Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula -- October 17, 2019
Q: Chandler Jones, what makes this guy so special in your opinion?
A: Heís very athletic. Iíd say two things. Heís very athletic, and he has a high motor. To add a third thing to that is his size. He has long reach, he can bend, he can accelerate, he can change directions. His motor is always running. Then you throw in his experience and instinctiveness. Heís really good. Heís having a good year, and I think heís one of the top players in the league.
Q: How does Patrick Peterson change their secondary?
A: Another great player. Heís extremely talented. He has great football awareness. You have to be very, very careful when youíre throwing the ball in his direction for a lot of reasons. He plays with a lot of confidence, as weíve all seen throughout his career. Again, we have to be very, very careful throwing the ball that way.
Q: With Daniel (Jones), what are the next steps youíre looking for from him? Obviously, youíre not expecting a fully developed quarterback in his first, second or third start. Or even his fifth, really. But what are his next steps to kind of put that next step forward?
A: Well, we want to win. We want him to lead us to win. But with any young quarterback, just the continued progress of making good decisions consistently and not making the bad ones. Youíre going to make mistakes. There are going to be things every week that you wish you could do a little bit better. You just donít want the ones that are, ĎI wish I didnít do that, and it really didnít have anything to do with the defense,í those types of things. Along those lines, the continued increase in timing, better timing, making decisions on staying with number one or getting off number one, things like that.
Q: You kind of mentioned the unforced errors type thing there. How much of a hurdle is that for a young quarterback to kind of get past those unforced errors and kind of get those out of his head, not forcing things?
A: Itís not just for a young quarterback. Itís really forÖ You watch around the league, even some of the best quarterbacks around the league are trying to do things maybe they shouldnít be trying to do too much. Thatís the beauty of the position. Itís one of the most unique positions in all of sports because you have to make split-second decisions with guys trying to take your head off, so to speak. You want to be on time, otherwise youíre going to be late against good corners that are going to intercept the ball. I think the biggest thing is if you do make one, then you have to have a short memory and move on. Then through experience, just say ĎHey, Iím in this situation again. Itís first down, I donít need to hold on to the ball. Just throw it away. Itís okay to throw the ball away.í Those are the things that come to mind.
Q: His first action for you guys, I remember the first play, Pat (Shurmur) talked about how he forgot to motion a tight end over. Those kinds of things for a rookie quarterback you can see in practice. Next play comes up, you correct the mistake and move on. Is it more tangible with the decision-making that you almost have to see week-to-week in games, and how he grows from those situations? Is that something you can really coach up?
A: I think sometimes you have to do that, because sometimes, and this is with any quarterback, youíll see things in practice and the quarterbacks are making good decisions. Then all of a sudden, itís the same exact situation in the game and theyíll maybe do something that they didnít do in practice. Those are the things that youíd love to simulate as much as you could for every position, but especially for the quarterbacks, game-like conditions. How fast you have to get it out. Itís easy here when you know no oneís going to sack you or hit you here. You can kind of sometimes hang onto the ball. But all of a sudden in a game, you have to make that decision whether or not to throw it away or just make a better decision. That does comes with experience. But you just kind of coach the heck out of it. Probably the biggest thing is you donít generalize. Hey, if thereís a game that we could have played better, then donít just say, ĎWell, how?í This is why specifically. Then if you get into the situation again, ĎLetís do it this way.í
Q: How much do the injuries that you guys have had to go through, still going through, with (Evan) Engram, (Sterling) Shepard, (Saquon) Barkley, all of them missing time, (Golden) Tate missing time at the beginning of the year, kind of impacted what youíve wanted to do on offense? Or maybe have had to change your play-calling philosophy?
A: Itís part of the game. We talk about it a lot, and Coach Shurmur talks about it. You actually have to plan for that. Ideally, everyone stays healthy and you get everybody working in sync together through a lot of reps together. But it just doesnít happen. We really spend almost as much time making sure the guys that we know are going to be called upon to step up are getting those same reps, physically or mentally. Is it a factor? Iíd hate to say yes, because then it sounds like itís an excuse. But we will say this. We welcome those guys back when they come back.
Q: The Cardinals are ranked down near the bottom of the league defensively. What has hurt them?
A: First of all, you can kind of throw that out the window, I think. Every week in the NFL, it doesnít matter. You can throw stats out the window. When you look at your schedule at the start of the season, you can throw that out. I think that theyíre young on defense, and theyíre still learning. Everybody is still learning the system. They were up last week against a really good offense and kept them down until the end against Atlanta. Theyíve been in some really good games. We have to worry about ourselves, no matter who we play.
Q: Coming off the injury that Barkley has had, I know it looks pretty good so far. Coach said heís doing well this week. Is there a lot of nervousness you think early in the game, trying to see ĎWhat does he have? Is he going to be fully recovered? Is he going to be able to give us what heís supposed to give us?í Do you think about that now?
A: No, I donít think so. I think if heís ready to play, then we kind of just treat it like heís ready to go. I think Coach (Craig) Johnson, our running backs coach, heíll monitor that as well. But otherwise, if we had any hesitation at all, we wouldnít even have him out there, if that were the case.