Head Coach Pat Shurmur -- August 2, 2019
Opening Statement: Friday. This is a good couple of days for us. We have the officials here, so they were able to watch practice yesterday, work with the players. They talked to the players last night and showed a video. We had a really good, open dialogue about some of the rule changes, some of the emphasis, some of the OPI-DPI (offensive/defensive pass interference) stuff. It was really a good back and forth between the players and the crew thatís here. I thought Shawn Hochuli and the guys that are here did a good job with that. Weíre going to do the best we can to learn as much from these guys, with regard to some of the rule changes, in the next couple of days. Then thereíll be continuing dialogue. I think we, as coache, will use the preseason to see how these rules are applied. With that, Iíll take your questions.
Q: How do you approach the new process (of challenging pass interference calls)? Do you do anything special?
A: Well, itís a new deal. We have our system in place for challenging, so to speak. Itís going to come down to if we think the call should be changed or not, based on what we either see live or maybe have some visual evidence of. Thereís going to be a lot of calls, and weíve seen it in the past that didnít apply to replay, where if it was called one way, it would stand, and if it was called another way, it would stand. There are a lot of those-type calls. I think the challenge will be for all of us to try to get it right.
Q: Will you be hesitant to challenge earlier in the game, knowing you could lose an opportunity for later?
A: No. I think weíre all going to be aware of that, but I do thinkÖ There could be a big play that happens early in the game, so we just have to use our judgement on that. The OPI-DPI stuff, it goes back to the officials inside the two minutes. Yeah, itís just one of those things weíll deal with.
Q: What did you think of the throw Daniel (Jones) made down the sideline to (Paul) Perkins yesterday?
A: It was outstanding. Heís made excellent throws in every practice, and that was evidence to me that he has the arm to play in this league. We sort of knew that before we picked him. Weíve seen it throughout the training, and that was actually a very good throw.
Q: Youíve said previously that you want him ready for Week One. Where is he on that timeline in your view, in terms of being ready?
A: Heís on-track to be ready when itís his time to play. Heís made progress each day. He does something good each day. Now thereís always mistakes each day that he then cleans up. The challenge is to not repeat a mistake. Thatís why Iím not really down on once in a while a guy screwing something up, because now thatís something to talk about as you move forward.
Q: For as good as Saquon (Barkley) was last year, what do you see thatís different in him, or better in him, in this camp from last year to this year?
A: I think thereís just a little bit more confidence in what he can expect to see from his teammates, coaches, and the way we function. Heís a year two guy, and usually, for talented people that work hard at what they do, you can see an improvement between year one and year two. Sometimes itís their biggest improvement.
Q: When you look at his production last year, is it difficult to have an encore for something that was that good, that quickly? When you set the bar that high that quickly?
A: Maybe for some guys that will rest on their laurels, but I donít see that in Saquon. Heís a guy thatís just trying to get better every day.
Q: Will (Hernandez) is another second-year guy who says heís changed the way he went about his offseason from last year to this year. What are the expectations for him to take the next step? What does that next step look like for him?
A: I think he needs to play consistently well from the first game on. Last year, he got better as the year went on. But we have to play well out of the gate, and I think thatís important. With regard to his offseason, we told the rookies that cautionary tale that after your rookie season, that really is the first offseason where itís on you to decide how youíre going to train. So thatís a challenge for them. I think Will did a pretty good job of doing a lot of the right things so that he could have a good spring and then a good training camp. It doesnít seem like a big deal, but it is a big deal. Prior to their rookie year, theyíre training for the combine and then theyíre quickly into the offseason stuff, where when the season is over, thatís the first time where theyíre like, ĎWow, Iím on my own. How do I do this?í So we tried to help him. He took some of our advice, and then he just did a good job on his own.
Q: How much of James Bettcher, what he wants to do on defense, did we actually see last year? We know the personnel wasnít a perfect match when he first got here. How much of what he wants to do, what he did in Arizona, did he actually do last year?
A: I think thereís a good amount of scheme that he did. But again, itís year two, we have some new players, some guys that we feel like can make the defense better incrementally just by being here. By them playing together another year, it always comes down to a team on defense. I think theyíll be improved in that regard as well.
Q: In terms of another young guy, Kyle Lauletta, what have you seen in terms of his development from last year to this year?
A: I think heís much improved from a year ago. A guy in his situation could maybe approach it differently, but heís out here every day trying to get better. He makes the most of his reps. Heís really engaged with everything thatís going on. Iím very pleased with how heís approaching his work.
Q: How aware do you think he is that even if there isnít an opportunity for him here, young guys sometimes donít understand that people across the league are watching all the time. How aware do you think he is of that?
A: I think heís aware. I think everybody is aware. The challenge when you have a 90-man roster, and Iíve told the players this, is ĎWhat I want for you is to make our team or somebody elseís. That means you played well.í That could be said for Kyle. Iíd love for him to make our team. Iíd keep 20 quarterbacks. Iíd love for him to make our team or somebody elseís. For him to make somebody elseís team, when heís out there, 31 other teams are watching him perform. That gives you the best chance.
Q: You do have a roster limitation. Where do you stand on the number of quarterbacks you keep? Would you contemplate keeping two? Would you want a third?
A: Weíre going to do whatís best for the roster. Weíll see how that goes.
Q: Have you ever kept just two before?
A: Iíve been in places where there were two and a practice squad guy. Iíve been in places where weíve had three and a practice squad guy. Iíve been in places where there have been a lot of different situations.
Q: Nate Solder got a lot of heat last year for a lot of reasons. He struggled early, he signed the big contract. When you look back and assess his year last year, how much better did he get as it went along, and how much better do you think he can be in year two with your system?
A: I donít know about criticism for the money he was paid. I donít know about any of that. I thought he playedÖ as Will got better, what people thought of Nate improved. It just goes to show you that the guys working together is very important on the offensive line. He was a very consistent guy. He battled all year, especially early on when we were having a tough stretch. I thought he did a lot of good things last year.
Q: Do you have an update on Grant Haley, and was Markus Golden a rest day yesterday?
A: Grant Haley. He dove for a ball yesterday and fell on his shoulder. Heís going to be fine. And yeah, Markus Golden was a rest day. Perfect. I love the questions that have the built-in answers. I love that.
Q: You said Saquon isnít the type of guy who would rest on his laurels. Are you kind of in his ear telling him to work on one specific part of his game, or has he kind of approached this offseason on his own?
A: No, weíre coaching him up on everything. When we speak to the team, and I can tell when Iím speaking to the team, heís listening. Then we talk to him about a lot of different things. But a lot of what makes Saquon who he is comes from within. Heís kind of carrying that out.
Q: From an outside perspective, he seems a lot more vocal this year. We hear him talking a lot more trash back and forth, cheering, I see him going up to you and going over stuff. How much does that differ from last year? Has he sort of opened up even more? Is he more comfortable?
A: Yeah, probably so. I think thatís probably a year two thing. As you get more settled with things, you tend to be a little bit more vocal. I sort of saw that behind the scenes last year. I guess the world is starting to see it a little bit more now.
Q: With the young kid Austin Droogsma, the shot putter, can you appreciate a story like that, as much of a longshot as he is? What kind of development have you seen with him?
A: Heís developed. I think itís fair to say since he hasnít played football in a very long time, to then try to do it at this level is a big challenge. To his credit, he needed to lose some weight and get in shape just to attempt to make the team. He did that and took care of that in the offseason. Weíll just have to see where it goes. Itís safe to say, him being out of football for as long as he was, itís kind of put him behind a little bit.