Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
December 7, 2017
Q: What has this week been like for you?
A: It was one very eventful and whatís the right word Iím trying to find here. You look at all of the circumstances of the previous week and coming into the events of this week. First word that comes to mind would be sad, the first thing that comes to mind in terms of what happened with Ben (McAdoo) and Jerry (Reese) is thinking about things that I could have done differently. What more I could have done. What more the other offensive coaches could have done and the players and thereís a human element to this. It goes beyond whatís on Twitter or message boards, etc. Itís families. So, it is sad and then you look at just the circumstances as they presented themselves and where weíre at right now and just zeroing in on winning a football game. Just trying to do everything I can to support Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) and get the offensive coaches, get the players ready to go. So, itís been a challenge, but weíre moving forward.
Q: What has changed for you?
A: Well, the things you mentioned as far as responsibilities. Obviously, Ben (McAdoo) for the first season and first five games this year was calling the plays and was heavily involved in the game planning process and then he handed those responsibilities over to me. He still would be involved in the game plan. He was still a sounding board. He still had ideas. We had a lot of collaboration. The quarterbacks are involved. Then, you put together a plan and you go out and practice it and hope for the best and that voice hasnít been here this week. Obviously, he has a great wealth of knowledge in this particular system and weíve had to pick up the slack and just the other guys have had ideas and we just kind of bounce suggestions off one another and look at our personnel, where weíre at, how we have to play and come up with a course of action that we think is going to help us go out there and beat the Cowboys.
Q: How different do you think it will look?
A: Itís hard to say as far as any at this point Ė any drastic differences. Weíre 12 games into it. We have our personnel. In terms of some subtle things, I think anytime youíre the final decision maker, there is some latitude to maybe tweak a thing here or there as far as installing a streak read-run, a shoot offense that was here from 2004 to 2011, thatís not going to happen. But, we are just well aware of the things that we need to do to be successful and it sounds like a broken record, but it does start with regardless of what plays weíre calling, weíve got to protect the football and we canít have some of those negative runs that we had this most recent game. Weíve been running the ball better and if I can just finish it up here, that ability to do that, be successful, thatís given us a chance to have a chance in recent weeks and can help open up things in the pass game. So, we got to get that on track.
Q: Do you have more freedom to make personnel moves that maybe you and Ben McAdoo didnít see eye-to-eye on?
A: In all honesty, right now, itís about just trying to come up with a plan that fits who we have and how we can attack Dallas. As far as personnel type decisions and where that goes, obviously with Kevin Abrams as the interim GM and Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) as the interim head coach. All of us Ė so much has happened and itís just a matter of trying to put together a plan and Spags has made some of his little adjustments as he sees fit to how we practice and how meetings go on and how the week goes and so forth. Thatís been something that has been positive. Not to say that anything needed to be changed, but just heís putting some of his small touches on things and so Iím not trying to skirt your question. I just think right now, everything has just been more zeroed in on OK, here we are. How are we going to come up with a plan while we make all the necessary adjustments to how things have changed here.
Q: How has handling the quarterbacks been?
A: Let me tell you about that room now. There were some circumstances that weíre all aware of that happened last time I stood right here as far as what happened the week before or the week leading up to the Oakland game. And then, of course, with things that have happened now leading up to the Dallas game and Iíll just say this. Last week as well as this week, the effect has been different on different individuals. That entire room Ė all three of those guys have been professional. Theyíve been hard working. Theyíve been team guys pulling for one another. So, they handled it well last week. Theyíre handling it well this week.
Q: In terms of quarterbacks, do you anticipate that Davis Webb will get an opportunity?
A: I really canít answer that and itís not because I canít answer because I have some information that I donít want to share that Iím supposed to keep top secret. Honestly, right now, with all that has gone on, I mean the major changes that have happened in this organization, on this team from a leadership standpoint Ė all the emphasis has been what do we have to do to get ready to beat Dallas. This is a huge game for us despite the record, despite how things have gone. Itís really important. Weíre putting all of our energy and all of our focus into this week and then weíll let future weeks address themselves. So, itís not a clichť I promise you. It is totally just zeroing in right now and then in terms of what happens later on, Iím sure that will be something that will be discussed, will be addressed. But, for right now, itís just a situation where weíre zeroed in on trying to find a way to beat Dallas.
Q: Why is it important to restore Eli Manning as the starting quarterback this week?
A: OK, in terms of Eli and how we feel about him compared to how we feel about Geno (Smith) or how we feel about Davis (Webb). All three guys are individuals that bring certain talents to the table and do things that can help us win and Iíll just be clear right now, I thought Geno did a lot of good things against the Raiders. He from day one has been someone thatís had a great attitude. Heís been a hard worker and heís improved as a player. In terms of this particular game, this opponent. In terms of experience in our system. In terms of all of the ins and outs that go with that. In terms of adjustments that weíre going to make. In terms of things that weíre going to want to do both in the run game and the pass game, you know, we feel that Eli Manning gives us the best chance to win and thatís nothing disparaging to anybody else. We looked at a body of work and what weíre going to try to accomplish and how weíre going to try to attack Dallas, that was something that Ė and, again, Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) wanted our feedback. He wanted to talk. I think he mentioned to you guys he wanted to talk to the offensive coaches to get a little bit better feel for kind of the specifics. We gave him that feedback and thatís the decision that was made.
Q: Is it safe to say that maybe last week there was a different approach?
A: I canít get into last weekís messages. Itís weíre here right now trying to find a way to beat Dallas and weíre zeroed in on that and itís not about anything other than when this huge, drastic, very impactful change happened that effects lives. It effects families. When that happens, the only agenda at this point is, OK, we have a responsibility and Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) is there interim head coach right now and heís relying upon us to support him and to do things to get our players focused and motivated trying to win. So, thatís really what weíre zeroed in on. Nothing as far as looking back in terms of why a decision was made or what you had asked as far as whatís a possibility for the future, as far as Davis you had asked. Itís just trying to pick up the pieces and find a way to win a football game and thatís what weíre doing.
Q: Does Navy stand a chance this weekend against Army?
A: It is December 7th and I think everybody ought to take some time to remember those who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. I was in the Army Ė stationed in Hawaii and that Arizona Memorial was very moving. The sacrifices of those people and of all of our service men and women throughout the years. Weíre not able to do what weíre doing here without them. So, I think we all and Iím remised for not mentioning that, that we all ought to remember what happened on September 7th. And, last thing Iíll say, go Army, beat Navy.
I don't think there's much chance of seeing anything from Webb at all anymore. That might make some happy. I'm not happy about it because I don't think we'll win anyway and I don't think Eli's going to suddenly make this offense look good. I'd love to be wrong about that. I'll be much more happy if the offense starts to somehow pick up and make these games enjoyable by scoring a ton of points.
I just seriously doubt that happens.