Q. RB Miles Sanders has six rushing touchdowns this year, didn’t have any last year. Is there something different he’s doing? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: I mean, he’s running hard. I think he’s finding his way in the end zone. A couple of those that popped for big ones. He had the one against Pittsburgh that was awesome, and then he’s finding his way inside the 10-yard line getting in there, and he’s doing a heck of a job.
He’s been doing a great job all year and seeing the holes and great vision. I think it’s just turning out that way this year that he’s scoring touchdowns. It’s been good.
Q. It seems like on a few of those runs last week, he was running pretty angry, looking for contact. Is that what you saw, and what does that do for the whole team? (Dave Zangaro)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think anytime you bring that mentality of I’m going to run you over at any point, I think it brings a great deal of intensity to our football team. The one he had where he bounced out the corner and stiff armed the guy right on the sidelines, it brought some intensity to our sidelines, and guys feed off those things.
Q. QB Jalen Hurts’ average carries per game has dropped the last three weeks but he’s still on pace to set an NFL record but is that a byproduct of the way defenses are playing him or are you trying to take a little bit off of him? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think it’s a week-by-week basis just looking at what we are seeing defensively. Obviously [QB] Jalen [Hurts] is a heck of a runner, and when we need to use him as a runner, we do that.
Like you said, he’s on pace to have a lot of rushing yards this year, and we’re going to continue to look at those things every week with him.
Q. As a quarterback kind of gains more of an understanding of the passing game and develops in that way, isn’t running less going to be a product of that, and do you see that? (Reuben Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think like I said, it’s game by game, but obviously it does help when you’re throwing it the way he’s throwing it and being able to see it. The way we’re throwing it right now has been pretty good. We’re play action, we’re drop back, doing a lot of different things with him.
I think the more and more you play and the more and more you see, you’re going to become a better player, and that’s what’s happening with him right now. It’s continuing to show up. I know we have a lot of football left. We’re only eight games in, we have nine left in the regular season, but we want to keep seeing that growth with him every week.
Q. Do you see TE Dallas Goedert right now approaching the class of TE George Kittle and TE Travis Kelce? (Merrill Reese)
SHANE STEICHEN: There’s no question about it. [TE] Dallas [Goedert] is one of the premier tight ends in this league right now. He continues to show it week in and week out, what he does on the field. It starts in the meeting rooms. It starts on the practice field. The way he takes care of his body to get ready for football games. And the way he mentally prepares for football games.
Then just his strength and size and his quickness and his play strength, it’s at the top of the league right now without question.
Q. As a follow-up on TE Dallas Goedert, if you look at his catch percentage, 80 percent of his targets, is that what you’d expect for the way he’s used in this offense, or is he exceeding expectations? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: No, I think so. I think when you have the guys we have on the outside, we talked about this, we start the season just spreading the love around to all these guys, and it could be game by game. Last week it was [TE] Dallas’ [Goedert] game. He had eight for 100 yards and the touchdown, and I think we look at that every week and we try to get those guys the ball. Sometimes it’ll dictate where the ball goes, the coverage will dictate that, and last week we saw some things on tape that we were able to take advantage of, and [QB] Jalen [Hurts] made great throws and he ran great routes.
Q. Head Coach Nick Sirianni talked a lot about the Washington front, the first-time you guys played. Commanders DE Chase Young might be back this week, Monday night next week. Is this the best front you are going to face? (John McMullen)
SHANE STEICHEN: They’re really good. I think it starts up front, obviously, with [Commanders DT Jonathan] Allen, [Commanders DT Daron] Payne, [Commanders DE Montez] Sweat, and then obviously if [Commanders DE] Chase Young comes back, it’s a really good group. They’re very powerful inside. You have good play strength up front. They’re good against the run and they can rush the passer.
I think with any football team it starts up front with offensive and defensive lines, and that’s how they set the tone defensively with their defensive line. And the good thing is we have a great offensive line to counter that that we feel good about, too.
We know it’s going to be a heck of a challenge every week, especially when you are playing a division opponent. You get to play them twice a year, so they know about us, we know about them, but it’s a challenge that we’re looking forward to.
Q. Has QB Jalen Hurts exceeded the expectations you had for him as a passer this year, or did you kind of see this big of a jump coming? (Martin Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: I saw it coming. Like I said, it started towards the end of last year. You saw the progression going up and then you saw it through training camp and then you saw it starting the season.
Like I said, the more you play and the more you see, I think at any position, you’re going to grow as a football player. That’s what he’s doing. The guys that play a long time and those guys, quarterbacks that have played a long time and seen the game for a long time, they’ve seen so many different looks, so when they see it, it might pop up in a situation that wasn’t on tape and those guys get back to it and they’re like, shoot, I saw that a couple years ago. It’s the same look from so and so when he was defensive coordinator at wherever.
I think that’s starting to happen with him. Obviously, year two as a full-time starter, just seeing the different looks and the way he goes about studying tape week in and week out and getting prepared for games, I think that’s what sets him apart is his preparation.
