Head Coach Robert Saleh, 10.16
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Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Robert, do you have any update on Joe Tippmann?
No updates right now on any of the injuries and with the bye week, we’re taking our time on all that.
Brian Costello, The New York Post: Robert, what’s the plan for the bye week in terms of the players?
I’ve got a schedule, haven’t finalized whether or not I’m going to go through with it yet, just got a few more people I got to talk to.
Brian Costello, The New York Post: Robert, there’s been some discussion, debate about the end game situation, right? After Tony (Adams) gets the ball the eight, do you go score or do you kind of run some clock? I think the Eagles had a couple timeouts left, do you get them to use some time outs and try to just kick the field goal? Can you take us through the thought process there strategically at that point?
Absolutely, so you’re presented with two options right? Talking to (Nathaniel) Hackett on the headset was a, ‘hey run the ball,’ so we’re thinking run, run, pass, but we want to score a touchdown, we want the seven points, make them go the distance on our defense, so the situations presented are either, A: they’re going to get the ball down one with about 55 seconds to go only needing about 30 to 35 yards for an attempt at a field goal with their kicker, which is very doable with the explosiveness of their offense, or B: they’re going to have about 1:30 and two timeouts to go 75 yards on our defense. We like those odds better with teams having to go against, try to go 75 yards on our defense, so the mindset was to score. Now, if they had one timeout, we’re going to send the ball, kick the field goal, they’ll have bought 15 seconds ago to go kick a field goal themselves. That’s a completely different situation, but because they were still going to have a minute, which is still an eternity in football, to only have to go 30 yards, you have a better chance of keeping, in our opinion, with our defense, keeping them from going 75 yards than you do 30 yards.
Brian Costello, The New York Post: That’s a lot to process Robert quickly, like you don’t know Tony (Adams) is going to intercept the ball. When you start kind of?
Those are all offseason, just putting yourself through a whole bunch of scenarios. What do you do in these situations? Like I said, Dan Shamash, our situational coordinator, he does such a great job. He’s on top of it, but it was instantaneous, ‘hey, what is the worst case scenario?’ They get the ball back with about 35 seconds to go if we run it three times and they stop us needing a field goal. We want to score then, immediately, so it’s quick, but these are all things that had been decided way, way before that situation has ever been presented.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Do you think the Eagles let them score? Breece (Hall) on that play?
It sure looks like it, it’s an interesting thing, because we had talked to our guy here and he asked me what would I do in that situation and everyone’s different, in my mindset we’re going to stop them, we’re going to use our two timeouts. We’re going to put the ball in our offense’s hands with50 seconds to go and we’re going to go kick that field goal after 30. It’s what do you feel at the moment and I don’t know, I can’t speak for whether or not they let us score. I guess it would be a question for them, but I don’t know it just depends on the situation you want, you want a minute, you want about 50 to 55 seconds with no timeouts needing about 35 yards to kick a field goal? Or do you want a minute and 30 with two timeouts needing to go score a touchdown? It’s just what situation do you want and I would imagine that if I’m an offense, only needing about 35 yards to go kick a field goal would be would be pretty advantageous.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Robert, can you speak to the job Tony Oden has done, especially these last few days? If you look on Saturday obviously that’s when you find out Sauce (Gardner) isn’t going to play, you have to get (Ke’Montae) Hayes ready, just joined this team a couple weeks ago, Craig James, Bryce Hall has been you know on the bench for a long time. Can you to speak to the job Tony’s done to getting these guys ready for performance?
Yeah, I would put Tony up against anybody, I said it already, I would put him up against anybody in football with regards to corner, coaching defensive backs, and corners and how thorough he is, the connection he has with his players. The amount of extra time that was put in over the course of late Friday, Saturday. Friday, just an emergency because you know, Sauce is not feeling well, so it’s like alright, we got to come up with a plan B, still feeling good about him playing, but just in case because you’re always trying to cross your t’s, dot your i’s, and then actually having to put it inti action on Saturday. Only having four corners available, thenthe amount of shuffling and when you guys get the all 22 to see the amount of movement where these guys all played. Hats off to the players. A lot of guys, even on special teams, because of all the injuries to the corners because they’re a big part of special teams were playing positions that they’ve never played before, since peewee, so credit to them, credit the to TO (Tony Oden), credit to (Jeff) Ulbrich, he’s doing an unbelievable job. Hats off to everybody on the defensive side of the ball. Coaches included. It’s pretty cool.
