Q. QB Jalen Hurts has committed just one turnover in the first two games and you have gotten a number of big plays from him. Sometimes the flip side of big plays is that bigger risk plays and your quarterback may throw interceptions, whatever the case may be. If you had that sliding scale of I want my quarterback to make smart decisions, but might have to sacrifice some of the big plays, and I want my quarterback to take the risks that sometimes come with big plays, but he may turn the ball over, where do you come down? (Mike Sielski)
NICK SIRIANNI: Every stat we ever look at, and the only stats we ever look at, obviously the win loss column, right?
But the stats that we look at and we talk about in here at all times, and it’s part of the beginning of the week, part of the end the week, is how do you win the explosive play battle and how do you win the turnover battle.
Like you said, I mean, it’s not an easy thing to do. When you look at the stats of that from around the league, the teams that win that battle usually win the game.
Everybody would do it if it was that easy, but we stress it. We talk like crazy about protecting the football. Obsessive about it. The way you protect, not just, hey, protect the football, the fundamentals of protecting the football when you’re carrying it. The importance of [QB] Jalen [Hurts] being in the pocket and carrying it the right way in the pocket. And then making good decisions.
So, you can be aggressive and still be able to protect the football. As far as the interceptions go, you can be aggressive and still protect the football.
That doesn’t mean careless, though. Yeah, that play’s there, I’m trying to take this deep shot right here. Is it there? No. Check it down. Is it there? Yeah. Got a step, take it.
So, we don’t ever want to freeze him in those scenarios, but hopefully we have done enough to teach him, hey, this is what it looks like when it’s there and here is what it looks like when it’s not there, and let’s move on.
Then you talk about what coverage you’re expecting when that explosive play is there. So, you teach the quarterback, and you spend so much time with the quarterback so you’re on the same page.
When we get cover, fill in the blank. When we get cover two, this is what we want this shot against. Shoot, we didn’t get cover two? Boom, check it down.
So, it’s not an easy thing to do to be able to have a lot of explosives and not have turnovers, but it’s a really important stat for us and we spend a lot of time working to be good at that stat.
Q. To that end, what was the teaching point for RB Kenneth Gainwell on that interception that QB Jalen Hurts had? (Josh Tolentino)
NICK SIRIANNI: That was on me. I just felt like I didn’t love the way that looked as far as to the quarterback’s eye and to the running back’s eye.
So, it was a little muddy in there. When it’s muddy, and I knew it could be muddy in there, and so it was something I thought that was 100% on me.
We needed to have a little bit more reps. I had to feel a little bit better about it to call it. That’s a good lesson for me, right, in the sense of if you’re not really convicted on a play or a scheme because of something, the way it looks, then don’t run it and that’s 100% on me.
Q. What’s your sense of how LB Haason Reddick’s acclimation is going? Do you feel pretty close to unlocking him? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: I really do. As you watched last game, this week on a short week I didn’t get a chance to watch the defense until a little bit later in the week. As I watched it later in the week, I’m like, man, it’s close. It’s close to having a big game.
That is my experience with defensive ends at times, is that maybe they’re quiet for a couple weeks as far as the amount of hits they get on the quarterback or pressures or the amount of sacks.
Then boom, like that, it can change like that. I just keep thinking he’s close to having a breakout game, so that means he is getting some of the pressure that we want on the quarterback.
It’s going to happen and I’m excited when that will happen. I’m just glad he’s on our football team.
Q. One stat that I don’t know if you look at, is average field position start. You’re last in the league. I think average field position is 22 for the start of the drive. Any thoughts about how to kick start the return game and get some better field position? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I actually do pay attention to that. I don’t say it makes or breaks us like the double positive or the explosive play battle and the turnover battle, but do I pay attention to that.
So that’s a combination of, yes, the return yards, the turnovers, all different sorts of things. That is important, where you’re getting the football.
I don’t spend too much time on that because I know that changes throughout the year.
But, yeah, no doubt do we want to be able to create explosive plays with our return game, and I’m confident in what we’re doing as far as how we’re doing it and I’m confident in the guys we have in there.
Like I said, I think that will turn as well.
Q. On Monday you played the most 11 personnel during your time here. Is that where you’re turning as an offense now? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: No. It’s just what the game plan called for in that particular game. That can change. You might go into a week with a plan to say, I’m going to do this, but then this starts to work, right?
You go in every week with 12 personnel, 11 personnel, 13 personnel, 10 personnel, 21 speed personnel. You have all these things in your pocket of what you’re going to use, and then if you get hot with something, you stick with it.
So that’s kind of how that’s been. We don’t want to be predictable in anything we do. But then again, we want to put our best players on the field. I think for the most part, we’ve always been more dominant of 11. I don’t want to say by a lot, by significant like we were on Monday night, but we still want to be balanced in that.
That’s just the way that game plan went right there and the way the game shook out.