Q. Your team will be traveling three weeks in a row, all these joint practices, what kind of an impact do you think it’s going to have on them, especially your young players? (Al Thompson)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think it’s a great time to interact with each other, even more so when you’re staying in the hotel together. They are doing that in Philadelphia as well but being away together in a different city, I always think that’s a good thing. We felt that last year in New York when went to go against the Jets, and we’re just trying to duplicate that, and the guys, when it’s time to work, it’s time to work. When it’s time to relax and be with the guys, it’s time to do that, and they are doing a good job working at both of those things.
Q. How bad is RB Miles Sanders’s hamstring injury? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’ll never get into how long or anything like that or how bad. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a trainer. We are just being precautious with him. He had some tightness and soreness in it. Just being precautious with him and we’ll see how it goes.
Q. Any added level of concern with him given the injury history? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, I’m trying not to think about any of that. Just as far as working to get him healthy every single day, trying to get him a little bit healthier every day, and he’ll be ready to go when he gets back in.
Q. Is he getting better? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I think with all that stuff, we have a great doctor staff, a great medical staff, a great athletic training, strength and conditioning, so they are working and he’s working to get himself healthy.
Q. After looking at the tape from yesterday, how do you think that the team looked yesterday? Who won, I guess? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t think you look at it like who won an inner squad practice like that. It’s did we get work done and did we get better at what we wanted to get better at that day, and I think we did. When you’re going against a team like the Browns have, it poses challenges and different schemes for our defenses, different schemes our offense has to go against. It was good for us to be able to go against different guys. They have a lot of good players over there and to be able to go against different guys at different skill positions and interior linemen and all different guys that they have, it was good work. I think we both got — I won’t speak for Coach Stefanski [Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski] but I feel like we got better yesterday.
Q. What did you see from QB Jalen Hurts yesterday? (EJ Smith)
NICK SIRIANNI: I thought he had a good day, I really did. Again, just continue to see him progress every day and so yesterday, I thought he did a really nice job. He had a good practice. He’s been sharp all camp, and I thought he had a great practice yesterday.
Q. What’s been your evaluation of how he’s done when the first read is taken away or a two-man route concept is taken away? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think he’s doing great. I think he’s doing outstanding. Again, like I said to you guys the other day, it’s not always when the pocket breaks down when he escapes. It’s also, hey nobody is open on this play, right, because if he dropped back to pass and nobody was open on a play and he just stood there, eventually he’s going to get sacked, right. Eventually he’s going to get sacked, so he has to escape and make a play out of that, and I think he’s done a good job with that.
Q. Once WR DeVonta Smith has come back, we have seen a lot of targets go his way; has that been a concerted effort to get him involved? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: You want to get all your playmakers involved. [WR] DeVonta [Smith] is a great playmaker, fantastic route runner and has a great feel about things. There are some concepts we are running with him that we feel like he’s going to do a great job of this year and he did a great job of last year. We are trying to get all our playmakers the ball and the ball has been finding him as of late.
Q. A couple false starts in team period yesterday, did that have anything to do with a different center? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: No. Those are going to happen. You don’t want those to happen, the pre-snap penalties drive me crazy, and we’ll work to get better at it, but it had nothing to do with that in my opinion. Again, it’s always — you want to use a snap count to identify some things on defense to be able to keep them honest, and we have to be more disciplined on those pre-snap penalties so we can use that as a weapon, as opposed to it hurting us.
Q. Have you seen WR DeVonta Smith get even better as a route runner in the NFL since the end of last season? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’ve said this about DeVonta before, when he came in, he was very polished, a credit to his coaches obviously over at Alabama and DeVonta himself. But yeah, he’s one of those guys that loves football and is going to soak everything up and he’s going to see things and naturally he’s just going to get better. So, he’s gotten bigger, he’s gotten stronger, he feels like he’s running faster out there, and then just everything with his game has gotten better because that’s just the way DeVonta works.
Q. What makes somebody a really good route runner? (Les Bowen)
NICK SIRIANNI: You have to really be able to look at the picture and see what coverage it is and then how you’re going to attack. We talk a lot about that like, all right, here is what we want to do versus this leverage, here is what we want to do versus this leverage versus press this leverage and off this leverage. Here is what we have to do with Cover 2 and here is what we have to do to change it up.
It’s identifying the looks that you’re getting and how you want attack that. There’s certain rules to each play that, like, okay, on this one, I can’t get pushed into this side, right. I have to break it in here. And then there’s this art to, okay, when does he need — when does the defensive back need a little bit of a change up based off what I’ve been giving him. To me it’s identifying those things and knowing how to attack. Then, you know, always, always, always about route running is identifying the stem of how you want to go but how you get in and out of breaks, the quickness of how you separate in and out of the breaks at the top and as a matter of fact, the quickness of how you separate at the line of scrimmage when you get pressed man-to-man.
Those are just things he has great feel for. Sure glad he’s on our team.
Q. What are your expectations from RB Kenny Gainwell in his second year and based upon also what you’ve seen in camp? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’m really, really excited about him. He’s a guy that in these joint practices when it’s a physical practice and the pads are on, you notice him and you feel him. Yesterday you see him, and we really felt this last year against the Jets and said, ‘Oh, man, this guy, he’s tough, physical, strong. Great, glad he’s on our team’ and you’re noticing the same things yesterday with how he struck a guy that was blitzing it. They did some good blitz packages yesterday. He did a good job of identifying what it was, and striking it.