Mark Cannizzaro, The New York Post: Robert, piggybacking off that with Brick (Jeff Ulbrich) with regard to Brick (Jeff Ulbrich), if you can elaborate a little bit on the job that he’s done, in particular you talked last night about the game planning for this week, how much of a nightmare it was. That last play that came in for Tony (Adams), I think he’d been kind of blitzing more often than not from that spot, if I’m not mistaken, right? And then Brick (Jeff Ulbrich) comes in with the call to lay back and Tony said after the game that, he basically said that (Jalen) Hurts was going throw it right to him if he does that and so that’s exactly what happened. When something like that all comes to fruition, can you speak to that a little bit and speak to that call and in the greater, bigger picture the job that Brick (Jeff Ulbrich) has done?
Yeah. Ulbrich, just through film study felt like there was a way to strain the protection and the rules and deliberately pressured early, if you look at it, to kind of get them the panic on the sideline, which I think he accomplished. Then when you look at that play, being consistent with the design of the game plan, it felt like Jalen was throwing off his back foot expecting one thing and getting another. Again, you’d have to ask him I’m not sure, but it’s what it felt like, but Ulbrich has been unbelievable. I know he makes my job a hell of a lot easier, being able to make sure I’m checking in with everyone and not just so focused on one side of the ball, and him and that staff have been lights out since the day we walked in this building. He is every bit of deserving, you look at him in his past, he’s been an NFL player, he cut through the NFL as a special team or a starter, he’s done everything, he had a 10 year career, he relates to players, he’s gotten so much better every single year with the scheme and understanding more and more as he develops as a coordinator, he relates well to the guys, he has an unbelievable voice in the locker room, he’s got an unbelievable level of trust with the players and the players trust him and love him. From a head coaching standpoint, and I’m just going to say this for him, he checks every single box and is definitely deserving of every accolade he gets.
Mike Vaccaro, The New York Post: Robert, you referred to Aaron (Rodgers) as a freakazoid yesterday, can you expand on that and what it means to not only have him around, but then to see him far more healthier than anyone expected him to be….
Aaron (Rodgers) is definitely one of those individuals that is fueled by doubt. If you doubt him, it only makes him stronger because he has this, ‘Oh, you are telling me I can’t do something? Then I am going to show you I can’. He is going to prove you wrong. He has a tremendous drive and a tremendous mindset to him. I think he gets stronger with doubters when people doubt him. His work ethic, his thoughtfulness, his connection that he has to people. He is an all-around human being and him being around this building is infectious.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Robert, a follow up on that. We saw him on the headsets obviously, was he able to contribute anything during the game? Also, do you expect him to stick around for the duration? Also, just having him there, players seeing him on a day-to-day basis, what does that do for the team morale and motivation?
I have told him this, from a dynamic standpoint just so people understand, when a player goes on IR (injured reserved) most of the time they are kind of off on their own. Usually, the older they are with regards to their time in the League, they’re more liberal in terms of going out there and getting the rehab they feel like they need, because they know their bodies better than anybody. Whatever he needs to do to attack his rehab, we are going to support him either way. Selfishly as a coach, his superpower is his presence. Him being around this building, being around his teammates, being around the locker room, his positive attitude, his thoughts of manifestation and all of that, I think it is powerful. So obviously, as a coach, I selfishly want him here every single day, I want him in every meeting, I want him on the practice field, I want him on the sideline, I want him in the locker room, selfishly because he is an unbelievable human. Outside of scheme and playing ability, the intangibles that he brings to his teammates and the fuel I think his teammates will give to him is priceless. You just can’t quantify it, you can’t put a price on it, but as far as being on the headsets, I love his thoughts on the headsets. I guess you will have to ask Hackett on how much it actually provides, but I definitely know he has thoughts and I know he is helping the quarterback the best he can. So, him having the headset on, I can tell you this much, it doesn’t hurt. So just having him out there is awesome and him walking around, I think it just goes to show the type of mindset that guy has. I have never had an Achilles tear, hopefully I never do I don’t want to ruin my golf game, but from my understanding, him walking around is crazy.
