Q. C Jason Kelce, can you shed any more light on the situation? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: We were in a situation where he had some discomfort in there and we have time to handle that so he can play this season. You know he’s going to have to go through things throughout the season, other things, so something that the doctors and Jason and myself felt comfortable to get it cleaned out and be ready for the long haul ahead.
Jason Kelce is the toughest guy I’ve ever been around by far. I’m glad we’re able to be able to do that so he can play with less pain.
Q. Will C/G Cam Jurgens start there while he’s out? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, you’ll look at practice today and he’ll be in with the ones today while [C] Jason [Kelce] is out.
Q. Did you consider C Jason Kelce getting surgery during the offseason? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, because as you look at it, when you come out here and he is having pain when we’re out here, and that’s when we decided to do it.
Q. Do you expect C Jason Kelce to be back for week one? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t ever put a timetable on anybody, as you guys know. We’re hopeful for him. Like I said, how many, 122 games in a row he played? Yeah, if he’s close, the track record says that he’s going to be — he’ll be ready to go.
But I’ll never put a timetable on anybody.
Q. What have you seen from C/G Cam Jurgens since he’s been here, and what are these first team reps going to mean for him? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’ve seen him be like a sponge around [C] Jason [Kelce]. There are times out there where, you know, hey, listen, there is only one Jason Kelce, but there are times out there he’s doing something and you’re like, ‘Wow, that kind of looked like Jason,’ right?
Cam has done a nice job of picking everything up and he’s, again, in Jason’s ear trying to get as much information as he can. There are some very unique opportunities for guys here to play under — I asked somebody this, how many teams in this league have four guys like [T] Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, [DE] Brandon Graham and [DT] Fletch [Fletcher Cox]? How many teams are like that? What on opportunity for these young players to be able to learn from those guys and pick their brain and Cam has been doing that.
Q. What is the latest on WR DeVonta Smith? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Day-to-day with him. We’re hopeful here soon with him. He won’t be out there today as far as practice, but he’s getting more and more comfortable on it.
We sure as heck miss him. We need him out there. We know how good of a football player he is and how important he is to this organization. We’re waiting, but we’re doing what’s best for him, for his health.
Q. How would you characterize the value of the communication involved between QB Jalen Hurts and Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon? (Josh Tolentino)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I think that’s important. That defensive coordinator-quarterback back and forth is important. I’ve told you guys this before. One of the reasons that Jonathan is here is all the back and forth that I’ve had with him over the three years in Indy about different styles of defense, and what he’s seen or a question I have about a defense to get our team ready.
It’s the same thing with Jalen. They talk back and forth. I think that’s what good teams do. You see good teams that older guys are helping younger guys. You see that all over the field, and good teams have that communication with coaches and players.
That’s what guys that are hungry for football knowledge do. They find out the guys that can help them, and both these guys seek each other out to gather information about what can help their game be better.
Q. When did Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon first pop up on your radar, and when did you start to think this is a guy down the road I can see as a potential defensive coordinator? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Right when I got to Indy. Again, I’ve always been big on connecting with the players, I’ve been big on connecting with the coaches.
Coach Gannon and I hit it off when we were in Indy together. Again, it didn’t take long. My passion with a wide receiver and then him being a DB coach, I’ve always had that connection with the DB coach. And just talking through things, talking through technique things, fundamentals things, and that leads into scheme things.
So very early on in my time in Indy with him.
Q. Did you know Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon before you got to Indianapolis? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I did not.
Q. As far as Friday night, where do you stand with the starters? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, don’t have to make a final decision obviously until they go out there, but we’re thinking one to two series with the starters.
Q. The fact that both left tackles have been out, and you don’t have your starting center, how does that factor into your decision? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Still staying one or two series with them.
Q. How much is the first pre-season game sort of a run-through for you guys, the coaching staff and that communication? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, I’m huge on communication, and I know you guys can see me sometimes out there fussing at guys and fussing at coaches and fussing at players. When I’m fussing at a coach out there in practice, it’s because of communication. That’s always the thing.
