Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula -- December 20, 2018
Q: What have you seen from (QB Kyle) Lauletta after his little demotion last week?
A: You mean in practice? He’s been the same, still working and trying to get better. Unfortunately we can’t give Kyle and (QB) Alex (Tanney) the reps we’d like to during the season, and it’s kind of been that way everywhere I’ve been. But in the drills and everything that we do individually, we do spend a lot of time with all three guys during the special teams part of practices where we’ll work on drills. I think they all have a better comfort level.
Q: Were you curious to see how he reacted to last week being inactive?
A: Was I curious? No, because I’ve got a good feel for him, I knew how he was going to react -- like most guys do, everybody wants to play, everybody wants to be active and if they’re not, I’m sure they’re disappointed. Just kind of like Alex was, they’ve all got a good look in their eye, they all want to help us win and do whatever they can.
Q: What do you take away from last week? You had so many drops, sort of soiled things.
A: Yeah, didn’t have our best day, for sure, and that’s disappointing. All of us are disappointed, but we’ve got to move on and I think we’ve done a really good job of that. Ultimately, only time tells when you play on Sunday the next week. But, and I think I speak for everybody offensively, we feel like the arrow’s pointing up and last week we didn’t play well enough against a good football team, but we want to turn the page and go out there and compete, and have a chance to go win against a really good football team, one of the hottest teams in the league, and prove to ourselves that we are trending in the right direction, and that last week wasn’t good enough but we can make up for that, we can recover from that, and lay it on the line on Sunday.
Q: The one positive seemed to be that Evan Engram kind of looked like what we saw a lot last year, sort of his old self. What did you see in that regard?
A: Yeah, I think the whole thing with Evan is the consistency of being out on the field and practice. It’s been tough when he’s been limited because of some of the injuries, as it would be for most people. But yeah, it’s exciting – I think all of us would agree. When he gets the ball, it’s exciting because he’s so explosive, so hopefully we’ll have a chance to get him the ball and obviously not just get him the ball when, some of the times this year, it’s been when we’ve been behind. We need to utilize him and some of the other guys, because we have a good complement of guys with he and Shep (Sterling) and Saquon and Rhett, that all have their roles that we’re trying to get all the pieces to fit together at the right time, and that way we keep people off-balance.
Q: When Odell is not on the field, does Evan become more prevalent?
A: Yeah, it does. But again, we don’t want to force the ball to anybody. Whenever you lose a guy, a starter, other guys got to kind of make it up. But ultimately, it’s the quarterback, it’s Eli making the right decisions with the football and going to the right guy and getting the ball there on time and accurately. We feel like with guys like Evan and Shep and Saquon and these other guys that they can give us the weapons that we need where we’re not predictable trying to force the ball.
Q: Have you been at all surprised based on what you’ve seen of Corey Coleman since he’s been here, and obviously if (Russell) Shepard and Odell can’t go, might he have a bigger role Sunday?
A: Surprised? Yeah, I don’t like to use the word surprised because I try to not get surprised, but I know what you’re saying. He’s done a nice job and he’s gotten better every week, and he’s made some big plays for us. He’s got a calmness about him, just his personality – I think you guys have talked to him enough now. Even after a negative play, he’s been able to kind of bounce back and things like that, but he’s still learning. He obviously got here late, he’ll be another guy we can hopefully get the ball to.
Q: Last week seemed like a bit of step back for the offensive line. Did that change anything about the way you felt after those four weeks where they seemed to be trending up and then a good defense pushes them around?
A: I wouldn’t just say the offensive line, and I hate to use the words ‘step back’, I just kind of think it was more of a hiccup against a good football team, and I wouldn’t just say the offensive line because there were really some times where there’s really good protection and some good things going on in the run game. I think collectively, and I think Coach (Shurmur) alluded to this, we have a couple things here or there that stand out that all the sudden get you off-schedule and now you can’t run the ball as much or as well maybe as you did earlier. But yeah, if we make a mistake – which, the perfect game is still out there – we just kind of want to limit those and just not make them glaring, whether or not it’s the offensive line, or quarterback, or whatever.
Q: When (Colts) Darius Leonard says, ‘I’m miffed I didn’t make the Pro Bowl and I want to make 40 tackles this week’, can you use that against him in the sense of, we can suck him in on this play? Or is that just words?
A: It’s hard for me to answer that question because I really don’t read other players’ quotes. Our concern is just about us, and that’s how it has to be. We want to focus on each guy doing their job the best they can. We know they’ve got a good football team, we know he’s a good player, and he’s going to bring his best, but in general though, they are a very aggressive defense, fast flow, they’re playing at a high level, their backers get to the ball quickly and their D-line tries to disrupt, whether or not they’re slanting one way or the other, or getting up the field. It’s a good challenge for us.
Q: No trash talk?
A: I don’t know how to do that. (Laughter)