Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
September 15, 2022
Q: How much, as a play caller, when (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) is playing at the level that he played at on Sunday – what does that do for you as a play caller?
A: He did a great job. He did a phenomenal job with the ball in his hands. I thought the o-line protected him well. I think it was a full 11-man operation out there. I thought Saquon definitely benefited from that. He ran hard, he played well.
Q: But does he do things that maybe some other guys couldn’t? Even with everybody playing well.
A: He’s a special player. He’s absolutely a special player and a guy that yo
Q: There was a stat that he faced the least-loaded boxes of any running back in the league. I know the defense makes that decision but are there things that you can do to influence that so you can keep the box from being crowded?
A: There’s definitely things that you can do within the game plan. Whether it’s personnel-based, formation-based, motion-based. There are definitely some things that you look at to try and get those opportunities.
Q: After the game that he had, do you expect now that you will have to flip a little bit? This week, you could be facing a lot more loaded boxes.
A: I think you plan for it. I don’t know exactly what they are going to do. I think you plan for those things and you got to have answers within the scheme and within the game plan.
Q: The two-point conversion play, is that something you had in your pocket from the Kansas City days or way back when? What’s the background on the play?
A: As a staff, we get together and put it all together and come up with ideas, creative ideas. There’s things that we really like and maybe we don’t use them this week or last week that we carry over or there’s things that we really like that we want to call for that week versus that specific defense. They were pretty unique that way. When you really look at the tape, they played it well. Saquon just made a great play to finish it.
Q: So that’s a play that you guys came up with as a staff and …
A: Yeah, you see in my past we’ve run plays like that. It’s a version of it, it wasn’t one that we pulled exactly from my past. It’s a version of it and I thought it certainly helped us.
Q: What’s the benefit there of throwing it underhand as opposed to over the shoulder?
A: Overhand, it could just come out a little bit quick, faster and it’s a little bit of a tougher angle because it’s a kind of close quarters on that. The underhand is just an easier, softer way of getting the ball still quickly and accurately.
Q: You used motion on 38 of your offensive plays. Why is that such a big element of this offense?
A: I think any time you can distort the box whether it’s creating a numbers count, like we talked about earlier, getting guys in different spots, influencing second level and third level defenders - that helps whether it’s pass or run, it can help whatever the scheme you want to run. I think it helps also with the o-line getting certain angles on blocks. I think it can help in the pass game where you are creating certain types of leverages. There’s definitely a lot of benefits to it.
Q: Obviously we have seen it a lot in the Kansas City offense. Has that been a part of offenses that you have always been in or is that something you really learned in Kansas City?
A: No, it’s been in a lot of the offenses I’ve been in. It’s something that I think is important for what we want to do.
Q: Speaking on the touchdown before the two-point conversion, Saquon was very effective on that drive, they’re just willing to crash down on him?
A: Yeah, we had that one in our back pocket. It was in the game plan. We had it in our back pocket. We had some success running that play as a run, I think it was the first touchdown. We knew we kind of had a complement to it and once we got in that situation on the right spot, it kind of just fell into place to run it and the guys executed it well.
Q: We saw (Head Coach) Brian (Daboll) go up to (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) after the interception and animatedly made his point to Daniel. As a guy who was a quarterback in this league and a passing game coordinator, what do you make of that? What are the benefits of it? Do you personally like to wait until afterwards to have that conversation? What’s your opinion on that?
A: How Dabs handled it?
Q: Yeah, on just going up to the quarterback midgame.
A: Oh yeah, you absolutely want to give him the information and get the questions answered. Whatever issue happened, you want to get it solved right away and then be able to communicate what we are going to do next. I think there’s always a time and a place for that.
Q: Does that show his personality? Or how much does that show his personality? I’m talking about Daboll. That he’s willing to do that and do it in an animated way in front of everybody else.
A: Yeah, I think everyone is holding each other accountable. Everyone is accountable to one another on the team. That’s how we’ve always been from day one. We’re all in this thing together. I think we got to have those sometimes tough conversations. Dabs does it in his way that I think makes him special. That’s how Dabs gets the best out of players. I think everyone is different, but there is no right or wrong way on how to handle it in my opinion.
Q: What is his way and how would you describe that? When you say, “Dabs way” – What’s his way? How does he do it?
A: I think it was what you saw. He lit a fire under Daniel and then we came back in the second half, put together a great 12-play drive to go down and win it. Daniel had a lot to do with that drive. I think it was effective in that respect.
Q: That was a really interesting way to end your first game as a play caller, right? Can you just walk us through – when (Daboll) says we are going for two, what are your emotions in that moment and how many plays are considering? Can you just walk us through the process and your emotions in that moment?
A: We had the ball before, we were talking through plays that we liked really that whole second half while the defense was on the field. Talking through plays that we really liked, things that we wanted to get to. I think we had a couple of explosives in that drive that helped us get into range. Once we got into the red zone, we settled down, had really specific thoughts on what we wanted to get there and the guys went out there and executed it. Really, at the end of the day, we had full trust in those guys whether it was going for two, down inside the redzone. I think as a staff when we were talking about putting those guys in those spots, that meant a lot to the players to show that kind of confidence and have that kind of confidence in those guys.
Q: Was your heart racing?
A: No. The beauty of it, and you guys have been around here throughout training camp, we’ve been put through a lot of different situations. Two minutes, on the ball, no huddle, hurry up type situations that really prepped us. Not only as staff or as a play caller but for the players, too. Those guys really prepped it and that was great. We did it every single day and we continue to do it.
Q: Is the amount of frequent substitutions that you guys have, especially early in the game, something we can expect? Was there some confusion early on from some of the guys as you were doing all that?
A: Yeah, I think we got to continue to work on it. That was one of our points of emphasis this week was just getting in and out of the huddle quickly, getting up to the line of scrimmage. That way we can use those motions, we can use those shifts and things that we want to do and also give the quarterback more time at the line of scrimmage to operate. That was a point of emphasis and that’s the things that we are working on and things that we self-evaluated from the game.
Q: Other than the interception, how would you rate Daniel’s performance?
A: I thought Daniel did a great job executing. At the end of the day when you evaluate a quarterback, you look at wins and losses. He went down, that last drive to me was one of those things that showed me he can go and make plays when things are tight and when things are on the line. I thought Daniel operated well, he had a good day yesterday at practice, everyone has just got to keep on getting a little bit better each day and then we will be able to peak on Sunday and put our best foot forward.