Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
Q: When you look at one touchdown in each of the past two games, what is your level of frustration with that? Not meeting the expectations?
A: I think we just got to do a better job starting off the game a little bit faster. The execution, preparation and all those things kind of tie in. That's what we're focusing on this week in practice.
Q: I know a lot goes into play calling but when you step back and look and (running back) Saquon (Barkley) has 14 carries the other night – do you need more of that? Not calling enough runs?
A: I think there's a mix of that. I think you have to evaluate that and that's what we do a as staff every week is – how do we get certain guys going, making sure we are doing the right things. There's plenty of good to build on and there's things that you want to continue to improve on. That's where we're at right now and we're focused on that this week at practice.
Q: It's easy to look at the numbers and say, "We need to start better." On these opening drives, first quarter and things like that. How as an offensive guy, a play caller, working with (head coach) Brian (Daboll) – you can control that to a certain extent, right? The game is going to be even or right there. How do you make sure you can try to start the game fast? Changing what you are calling early, different formations and things like that?
A: I think it starts with putting the guys in the right spots and then the execution, the communication amongst the players out there. I think that's all part of it. It's an 11-man operation, everyone's got to be on the same page, everyone has to be going in the right direction. Those are things that we work on in practice.
Q: Is there anything you've looked at from a play-caller standpoint at the start of these first three games and said, "Maybe this needs to be tweaked?"
A: Yeah. There's plenty of that and that's what we do every week. Win, loss – we are looking at all of that every single week. There's plenty of things that we can improve on. Personally, as a staff, we evaluate how we present to the players, what we present to the players, how we meet as a staff internally from an offensive side, all of the schemes that we are talking about – how can we make it simple, how can we make it better, how can we improve? Those are all the things that we talk about and all the things that we look at. I think each week, you get a little bit better and a little bit better at certain things and that's where you see the growth.
Q: Dallas had a lot of pressure this past week. Brian said that you did a lot of things to alleviate that and it didn't work. How can you get better at that?
A: You come out today and practice. Work on those fundamentals, work on those techniques, take the coaching points and take the things that we talk about in the classroom, apply it to the field, continue to show them looks and you'll see players get better at it each day. We've seen growth from Week 1 to Week 2, Week 2 to Week 3. There's plenty of stuff that we can build on and then the things that we probably didn't do so well, we'll emphasize it and show them the tape. We'll show them the drills, the fundamentals, techniques and we'll work on those.
Q: A month ago if I had told you that after three games (wide receiver) Richie James would be leading the team in receptions and among the leaders in yardage, would you have been surprised?
A: I think the way it's shaken out, Richie has done a great job stepping in. We've had some injuries and things like that, but he's stepped up to the plate and you're going to see that across the board when you have injuries like that. Next man up has got to step up. He's a guy that we trust in those situations, and he's done a great job with it.
Q: What changes without (wide receiver) Sterling Shepard? He was your most targeted receiver, he was playing the most snaps. What changes for you guys offensively now that he's not there?
A: The first thing I'd say is it stinks for the kid to have to go through that. He battled back from an injury to get back to where he's at right now and then to see that happen – my heart goes out to him and I know he'll bounce back. He's one of those guys that brings a lot of energy to the room, to the group and to the offense. We'll look for guys to step up and replace that and/or step up and fill those needs and the things we need to do on offense. Players have got to rise to the level that we need them to around the entire group in the receiver room. I think guys will do that and I think it starts today in practice.
Q: At the end of the first half, what was the thought process in letting the clock run out when you guys got the ball?
A: Yeah, I think Dabs mentioned some of that as far as the time management stuff. I think there was definitely discussions – you're just working through the clock at the time, that was the best decision to let that clock run.
Q: Daboll yesterday talked a lot about how waves of lows makes it hard to stay consistent, makes it hard to maintain the same philosophy of trusting the process and all that stuff. He mentioned leaning on people, leaning on his coaches. How is he leaning on you specifically to help them through this consistency and maintain this philosophy of trusting the process over results?
A: Just being yourself. Being the same guy every day. Come to your meetings prepared. Come into any interactions with the players prepared and giving them the answers that they need to do their jobs.
Q: It seems (tight end) Daniel Bellinger is getting more and more involved. Can you talk about the process with him and the trust that's gone into Daniel Bellinger?
A: 'Bell' has done a great job. (Tight ends) Coach (Andy) Bischoff has done a great job with him since he's gotten in here. I think you're just seeing that type of growth from that kid. He's just putting in the work every single day and he's improving. He's improving a lot of things – run blocking, route running. You're seeing it at practice and you're seeing it show up in the game.
Q: At the end of the first half – why the change in approach of not being as aggressive as you guys have been in previous weeks? It seems like that was how you have been coaching games.
A: There's a lot of things that go into that, whether it's field position. I think at the time that's what we felt was the best to get into the half. I fully support it. That's what we want to do as a staff. We talked about it and kind of had out plan and that's what we did.
Q: Is there a path for (wide receiver) Kenny Golladay to help you on game day?
A: I think Kenny is doing a great job. He had a great week of practice last week. You saw him in the game there. Had some opportunities and I think when you really look at it, everyone on staff – players, coaches and everyone – is going to have plays that they want back. He has another opportunity today and go out and have a great practice. I fully expect him to do that. He's a pro, he's been a pro since he's been here, and I think that's what pros do – they bounce back and continue to work.
Q: Do you anticipate (wide receiver) Darius Slayton getting on the field more now?
A: It's kind of the same thing with really every group on offense. Today is a day to go in, define your role, have a great practice, play hard, practice hard and I think that's what we're going to continue to evaluate every single day up to Sunday.