Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula -- December 19, 2019
Q: Golden Tate has made a couple of really difficult catches. The one last week, against the Patriots. What makes a receiver really good at that specific skill?
A: I just think some guys have really good, you can say ball skills but probably hand-eye coordination. Heís probably born with that. Then he has really good instincts, too. He knew exactly where the guy was going to come from, how close he was going to be, the guy coming from the outside, even though he didnít see him. Just things like that. Probably blessed with a little talent as well.
Q: What has impressed you the most about Darius Slaytonís year?
A: I think heís gotten better each week. Heís quiet, so we didnít really know what kind of personality, football knowledge, instincts he had. I think all of those were probably more than what we thought. He has a calmness to himself. I think the first thing that kind ofÖ Heís still a rookie. He has a lot to learn and a lot to improve on. But the first thing that kind of caught my eye was just his communication early in the preseason games, during the games with the quarterbacks. Not a lot of receivers, especially young ones, kind of come up to quarterbacks and say, ĎHey, what did you think on that? Well, this is what I thought. I have to do this better.í Right away, he was doing that, and I thought that was impressive for a young guy. I think that kind of led intoÖ What we found out is that he has a little confidence about himself and good football knowledge. Hopefully heíll just keep getting better.
Q: Has he developed as a route-runner, or is he more advanced than we kind of thought? I think coming out, a lot of people saw the speed and thought he was kind of just a deep guy.
A: I think Tyke (Tolbert) has done a great job with him. I think we probably didnít give him enough credit as a route-runner coming out of college. I know those guys are well-coached down there at Auburn. They have a little bit different offense than we do, but they still run a lot of the same routes. We saw a lot of big plays, just like everybody did, when he was coming out in the draft. But heís really good at really running all of the routes for a young guy. For example, one of the easiest things, you would think itís easy, but a lot of the time, especially for young guys, just getting the proper depth. Heís probably as good as any rookie as Iíve ever seen, as little as that is, at just getting depth because as we know, the timing is so important. If youíre short, the quarterback is going to be late with the ball. Heís done a good job with that.
Q: Assuming he plays, what do you want to see from Daniel (Jones) the last two weeks to kind of put a bow on his rookie year?
A: Well, weíll just lock in on this game if he does. Just win games. Itís all about winning. Finding ways to win and the consistency. To do that for a quarterback, as we know, itís three things. Going to the right guy with the football, getting the ball there on time, and accurately. Just the consistency of that decision-making, to start with, would be the things that weíre looking for in all quarterbacks, but especially young guys improving.
Q: Where do you see him in those areas? Where do you see him so far?
A: I think heís been really good for a young guy. The number one thing, throw out all the stats and all the kind of fantasy stuff. The number one thing is winning football games. As the quarterback, youíre at the focal point of that. We, at that position, have to be better. But I think there are signs throughout that, and you have to look at that, not necessarily statistics, but just signs of decision-making, how quick heís making them, how he recovers from a negative play, how he is with his technique, that are all continuing to improve. Now we just have to, as a quarterback and as a team, just have to see more results on the plus side.
Q: Can you tell if thereís something in particular that he gained, any value, from being out of the lineup for a couple weeks, albeit the circumstances are not what you wanted?
A: Yeah, I know you guys kind of asked him that question yesterday. I think thatís probably more for him to answer. Just in general, though, watching number 10 (Eli Manning), how he operates, I think you could watch him every single week and just continue to learn. On the preparation, from the minute he walks into the building until the end of the game. For the whole week, just the thought process, the gathering of information, and storing it and then applying it on Sunday. How to take information, the volume thatís thrown at you on Wednesday, absorb it and then retain it through study, preparation, and going over it and going over it and going over it, until it becomes natural to you on Sunday.
Q: Is that a special quality that Daniel may have that maybe other guys wouldnít? Because in that situation, Daniel doesnít strike me as someone that needs you to tell him what to watch. He kind of just watches on his own and picks it up. Is that kind of what youíre talking about, in terms of knowing what youíre seeing and learning from what youíre seeing, rather than you being told?
A: I think he has a good quality, and I think heís learned from Eli. But I think he learned from Coach (David) Cutcliffe at Duke probably more so than anybody, and heís benefited because of it. Iíve said this often, heís been very well-trained in college. Weíre reaping the benefits of that as we see him on the field with his productivity. Like I said earlier, we have to continue in that direction with wins.
Q: It looked like Saquon (Barkley) ran hard, didnít hesitate, was willing to take the four, five, six-yard runs. His longest run was 12 yards, even though he topped 100. Was that the best youíve seen of him in a while? The hardest maybe heís run in a while consistently?
A: Just overall, I think the thing that stood out more so, and itís probably hard to measure this, all of us, because heís not going to talk about it even if he was, but I think thatís probably, more so than any other games, where Iíve really seen him cut it loose on some 90 degree turns that we saw last year. Maybe we hadnít quite seen as much. His body is probably feeling reallyÖ Thatís just my personal opinion. He might say differently. But I think I saw more of that. To your point, in my opinion, we had a really good day rushing the football, and we really didnít have, as you said, a lot of explosive plays. I think thatís a credit to him, as well as our offensive line, to be able to move the ball efficiently and gain that many yards on the ground, without like one run for 70 and the rest have a low average. Again, like some other things that weíve talked about, I think there are some signs that are pointing in the right direction upfront and then with Saquon.