Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
December 15, 2016
Q: Why do you think Ereck Flowers has had some struggles?
A: I think as a younger player, there are always fundamentals that can be improved upon. There's the communication that takes place with the other members of the offensive line, particularly the left guard. I think it's something that he's continuing to work on and we're continuing to do the things we can to help him be successful. Like a lot of the players on our offense, there's a lot of area for improvement and he's certainly no exception.
Q: How much can the return of Justin Pugh help him?
A: I think when there's continuity, when you have someone who's played quite a bit, I mean Justin's played a lot of football, that communication is a big part of the success that can take place for the offensive line and that's certainly something that could help improve, we hope, and again, I think it's just a matter of continuing on a day-to-day basis, working the technique, working the fundamentals. There's things that he's aware of that he can improve upon and it's a process. It never gets as fast or happens as fast as anyone would like but he's certainly putting the time in, his coaches are putting the time in and, again, we're hoping for the best.
Q: What about Bobby Hart? He looks like he's made strides, do you see an improvement in him?
A: Bobby's made some improvement. I think there's always going to be those clips that we can look at and see whether it was a matter of leverage or hand placement or technique that could have improved that'll be there as with all of those guys. He's certainly accepted the challenges he's had this year and has shown that he's making some strides and improving in certain areas, I think it's an accurate assessment.
Q: There's often an assumption that when a left tackle struggles that maybe he should go to the right side and that somehow that's less pressure that could help. Is it that simple and could that be something that could help a left tackle?
A: I've heard that as well and people talk about who's better suited for right tackle, who's a left tackle. He's our left tackle and our players are our players. We have to continue to work hard, there's no magic potion, there's no easy answer in terms of trying to do the things that we can from a technique standpoint, from a fundamental standpoint and schematically, trying to get him and all of our players to be successful. If we can have more success in the run game, that certainly takes some of the pressure off the pass game component of it. While we've shown some progress, we've taken a few steps back, taken a few steps forward as far as the run game, but I think that's a part of it as well.
Q: What do you see from Eli on plays where the pressure isn't apparent and it doesn't seem like he's forced into some of the errors? Why is he making some of the mistakes that don't seem to be forced?
A: I think sometimes there may be coverage techniques that are played by the defenders that maybe move him from the first read to a second read, or to a third. Sometimes there may be instances where we don't quite have the precision that we'd like in the route itself and then other times, like all of us, prone to make mistakes and would like to have a few back and it really could be one of those matters that could come into play. I think he's someone that has a track record of being able to play high-quality, championship football in December and January and February and we're optimistic about where he's headed and what lies ahead for him with the rest of our season.
Q: Just going back to the tackles for a second, the technique, I know footwork is different but in terms of hand punch, hand placement, is it that much different on the left side than the right side?
A: I think the more familiarity an individual has in terms of...let me rephrase that, the more repetition. Obviously to go from one side to the other, there's different foot work, the hand placement, the leverage, the angles, it is different. So that is something that will have to be taken into account but as I mentioned, for us, we have our players and they're in their position, we just have to keep working hard and keep trying to find ways to improve and minimize the mistakes, minimize the penalties. Those are the things that have negated...we had a heck of an explosive run there last game that was called back for penalty. Those are the things we can control with a here and now and that's what we need to focus on.
Q: Victor Cruz had one catch the other night. Is he getting open enough?
A: I think there was an opportunity also where he had a ball that I believe he dropped that he was open on. I think, we don't get zeroed in on, how can we feed Victor the ball, how can we feed Shepard the ball. We’ve got to make plays, we’ve got to get some consistency, we’ve got to eliminate the bad football, we’ve got to eliminate the turnovers. When he has his opportunities, he has to make the most of them. He's done some good things for us. Obviously the week before he wasn't able to have any targets, but I think it boils down to when he does have his opportunities, he has to make the most of them and I think that applies not just to him but to all the other receivers and to the tight ends and the backs and really everybody in the offense.