Q. Can you provide an update on RB Miles Sanders’ health heading into the week of practice? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
NICK SIRIANNI: Everybody will be doing some sort of something in practice today. You’ll get the injury report right after practice, but everybody in some capacity is participating in practice today.
Q. Now that the season is finally here what was your overall messaging to the team this morning? (Josh Tolentino)
NICK SIRIANNI: We talked a lot about the daily process, everything like that but we talked about dawg mentality today. Just what that means and how important that is for a season. What that means is you’re on to the next play regardless of if what happened was good or bad the play before.
So, if you had a bad play, you’re on to the next play; if you had a good play, you’re on to the next play. It’s controlling what you can control on that next play. What you can control on that next play is constantly your intensity of which you go about your business, your attention to detail for your job description and what you need to do to accomplish a job and your fundamentals and what you need to do. And also, your attitude.
Q. What differences should we expect to see in QB Jalen Hurts relative to last time he was on the field against Tampa? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, we’ve talked a lot about his development as a football player. I think what we have seen in practice over and over again is him being able to get through reads quicker, him being more accurate with his throws. So, it’s the same thing we’ve been talking about throughout the last, seems like about the last month, of just his progression as a player.
Again, I think you guys will probably be able to predict what I’m going to say here. Guys that are competitive, guys that are tough and guys that love football have the ability to reach their ceiling and I can see him continuing to grow.
Q. The general football fan is going to be a little more familiar probably with the Lions because of Hard Knocks. Is there anything of value that you in preparing to play them, do you watch it? Do you take anything away from it? (Mike Sielski)
NICK SIRIANNI: Sure, we watch everything. We were going to listen to media broadcasts of what the Lions do. You are doing everything you can do to turnover every single stone you can turn over to see if you can get an advantage. The parity in this league is so tight and so small, and the margin of error is so small.
Of course, you try to take anything you can from anything. We’ll watch [Detroit Lions Head] Coach [Dan] Campbell’s press conferences. We’ll watch [Detroit Lions QB] Jared Goff press conferences, and sure we’ll watch Hard Knocks to figure out if we can get something out of it. No stone will be left unturned.
Q. What’s your level of concern with RB Miles Sanders’ hamstring considering he’s had the same injury previous times before, and were you holding him out to be cautious or was that the necessary amount of time? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: That was the necessary amount of time. As far as my level of concern, not high.
Q. Everywhere you look, somebody is picking you guys to reach the Super Bowl, No. 1 seed, 12-13 wins. Do you need to talk to your guys about not listening to that, not buying into it or is that something they should know already? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Like what we say to them all the time, ‘Hey, I know you know this already, but…’ That’s our job as coaches is to state sometimes what’s not the obvious but also what is the obvious.
So, what you’ve hoped that you’ve done and what I believe that we’ve done because of the guys that we have in this building is you set a culture. Your culture isn’t just the five words: Connect, compete, accountability, football IQ, fundamentals. That’s part of it.
But the culture is also how you go about your business every day, and that’s part of the dawg mentality thing, too. You go about your business every day forgetting what happened in the past or forgetting what somebody says about you. They say we stink; cool, we’re going to work the way we need to work. They say we’re really good; cool, we’re going to work the way we’re going to work. They say we’re average; cool, we’re going to work the way we’re supposed to work.
Then when you have that mentality, that dawg mentality, when you have that mentality of you’re going about your business every day, you’re able to sort through things like that.
Q. Circling back to the Hard Knocks question, who in the staff is responsible for looking at that stuff? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think that we’re all football fans. One of my favorite things to do on Thursday night when I get home is put the kids to bed and spend time with my call sheet and just sit there and watch the game while I have my call sheet here. I think it’s the same thing here. We’re all football fans.
A lot of guys watched it. Then you talk about it because we’re football fans and we live it upstairs and then we watch it happen on TV, right? We all kind of were able to pick some things and watch some things like that.
Q. When you look at Detroit, how much different are they from the team that you beat 44-6 last year? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think this team is really well-coached. I think this team plays really hard. I think they have good players at each level, and we know some of those players didn’t play last year against us. Again, like I say, it goes back to the dawg mentality. It doesn’t matter what happened last time. We know we have to come out there with our best game, or we know we can be beat, right? If we don’t go out there and play the way we’re supposed to play and if we don’t pay attention to our detail and we don’t take care of our business, they can beat us. I don’t care what the score was last year. We know this is a good football team and we know we have to be ready to go on game one when we kickoff at one o’clock.
