Q. On WR DeVonta Smith’s touchdown there, we’re used to kind of seeing that almost being a natural fit for him. In this case, he leaped into the end zone. How much of that was you holding it in your back pocket for that situation or how much was that just the read in this play? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: That’s part of the read. He’s coming out, trying to set a little pick there, and the guy played underneath and actually passed it off there when you watch the tape. He did a good job finding the dead spot and [QB] Jalen [Hurts] went to throw it to the flat, guy fell off, boom, found [WR] DeVonta [Smith] for a touchdown. It was a great play.
Q. The 15-yard pass to WR A.J. Brown for the touchdown, it looked like Dallas Cowboys LB Micah Parsons was in between. Like he didn’t know whether to go for QB Jalen Hurts because he thought he might run or go out of the coverage. Is that the way it was schemed? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, we were just reading him on the end right there and seeing what he did. He was kind of playing in between and Jalen pulled it and hit him in the flat and we went down the sideline.
Q. What’s been the biggest difference on those long, late drives where you guys kind of pounded it at them? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think it’s really the guys up front, the conditioning part of it. Those guys are ready to go in those situations. We popped the big one to start there, that drive. It was a concept we ran earlier in the game, and we just missed it. It was close and it was like, ‘Hey, let’s come back to that’, and we did. We ran it again the second play, just flipped the formation, and then we came back to it again a couple plays later.
We kept moving the ball. We just kept going down the field with it and it was working. Then you got to a second and ten and it was like, let’s get the ball to our playmaker’s hand, and we hit [WR] A.J. [Brown] on that little underneath route and he created the explosive. Then we went right back on and hit DeVonta for the touchdown. Really good drive right there by everybody.
Q. Do you go into the drive saying, okay, we’re going to do this, or do you say like, okay, maybe we’re going to lean this way and if it works… (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: It’s a feel thing there, honestly. It was really similar to Arizona last week. It really was. It was kind of like, shoot, we started running it and popping it and it was like, all right, good, let’s keep this thing going. When something is working you want to stay with it, and that’s what we did in that drive.
Q. Do you feel like there is more urgency when it gets to that point, late in the game? That 4th quarter when you have to put together a drive that eats the clock? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, there’s definitely urgency. I think there’s urgency throughout the whole game, not just that drive. Obviously towards the end of the fourth quarter you’re up there and you’ve got a chance to go up two scores and it’s kind of like, ‘Hey, guys, we’ve got to go here.’
The guys did a heck of a job there converting on that drive. But again, the urgency has got to be there the first quarter through the fourth quarter, at all times.
Q. Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon talked about a trickledown effect that Head Coach Nick Sirianni has with his principles, going down to the team and saying the principal of putting team before self. I wonder how does that apply to when he handed over the play calling to you last year and what that signified to you about the kind of leader you have? (Tim McManus)
SHANE STEICHEN: [Head Coach] Nick [Sirianni] is a tremendous leader. What he’s done from last year, all through last year. We had the slow start and then he just kept sticking to the process and the preparation part, and he doubled down on his beliefs, and everyone bought into it.
You could see it through the coaching staff, through the players, through the building, the effect he had on everybody. He holds everyone accountable. We’re in here on Saturday mornings going through situational football, and everyone is alive and everyone could get called on.
I get called on about three, four times and he’ll throw up the tape: ‘Hey, there are 14 seconds left. We got no timeouts. The ball is here. What’s your call?’ Everyone has to be ready to go. I think that is the accountability part he holds everyone to, so everyone understands what we’re trying to get done on everything so there is no second guessing anything.
So, when things come up, whether it’s in the building, on the practice field, in games, everyone has got to be locked in.
Q. What’s your call in that situation in? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: Well, that depends. I’m just throwing out a random situation.
Q. When he handed over play calling, what did that tell you about him? (Tim McManus)
SHANE STEICHEN: I mean, just his selflessness. Everything that he’s all about. And putting the team first in everything he does. It’s all about winning and anything we need to do to win and help the team win, players, coaches, everyone involved. It’s been really good.
Q. Can you kind of get a sense of how much WR A.J. Brown’s influence carries over to WR DeVonta Smith? (Martin Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: It’s huge. Any time you add an elite player like A.J. to the roster with the other elite players that we have, everyone’s level of competition goes up. I talked to the team the other day about the ‘it factor’. ‘What is the it factor? Oh, that guy has got the it factor’. Some people refer to it as energy and focus and commitment and excellence and all that stuff.
