Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
September 28, 2017
Q: How ready is RB Wayne Gallman?
A: Wayne has been someone that has done the majority of work on show team as far as through the first part of the season. A lot of work there through training camp, and like all of our guys, they have to have that ‘next man up mentality.’ Brings a lot of good things to the table.
Q: Do you think the game plan last week is something you can do game in and game out or is that something you can only do at certain times?
A: I think anytime you are exclusively one scheme that can hurt you. I think we had the advantage in that particular game because it wasn’t such a (inaudible) and we made it a major point of emphasis because of the dynamic pass rush that that opponent had. While it helped us in certain instances, we also showed that we need to keep working on it because some of those penalties really took away from some plays that could have helped us out. So, I think it’s a part of the plan that was applicable last week whether it’s going to be applicable moving forward, we’ll wait and see. But, certainly in that game, in that situation and where we were and trying to kick-start things, it was effective. But, to say that that’s necessarily how we need to go every week wouldn’t be an accurate statement.
Q: Why didn’t having a fullback on the roster come together?
A: Well, you know, in terms of any of those personnel decisions, obviously the general manager, the head coach – they look at the big picture overall for not just the offense, but the defense and the special teams. It’s our job now moving forward with the guys we have on the roster to try to find ways to maximize their strengths and try to camouflage and disguise some of our weaknesses.
Q: How much does not having a fullback affect you?
A: I think we always want to have some type of flexibility in that there are guys on the roster who are able to line up in the backfield and be a lead blocker.
Q: Is TE Rhett Ellison the primary lead blocker?
A: He’s one of the guys. There are some other guys you could mention, you could name, that are on the roster. Things schematically that we wanted to do and would like to get going and by no means does the fact that right now with this roster move that dictate it’s going to be an all zebra or 11 personnel, all up-tempo. I mean, there are other people and we’ve continued to try to do that. It goes on behind the scenes, but tried to get those other guys who have that body type who can be that lead blocker and be in that two-back play-action pass type of concept, to try to give us that versatility that we’re hoping to get.
Q: What has been the issue with getting TE Rhett Ellison involved?
A: Early on, the first two games were really ones that were hard for us to get anybody a lot of snaps. Hard for us to get any rhythm and we weren’t out there enough. When we looked at the approach that we had for the most recent game that we played, as was mentioned, we had a specific mindset in terms of, I mean, it was 1.85 seconds. We knew what we were facing. We wanted to make sure that we could get the ball out of his hands with that great pass rush and we still had a significant amount of plays that have the two tight ends on the field, the one back and things we can feature and Rhett did play some when we were in our 11 personnel. He played some spots for Evan (Engram). Obviously, Evan is someone that we like what he can do, both from a run game standpoint and from a pass game standpoint. So, I think it’s a little bit premature as it unfolds. We’re happy he’s here. He’s a guy that does have some versatility and we’ll see if some of that comes into fruition as far as given some of the situations with the roster right now.
Q: John (Mara) had a meeting last night with some of the players to talk about the anthem and how they are going to go forward and things like that. Were you apart of that meeting?
A: I was not. No.
Q: You’ve been very vocal about how you feel towards those situations. What were your thoughts on Sunday and what are your thoughts moving forward?
A: This is America. This is America. This is the land of the free because of the brave. Citizens of this country have the freedom of speech, we all have freedom of expression and I respect everyone’s right to exercise that freedom.
Q: Do you look at the offenses performance in the fourth quarter as, okay maybe we can takeoff from here or are there still concerns about the past three weeks?
A: If you’re looking at those first three quarters, we actually did have some movement, we actually did have some consistency. There are no moral victories whatsoever. We did not win the game, we did not do enough. Let me be clear about that. But early on, you look at the interceptions that happened early in the series and then others this year where we did have some consistency, we did put ourselves in position to put points on the board. So, I wouldn’t necessarily say those first three quarters we didn’t have rhythm. It certainly didn’t feel like those first two games. It was just more of a matter of having to be in too big of a hurry with our tempo calls and hurting ourselves with a penalty or having the turnovers. That was a unique game because given that opponent and how we felt we could best matchup, but certainly I think the big thing we draw from that, that we have talked about is we’re having a rough season, a difficult season offensively and we are down 14-0 and we had some setbacks. Yet, that group had the grit, and the resolve, and the determination to keep playing and keep believing in one another. I spoke last week about how things have been very difficult for us. They have been no finger pointing, it was more circle the wagons mentality and I think we all saw that. Again, we came up short, we did not do enough to win period. But the competitiveness and the character that we showed is certainly something we hope to build upon.
Q: Can the productivity carry over?
A: We certainly hope so. Anytime you can score 24 points in a quarter, if we can average that for four quarters, that’s a little different game. No doubt. That would be very good to build upon that. We just have to do a better job of finishing drives. It starts with being able to protect the football and getting into some of that rhythm and consistency and all of the things we keep talking about.
Q: Why has offensive lineman D.J. Fluker not been in the mix to play and what could he bring to the line if he does?
A: Well, I think there’s a lot of guys that are on the roster – you mentioned D.J., you can talk about Chad Wheeler, some of the other individuals that are here – they all have strengths, they all have weaknesses, it’s just a matter of trying to find the best combination. And I assure you, we move guys around, we try to find what’s going to be the best mixture, if you will, and what’s going to fit with what our game plan is, what the focus of this particular game is and how it will unfold, in terms of matching up against personnel. So, I think there is a competiveness and a toughness that D.J. brings to the game. The guy loves football, he’s a grinder and if he’s given an opportunity, as well as all the guys, we feel comfortable about doing everything we can to get them ready and have them be in a position to be successful if they get a chance.
Q: How much do you think Fluker could be an asset in the run game?
A: Yeah, he’s a strong man and if we have certain concepts where he’s at the point of attack, that’s been a strength of his in the past, when you look at some of the things he did in the preseason. It certainly could be an asset, you could say. I think it’s hard to necessarily say that any one thing, any one quality of a player, any one player specifically is going to make a huge difference. I think it just takes all of us. Starting here first with coaching and getting our guys in positions, and then taking all 11 [players] to do their job on any given play to have it be successful.
Q: Were you encouraged by left tackle Ereck Flowers after last week’s game?
A: I think the entire offensive line did a lot of good things. Anytime against that defensive front you don’t give up a sack – and again, you can talk about how fast the ball got out, but there were some good pictures, some good instances in there. It wasn’t a perfect game by anybody, there never is, but hopefully that’s something we can build upon, in terms of just keeping it a clean pocket and allowing [quarterback] Eli [Manning] the time that when we have that amount of time, we’re able to make some plays downfield.
Q: How much can you actually learn about the offensive line’s improvement when Manning was getting rid of the ball so quickly?
A: Well, just because the ball comes out that quick, it may have been a particular scheme where Eli’s read was there and whoever it was, I’ll just say [wide receiver] Sterling [Shepard] for example, he happened to win and the ball comes out. There were multiple examples that you can look at on the tape where if, let’s say Sterling had fallen down, or he was covered, if Eli would’ve had to go onto number two, as we looked at that tape, the pocket was there and we could’ve gotten that to two or three. So again, a lot of work to do and just excited about getting down to Tampa and having another opportunity.