Head Coach Pat Shurmur -- November 21, 2018
Opening Remarks: Today I think the only guy that wonít be out there to some degree will be Kerry Wynn, heís in the protocol still, so weíll just have to see where that takes us through the week. Otherwise, some of the guys are a little bit sore, theyíll all do something. It doesnít look like weíre too bad other than Kerry from last weekís game, so little bit of an update there. Otherwise, Iíll take your questions.
Q: How different have (the Eagles) looked from the last time you saw them on offense? It looks like the running game has dropped off a little bit and theyíve had to rely more on the passing game. Do you see the same thing?
A: No, I think itís the same offense. Theyíre a hard offense to defend because they attack the width of the field. They have the bubble screen game, they have the flat path runs that attack the perimeter, so theyíll do the things to stretch the width of the field, but then theyíll attack down the field with (Zach) Ertz and some of the concepts they have. (Carson) Wentz does a really good job not only of executing in rhythm, but if he can slide it out of the pocket, I call them 60-yard check downs. He does a really good job, he remains a passer all the way Ďtil he crosses the line of scrimmage, so itís super important that we stay in coverage because guys running free downfield, heíll see them all the way Ďtil the last moment before he starts to run. Thatís really what makes their offense tick. Their offensive linemen, theyíre healthy and together, theyíve blocked as well as any group in the league. For whatever reason, teams have things happen to them, but this is an outstanding offense.
Q: Their top four or five cornerbacks have (had) various injuries, itís kind of unknown whoís going to play back there. How unique is that from a preparation/scouting standpoint?
A: Because of the way they play defense and really the thing that stirs the drink for them is their front, there are times where they can take a little pressure off their corners by the way their front and safeties play, so theyíve been doing a little bit of that. The players that they have in there are good players, and itís going to be important that we do a good job first off blocking them, and then when we choose to throw the ball outside, being really good about what we try to do.
Q: On the success the Eagles have had against the Giants in the past and if thereís a common thread:
A: Last time we played them, I know exactly why they beat us. We didnít do anything that you need to do against any type of team to win. We turned the ball over, we gave them big plays, we just didnít play well enough to beat any team, so we have to fix that. Thatís more about us. Going back to it, we canít turn the ball over, pick six early in the game. We did a lot of things where you go, ĎUgh, now I see why we didnít (win).Ē Thatís more about us and less about them.
Q: Are you using (this game) as a little bit of payback when you talk to the team this week? This is the only game of the year where they laid it to you pretty good, the only game you guys were out of this year. Theyíve lost four in a row, eight of the last ten to these guys. Are you using that as a little bit of payback?
A: No, Iím just saying it like I see it. That game got away from us. We played a really good team and we didnít play well, and we got smacked. They need to know that, so that we can worry about doing the things well that we didnít do well in that game. Thatís more of the deal. I donít get into all the payback things, weíre going to play this team twice a year and maybe in the playoffs if weíre both in the playoffs, so as we go, weíve got to approach each time we play them with the mindset we have to do what we have to do to win that game.
Q: Are you also a different team? I think you got five or six new players since the last time.
A: Yes, weíre a much different team in a lot of ways. We found a way to have two good team victories the last two weeks, so weíre doing some things as a team better, not near good enough yet, but we are different. We have some new faces in there certainly, so yeah we are different. Theyíre different. Thatís why this is fun. Even though you play a team twice a year, if you play them early and you play them late, they can be two different scenarios really. Iím looking forward to it.
Q: Is there a recurring theme going on with the pass rush? Itís been slow these last few weeks.
A: No, thatís one of the areas where we can do a better job of getting pressure. Letís just start with when youíre rushing four Ė those four guys have got to beat their blockers. Thatís the reality of it. I talk often about the offensive line, now itís important that that side blocks their guys, so those guys, weíve just got to do a better job of keep improving our pass rush technique and our guys that we choose to put out there, our rush line of choice, when they choose to throw the ball, weíve got to win in a four-man rush and then when we choose to pressure, bring more than four, those guys that are blitzing need to beat the guy thatís trying to block him and try to knock the quarterback off his spot. Thatís the challenge. Itís universal, and so our rush line of choice, when they choose to pass, theyíve got to pass rush.
Q: You talk a lot about progress and being on the right path. Considering the way you got beat by the Eagles in the first game, will this week tell you a lot about where this team is?
A: Weíre trying to win this game this week against this opponent. Iím not using it as a measuring stick. Weíre doing what we can to win this game.
Q: One of the things you and Dave (Gettleman) talked about in the offseason was changing the culture. Do you feel like youíve been successful with that?
A: I donít know, I think thatís something you do every day. Like shaving, youíve got to do it every day. It really has nothing to do with just signs on the walls, it has to do with the mindset. Everything above the neck is what weíre trying to change, and so thereís a lot that goes into that. How do you handle success? How do you push through when youíre having adversity? How do you keep in mind that this is the greatest team sport in the world? Being a good teammate? This is a great week. Thereís a great message within this week because of Thanksgiving. How do you show gratitude for your team? You show gratitude by playing as hard as you can for that teammate and for the people that are rooting for you. When you win a game, call that person that checked in with you when we were on a little bit of a losing streak. Thank them for checking in on you. The gratitude piece of that is part of the cultural piece, and I think because itís Thanksgiving week, they can lean on that a little bit.
Q: Thanksgiving day, are you going to watch Cowboys-Redskins? Do you have a rooting interest?
A: Iím a football fan, so when games are on, I watch them.
Q: Will you have a rooting interest?
A: No, Iím going to watch the game. I worked with Colt McCoy, I was a young head coach and he was a rookie quarterback. We spent a lot of time together, I think we grew up together in a lot of ways. Coltís getting the opportunity to start with the Redskins, so Iíll watch him with interest.
Q: On whether or not you agree that the Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Football game is the future of the league and where this league is headed:
A: Thereís probably a lot of different ways you could go with that. Certainly scoring over 100 points a game, if thatís the way it works, thatís great, unless you coach the defense. If youíre the one that scores 51 not 54Ö I donít know, I think each game plays out differently. You had a game the other night where you had two really good young quarterbacks that are playing. They have explosive players around them, but on the flip side when youíre talking about defense, Aaron Donald Ė there were strip sacks, fumbles for touchdowns, so there was some defense involved in that scoring. Iím sure TV loved it, I wasnít awake for the end of it, but I could tell by the time I went to bed it was going to be a high-scoring (game).
Q: You challenged Saquon (Barkley) to take the dirty yards, and he was pretty open about how he accepted that challenge. Whatís the next level for his game? What do you see next for him?
A: Each week the coaches tell them what they did well and things they need to improve on, and thereís always little things he needs to improve on. Heís obviously an outstanding runner, he catches the ball well, does a good job in pass protection, so he just needs to keep working on all those things. Again, itís more of a mindset as a runner, and then Iíve got to call plays that will relegate that heís going to take some dirty five-six yard runs where he can stick it up in there, and weíve got to block well for him. Itís all coordinated, but you like to build on some of the things you saw.
Q: Do you like the idea that he individually, as much as heís talked about how heís a film junkie and wants to see how teams try to take him away, the fact that heís going against a defense that has played him before? Do you think he could find something that they did against him that might work to your advantage?
A: Thatís the tactics of the game, certainly. But going back to it, I probably didnít give you a good answer on the first question, when you see a player of Saquonís caliber, the dirty runs, and he embraces it, thatís another part of his personality thatís outstanding because heís coachable. People that thought that was the right thing to do told him to do it and he did it. Thatís awesome. You donít always see that from great, high-caliber, high-quality players, so thatís another box we can check on him.