Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula
June 13, 2018
Q: How is the installation going?
A: It’s been going well. Our guys have been really into it. They have had a good look in their eye all offseason, which is what we would have expected. We still have a ways to go, but as we think back to where we’ve come from, we’ve come a long way. So we’re just going to keep trying to get better, we have one more day tomorrow and then get ourselves ready for training camp.
Q: How has Kyle Lauletta looked compared to rookie quarterbacks that you have worked with in the past?
A: He’s got – it’s early, we haven’t done anything in pads, we haven’t played any games, but he has a nice calmness about himself that if things don’t go exactly how they are drawn out on the board, his mind works pretty fast so far and he finds the next guy, gets through his progressions. He has a good feel for anticipation and touch and things like that, so I think he’s off to a good start.
Q: You have two guys that it seems like are starting on the right side of the offensive line that have spent most of their time on the left side. What are the challenges and concerns with that situation?
A: About like you would expect. There is a newness. You start from the stance, just kind of getting comfortable in the stances. Whether or not it is first and second down or third down as you are protecting the passer and then with the newness, not just with those two guys being there and getting a feel for each other, how they work, how they work in pass protection to pass games off or work on double teams in the run game. Just the newness of the whole offense, so it’s been good to see. I think we’re getting better, both of those guys are getting better and more comfortable. They are both very talented, they both have a good look in their eye in coming out and wanting to prove things. They’re kind of like the rest of us – we’re not there yet, but we’re working to get better.
Q: New habits can go away fast. You have six weeks off after this mini camp. How do they keep going and keep improving during the time off?
A: Yeah. That’s a good question. It is a little bit harder than you probably think, really for all of us. We get a little break, but you kind of got to get your mind going back quickly and you might lose out on a little muscle memory, so to speak. We plan for that as well as coaches and I think our players do, especially our veterans that have done it before so that maybe what you lose a little bit to start with is not as much as maybe you’re starting at the start of the offseason. I think it’s important – the other part of it is and just from the little short time that I’ve been here, I think it is important to these guys and I think that shows up in our meetings and our walk throughs, and I think because of that it is going to be less of a learning curve when we get back.
Q: Does it ever feel like you never left Carolina with so many Panthers around here?
A: No, it definitely feels like I left Carolina. I’m thrilled to be here and we’ve got, Dave (Gettleman) has brought some guys in here that were quality players for us in Charlotte and they’re all – again, like the rest of us, here with something to prove.
Q: How valuable is it to have a running back as versatile as Saquon as a threat?
A: Yeah, he’s looked good in all of those areas as you have seen and we have seen day-in and day-out. He’s still a rookie and he’s still got things to learn – not just what is on paper and this is your job on this play, but all of the little adjustments you are going to make before the snap, after the snap and then each team is going to try to, each team is a little bit different and you have to get used to that. We’re working all offseason long against our defense and then all of a sudden our first preseason game is going to be against Cleveland, they are a different style. Obviously the opener is going to be a different style of defense. He has to learn that you still have your foundation and what you’re doing and then just to make those little adjustments. But he is a guy that we think is going to have some flexibility and some versatility for us.
Q: Now that you’ve had a spring to work with Eli Manning, what is your assessment on what you have seen from him?
A: I’m excited to continue to work with him. We talk in our profession about coming to work everyday, being the same guy, having the guys around you know what to expect from you and he’s the true example of that. He’s really worked hard to learn this offense as fast as anybody and again, not just to learn it but to learn all the adjustments. He’s got such a good feel of what he knows we’re going to have to make moving forward even though sometimes we might not have even talked about them here already because it’s just our defense. But all that being said, his timing is good, he’s been accurate, he knows how to find guys if number one isn’t open and those are all things that hopefully he will continue to improve on and he will probably be the first to tell you that he needs to continue to improve and get better for us to keep taking steps.
Q: Ability wise, is there anything at all that you see that is maybe a concession to age?
A: Well, we’re not going to run Q-power, but other than that, he’s been good. As we know, the guys that are at his age and are playing are in it for a reason, because they understand where they’re at in their careers, they understand their bodies, they understand what they have to get done – Drew Brees, Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, those guys. Tom Brady is obviously almost in a different class all by himself even being a few years older. And Eli is a perfect example that they get that and they know that and their minds are really fast. If there is anything that he maybe lacks because he is a little bit older, he makes up because of his mind being so fast.
Q: Where have you seen Davis Webb take the biggest jump this spring?
A: I think it’s hard to say exactly where he has taken the biggest jump. He has taken big strides and I think he’s flashed for sure during some practices. I really like his arm strength, he can be really accurate. Again, he will probably be the first to tell you that he can work on his consistency. If everything is not right, finding the outlet and fixing it sometimes. It might not be a great call against that defense, knowing how to fix it, maybe a receiver falls down or whatever or there is a protection and knowing where to go when those things happen. But all those guys are and he is another good example of guys that are really eager to learn the offense as well as they can and he comes to work with the mindset that he wants to prove to himself and everybody in this building that he can play.
Q: When we spoke to (offensive line coach) Hal Hunter a couple months ago, he said that you have to kind of see who your pieces are on the field to know what kind of running game you know you have. Where do you see that going at this point?
A: Well, I think we’re still in that step, right in the middle of that step. We are still evaluating the guys up front. In Coach Shurmur’s offense, we have the ability to do a lot of things, we just want to still have the ability to do those things, but zero in on things that we’re good at up front, that Saquon is good at, all of our running backs and just have that mix of things that we’re going to be good at, but also do enough stuff where we’re versatile and keeping teams off balance. Like I said, we’re still in the middle of that step, but as we get into training camp, we will start zeroing in on the things that we can hang our hat on.
Q: Are you leaning any way at this point?
A: Right now it’s kind of – we want to be a bit of everything in that regard and for good reason, so that we’re not being too predictable. Then we will kind of tailor it as we get into the games.