Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
November 9, 2017
Q: What did you see out of WR Sterling Shepard in his first game back?
A: You know, Sterling looked sharp. He did some things, particularly from the inside, the slot position, that weíve relied upon in the past. Was really important for us. Had a couple big third down catches for us and continues to improve and get back to the type of player that was so important to us last year.
Q: What have these past few weeks been like for QB Davis Webb with all the speculation?
A: Davis continues to work very hard. Heís a sponge. He soaks up everything and heís a part of that quarterback room along with Geno (Smith) and Eli (Manning) and doing all the things necessary to get that position ready to play. So, heís doing a great job.
Q: When you take away the turnovers, did you see more that you left out on the field than normal because it seems like there were big plays to be made that you missed?
A: Well, you hit the nail on the head. The turnovers were really the story of the game, in my opinion. I mean, we had three big turnovers that put our defense in a bind and anytime weíre turning the football over, that means that weíre not having opportunities to continue to move the ball ourselves. We canít continue to establish a run game. We canít have some of the play action passes and then as you mentioned, having some opportunities for some plays down the field and so, hard to look past those three in all honestly because they were so frustrating for all of us. But, certainly, thereís opportunities that are there and whether itís breaking a long run or completing on some of the long passes, those are things that weíre going to have to make sure we take advantage of.
Q: It seems like the running game has taken off a bit. Do you feel like youíre hitting a stride with that?
A: We feel good about where the run game has been and where itís headed. When we took a look at the most recent games in terms of the normal down-and-distance runs, we have been efficient. Itís a credit to those guys up front. Credit to the tight ends. The backs are hitting it hard and guys on the perimeter are taking a lot of pride helping to try to spring some of those longer runs. So, itís a mentality. Itís a commitment. Itís something that the guys have bought into and I think we continually emphasize that not all of them are going to pretty. Not all of them are going to break through there and into the secondary. Thereís going to be some two-yard, three-yard runs that are ugly and gritty, but thatís who we are. Thatís who we need to be.
Q: When you start the way you did the other day before all the bad stuff started to happen, what did you think about the rhythm?
A: Well, anytime weíre able to run the football, I mean, thatís an advantage for us. It would be for anybody, for that matter. I mean, that enables us to wear that defense down a little bit. They might not have as much starch, if you will, in terms of third down and that pass rush and it can set up some of the play action passes and I think thereís, as I mentioned a little bit earlier, from a mentality standpoint. Just kind of having guys feel that theyíre imposing their will to an extent. So, that is a good feeling and when we can stick with it and we try to stick with it. In fact, I canít remember what the exact series was, but right when the rain started to come down. We would run, run, run. It was going good and we were going to keep running until they stopped it, but unfortunately, we had the fumble and, of course, that, as you mentioned, changes everything.
Q: What is it about QB Eli Manning that he does to keep himself healthy?
A: Well, heís a true pro in terms of taking care of his body. I donít imagine him doing anything other than, when he gets home, spending quality time with his wife and kids. Heís not out running the streets, obviously, but you know, he does Ė you look at what heís eating. Itís hard to find him putting anything but nutritious things in his body and you guys have all documented the whole how he goes through his routine as far as stretching his arms, you know, stretching his shoulders and so forth. His commitment is full time. Itís not just what he does in the film room and preparing himself. Itís not just what he does on the practice field. But, I think in all phases of his life he has a great balance and a perspective and certainly has served him well through this long streak.
Q: Are there technical things QB Eli Manning could do to eliminate the fumbles?
A: Well, no question, anytime anyone has turned the ball over, itís bad for us and heís aware of that. I think that we always try to emphasize that when something breaks down, when youíre in the grasp, you know, the competitive nature sometimes comes into play where guys want to try to maybe fight through that and try to complete the football or try to escape from the pressure, but then, as they always say. The old clichť Ė itís true. Itís the guy you donít see that can knock the ball out and often times with just having one hand on the football, that makes it a little bit easier. Thereís times, you take any quarterback, you know, they can have two hands. They can have a vice grip, but if they get hit hard enough, that ball comes out. But, certainly when theyíre in those situations where he can keep two hands on the ball or basically itís a play thatís broken down, you might have to take the sack. A punt is not a bad thing. We just got to keep grinding away.