Q. What do you think of the passing game so far? (Elliot Shorr-Parks)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think that it looks pretty good right now, that we’re going the right place with the football. We have guys that are making contested catches. Would you want to eliminate a couple of the turnovers? Absolutely. There are a couple too many turnovers in there. That’s where my biggest concern is. But spacing has been good. I’ve said it a couple times in the meeting room, ‘this is exactly how this play is supposed to look, this is exactly how this play is supposed to look.’ I think about that, and how much further ahead we are than we were last year at this time.
But, with that being said, you’re always working to get better at this time. You know, right now I’m pleased just because, again, like I said, the timing of the quarterbacks, the contested catches by the receivers. And you know what? The defense is making us work to get everything that we can get because they look good right now as well.
Q. Can you give us an update on TE Grant Calcaterra? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, hamstring. As you guys know, I’ll never put a timetable on how long I think they’ll be out. We will probably play him conservative as far as his recovery just so we don’t have a setback there. I’d like to say he was having a good camp and making some plays. He’s got pretty good instincts, so we’ll look forward to getting him back.
Q. DT Milton Williams as well, with the elbow, what’s his status? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, we’ll see when he’s back. I don’t know how long that will be. He’s sore. He was sore the day after it happened. Yesterday’s day off should have been good for him.
Q. When you look to the matchup between WR A.J. Brown and CB Darius Slay in practice, how intense is that? Do you get the sense that those guys really like going at each other? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, and I think that’s the same combination with [WR] DeVonta [Smith] and Slay. I think that’s the same combination of A.J. and [CB James] Bradberry. Same thing with DeVonta and Bradberry.
That is something that when you have that combination, that really makes guys improve their game. I’ve always told the story of when I thought [Los Angeles Chargers WR] Keenan Allen really made his jump in the NFL was, one, Keenan is a great player and all those different things, but he made a huge jump. I’ve talked to Keenan about this a lot. When we drafted [former Los Angeles Chargers and current San Francisco 49ers CB] Jason Verrett. Jason Verrett was a first-round draft pick, and it made Keenan really work all the different things in practice to get open. It wasn’t easy for him to get open in practice. He had to work, he had to think, he had to use his mind, his technique, all those things.
Well, it’s the same thing here, right, with DeVonta working to get open and A.J. working to get up, and vice versa with Slay and James working to cover them. So, that’s a true thing. Iron sharpens iron, right, so that’s what we’re working on at every position. I’ve seen it firsthand at that position, and I actually thought I saw it a lot last year with DeVonta and Slay.
Q. You got on WR Quez Watkins a little bit for coming up short on a deep ball from QB Jalen Hurts. Is that something you talk with him about after practice? (Shamus Clancy)
NICK SIRIANNI: I get on guys at practice. If it’s not the way we want it to be done, I get on them. If it’s the way we want it to be done, we praise them. That to me is how you coach. You got to let them know what you think about each play or the correction is not going to go on. We are doing that with every single play. Sometimes my delivery is harsh and sometimes my delivery is with the arm around them. Just whatever I’m thinking at that time.
Q. When there have been a few too many turnovers, what’s the balance between wanting QB Jalen Hurts to try things now in this setting versus like maybe that’s not the right read? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: You know, he has three interceptions right now, and I can take you through all three of those. He missed the throw to [S] Marcus [Epps]. He missed it a little inside. His hip was a little bit locked. It wasn’t opened up the way he needed on the left side. He missed that throw.
He made a bad decision on the scramble when he threw it late back across his body. We wanted him to take [RB] Kenny [Gainwell] there and then — it was a third down play. You don’t have to get it all back here. We’ll go for it on fourth-and-one. And then the third one was a great individual play by [CB] Avonte [Maddox] on the pick, but we would like him to check that down.
So, two of them were bad decisions. One was a bad decision in the pocket. One of them was a bad decision on the move. The other one was he just missed the throw and Marcus actually made an unbelievable play. So, you want to eliminate — you’re going to miss some throws, right — but you want to eliminate the ones that you get not mad about, but the ones you’re really correcting hard are the ones that are the poor decisions.
In the pocket sometimes the decisions are going to get you sometimes. The one we all want back myself, him, [quarterback coach] Brian [Johnson], [offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen], is the one where he threw it back across the middle and [CB] Andre [Chachere] made a good play and picked it off.
Q. What kind of shape did DT Jordan Davis come to camp in, and what did you see from him personally? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think that he came to camp ready to go. Our guys in the training staff and the strength staff and sports science staff have just done a great job of knowing what our guys are supposed to play at. That’s something I’m always obsessed about is are you playing to the correct weight. I’ve had experiences throughout my career of guys being heavy and their play suffering. I’ve had experience of my guys through my career of them losing weight of what they were the year before and having phenomenal seasons.
So that’s always going to stick in my mind. I know that’s in [Vice President of Player Performance] Ted’s [Rath] mind, that’s in our staff’s mind as well of playing at the right weight. So, we are going to be on him about that. I know he came back where he needed to be, but that’s going to be something that we’re focused on. That’s not just Jordan, that’s everybody. I think he’s been running around well. Like I said, his weight was where we wanted it to be and his body fat was where we wanted it to be.
