Q. Why did you decide to go Phillies today? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: Shoot, I’m a Philadelphian and I’m rooting for all local teams.
Q. Obviously this is your first week through this. How do you balance taking care of yourself and making sure you get enough sleep? We talk about you’re all football and all that, how do you make sure you’re sharp and ready to go by Sunday? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: It is – I did, I laughed and chuckled at that. The more I’m around the game, the more I’ve learned that you do have to be fresh to come in here and have your mind working right. So, I kind of laugh about sleep, but also know it’s important. But we have a job to do, and we have a limited amount of time to get everything done we need to get done. So that’s first.
But we try to do everything in a way where we’re not wasting time, where we’re very efficient with what we do and can get a lot of information watched and talked about done.
So, very important for us that we do take our mental health and our physical health into mind to make sure we’re fresh.
But really, when you do talk about that, you catch up a little bit at the end of the week. Sometimes, you’re going to see me on Wednesday, and it looks like I haven’t slept. But end of the week, we catch up on that a little bit more than anything.
Q. Nick, this is your first, sort of, game planning week. So, can you kind of take the fans through your process? You talk about collaborative, do you hand out third downs to certain coaches, red zone, how does that work? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Everything is together. There is just nothing – if I’m going to call the game, it’s going to be really hard for me to hand anything out to somebody without my hand on it.
So, I like to do it together. I like to all be in the same room so we know how everyone’s thinking, and that’s everything. That’s run game, that’s screens, that’s first and second down, that’s third down, that’s red zone, that’s tight red zone runs, that’s low red zone runs, that’s two-minute, that’s four-minute, it’s backed up. We’re going to do everything together.
And it goes a little bit longer, you get a little bit less sleep that way, but if you’re going to call the game, I just think you have to have your hand in everything and understand the why behind why you’re calling everything.
And that’s just really important to me and the way I’ve always operated in this game planning thing.
Q. What’s been the process of trying to figure out how opposing defenses will play QB Jalen Hurts and his set of skills? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Sometimes you don’t know. I get it. So, you have to go – you know, no matter if it’s [QB] Jalen [Hurts] or, I’m going back to my last year, with [former Colts QB] Philip Rivers or [former Colts QB] Andrew Luck, you always try to watch somebody who is like you, right?
The offenses that you watch, you want to go and watch the teams that you’re like. And that’s the same thing when you have a dominant receiver or a dominant tight end. You want to watch the games of how a defensive coordinator thinks about players and how he thinks about schemes.
So, the process is, ‘Who’s kind of like us that we think we’re going to be like, and let’s watch a game against them and see how they attack them.’ Because really, at the end of the day, we’re not all that different. Like when we’re playing similar defenses, of course, when we think about plays we’re going to run, we think about it like, ‘Hey, what did we run against this defense against a guy who was kind of like him?’
So, they’re no different than us. I’ve been around a bunch of defensive coordinators, and they seem to be no different than us as offensive coordinators, so that’s kind of the process of how we go through it.
Q. Coach, how do you know – you have four defenders that are going to be making their debut, not rookies, you’re new. How do you explain to them what Eagles football is? (Al Thompson)
NICK SIRIANNI: You know what? That’s just been a conversation – oh, as you’re saying – I got you. You’re saying in general what Eagles football is, not what we are as a team and what we’ve been talking about every day.
I think that we’ve done a – we’ve definitely talked about our core values and everything like that. I think we know exactly who we were in this building. I know we know exactly who we are in this building and what core values and things are important to us, et cetera, et cetera.
But we’ve done a good job, I think, as a staff and as a team talking about the history that this team has and that the city has, right, and how good of fans we have and how passionate of fans we have.
So, that’s been being discussed from early on, how special it is. ‘Hey, you guys that haven’t played for the Philadelphia Eagles, or coached, how special it actually is here in this city with the fans that we have.’
And so, we’ve been talking about that. We have a division rival board up here. I know we’re not playing a division rival, but it shows on this big screen, it shows all the plays that were made against all the division rivals and shows the fans a lot, too, just going crazy going against those division rivals, too.