Q. Is there a specific play that stands out, that exemplifies that where maybe he wouldn’t have seen it last year but this year he did? (Bo Wulf)
SHANE STEICHEN: I don’t want to say a specific one, but there’s a few ones, just some checks he’s made at the line of scrimmage, some man-zone stuff. We talked about the Arizona one, that big third down play he made to [TE] Dallas [Goedert] and then the touchdown play against Washington the first time we played them.
There are multiple things that he’s done this year that shows the great growth of young quarterbacks becoming really good players.
Q. This past game QB Jalen Hurts was very good against cover two, very good against the blitz. Those might have been areas before where he struggled at least in terms of numbers. What does that do for your offense when — maybe not be able to lean on that anymore? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, I think it’s the ultimate game of chess when you’re playing the quarterback position and you’re looking at different things and they’re playing different coverages and trying to disguise things.
But it’s knowing where to go with the football and when to go with the football and using your eyes, using your feet to manipulate defenders, and that’s what he’s doing right now.
When you can do that, you’re going to have success, and we have to keep that going.
Q. WR DeVonta Smith’s numbers are down the last four or five weeks. I think he’s averaging under 40 yards the last five games. Obviously, you have WR A.J. Brown and TE Dallas Goedert. But how has handled that and what do you see from him? (Reuben Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: No, he’s been great. He’s selfless. He knows that his time is going to come around again. It’s an ultimate team game, and we’re in it to win football games. Those guys know that it’s going to come around to them, whether it could be this week, it might be next week, we don’t know, but those guys understand that, that we are trying to win, and when it’s their time to get the ball, they’re going to make plays.
Q. Is there ever an element of let’s get WR DeVonta Smith involved? Like kind of going into, let’s try to get him established? (Reuben Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, I think every game we go into that, we think about certain players and getting them going early and how the game is going, and I think that’ll be dictated week by week.
Q. You mentioned spreading the love to guys like TE Dallas Goedert and some of the others. TE Jack Stoll will never get that level of love, I’m sure, but seems like he gets a catch every game here lately. Is there more of a conscious effort to get him involved? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think that kind of naturally happens organically, to be honest with you. Like some of those, we had that one that was 2nd and 8 and he caught the little corner stop that we threw to him. It just happened that way.
But yeah, we have plays in for [TE] Jack [Stoll]. Does he get a ton of catches? No. But when he does, he makes the most of them.
Q. You said he’s worked in the off-season running routes, catching. Do you notice that difference? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah. There’s no question, the way he’s coming in and out of breaks, it’s been tremendous, and [Tight Ends] coach [Jason] Michael does a heck of a job with those guys in individual period getting those guys ready, how to start and get in and out of breaks and use his hands at the top of routes and all those different things, but it’s been good to see.
Q. As far as the red zone offense, what goes into that? Who’s behind that, what meetings are allocated to red zone, and what’s the backstory there? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: We sit in there as a group. It’s a group effort in there. We’re all in there, all the skill coaches, [Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Jeff Stoutland] Stout, everyone is in there. The whole offense is in there. We go through our red zone plan and we look at it from top to bottom, from the high red zone down into the tight red zone, and look at our run/pass plan there.
Then we go from there and look at all the third downs, what they’re doing on third down defensively. Then we always got to have a plan on how we think defenses are going to play us compared to how they play other teams, too, as well.
Q. We talk about the arm and the legs of QB Jalen Hurts. His ball handling skills really look like they’re exceptional when he’s carrying the football. (Merrill Reese)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, there’s no question. I think that’s a big process that we talk about week in and week out as you guys know we talk about ball security is one of our keys to victory and win the turnover battle and win the explosive play battle.
But taking care of the football is huge, the fundamental part of it. It’s talked about a lot, and not only is it talked about, we have to go rep it in practice because if you just talk about it, it doesn’t mean anything. You have to preach it every day and you got to go do it on the practice field, and he’s very cautious of that and the ball handling.
We work on it before practice, during practice, and then we come back in the meetings, it’s always talked about on taking care of the football.
Q. With the two fumbles last week was there anything fundamentally to clean up? (Bo Wulf)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, the one, he got hit from the back. He didn’t see the guy. That was a tough look for him, and sometimes that happens at the quarterback position. Especially when you’re going this way and the guy is coming from blind side and you are going to throw it and the ball is up, those are the tough ones.
Obviously if you can see that guy, you want to have two hands on the football at all times when you’re in the pocket, and sometimes that happens. That was a tough one for him.
Q. To kind of piggy-back off the red zone question, just from when you and Head Coach Nick Sirianni and the staff got together and got here, how much have you guys evolved when it comes to the game planning process? Obviously not specifics, but has it always been the same? Has it changed? (John McMullen)
SHANE STEICHEN: It’s definitely evolved. I think as coaches and as players, you’re always trying to evolve and see what the next best thing is out there to put your guys in position to make plays.
I mean, there’s stuff that we carry over that we’ve seen that’s new. We’ve gone back in the archives and looked at certain things that we feel that’ll give us a best chance to win. Obviously, it’s dictated on what they’re doing defensively down there.
That dictates our game plan, what the defense is doing with all situations, whether it’s first, second down, third down, or red zone, we’re trying to attack what the defense is doing and put our guys in position to make plays.