Q. What’s the plan for padded practices? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: We’re in shoulder pads today. As you know, like in the season when we have a day, that’s usually what it is. It’s shoulder pads, and then tomorrow we’re full pads, and then we have the walk-through after that. That’s where I am at right now. They’re scheduled out. I just don’t have the information for you right now. I can’t remember off the top of my head.
Q. Will you have live contact? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Live contact, meaning to the ground? No.
Q. WR Zach Pascal was treated at the hospital yesterday. How is he doing? Is he still in there? Is he feeling better? When do you anticipate getting him back? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I know he’s feeling better. He went through some things with his stomach not feeling real good that has lingered a little bit more than we would like and obviously that Zach would like, so looking forward to getting him back. Again, I don’t have a timetable for you, but I know he’s on the up.
Q. The multiple defense you’re facing, how much do they disguise looks here in camp, and if they are, is that very beneficial? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: Oh, yeah. Heck yeah. When you know the coverage going into the play or you know exactly what the blitz is going into the play you can set your offense accordingly, right?
So, you set the protection accordingly when you know the pressure. When you know the coverage, the quarterback’s eyes are going to be able to turn things down a little bit quicker than he would than when he has to learn it post-snap.
They’re doing a good job of disguising, and really it’s everybody. It’s not just the defensive backs. It’s everybody. It’s the linebackers, and they’re really doing a good job being in sync, all the guys. I know that’s something that our defensive staff has stressed. After the season every year, we go through a project of the last game of the year, our following week after that, we game plan our defense and the defense game plans us. And that’s not something you ever want to do is go through another grueling week, but it’s very beneficial. You go through it and you’re able to tell the defense, ‘Here is what we’re seeing.’ And the defense, vice versa.
That is one thing we talked about a lot, like ‘hey, we know what this might be here because of what you showed here.’ So, that’s a lot of the off-season evaluations that we just get better from, and the defense has done a great job of putting it into action, and the players have done a great job of that.
Q. We’ve seen undrafted free agents kind of rise up in past seasons. With a roster that looks pretty complete, how big of a challenge is it for guys like WR Britain Covey, WR Devon Allen and CB Josh Blackwell, some of these other guys to kind of step up? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t think any of the guys that are undrafted free agents are thinking anything other than ‘How do I get a little bit better each day?’ Maybe in the back of their mind they’re thinking, ‘How do I make this team?’ But you can’t do that unless you get better every day.
I don’t know exactly what they’re thinking. I know what I tell them as far as there are so many videos of guys. Like I tell you, I watch documentaries all the time. So, Terrell Davis’ documentary on [NFL Network’s] A Football Life shows him being a free agent, making a play on special teams, boom, going there. John Randle, we show once a year to these guys. He was a free agent; now he’s in the Hall of Fame. There is an awesome commercial that came out in the NBA draft maybe like five years ago of John Starks, right, of them talking about how he was bagging groceries, and he turns into having one of the most iconic dunk posters. We show them that.
We don’t really care how they got here, because our job is to pick the best players to help us win. That’s all that matters. It’s a winning and losing business, and with the best guys we’ll make it, and we make it very clear to them that, and we also make it very clear to them that we’ve had some phenomenal free agents make it. Just like the guys on this team and the guys on the teams that we’ve coached in the past.
Q. What’s your experience been like with how guys react to when they’re entering a contract year, and how does RB Miles Sanders fit into that? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Everyone is motivated through different things. The best players in my mind are motivated because they love the game. That’s how I see [RB] Miles [Sanders]. He loves the game and he wants to do everything he can do to be successful with it.
Maybe I’m naive but I never see — and I love our players and I’ve loved the guys I’ve coached in the past, so I see them working, and we press them to work every single day — and so I don’t see a difference with how they work. I don’t necessarily see a difference if they press. I just don’t see it that way.
I haven’t seen our guys handle it that way in the experiences I’ve been into. He’s aware of it, I’m sure. You know, and I know. Whether that affects him or not, I can’t answer that question.
Q. You had Vic Fangio here last week and Mike McCord last year. When you bring guys in to visit, how important is that for you? Does it help you? What do you sort of do to pick their minds? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: We like to bring in guys that — I make it very clear to the staff that we bring guys in that we got to trust them and that we’re close to. Vic has some relationships on the staff, and it’s great to have him here. And then you also use it, right, they come in, they eat, they watch practice, and you make them work for that a little bit, right? You pick their brain.
So, he’s here because he’s got relationships with guys. Of course, we’d be foolish not to use him. And then throughout the week, we’ll have different coaches here. I know Jim Smith from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, who’s a defensive coordinator there — he worked with me and that’s why he was here last week. So, there is always going to be a relationship aspect of why a guy is here. My brother will be coming. He’s allowed to come into the practice, and I’ll pick his mind when he’s here as well.
Q. Nick, why no music in practice? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Music? There is music.
Q. During team reps, though? It seems like it’s quieter than normal. (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well then, I’ll have to get on [administrative assistant to the head coach] Scott [Kaniecki], my new assistant. Maybe [former coaches assistant and current defensive assistant] Tyler [Scudder] just had it a little bit louder. There is music. It’s loud like right there, and I always notice how when the speaker is faced away it doesn’t play as loud. But there is also an element that we want to coach during that time, but it’s playing out there. What, you got any requests?