Head Coach Robert Saleh, 10.11
Opening Statement: Good morning. Injury wise – (Nick) Bawden, he’s dealing with a calf, similar to Sam Eguaveon from a week ago, we’re just trying to monitor him throughout the week, but he won’t be a participant. (Justin) Hardee and (Brandin) Echols are both dealing with their hamstrings. They won’t be a participant today. Trying to work them back in for gameday and everyone else will be in practice.
Zach Rosenblatt, The Athletic: How about DJ Reed?
DJ Reed is progressing, so he’ll be at practice today. He’s cleared all of his hurdles; he just has to clear the hurdle at practice though.
Brian Costello, The New York Post: Are you going to do a walkthrough today?
Yeah, we’re just getting a walkthrough. We’ll have a full speed individual, but then follow up by a walkthrough.
Brian Costello, The New York Post: What was the rationale?
We’ve had a lot of night games, late travel, getting in at three in the morning, this first half of the season. I just felt like it was important especially dealing with the altitude, got in at like three in the morning on Monday, just felt like it would be good to just kind of give our guys another day to breath. We’ll still get our work in and then we’ll get back to it tomorrow.
Antwan Staley, The New York Daily News: What was the thought of bringing Irvin Charles to the active roster? I know you kind of talked about it on Monday.
Yeah, no, it’s a special teams deal. He did a phenomenal job in regards to teams last week. Obviously, he made a big impact play on the very first punt, his first play of his career, which I thought was cool, but we’ve been trying to find ways to get him up and we had an opportunity and we did it.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: With Mecole Hardman, where does he stand now? Does he have a future here? Are you guys looking to accommodate him and maybe get him to a place where he can get more playing time or what exactly is going on?
He’s here, working, competing, until someone upstairs says otherwise. We’re going to do our best to try to find ways to get him involved.
Connor Hughes, SNY: I think people look at Hardman and they see this guy contributed on the team that won the Super Bowl last year. Now he’s here and he can’t even get on the field. Why have you guys not been able to work him in when he’s been able to find a role other places?
No, that’s a fair question. I think what we’re missing the opportunity on is to talk about Xavier Gipson. Xavier Gipson, since he’s got here has done a phenomenal job in regards to his kick return ability and proving that he can do that. Just his attention to detail and the way he’s been attacking every day and evolving. He’s a young guy, he’s hungry, he’s playing fast. If you guys have noticed, he’s getting a lot more opportunity on the football field and he’s going to continue to get a lot of opportunity because when the ball’s in his hands, he’s pretty darn special too. So, I think what we’re missing out on here is an opportunity to really champion Xavier Gipson in this moment. The fact that a young guy came in undrafted and he’s done nothing but attack his moments and he’s going to continue to attack his moments.
Brian Costello, The New York Post: What stands out about the Eagles?
Really good up front on both sides of the ball. A lot of respect for Jeff Stoutland, the o-line coach. He’s one of the best in ball and their group on the offensive side, I feel like they’ve been together for 20 years now. They’ve been doing the same scheme, the same techniques, the same five. So, the amount of continuity that they have, you can see it in the way they play, the way they adjust from series to series. It’s almost like you’re playing the Peyton Manning of offensive line. You can hit them once, but I promise you they’re going to make the adjustment and fix it and they know how to. It’s pretty cool to watch them play especially when you go in chronological from game play one to the end of game and how they adjust on the fly and what defenses are trying to do to take advantage of them, but special group. Then you got to deal with the outside guys. It feels like they’ve got pro bowl players at every position and quarterback is a special young man. So they’re a challenge, there’s a reason why they’re the NFC champs and then defensively, same thing, their front is very similar to ours. They come at you in waves. They’re very talented, they’re very aggressive, they’re violent, and they’re sound on the back end. So, it’s a challenge.
Zach Rosenblatt, The Athletic: What do you think of the tush push?
You know, a lot of respect for it because there’s other teams trying to do it too, but you know, the reality is, they’re really good at it. It feels like the quarterback is wearing a bulletproof vest when you look at him, he’s got all that padding on. Whether they get it, we’re going to do our best to try to stop it. The quarterback’s got his, and they do a lot of stuff off it too. They got reverses, they got pop passes, they got stretch plays. They do a lot, so you got to be sound, you got to be disciplined. So, we’ll do our best in that regard, but if the quarterback carries the ball, we got to give him eleven kisses and figure out a way to do that.
Connor Hughes, SNY: Why do you think they have been so successful at it and the teams that have tried to mimic it have not?
Well, they got five pro bowlers on the offensive line and a really damn good offensive line coach. They play violent, they play aggressive, they got a quarterback who’s super strong in terms of creating leverage. Like I said, I don’t think he feels pain when he gets hit, even though we’re going to try legally, legally, but he’s talented, the whole group is talented. So I think that’s the advantage they have.
Nick Faria, AM New York: Would you want to see the play banned at all next year?
If it’s a safety issue, I’d say so, but it’s just a scrum. Like I said, you ain’t got no haters, you ain’t popping. So, there are a lot of people hating on their play because it works, but no one else can seem to make it work to their efficiency. So, bravo to them. They found a play.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: How do you prevent it for that? You know it’s coming. Everybody knows it’s coming. You know what I mean?
You know, it’s funny. Everyone’s got opinions on it, like I said, it’s not like it’s just that play. They go no huddle, so they get you in small personnel, eleven personnel. They go no huddle, they can run it. So, you’d love to get six d-linemen on the field, but they don’t let you. Then now for that, they’ve got all these different plays that they run, so you’ve got to be disciplined in regards to that. You can’t just pile up everybody in the middle, although it seems like that’s happening. So, you’ve got to be disciplined with your eyes. You’ve got to be disciplined and then you’ve got to take your shot and get strained, but there’s a reason why they’re so good at it. Like I said, kudos to them. They’re the best in the world at it. Other teams, New England did it on us and we stopped them. So, it’s not like everyone’s trying it, but they just do it better than everybody else.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Do you have to actually simulate that in practice with like Trevor Siemian?
