Head Coach Pat Shurmur
July 29, 2018
Day 4, we’re just working through the first phase here of the padded practices. It’s important we get out here and get a lot of good work done like we did yesterday. Behind the scenes, we just keep working with the players so that they embrace getting the proper sleep, proper rest, eating proper meals – and then hydrating properly so that once the practice is over, their thoughts go immediately to recovery. So, those are the three components of making sure they come out the next day and train and increase their workload. That’s what we’re going through. I’m assuming the 31 other teams are doing the same thing. We’re just looking forward to Day 2 in pads.
Q: Three straight days in pads now. Do you increase the intensity of the practices? Or does it slow down?
A: There’s certain things we want to get done. You saw yesterday, we embraced the redzone. We did our first seven-on-seven in the redzone. We’re working situational football. You guys aren’t privy to the scripts. One of our team periods was all first downs. We’re always teaching situational football. So, every segment of plays or group of things that we’re doing speaks to a part of our game. Over the next couple of days, we’ll try to hit all those areas.
Q: You’re installing a new offense and defense. Do you expect one to be ahead of the other?
A: No, I’m expecting it to be very competitive. I’m expecting the offense to execute well, and I’m expecting the defense to do the same. I expect the offense to do things to score points, and the defense to keep them out of the end zone. Along the way, those are the things we’re working on. And you’ll see out there – it’s easy to do the math. Every once in a while, you’ll say, well this guy gave up this or this guy gave up that. But, it’s a competitive situation. We’re all out there getting better. Sometimes the mistakes that show up in practice are very important. If they weren’t important, then you wouldn’t practice. Because when a mistake occurs, what typically happens – at least our mindset is, first the player admits he made a mistake. Then he gets with his coach, or whoever. They discuss how they’re going to fix it. They go about fixing it, then they move on to the next play, and hopefully not make that mistake again. That’s why we’re out there competing. As long as we’re all about the ball, and negotiating the ground, and staying off the ground, and being a great teammate, we can practice any phase of our game and get through those mistakes.
Q: What are the benefits for Odell when he’s in the slot?
A: Anytime the defense can predict exactly where you’re going to be all the time – if you’re an offense that only runs one protection, you’re going to get nailed. Or, if the receiver is only in one spot all the time, that player is easier to defend. I think I’m speaking to the obvious. If you move him around, hopefully they’ve got to at least have some meetings and decide how they want to cover him.
Q: Tight ends have to block and work with the offensive line. They also have to be a factor in the passing game. How important is the tight end position to this offense?
A: You answered the question better than I could. It’s a critical position. Other than the quarterback, that’s the one connection to the run game, to the passing game, and then obviously the protection game. Those players need to be efficient. As we know, tight ends – they have a redeeming quality. Go through the league, and just take all the tight ends and what’s his redeeming quality? Is he a pass receiver? Is he more of a blocker? Is he a guy that can do both and play on all three downs? Hopefully, you have a good guy on your roster that can be all those things. That’s why I think it takes a village at tight end, and we’ve got to use them strategically to get the best out of their skillset.
Q: Lorenzo Carter is known for setting the edge. But, is he a player than can create pressure up the middle as well?
A: Yeah, he’s working through it. I think he has one of those redeeming qualities. We’re down that road right now. One of his redeeming qualities is he’s an excellent edge player. But, you also have to be able to work in conjunction with line stunts. Those are things we’re trying to get out of him. He’s a big athlete that’s very long. He’s just working through it.
Q: Does bringing Connor Barwin in speak to anything in regards to Lorenzo Carter’s role?
A: No, no. Actually, we brought him in to try to help Carter as well. Connor Barwin has got some good rushes left in him – I think you saw that yesterday. He’s a very veteran player. Along the way, these veteran players help rookies. I don’t think you can have too many edge players – I really don’t, because at some point we’re rushing four, they’re dropping back throwing. We’ve got to be able to get pressure, and we’ve got to be able to cover.
Q: What have you seen from Ereck Flowers so far? And can you elaborate on the depth at the offensive line position.
A: I think Ereck had a good day yesterday. I think he got comfortable through the backend of the OTAs at right tackle. He’s been competing real well in both the run and the passing game. I think he had a good day yesterday. I think when we put the second group in there, I think they’re very competitive guys. The backups, we’ve got a mixture of experience and youth. The whole idea of training for the preseason games is to see them do it in game action. I’m hopeful that we’re going to get a couple good players out of that backup group.
Q: What has Donte Deayon shown you thus far?
A: He’s one of those guys that – he’s done a good job. You’ve seen him mostly in the slot covering. He’s got good cover skills. He must’ve felt like he’s done some lifting this summer. He uncovered his arms yesterday. So, I was giving him some grief about that. He’s got very good coverage skills, he’s very competitive. He has a knack for getting his hands on the ball. You’ve seen him be little bit disruptive on some throws, and actually get a couple interceptions. I would say that’s pretty much what he is at this point.
Q: What have you seen from your defensive line?
A: It’s still early – and again, yesterday being the first day, I think they were a little bit disruptive at times. But no, B.J. Hill has come in really fast. And then (Dalvin) Tomlinson, Dalvin is a really good player. I’m getting used to them. Now you see them in there with pads on. I’m getting a quicker, better feel for how we’re going to rotate those guys in there.
Q: Did John Jerry leave practice yesterday?
A: Yeah, John Jerry left practice yesterday. He had an upset stomach. We got him checked out. He’ll be out there today, he’s fine.
Q: How’s Sterling Shepard? Seems like he had a problem with his foot yesterday.
A: He’s fine, he’s fine.