Head Coach Robert Saleh, 12.6
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I’ll start with injuries for you guys. Michael Carter II, he’s in the concussion protocol, it looks optimistic for Sunday. Griff (Ryan Griffin) is good to go. Corey Davis is having core muscle surgery, so his season is over.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: I’m sorry Robert, you just cut out for a second on the last one on Corey. Can you just repeat that again?
Yeah, he’s having a core muscle surgery procedure done tomorrow. So, his season is over.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Did you mention LDT (Laurent Duvernay-Tardif)? I don’t know if you mentioned him.
He’s going to be day-to-day with his ankle.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Do you think that Corey, I guess he made it worse yesterday, right? By that, do you think he aggravated it and maybe should not have been playing and came back too soon?
That’s a fair question. He was cleared, went through a lot of different procedures to try to get that thing ready to roll. It’s unfortunate. It finally gave out on him.
Brian Costello, New York Post: How tough a blow is that Robert to your offense and for Corey having his season end early?
I feel awful for Corey. He’s one of the true pros in this league, goes about his business the right way, shows up every day to work. He does everything the right way. So, for his season to be cut short, I know he’s hurt, but at the same time, when we get him back next year, he’ll be better than ever.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Robert, what does that mean for the rest of the receiving core in terms of who needs to step up, who are you guys going to look to, to kind of fill that role?
It’s the same. Corey’s missed games before. We love our receiving group with Elijah Moore, (Denzel) Mims is back in the fold and, obviously, (Braxton) Berrios, and (Jamison) Crowder and Keelan Cole, hopefully we get him back this week off of COVID. Then you got Jeff Smith, there’s a lot of pieces there, feel really good about that receiver group. Not one person has to step up, they just need to continue doing their job and run the offense the way it needs to be run and make something happen when the ball hits them in the hands.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Robert, C.J. (Mosley) spoke yesterday about feeling like the Eagles kind of disrespected you guys. Said Fletcher Cox laughed at something with you. Are you seeing these things? And how do you feel about what you’re seeing or what he said?
He’s on the field, all the trash talking and all that stuff, it can be frustrating. C.J. is 100% right, respect in this league is earned, it’s not given. As an organization, we got to find a way to go take it, nobody is going to give it to us, no one is going to give us calls, no one is going to feel sorry for us. This organization has been through a rough time over the last 10 years and it’s not something that’s easy to fix, it’s not easy to change a narrative, it’s not easy to change perception. C.J. is 100% right, I got his back on that one. We’re going to get this thing flipped and we’re going to change the narrative and we’re going to earn the respect that we deserve. While it might be frustrating now, I know there’s something good happening and it’s going to happen.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: After reviewing the film, Robert, did you feel like there were some penalty calls that either went against you or did not go your way?
No, you can say that every week, Connor. You get frustrated because you’re looking for a little consistency. I’m sure there’s calls that they wish they had for them, too. So, those refs have a really hard job. They got a rule book that’s as thick as the Bible. It’s not easy, but at the same time, the league’s job is to hold them accountable and that’s what happens at the end of every game. We go through our procedure and the league goes through their procedure, but at the end of the day, their job is not easy. But at the same time, there is a level of consistency that I’m sure we’re all looking for.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, reviewing the film today, just defensively, was there anything that stood out to you watching that different than watching it live that, you know, areas of concern?
The time of possession stuff in the second half. We held them to three field goals, so we kept them out the endzone, so that was good. We had some opportunities on third downs all throughout the game to really change some stuff. In the first half, we had a third-and-six that (Dallas) Goedert gets a touchdown on I believe. We also had the third-and-18, we call timeout, we’re trying to get the ball back to see if we can finish the half with the ball. We have a young man fall and they get a first down. In the second half, we go offsides, we get a third-and-10 penalty, gets them a field goal. We have the next drive, a fourth-and-one, the overturn the call in a scrum. I thought our defense was playing their tails off. That’s a really good football team, really good offensive line. Did we miss opportunities? Absolutely. Credit to them for being patient, being deliberate with the way they called their game and the way they leaned on us. But at the same time, there’s opportunities to be had and when you get presented with those opportunities you have to strike, otherwise what happened yesterday is going to happen. They can just bleed out the clock and make something look really, really bad when it wasn’t. It wasn’t world ending.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Robert, did their tight end usage, especially early in the game, I think in the first series they ran two or three for pretty much every play, did their tight end usage cause any issues for you guys that maybe you weren’t anticipating?
No, Goedert is one of the better ones in the league. We’ve got to be better, we got to coach it better, especially that tight end screen. A guy like 88 (Goedert), who doesn’t block, if they use him as a blocker, they’re doing themselves a disservice. So, if he is blocking, you know something is up. Little indicators that we got to be better at, we got to coach it better. And the reality is, if it was really one of them, the second one they hit us on, it’s just a matter of executing the defense, setting the edge when pursuit comes, it’s a five-yard gain. But it was that one big play on the screen, and then a rub route that created the touchdown. They did get us on the first series with the touchdown over Mosley where we can get the middle third safety to save us. It wasn’t surprising because, at the end of the day, it came down to 88 and 6 (Devonta Smith) in our opinion. And shoot, even Nick Sirianni talked about it, their offense rolls through 88 and 6. We need to be better, we need to coach it better.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Robert, how many of this team’s defensive struggles do you believe are kind of a result of their not being that many resources devoted to fixing and addressing the defensive side of the ball and some of the resources that you guys did invest in the defense have either been missing games or just not playing due to injuries and other reasons?