Q. We were talking about QB Jalen Hurts and where he’s improved, when you do a self-scout, your own growth and your coaching staff’s growth from year one to year two, how do you feel different entering this season? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: When you go through, when you talk about, ‘Hey, it’s important that we climb every day, that we get one percent better every day, we get a little bit better each day,’ we are not just saying that to the players. We are trying to live that as well.
One thing that was great for our coaching staff, and I learned this at Mount Union. Gosh, just there’s so many things I learned from [former Mount Union head coach] Larry Kehres at Mount Union. I said this to somebody the other day. I always felt like we had better teams than this team or that team.
But you just don’t — I looked up his record when I was over there in Ohio. You don’t just go 323 and Eliot [Shorr-Parks] you’ll call me on this if I read this stat wrong, you don’t go 323-24-1 if you are not a phenomenal coach. To me, he’s the best coach ever in college football and I’ll always say that. I think about all the things that I learned from Larry Kehres — Coach Kehres, I don’t ever say Larry; LK, Coach Kehres.
One thing he was awesome at, I didn’t know this was a player, but I found out as a coach that he knew we had good coaches in the building, so he put us through things as coaches in the off-season to develop us as far as, hey, Nick I want you to study this. I want you to study screen game. Okay, here, Nick take the screen game, this particular screen, you study it. Hey, Matt Campbell, now the head coach at Iowa State, you study protections in this particular five-man protection or this eight-man protection or seven-man protection you’re going to present to it.
Jason Candle, who is the head football coach at Toledo, we were all on the same staff, Jason Candle you look at this wide receiver or this concept and you present to that. We would do that, and then we would come in and talk. We did that same thing this year. I won’t tell you the topics. Sometimes the topics are something you want to be better at because you didn’t feel like you were good enough at. Sometimes it’s a trend around the league, whatever it is. I have great coaches on this football staff.
So, we did that this off-season. I really believe some of the things that we studied — and some studies are better than others because of the amount of time you’re going to spend on them. But I really valued that, and I really know that our coaches value that, and it’s not — just because we are talking to the defense, when you learn something about a defense as an offensive coach, that’s good for your development as a coach. We lived that this off-season and I saw that in our staff. I’m obviously grateful to Coach Kehres for teaching me that fundamental of coaching.
Q. Thinking back to that game last year, it was a low point for the team before that. What was the significance of that game for your coaching career? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: [Jokingly] We talked about growth under the soil and fertilizing — I’m teasing.
You guys have asked me this before and we talked about what maybe did you learn. I think I’ve answered this in the sense of what did you learn last year. I think what you learn is that you have to be in the moment of where you are right now.
This goes back to, I keep saying “dawg mentality,” it goes back to that over and over again in the sense of like, all right, well, we are 2-5 and we have to move on. We have to get better from those things, but I can’t look all the way down the road how we are going to catch and get out of this hole. I can’t look at the top of the mountain and say, ‘I have to climb that,’ because sometimes the fog, and it’s so cloudy, you can’t see the top of the mountain. It’s just what am I climbing today. That was kind of, I don’t want to say that’s where we said that but that’s kind of where maybe it hit me in that going into that game last year is like, focus here, be here, only in this part.
And so maybe that was it, but we definitely learned that from last year.
Q. T Andre Dillard on IR, how long do you expect him out and what’s the plan to fill that roster spot? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Right now we don’t have to fill the roster spot right now. We want to do what’s best for the team to fill it with the right person, right player. As far as him being out, we knew he would be out for a little bit, and we felt comfortable that he would at least be out for four weeks to put him on IR.
I’m not going to put a timetable on him, but he went on IR because we didn’t expect him back.
Q. How did he break it? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: In practice. I say this all the time, O-Line, D-Line, that’s live. O-Line, D-Line is live every single day, when you have pads on, O-line, D-Line is live and that’s how did he it.
Q. How beneficial is the continuity on offense for QB Jalen Hurts, basically having the entire offense back with the addition of WR A.J. Brown, but how much does that add to the comfort level of adding things to the playbook and expanding things? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously super comfortable, right. The more you rep something, the more comfortable you’ve going to be, right. We have talked about this before as far as the quarterbacks in the NFL, sometimes they feel like they get better with age. Well, because they have seen everything. And we didn’t hold any coaching points back. Every coaching point we had on the plays that we have in, we are not holding any in our back pocket. He’s been hearing the same coaching points for a year. The job description, he understands the job description more because we have taught it to him more. He’s just developing there because of the amount of reps and like I said the type of person and the type of teammate and type of player he is.