Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula
September 27, 2018
Q: What did you like about the new offensive linemen?
A: Overall offensively, including the offensive line, I think we played more consistently last week. Still made some mistakes, have to continue to improve on our communication. Thatís probably one of the biggest areas of improvement we need to continue with, but there was some good. Good enough to win, but there were some other things that we have to get better at.
Q: What do you look at the first half and say, we did this really well and thatís why we were more successful?†
A: Itís hard. If you could put your finger on it exactly then weíd all be winning a lot more games. One of the things was the effort, the ability to stay, kind of move on from one play to the next. We had a couple bad plays in that early drive, and yet we just made a play to get a first down and kind of kept it going. We did that pretty well in the first half, and the drives this year that weíve moved the ball Ė some of them we havenít scored touchdowns on Ė weíve done that. Weíve been pretty good on second and long, weíre trying to get better efficiency wise on the early downs, first and ten, second one to six, we definitely are working on that as well. In the meantime, whether or not itís Eli (Manning) making good decisions or us just trying to play on their side of the line of scrimmage in the running game, eliminating penetration, weíve been able to do some things to get first downs and keep us on the field.
Q: What did you see from Rhett Ellison? He got an increase in snaps the other day when Evan (Engram) went down.†††
A: We saw about what we expected. This is my first year with him, but heís been very steady, heís a true veteran, he understands the game, heís smart, heís a fast thinker, heís versatile, so then when Evan went down obviously his reps picked up and we really didnít miss a beat. Eli as you saw, has got complete confidence in him, so we need to continue the way we finished last week with him and some of the other guys that came in and played well.††
Q: Evan is kind of unique in the sense that he gives you that deep option. Do you lose that with him out, or do you have something you can do?†
A: Not really, maybe on certain things that you might kind of go out of your way to feature Evan on, but other than that, no. Rhett is really very valuable because of all the things I mentioned earlier.†††
Q: With Evan out, heís a dangerous receiving threat. Can you get that production from Rhett, or do you need some of that from your wide receivers too, from the Sterling Shepardís? How do you view distribution there?
A: Yes to both questions. I think you can get that production out of Rhett, it might not be in the exact same way you do it with Evan, but you can get that production where heís going to be able to have the ability to give you a chunk play. It might just be in a different way. But yes also to the other guys, any time thereís somebody that goes down, other guys have to step up and we did that as well last week, and weíre going to have to definitely do it this week.††††
Q: Is it safe to say even if you lose that deep ball threat with Evan, as long as Rhett and the other guys are chipping away and moving the chains, youíll take that as opposed to the big home run play?
A: Sure, weíll take it any way we can just to make first downs and stay on the field. The big thing is, if we do stay on the field, those big plays are going to come. We had some explosive plays last week where they were just short passes that turned into explosive plays. As we know, thereís a variety of ways you can get those plays, but I think the biggest thing is just the guys that are in there when their number is called, step up and make the play.
Q: When you look at Eliís decision making and his completion percentage was obviously really high Sunday, Pat Shurmur said that on the ball that went to Rhett for the touchdown, Odell was the first option. Eli recognized the coverage and goes to the tight end. Have you seen Eliís decision making in this offense improve week to week, or has that been something that youíve been pleased with?
A: Yeah, itís been very consistent. He is a very good decision maker, and then not only that, but when he makes the decision just kind of like Iíve always seen before I got here, he gets the ball there quickly and accurately. I think thatís one of the big things for a quarterback, if number one is not open, then you get to number two or number three quickly and you get the ball there accurately, and I think heís really good at that.
Q: On the offensive line:†
A: I just think we got a little bit better. Like I said earlier, we need to continue to get better. I think everybody just got a little bit better, played a little more consistently. I mentioned communication needs to improve, I do think we did communicate better, but it wasnít just those guys. They helped our receivers by allowing our receivers to get open, and then our receivers kind of helped them. When youíre moving the ball and scoring points, itís usually not just one group, itís a bunch of guys helping each other out.
Q: How do you balance high percentage pass completions with trying to make more productive plays down the field?
A: You just trust your quarterback and you give him enough options to be able to do both and make good decisions. Itís about the end result, getting the ball in the end zone however we need to get there. We feel fortunate that we have guys that can, whether or not itís a five yard pass that can turn into an explosive or catch a ball 40 yards down the field, or throw a ball 40 down the field, and make an explosive play that way.