Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
August 18, 2017
Q: How is the offensive line doing?
A: We have seen a lot of progress, especially being in pads, especially having one game to take a look at where you can draw it up on the board, talk about it in meetings, be out in the shorts, but until you see the type of fits and the type of finish. We are not where we want to be, but we are headed in the right direction with regard to those things, and I have seen some flashes of the type of offensive line performances that we are going to want to have and we are pleased with where we are headed right now. We have a lot more work to do, but we are headed in the right direction.
Q: How much is it for them to get used to the new technique?
A: I don’t know if it is as much about the technique per se in terms of anything that is schematically different. Fundamentals are still fundamentals, aiming points, it’s about initial quickness, it’s about pounding those arches as coach Solari and coach Wells like to tell those guys. There are a few different ideas that and concepts that we try to accentuate. You guys watching practice have probably seen those things and the communication is a big part of being able to make sure when we communicate at the line, and when we make adjustments, that we are not having some of those mental errors and that they are communicating with one another and double where we need to double and we are sliding where we need to slide. I think as practice has gone on, particularly we have had more padded practices and we have had more opportunities in the games, it is something we are looking forward to that next step.
Q: How would you describe Eli Manning’s preseason so far?
A: I think his preparation has been what it has always been in terms of exemplary. I think there is a sense of confidence he has at this point in this system, having so many years under his belt. Obviously there are some new toys for him to play with, which he is very excited about. I think we are very excited from a coaching staff standpoint in terms of the adjustments he has made when he is turning loose after practice. I think he is taking great care of himself physically and we feel like he is in great position to be at his best during the regular season.
Q: Brandon Marshall told a story a couple days ago about being two steps off on a route, but that made all the difference. When you hear that from a veteran receiver, does that tell you that Eli is not the “aw shucks” guy we all perceive him to be?
A: Absolutely not. He’s someone that we all know is steady, very even keeled, he doesn’t get rattled. If you want to see the “aw shucks” go away faster than Odell Beckham on a slant inside to the end zone is have someone bust a route or someone not do what they are supposed to do. In certain instances, given his history and relationship with a player, it might be “hey, you need to do a better job with this.” Or it might be a little more of the personality of his older brother in terms of getting in a guy’s face. He is definitely a competitor and I have even said this when I was a receiver coach, the feedback that he gives to the perimeter players. The coaches can talk about why it’s important to take this angle or take these steps, but when you have the guy who has the ball who is coaching you up, and if you want the ball -- and they all want the ball -- they are going to do it the way he wants it so that is a great factor.
Q: Do you think there is a chance Davis Webb can compete for the backup job?
A: Well, there is always a chance of anything happening. Anything is possible. Right now, we are taking an approach with Davis where he has had a lot of work in the developmental period where we pull some players aside and do some cross training that goes on with some of the other players and he has certainly done very well in the meeting room. He is understanding what to do and how to do certain things. Right now, we’ve got Josh and Geno that are battling it out for that second position and we will see how that unfolds and cross any bridges when we get to them if something like that were to not resolve itself.
Q: Do you think Davis responded well in his first game action?
A: I think he did. He was pretty excited. You could tell, he had a lot of adrenalin on that first ball of his, it kind of sailed over the middle of the field. He was energized and like any rookie, they are going to make some mistakes, but he was certainly not overwhelmed. He was prepared, he was excited, and I think the young man has a bright future.
Q: What gives you hope that you are going to score more points this year?
A: Well, I think you hit the nail on the head. Points is definitely an area, as well as ball security, are two major focuses for us. I think it is a combination of some of the personnel, some of the new faces that we have on the roster, there are some schematic ideas or concepts that we worked on to put guys in position from a matchup standpoint or ‘okay, you are going to commit two players here, well that gives you an opportunity over here.’ I think there is optimism. We also improved in the running game. We will improve in the run game and of course that opens up a lot of other areas, so I think looking at all of those combined is a reason to be optimistic for us to score more points this year.
Q: What do the running backs need to do that they haven’t done yet?
A: They are doing a lot of positive things. If I had to pick one area where we would like to see some improvement, it is when they are able to break the second level and there’s the safety, let’s run him over, let’s make him miss, let’s get that ugly 2 or 3 yards. We will probably hear some yelling and screaming at practice. It’s an inside zone play or it’s a gap scheme that we want to run in the A gap and then particularly some of the younger guys want to bounce that out where there is no color and that is not going to be a good thing for them or for us and so I think that is just a matter of continuing to press the line of scrimmage, have that good vision, hit the hole and take it to the second level and either run over a safety or make them miss. Do something to create and explosive run.
Q: How much are you trying to run more outside zone this year?
A: It’s a part of it. It’s a part of our offense. We’ll have inside zone, gap scheme, we’ll have misdirection. We are at that point now we are trying to have a whole offensive scheme where an offensive playbook is installed and it’s a matter of, okay, we know what our roster is, this is what we have in our tool kit and then you pull out different pieces that will be best-suited to beat Dallas or then Detroit or whoever the next opponent is, so that’s a part of what we do, certainly not all of what we do. We try to be multiple both from a run schematic standpoint, a pass standpoint, and personnel.
Q: How much better-suited are you to do it now from a personnel standpoint?
A: Time will tell. We are showing some improvement, but you’ve got to wait and see and we’ve got to get more opportunities in games. That’s the great thing about these preseason games, you get a chance to really assess whether it is going to work for us or if it is something we want to expand upon moving forward into the regular season.
Q: What did you see from Ereck Flowers in the game film?
A: There was one particular play where we were on the 10-12 yard line going in to score, and there was 1-on-1 pass protection and he had great initial quickness, his hand placement, he reacted to the second reaction of the defender and it was a legitimate good play. It was what we want. It was the model. He has shown better finish, he has shown better sustain and strain of his blocks, and I think all of the offensive line is determined. We know we are going to go as far as our offensive line goes and there has been improvement and as I said earlier, we are not where we want to be, but we have shown some progress and we are excited about taking that next step.