Nick Sirianni

Q. Do you know what starters will play on Saturday? (Shamus Clancy)

NICK SIRIANNI: Still don’t have to make a decision yet. You guys know you’re not going to get that from me right now.

Q. It’s a little bit different this year because you’ve got competition at a bunch of spots with the ones. How will you handle those positions with those candidates? (Reuben Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: As far as playing?

Q. Yeah. (Reuben Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: Don’t know yet. I don’t know yet. We’re still figuring out. I don’t have to make a decision quite yet on that.

We’ll see. We talk through everything and we’re still talking through it.

[Jokingly] Any other questions about playing in the pre-season?

Q. The fact that you’re starting out – I mean practicing against the Browns on Monday, like two days after that game, will that impact your decision? (Martin Frank)


Q. What was the tweak in the schedule, adding Tuesday, moving to The Linc yesterday, what was that about? (John McMullen)

NICK SIRIANNI: We have to get ready to play and coach in game-like scenarios. I thought it was a good opportunity for us. We went to the stadium the day before – or the Sunday, pardon me – and there were some things that I needed to work on as a head coach with some game management things.

I also wanted the coaches to practice some more of the communication of what’s going on before our first pre-season game.

And so that was more about coaches getting over there and going through their reps so that we’re operating at game ten when we’re on game one, right? So that’s really important for us that we’re operating at a high level. That’s all that was about.

I felt it for myself that I needed some reps there. So really it was self-awareness of like, man, you know what? At the stadium practice on Sunday night, I needed a little bit more work. I had to be locked into that part, and so I wanted to run a little bit more like a game. It was more about me and just the coaches.

Q. How is the communication going for you guys on the defensive side of the ball? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, good. I think really good. Our guys every day, we post our mental errors. Every day we go through that. I know they’ve done a great job as far as knowing what to do.

The biggest thing on defense is whenever you have a bust it can lead to a big play. So, in team meetings especially, if we have a bust ever, in the team meetings, because we know how important the explosive play battle is, and the easiest way to give those up on defense is to have a bust.

We’ve been really good there and our coaches have done a good job of teaching it and our players have done a good job of executing it. The job description has been clear and the players understand their job.

Q. The situations you’ve used in practice are very specific – the time down, distance – are they based on real-game situations you’ve encountered, or teams have encountered, or are they picked at random? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: No. Everything is — we have to get so many reps of this and so many reps of that. As a play you do the same thing situationally.

So sometimes we’ll have – let’s just say it’s backed up, right? ‘Hey, this is our goals on backed up. Here are our rules on backed up football. Here is what we need to do. Here’s the situations we need to practice and we can practice.’

And then naturally, when you have that for each individual, four-minute backed up, two-minute, general situations that just pop up, when you study that, naturally things will pop up from games. Like, ‘man, I never thought of that.’

So, most of the time it’s the situations that we practice because we have a detailed list of what we want to do and the things we need to be experts at.

Some things come up. Like, ‘Hey, remember, for instance, the Tom Brady drive in 2019. So sometimes you name it that, too, so everybody locks in to say, ‘Okay, here is what we discussed in a two-minute drill with the Tom Brady drive against the Rams.’ Boom, and we’re all locked into it.

So, it’s a little bit both/and.

The important part is that we feel really comfortable in our situations and know we work hard at it, and it needs to be an edge for us. I feel that it has been, and just asking the players questions in meetings and about their rapid fire after that, you can really tell how locked in they are to it.

Q. You don’t have a ton of on-field time to implement Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai’s defense and new starters to that defense. How do you feel that’s going as you ramp up to the regular season? (Tim McManus)

NICK SIRIANNI: Again, I think just the same way. I feel like the guys are really locked in. Again, not a lot of mental errors. Flying around and making plays. I know the defense got the better of the offense in the practice at the stadium the other day.

So, yeah, I’m pleased with where we are right now. We’re not at the game yet, right? We’re not at game one yet. So, we just got to keep getting better at that. I feel like it’s been really good so far.

Q. I know you guys talk about trying to build scheme around the players you have. On defense is that difficult right now because you have a few positions that are kind of up in the air? (Dave Zangaro)

NICK SIRIANNI: No, no. At this point in training camp, you’re still installing different things and looking at how things work.

But also, you’re always thinking about the players and what they can do and what they can’t do and trying to maximize what they can do, without being predictable on all those different things.

So that’s why you’re in a constant evaluation state of what the guys can do. So, there is a fine line between installation and getting the stuff in and also adapting to the players.

So, it’s a both/and right now, and that’s the direction we’re going.

Q. Not trying to get an answer out of you about playing time Saturday, but in the past, you’ve talked about how joint practices are very game-like. Not having a joint practice this week or last week, how do you feel about the quality of the team? (Dave Uram)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, very good. Especially with our O-line and D-line. Everybody knows we have really good players on the O-line .We have really good players on the D-line. That’s a battle every day.

Shoot, I think about [T] Lane [Johnson] and [LB] Haason [Reddick] going against each other. Those two guys had phenomenal years last year and have been phenomenal players. That’s just iron sharpening iron. They really pushed each other last year, and same thing with [C] Jason [Kelce] and [DT] Jordan [Davis].

And so, it’s like we have been getting great work and competitiveness, by especially that group, within practice. That speaks to how we practice because of the leaders we have on this team and just the talent that we have.

