Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula -- December 12, 2019
Q: Who’s your quarterback?
A: Whoever Coach (Pat Shurmur) puts out there, we’ll coach him up.
Q: How does Daniel (Jones) look this week working himself back?
A: He’s done a good job working his way back. He’s done a really good job in the meetings. As we know, he’s eager to get out there. We’ll see how it goes. I know Coach has addressed all of the questions regarding him and injury and all that.
Q: If he’s healthy, when he’s only started 10 games, how important is it to get the three more? Even though fans will look at these games and say, ‘What can he gain from them?’ Well, what can be gained from them? If he is healthy.
A: Well, I think for anybody, regardless of your age or experience, you just get better with experience. He’s a fast learner. Unfortunately, we don’t have the results that we’d like to have. We spoke about that. The quarterback is a huge part of that, of wins and losses. But you learn. We’ve talked to our guys and our quarterbacks. There’s nothing we can do to change what our record is other than learn from it and be better because of it. He’s in the process of doing that, and experience helps. But if he can’t go, he’s going to absorb everything he can every which way, and it’ll help him be better for now and for the future.
Q: Is there a segment or a thing where you have to learn how to come back from injury as well? Does that play at all (into the decision)?
A: Yeah, I think so. I know Coach talked about that. I think everything that you do from the minute you step foot into the building, when you get to the NFL, just like when you went from high school to college, is a learning experience. How to train, how to meet, how to go through walkthroughs, how to prepare on your own, how to deal with an injury, how to manage your time while you’re getting treatment and still get yourself back ready to go mentally as fast as you can. I think all of that is a learning process for anybody, especially a young guy.
Q: How does having uncertainty with your starting quarterback affect this week sort of from a logistical standpoint?
A: I think everybody kind of knows what the situation is. It’s important for everybody just to kind of keep your focus on what each guy’s job is. One of the things we talk about is being flexible. The quarterbacks, I talk to those guys, flexibility is the key to longevity. Be flexible in this league, have a plan, know what you want to get done, but be flexible and that’s going to help you in whatever you do.
Q: When a guy like (Darius) Slayton has a first half like that, but then a second half where I think he only saw two targets, when you’re on the sideline there and it’s a couple of three and outs, how much are you guys doing to draw up a play to get him the ball given how he’s playing that game?
A: Yeah, when a guy is hot like that, you want to try to continue to, just in general, get him the ball. But you don’t want to force the ball. I think the biggest thing was we just couldn’t stay on the field. We were bad on third down. We needed to be better. Unfortunately, we had a chance at the end to get him the ball, and we didn’t come up with a play. They made a good play at the end. But more importantly, you don’t want to force it. When you don’t have a lot of plays, it’s hard to do those kinds of things.
Q: Saquon (Barkley) has gone seven games without getting 100 (rushing yards). Is the running game just not there, or are the holes not there or what?
A: First of all, it’s hard. Last year when we got rolling, it was you get on a roll and you stay on it. That’s our goal to do that every year. More importantly, to win football games. We know that the running game is going to be a big part of that. I think that probably four or five weeks ago, we kind of struggled just with a few things, just with some moving parts. Saquon was just getting back from his injury. I think the last few weeks, though, we’ve been back heading in the direction where we want to go. We’re not quite there, but there are a lot of positive runs, a lot of efficient runs. You see our offensive line coming off the ball, you see them re-establishing the line of scrimmage, Saquon is hitting it up in there. We’ve had a few that have been really close, really in the last three games, from breakouts. I felt that way the week before. Unfortunately, we had to punt it over and then got down a couple scores. We had to kind of get to throwing the football. Then last week, we were kind of the same. But there is a lot more good now than basically what we saw four or five weeks ago.
Q: Do you design things in practice to test Daniel’s ankle, or does it just come up naturally during the script or whatever you’re doing?
A: We’re real careful as coaches to kind of just take a backseat to the trainers on what he can do, what he can’t do. We communicate with them on how much we want to push him, how much we don’t, and then kind of just go from there and let them kind of take over. If they say, ‘Hey, you can give him a little bit more,’ we’ll give him a little bit more. If they say, ‘Hey, you need to hold back a little bit,’ we’ll do that. That’s their job. We have great trainers and we listen to them.