Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
November 17, 2022
Q: The stuff you were doing with (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) getting to the line quick and you’re in his ear – what are the benefits of that, what are you saying to him? Can you describe that process?
A: That was part of the gameplan for that week – to come in and play on the ball, talk to him and get us into the right play, play with some tempo. Then bouncing it out of some tempos, whether we’re huddling up or on the ball, checking some plays at the line of scrimmage.
Q: The Lions can score. How aware are you of what they have on the opposite side of the ball and what kind of pressure does that put on you guys? You haven’t really been down in a game 14-0 where you’ve had to win a shootout, open it up and that kind of thing. What happens if the Lions score and it breaks your normal gameplan?
A: Those are the adjustments that you have to be prepared for, we talk about it as a staff. Those are things that you have to be ready for in game to make adjustments on and I think our guys have done a good job of doing that throughout the season.
Q: The Lions seem to have some talent on defense? When you look at them, are you surprised they’ve struggled this much statistically?
A: They do a great job. Up front, they have some good pass rushers. Really, at all three levels – those guys do a really good job. They got some skill in the back end that can cover. They’re going to challenge you at the line of scrimmage. We’ve got to be prepared for a variety of things; pass rush, a variety of pressures, win our one-on-one battles on the perimeter. There’s definitely a big-time test that we have to be prepared for and that’s what we’re going through throughout the week, practicing against those types of situations against those defenses and then going out and putting our best foot forward to go out and execute.
Q: What do you see specifically in (Detroit defensive lineman Aidan) Hutchinson?
A: He’s a talented player. I actually had an opportunity in the draft process to take a peak at him and look at him and his skillset on the edge. He does a good job inside as well. He’s physical, he has a motor. He does a really good job in that defense and they use him appropriately.
Q: You’re an offensive guy. I’m curious why did you look at him?
A: I always kind of take a peak at the top defensive guys coming out through the first few rounds just to kind of know the skillsets and what’s out there. They’re some players around the league so it’s kind of cool to see that side of it.
Q: How have you seen Hutchinson grow and evolve now that you’re watching tape after couple NFL games?
A: He’s doing a great job. You can tell he’s playing savvy, he’s got some savviness to him on the perimeter and you see him make plays on the ball. Those couple in the red zone, making a play on the ball, getting his hands up, getting an interception. He does a good job, he really does. He’s a smart football player and no surprise why he was a high draft pick.
Q: When Daniel (Jones) is playing as well as he is, is there a temptation to give him more and open things up more? Obviously, you have (running back) Saquon (Barkley) but is there a temptation to say, “Hey, let’s see if he can do even more?”
A: Yeah. Every week, we go through that in the gameplan with the staff. We go through the run game, the drop back game, the pass game, movements, screens and see how we can put our guys in a good spot to execute against the defense. Then, you got to go and matchup what the defense does, what they do really well and what they do maybe not so well. You’re always kind of battling between strengths and weaknesses and making sure your guy is in the right spot. We evaluate that and that’s where we’re at right now, this week of practice.
Q: Is there a part of you that expects one of these days you’re going to see (Daniel Jones) in a shootout that’s going to have to be asked of him to win a game?
A: Yeah, we prepare for that each week. We talk about all those scenarios in the pass game, talk about their top coverages, their top pressures. Talk about how they fit runs and how they’re going to react to certain motions and shifts and stuff like that. All that stuff has to be accounted for, especially when you’re thinking about dropping back. We go through our walkthroughs and we detail it up with the coaches and the receivers, the tight ends and the running backs. All those little things for the pass game.
Q: I’m sure you watched lots of video of (Daniel Jones) before you got here. How would you compare what he’s doing now to that video you saw in those first three years?
A: I think he’s doing a really good job for us right now. He’s executing the offense. He’s coming in early. He’s watching a bunch of tape. He’s putting in all the work, which was no surprise. He’s been like that since the day I got here. I’m happy where he’s at. Where we’re right now, this week in practice getting ready for our third down and our red zone installs – we just had a great walkthrough, great communication with all those guys. He’s doing a great job.
Q: When you call drop backs, a lot of the times it’s been third and long – hard situations to succeed. A, why have you able to, and B, does that success maybe make you more inclined to maybe do it on first and second down, which are a little more favorable?
A: That’s exactly right. Those third and longs, those are tough to convert. Like we talked about before the bye, doing a better job on first and second down so we’re not in those third and extra longs. As far as the first and second down passing stuff, as we’re working through the gameplan, what the defense is presenting – that’s what makes you make decisions on run and pass, actions, what you’ve shown in the past and building complementary looks off of those.
Q: Why do you think (Daniel Jones) has been so successful on third and longs? What do you see?
A: It’s just the execution part of it. Those guys are getting open, we have great protection up front. Daniel’s done a good job of staying on time and in rhythm with his feet and then when it’s not there, stepping up and making plays with his legs. I’ve been proud of him for doing that and the guys separating and working in voids. Those are tough situations, everyone in the building knows you’re dropping back and throwing it. So now, guys got to step up and execute even more.
Q: What do you see in (wide receiver) Kenny Golladay’s struggles and do you see a guy that’s pressing? How do you handle that with him without giving up any specific stuff?
A: Kenny has been a pro. He comes to work every single day. This week’s no different. Yesterday was no different. He came up and had a great day of work. I think its’s one of those things, you fight through it and we tell our guys all the time – have a quick memory about whether it’s good, bad, dealing with adversity. You learn from it, you flush it and you move on.
Q: When (Kenny Golladay) played in Detroit, he was obviously – it’s been a few years and I’m sure you saw him back then – he was a dominant player at times. He doesn’t look like that same player anymore. Do you think injuries and age have taken their toll or do you think that player could still be inside of him?
A: I think Kenny Golladay is a really good football player. Like I said, he comes to work every day prepared. He goes through the process; studying the tape, studying the opponent, putting the work in on the field and trying to detail his techniques and fundamentals. This week’s no different.
Q: Off the two turnovers forced by your defense, why were you not able as an offense to finish and put points on the board to put them away in those two drives there?
A: I think we kind of stalled out there on the fringe. Got to do a better job with the execution part, the play calling as well - give our guys a chance. We evaluate those things. Sometimes, one guy being a tick off disrupts the play. We got to go back, evaluate it. Were we in the spot? Were our eyes in the right spot? Were our fundamentals and techniques correct? Did we give ourself a chance to execute this thing? Was the read correct? All those things kind of apply when you’re talking about a play-by-play basis. I think that’s where we kind of stalled in the fringe just outside of that field goal range.