Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula -- November 23, 2018
Q: Is it any different preparing for a team for the second time?
A: I think you definitely have to look at the first game and we kind of liken it a little bit to how the basketball teams play in a series. Our team is going to play the same way, now they have every right to play us the same way and if I’m them, obviously they’re looking hard at that because of the success that they had. As we know, the season goes on, teams change, injuries, momentum, things like that, so obviously we got to do a good job. The bottom line is we have to do a good job upfront and then take advantage of that when we’re throwing and catching and hopefully pickup where we left off in the running game from the last couple of weeks.
Q: What would you say is the difference between your offense then and now?
A: I just think everybody’s getting better. Guys are more comfortable with what they’re doing, guys are more comfortable with the guy next to him and when the play is called, there’s maybe a little less thinking about it, a little more reacting to the defense. That’s our goal each and every week, is not to have our guys thinking. We just want them where they know it so well they’re just reacting to what they’re seeing in front of them and playing fast.
Q: What have you seen from Eli (Manning) the last two games?
A: He’s been pretty steady with his decisions and obviously we were very efficient, he was efficient last week especially. We’ve been more productive on first and second down and stayed out of the third and longs. I think that kind of helps any quarterback in any offense.
Q: They have so many injuries in the secondary. Is that something you pay attention to, like what personnel they’re going to have back there?
A: A little bit, yeah, but at some point you just got to say they’re professionals, too, and the next guy up applies to every team. I think you have to look at it and maybe look at certain matchups, but also you can kind of look at it too much and spend too much time doing that instead of just concentrating on what you want to get done and having your quarterback make good decisions, regardless of trying to maybe force it in here or there, but they’ve got good players and they’ve got good depth, so we’ve all been where all of a sudden you’re playing a team with a lot of injuries and you think, ‘oh, you’re going to have a good day.’ We’ve been on the other side of that, too, where we’ve had some guys injured and other guys have stepped up and played really well.
Q: The Eagles the last couple of years have had success turning Eli and the offense over. They seem to play him and you guys aggressively. How do you combat that? Do you have to give them more double moves and how do you combat how they play you guys defensively?
A: I can’t necessarily speak for the last couple of years, but I think their guys upfront have been the key to, in my opinion, the key to their defense, so it won’t change probably as you move forward, so we have to do a good job upfront and that allows us when we’re throwing the ball or running routes to maybe give them different looks in what we’re doing and if there are defensive backs that are playing aggressive and squatting on certain routes, then we’ve got to be able to run by them and not let them just sit there and make plays and I think we’ve got a good mix of what we’re going to do in that area both and in all three areas: the short, the intermediate, and also the deep routes. You just got to mix them up.
Q: Sounds like you’re saying, though, the key is just buying enough time for whatever your concepts are to throw it?
A: I think so. I think probably you can say that every week and especially against the corners that are aggressive. A lot of the really good corners also benefit from a good defensive line and are allowed to kind of sit on certain routes knowing that the quarterback is not going to have a lot of time to wait on the double move.
Q: Has the improved play upfront, has that allowed you to do more offensively or just to do what you do better?
A: Yeah, probably that. Maybe a little bit of the former, but for the most part just kind of do what we do better and it’s not just them, it’s everybody and it goes back to, I think, to the comfort level of the guys next to each other, but then as we get more comfortable and doing our things better that you can kind of add some things here and there.
Q: What do you think has been the key to the guys upfront? Is it just getting used to each other?
A: I think so, yeah. I think it’s not just them, I think it’s everybody. I think Saquon’s (Barkley) feeling more comfortable with what he’s doing and because of that, we’ve been allowed to – we’ve stayed on the field, making first downs. Now all of a sudden, you have more opportunities to run the ball over to play action or what have you and I think that has helped the offensive line.