Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
September 30, 2016
Q: Some of the offensive linemen have talked about the crowd in Minnesota. How concerned are you of the noise level?
A: I tell you, it's a tough environment and they're a talented football team. We worked very hard, starting in the off season through the summer and in Dallas, working on things we need to do to handle the cadence and the crowd noise. We have to have great communication and be on point, both verbal and visual communication, to make sure we're able to get off on the snap count against a dynamic pass rush.
Q: The way they've played this first couple of games, do you see this as one of the or the hottest defense in the league?
A: Very talented group. Very well coached group. You just start upfront, playing at a high level. Everson Griffen is a heck of a pass rusher, a competitor. Of course, Linval Joseph, I remember his days here and what a dynamic player he was; he's playing at a Pro Bowl level. The linebackers, tremendous, at both run and pass. And the secondary, you got a couple very good safeties. Harrison Smith, playing tremendous as well. We going to really have our hands full. We're excited, but we're eager for the challenge.
Q: What makes Griffen so difficult?
A: I think he has a great get-off. He gets off, is very good at changing up his moves. He'll have speed to power. He has a spin move and is a relentless player. He puts great effort in both the run and the pass and he's a competitor. Even if, you see on film, there are times guys don't necessarily get the best of him and he might be blocked, but then you don't rest on it because he's going to come at you harder and he's definitely thrives in those third down situations and the two-minute situations.
Q: How does Rashad Jennings look to you?
A: He improved. He looked improved from last week. We've continued to get him involved and hoping for the best. He's certainly better adjusted, I should say, to having the issue with his thumb and so forth. We're excited to hopefully see where he can be at for us Monday night.
Q: What do you think about Orleans Darkwa if you have to lean on him?
A: Darkwa is very tough, he's versatile, he can run hard. He's very aware of our pass protection schemes. He'll execute that job well; he catches the ball. So, he's versatile player. He's had some issues in the past in terms of not being able to stay healthy perhaps and just some bad luck. Knock on wood, he's been very healthy and very productive and I'm glad he's here. He's certainly someone, if he's called upon, we have great confidence in.
Q: How similar is Bobby Rainey's skill set to Shane Vereenís?
A: There are a lot of similarities. First off, it's tough to replace a guy like Shane Vereen and we're certainly hoping for the best and wish him a speedy recovery. He's not just a heck of a player, he's a heck of a young man. As far as Bobby, the ability to catch the ball, the ability to have that short area burst. There's a lot of things that, I think, there is some carry over. And of course, as it all starts on third down, an awareness of pass protection and being able to know who to block and then execute it. So if called upon, we feel confident in Bobby Rainey.
Q: Are you preparing with the expectation that Jennings will play?
A: We're going to wait and see how it all plays itself out, to be honest with you. He's practiced, we're having everybody practice. I think anytime there's an injury, you have to have contingency plans, but you also have to be ready that itís all on hands on deck available to help out. So we'll wait and see how it shakes out Monday night.
Q: Did you put a good word in for Bobby Rainey when you guys signed him in the off season?
A: I was with Bobby in Tampa Bay just for the one year. He was an excellent worker and productive. Had a heck of a Monday night, ironically, had about 160 yards against Miami. One of the few bright spots of that 2013 season. He's just an outstanding young man. Hard worker. Brings some good things to the table. When I was asked about him, obviously, we've have our scouts do their due diligence. But in terms of giving him references as a worker, a team guy, a team-first guy, I couldn't say enough good things about him and am happy he's here.
Q: How do you strike the balance of attacking a defense like this with your weapons but also being careful knowing how they can cause havoc upfront?
A: I think a big part of that is going to be trying to stay in those third and manageable. Trying to stay on schedule on first and second down. It really starts with us, as everyone here knows. We've got to do a better job taking care of the football. Being able to stay out of those negative plays, whether it's penalties or the tackles for losses, etc., so that we can have the versatility as you mentioned. We have to try to keep them guessing. We want to try and put our best foot forward. We'll have schemes, designs, try to get various players the football. But if we're doing things on their terms in their place with their great players, that's going to be an advantage for them. Weíve got to do things to try and keep them off balance and do things that are on our terms so that we can keep them off balance.
Q: Do you think Paul Perkins is ready to get an opportunity?
A: He's obviously been set-back because he wasn't here in the spring and that is a big disadvantage through no fault of his. I will say this, the young man is very diligent. He works extremely hard. He's smart and he has a lot of the characteristics you're looking for. He's got the size, he's physical, he catches the ball well. It's just a matter of trying to play catch-up. And he's been force-fed, especially these past couple of weeks, and he's done well so far. We feel very confident, whoever's called upon, whether Rashad's able to go or any of the other guys that are on our team. Coach Johnson does a heck of a job with them and we feel comfortable with whoever's called upon that they'll get the job done.
Q: Do you feel like you need to take more chances with your three receivers.
A: The thing that we look at with those three guys [Cruz, Beckham Jr. and Shepard], we'll design plays in certain cases where there is a possibility that one guy is likely to get the ball more than the other. But Eli has to follow his reads and we don't get to control what they're going to do defensively. And I think that is an advantage for us that maybe in the past teams could really zero in and try to take away one guy and I think what you've seen is that's created more opportunities in terms of some of the production that Victor's had and some of the production that Sterling has had. And, of course, we're always trying to do everything in terms of moving Odell around and trying to get him involved. I think that there is a balance that needs to be struck, though, in terms of when we do pass the football, weíve got to make sure we're able to run the football to try wear down that great pass rush and try to have that balance so we can have more of the passes occur on our terms.
Please schedule something besides the telegraphed 1st
down inside handoff for -1 Yards ...
Run some plays that are not on tape . To me our runs look
telegraphed . It's like something in the formation seems
to be tipping the defense off . Were not gonna win this playing conservative . It's time for this offense to break
out . Hopefully the O-line is up to the task and plays
there best game of the season .