Head Coach Brian Daboll
Q: Talk about (Eagles quarterback) Jalen Hurts and his development this year.
A: I've got a lot of respect for Jalen. Tremendous person first and foremost. Highly competitive, extremely smart, great leader, (it's) the reason why he's probably at the top of the list for MVP right now. Playing with a great team, you can go on and on about Jalen. He means a lot to me.
Q: In terms of his development as a player, how in particular have you seen him grow in terms of maybe where he's at compared to where he was before.
A: He's always been really good. He's won a lot wherever he's been. He's a winner, (and) he's a leader at that position. I think he can galvanize a locker room, which obviously he's done. He's made every throw he's had to make, he's tough to bring down when he runs, whether it's design runs or scrambles. He's just gotten better and better like a lot of young guys do that have a lot of talent. He's just gotten better and better.
Q: Statistically when you look at a team, they usually have good offense and so-so defense. When you look at this team statistically and they're good on both ends.
A: Yeah, I think the biggest statistic is 11-1 and usually that correlates for the most part. So, I think (Eagles General Manager) Howie's (Roseman) done a great job of putting together a really good team and I think (Eagles Head Coach) Nick's (Sirianni) a fantastic coach, known him for a while. He gets the most out of his guys, and they're playing at a really high level. That's why they're the best team in the league.
Q: What catches you attention when you watch film then?
A: Everything. Their defensive line, their receivers, their quarterback, their offensive line, and their offensive line is as good as it gets. It starts with (center Jason) Kelce. Gets everything set, has been a fantastic player for a really long time. I think Jalen is operating an extremely high level and (wide receiver) A.J. (Brown), (wide receiver) DeVonta (Smith), I know (wide receiver) Quez (Watkins) got injured there we'll see where he's at. The running game is really good. Their defense, their corners, they can rush the passer and stop the run, There's a reason why they're 11-1. They're a well-rounded team.
Q: When you present this to the team this week, they know the challenge, they know they're playing an 11-1 team. How do you present it without gushing?
A: The same way I present every team. Here's things that we've got to make sure we handle on our end. It's always about us first, and then he's tendencies or here's key players, or key situations that we've got to be dialed into. Consistency, I would say whether you're playing Philadelphia or last week Washington or earlier in the year. You're pretty consistent with your approach, really the whole week.
Q: With every game you are giving them a plan for how you win. Is it important with a team like this that's only lost once to give them a plan and make sure you believe that this plan can work.
A: Well, I think you believe that every plan can work that's why you spend all the hours here, try to do the best you can and put something together. That's why they come out here and prepare the way they prepare and practice. Then you go out there and play the game.
Q: What stands out to you about A.J. Brown?
A: Strong, excellent hands, can make contested catches, run after catch, a complete receiver. He was that way in Tennessee and he's certainly that way now. Him and Jalen have a pretty special relationship. I'd say that they knew each other in college and there's a lot of familiarity there with Jalen, Brown and DeVonta and you can tell. It's paid off.
Q: You mentioned their corners. What have you seen from (cornerback) James Bradberry on film. Is it tough at all to know that he could be here?
A: No, I mean that's the NFL. People are one place, then they're the next place. Both those guys Bradberry and (cornerback Darius) Slay are really good corners. They can play zone, they can play man, they're experienced. I think they read routes well. They're two hard guys outside to throw the ball against.
Q: When you're watching Eagles film how much more attention are you paying to that one loss, versus the most recent stuff.
A: You watch every tape. So, I go through the whole season. Later in the season, the longer it is you're here. Really the way I watch it is, I watch kind of straight through. Before as a coordinator, you're just watching the defensive side of the ball as an offensive coordinator. There's an average of 180 plays a game, somewhere around there, and you just go through it and kind of see how the games being played, a little 1,000-foot view. Complimentary football, what's happening, what are they making the offense do, are they getting them into a bunch of passing situations, are you able to control the collision, a bunch of things. So, you certainly watch the one that they lost, but you watch all the ones that they win too.
Q: When you're watching the Eagles and you don't see many weaknesses if any, how much more difficult does it make for you to gameplan because there's no weaknesses for you to go after.