Mark Cannizzaro, The New York Post: Robert, that power that he has in terms of just the team morale, for Zach (Wison) it must be the most important, is it not? It just seems like Zach is a different guy when he is around. Do you feel that? Do you sense that? Has Zach spoken about that to you?
I think Zach in general, obviously with Aaron around it is very uplifting. I think Zach is a different guy period, credit to him. I don’t think you can shake him. He has been through so much, I think he has seen the worst of the worst. There is nothing that will get him off this train right now. Is he where he wants to be? No. Is he going where he knows he can go? I think so. I think he has that confidence, he knows we are freaking close on offense and he’s got so much confidence. Just talking to him this morning and going through some plays and he knows things he can do better, that his teammates can do better. He is recognizing and holding himself accountable and starting to look inward. You have to have a tremendous amount of confidence and security to look inward rather than outward. He is looking inward, he is looking for answers. He is making incremental steps, I know everyone wants it to be leaps, but he is getting better and he is taking care of the football. You are not seeing the things we saw a year ago. I think as he continues to get better, this team will also get better.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, big picture wise, 3-3 in the bye, how do you feel about how you guys have stabilized things after the three losses in a row there, just entering this 3-3?
Just like last year, it is exciting. You get a big win going into the bye week, you have your whole season ahead of you. The important thing is that we attack the heck out of this week. Be deliberate in our approach, just don’t go to the beach and drink and eat nachos like I said a year ago. We have to be mindful in how we approach it as players and hit the ground running when we get back. A coach fears when we have a week off, there is an old saying, ‘Seven days without activity, makes one weak’, W-E-A-K. So, you just want to make sure they have a good plan heading into the bye week and making sure they attack it the right way, be mindful of what can be and that what can be won’t happen unless we attack it. So, there is a lot of really good things, I think the players and coaches deserve a lot of the credit because there has been a lot of adversity. Not that anyone cares, but there has been a lot of adversity within this organization with all the different things that have transpired, but the resolve and the resilience of the group that we have in the locker room, the effort that is put in day in and day out, on Sundays, I think has been evident. Like I said, all this great momentum can end if we don’t finish strong coming off the bye week.
Mark Cannizzaro, The New York Post: Robert, that shovel pass from Zach to Breece (Hall), was that a designed play or was that him improvising?
That was improv. I saw he got him the ball. He’s his outlet and just tried to get it to him the best way he could.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Robert, given all the adversity and the injuries and all that, does the bye kind of come at the right time for you guys even though you’re coming off two good wins?
You’d like to keep playing, but we have a lot of guys that feel like we can get healthy over the next couple of weeks. Obviously, our cornerback situation. Trying to get (Brandin) Echols back, try to get DJ (Reed) back, try to get Sauce (Gardner) back. That’ll help the DB (defensive back) room. The d-line, always trying to help and keep them fresh. We’re going to need to get fresh because after this bye week, we got, I think what feels like three consecutive short weeks. We go from a Monday night to a Friday night. So, there’s a lot of challenging weeks ahead of us. So, we’re going to need to be as fresh as we can be.
Mike Vaccaro, The New York Post: Robert, there was one moment yesterday when you were caught in a pretty emotional embrace with Joe (Douglas), will you just talk about what that moment was like for you two?
I was pumped for him. Coming back, he was a part of that Philadelphia organization, so empathetically whenever you play a former team, you just want to get them. I just know whatever joy we were feeling on the field I promise his joy was up there with us, maybe even more elevated. So happy for him to get that win on his resume.