I know, we all think of Kenny as like, okay, he’s our third down guy, we want to get him touches in the pass game. But if you can’t protect and you’re one-dimensional in the third down and you’re always in a five-man-out protection, the defense is going to sort that out real quick. So these guys that are really good scat backs, if you will, and I don’t think Kenny is that, but guys that are third-down backs in the NFL, they have to be able to protect, too and that’s something that was really noticeable yesterday.
Q. For some of these players that you’re being cautious about whether it’s Miles Sanders, DT Javon Hargrave, CB James Bradbury, are they in danger of missing Week 1? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’m never going to put a timetable on that. We are taking it day-by-day and seeing how they get better every day.
Q. Did I see TE Grant Calcaterra with a helmet? Is he going to do some work today? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, he’s got a little bit of work coming today, so look forward to having him back out there after his hamstring injury.
Q. He’s missed a lot of time, how far behind is he? Do you throw everything at him at once or how does that work? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: You have to ease him back into it, and he was on a good trajectory before he got hurt and so again, we’re excited to have him back and get working. I’d be crazy to say that it didn’t put him behind. Of course, it put him behind. He’s missed a lot of time, but that’s why we are out here today to get him back up to speed. It’s not going to all happen in one day. It’s going to be a little bit each day.
Q. Expect him back any time soon? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t have an update on that right now.
Q. You know Browns QB Jacoby Brissett better than we do in Cleveland. Tell us about him. (Tony Grossi)
NICK SIRIANNI: He’s the best. My kids still ask, how is Jacoby doing. My wife still asks about him. He’s just a great leader and great guy to be around. I always thought this about Jacoby — I don’t really want to talk about other people’s teams but Jacoby and I are close, and Jacoby is special to me so I don’t mind doing this with him. I just always thought of him as such a good leader, such a good teammate, such a great guy to be around every day.
Really those are the things that really stick out for me. And then his play, I don’t mind saying this, like I just always thought, this is a strong, strong man the way he’s able — I just close my eyes and think about a play he made against Denver in 2019. We’re in a two-minute drive to win the football game, and Von Miller comes through on a stunt three, and we’re backed up. We’re in about the four-yard line and Jacoby just, Von Miller is one of the best players of all time. Jacoby gets him off him, scrambles to his right and throws a tightrope 40 yards down the field to T.Y. Hilton which helped us win the football game in that sense. I just can’t say enough about things about Jacoby Brissett. I love the man.
Q. What’s the plan for Sunday? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: We don’t have to make that decision yet. We’ll see how today goes.
Q. Is it necessary to see DeVonta in any preseason game action since he missed last week? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, I have to see how today goes. You take each day, day-by-day. He’s played a lot of football. I don’t want to say it’s necessary or unnecessary. We’ll see how today goes and figure it out from there.
Q. Is there anything you learn about your team in this type of setting that you need on the road in a practice setting that you learned watching the tape or being on field? (Chris McPherson)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, when you come out here, you’re just trying to make steady improvements and that’s what we are trying to do. It’s good to come out and get competition against another team. I wouldn’t say we learned anything or anything like that. Just like, ‘Hey, here is what we needed to correct from yesterday.’ It’s just like any other practice setting. Here is what we did well, here is what we need to correct, and you have the same meeting that you do after practice.
Q. How would you assess the safety group this summer? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think we have good competition in that group, led by [S] Marcus [Epps] and then you have some good pieces to work with. I’m excited. We have been getting these guys in with different groups, sometimes with the ones and sometimes with the twos and it’s exciting to watch them play with different groups. It’s always good to see them when it’s physical out here and a joint practice.
Q. When Jacoby Brissett was asked about you, he had a story about you earlier today. He said the thing he remembered most was you trying to fight fans that were booing. What’s your take on that? (Les Bowen)
NICK SIRIANNI: He’s teasing and making that up a little bit [Laughter].
I think one thing that, to a fault, maybe, even with me is like is — and I’ve been this way since I was a little kid with my brothers, we’re a family. My brothers and my dad and my mom were a family and I’m the youngest. One brother is nine years older than me and one is six years older than me. When they would have a bad game or say something bad about them or talk bad about them, I was quick to be defensive of them because I love them.
Now as a coach, I feel like I have that. I was like that as a teammate I would like to think. As a coach, I definitely know I have that, like, protective — like I know these guys are the biggest, strongest men in the world and they can protect themselves, but I love these guys. That’s just an instinct that you have. That’s how I was raised, and I was like, this is our family, and I just have that protective instinct to defend them, and that’s been like that with every team I’ve ever coached.
I’m flattered that Jacoby said that [laughter].
Q. Have you had a chance to catch up with Coach Larry Kehres since you have been back here? (Chris Easterling)
NICK SIRIANNI: My brother’s team, Washington & Jefferson, is joint practicing against Mount Union tomorrow at Mount Union. If I have some time I might drive up with my mom and my dad. I haven’t been back to Mount Union in 15 years or so, so will be good to see that scrimmage and that joint practice. But Coach Kehres is a guy that I keep contact with because I’ve learned so many valuable things. He’s done so much for my career, so I look forward to, if I do get the time tomorrow, getting up there and seeing him.