So, we’ve talked a lot about who we are as a team, and we’ve also talked about this city, this organization, and the history that it has and the proud tradition it has.
Q. The relationship between coach and quarterback is about as important as any. How have you worked to grow that with Jalen since you got here, and what’s the dynamic like on game week? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’m in every quarterback meeting. I’m in every offensive meeting and running quarterback meetings. We kind of run quarterback meetings a little different. [Eagles Quarterbacks Coach] Brian [Johnson] has a part that he runs, [Eagles Offensive Coordinator] Shane [Steichen] has a part he runs, and then I have a part that I run when we’re talking about the plays we’re running that week and when we’re watching the film.
So, it’s just you kind of – when you’re in all those meetings, the quarterback meetings go longer. There is a schedule that’s out and it says, ‘Hey, the team goes from here to here; quarterback meetings go longer.’ They start earlier, they go longer and that’s just the way it is, and we’re in there the whole time.
Part of you, with the quarterback, you have no choice but to grow closer. You get closer just because of the time you spend with them. But we’re obviously – and I joke about that, because I’m saying Jalen has to be close to me because I’m in the meetings with him all the time.
And it’s just other ways to do that. It’s important that we don’t just have a football relationship. That’s important for me with every player on our team, that I have more than a surface level relationship with our players. There is more to it. That’s connecting on different things.
I text him after the Alabama game, I text him after the Oklahoma game. He’s got two teams I can razz him about. [Laughing] You don’t really get to razz him about Alabama too much. So, it’s finding different ways to connect. He’s got a dad that’s a high school football coach. I really am interested in how he’s doing as a coach and how his team is doing because I know that’s important to me with my brother as a coach.
Q. How much do you think the offense has changed since you came in with your offense? How much has it changed since you’ve had Jalen to cater to his skillset? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think that’s a you’ll see on Sunday the answer to that question. For competitive reasons, I don’t really want to answer that question right now, but you’ll see a little bit more of that, and I can answer that more for you a little bit better this upcoming week.
Q. How prepared do you feel you are going into this game, as well as this team? I’m sure you’re excited and trying to keep those emotions in check, but as far as preparation days away, how do you feel and how do you think this team feels? (Jeff Skversky)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’ve said this to a couple people, that like every day in training camp was this preparation, how did you get better every day? How do you leave yesterday or how do you leave the day better than you were the day before?
And I really believe because of the players that we have on this team that know how to win and play and practice, we did that gradually, and then that sets you up for a position of where now I’m ready for game one.
You don’t think about that in training camp, but it’s a very important step that you’re, boom, making those steps along will way, along the way, along the way, along the way to when you get this Monday or this Wednesday, you’re ready to say, ‘Now it’s the preparation of this week to be ready.’
I definitely feel like we put ourselves in a position to be ready, to be here right now, and now there is still a lot – the hay is not in the barn yet. There is still a lot of work to be done.
Right now, obviously in the things that are in right now, first and second down, third down that’s in right now, we feel confident that we’re ready.
But we also know this, too, that there is a lot of unknowns. They have that same type of advantage, if you will, that we have that we don’t know exactly what they’re going to do.
That’s what’s great about football. You can have a plan, you can have this beautiful plan, but you better be able to know how to adjust and what you want to adjust based off what they’re doing. So, I feel very confident and ready, but also feel confident and ready we’ll be able to adjust when need be because that’s how we live and how we call football games.
Q. Following up on that, you obviously have a background with Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith being in the AFC South. Like you said, it’s a guessing game. How is that guessing game going for you this first week on the job game planning-wise? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, it’s studying old tapes. So, I think it’s – we’re in a good spot right now. I have a ton of respect for Arthur and his abilities as a coach; great person as well, and he’s going to have their guys ready to play. Just you saw over and over again that his teams are well coached. Offenses that he ran were well coached, fundamentally sound, and knew how to attack a defense. And he did what his players did best.
I respect the heck out of that, and I know it’s going to a challenge for us with Arthur.
Q. Has Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson been able to give you any insight on Falcons TE Kyle Pitts? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Of course. That went all the way back to when we were evaluating him, right? Brian has been able to give us ton of insight on him. So, the one thing that keeps coming back is he’s a really good player. We know we’re going to have to handle him and things he can do.
