Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
June 14, 2017
Q: Nice to get a first look at kind of the whole arsenal there today?
A: It was. It was nice to get everybody here. Excited about where we are at. Weíve got work to do. We are at a good point right now in terms of where we want to be in terms of who weíre playing and getting ready to start getting ready for training camp.
Q: Odell (Beckham Jr.) came back in the shape you were expecting?
A: Odell was great. Happy that he was here and excited about the possibilities moving forward.
Q: How often did you keep in touch in with him to maybe tell him new things you were doing? Or did you maybe delegate it to Adam (Henry) or anybody?
A: Well, I think when players are off, I think we have contact in terms of ĎHey, how are you doing?í and check to see how they are with their families and so forth, but in terms of any of the schematic input and so forth like that, we were focused on everything we were doing here and went along with that.
Q: Mike, how would you describe the number of different options there are now? You drafted a tight end obviously and you bring in Brandon Marshall, and the running back corps is a little different. Is it a dramatically; it feels like a bigger menu or playbook almost because of the talent you have now?
A: I think that is an accurate statement. I think that the personnel groupings are at a point right now where we can have more multiplicity. We were at a high percentage of the Zebra personnel, 11 personnel, with 3 wide receivers, 1 tight end and 1 back, as people call it. With those additional tight ends and with having a couple of fullbacks that weíre taking a look at, just to have those different groupings gives the defense more to prepare for and in terms of trying to do things that will give us that balance that we want, run and pass, we have a few more options when you run all of those different personnel groups and then some of the play-action passes, some of the shots that you take intentionally. But it is exciting with all of the additions we have. Iím really, really looking forward to training camp.
Q: Coach how do you think that Adam Gettis and Chad Wheeler dealt with and handled getting reps with the first team offense today?
A: I think they stepped up nicely. Both guys. Coach (Mike) Solari and Coach (Lunda) Wells do a heck of a job with all of our offensive lineman. From an assignment standpoint, they didnít miss a beat. There is always some technique things and there is a reason why certain guys are playing with the first group and certain guys are playing with the second group and so forth. But from a willingness, from an effort standpoint as well, they both did a great job.
Q: What happened to Ereck (Flowers)?
A: He was just sore today. You know we have got to take a look at where everybody is at this time of year, wanted to just play things safe.
Q: Do you have any updates on D.J. Fluker?
A: I have no updates.
Q: Mike, Ben (McAdoo) has talked about the completion percentage between Eli and what Odell has to do better in each of these three years now, it has gone down from the previous year. Is that unusual that these two have been together longer but their success rate together has been less and how would you attack them including that?
A: Well, I think it goes back a little bit to Kim (Jonesí) question in terms of having some of those other weapons, if you will, that can dictate the coverage and can put him in a position to win those one-on-one battles and weíre going to mix things up, whether it is the high percentage throws, the high percentage completions. The things that in his case you certainly hope for, itís a short catch and a long run and then having some of those down the field shots. So I do think the two do have three years under their belt. Eli would like a high completion percentage, Odell would like to catch more balls, and we would like that to happen. It is just a matter of, I think, just trying to find the types of schemes and the types of concepts that we can have that balance where we can have those high percentage and then also taking some of the shots down the field.
Q: How has Ereck looked to you?
A: The first thing about Ereck that jumps out is how much leaner he is. Both he and Bobby Hart have been committed to the work that they have put in throughout the winter, before we have even started the offseason program and the time they spent preparing themselves physically. You can see that Ereck looks leaner. There is initial quickness that is there that is impressive. Obviously, it doesnít take rocket science to figure out that here we are in just in our shorts and helmets, you are not going to get a true sense of where we are at from a pass protection standpoint, from a run blocking standpoint. But I think Ereck particularly, and I think Bobby as well, both you see the results of their work and getting them to this point.
Q: Why, for Flowers, is leaner good for the offense?
A: Well, I think a big part of that is the ability to have the initial quickness. You know, there are some great athletes that can be at that. When we talk about leaner, we certainly donít want a guy walking around at a buck eighty. We know that he is going to have that size. It is not all pass protection. It is certainly a run blocking that is important. Just being able to change direction, to redirect, to react to the defenderís second move, those types of things, that type of quickness, and I say that, but he has also added some strength and some of those things which should help him. So, again, we are looking forward to seeing where he is once we put the pads on him.