A: I'd say it's pretty similar each week. Every team has strengths in this league and then you try to look at things that could maybe give you an advantage. The players, the personnel they have are really good. I think as a coaching staff, again, I've said this before, Nick, I was with Nick about 10 years ago is when I met him. He was a QC and then we interviewed him, and he got his first job as a receiver coach. I think he sees the game the right way. Came from a football family just outside of Buffalo. Just a really good football coach with really good players. They've got a good organization.
Q: Going back to Alabama, what is it about Hurts that enabled him to respond so well with being taken out of that big game?
A: I would just say this, not to go back then but just knowing the player, knowing the person, he's as competitive and mentally tough as I've ever been around. He's a great teammate. Unfortunately, we have to play them twice a year, very happy for the success that he's had. Again, he's a special young man to me, and he's just a mentally tough guy. Nothing rattles him, he doesn't get rattled. So, he had this happen, this happens, he doesn't worry about all that stuff. He just focuses on what he needs to focus on, the short time I was around him. I haven't been around him for five years or whatever it is. But just as a young college person, you have a great appreciation for his mental toughness, his competitive stamina, and his leadership.
Q: I want to circle back to something we think you alluded to after the game. You said how you have these analytics meanings and go through all the situations. At this stage of the season did those meetings how the result impacts the playoff race? Is that part of it now too?
A: Yeah, that's part of the discussion absolutely. There's a lot of things, those meetings last just as long as watching those plays, even more so. So, there's a lot of things, particularly at this time of year right now that you're talking about. There is every game, but then as it goes later and later into the season, certainly things like that pop up.
Q: From a coaching perspective, you mentioned this strike though weakness of your opponent, now you're looking at it. I know you're Mr. Consistency and keeping the same but when it's a challenge like this does it get you going even more so than a regular game knowing that there are a lot of things against you on paper?
A: I think I understand your question. Not just because I've been coaching in so many games. It's just the most important game for that week. I think I've been 30 playoff games, a National Championship, five Super Bowls, nine AFC Championship games, been in some big games throughout my career as a position coach and as a coordinator. I don't think you can let one game be bigger than any other game or one mean less than any other game. It's the most important game because it's the next one. On top of that it's the leader in our division and pretty much the leader in the NFL. So, certainly as a competitor you want to play and compete against the best and they're the best.
Q: Do you find it difficult to impart that same mentality on your players because they're the ones that are going to be doing it on Sunday?
A: About just the next game?
Q: Yeah, the next game.
A: No, I think that's how I've coached. I think every individual is different you'd have to ask the players but what we've tried to do is the next game is the most important game. There are things to learn from every game whether you win or lose. Can't get too high or too low. Again, I've said it many times, it's a humbling league. You do everything you can do, you put everything you can in to win a game. Then when that games over your tank is empty so to speak, you've got to start filling it back up. I think these guys have done a good job of that and that's how we're going to approach it.
Q: Towards your guys' injuries, might you have (safety) Xavier McKinney this week?
A: I would say I doubt it.
Q: Who won't practice?
A: So (guard) Shane (Lemieux) won't practice, (offensive lineman Joshua) Ezeudu, (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson), (defensive lineman Leonard Williams) Leo, and then the three guys I talked to you about Monday. Those will be the three guys. The vet guys.
Q: (Wide receiver) Kenny (Golladay) and (cornerback) Darnay (Holmes) are back. Limited or full?
A: Darnay will practice, assume it will be limited but we'll see. Most of the other guys, are whether they're limited a little bit or not. Anticipate them practicing.
Q: And Josh? Is that neck injury serious?
A: He's fighting through it. We'll see, I think he's getting better. But he's fighting through it.
Q: What about Leo's neck injury.
A: I'm not going to put him in Ezeudu's category, but it's the same thing. Resting today, we'll see where he's at tomorrow.
Q: (Guard) Ben Bredeson, do you think he'll be back this week? Could he play?
A: We'll see. We'll do the same thing we did last week. I think he's better than he was last week. Last week leading into the week, I was kind of uncertain then we watched him practice. Figured give him another week, maybe another week after that but we'll see where he's at today.
Q: Real quick on McKinney, after the game I asked him about the club stuff and he said, 'yeah I'll put a club on.' Then on Monday you said no.