Q. Is there more of an unknown with Jalen Hurts going into this game than let’s say you guys with Falcons QB Matt Ryan just because he’s been around for so long? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think probably a little bit. Yeah, I think probably a little bit. Matt has played a lot of games, a lot of years. He’s a heck of a football player.
You know, he’s just always — always feels like with him, again, he knows exactly where to go with the football, when to go with the football, what time to go with the football, and he is a very accurate passer. He does it year after year after year.
And I know Arthur is a good coach and I know good coaches do what their players do well. You can except that a little bit more there just because of the years that Matt has played.
I think that’s a great question.
Q. Are you at the point with Jalen Hurts yet or is Jalen at the point with the offense yet where you know the plays and concepts he might prefer, or is that more trial and error? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think we’re pretty close there. It’s never perfect because you’re always going to have some game plan plays you haven’t done a ton of. That’s why I meet with them all week. Listen, if I like something and [Eagles offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen] likes something and Brian likes something and we love it and he hates it, we ain’t going to run it.
So yes, we’re to that point, but it’s an ongoing thing, because sometimes you don’t like something against a certain defense or whatever it is. That’s an ongoing conversation, ongoing thing, but I think we’re there. We’re pretty close.
Q. How did you do with COVID testing with so many players of coming back from being all over the country? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, right now we’re good, in a good spot.
Q. How much of a challenge is it for first game with Jalen Hurts facing a Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees defense with the multiple defensive looks on the front, but different coverages in the back end? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, you know, again, it’s studying that tape. Dean, Coach Pees, always has challenges that he presents you. We’re studying the heck out of the tape.
You know, again, we’re getting prepared with the plays that we have and against the defenses, but yeah, a guy like Dean Pees who has had a ton of success in this league always presents challenges. We’re going to have to be ready for him, Jalen is going to have to be ready for him, the entire team is going to have to be ready for him.
Q. TE Dallas Goedert talked to us earlier this week about his contract and he thought he would have one by now. The expectation for him I guess would be to be the No. 1 tight end. Are you concerned at all? How has he handled the adjustment to his role? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’m not going to discuss the contract obviously or any player’s contract, my contract, any player’s contract.
But I know that Dallas has been a pro and I enjoy being around Dallas every day. I know we’re going to try like heck to get Dallas the football because he is a really good player. He’s one of our really good players on this team, and I just see him come to work every day to get better every day.
That’s not my area either, and so we have our coach/player relationship. I see him working his tail off every day to get better and meeting hard every day. I have a lot of confidence in him. Glad he’s on this football team.
Q. In camp, you mentioned the RPO game wasn’t something you had a ton of experience with. What has it been like? Do you feel more comfortable with those plays? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think if you really look at what I said, I said, ‘I didn’t have a ton of experience going into the Indy years,’ and so that’s why we brought our tight end coach back in Indy, Tom Manning who is now the offensive coordinator at Iowa State. That’s why we brought him in there. That’s why we brought [current Eagles passing game coordinator] Kevin Patullo into Indy. He was with Texas A&M the year before that.
So these last three years, and obviously Philadelphia and that 2017 had a lot of success with RPOs. We have been in it pretty hard here, but you’re always learning new things about it. You’re learning new things, especially, again, that’s one of the reasons Brian Johnson is here, is to grow that area of the RPO.
So, again, some of these plays we have been running for ten years, some three years. So you’re constantly learning more about it. I feel like we’re in a really good spot there and it’s an advantage.
You can’t block a guy, read him. That’s how I was taught a long time ago. Don’t want to block him? Read him. It’s good for the offense, but you have to know the problems that present.
Q. As head coach are contract years something you have to be cognizant of, and what have you seen through your career in terms of how it affects someone? Could it have the opposite effect? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Sure, yeah, sure. I think it definitely can. I think that that’s a good point. As a head coach, again, I’m more involved in that than I was as a coordinator. I haven’t handled it any differently so far. Until I need to, I probably won’t handle it any differently than I have in the past.