You guys know my philosophy on that one with regards to player A to Z in this league. They need an opportunity, they need a chance to go out there and perform, they need a chance to go get reps and learn and get better and grow. I know yesterday didn’t go the way we wanted, but I do feel like the back end, especially those young guys in the back end, are getting better every week. Did yesterday work out the way we wanted? No. Did we think we played well against Miami for the most part? Yes. Did we play well against Houston? Heck yes. Do we have a chance to line up this week against New Orleans and do it again? For sure. When you’re dealing with a young team, there’s going to be some ebbs and flows. While the outside world is so fixated on results, and deservedly so, you should be, in-house, we see guys getting better, we see guys taking the right steps, we see it out of Bryce Hall who is turning into a legitimate corner. We see Ashtyn Davis getting better, Elijah Riley coming off someone’s practice squad and getting better every week, Michael Carter (II) , who was drafted in the fifth round, becoming a staple at nickel, (Javelin) Guidry stepping up at corner. There’s a lot of young guys doing a lot of good things in the back end and we got to help them more, especially in games where you’re dealing with an offensive line the caliber of Philadelphia’s in terms of getting after the passer and getting him off the spot. But overall, I do see a lot of progress by that group and it’s something that we’re going to attack over the next five weeks.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Robert, in these last five games, how much does it fall on you guys, the coaching staff, to help get this defense turned in the right direction? I mean the past, six out of the last nine games, you guys have given up 400 yards. So, how much does this fall on the coaching staff to get this ship right in the last five games?
I always look inward. And I expect everybody in the organization to look inward, whether you’re a player, coach, equipment guys, it doesn’t matter. Looking at more of how can we help everyone be a little bit better. So, to answer your question DJ, yeah, I do look at coaches to get this fixed. But at the same time, I would hope that the players look inward, find a way to get this fixed, and everybody putting in a hand to find a way to get this fixed. Because at the end of the day, we’re in this together and if everyone’s working relentlessly to get this fixed, they will. We sat here last week talking about how the defense took a huge step and they were getting better. You know, you don’t want one week to throw it all away. There’s growth happening and the growth in the second half, while they were able to possess the ball for as long as they did, we held them three field goals. We were able to keep them out of the end zone. They had a couple of goal-to-go opportunities that we were able to stand up on. So, there’s a lot of silver linings to take out of it. It’s hard to when we lose, but like I’ve always said, whether you win or lose, you’ve got to be able to take learning moments, to find the good and the bad, and find ways to get better.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, on the C.J. thing, and kind of setting standard here, talking to guys through the years that have come from other teams, it feels like there’s kind of a standard that’s understood in places like Pittsburgh, or Baltimore, or New England, teams that have won over and over. That hasn’t existed here, like you just said, for the last 10 years. How hard is that to establish that standard when you don’t have older players passing that down to younger players?
That’s a good question. So, this the fifth time I’ve been a part of one of these. And it’s a subtle number. Because the best coach can jump teams that coach themselves, and that’s players. Players run the locker room. And you do your best. It’s like raising a child. You raise your child with all the traditions and fundamentals that you want your child to be grown up with and you hope to God they pick the right friends. That’s raising a child, right? So, it’s the same thing. You give them every tool, every avenue, and every little philosophy you can, and you just want them to take it over and you hope that they do it the right way. And I look at this locker room, guys like C.J. who spent his whole life winning, right? He’s at Alabama winning, goes to Baltimore, he’s winning. And now he comes here, and he sees that we don’t get the benefit of the doubt. And it’s deserved form a media standpoint. One loss is a disaster. And so, is it frustrating for someone in his shoes? Absolutely. It’s frustrating for me. But at the same time, it’s guys like C.J. who are going to get this thing turned around. And when we look back at this three, four years from now, why we’re in the playoffs, and why we’re competing for Super Bowls, guys like C.J. Mosley, Foley (Fatukasi), Quinnen Williams, on offense I can name a lot of guys, they’re the reason why this is going to work. And you tell guys to continue to hold onto the rope and keep fighting for what you know is going to happen.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Robert, can you address the kicker situation?
I think we signed another kicker. I think we’re bringing (Eddy) Piñeiro, I believe it is. So he is getting an opportunity.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: I have to ask the weekly Mekhi Becton question. So, any hope for him to practice this week?
I don’t have an update right now on Mekhi. Everything’s the same.
(follow up): Robert, the calendar, just to follow up, the calendar’s running short now. You only got five weeks left. So, is it still realistic, just to think how much practice time he would need to be able to get in the lineup? Are you less confident that he’ll even play this year?
I’ll get a chance over the next couple days. I’m sorry, Rich, to shorthand this question but from an update standpoint, any answer I give you right now wouldn’t do you any justice.
(follow up): So, I can ask you again on Wednesday for the weekly question?