A: Well, not when he has the pins in his hand.
Q: So, when he does come back, he could?
A: Yeah, we'll see.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: You've practiced against (Philadelphia Cornerback) James Bradberry a lot. What was he like as a player and what makes him tough to go against?
A: Yeah, he's a really good player. He's smart, you can tell he studies a lot. He knows what teams are trying to do, what route concepts they're trying to run. He's a good football player, a true pro.
Q: Would he have any better idea about you than a cornerback who didn't practice with you for two years?
A: Yeah, I think possibly. We spent a lot of time going against each other. He probably does, but it's a different offense, a different scheme and we've got different guys – that's certainly part of it too.
Q: What about you throwing against him though?
A: Yeah, it goes both ways. I think we both understand each other's skillsets and that'll be part of the game.
Q: Is there any part of you that would like to see the offense open it up a little bit throwing the ball? Especially in those two-minute situations at the end of the half?
A: I thought we executed that situation well. We got points which is always the goal. We'll always look to see what we can do better or where there are opportunities for us to make big plays. I thought we executed that situation well.
Q: Do you feel like the coaches have a lot of trust in you guys as a passing offense as a whole?
A: I do, yeah. I do. I think we've at points in the year we've leaned on it, and we'll continue to work to improve it.
Q: How much is something that you would even go to them and say, 'Hey, I see some things this week where we can hit some stuff in the passing game. Let's go more pass heavy this week…'
A: We're always studying what the defense does and how we can attack it in the pass game as well as the run game. In terms of how we're going to play and our game plan, I think a lot of those decisions are certainly above my head. We've been effective running the ball all year, also. I understand that and we're doing a good job with that.
Q: That's not something that you would be like, 'Hey. Let's throw the ball in this opportunity, in this half or this game.' Or whatever it is?
A: Yeah, I mean we're always talking, we're always communicating and trying to get on the same page. It's always healthy conversation. Like I said, we're running the ball well too.
Q: This team hasn't had a huge margin for error in a lot of games. When you're getting ready to play a team that's 11-1, does it make you change the way you think at all as far as opportunities are not going to be a lot here, we need to be completely on point?
A: Yeah, they're a good team – there's no doubt. You understand that going in the game is they're a good team, they're an explosive offense, they've got a good defense. That factors in. We've got to play our best ball and that's the goal, that's what we're preparing to do.
Q: When you've been studying them, do they look like the best team you've played so far?
A: Probably, yeah. Probably. I think they're extremely talented, they play well, they play hard, play together. They're a good team.
Q: What stands out to you when you look at them on film?
A: I think they have talented players across the board. On defense at each level they're talented – people who can make a lot of plays and they play hard. They're smart, you can tell that they don't have many busted coverage or scheme or any issues with that kind of stuff. They're a good team, they're talented, they're smart and they play hard.
Q: When you threw deep last week, was that something you were seeing in the film or was that let's just try and throw deeper this week?
A: Yeah, I think there were opportunities we were trying to take advantage of and (wide receiver) Darius (Slayton) has done a good job in some of those situations getting behind the defense and making plays for us. Just trying to give him opportunities.
Q: When you went back and looked at that deep pass to Darius, what happened there? It was the first play of that late drive in the fourth quarter.
A: Just let him go and try to make a play. He's come up for us big and made a ton of plays for us. I think I could have put it on him a little bit more. We'll both look to improve on that one.
Q: Fair to say that wasn't necessarily the first read? You just spotted that and it was a coverage bust?
A: Yeah, it's not really the first read on that play.
Q: Do you sense when you run more, the offense opens up more?
A: Yeah, I think when there are those opportunities and I can get out of the pocket, get up field – I think those are important for us as a group and something we can take advantage of. It depends how the defense is playing, what they're trying to take away and when those opportunities are there, I'll try to take advantage of them.
Q: Were you surprised in the moment when you guys decided to punt and not go for it on that fourth down?
A: I don't know if I was surprised. I think it's, like I said, that decision is over my head as well. I understand there's a lot that goes into that. I see what we were thinking, and we got the ball back with a chance to win the game. I understood that.
