Head Coach Pat Shurmur
June 4, 2018
Opening Statement: Another productive day. I think the OTAs have gone well. You saw today we had a move the ball period, which we did one last week as well where the guys are calling it – offense, defense, personnel is getting in and out and it’s really the key part of playing the game because it’s the most like a game at this point. I think they handled it well. You saw there was some good, competitive play – for the most part we stayed up, got a lot accomplished and we’ll try to do a little bit more of that. Unfortunately, you won’t be here to see it, but we’ll do a little bit more of that as we go the next three days. So with that, I’ll take your questions.
Q: Is Landon Collins’ status changed because the jersey wasn’t red?
A: He’s getting better. Well, I wouldn’t say it has changed. I would just say that we’re going to be a little bit cautious because it’s a break that’s healed. We’re trying to get him in as much as we can, but a little bit at a time. But he looks good. He’s getting his extra running, he’s getting everything he needs mentally and I’ve been very pleased with his progress in all areas.
Q: Even though this is a non-contact exercise, are you giving them an idea of how you might be able to deploy offense and defense? Is it becoming a little bit clearer to you now?
A: Yes and really the physical nature of practice – a lot of times, even though this is non-contact there is blocking and guys fitting up blocks, so you try to minimize any kind of contact that you have. But really once the season gets going there is many, many practices where we don’t have pads on and so you practice the same way and so you just have to be really fast, you have to talk about body position, you have to talk about moving their feet and we can still see all of that.
Q: How much will the offensive line evaluation change once camp rolls around and you have the pads on?
A: It will be the final evaluation, certainly. In terms of the movement skills, their ability to learn, their ability to work together – all of those things, we can start to draw conclusions about who our best guys are. But you hold the final analysis, really, on all football players until you’re playing true football and I think that’s where the competitive situations in pads can give us the last piece to the puzzle.
Q: Do you think your third receiver will be a traditional receiver? Or because you have a pass catching tight end and Saquon Barkley, maybe the third receiver won’t be a traditional type of guy?
A: No, I think whether you are one, two or three; I think every player has a role. I try not to talk about the first, the second or the third receivers. I think that’s something that when people start stacking up rosters and really depth charts outside the building. So we’re going to put the players in there and use them to the best of their ability and try to get them the ball. The fact that we have a pass catching tight end is something that is very valuable to a team because now a defense has to decide when you have two tight ends and him being one of them, him being Evan (Engram), that are they going to stay base or play nickel? And then the chess game begins from there.
Q: You used the fullback quite a bit in Minnesota. Do you imagine that you will be doing that again here with Shane Smith?
A: Yeah, I like the use of a fullback. I think there are ways that you can use him strategically, whether it is the grouping that he is involved in or how you get him the ball. I think when you have a fullback in there you always have the element of seven-man protection, which is good for the quarterback.
Q: You overhauled the offensive line here. What were your prerequisites when you were looking at offensive linemen?
A: I think they have to be physical, I think they have to be smart and then once they have the basic kind of traits that you’re looking for in the player, then I like guys that have power and can move their feet. You just try to find the best in all of those areas.
Q: A week ago, you told us that Odell Beckham was being pretty close to being fully cleared. By pretty close, are you maybe talking about in time for next week’s mini camp or more towards training camp?
A: Yeah, possibly. We will have to see when we cross that bridge.
Q: When he comes back, what does he have to show you in order to get back on the field?
A: He just has to get out there. Obviously we will visit on how he is doing and again, we talk frequently. We’ll visit how he is doing and put him out there and give him a little bit more as we go.
Q: Are you expecting both Odell and Damon Harrison to be here next week?
A: Yeah, absolutely.
Q: I know you can’t tell much with the offensive line without the pads on, but with that said, Jon Halapio has been getting a lot of first team reps. Can you talk about what he brings at center and why you like him at that spot?
A: Yeah, he has done a very good job. Pio is very smart, he’s got good instincts – he snaps the ball well, which is a really refreshing thing for a center. That was supposed to be humorous (laughs). But no, he does all of those things well and he’s very competitive and he knows how to play the game. I think (Brett) Jonesey is doing the same thing. They’re just in there competing. I wouldn’t overevaluate who is getting the first team reps, but I think if you’re talking about Pio specifically, he has really sort of opened his eyes that he has a chance to play.
Q: With the explosive pieces that you have that we can all see, how much time do you spend being creative and figuring out ways that they can be used on Sundays?
A: Well, we think about that often. I just told the players that it’s not about the plays, it’s about the players. So we have to constantly look for the best ways to get them the ball. We did a couple of things creatively today, we saw a couple of matchups that we wanted where on defense they made good plays against us on the other side of the ball as well. So yeah, we’re always thinking about that. I think that’s the key to our game, it’s not just putting the players out there, but using them well and then the ones that warrant giving them the ball, you give them the ball and I think that’s what we try to do.
Q: You signed Garrett Dickerson today. You had said back at rookie mini camp that even if he wasn’t signed the next day, he would be right back in the mix. What did you like about him and why did you bring him back?
A: We thought that in really a short period of time he showed us that he was smart and he had instincts, runs around well, he catches the ball and we’re just trying to keep reshaping the 90-man roster as we get ready for training camp. We felt like it was a good time to bring in these guys to kind of give them a two weeks head start into the summer and then certainly training camp. So we liked what we saw in a short exposure, so we’re going to bring him in and try to learn more.
Q: Eli Apple made a nice play today.
A: Yeah, that was a good play. Then we saw Jackrabbit make a nice interception in the back of the end zone. The ball was thrown well, everyone was in a good position and he made a nice play on it. That’s a good thing. But then earlier on, Sterling (Shepard) made a couple nice plays, so that’s where when you look at it or point to a play or two, but within a practice you see them kind of getting after each other and we don’t tally the score at this point. We’re just looking for guys to compete and work hard against one another so that we can all get better.
Q: I noticed you gave a lot of young guys a lot more reps today that we’ve seen in the last few weeks. What is your reasoning for that today?
A: We had a real big personnel meeting last Thursday where we kind of just sat down and just talked organizationally about all of the players. I just felt like it was time to get a real good look at what we have with some of the younger players as we move forward. We were kind of at the halfway point at OTAs. We’re seeing a lot good things from our front line guys, but we felt like today was a good day to see what some of the younger, fresher legged guys could do and then we gave them 14 plays there and we did it in a setting where it was basically a scrimmage so we could see how they would function getting in and out of the huddle, how they would line up on plays that weren’t scripted, and it will be a good tool for us to evaluate some of the young guys.
Q: Why did you give Aldrick Rosas a do-over after he missed at the end of practice?
A: I just wanted to see him make one and he had made every kick until the last one and it’s just like shooting baskets, you don’t want to leave the court on a miss. That’s all.