Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
October 20, 2016
Q: What's your level of confidence that Odell Beckham Jr. will be able to play on Sunday?
A: We're very optimistic, we're very hopeful. We'll wait and see how it transpires. He's been really focused and doing as much as he's been able to do this week. We'll have to wait and see.
Q: It seems that the number of carries that the running backs are getting is dropping. Is that on purpose?
A: I think this past week was kind of unique as it unfolded. Obviously, a very slow start for us offensively. Felt that from a tempo standpoint we were doing some things, some quick passes. How Baltimore was playing us, it kind of warranted more of those quick passes and adding the extra defender, making the run a little more difficult. I think it was just more of an adjustment in terms of how that game unfolded. We're always striving to have balance and do those things. We'd like to take some of the pressure off of the line so that they're not always passing it on every snap. Especially against these guys we're going to play here in London, and also set up the play action passes. It necessarily wasn't by design; it was rather a game plan type of an adjustment.
Q: Do you have a quick fix for the running game?
A: I don't think there are any quick fixes. I think that, when we look at how we're being defended, when we have those six-man boxes, when teams are playing more of the two high coverage, schematically we can put ourselves in positions. We have to execute better and get our fundamentals better. That's what we've been working on and I think when that comes into play we have to be more effective, more efficient, certainly can't turn it over and can't have the penalties etc. etc. If teams are going off of the mindset of being in those one high, bring the extra defender down and play more man-to-man, one high man coverages. That's certainly something that we can also take advantage of and may end up being that we're throwing the ball more at times if that is the case, you'll have to wait and see.
Q: Is the solution to that to go in between the box and the deep guys?
A: A little of both. Yes, that's a great point. We're certainly not going to say, 'Oh gosh, it's a six-man box, it's too high.' We're just going to run, we can't throw. We have to have answers and the two go hand-in-hand as far as our action passes and then the runs. In the same sense too, if you have a one high look, you have to be able to run the ball. There are things schematically we have, that we'll want to make sure we rep every week depending on who we're playing. You have to have both, I just think overall, it usually lends itself a tick more to be able to have a few more runs when you have a two high then when you have the one high with the extra defender in the box.
Q: With a guy like Aaron Donald, can you go into a game plan situations saying 'It's going to be rare that we can matchup with him one-on-one?'
A: He is a fantastic football player. I don't know if there's another defensive tackle that's playing at such a high level. Just the disruption that he causes in both the run and the pass, and the number of quarterback hits he has and in terms of the pass game. Then also, he's behind the line of scrimmage in the run game as well. When you talked about someone we have to be aware of and know that we take into account from a protection standpoint, from a double team standpoint in the run game, he's at the forefront of our mind. He's a heck of a player and we're going to have our hands full for sure.
Q: You've faced a lot of pass rushers. Your interior line, with Justin Pugh and John Jerry, how do you feel they matchup with a guy like Donald?
A: I think anybody in this league is going to have a great challenge ahead of them going against Donald. I can't say enough about what a tremendous football player he is. I know our guys are excited about the challenge, eager for the challenge. Schematically, we have to help them be successful; put them in the right positions and be smart about the types of situations we put them in. I think interior wise, as you mentioned, we've had some solid days, we've done some good things, we've had some setbacks at times. We're just going to have to make sure we're at our best on Sunday against him.
Q: Rashad is back after several weeks, how is he coming along?
A: He's appeared to move a lot faster and have a little more of his groove back, for lack of a better term, that we'd seen earlier in the year. I think he's become more comfortable, more accustomed to having that. Excited to have him back in there. I think, as we mentioned earlier, that run game was tough sledding for us, it was disappointing, in terms of last week. From what we're seeing this week in practice and what we're hoping to accomplish on Sunday, excited about him and the contributions that he can make. To answer your questions, he looks as though he's getting back into that week one, week two form that we saw him in earlier in the year.
Q: Orleans didn't play a snap. Is that as simple as Rashad being back?
A: I'm not sure it was as simple as that. I think there's always factors that come into play, whether they're special teams concerns, whether they are injuries that some guys respond to or are able to manage better than others. Certainly, we have a great confidence in him; he's had some great runs for us. I know he does a lot on special teams. There was no conscious effort as far as 'Hey, player X is back so player Y is out of the fray.' I think it's still a matter of trying to find those guys that can do it all. It's a lot of sombreros you're wearing as far as the pass protection, catching the ball, being able to run and so forth. We'll wait and see what happens over in London.
Q: Has Odell been able to participate in any walk-thru sessions?
A: Yes, we’ve had both our formal walk-thrus that we have before practice, we’ll have some jog-thrus. The injury report will come out as far as the degree of participation with Odell. He's been very focused in terms of assignments, and things that we're going to want to do from a pass game standpoint. He's in tune, he's focused, he's determined and again we're hoping for the best.