I don’t think anyone will ever practice that. It’s just not something you practice. You might in a walk through because it’s a scrum and you would hate for someone in a practice to get hurt off something like that, but we’ll have the alignments. We have every single one that they’ve done and all the things that they’ve done off of it. Credit to them. They make you have to spend time on it.
Connor Hughes, SNY: There are a lot of things and have been wrinkles that offenses have put in in the past years, like when (Colin) Kaepernick came out, he was running like crazy, RGIII (Robert Griffin III) back then. There always seems to be that the defense gets a little close to stopping it, then the next one gets a little closer, and then eventually you figure out the fix. Have you seen things this year that gives you a hint that maybe defenses are close to stopping the push?
No. There’s nothing out there. Like I said, that front five they have it’s man on man, will versus will, and it’s just a scrum. Then the quarterback, like I said, he’s so powerful. Just whether they get it or not, like I said, we got to kiss him eleven times.
Joe Mauceri, WPIX: Robert, when it comes to your offensive line, how frustrating is it that you haven’t been able to have that continuity with AVT (Alijah Vera Tucker) now obviously going down and the potential that this group has shown when they’ve been able to have big games for the running backs and open up holes?
It is frustrating, but it’s also an opportunity for someone else. I mean, in a perfect world it’s like Madden, you turn the injury button off, no one gets hurt, no one gets tired, and you just can go play football, but injuries happen. You’d love to work with the same five guys on the offensive line because you can see, like even from a defensive perspective, the longer you’re with what we do, the more players understand, the more we can adjust on the fly, which is why I think we’re pretty good adjusting on the fly because guys understand where teams are attacking and all that. Same thing for an offensive line, just having those guys, the continuity, you can see it on tape that they’re so in tune to when their double team reaching up to a linebacker or whatever, they’re so in tune to how they play off of it and they’re so locked into one another. It’s a special group, it’s a talented group and like I said, when you’ve been in the same system for as long as they have together, for as long as they have, in play is seamless. Like I said, just a really talented group.
Dennis Waszak, The Associated Press: The Jets are 0-12 against the Eagles historically. That doesn’t have a lot to do with the current group, but do you use that and talk to these guys about hey, this is the history here?
No. What’s cool is the NFC champs are walking into our building, and it’s an opportunity for us to get after. We’ve played some good football teams. We took Buffalo and Kansas City down to the wire. We got another great one coming in. So, hopefully it’s a fun game for everybody, and hopefully we’re on the right side of it.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: You had (La’el) Collins in yesterday. Where do things stand there? Does adding Dennis Kelly preclude you from pursuing anything with Collins?
No. I always mess with Joe (Douglas). I feel like every week we have an o-line workout. Always encouraging him to not be shy to bring in some more d-linemen, but no. It’s a standard procedure. You lose a guy, you bring a guy in to work out. As far as where that stands, it’s probably more of a Joe question. Every week we’re always doing due diligence on players and positions just to see where they’re at.
Jared Schwartz, The New York Post: Robert, how impressed have you been by Bryce Huff and how much has he elevated in that pass rush rotation?
Yeah, he’s done a great job. He’s really improved with regards to the run game. When he first got here, he remade his body and became a pretty cool pass rush specialist. Over the last year, he’s really done a nice job to kind of force his way to first and second down to get more reps in those opportunities. We know what he is in the pass game and if he can continue trending in the right direction with regards to the run game, he’s definitely got a place.
Brian Costello, The New York Post: They got you a few times Robert on the run game on Sunday, we’re not talking about Russell (Wilson) as much as 38 (Jaleel McLaughlin). How do you feel about the way the run defense has played this season?
There’s definitely things that we can do better. They got us on two runs. They got us on the crack toss. They got us on the trap and then obviously Russell scrambled on the rest of them. From an efficiency standpoint, it had been going good. Last game wasn’t good enough with regards to the two big runs, but from a down in and down out standpoint, it had been pretty good in our eyes. When we need to stop the run, we’ve been able to. We got a tremendous challenge this week. I feel like they’re averaging a thousand yards a game rushing, so it’s going to be a challenge because the quarterback element comes into this one. So they’re like I said, they got a lot of things that they do and it’s going to be an issue.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: What did you think of (Tyler) Conklin on that third down play and how important has he been?
He’s been great. He had two big third down conversions. The one where he ran kind of a choice route on a linebacker and got a big first down, led to points. Then the 37-yarder he had. I think it’s representation of what this group is, especially that tight end group. Put the whole team on your back. The strain and violence and love that I think our players have for one another to put that forward and then seeing the o-line run down the push them and the amount of effort that was involved and everybody just showing up. I thought it was a cool play.
Brian Costello, The New York Post: Do you feel like if you can cut on the explosives in this defense that takes the next step? I think you guys have done so good in the red zone, but most of the touchdowns were in explosive plays.
Yeah, that’s kind of the foundation of our defense is to eliminate the explosives. Teams are going to hit it. I think we’ve been, I feel like we’ve been a top unit in explosives for as long as I can remember, but if for some reason it feels like early in the year, always it’s just one or two leak out in the end and you just get faster and faster as a defense and understanding what teams are doing week in and week out, but you’re right. Explosives are, tell the team if you get an explosive on offense, you’re basically getting points and if you give one up, you’re basically giving points. So, if we can eliminate those 100%, we’ll hit our stride defensively.