Q. After seeing the way WR Britain Covey handled punt returns, any thought about giving him kicks? If not, what do you like about WR Quez Watkins back there? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: [WR] Quez [Watkins] gives us an element of big-time speed to be able to hit it back there. I’m not going to say who is going to be back there to start things off, but [WR Britain] Covey did a nice job as far as the punt returns. That is obviously noticed.
That’s why we like Quez back there, with his ability to hit it with speed.
Q. Is it a luxury at all that they run a similar scheme to what Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon does. Does that help working against your defense all summer? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Of course. Any time you have something that’s similar, and there is a lot of different trees out there in the NFL as far as where they got their scheme from, all those different things.
Of course it is, because you can ask questions, ‘Hey, what are they actually doing right here’, you can get some inside information as far as the questions you ask the defensive coordinator.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but that’s something I did with [Defensive Coordinator] Jonathan [Gannon] back in Indy as well. Ask him, ‘Hey, what do you think they’re trying to do here? How do you think this route would work versus this? How do you think run will work versus this?’
So that’s always an advantage that you have, and that’s something that we definitely — again, we’ll leave no stone unturned, and definitely have had a lot of communication with the defensive guys this week.
Same thing, obviously [Linebackers Coach] Nick Rallis was on the staff at Minnesota, and so was Jonathan Gannon with some of these guys, and so we’ve had conversations about players as well and just different things that make them go.
Q. At the owner’s meetings, when you talked about WR Zach Pascal, you explained that in Indy he was the best 4, 5 receiver in the league and you explained the characteristics. Are those characteristics hard to find for that role specifically? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: There are not a ton of those guys out there. A wide receiver that is going to go out and do the dirty work. Sometimes that’s not always that position where the guys will go do that, whether that’s because of — it could be for multiple reasons.
I think that’s a hard quality to find for your No. 4, 5 receiver, because you have to have confidence that you can throw them the ball as well.
We do that with every player. We’re like, ‘Okay, we’re looking for this in this guy’. We have our conversations with [Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] about it. ‘We are looking for this in this type of player’.
All these skills are going to be tough to find. You’re looking for good players. But, yes, to me, at that position that’s a hard skill to find and I’m just glad we have it in [WR] Zach [Pascal].
Q. I guess Vikings WR Jalen Reagor was asked if he looked at this as like a revenge game, he said, yeah, sure, why not. How do you react to Jalen Reagor coming back? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Any time we play a team that I used to coach on, I’m like, ‘Hey, let’s go’. I love those guys over there, but I really want to get the best of them because it’s just a continuation of all the times I used to go against them in practice.
I think that’s a normal reaction for anybody to have that is coming back to play at their old place. I just think that’s normal. Like I said, I go through it as well.
Q. In Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell, do you see a lot of Rams Head Coach Sean McVay and the way he coached in that first game and his philosophy? (Bob Grotz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Small sample size, but, yeah. I mean, when you go somewhere else and you’re starting new, of course you’re going to do things the way that you did them when you won a Super Bowl, right?
I have a lot of respect for Coach O’Connell. He’s done a really nice job, and I think he’s a really good coach. He has to put his own spin on things, too. Even if — we say it all the time, even though [Offensive Coordinator] Shane [Steichen] and I think about the game alike, things will be called differently.
Or they have different players in Minnesota than they did at the Rams, so there are definitely differences because there has to be.
Definitely see the similarities as well.
Q. How has your willingness to go for it on fourth down evolved since last season? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: I thought we were pretty aggressive last season, too. I do a lot of studying with that. I think if you go in there and try to make the decisions based off what the chart says, you know, as far as in-game, then I think that you’re making a mistake.
Same thing if you try to — on third down you’re like, okay, I haven’t ordered these third downs yet and I’m going to call this one. You have to think about these things beforehand.
So I think to answer your question, what I mean by that is where I’m more comfortable is I’ve had more reps with it. And not just our game reps, but the ones I spend on Fridays in the meeting room of, okay, it’s fourth down and four in this scenario, what are we doing? Boom. What are we calling? Boom. Okay.
Go to the next fourth down. All right, what are we doing? What are we calling? That’s just the only way I know how to prep, is to put yourself in that call before you have to make it.
So, I’m comfortable because for the past year we’ve been putting ourselves in those calls not only in games, but also as many as that happened in the league each and every week to practice that, of what the call would be and then what the decision is going to be.
Q. Do those reps also help in his terms of calling the play on third down knowing that you’re going to be willing to go for it on fourth? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Of course, yeah. That’s a discussion that we have and that’s an advantage the offense has at times that the defense doesn’t know what mode you’re in. Are they in really a third and six mode or — are they really in a third and seven mode right here or are they in a go-for-it mode right here?
That’s a huge advantage that an offense has, is we know the mode we’re in, they don’t know what mode we’re in, and we can play — and a lot of different things can be alive.
So that’s what you’re trying to do always as an offensive coach. Trying to make yourself multiple so they have to defend a bunch of different things.
Yeah, I thought that was a really good question.
Q. When you’re facing a team like this that has two really good edge rushers, I think for other teams the talk of the week might be how you’re going to block those guys, but that doesn’t really happen here with T Lane Johnson and T Jordan Mailata. How much of a luxury is it to not really have to worry about that as much as other teams? (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously we’re very talented on the offensive line and those two guys do a great job.
I just continue to see [T] Jordan [Mailata] get better each week that I’ve been here.
And then you guys know what I think of [T] Lane [Johnson]. Lane is the best right tackle in this league. To me, I wouldn’t take anybody else. I don’t even think it’s particularly close.
So obviously you go in and you think, all right, who are their best players and how do we make sure that they don’t beat us? You do that offensively, defensively, and special teams-wise.
Of course, with us we’re like, Lane is one of our best players, too. So, good. We’ll be all right there. But that doesn’t mean we still don’t go through the process of — we still don’t have plays in to help out the edge when we need to.
So, it’s a little bit, yes, we’re very comfortable with our personnel, but we also throw some help at them every now and then.
So that’s something that’s always been on our mind as soon as I got into this league, and it’s because of good coaches I’ve been around, is how are you going to stop the guys that can wreck the game. Defensive end is the first place you always look.
You look at corner and defensive end more than anything in my mind as an offensive coach. Defensive end, when I was in the AFC West when I was with the Chargers, everybody had two good ones, right?
The Raiders at the time had [former Raiders LB] Bruce Irvin and [current Chargers LB] Khalil Mack. The Chiefs had [current Ravens LB] Justin Houston and [former Chiefs LB] Tamba Hali. The Broncos had [current Bills LB] Von Miller and they had [former Broncos LB] DeMarcus Ware.
So we had to be on that. And no offense to our tackles at the Chargers, but they weren’t like the guys we have here. That’s been something — I remember one time, quick story, that [former Chargers Head Coach] Mike McCoy came in and said to [former Chargers Offensive Coordinator and current Colts Head Coach] Frank [Reich] and I, did you guys think about Khalil Mack today and how you’re going to help protect against him?
I looked at Frank because we had just spent so much time talking about Khalil Mack every single play. I looked at Frank, Frank looked at me, I looked back at Mike I said, ‘Mike, his grandma, his mom, and his girlfriend didn’t think about him as much as we thought about him today,’ to answer your question.