Q. What went into the thinking to have evening practices next week? (Ed Kracz)

NICK SIRIANNI: That was all about — see, you caught me off guard a little bit with the Browns stuff. That’s just all about our timing with what we needed to do with meetings and different stuff. So, it was just what worked out better.

Obviously, it’s different, but when you’re practicing against somebody else, you’re working with them to make sure that you both are getting what you want. This is just the way it worked out.

Q. In the preseason last year, QB Jalen Hurts played that first game, took a late hit, and did not play again in the pre-season. How much has your past experience in that in particular factored into what you plan on doing? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: It’s all about if they’re ready. It’s football. They’re going to get hit. Obviously, it’s more controlled here at practice. Speaking of the quarterback, it’s obviously more controlled at practice. They’re wearing a red jersey and are told over and over again, don’t get near the quarterback, how important that is.

So, it’s more controlled there. But all you’re trying to do is make sure guys are ready to go in that first game. So sometimes you feel like they need to play in that first pre-season game or second pre-season game or third pre-season game, and sometimes you don’t. It’s based off how practice goes.

That’s why I am not ready to give that answer. I don’t want to give you guys the answer on that right now. I appreciate you guys trying hard at getting it. Even after today things can change, right? So, because, again, we get another day of work today.

Q. But that experience last year particularly. (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: It’s just football. That’s going to happen. I just have to do what they have to do to get ready to play regardless of the hits they take. It’s a violent game and guys are going to get hit.

Q. The Ravens have that 24-game pre-season winning streak, apparently it is an NFL record. You’re a big competitor. I know usually you don’t really care about winning your pre-season games… (Reuben Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: I always care, I always want to win [smiling]. 

Q. Being such a competitor, does that give you a little extra juice to make you want to maybe… (Reuben Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: Again, every time you step on the field you want to compete. Every time you step in the classroom, right, we’re competing at everything. That’s one of our core values is to compete.

Any time we go out there we want to look sharp, play clean football, compete at the highest level, and that’s no different whether they’ve won 24 in a row or lost 24 in a row.

That’s a very impressive stat that they’ve won 24 in a row, no doubt. Very impressive.

Any time we step on the field we want to compete and go at it. That can’t ever change based off who you’re playing or what their record is. That’s how a season goes. Sometimes you’re going to play a team that has a really good record and sometimes you might play a team that doesn’t have a great record.

It’s about coming to work and being the same guy every day and consistency.

Q. In the off-season when you were building out this year’s version of the offense how much time did you spend on playing the game of this is what we expect defenses to do in terms of adjustments to us and this is how we react to that, versus more building out what we want to do? (Bo Wulf)

NICK SIRIANNI: It’s always a both/and because you want to make sure you’re — if you just went out there and said, here is what we’re doing and you weren’t putting the guys in positions to succeed, that’s a big part of it, too.

Do you always get what you think you’re going to get? No. But our job as coaches is to put them in the best positions to succeed while doing the things they do best.

So, it’s always both. It’s always both, about what you do well and about what the defense does well. Now, it’s important, too, that you don’t get scared out of some things that you know can work because of a certain defense they play, but because of who you have as players.

But it always starts with the players, putting them in positions to succeed and letting them do what they do well.

Q. The young players who may play Saturday night, how valuable of an experience will it be going against another team? (Martin Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: Again, we get such good work here against our own unit. Every time they step on the field it’s a great experience.

But now they get to do it in a — kind of like what we were over there in the stadium in a game scenario. Obviously great experience for the guys that get to play in this game.

You know, also they’re not only on display — the hard thing about this is that we can only keep 53 guys, and so not only are they on display for us, but on display for 31 other teams in the NFL.

So great opportunities for these guys. Great opportunities for us to see them taking all the practice reps and go and play in a game. That’s obviously really important because that’s how a season is played. I think we’re the only professional sport that you practice more than you play, and so that’s really important, right?

You have to be able to take practice, practice, practice, buildup, buildup, buildup to play a game on Sunday. And so that is what this is.

Q. How has QB Marcus Mariota’s performance in camp been affected by poor snaps? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: There have been some more snaps on the ground than we would like, and so it’s always a little bit harder to handle that. He has to do so many different things, looking at defenses, checking plays, all those different things. So, we’re working hard with the backup centers to continue to perfect their snapping.

I would just say anytime a snap is off it makes it harder to play quarterback. That’s just the way it is. They have a lot of things going on. Trying to read a defense and catch a snap is obviously tough.

Q. What words did you have for DE Derek Barnett after the personal foul? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, you know, I love his [DE Derek Barnett] competitiveness. I love how tough he is and everything like that.

But in a scenario like that you can’t react. Anytime you get a personal foul you always want to talk about, hey, we can’t do that because we have to fight them within the next play legally, right?

So actually, we didn’t watch the tape as a team yet. We will tonight, so that’ll be my message. There will be things that — it’s a good teaching lesson for everybody. There will be things that a guy on another team does that’s out my control that I’m not going to like.

You have to be able to play tough, violent, strong, nasty, aggressive, all those different adjectives, and have to do all those things while doing it legally.

It’ll be a good teaching moment for all of us to be able to teach off that, just like we teach off any situation. That’s just another situation that popped up that we’ll learn from and get better from.