Head Coach Pat Shurmur -- June 6, 2019
Opening Statement: A little bit shorter today. Again, some more situational work, which we all need. We did some good stuff in the red zone. We did a ďmove the ballĒ in the red zone. At the end there, we just did some ďmove the ballĒ where Bettch called it on defense and Mike called it on offense. It was very competitive, it was good. At the end there, we had one last play for push-ups with the threes in there. The players asked for it, so it was good. I think we got a lot done this week. I feel really good about how our team is coming together. We have another week of work before we send them on their way. But I think we got a lot accomplished this week. Thatís a good thing this time of year.
Q: What do you see that convinces you things are coming together?
A: I mentioned it earlier in the week, I see good competitive play. Both sides of the ball are making plays, I think thatís important. I just see their interaction as a team, the communication on defense, the communication on offense. We got a lot of offense, a lot of defense in. You donít see a lot of busts. You see just a lot of competitive, good football. As compared to a year ago when we were putting in our systems for the first time, you see improvements that way. Tactically, thereís some things. Certainly, the camaraderie of the team, I think these guys really have a good feeling for one another. Theyíre tough, competitive guys and you can kind of see them coming together.
Q: How does that work with install when you want to advance with the guys that have been here, but you still have some guys learning for the first time?
B: Well, itís a slippery slope. I think everybody that comes into a new system, theyíve been in other systems where they had to catch up. For the guys that donít know it as well, they need to spend extra time learning it. You really canít slow your roll for the guys that are in it for the second year. Itís a credit to our new guys, theyíve done a good job.
Q: Nate Solder was a guy that was in one system with one quarterback for several years. When you got him, did you get a sense that he had to wean some of that stuff off of him, how do you sense that transition?
A: I think the transition went well. Again, he was one in system, but (heís) very smart. Thereís a lot of homogenous concepts in football. You call it Ďcatí, we call it Ďdogí. Itís just a matter of kind of learning what we call things. I think he did a good job of that. Heís very smart, he works hard. I think itís probably a better question for him, but I think his transition was good.
Q: What about the stability Solder brought to that position?
B: Heís a pro. I think any time you can add a really good player to your team thatís a professional thatís been through it, not only been through it but won championships. You learn things by being around it and being a part of it. I think all along heís been kind of able to talk about those things in a positive way, and I think that rubs off on our team.
Q: Is it too early to see that you have the culture that you want around here?
A: I think every year you have to re-establish your culture because you donít always play the next year with all the same guys from the previous year. Thatís always the challenge. I think more was made of it this year probably because we made so many changes. Thatís really what the process involved.
Q: What makes Daniel Jones successful at throwing the ball down the field?
A: Well, heís got a downfield focus. Most often youíve got downfield routes and you have outlets and check downs, most concepts involve that. Heís got a downfield focus and heís trying to get a feel for his targets and heís trying to give them a chance down field and I think thatís good. Thatís part of whatís going to help him be successful early.
Q: Odell (Beckham Jr) made some comments about Baker Mayfieldís arm strength being something totally different than what he is used to. It seems like a criticism of Eli, what do you make of that?
A: I would probably think of it as less of a criticism of Eli. Heís getting comfortable with his team, heís around his teammates, heís around his new community. Iím happy for him, heís getting comfortable with his guys. I wouldnít say itís a criticism of Eli, itís more of he likes who heís playing with.
Q: Which rookies from the draft class have impressed you the most?
A: The guy thatís made huge improvements in my eyes has been Slayton, heís done a really good job. I think we were all here during rookie minicamp when he kind of had the yips, drops and what not. Heís really smoothed it out and heís been making plays. Heís the first guy that comes to mind. This time of year, itís more about throwing and catching and less about blocking and tackling. I think the young guys in the secondary have been competing, all of the new players. Thatís a good thing.
Q: The guys have ball skills in the secondary, how does that help you defensively. Instead of going front to back, you can work back to front?
A: Itís important, we all know itís coordinated. You need to get pressure and knock the quarterback off his spot and make the ball come out a way he doesnít want it to come out. In the back end, weíve got to be a good team at disrupting the ball and catching the ball. Weíve been able to see some of that this spring. Itís important.
Q: What have you learned about DeAndre Baker that you didnít know during the draft process?
A: He is very competitive, heís very tough. The corners are at a little bit of a disadvantage because there is no bump and run. Part of his charm was his ability to play up on a receiver and bump him. We think we are going to see more good stuff once training camp gets going. Heís very competitive, he picks things up, he works hard. The things you need to see.
Q: What did Corey Coleman show you last year that made you want to bring him back this year?
A: First, he added some dynamic plays to our return game. As we all know, we really didnít have an established punt returner to start the year, one that we were total comfortable with. He was able to come in and help the return game. He was basically on kickoffs and then he worked on his punts. Then he made a couple plays in the passing game at wideout, he got more and more comfortable. Heís getting more and more comfortable now. I think him having the full process, we are going to see the best of him. Heís the first one to tell you when he came in the league, he had a lot to learn. Now heís got an opportunity to maybe be a front-line player.
Q: For a kid that was drafted in the first round, obliviously things didnít go well, is there something about his personality that speaks to that? People talk about chips on shoulders or things to prove?
A: I donít know that. He hasnít really talked about having a chip on his shoulder or trying to prove or disprove anything. Heís very inquisitive. Today in the dining hall, he was asking me how we used Thielen and Diggs, who was the Z, who was the X. Heís very interested in all that, heís learning our system, heís doing a great job learning it. Heís fast, heís really a terrific talent, so hopefully we can get him on the field and make a difference for us.
Q: When do rookie quarterbacks generally get a grasp of where everything is and where they need to be?
A: Fortunately for Daniel, he is extremely intelligent. His head is swimming much less than most rookies for a couple reasons. Heís very smart, he was coached extremely well in college, heís been around it. Heís been coached by one of the best in college. He understands the process. Again, we call it a cat, they call it a dog, it doesnít matter. Heís been around the process enough to know. (Heís) very perceptive, he doesnít make the same mistake twice. Thereís a lot of things heís doing out there for the first time. Every once and a while, if you are aggressive, a mistake will happen. Heíll come back in, fix it and the next time he runs that play, he will do it properly. Itís different for all players, when it starts to slow down and the game starts to make sense. Very certain that itís going to make sense to him very quickly.
Q: Austin Droogsma is a guy with a very unique background, where is he on the football side?
A: You can say heís got a long way to go. He went to college, he basically intended to play football and then he didnít. Heís been involved in track in his years at Florida State. Heís coming along quickly, heís a big guy, heís a good athlete. He learns pretty well, heís a guy that hasnít done it for a long time. Heís doing a good job.