Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
October 12, 2017
Q: How do you game plan without WR Odell Beckham and some of your other top receivers?
A: Well, certainly a big loss for us and wish him well and Brandon (Marshall) well in their recovery. We have some young guys that have to step up, you know, guys who have had a chance to be involved in training camp and preseason and they’ll get their opportunities and we have an offense, we have a system and we just try to find the best way to give those guys a chance to be successful and play to their strengths.
Q: How much are you going to lean on WR Roger Lewis Jr. since he’s now the elder statesman?
A: Yeah. That’s something else. He goes from being the fourth or fifth guy, young guy. Now he is the elder statesman. He’s a versatile player. He’s a guy that has made plays for us. Had a heck of a play the other day. He’s smart and, of course, the versatility is something that we’ll be relying upon to be able to move him around and help the other guys as well.
Q: How can you use TE Evan Engram?
A: Evan has done a lot of good things for us this year. He’s a hard worker. He’s very smart. We have to make sure we’re cognizant of the fact that while he is doing a lot of good things and he’s shown versatility both in terms of what he can do physically and what we put on him mentally, we don’t want to over-tax him. We don’t want to try to make things overly complicated in the sense that he’s not able to go out there and play fast. So, we just want to be able to put him in positions where, certainly, which we’ve seen already this year. He’s been in line. He’s been displaced. Want to continue to try and do that, but not at the risk of trying to overload him to where all the sudden he’s thinking so much that he’s not able to play fast.
Q: How good is it to have WR Tavarres King back on the roster?
A: Great to have TK. He was someone that was on our roster last year. Obviously, had a heck of a big play against Green Bay in the playoff game last year. Didn’t work out as far as him being on the initial 53, but he’s taken good care of himself. He’s in great shape. He looks fast and, of course, his familiarity with what we do is something that we’re going to be relying upon.
Q: How did WR Travis Rudolph and WR Ed Eagan look in practice this week?
A: Two young guys, you’re talking about Travis and Ed Eagan. Both of them have had a lot of work throughout the early part of the year on the show team. So, they do a lot of running and a lot of the fundamentals of route running and catching the football and so forth, have been good. Now, they had a chance to get more involved in our offense. They’re out there, they’re getting plays and signals from Eli (Manning). So, excited for the opportunity both those young guys have. We’ll have them to rely upon, trust their training, trust their preparation and go out and have fun and enjoy that moment.
Q: Have you found that you have to get rid of some things you wanted to do with your receivers since you don’t have some of the guys you had before?
A: I think every week, you have to look at the opponent and there’s things that might look great on the board and they might be something that could yield a great result, but the risk in terms of being able to execute that and whether it’s a blocking scheme in the run game or a pass protection, etc. We take that into account. But, in terms of having to limit the playbook or to pare down what we’re doing – that really hasn’t been a factor this week. We feel confident with those young guys. They haven’t had the opportunities. They’re certainly going to get them Sunday night.
Q: How much of a concern is right tackle, especially when you’re heading into a matchup with Von Miller?
A: Well, Von Miller is a concern, regardless. I mean, you take the greatest right tackle, left tackle, take every tackle that ever played in the National Football League – they’re going to struggle against Von Miller. That’s, in my opinion, the best pass rusher in the game. So, we have to do everything that we can to try to help. They move him around. He can also – you’ll see sometimes he’s on the other side. He also really does us a favor and he’ll go inside as well. So, we have our hands full and we’ll have a plan of ways that we can try to either a combination of sliding the protection or like a lot of teams will do this, it’s no secret, having a tight end or a back there to chip and to just try to do what we can to keep him off balance. But, it’s a huge challenge. No doubt about it.
Q: Going in short-handed, how do you convince the team that you can function and compete against the Broncos’ defense?
A: Well, I think it starts with the attitude and the mindset of this group of men. While we’ve come up short often times from either an execution standpoint or a gameplan standpoint, all of us, the one thing that has been consistent is it’s been a gritty outfit. It’s been a competitive group. I mean, certainly no moral victories. The facts remain, we’re 0-5. But, they’ve had a resolve and a determination to compete even this last game only having two wide receivers and trying to function in conventional three wide receiver-type sets. So, they’re a competitive group. They’re a proud group and I think the attitude is one of which what a great challenge certainly. All the respect in the world to a defense, which is No. 1 in the National Football League and it’s a loud environment and they’re well-coached and they play hard. But, what a great opportunity for us to be able to go out and compete against the best and show what we’re about when we’re all together. So, I think that’s really been the focal point in terms of us really seizing this as an opportunity, as a chance to go ahead and try to get that first win of the season in obviously a very difficult environment and one we’re looking forward to competing in.
Q: You were running the ball well last week, then the running game seemed to disappear. Why did it go away?
A: I think there’s different factors that can come into play, there’s no doubt. That was the most productive game we’ve had of the season running the football. A lot of good things that took place on the offensive line and at the point of attack. The perimeter guys did a heck of a job. I mean, there were some runs that were sprung by the receivers and the backs – all of them hit the holes hard. You’re always trying to strike that balance between continuing to run and then if you have opportunities to hit some shots down the field because that’s the other question that comes up – ‘Oh, how come we’re not throwing the ball down the field?’ And, unfortunately, we just missed a couple of those. So, it’s just trying to strike that balance, I think, in terms of being able to establish that run, which will set up those play action passes, wear down the defense, so hopefully we can capitalize on it. I think that as the thing unfolds, you take into account some of the major injuries. I mean, that’s never happened in my 20-plus years of coaching where you have five wide receivers dress for a game and you’re into the fourth quarter and you have one healthy body out there. So, that is something that can kind of cause things to be adjusted somewhat.
Q: Do you think your offensive line will be the same this week as last week?
A: I was wondering when – we had a poll out there – when is the first offensive line question going to be. I really can’t say in terms of who’s going to be where. We work all the guys. They’re a good group. They’re versatile. We’ll move people around. We’ll have to wait and see how it all unfolds.
Q: What did you think of the offensive line with OL D.J. Fluker in and OL Brett Jones, etc.?
A: I think Brett Jones is a tough competitor, smart. I mean, I’m a huge Brett Jones fan and D.J. came in and demonstrated his physicality, which is something that’s one of his strengths. You know, point of attack blocking. So, all of our guys, if given the opportunity, are going to be prepared and they’ll be ready to go.