Head Coach Pat Shurmur -- September 27, 2019
Opening Statement (Pat Hanlon): The three guys that are out are (Saquon) Barkley, Tae Davis and (Alec) Ogletree. Olsen Pierre practiced fully today and (Cody) Latimer has been cleared.
Q: What have you liked about (Ryan) Connelly so far to give him a lot of responsibility?
A: He has great instincts. Heís very smart. He works extremely hard, and he just has a feel for playing the position. I think that helped him in the game. He was playing next to Tree (Alec Ogletree), and then when Tree went down, he slid over and made the calls like Tree. He actually performed very well. Heís a young player, so a lot of it is new. But because he has really good instincts, it kind of comes natural to him.
Q: You kind of hinted at (Jon) Hilliman being promoted (from the practice squad). What went into the timing, and is this a season-ender for Russell Shepard?
A: Well, the timing, weíve been preparing him to be up. So, even though he wasnít active, we were preparing him to be active. Then the timing of it, we were waiting to see the right move to make. We were giving Russell a chance to see how that foot was going to come back. Thatís why.
Q: Three of your captains, two of them are hurt and not playing and the other one is your backup quarterback. Are you going to reassess that at all or add people to that group?
A: No. Not at all. We have multiple captains. In theory, you only have to send one to the coin flip. So, no. Just because theyíre hurt doesnít mean theyíre not captains. The move at quarterback, certainly, Eliís (Manning) leadership is very important.
Q: What have you seen from (Ereck) Flowers playing inside at guard for (Washington)? Was that ever a consideration here?
A: We played him primarily at tackle. He did get some reps at guard, but we felt like we had other players there. I think heís playing hard. I think heís playing pretty well. Heís kind of a valued member of their offensive line.
Q: How big of a transition is that to make from tackle to guard?
A: Some guys can do it. A lot of it has to do with your body type and your skillset. Heís a big, physical guy. In close quarters, he does a good job of getting his hands on you. That helps you at guard. They feel like heís the best at that spot for them, and like I said, I think heís playing pretty well.
Q: What are the traits (Terry) McLaurin has shown? He has been very prolific in these first few games as a receiver for them.
A: Heís really a pretty dynamic player, especially for a rookie to jump on the scene like he has. We liked him a great deal in the draft. Obviously, when we were evaluating Dwayne Haskins, we got to look at him quite a bit. We did a full evaluation on him. We liked him. It comes as no surprise to us that heís having success.
Q: I know Evan (Engram) did a lot in the offseason to prepare his body better. Have you seen that in his play this year?
A: Yeah, I think he prepared well physically, mentally, in all areas. I think heís done a good job of improving his blocking in the way that we ask him to block. I just have seen a guy thatís developed his game to the point where itís affected his confidence, too, where heís more confident in what heís doing.
Q: I donít think we had an opportunity to ask you, but on the play where Alec Ogletree ended up getting injured, they extended the play. We kind of saw that last night again where it looked like the guy was clearly down and they let the play play out. As a coach, what do you kind of want there? Whatís the line there?
A: I think weíre in a situation now where a potential fumble, they let it go and they let replay fix it. Thatís unfortunate that we sustained an injury, but thatís just the way it is. The climate for officiating has changed immensely. These are really offseason discussions. I have a lot of very strong opinions about it that Iím not willing to share at this point. But the landscape for officials has changed quite a bit. In the spirit of we all just want to get it right, itís sort of like player safety is on the front burner. From an officiating standpoint, everybody just wants to get it right. As we work through this with the new rules, certainly everybody has a different opinion about how things are being interpreted.
Q: Do you have to coach that up to your players, though? Like you said, theyíre going to basically let every play play out now.
A: Weíve always coached it. A ball on the ground, you scoop it and try to score with it because you donít know if it was a fumble, an incomplete pass, open hand, you just donít know. Weíve seen sometimes in replay where something that seems obvious to go one way goes the other. You just donít know. In those situations, you have to play it out. Unfortunately for us, we got a hamstring injury.
Q: It seemed like Nate Solder last year got a lot better as the season went along. Maybe familiarity with Will (Hernandez) or your system or whatnot. How much do you chalk last Sunday up to just going up against a great pass rusher, or is it that he just kind of he gets better as the year goes along and thatís just kind of who he is?
A: I think Nate is an outstanding player, and he has played at a high level for a very, very long time. Early in the year last year, a lot of it could be attributed to a rookie getting up and going. Weíve spoken often in our little groups here about how important it is, the linemen working together. As Will got more proficient (last year) , it helped the whole left side. I thought Nate had some really good downs the other night, and he did play against a good player, so you just move on.
Q: Whyíd you flip the practice schedule on Wednesdays and Thursdays?
A: Yeah, for two weeks now, we havenít talked about that. The reason I did it was if you believe practice is important, I want to practice at the time of day where the players have the most energy, which is late morning. So, weíre actually getting more work in. Our afternoon walkthroughs are more meaningful than the morning ones, because we can review and move forward into the next day. I think in the last two weeks, our practices have been better. Thatís sort of why we did it. It just seemed to make sense. If you think sleep is important, you have to give players time to sleep. If you believe practice is important, then why not practice them at a time when they have the most energy?