Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula -- December 6, 2018
Q: You got any trick plays this week? (Laughter)
A: We should have a couple, for sure. They’ve 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 it’s never their fault if it doesn’t 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? That’s great coaching (laughter).
Q: Do you look at it that way?
A: Whether or not it’s great coaching or not? No, believe it or not, it’s 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 it’s a trick play or just your normal plays, are probably shocking on how much adjustment there is and how it doesn’t happen the way you draw it up. That’s what coaching, and meeting, and being a fast thinker on the field as players is for. You tell them how you think it’s going to be, but all the adjustments and have your players ready to react positively when it doesn’t 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 that’s showing, and again, I think we’re still coming together, and getting better, but I think it showed. Not just because we’re 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: He’s 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, I’m assuming that’s saying give him the ball more. A lot of times, he’s 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 it’s important. Everyone knows that he’s fast. He can run and catch. Yes, we’d like to get all those guys the football as much as we can, because when they have the ball, they’re 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 we’re finding out more about guys, and I’m not quite sure of this, some guys you have to be careful of giving too many reps. I think as we’ve learned during the season, I think there’s a certain number that kind of maximizes what he’s 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, they’ll do just about anything that you ask them to do, whether or not it’s 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 we’re better, for sure. It’s 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, it’s probably a little overstated when you’re talking about the line struggling. I think it’s collectively we’ve struggled, but also they’ve 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 he’s helped them become better, and I think because of that, now they’ve got more confidence and they’re helping him gain more yards.
Q: How much better has (LT) Nate Solder been playing this second half of the year?
A: I think it’s a little bit of everything. I don’t 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 don’t hear anybody’s name until it’s negative. I think he’s like everybody else. He’s more comfortable with what we’re doing. We’ve had good balance with the ability to run the ball more. We’ve stayed out of the long yardage situations, and we’ve gotten off to faster starts, which I think helps any offensive lineman. One of the reasons we’ve gotten off to faster starts has been because of the offensive line and guys like Nate.