Q: You've run the ball a lot and you know how your body feels. You don't have to study (Philadelphia quarterback) Jalen (Hurts), but you see how much he's run and how effective – do you kind of understand what he's going through? He's carrying the ball a lot.
A: Yeah. We watch those guys a lot because they're in the division so they're playing – last week we watched them with Washington. He's carrying the ball a lot, he's doing a lot for their offense, he's extremely effective in the run game and doing a really good job with that. Yeah, a lot of respect to him and all he's doing.
Q: I'm curious when you run a lot, how much of that is predetermined before the game, 'Okay, we're going to run the ball on this team,' or how much is just the way the situations play out usually?
A: A lot of it has to do with how the game plays out and what situations or what opportunities arise throughout the game. I think last week, there was a lot of nakeds, a lot of movements where I was outside the pocket and then you see a lane, you see a window and you try to take advantage of it. They can kind of just come up throughout the game. We have a few planned and a few ideas going into each game but a lot of them are just opportunities we see.
Q: The designed run there on the third down in the red zone, how much of that was you setting up those blocks or was that just instinct where you cut back? Were you being that patient to set that up?
A: Yeah, I mean I think I was just feeling the spot, feeling them over play and a chance to cut back. The guys did a great job there kicking them all out and then found a lane in there. Yeah, that was a good play for us.
Wide Receiver Darius Slayton
Q: On throwing deep versus Washington.
A: A little bit of both. I think we definitely are trying. Offense is, obviously, a lot easier. We can create explosives. And obviously when I made the one, however many yards it was, we ended up scoring on that drive because it's really hard in the NFL to go nine plays, 75 yards. It's way easier to hit one chunk (and make it) four plays, 75 yards. So, we took a couple shots. We were able to hit some of them.
Q: With their corners, can you go deep?
A: Yeah. I think I can get deep on anybody. If they give us the opportunity, I'm sure we'll take it.
Q: Is the best two cornerback tandem you've seen?
A: This year, so far? This year, yeah.
Q: What makes them difficult as a group – the two of them?
A: Two veteran corners. They're smart. They both (have) played football for a long time. They understand their games individually. They're kind of different. Brad (Eagles cornerback James Bradberry) is a bit of a bigger, heavier guy, physical. Slay (Eagles cornerback Darius Slay) is a little lighter, but he's got great hips (and) good speed. I think they've played well this year.
Q: Have you been in touch with Bradberry at all?
A: No, I haven't spoken to him probably (in) a couple of months – probably a month or two.
Q: You know, he's not the biggest emotional rollercoaster guy. What do you think he's thinking?
A: I don't know. He's probably like it's just another day. That's just kind of his personality. He's very even keeled.
Q: (Eagles head coach Nick) Sirianni was talking about him and said, 'He (Nick Sirianni) probably had more emotion heading into the game against the Colts than Brad has coming against you guys.' He just said he's down-to-earth, very straight forward. Do you recall him that way?
A: Yeah, I would expect him to be that way. He's not really much of a 'get ramped up' kind of guy. But he's always ready to play and does a good job.
Q: Does it feel different preparing for a team that's 11-1?
A: No, not really. Every team, regardless of their record, has strengths (and) has weaknesses. Obviously, we're going to try to exploit the weaknesses and stay away from the strengths.
Q: Is it harder to find the weaknesses in a team that's 11-1?
A: Not per say because, like I said, there've been times where they've been in close games, and they've been able to make a play to win the game – or two. That doesn't mean the other team had them on the ropes. Or maybe they were able to exploit something, just not get the win. It's pretty the same.
Q: Is there a lot of animosity in this rivalry – Eagles, Giants?
A: I would say so. I don't think Eagles fans and Giants fans are going to be going to dinner together (laughs).
Q: I mean the players. If you're playing them versus (another opponent).
A: Oh, yeah – especially being drafted here. I think you learn pretty quick in the division, them, the Commanders and the Cowboys are all archenemies.
Q: Do you recall your first drive into the Linc (Lincoln Financial Field)?
A: I do not.
Q: Because I remember a lot of guys talking about being pelted with eggs and whatever.
A: Surprisingly, we haven't had any of that yet. So, hopefully we still don't (laughs).