Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula
Q: How did you evaluate the offensive lineís play?
A: I think in general, offensively, I think we got off to a slow start and I think all of us, in that regard, but once we kind of got our feet settled underneath us a little bit, the guys did a good job protecting in the second quarter, protection-wise first and second quarter, in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter there was some really good pockets. At time we took advantage of it, other times we had some near misses so I think all of us, not just the offensive line, need to get out to a little better start and be consistent. Then in the run game I think that we were just a little off early as well, but as we know, it takes all of us. With a guy like Saquon (Barkley) back there in the running game, you just got to keep going, keep going, staying on guys and eventually you think heís going to break one, kind of like this Sunday.
Q: Wondering how much you attribute it to your group not being much together, itís a totally new line. How much does that actually factor in your mind?
A: Thatís a fine line in having excuses and just Ė I think you have to look at that a little bit and be realistic, but also weíre here to win right now and thatís the most important thing I think. Obviously having a game now under our belt with the 11 guys in there that we hadnít had in there earlier in the preseason is going to be helpful and like I said, hopefully weíll be able to see that improvement from week one to week two.
Q: As the game went on it looked like you gave Ereck Flowers more help on that side. Is that something you feel youíre going to have to do at the start of the game?
A: Well I think in general protection-wise you have to Ė everything ties in together. Guys have to win one-on-oneís. Youíre going to have times where youíre going to slide. You want to mix your protections up whether or not youíre keeping your backs and tight ends in or free releasing them, not being predictable. I think thatís probably the biggest thing, more so, and itís whether or not you want a five-man protection or six-man protection or seven-man protection. To start with guys got to know what theyíre doing, know where their help is, got to get the ball out on time and then when we have backs or tight ends helping out, chipping on the way out or involved with protection, we got to do a good job with that too.
Q: Did you learn something about Ereck in that first game? Heís never played there before.
A: Yeah, I think we all learned a lot about everybody so we just all need to be more consistent in regard to number one, be more consistent and number two get off to a better start. That better start doesnít mean we need to score 14 points right out of the gate, thatíd be great, but just eliminate the negative plays. We had way too many negative plays whether or not they were penalties or plays for losses early that kind of dug us into a hole. When you look at our drives, the times we didnít have that, we were moving the ball and then we got to get in the end zone.
Q: Howís that change your offense when you have to keep an extra tight end on the line to block?
A: I think every week we plan on mixing our protections whether or not itís a five-man, six-man or seven-man protection so itís not really Ė I think itís, so far since weíve been here, itís been consistent with other places Iíve been in regard to having a plan for different types of protections.
Q: In an offense, with the receivers, do you want them all to get the same amount of touches or do you go with who is hot and he gets the most?
A: Yes, to both questions. Yeah, I mean throw to the open guy and get the ball there on time and accurately. The main thing for the quarterback is make good decisions and make them on time and obviously the physical part there is getting the ball there accurately. We donít want the quarterback thinking about you have to throw to this guy or youíve thrown too many times to this guy, you have to throw over there. It just happens natural with his progressions and his reads. Then us as coaches, if thereís Ė obviously youíre looking for things that are good looks and if theyíre not good looks then you have to have change up looks of it or thatís where your quarterback is so important to make sure he doesnít try to force it.
Q: What did you think of Eliís game?
A: Like the whole offense, I think there was some signs of really good play. I loved the way he moved in the pocket and he gets the ball out fast and we just werenít quite consistent enough and we just had a couple opportunities where if we hit him, we can get points on the board and then it might be a totally different ball game so I think heís like everybody else just working on being more consistent, but thereís a lot of good things there that we want to continue to build on and then thereís some other things we think we can get better.
Q: Given that Odell had 4.6 yards of separation, could his day have been and maybe should his day have been even bigger and your day as an offense bigger?
A: Should we have throw to him more? Is that what youíre saying?
Q: Or hit him when he was open.
A: Well we try to complete all of our passes so hopefully weíll continue to stride in that regard.
Q: But you know what Iím asking, you have a premier guy who is against a really good defense, but he is getting really, NFL-wise, open targets to his quarterback.
A: Yeah thatís good and hopefully heíll continue to do that and again, it kind of goes back to an earlier question I think that you want to be able to allow your guys to do what they do best and then get the ball to them and yet not be predictable. Itís a fine line in doing that and forcing the ball to certain guys. Then all of a sudden you have Saquon back there as well. You can say, ĎWell, did you give him enough carries?í so those are all good questions to answer and I think that as we move forward weíll continue to (answer). The biggest thing for us to do offensively is make first downs and stay on the field so then you have more opportunities for everybody.
Q: Did you give him enough carries when you said that to yourself?
A: I think we had a good balance and I think that, again, itís about maximizing, whatever the call is, what weíre doing run or pass. Just got to win a game now.