Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
September 7, 2017
Q: Does the game plan change with or without Odell [Beckham]?
A: Well he is obviously a great player and other guys are going to have to step up there. There are some concepts that we felt really good about both in the run and the pass game. We are going to move forward in that direction and we will see what happens in whether he gets to play or not.
Q: What gives you optimism that this is a better offense?
A: I think a lot of the cumulative reps that weíve had. I think a lot of the challenges that we gave them in the preseason. Preseason objectives are different than the regular season. We are trying to evaluate our personnel, we are trying to put our guys in some difficult situations to see how they respond and I think in looking at the entire body of work, both from most recently in the preseason all through training camp, all through the spring, we have a great deal of confidence going into the game on Sunday.
Q: When you look at your personnel, where do you see the biggest improvement?
A: From a personnel standpoint, I think there are some additions that we have to our team who are blending in nicely. There is added experience. Some guys have another year under their belt. So, there have been some improvements with those who were on our team last year. So, I think you combine those two factors and we have a reason to be optimistic.
Q: How much have you grown since this is your third year running the offense?
A: I think every year, every coach and player gets more comfortable. I think one of the advantages that should serve us well this season is our entire offensive staff returns. So, unlike some off-seasons when there is somebody that is new coming in, they have to be taught the system. Football is football, but there is still a terminology and a way about doing things and with us having that continuity and players having that continuity, it just allows us to get to conclusions a little bit faster and there is a comfort level that comes with that, of course.
Q: What can a fullback like Shane Smith add to the roster?
A: When you have a fullback on your roster, that enables you to have an additional personnel grouping that gives some different runs and different passes and that gives the defenses more they have to prepare for. Itís been time and time again about the 90 percent 11 personnel that we were last year and I think when you have some additional personnel groupings, it just gives the defense a few more things they have to prepare for, it gives us a few more options, and the versatility is always going to be to our advantage, so that is something we are excited about.
Q: Last year we heard a lot about how this would be the week you guys were going to break out, but it never happened. How important is it to get off to a good start on Sunday?
A: Well I think the focus really is just on this being a division game and itís the start of the new season. I donít think anyone is looking in the rear-view mirror and saying, ďhey, we have something to proveĒ or ďletís make this different.Ē Itís a great opportunity against the defending NFC East champions at their place, and I think that in itself is enough motivation and enough reason for guys to really zero in and lock in on our preparations in practice and the meetings and just to go out and focus on that objective, going down there and to win the game.
Q: From your time as the quarterbacks coach to now, has Eli Manning changed?
A: I think what has been the same is his work ethic, his professionalism, his consistency, his ability to remain calm, cool and collected, regardless. It has been said time and again. Whether he throws a touchdown pass or an interception, his reaction is the same. I think what I have seen in him recently within this system, this new system -- itís a different system than when I was his quarterback coach back in 2010-2011 -- is really embrace and become more comfortable, have an ownership with it. Different people have come into our system and his willingness to go the extra mile and give us some one-on-one time and one-on-one meetings with some of the new players, there is just a great deal of confidence in him now. He still has all of those things, positive characteristics, that I remember seeing in him when I was his quarterbacks coach, but I just see an overall level of confidence and comfort I guess I should say with this system.
Q: Because he is a rookie, do you temper expectations for Evan Engram?
A: I think all of our players bring something to the table and that is our jobs as coaches, to pull it out of them. Evan has a lot of ability. He is a versatile player. We were excited about drafting him and have been very pleased with the things he has done in practice and in the preseason games. So, he is going to get his opportunities and I think he has high expectations for himself and itís our job to try to help him reach his full potential.
Q: When you were in Tampa, you called the plays, right?
Q: How much different was it last year being an offensive coordinator that doesnít call the plays?
A: Well, it is different. There is a feel that you get, there is a rhythm that you get into. Iíll just say, first and foremost, itís Benís decision to be the play caller and I support his decision and my job is to do everything I can from a preparation standpoint to get our offensive unit ready from the practices and meetings and so forth. Then on game day, be an additional set of eyes and give some of the feedback to him from Eli or give some of the feedback to the offensive line coaches or the other coaches. So, it is different, but at the end of the day, it is all about winning and doing whatever we can to win the game and thatís what is most important.
Q: Have you ever thought about using a player like Odell Beckham as a decoy and letting him play even though he is not 100 percent?
A: Well, as soon as you asked me that question, I immediately thought back to big 17, Plaxico Burress. There was a guy that through that entire year, 2007, was never able to practice, was never at 100 percent, and there were many games where he wasnít at his best and yet because of the player he was, teams had to account for him and if they didnít, he was still good enough even though he was hobbled to hurt them. So, that certainly can be a factor.