Q: Mike, has Evan Engram shown enough from when he walked in here to now that you can count on him right off the bat in training camp?
A: Right. I think it is always early, no matter who the player is, to come in and say just off of OTAís and off of the minicamp that they are ordained as the savior, as the best that has ever played. I will say that we are very excited about what the young man brings to the table. I mean, he has an excellent attitude, he is very smart, he is tough and I think from the practices that you guys have seen, we will all agree, he is very explosive and he is very fast. There is an added dimension to the pass game standpoint that we look forward to using in the season.
Q: I know you keep saying it is hard to analyze these guys in just their shorts and just helmets, but how do you think Davis Webb has responded to the NFL grind thus far?
A: Davis has done an excellent job in terms of his preparation. I mean, here is someone that was in a completely different offense in college and he has come in and all of the reports that we had about him as far as being a grinder, being a gym rat, and being someone who is a football junkie are true because he puts the time in. And the thing that we have been pleased with in his development is that he is not making the same mistakes twice and there is a learning curve, they are all going to make mistakes, but he has continued to show incremental improvements and he has adjusted well.
Q: Mike, a year ago, Odell accounted for 33.9% of the teams receiving yards, which is the highest percentage in the league. Is there a chance that you are a better offense if that number comes down a little bit?
A: You know you could look at it in that respect, but if the yards go away, they donít hopefully go away, they are going to somebody else. The important thing is that we get those yards. That we get the points. You know we didnít score enough points last year, everyone knows that. We didnít take care of the football where we needed to take care of it. So, I think that we want to use his talents and give him his opportunities and also with some of the other tools we have, some of the other weapons, how can we kind of put those guys in position via personnel grouping, formation, or scheme to try to get somebody else. But, to answer your question, we want to have, itís the absolute value is what we want. We are looking to make sure we get those yards to the maximum. Iím not saying it would be a good thing or a bad thing, we just want to make sure we get the yards, regardless of who is making them.
Q: Is that hard to do? I mean, he is clearly your best offensive player and so reliable, is it hard to even try to go away from him at all?
A: Well, I think you have to kind of wait and see to how it unfolds and how, you know some of the questions you asked about Evan and of course Brandon and our running backs and the other individuals with their development, how well we can pass protect and how well we are able to establish the run would be great problems to have, you know. Those would be great grey hairs to get to say, Ďoh geez, how would we get some of those balls because we are doing so well on offense.í Iím not trying to bust your chops to answer your question. It would be a good concern, a good worry about, oh jeez, letís see well Odell had this many catches, and now Brandon has this many catches, oh jeez, now Evan has to get this many, whomever. Iím just throwing these names out, not that anything is set in stone but, it would be a good problem to have.
Q: How realistic do you view it that their targets may be able go down but you could actually increase their production because you have those other weapons to maybe take that pressure off of them?
A: Well, in certain cases, if you are able to establish a running game because coverage dictates, meaning that they are worried about our receivers so they worry about our tight ends so you get a cleaner box. You get less players in there and that enables us to have more of a balance that we are going to want as far as running the football, which takes some pressure off of the pass protection, which allows us to be more productive. Allows us to be more productive and also set up those play-action passes where we can get some big yards down the field, so itís kind of an all interactive, kind of everything affects each other. But, it is something that can be done more. Itís hard to do and hard to get accomplished.
Q: Why wasnít Evan able to practice today?
A: Excuse me?
Q: Why wasnít Evan able to practice today?
A: He was sore. He was sore. We are just trying to make sure at this point to be smart and make sure we are ready to roll for when we get to training camp.
Q: What impression did Brandon Marshall make this spring
A: What impression did he make? I was very impressed with him as a person, first and foremost. Having played against him and having known his body of work over the years, you know what a dynamic player he is. All of the Pro Bowls and all of the stats, that speaks for itself. But to me, his team-first attitude, his desire to come in here and say, Ďhey, you know, Iíve never been in a playoff game. I want to be a part of something. Iíd love to get that Super Bowl ring.í You know, his attitude has come in and he has immersed himself and thereís a lot of things schematically that are different and he is putting in an extra amount of time to try to get up to speed, if you will. And we are just very impressed with his attitude and with his professionalism and, of course, it was nice to see him catch that fly down here in the red-zone, it was good to see as well.