Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula -- November 21, 2019
Q: Do you think these extra couple of days here will help Saquon (Barkley) get healthier? Have you noticed he looks a little sharper and healthier?
A: I think in general, yeah, any of our players… But yeah, he’s had a good week of practice. He got some rest last week yet still got some work. He’s like a lot of us right now, just really hungry and eager to go find a way to help us win.
Q: How much more would you like to get him involved in the passing game?
A: More, but probably the best way to answer that is, to do that, we just have to play better collectively as an offense. If we stay on the field, then he, as well as other guys, get more opportunities. For him, not just in the running game but in the passing game. As we’ve seen since he’s been here, he’s very good at both.
Q: Why are you guys not maybe rolling Daniel (Jones) out as much as it might have been expected for a guy who has some mobility, and obviously, the pass protection has been breaking down?
A: That’s a part of our game. We try to mix that, and yeah, we could do that more as well. I think you have to pick and choose. I think there are times that you don’t want to just do it and all of a sudden, turn it into a bad play if teams are playing it, if you have a tendency on that.
Q: Have you seen teams playing it?
A: Whether or not they’re playing us or teams we get ready to play for, there are certain things that we do. Sometimes we want to call it, sometimes we don’t, sometimes we can’t get to it, sometimes we want to get to it but we’re not on the field enough. It’s a part of his game, for sure.
Q: What type of things can you guys do behind the scenes and in practice to help with the ball security?
A: We’ve talked about this before. We look at it. Offensively, we’ve gone back and looked at the turnovers and the fumbles and if there was a common denominator. Like Coach (Shurmur) alluded to yesterday, I think that it’s hard to put your finger on one thing. If you’re standing back there with the ball and you’ve got guys that can get to the ball and are really good at it, it’s going to be tough. You want to keep two hands on the ball until you’re throwing it. We work those drills. We want to get the ball out faster, for sure. We want to protect better, for sure. We want to get open quicker. All of those things. I kind of went back and looked at other quarterbacks, as well, just to see if… Sometimes there’s a guy that’s getting the ball hit right and he has two hands on it, and the ball comes out. Sometimes there’s a guy that’s getting hit and he’s getting ready to throw it, it comes out. Other times, they hold onto it. It’s almost the exception. When they get their hands on the ball, they’re so good at it and quarterbacks are kind of zeroed in. The bottom line is we have to do everything else better. Keep guys away from our quarterbacks and then get the ball out quicker. Now when you’re running with it, that’s a different story, like Coach talked about. We have to have that ball secure no matter how hard you’re trying to make the first down, make the play. That ball is the most important thing we do, is protect that football. That has to be our mindset.
Q: Daniel hasn’t played a lot of games, really in his life, in a lot of cold weather atmospheres.
A: It gets a little cold in Carolina.
Q: Below 30, 20. Is there anything as a coach that you can do to get a guy prepared for that?
A: Yeah. Number one, I kind of would have him rely on Eli (Manning) and some of the guys that have been here on things that they might do to help prepare themselves during the course of the week. Obviously, the colder it gets, the ball gets a little slicker in that regard. You have to make sure you… It’s hard to practice it unless it gets really cold out here. The one thing that helps us out here is the wind blows, as you guys know, probably more so than other places. That’s helpful, and I think our guys do a good job, especially Daniel. (He) has a ball that carries well in the wind. Other than that, you’re right, it’s going to be an experience.
Q: Do you have to do anything special this week in the sense that your tackles and your tight ends are both banged up and they have (Khalil) Mack and (Leonard) Floyd?
A: Those guys are really good players, and they’re not the only two that can rush the passer. But yeah, we have to mix our protections. We have to get the ball out. We have to stay out of third and long. As we say, stay ahead of the chains. Stay on schedule. Then whether or not it’s having a guy help chip, as we say. But you can’t do it every play, and they know that. They’re good at that. They’re not just good pass rushers. They have good schemes and they understand when you’re trying to keep guys in, it’s harder to throw the ball down field with less guys. It’s going to be a combination of all of those things. We have to be able to make things happen on first and second down. Stay out of third down. Make first downs on first or second down.
Q: Do you see any difference with (Defensive Coordinator Chuck) Pagano’s defense with the Bears as opposed to when Vic Fangio was there?
A: There’s probably some subtle differences. Overall, they’re very similar scheme wise. I mean, they’re really good. With the talent that they have and the coaching that they have, they can tweak it however they want to and they’re still going to be very good.
Q: Is he doing anything different with Mack?
A: Compared to last year? He still moves around a lot. To me, he’s still effective. He’s somebody that we have to account for.
Q: I know Daniel went home for a little bit during the bye, but how much did you leave him alone? Or the film review that you’re talking about, is that together while he was here through the week, or how did you handle that through the week?
A: Normally, we do that right after the game. We spend our first few days collectively, really as a team and collectively as an offense and individually in our position groups, kind of going back through the good and the bad and saying, ‘Hey, what can we learn from it? What can we do more of? What do we need to do less of? What can we practice better?’ We kind of look through it a little bit. Some tapes are tougher to watch than the others. If we’ve watched something, like the fumble tape, we went back and watched some of our explosive plays. Just to kind of get that out of our system. But I think the more you can kind of look at it, go over it, review it, debrief it and talk about it, hopefully moving forward, you can rely on that information and that experience.
Q: Did you let him unplug for a couple of days?
A: Oh yeah. Then? Yeah. I learned that from my dad. When we’re off, we’re off. Give those guys time to clear their minds, get away and come back refreshed. I think all of our guys have.
Q: Do you have an actual tape, a fumble tape?
A: Yeah, but that’s not uncommon. We do that all of the time. It’s part of the bad tape that we look at. But we also look at, like I said, some good stuff, too. We’ve had some good stuff. The problem with that, and we’ve talked to our players about a lot of things, and I know (Defensive Coordinator James) Bettch has talked to you guys, too, in regard to we’re doing a lot of good things. We’re not doing enough of them. Then some of the bad things we’re doing are totally overshadowing the good things. We have to find a way to eliminate those and then build on those good things, and then realize we’re not that far off. It feels that way. It’s tough when you lose. But we’re not that far off. We have to persevere through this thing and keep finding ways individually to make plays and collectively put it all together for one game, and not worry about anything else.