From day one of practice, you’re working on the communication that you have back and forth. You know what? The stadium practice helped with us that, too. So naturally, you’re trying to knock some rust off because there are things that pop up that you haven’t done on the headsets in a year.
It’s really important for us to go through that process of those first three games and get down our mechanics as coaches. Like I said, we did that in the stadium practice; we try to do that every day at practice; but there are going to naturally be things that pop up.
This is a big trial run for us. I don’t ask the players to try to get better every day without myself and the coaches trying to get better every single day.
That will be a big process for us of how we can accomplish that.
Q. How important do you see preseason games, especially for the younger guys who are just trying to make it on the roster? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think it’s important for everybody, right? You want to get everybody ready to go. Again, we have opportunities to get our starters ready in different ways in the sense of the joint practices and the different things we do there.
Your question was on the younger guys and that’s a big thing. I think I mentioned this last year, that we’ve had guys make the team because of what they’ve done in the pre-season. I don’t see Dontrelle [Inman] right now, but he’s out there somewhere, and he’s one of the main examples of that coming from Canada, not knowing if he’s making the team, having some good practices, but then having a big game in a pre-season game and really showing what he can do.
There are a lot of guys that come to mind with that. [WR] Zach Pascal. I’m just thinking of a couple guys off the top of my head. [Chargers RB] Austin Ekeler. So, it’s important. It’s big time important.
I look at every practice like, ‘I can’t wait to go upstairs and evaluate the practice after this and make the corrections and praise the good things.’ It’s just another opportunity to do that on a different stage.
I’m really looking forward to it.
Q. Nick, you brought up being fussy with players, kind of showing emotion on the practice field. Is there a guy on your staff who is like your even-keel guy, your guy that kind of says, ‘Alright cool, Nick gave him a ton of crap’ you know like a level head, like a guy that keeps you levelheaded on a day-to-day basis maybe in practice or in the film room when you’re giving it to the guys? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I think [Offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen] is very levelheaded. Shane does a great job. He’s really good. You always need balance, right? So Shane, [Passing game coordinator] Kevin [Patullo], [Quarterbacks coach] Brian Johnson. I think Brian is probably one of the best examples, because talking to [QB] Jalen [Hurts] and how I correct something with Jalen, and then he’s able to go talk to him afterwards and play off of me.
[Jokingly/laughter] Maybe I’m the calm one, which I know is shocking to you. Maybe I’m the calm one, and then Brian is the one who does it. But those three guys, because I’m with the offense more obviously. Those three guys off the top of my head are the main ones.
Q. What has been your assessment of QB Gardner Minshew’s performance in camp? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think he’s running the offense smoothly. He’s had some interceptions that have happened that aren’t necessarily his fault, right, with tip balls, this and that.
You always want him to keep getting better every day. I know he’ll go out there and play well in the pre-season games. You also know like, okay, if he has a down day, you know what he’s been in the past. You know that he helped us win a game last year and he’s played at a high level. You know the games he’s played in the NFL, his 42 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, and all that stuff.
I do believe there have been some picks he’s had that aren’t necessarily his fault, but he’s in the process of trying to get better just like we all are.
Q. Just to follow up on Zach Berman’s question. I’m sure you’ve weighed the risk of putting QB Jalen Hurts out there behind a third string left tackle and a backup center. What’s sort of overriding that? What’s your thought process as to why you’re still putting him out there? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, in training camp when we’re out here, we think about how we’re going to run our plays and go through it. In a game you can protect guys, you can help guys on the edge.
I’m not saying the guys that are in there are going to need help, but there is more you do as far as game planning to help players out in a game or spotlight players. We’ve been doing that for a long time.
We’re always constantly thinking about that when we play good defensive ends. The defensive ends make a lot of money in this league for a reason. They can ruin games. That’s constantly on our mind, and it won’t be any different here.