Q. How do you deal with having a quarterback this week that’s going to want to play injured? How do you weigh that against your medical staff, his desire to play and the importance of the game? (Al Thompson)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think going back to what [Head] Coach [Nick Sirianni] said yesterday, he’s day-to-day, but he’s feeling great, and if he’s ready to go, he’ll go, and that’s where it’s at.
Q. What’s it like during a week where you’ve got to prepare for potentially having two quarterbacks, might be QB Jalen Hurts, might be QB Gardner Minshew? How does that affect your game planning and Head Coach Nick Sirianni’s game planning? (John McMullen)
SHANE STEICHEN: Both those guys do different things, so we obviously have a plan for both going into it, and we’ve been preparing upstairs and obviously for practice and all those different things.
Both of those guys bring unique stuff to the table, but we’ll have a plan for both.
Q. For most of the season you’ve had a really good feel for play calling with Jalen as the quarterback. If it’s Gardner, how do you try to develop that in such a short amount of time? (Dave Zangaro)
SHANE STEICHEN: Gardner has played a lot of football. He’s a smart, competitive guy that understands the game. If Gardner is out there, we have all the confidence in the world in him that he’s going to go out and execute, and those conversations that myself and him have throughout the week leading up to the game, if he’s the guy, then we’ll be ready to go.
Q. Is Jalen going to do anything today? (Tim McManus)
SHANE STEICHEN: We’ll keep that stuff in house, but he’s continuing to work and getting better.
Q. What’s the challenge for a guy who hasn’t played all year, obviously Gardner did it last year late in the season, barely gotten any playing time and all of a sudden in a game? How tough is that for a quarterback to do? (Reuben Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think it could be tough, but again, he’s a guy who’s had experience and played a good amount of football. Obviously, like you said, last year he came in against the Jets and played really well for us.
If he has to play, again, have all the confidence in the world that he can go out and compete at a high level.
Q. How helpful is it that you’ve been around him for two years, you’ve gotten to know him and see him to be able to develop a game plan for him? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, there’s no question. When you’re around people for a while you build those relationships, you see what they do well and then you go from there. I think that’s a big point. Just in the meetings, all those different things that you talk about, what certain guys like, what type of plays they like, what they’re good at, all those conversations have been had over the last couple years, so it’s been good.
Q. What made you want to — I should say Jalen to have that volume of carries on Sunday relative to the running backs? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: I mean, obviously you go into a game plan with your plan. I don’t remember exactly how many carries he had. I think he had six or seven maybe designed quarterback runs. He had four quarterback sneaks. He had some scrambles. Some of those things when you do the zone read stuff, you’re reading the guy, so he could hand it off. When they give him a pull read, he gets the pull read. You always have your plan going in of the amount of designed runs, the amount of just handoff runs, and then whatever is working.
As coaches we want to be aggressive in what we do, and that’s what makes him really good, too, is as a runner he’s really explosive, to create the big plays like he’s been doing all year, but we know that’s a balancing act that we have to look at every week.
Q. What are the teaching points for Jalen or any mobile quarterback when they are out of the pocket and running? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: I talked about this earlier in the season. I think some of those guys have a natural feel of when to get down, when to slide, and he’s been doing a good job of that. The one he got his shoulder on, the guy just landed on him. The weight just fell down on him, that’s a defensive end that retraced. That was kind of just a freak thing. He’s been doing a really nice job of feeling the defender, when they’re in his way, when to get out of bounds, when to slide, when to go head first, when to get the 1st down. He’s been pretty good with that all year.
Q. I don’t know if you’ve had a great amount of experiences with mobile quarterbacks, but who are some guys you’ve watched that are good at it and has it been, ‘okay maybe watch this guy’? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: I don’t have a great answer for you for that. I think some of those guys, just again, have a natural feel for that. Then obviously if you’re around a guy that does it a ton, that doesn’t have a natural feel, then you really want to study some guys that have a good feel for it.
Q. How cognizant do you have to be in game? When you talk about the zone read stuff, sometimes they crash and maybe the quarterback has got to keep it a lot. Do you have to go to more inside zone? Do you have sort of a feel for that where you hand the football – (John McMullen)
SHANE STEICHEN: I mean, yeah, there’s times where you have just called runs and run it and then you also have times where, shoot, when the zone read stuff is working really well that you want to take advantage of that.
I mean, when you have the element of a zone read, obviously you’re plus one in the run game, so that gives you the advantage there in the run game a lot of times. That’s where we’ll go from there.
Q. Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon was talking about how Gardner stood out while running the scout team. Curious what you’ve seen in that respect, what sticks out to you? (Tim McManus)
SHANE STEICHEN: He has great presence when he’s on the field, great leadership skills, all those different things. Guys respect him in the huddle, and then just his accuracy and the way he can layer the ball and take some off and put some on. He has a really good feel, he makes really quick decisions. He’s a smart, competitive guy that’s a good football player, and we’re glad we have him.
Q. We didn’t see QB Ian Book in training camp. He wasn’t here yet. What’s he shown you? There’s a chance he could be up for the first time. What’s he shown you over the last few months? (Reuben Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: Young player that’s really smart. He can spin it really well, has good fundamentals, good technique, caught on to the offense really well. He’s been doing a nice job and is continuing to grow.
Q. A lot of times we see other guys pick up their game a little bit when a key player is out. Is that something that the coaches talk about or is that something the players kind of understand and do on their own? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think with anything, even when [TE] Dallas [Goedert] was out, it was like, hey, next-man-up mentality, and [WR] Quez [Watkins] was that guy that kind of stepped into that role to have those catches, and I think that goes for every position. Anytime if a player is down, regardless of what position it is, the next guy has to step up. I think the great thing about our team is that everyone is a tight-knit group and connected and they fight for each other every single day.
Q. T Lane Johnson hasn’t given up a sack in a while. You’ve been around some right tackles in your career. How does he stack up? What makes him the player that he is? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: You know what, he’s a tremendous, tremendous athlete and he works his butt off every single day. As a coach, you have to respect the heck out of that with the way he goes about his business and the way he leads and the way he fights and the way he plays. He’s the best tackle in the league in my opinion.
Q. It’s a short week as it is; Gardner obviously was out of town yesterday. What type of communication have you been able to have with him? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: We were talking throughout the day the other day, just phone conversations after the walk-through and before the walk-through and all those things, but if he has to play, he’ll be ready to go.