offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen] has been around, that we typically haven’t been a big motion team. That doesn’t mean to say that’s right.
But with that being said, I don’t want to be 24 and below ranked in anything in the NFL. There is a balance to that. We want to motion a little bit more. There is no secret in that because, again, there is nothing… there are some stats that don’t mean anything, but we’re looking at all the analytic stats, we’re looking at all the stats and be like – that’s something you do at the end of the year.
What are we 24th and below in or 20th and below in? Whatever that number is. Sometimes it’s 20 to 24, whatever. We don’t want to be there. So I’ll go to a stat that other people would talk about as well. Alright, you’re 24th in sacks given up. Now, thankfully we weren’t there and we were in the top 10. But if you’re there you do whatever you need to do to fix that because you don’t want to be low in anything. That’s the same thing with some analytic stats as well.
That is an emphasis. We want to motion a little bit more.
But does that mean we’re going go from whatever we were in the league to No. 1? No, that hasn’t been how our offense has been successful. But we’ll do what we want to do when the defense pertains to it, we’ll have reasons why we motion, and then we’re going to motion a little more just to motion just so we’re not low in the league in that stat.
Q. The developmental period that we saw at the end of practice. We saw that little period. Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman was talking about it, you were talking about it. As much as you’re comfortable, do you have a coach that runs developmental? What’s sort of your philosophy? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: We’re all running that. Today we’re going to split up a little different. There will be a developmental at one portion of it, and then on the other portion the guys are going to be doing some sort of conditioning on the other side. We do that in the morning, right? ‘Hey, you guys go with this group today, you guys go with this group.’ We have a staff meeting every morning, full staff meeting every morning. We have an offensive staff meeting and a defensive staff meeting every morning, and we go over it there.
That’s planned day by day. The developmental part though is huge. The way we think about it is like, okay, let’s get [TE] Grant Calcaterra a ball. Let’s get him a catch. You compare it to a shooter sometimes. Let him see the ball go through the hoop. Get him an easy touch. Let [Philadelphia 76ers guard James] Harden see the ball go through the hoop and he’s going to get on a roll.
We’ve had situations like that where, in fact – I don’t mind sharing in Indy when we did this – [Colts RB] Nyheim Hines caught some balls early in this developmental period… now he’s a great player and would’ve took off anyway, but it just helped him take off.
Same thing we felt like that with [WR] Deon Cain in Indy, which he actually earned a starting spot his second year from that early on.
It’s just something that gives the confidence to the young guys to execute the plays at speed and not in a walk-through rep. The attention of where the balls are going are going to them.
The other thing I thought, we did that consistently last year on Wednesdays and Thursdays after practice. So, this isn’t just a training camp thing, this is an in-season thing as well. [QB] Gardner [Minshew] didn’t have live reps with us. He was with Jacksonville. He didn’t get the training camp with us where he got all the reps.
So, those periods, those five-to-eight-play periods that he had in these developmental periods helped him grasp the offense. Now Gardner is a smart guy, he probably could have done it on his own, but I do truly believe that it got him a little bit better. It wasn’t the first time he was running plays the first week he was starting against the Jets.
So, there are multiple reasons why you do that developmental period, but [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] brings in these players that we all really like, and our job as coaches, I was taught this from day one, Larry Carris, my first time coach, he was like, ‘We get players in here, you develop them. That’s your job.’ How do we develop the players? We think that’s a big way that we can develop them.
Q. As far as the running back rooms goes, you have five running backs. It seems like a low number. Is there any challenge of trying to keep guys fresh at that position versus the reps you give them? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: You have that discussion with guys all the time. How many do we need at this position, how many do we need in this position. We feel comfortable with that number. We feel comfortable with that group. That doesn’t mean we won’t add, but we feel comfortable with that group at this particular time.
Q. Do you feel like you need to keep them fresh though? You don’t want to burn them out in the early days of camp or even as August comes along? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, that’s why they’re rotating. That’s why [RB] Miles [Sanders] was second team yesterday (jokingly). No, but that’s why they’re rotating three, three, three. You know what I’m saying? So, we do believe that’s what we’re doing with them with our rotations.
Q. On deciding whether it’s ones versus ones or ones versus twos: (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: I do, to be honest with you. The thinking is camp is a long camp. I know we’re early in practice, but there are a couple reasons, right? Quick answer for you because I have to go out there, is, that it breaks up the monotony of camp. [OL] Lane Johnson is not only going against – right, and [WR] DeVonta [Smith] is not only going against [CB] [Darius] Slay. It just breaks that up.
The other thing is we talk about development. It gives the twos a chance to see if they’re ready to go against the ones and who shines in that area. You always want to see that back end of your roster and how they do. So it’s monotony and then just to give the twos a chance to shine against the ones.