Head Coach Pat Shurmur -- September 12, 2019
Q: How’s Sterling (Shepard) doing?
A: He’s doing okay. I’m not sure of his availability, but we’ll see as the week progresses. There are certain steps that he has to go through, and he still has a couple more to go.
Q: Did he pass what he was doing yesterday though?
A: Yeah, he did a good job yesterday. But he still has a few things he needs to do. We’ll see.
Q: Did he suffer that when he was making that block? It was like the middle of the third quarter, he went down.
A: I don’t know that. As we all know, sometimes these things are time delayed. He kind of let us know how he was feeling after the game in the locker room, actually.
Q: What stuck out about TJ Jones over somebody else, maybe Alonzo Russell who was here or maybe another guy available?
A: Obviously, he’s familiar with our system. He’ll give us a little bit in terms of the return game. He’s done it before. He’s a guy that can play inside and out. We felt like just because he’s gotten familiarity and he’s kept himself in shape, that he would be a good guy to add.
Q: Guys get out of shape in a week?
A: Well, I don’t know. They can, I guess. It’s probably individual. Not to say that these other guys aren’t in shape. That was just the decision we made.
Q: Not a lot of people know it, but the Bills seem like a sneaky good defense. They have a pretty good unit over there.
A: Yeah, they’re more than sneaky. I think they’re a good football team. They’re gritty. I talked about it at length a couple different places this week, but I have a lot of respect for Sean (McDermott) and obviously Leslie Frazier, who we grew up in the profession together on Andy’s (Reid) first staff. I have a lot of respect for what they do teaching the defense, and they have really good players. That’s what makes them really good on defense. They’re one of those top five-type defenses. That helps teams win games.
Q: Ed Oliver, obviously you guys looked at him pretty extensively (before the draft).
A: Yeah, we liked him quite a bit. He’s doing a good job. They have a rotation there. They have what sometimes looks like a hockey line. They keep really about seven or eight guys fresh and going. But he’s doing a good job with the reps he gets.
Q: Is it too soon to know what you have in (Tuzar) Skipper?
A: Probably. But with the move that we had to make with Kareem (Martin), there’s a very good chance that he’ll be up and going this week. So, we’ll see quickly.
Q: I know you can bring two guys back eventually (from injured reserve). Is (Martin) done for the season or is he a guy that could come back?
A: He could be. That’s the advantage of the way the IR is now. After they spend their time on IR, we can bring them back. He certainly would be one of the guys that we would consider.
Q: Are you sort of reserving one of those for (Sam) Beal, or you have to see how things play out?
A: We have to see how it plays out. But he’s certainly a guy, with the injury that he’s dealing with, that we felt like it was the right move. We’ll just see when the time comes what’s the right direction to go.
Q: You don’t have to specify that anymore, right? You can just wait for the time?
A: Yeah, I think so. They’re on IR, you can pull a couple of guys back. That’s the coach’s view of it. I didn’t file the paperwork.
Q: Do you like the mindset of some of your younger guys off of what you expected to see when you walked in yesterday and what they showed you out on the practice field?
A: Yeah, I do like the mindset. We actually worked on Monday. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but we work on Monday, then their day off is Tuesday. I like the way they came in. They’re well aware of the mistakes that need to be cleaned up. They’re well aware of the things that we did well that we have to get better at. You have to practice. I thought we had a really good day of practice. Yesterday was hot, but they ground through it. I walked off the field and then watched the tape, and felt like we made improvements.
Q: How much is making sure your young guys don’t press as you move forward here on your priority list?
A: I don’t know about pressing. You can’t fake this game. You have to practice it to get better at it. That’s the reality of it. There’s a certain amount of work that needs to get done throughout the season. You just keep working on each rep. For some of these guys, it’s the first time they’re going through it. They need to make sure that they continue to improve.
Q: I know we’re always asking you about Saquon’s touches, too many or not enough. When you go into a game, do you have an idea in that game, based on the opponent, of how many touches you want him to get or how heavily you want to lean on him in general? Or do you just let it unfold as the game is happening.
A: We all know that Saquon is a focus of our offense. He’s also, smartly, the focus of the teams that are defending us. His charm is that you can hand it to him or throw it to him. Yeah, we want him to get the football. It makes sense for him to get the football. Each game plays out differently. I would have never predicted last week that we would have only had four possessions in the first half. That’s just how it worked out. That may, in total, speak to how many touches he might have had based on how many in the first half and how many in the second. Then in the second half, we’re behind and so we’re throwing it a lot more than the law allows. Games play out differently. For me to say we’re going to go in and get x amount, I think it would be a fun thing for everybody to keep track of, but games just play out differently.
Q: Does that kind of skew your thinking going into the next game that out of the shoot you have to run the ball effectively or try to play ball control based on how the last game went? Or is it just a new process every week?
A: I felt like we went down and scored on the first drive, and that was a good thing. That drive was helped by an explosive run. Then we threw a pass to score. It’s all different. What’s important is when you call plays, they need to gain yards. You need to get first downs and then get yourself into position to score and score. Having Saquon gives us the ability to hand it to him or throw it to him, which is good.