Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula
September 6, 2018
Q: How excited are you to see it all come together?
A: We’ve had some really good work. It’s been a fast six or seven months since we’ve all got here. Guys have worked really hard, and we’ve talked to all of our players on our team and offensively about earning the right to be here, having something to prove, which I think we all do. The guys are excited for the season, they’ve earned this opportunity to be here. We’ve got a tough challenge ahead and are just locking in on Jacksonville right now.
Q: Can you talk about that Jaguar defense and the challenges they present?
A: They’re so talented. Their scheme, they are well-coached. It starts with the guys up front. They can be very disruptive up front in both the run game and the pass game. They’ve had a bunch of sacks last year just with rushing four people, and then everything else fits off that. They’re very talented in the back seven as well -- guys that can cover man to man, they’re fast when they’re in zone, they get to the ball very fast, and there’s a lot of guys that can get to the ball quickly. They’re really good. There’s a reason why they went as far as they did last year.
Q: Do they do a lot of exotic blitzes and stunts more so than some other teams?
A: They have that ability and they can pull it out at any time, but they also can just kind of do things where they let their guys play and come off the ball, and they’re very effective doing both. I think that’s what kind of separates them or elevates them from other defenses in the league.
Q: The staff settled on the five offensive linemen pretty early in the summer and stuck with them. What do you see from that group, and are they ready for this kind of challenge? It’s a new group up front.
A: Yeah. Every snap we get out there on the field with those guys being together, collectively offensively, we feel like we’re going to get better. Your question is valid, we don’t have a lot of time on task together. You can tell our guys are talented. It means a lot to them, they communicate very well, and now it’s time. We’ve got live bullets coming Sunday against a really good team. We feel very comfortable with those guys, and (I’m) looking forward to them helping lead our offense.
Q: How important is it offensively to incorporate the multitude of weapons that you have in this first game?
A: We feel like we have to use the guys the best way we can. The number-one thing is to have our guys playing fast, and knowing what to do and doing it fast because we feel like if they do that, it gives us our best chance. We’ve got a quarterback in Eli (Manning) that is a fast thinker and can get the ball out, but we don’t want to force the ball to any one of those guys. We want to have Eli make good decisions and take what they give you, you hear that all the time, find the one on ones and things like that. Then as coaches, we want to make sure that we have enough stuff that gets the ball around to all those guys. We want to be versatile with our scheme, whether we’re running it, throwing it, quick game, drop back, play action, misdirection, but also versatile with where the ball’s going based on our personnel.
Q: All preseason long, your offense didn’t play together. Does that create some trepidation or curiosity regarding how it’s all going to come together?
A: There’s a newness regardless in the fact that we’re all here with Coach Shurmur, all of us that are new, but yeah, you’d like to have every snap, as many snaps as you can, game-like snaps together. But we’ve also got some guys with Eli and some other guys that have been here, and I think as coaches through the years you kind of get used to that, maybe the first time going through it. You’ve been around offenses that haven’t had that (and) you kind of get a little nervous, but you learn a little bit from that. Sometimes that might be the best thing too, where you’re resting guys and they’re feeling fresh, so there’s tradeoffs a little bit. We’re all excited about the opportunity to watch these guys for the first time together.
Q: What was your preseason evaluation of (Kyle Lauletta), because obviously the organization went with him over (Davis Webb) as the young quarterback?
A: We think Kyle is a young guy that just has continued to get better with reps. He’s got very good football intelligence, I think he’s got some intangibles that you need at that position. For a young guy, and not just out there on the field, we’ve got him reps. Ideally, we try to get all the guys more reps, but you can kind of sense that day in and day out, the learning process that he’s going through and how quickly he’s picking things up – not just by what you see on the field, but how he is in the meeting rooms with the other players, always kind of thinking about things other than maybe just the way it’s drawn up. I think his arrow is definitely pointing up, and looking forward to working with him more.
Q: Schematically, now that you and (Pat Shurmur) have been together for a while, how similar is the stuff he does to what you do and vice versa?
A: Coach has been great. He’s unbelievable to work for. He’s got a lot of energy, he’s very positive, very open-minded. As a staff, there’s a lot of guys that are working together for the first time – offensively, especially, but really throughout the staff. I think the main thing is, we all have ideas and convictions on things based on what we’ve done in the past or been around. We decide collectively. Ultimately it’s his decision, and then whatever that decision is, we make it the best one we can and we will. Again, I think that mesh point has been very comfortable, I would say, for both of us.
Q: Over his first four seasons, when (Odell Beckham Jr.) is on the field, the Giants scored six more points per game than when he’s off of it. Now that you’ve spent an offseason with him, why has he been that valuable?
A: You guys have seen him up close. He’s really talented, as we know. He knows and gets football, all the little adjustments that maybe sometimes you have to tell other guys, he kind of gets them. All the elite receivers that we’ve all seen, they all have certain characteristics. He’s got really, really good hands and he’s a guy that has made big plays in big situations. He’s a big piece to our puzzle, but he’s not the only piece and we’re looking forward to having him and Eli get together and all those other guys where it all ties in together where we’ve got 11 guys doing the right thing and giving ourselves the best chance.