Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula -- September 26, 2019
Q: What impressed you most about Daniel (Jones) on Sunday?
A: I think getting a win, number one. Just the poise that I think he had throughout the game was very steady, very even-keeled.
Q: How valuable is it having a tight end like Evan (Engram) who leads you guys in receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns, in terms of not just the offense, but in Daniel’s development— how important is that?
A: Yeah, he’s done a great job. Speed is very valuable on a football team, and Evan’s got it. I’ve only been here a little over a year with him, but you can see his confidence grow just with time on the field and time in our system. He’s versatile (and) he’s getting better in the run game with his blocking. So, I think as we move forward and hopefully continue to move the ball and get points on the board, he’s going to be a big part of that.
Q: When you sit down, and you guys watched the film with Daniel, obviously a lot of good had happened. What areas do you look at and say this is still not good enough or this could be better?
A: Well, every area. When you are just starting out playing, you just keep talking about little things that are technique, footwork, getting your eyes in the right place, getting the ball out earlier. Obviously the big one is ball security, all of those things. Just trusting things. Sometimes there is a difference between getting the ball out early and leaving your first read, as opposed to staying on your first read. A lot of it comes with experience. For the first game, he did pretty good.
Q: We talked about speed being valuable. What does it do for an offense when you have a guy like (Darius) Slayton?
A: Again, he hasn’t played very much, but from what we’ve seen, he’s shown a lot of poise. He does a nice job with his routes, he’s a really good route runner. I hate to say this like this but for a young guy, he’s a really good route runner. A lot of times guys who come in for the first time, their routes look a little different in the games than they do in practice, but he does a nice job with that. Like you said, he can run. He’s still got a lot to learn, too, and a lot of little technique things. He’s going to play each week against some really, really, good corners. The best corners that he played in college will probably be the ones he sees every week here in the NFL.
Q: I understand when it comes to Daniel you had seen a lot more of him than we did, but now that you’ve seen him play for real, how does that help you go forward with your game plan now that you’ve seen him react so well to a real game situation?
A: Yeah, I think for us, too, experience helps with your players. Especially at the quarterback position on how they are, where their mentality is, where their mindset (is), how they are after a negative play, how they are even in the huddle. The tempo of getting the offense in and out of the huddle after the plays, (and) seeing things at the line of scrimmage. Again, just kind of like we talked about earlier, he did some good things there and there are some things we can all improve on and help him with, and he can help himself with.
Q: What was he like after almost throwing that interception?
A: Yeah, that’s one of the ones we have to learn (from). We were lucky and we have to learn from it. You guys have been around him a little bit and he probably hasn’t changed very much in the way he addresses you all. It’s the same way with me. On the sidelines, he’s very steady. When we’re out there, especially for a young guy, he really kind of just blocks everything else out. It’s almost like we are in a meeting room, just kind of in there by ourselves with the quarterbacks.
Q: How much does the game plan change now that you don’t have Saquon and you’re going to have to go with Wayne (Gallman)?
A: I’m sure Coach (Pat Shurmur) probably has addressed that, too. We are still going to run our stuff. Wayne runs the ball differently than Saquon, but we still have our things that we want to hang our hat on. Then we’ll tweak them week to week based on personnel or based on the defense we are playing. We feel like we want to try to have good balance each and every week and do the things that keep you out of long-yardage situations, and then obviously get the ball in the end zone when you get close to the goal line.
Q: When you say run the ball differently, what do you mean by that?
A: Well, he’s not as big. He’s not quite as big, so you’re not going to quite see him, I would think, lower his shoulder. Although he will do it, and we’ve seen him do it like Saquon has at times. Wayne, in my short time with him, has flashed at times where he’s really explosive, whether or not it’s running the football or receiving the football. It’s our job and his job to get him playing fast where he’s not thinking and just going as fast as he can because he’s fun to watch when he’s that way.
Q: Maybe it’s the things you’re talking about like staying out of long-yardage, but this is not a knock on Wayne or anybody, but Saquon has more 50-yard runs than anybody. So, whoever you put in there, you are going to lose some of the explosiveness. What does that do to the rest of the offense?
A: Yeah, those things, you just have to look at them as bonus. You’re right, we’ve been spoiled over the last year, a little over a year, with Saquon. We have other ways we feel like we can create chunk plays. They might not be 50-yard plays, but if we can get those chunk plays anywhere from, as a run, over 12-yards, we kind of look for those, (and) in the passing game over 18 . Those are momentum changing plays and field position changing plays which put you in a positive situation. Not just as an offense but as a team. We’re not asking guys to go do anything more than what we’re teaching them. We do feel like we’ve got guys on the field that with the ball in their hands can be explosive. I think we saw some of that in the second half.
Q: What was the dynamic like with Eli on the sideline as the backup with the headset, and Daniel coming off between drives. How is that different?
A: Yeah, it’s about like how we talked about earlier, kind of like we’re in another quarterback meeting. I said it this time last week, we have great communication in that room. They are great individuals, they are really smart quarterbacks, and because of that, I think our team benefits. They can help our quarterback coach, help make any little tweaks, or changes, or recommendations to Pat during the course of the game that can help us make a play.
Q: So, he was doing that? He was heavily involved in looking at a play with Daniel and saying, ‘this is what I saw’?
A: Oh yeah, heck yeah. Just like we’ve always been doing since we’ve been here. About like what you guys would think.