Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
September 22, 2016
Q: What are you doing at right tackle?
A: Weíre waiting to see how it plays out. We have two guys that are competing. Weíll see how itís all going to unfold. We have another day of practice. Certainly two gentlemen that have had to step up and get more reps this week. We all know who they are, both William and Bobby. Based upon Marshallís situation, we will make a final decision at the end of the week. Both guys have had a lot of reps. I donít know what the status is as far as Marshall specifically. Obviously thatís our primary hope in terms of him being able to stay in there. Otherwise, because he hasnít been able to play this week, there have been other guys that have gotten a lot of reps.
Q: What did you see from Bobby and the snaps he got last week?
A: I thought, given the situation, it was game on the line and we had to throw the ball. We were throwing the ball quite a bit. He was competitive in those snaps and matched up against a heck of a player. 94 (Cameron Jordan) for the Saints is a very, very good football player. He competed well and was able to get some chip help on one of the plays from the backs. Those guys did a tremendous job. He didnít seem overwhelmed or flustered. He competed and was able to do enough to help us be successful.
Q: Is it realistic for Will to step in and play a whole game?
A: Hard to say. Heís continued to improve every week. Heís continued to become more acclimated both to playing football again, the system and the things weíre asking him to do. It really remains to be seen. I couldnít speculate at this point how ready he is or whoís going to play right tackle.
Q: Do you have to change the way Rashad Jennings holds the ball with that thumb issue he has?
A: Thatís a cast thatís there that, obviously, we want to always maintain those four points of pressure. That fifth point of pressure, the contact is imminent. Heís continuing to try to work around that. Itís something thatís not natural. Heís used to doing that without the cast. Heís a very competitive young man and is someone that will do whatever he has to to be ready. Heís working through that. Itís definitely an adjustment that we have great confidence heíll be able to make.
Q: Is it interchangeable if he canít get out there?
A: Obviously when guys are limited in practice or thereís speculation that they canít go, you rely upon those other players. I think you look at some of the success. We all know what Shane has brought to the table and Orleans has stepped in and has been able to make some plays for us in the most recent ball game. Of course with Bobby and with Perk, a couple of guys that had opportunities in the preseason and did enough obviously to warrant being on the team. They both have to be ready to go if called upon.
Q: Itís his left hand, how do you feel about a running back if he only carries the ball with one hand?
A: Thereís definitely a history of that. There have been certain backs that carry the ball in one hand. There is also the school of thought trying to have the ball in the hand farthest away from the defense or closer to the sideline. The most important thing I think is just the manner in which itís carried. It canít be carried out loosely, it canít be carried out in a situation where the elbow is up and there is room for the defender to punch it out. We have to do a better job of taking care of the football and ball security. Itís paramount for us this week. I think the most important thing is the manner in which itís carried. Having those four points of pressure and being able to cross-cut with the fifth point when contact is approaching. Thatís most important.
Q: You moved away from Rashad in the second half, was that because of the injury or just because you decided to go with Shane?
A: Iím not sure exactly why that was. I know in the flow of the game thereís certain things that maybe we feel are better suited for Shane or better suited for Rashad. There is a comfort level that no matter whoís back there, they have to be able to pass protect and have the awareness of who to block and execute the block. I really canít answer your question as to why.
Q: The turnovers are probably the reason why you didnít score a touchdown last week but are their other issues youíre concerned about?
A: Yes. The turnovers, first and foremost. We have made that a major point of emphasis. Iím sure every coach in America at all levels talks about it. The way that we have addressed it or tried to address it this week is if you look specifically at those plays, it doesnít take a genius to figure out why it happened. Itís not like we had the ball nice and secured. It was out loose. The emphasis is while we do those drills, we need to emphasize the high and tight. Thatís a specific segment that weíve really, and coaches have done a great job and the players have responded in terms of everywhere that they carry the football. Just going through a drill. Just making sure that until they flip the ball back to the equipment managers, theyíre getting in that good habit of high and tight. Itís been a major point of emphasis. The other thing I think is we look at two other areas that hurt us in that ball game. Number one, we still had six runs that were either zero or negative. That is something that we have to eliminate. Weíve made some progress; weíve taken a couple steps forward. Secondly, the drops. Those are things that whether they end up finishing a drive off or set us back, whatever the case may be. Weíre capable of executing those plays. Weíre confident. Weíve had a really good week and weíll make those plays on Sunday.
Q: Do you just chalk that up, those drops, as an aberration? They were not typical from the guys who did them.
A: No question. I think the two types of drops, we always talk about the contested catches. Are you all alone and itís every receiverís, coachís and fanís worst nightmare the ball just hits the chest and hits the ground, or is the individual having to separate it. Is there some timing thatís been disrupted? Is there a defender that he feels or a hand that is preventing him? Either the case, theyíre both bad. We believe and certainly hope that itís an aberration, as you said. Weíve been very clean this week. Guys have had a lot of balls thrown at them. The greatest receivers in the game have been known to have their drops at times. Itís just a matter of not letting it become repetitive. Just spending the extra time, which they have to try and get in rhythm with Eli. Spend a little extra time on the Juggs. Do those types of things. Itís also just a mindset. Being able to prepare and focus on the opponent knowing that when things are contested and certain defenders can be a little more hands on than others, weíre going to have to make sure we can separate and fight through that. Not get distracted by that.
Q: Two weeks in, do have a better sense of how teams will try and defend you with the three wide receivers out there on the field?
A: Not really. Weíre hoping to create some problems. By that, Itís not as easy as saying okay, we have three wide receivers out there, Eli find the safety, heís going to favor where Odell is. You can even look at this most recent game. There are some clips on one of the drops we had where itís pressed across the board. Itís a safety splitting the uprights. It doesnít matter who it is. You can also see thereís a little more of a zone concept. Thatís one of the things where when I say soft, just not necessarily in the receiverís faces. Theyíre just playing more of a soft three deep, four underneath or variations of different coverages trying to see how patient Eli can be. Are we going to be patient enough with the run? Is Eli going to be patient enough to take what is given to him? We are getting a little bit of a sense, but itís nowhere near the point that we can say we know exactly what itís going to be. We have teams that when they have to play man coverage, theyíre going to put whoever they have out there.
Q: I know you know what happened with Odell and Josh Norman, how much do you feel you have to say something to him if at all heading into this game?
A: I think so much has been said and brought about by that. I think from being around Odell both last year and this year, but in a different capacity, different role, he is a young man that has matured. He works extremely hard. I think he has a better perspective with everything and has the approach that all of us have. That was last year. Itís a game between Washington and New York. Those happen to be two great players. Theyíll have their opportunities to go against each other. Ultimately itís about doing everything we can to get those guys in a position to win. We feel confident both from a coaching standpoint and his teammates. If you read some of the comments, the guys have said plenty in support of him and knowing where heís at. I think the young man is determined and focused. Heís in a position to be at his best.