QB Daniel Jones
October 20, 2020
Q: I wanted to ask you what it was like having Sterling (Shepard) out there with you for a little bit today and how he looked? I know it wasn’t exactly a full practice, but how is he coming along?
A: He’s doing good. He’s been out there for a couple of weeks now. I know he’s doing everything he can to get out there. But you have to be smart, and that’s on him and the trainers to do that. Yeah, it’s good to have him out there. He’s been out there for a little bit now.
Q: What would having him back mean for Thursday night for this offense?
A: It would be great. He’s obviously a special player and can do a lot of different things. It would be great to have him back. But we’ve had guys step up and play really well in that spot. Regardless of who’s out there, it’s up to us to execute.
Q: I know on the zone read, obviously, just by the nature of it you’re reading an end there, but are there times you know ‘I can probably pull it’ because you’ve seen a few times that they haven’t been kind of sticking with you on that back side, or is it always just a read?
A: I think you can kind of get a sense for how they’re playing it, who’s playing it and how they’re playing it in different ways. But I think you also need to be careful to actually read them. When you pre-determine any of those decisions, you can get into trouble.
Q: Then when you get downfield, do you feel you need to maybe get a little better at sliding? Are you comfortable kind of taking some of those shots you’ve taken in the open field?
A: I can probably do a better job of getting down in some of those situations. But that’s part of the game. Football is a physical game. Yeah, I can probably be better there.
Q: You look at Evan Engram and you guys have kind of struggled to get him going, especially stretching the field with him deep. What’s been kind of the issue there? On the flip side of that, you and Darius (Slayton) have had a great connection through the first six weeks or so. What’s been going right in that regard?
A: Evan’s a special player. He creates a lot of problems for defenses, and defenses are certainly aware of what he can do and what he brings to the table. As an offense, we have to continue to execute our stuff, and he’s a big part of that. Finding those opportunities to get him the ball. He’s dangerous with the ball in his hands, certainly good at getting open, and really good after the catch, too. We’ve got to do a good job getting him the ball. Darius has done a great job through these first few weeks getting open. He’s an extremely talented player, a smart guy and you can trust him to get open and be in the right spot.
Q: One of Darius’ biggest games was in Philly last year with the two touchdown catches. Have you guys gone back and watched that film at all and kind of picked up on things that worked really well last time around for this game?
A: They have some different guys in different spots and a little bit of a different defense, but the same scheme, obviously, the same coordinator. Yeah, we’ve looked at that. We’ll use that in our game plan. But we need to do what we do and execute at a high level.
Q: You’ve been asked to run a lot more the last couple of weeks. Do you like having that responsibility or having that freedom to run more? How much do you think that helps your offense to put that element into the playbook?
A: Yeah, I think it helps the running game, opens things up for backs and helps the passing game, too. One of the strengths of this offense is the ability to do a lot of different things with different personnel. When my number is called to run it, I’m certainly excited for those opportunities. You’re seeing what this offense can do, and we need to continue to improve, continue to execute.
Q: The Eagles have quite a few injuries on the defensive side of the ball. I’m just wondering when you prepare for them, do you put more of an emphasis on focusing on the scheme? Do you balance more on the replacement players because no two players, obviously, are the same? How do you approach that when you’re facing a team that’s so banged up on that side of the ball?
A: It’s a balance between both. Having awareness for the personnel and what their strengths and weaknesses are as players, what their tendencies are. Then understanding how that fits into the scheme and what they want to do on defense, what coverages they play in, what fronts and pressures they play. I think that’s a big part of it. But with all that, we take the approach to focus on ourselves first. Focus on preparing to play well as a team, as an offense and taking care of our business first.
Q: With that said, do you see much of a difference in what they’ve been able to do on defense given all of the injuries?
A: Yeah, I think you can see a little bit different game plan week to week depending on who’s out there for them. For the most part, they want to do what they do and stick to that. We’ll certainly factor that into the game plan. But like I said, it’s about us. It’s about us executing and going out there and playing well.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about last year, you had several occasions where you kind of put the offense on your back and carried it. A couple or three or so, four, five touchdown games. You haven’t had those occasions yet this year. Is that a product of just trying to be a little more careful with the ball? Obviously, it’s a different system. Do you still feel confident that you can throw those kinds of numbers up when needed?
A: We’re doing what we can to execute as an offense and move the ball as a team. I think that’s the important thing. That’s where our focus is, is making sure every time we touch the ball, we’re moving it and scoring points and finishing with touchdowns. We have a lot of good players, a lot of people who can do a lot and make a lot of plays for us. My job is to get them the ball. Yeah, I’m confident in where we are as an offense and excited going forward.
Q: Do you find sometimes that you are walking a line? You’ve made a lot of good plays already in your short career, but you’ve also obviously had the turnover issues and stuff. Are you walking a fine line trying to still be aggressive but not sacrifice that with turnovers, so to speak?
A: Yeah, I think that’s kind of the job in a sense, that you need to be able to do both. You need to be able to protect the football and be aggressive and aggressively take what they give you as a quarterback. That’s the challenge, that’s my job, and I continue to improve with it.
Q: We all know the turnovers are an issue, but do you feel at times that maybe you’re not being aggressive, maybe holding back and not taking a shot down the field, because maybe you don’t want that turnover?
A: Like I said, I think that’s the challenge as a quarterback, is understanding when to try to make those plays and when not to. I’m not sure… I think also it’s important to learn from your mistakes, but not to let them affect your aggression or the opportunity to make some of those plays, and I don’t think I have. I think I’ve taken them when they’ve been there. I’ll continue to improve with that.
Q: What do you think it is that makes Sterling Shepard as reliable as he is when he is in the lineup?
A: I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. I think his physical tools. He’s an extremely explosive guy, he’s good in and out of cuts. I think he’s as good of a route runner as there is in the league with what he can do in getting open and then catching the ball. You can trust him to separate from guys. He’s a tough guy to cover one on one.
Q: I know you guys are focused one game at a time, but when you think about the standings every week, it’s rare for a team to be at 1-5 and still have a shot at the division, even this early in the season. Does that factor in for you guys at all? Is there any talk in the locker room in terms of the significance of this game and how things are kind of all there, all bunched up again in these standings?
A: All these divisional games are big, and I think guys understand that. Guys have an awareness as to where the division is and the standings. But like you said, we’re focused on this week. We’re focused on this game and it being a big divisional game. It’s important for that reason. Guys are locked into that and excited to get out there.