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Transcript: Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka

Eric from BBI : Admin : 10/20/2022 5:04 pm
Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka

Q: What did you learn playing under (Jacksonville head coach) Doug Pederson?

A: Doug is great. Great person. He's a great football coach. He sees the game through the quarterback's eyes being an ex-quarterback, so that was always great. His meetings were very detailed. I loved playing for Doug.

Q: What was it like having (wide receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson) back out on the field this week?

A: Yeah, Wan'Dale did a nice job. It's good to see him. Obviously, bounced around, having some fun. You see it in practice, too. He did a nice job.

Q: What does that do to (wide receiver) Richie James and the playing time there? I know you said guys like to go inside. Those guys are primary slot guys.

A: Yeah, every week at practice we will evaluate and try to put those guys in the best spots to be successful. We'll work through that throughout the gameplan in really all the areas. Situationally, first and second down and then mix them in and mix and match with all the other personnel groupings that we have. It's still developing, we still got a few days here to tighten up the gameplan, but we're working through that.

Q: (Tight end Daniel) Bellinger blocked a lot more than he caught the ball in college. When did you realize he can be more than just a guy who was a blocker and you could go to him?

A: I think you saw a little bit of that on tape, you saw a little bit in the workouts and then our scouting department and (general manager) Joe (Schoen) did a great job of finding him and targeting him. We're glad we have him, we can develop him and you can see how he's getting better each and every day.

Q: Is he a better athlete than you thought?

A: You saw the athleticism on tape and at his pro day. That wasn't surprising that he put it on the field and kind of integrate into the offense and just see how well of a fit he was.

Q: Is it a little bit easier to maybe see when you draft a tight end that you can sometimes draft a guy that has the receiving skills and you have to teach him to block or the reverse where you got a kid who knew how to block in college and you got to teach him how to catch? Is there an easier route to go? Is it generally a little bit easier to learn how to run the routes and be a weapon in the passing game?

A: I don't know if I would say that. I think (tight ends) coach (Andy) Bischoff does a great job with all the tight ends in developing them and trying to figure out their strengths, figure out their weaknesses. Whatever those strengths are, build on that. With the weaknesses that show up, continue to work through those and put them in a good spot so that those weaknesses aren't shown as much. Coach Bischoff is a great guy, he spends a ton of time with those guys and the players buy into it. That's why we're here, to help our guys get better in any way we can.

Q: All offenses obviously evolve over time. How cumulative is your offense to build from one week to the next? Even one year to the next as we move forward?

A: There's a lot of carry over in the week to week. You only play 60-70 snaps a game, so a lot of those plays that you rep in practice maybe you don't run it, you don't call it and you get another rep of it the next week. You can kind of bank some of those plays over the first few weeks of the season and carry over and if it fits, then we use it. If it doesn't fit, then maybe we put it on the shelf for a week or two and then bring it back when we feel like it's a good fit for the team we're playing.

Q: How much in these six weeks has it kind of altered? You came in in April thinking we're going to run this and now you're in October and you're running a different thing. How much does that happen?

A: I think the first three weeks of the season was a lot of good carry over. As you kind of go through those first few weeks, you run a pretty high percentage of them. In Weeks 2 and Weeks 3, you're replacing the ones you used with new ones or new thoughts and it's an evolving process that way where maybe it's a new action pass or a new movement or screen or something like that. Maybe you call one of them one week and you look for the next complement the next week.

Q: Where did you learn the concept of marrying concepts together in your offense so that you can get to certain plays the way you do?

A: I'd say when I was with (Kansas City head) coach (Andy) Reid, when I started coaching with coach Reid and he was big on that. Showing certain looks, showing formations, certain plays, then complementing those looks off of the action of a personnel grouping. That was important to learn that and I think that's probably where it started for me is how do you build that? How do you build off of those plays or things that you've shown in weeks before to then bring up in a game that the defense is kind of anticipating.

Q: When it comes to trick plays or some of those unorthodox plays you guys you guys have run – do you come in saying, "When we get in this situation we are going to run it," or as the games going, you say this is the time to do it?

A: I think it's a little bit of both. I think there's some of those types of plays that are built for a certain situation – short yardage, goal line – or it just kind of comes up in the flow of the game or maybe earlier in the game there's a couple looks where you go, "Oh look at that, this one is available now," and maybe it was the look that we were looking for. There's a little bit of just kind of getting the feel for the game but then also you absolutely have some up that are just situational calls that you saw on tape that you can use.

Q: When you are practicing those kinds of plays, do you find it gets the players attention more easily because it's not the norm?

A: Sure. It's fun when you present them and put them on the big screen and show them the tape, show them the looks. You can definitely get guys excited.

Q: How much of it is you inventing stuff and how much of it is – I saw this at Northwestern, I saw this at Kansas City – and you have a notebook full of them?

A: I think that's the beauty of our staff is that it's a melting pot staff from a bunch of different teams and have a ton of experience. The collaboration part of that is – you might see a look, present it to the staff and someone might already have experience in that and kind of know maybe the bones are buried on the play, whether good or bad. Then, you can prepare, show, add something from someone else. That's been the best part about this staff is these guys are super creative and they're really collaborative as far as the knowledge and breadth of football they know.

Q: (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) checked down to an Andy Reid play last week. What made you?

A: Which play are you talking about?

Q: It was in the third quarter. I heard him say, "Andy Reid, Andy Reid." What made you put that in? Is that your tribute to him that you put that in?

A: No, we've talked about it as a staff. We have a bunch of names for our plays at the line of scrimmage, in the huddle. We try to make some word association things with it. That was one that us and the staff thought was appropriate for that play.

Q: With a young pass rusher like (Jacksonville outside linebacker) Travon Walker, is it simply just saying we are going to go with our best tackles going up one-on-one or do you really emphasize trying to chip him off the line of scrimmage? Is that something that you guys are thinking about this week?

A: Yeah, that's a part of every week. If you look across the league, there are good players on that side of the football every single week. This week, it's no different. Those guys are very, very talented pass rushers. They get off the edge, so you have to know where they're at on every single play.

Q: You guys signed (wide receiver) Marcus Johnson to the 53 this week. What kind of find has he been for you guys? He's played 40-plus snaps the last two games.

A: He's done a great job. He came in on the practice squad and did a great job on the look teams. (Wide receivers) Coach (Mike) Groh was meeting with him extra, kind of getting him ready and up to speed with the offense. There was an opportunity for him to step up - he has some speed, really good ball skills, he's physical, he's a big guy and he's smart. We thought that was a good decision and he's done a great job with his opportunity.

Q: We've seen less of the, the last couple of weeks probably, designed runs with Daniel (Jones). How much of that would you say is just the scheme and gameplan and how much of that was because you're trying to get him healthier to get him off the ankle, knee whatever?

A: I think it's a little bit of both. I think you want to be careful just to make sure he's right. I think that element of his game is something that makes him special, his ability to get out and that certainly causes issues for defenses. You see guys – they're aware of him. I think he's doing a good job of making those decisions – getting up, getting down, getting what he can. He's making smart decisions in that aspect in the run game, and I think he's an element that you don't want to take it away fully but just be smart and calculated with him.

Q: It seems like you're waiting for specific spots, bigger spots. You're not using him in the first quarter or random first or second downs near midfield. It seems like you're saving him. Is that something you think about, that you factor into the equation as well?

A: Yeah, I think it fits into the flow of the game. I think when we're trying to design the openers, you think about what has the defense presented, what have we presented in the past. You're trying to build all of that together. Sometimes you get to them and sometimes you don't, but they're at the front of my mind.
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