Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula -- October 25, 2018
Q: Are there specific two-point plays in the game plan or do you just draw from other plays you have in the red zone?
A: A little bit of both, a little bit of both and they differ weekly depending on the team we’re playing, depending on how they play down there. Some teams have a philosophy defensively two-point and some teams kind of play their what we call low red zone defense, so we kind of try to mix and match and figure out what’s best and/or if we haven’t used one already, then whether or not we want to use it again or move on to another one.
Q: The offensive line has been inconsistent all year. Is there anything you see that leads you to believe that things can be corrected from a physical or technical standpoint?
A: Sure. Guys are working hard and they’re working to get better. They’re working – we’ve had some moving parts, different guys playing next to each other. I think with each meeting, each practice, those guys are going to get better. Experience together – you hear it talked about a lot. I truly believe in that especially up front when five guys got to communicate and I think they’ll continue to get better each week.
Q: Nate (Solder) obviously came here, got paid a lot of money. A lot of people have criticized how he’s played or handled the adjustment. What have you seen from him and how do you think he’s done?
A: I think he’s had some – he’s played some really good football, but he’s also like a lot of us. We all want to be more consistent throughout our game each week and continue to get better and help our football team win.
Q: What do you see in Washington’s defense? What do they present this week?
A: They’re playing well. They’re disciplined, they do a nice job – first of all, upfront, they’re very active, they’re powerful. Their down linemen are outside backers which basically play like defensive ends and they’re athletic enough to cover as well. Do a good job whether or not they’re two-gapping or kind of stunting and moving around. Their inside linebackers are downhill, play the run very well. Their secondary is very athletic and not only athletic, but they’re really good with the ball in the air. I think they’re coached well. They have a nice package on third down, a variety of coverages and/or mixing in blitzes as well.
Q: How much does a guy like (Ryan) Kerrigan cause you to change what you do from a protection standpoint?
A: I think there’s certain things that for sure we have to be careful of what we want to do and how we want to protect. He’s like a lot of very good pass rushers in this league, but he’s unique just because he’s very smart. If you make a mistake, he’s going to make you pay. His motor runs very high and he finishes every play, so whether or not it’s sliding to him or having an extra guy help out on protection, we just got to be able to mix it and then everybody else do their job as well and get the ball out on time.
Q: They’ve only allowed like 87 yards rushing per game. What kind of challenge is that to get the running game going against a team that that’s kind of their forte?
A: We want to be balanced, number one, each and every week. We haven’t done a good enough job. Last week, we didn’t do a good enough job to be balanced. You still have to be able to run the ball against fronts where they’re bringing an extra guy and make that guy miss or make him the furthest guy away and use our receivers. All those kinds of things, but they’re good upfront and they do a nice job even in their seven-man fronts of stopping the run. I’m sure as coach and others have said, we just got to worry more about ourselves and getting better and whether or not that’s double teams or single blocks or running through arm tackles and then staying out of the long yardage situations. I think all that will help the running game.
Q: How key is tempo especially – can you look at tempo when you’re playing speed wise like you did against Houston, getting the ball out quick. How much is that going to be essential against Washington?
A: Every week, I think it’s important. There’s times where depending on your play, ideally, yeah you can get the ball out really fast, quick gain every single play, but you can’t do that against every coverage. There’s coverages that take that away, but I think the biggest thing is, again, stay out of the long yardage stuff. When we’ve moved the ball, we’ve been able to get the ball out on time, get open on time, protect well, and then all of sudden you just can’t have one or two little mistakes, whether or not it’s one guy here, one guy there, whatever it is. That kind of sets you back and just as we know, you guys hear it all the time, you just got to strive for the consistency and continue to when you make a big play, be ready to go make another play and get a first down and finish drives. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re moving the ball and we’re doing some good things. We just got to do them more.
Q: What do you see from Sterling (Shepard) in terms of big play ability? Against Atlanta, he had I think three catches of 35 or more.
A: He’s explosive and I think you guys have all seen that since he’s been here. I think the thing that showed up the other night and hopefully we’ll continue. It’s just he’s playing the ball well in the air. He’s aggressive, making the contested catches, which at least since I’ve known him I think maybe early when I first saw him, he was maybe making them, but he’s doing a better job of making more of them and taking advantage of the opportunities. I think he’s a really good compliment with Odell (Beckham Jr.).