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Thursday Media Transcript: Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula

Eric from BBI : Admin : 12/6/2018 4:25 pm
Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula -- December 6, 2018

Q: You got any trick plays this week? (Laughter)
A: We should have a couple, for sure. Theyíve been good so far to us. (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) has done a nice job.

Q: Does he still bug you to have more opportunities as a quarterback?
A: They all do. We had tryouts, and we took the best of the rest (laughter). All receivers think they can throw, and can make all the throws, and itís never their fault if it doesnít get completed.

Q: (WR) Russell Shepard said he kind of freelanced that route on that play. You may have to add that route to the playbook.
A: We keep secrets, secrets (laughter). It was a little adjustment, I will say that.

Q: Is it simple for players to freelance routes on the fly?
A: Is it simple? Thatís great coaching (laughter).

Q: Do you look at it that way?
A: Whether or not itís great coaching or not? No, believe it or not, itís a game, and we like to think everything is going to work out exactly like we draw it up. The percentages of it happening like that, whether or not itís a trick play or just your normal plays, are probably shocking on how much adjustment there is and how it doesnít happen the way you draw it up. Thatís what coaching, and meeting, and being a fast thinker on the field as players is for. You tell them how you think itís going to be, but all the adjustments and have your players ready to react positively when it doesnít happen maybe the way you talked about it. Our guys, we have a lot of guys on our team that are like that. I think thatís showing, and again, I think weíre still coming together, and getting better, but I think it showed. Not just because weíre winning more now, but in even some of the losses. You can see that with certain guys. Those are the guys that are usually on the field.

Q: How do you go about reinserting (TE) Evan Engram back into the offense?
A: Heís a very important part of our offense. I think the mix with Evan and (TE) Rhett (Ellison) is important. We might not have done that as well as we could have earlier in the year, but I think both of them together can do a lot, can be versatile. Sometimes when you say in the mix, Iím assuming thatís saying give him the ball more. A lot of times, heís in there doing a lot of things that are helping other guys get the football, or help (RB) Saquon (Barkley) in the running game. I think itís important. Everyone knows that heís fast. He can run and catch. Yes, weíd like to get all those guys the football as much as we can, because when they have the ball, theyíre pretty good.

Q: I was talking about snap wise. It seems like his snaps decreased and he had a different role.
A: Yeah, I think as weíre finding out more about guys, and Iím not quite sure of this, some guys you have to be careful of giving too many reps. I think as weíve learned during the season, I think thereís a certain number that kind of maximizes what heís doing and what he can do for us. It might not be playing every snap, but a good mix between he and Rhett. The good news is that both of them, theyíll do just about anything that you ask them to do, whether or not itís blocking, or running routes, or catching.

Q: How much better is your offensive line going into Sunday than it was the last game?
A: It was a tough day against them (Redskins), but I think weíre better, for sure. Itís mainly because of the consistency. Those guys in the lineup now have been playing next to each other for a while and getting more confidence, as well as the rest of the skill players.

Q: Are you surprised Saquon is near 1,000 rushing yards despite the play of the offensive line this year?
A: No, itís probably a little overstated when youíre talking about the line struggling. I think itís collectively weíve struggled, but also theyíve done a lot of good things that probably just go unnoticed, and Saquon is very talented, as we know. I think it works hand-in-hand. I think heís helped them become better, and I think because of that, now theyíve got more confidence and theyíre helping him gain more yards.

Q: How much better has (LT) Nate Solder been playing this second half of the year?
A: I think itís a little bit of everything. I donít think he was probably playing as bad as maybe what people thought, even though maybe one or two plays showed up like that. As we know as that position, you usually donít hear anybodyís name until itís negative. I think heís like everybody else. Heís more comfortable with what weíre doing. Weíve had good balance with the ability to run the ball more. Weíve stayed out of the long yardage situations, and weíve gotten off to faster starts, which I think helps any offensive lineman. One of the reasons weíve gotten off to faster starts has been because of the offensive line and guys like Nate.
When I rewatch Sunday's game...  
Dan in the Springs : 12/6/2018 7:07 pm : link
Engram's role is going to be something I look at closely. Although he says that he's done good things blocking, it seemed to me that they reduced his role early on when trying to establish the run and the running game improved. I'll be curious if they really put him back in early on and have him be a part of the blocking scheme against a very good WAS front 7.
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