Head Coach Pat Shurmur
September 21, 2018
Q: How big a loss is it not to have (Eli Apple) and (Olivier Vernon)?
A: Certainly any time your first line players go down, but we’ve got guys that we trust and we’re going to put them in there and we trust that they’re going to go out there and play well.
Q: How big of a challenge is it for (B.W. Webb) or (Donte Deayon), whoever you’ve got there?
A: I think they have fine receivers, so anybody that we put out there, it’s going to be a challenge, but we’ve got a good plan, we’re confident, and we feel like they’re going to play well.
Q: You’ve played them both inside and outside, but do you have a preference to keep Deayon in one of those two spots if you can?
A: I think he has ability to play in and out, and so wherever he ends up, dependent on the defense that’s called, we feel confident he can play both in and out.
Q: What stands out with Deayon with his size, or lack thereof – how is he able to overcome that?
A: He’s a good cover guy and he has a good knack for getting his hands on the ball. Even though he hasn’t secured some of the interceptions, he’s at least getting his hands on the ball. We’ve just got to finish those with picks. That’s really his strong suit, is being able to cover.
Q: After (Dak Prescott) had some runs against you, how much of the focus is on preventing (Deshaun Watson) from doing the same things?
A: The zone read is part of the NFL game now, especially for quarterbacks that can move around, and so certainly every team watches what the previous teams have done against a defense or an offense. I’m sure we’re going to see some form of the zone read and they’re going to test and see if we’ve corrected the mistakes.
Q: What specific things did you or didn’t you do last Sunday that you have to do this week?
A: That’s tactical, certainly, so I wouldn’t share that.
Q: (DeAndre Hopkins) and (Will Fuller) have been on the injury report all week. Do you have a separate plan if they’re out?
A: No, I think we’re going to play it the same way. This time of year, there’s a lot of players on the injury report that tend to play, so we don’t over-evaluate that. Typically, if you have a guy like we have like OV or somebody like that, but guys that played last week and didn’t really go out with an injury and are somewhat limited, we plan on playing them.
Q: (Jadeveon Clowney) seems to be one of those guys, it looks like he’s going to play. What kind of challenge does he present for your line, and that whole front in general?
A: I think the whole front, obviously, we’ve talked about it all week, the marquee players on that front are the linebackers, both inside and out, and so it’s a challenge. We’ve just got to go block them.
Q: Without Eli (Apple) there, do you have to change some of the way you play defensively, maybe blitz less and protect the back more?
A: Again, that’s a tactics question, so we’ll just have to see how it plays out, but we have the ability to help corners, regardless of who they are, and we have the ability to sort of leave them on an island and you make them cover their guy.
Q: So you have confidence?
A: Sure, we have confidence he’ll be able to execute the plan.
Q: What’s the general focus been of the players this week and trying not to put too much pressure, must-win and all that?
A: I think the important thing is just go through the process. The message today was to make today the best Friday and keep going, keep moving. We feel good about the plan we put in place, now we’ve just got to go out and execute it.
Q: Players have said you’ve stayed calm. You said the same. There’s a bunch of different approaches you can take, you can turn up the heat on them, why is that the approach you’ve taken?
A: They tend to tell you when I stay calm, they don’t tell you when I act another way, so good for them.
Q: Are you saying you have been sterner on them at times?
A: No, I think my personality is such where I tell them what I think and when I add emotion to it, that’s my business and that’s their business, that’s not your business. That’s the way I handled it. Don’t misunderstand the calm, I guess. I think what’s important is that our guys understand, and I tell them straight up how I feel. I just don’t share it with the world.