Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula -- November 1, 2019
Q: Do you envision having (Sterling) Shep back?
A: Well, we hope so, yeah. He’s been out of practice the last few weeks getting better. Coach (Shurmur) will make that decision on whether or not he’s ready to go. If he’s ready, we’ll get him in there and hopefully pick up where he left off.
Q: What makes (Darius) Slayton so good at winning those jump ball, 50-50 balls? You threw him basically a screen at the end zone and he went over a guy for a touchdown.
A: The one thing I’ll say about that, and the first thing I want to say is that he played just like he practiced last week. All week long, he was doing the same thing. He just got into the game and did a really good job. He’s been impressive. He still has a long way to go. He’s a young guy. He’s learning on adjustments, on releases, on making contested catches. But he does a really good job of, like you said, going up and having strong hands. I think he learned from the New England game, where he had, against a really good corner, a very similar opportunity and their corner did a good job and made a play. Like everybody else and everything else, just kind of looking for when he has those opportunities again, be consistent and do those same things.
Q: If Shepard does play, what makes you excited about the possibility of having all of those guys for the first time together on the field?
A: I think you have guys, and I think I said this earlier, that are interchangeable. Play inside, play outside, they’re good with the football in their hands once we get it into their hands. Just talent wise, I think they’ve got good change of direction, quickness and things like that. Hopefully, that will be the case. We have a lot of young pieces on our offense. We think we’re really close, too. It’s a tough time for us right now as we know going through this, but I think the players are still seeing through some of the tough times. They’re seeing a lot of the good things and knowing that we’re really close. We just need to put it together.
Q: How much more of a challenge, though, when a defense looks out there and they have to deal with Saquon (Barkley), (Sterling) Shepard, (Evan) Engram. They all haven’t been healthy. (Golden) Tate.
A: Hopefully that presents a challenge for…we can’t just have one guy that we’re going to try to lean on on any down and not be predictable. I think that sometimes, maybe we’ve got guys where, ‘Hey, they’re a little bit nervous, they might have to cheat the coverage that way,’ and all of a sudden, that opens up for Saquon or for Golden or for, as we said, Slayton is emerging in some one-on-one situations. So, whether or not it’s zone and they kind of cheat the coverage, or man-to-man and maybe they spend a little more time in the man area with either a matchup or getting, if a guy who’s not in man kind of playing in that hole zone position helping out, it opens up for other guys.
Q: Does a handful of snaps late in a losing game in the opener help Daniel (Jones) at all? This is the first time he’s going against a team for the second time. He certainly prepared for them the first time. The familiarity, anything there?
A: Maybe a little bit. More so than anything else, just getting his feet wet. But also, just recognizing the speed in person. These guys are really fast across the board. Upfront, with the pass rush, with the guys, even if it’s man coverage, or their linebackers or their safeties, who are getting to the football fast. You see it on tape, but like you said, those few snaps, especially in that situation where we’re in throwing situations unfortunately for us, that might kind of help him recognize how fast they really are.
Q: Where do you think the running game is? Since Barkley has returned, it seems like just a few good runs here and there.
A: Yeah, like everything else, we feel like we’re close. Even though we’ve had some good runs, we’re close where we haven’t been good enough in some other areas. I think it’s like everything else where it’s a team thing where maybe one guy here or one guy there, not necessarily anything in particular. But guys are working hard. The guys upfront have been really good leading us in that area. We just have to put it all together.
Q: What do you think is the best quality Daniel has?
A: I know Coach has talked about this, too, but I think he’s very resilient. For a young guy, he really does a good job of moving on to the next play, moving on to the next series. If it’s a negative play, he gets mad but he doesn’t let it affect him. In fact, you kind of see even more determination. For a young guy to keep… We’re not good enough. What we’ve been doing at that position still hasn’t been good enough, because the scoreboard is our judge. But I think he’s been a good, quiet leader along the way, and he has gotten better. Again, he’s kind of like the rest of the team. Just have to put it all together.
Q: How do you coach your offensive tackles when they’re veterans and they’re struggling, and you’re trying to improve the pass protection? But obviously, they’ve done it for a long time. Is it different than coaching a rookie?
A: Yes and no. I think there’s probably a little more dialogue, communication with guys. I’ve never coached the offensive line, but I kind of relate it to coaching quarterbacks and some of the other positions I’ve coached. I think you just make sure you still say, ‘Hey, this is when it’s good enough, and look here, this is why. And this is when it’s not, and look here, this is why. And then this is what we have to work on.’ And just keep building on the good, correcting the bad and moving on, because we have good players upfront or whatever position it is. If there’s anybody that’s maybe not playing at the highest level of his game, then you just kind of block everything else out and attack the thing specifically.
Q: How much do you look at DeMarcus Lawrence as the guy you point to in that defense and say, ‘This is the guy. We really have to watch out for this guy’?
A: They have a lot of good players, but he’s one of the first guys you talk about and say…And it’s easier to say than it is to do, say ‘Hey, we can’t let this guy beat us.’ But they know that, too. They do a really good job in their scheme and trying to help things where you can’t just go double guys. They also do a really good job letting him do what he does best, and that’s a lot of things. Yeah, I mean that’s why they’re good. He’s one of many good players, and he’s one of the best, if not the best, on their defense. It’s going to be a collective effort with everybody being on point in the run game, staying out of long yardage situations, getting the ball out on time in the passing game, and then mixing up our protections and help and all of that kind of stuff.