I think all that is true. I think when you have that, it raises the level of everyone around you. So, when everyone has that ‘it factor’ everyone will play harder for each other and be more committed to each other and to the process we are trying to get done.
Q. How delicate is that? It doesn’t always seem to work that way. Egos are involved and everything like that. (Martin Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: There is no question. I think we’ve got a great group of guys. They’re very selfless and we’re all about winning. That’s the most important goal every week, is to win the football game. And that may look different every week, as you guys have seen over the first six weeks, and guys understand that.
We’re trying to win games, and that’s the bottom line, and guys know that sometimes they’re going to get it and sometimes they’re not and we’ve got to go from there. But everyone understands that.
Q. RB Miles Sanders’ yards after contact are up this year per the analytics community. Why do you think that is? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: I was going to bring [RB] Miles [Sanders] up today. Miles has been tremendous through this first six weeks. Averaging 4.6 yards a carry. He’s running hard. He’s got great vision. The biggest thing, too, besides that and his speed and his power and all those things that he has, the ball security is huge. We’ve had no fumbles this year, knock on wood. And we’ve only had two turnovers.
I think when you go back to our big thing and what we look over is winning the turnover battle and winning the explosive play battle, I think it’s proven over the first six weeks. We’ve got to continue to do that. Hats off to Miles. What he’s done so far has been tremendous.
Q. As far as running back rotation in this game, just this past game, it seemed like you got to it a little early. RB Boston Scott was in I think in the first quarter and I think RB Kenny Gainwell, too. Was that by design? Did you want to get everyone involved? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: Absolutely. We have a rotation there on certain things we want to do, and [Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs coach] Jemal [Singleton] does a good job, and we talk about the rotation throughout the week. Jemal did a good job of getting those guys in. Miles, again, ran hard and [RB] Boston [Scott] ran hard and [RB] Kenny [Gainwell] ran hard. Kenny had some big runs as well there on that last drive. All three of those guys are doing a tremendous job running.
Q. What needs to get better after the bye? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: Right now, we’re going through the self-scout process. Actually, I just took a break. We have been going since 9:00 this morning. We’re really just looking at what we’re doing well, what we need to improve on. We look at where we are around the league statistically and categories and then we look at two-minute situations, four-minute, backed up, first, second down, run-pass tendency, bi-formation, motions, shifts, all those different things, because at some point you’re going to have tells and we got to break those tells.
So those are the things we’re working on now.
Q. Each quarterback is different when it comes to the following three I’m going to name, Justin Herbert, Philip Rivers, and Jalen Hurts. What about them on the field do you see any commonality traits that they show when they’re on the field under center? (Chris Franklin)
SHANE STEICHEN: You know what? I think the calmness that all of them have and the understanding of the game. You can see it by the way all these guys play. I think all the really, really good quarterbacks have that trait in them.
I think all those things are common denominators, as far as the way they go about their preparation, the way they see the game, the way they see the field, how they are with their teammates, their players. And I think that carries over on game days on Sunday.
I think all three of those guys are really good football players.
Q. When did you see that with QB Jalen Hurts? (Martin Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: When did we see that with Jalen? I think you saw that growth last year. I think you saw it right when he started growing in the middle of last year. Just continued to grow and continued to grow and then it carried over into the off-season and then it carried over to this season, and it’s been good.
Q. As a play caller, what compels you to keep going to the run on a drive where it keeps working? As opposed to maybe someone having the instinct to try mixing it up. (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think just the feel and the flow of the game and how the game is going really, and the score and where you’re at in the game. The situation. I think that’s more than anything.
It could look different in the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter. I just felt in that situation, you’re up three, we started running it good, boom, and we just kept going to it.
We were running it good and it was working, so just stayed with it in that situation.
Q. Nick Sirianni admitted that the reason you guys sat on the ball before the half in part had to do with T Lane Johnson not being in there. How does he affect what you guys do when he’s not in there? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: [T] Lane [Johnson] is a really good player. More than anything, just always looking out for the health of Lane right now. He should be good. He’s in the [concussion] protocol right now. Lane is a really good player, one of the best to do it, so obviously when he’s out, when you lose a good player, you’ve just got to be aware of it.