Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
Q: Can you take us through the thinking on two series in that last game? The one right before the end of the half where the third and one you didn't throw the ball, ran and basically ran out of time and then the one at the end of the fourth quarter where you threw three straight passes with like two minutes left which I haven't seen you guys do in a close game in the fourth quarter all year.
A: So, the short yardage one – we had a couple of plays in mind. We thought that was the best play for that situation given the circumstances of the situation.
Q: Did you think you could score a touchdown there? Is that the idea?
A: Yeah, that's what we thought was the best play. The one at the end of the half, just giving our guys an opportunity on the ball. Obviously in the two-minute situation, there's plays that you talk about. Taking shots or underneath. If you get an opportunity, you take it.
Q: In that second situation you guys only used 17 seconds off the clock. Were you conscious of trying to run some clock there?
A: We were just trying to give our guys the best chance to make a play, make an explosive play. It didn't work out for us, so we went back, evaluated that and work to get better.
Q: Those two throws, the two long throws by (quarterback) Daniel Jones, were those about as good as you could have hoped for in those situations? It looked like they were right on target.
A: 'DJ' was doing a great job in the pass game. I know he hit a big one early to (wide receiver Darius Slayton) Slay and that, I think, gave everyone a lot of confidence to be able to have those types of throws. I think he did a really good job with the accuracy on those.
Q: Do you come out of that situation, even though that didn't work out, are you still confident that the big plays in the passing game can be there if and when you need it in a big spot?
A: Yeah. I'm very confident in the skill group, quarterback, running back. The skilled positions have done a great job, and my confidence is high on that group.
Q: You said you had a handful of plays in that situation at the end of the first half. From up top in the press box, it looks like (wide receiver) Richie (James) got the first down. I know you're up top too. Does it change things? Obviously, you called a timeout, I would assume thinking maybe a first down getting more shots.
A: There's absolutely a couple of scenarios that come up depending on the clock, the time. We used a timeout there, but there's definitely some plays that we were discussing, and we decided to go with the one we went with.
Q: It seems like teams have taken away the crossing route or the bootleg option for you. Do you feel like that's something that they've, for lack of a better word, taken away from you guys and how do you adjust to that?
A: We have a lot of different – I know what you're describing – we have a lot of different ways to get that done with different people from different personnel groupings. I think it goes back to just making sure we're executing it right and detailing it right from a coaching side. That's why we practice and go through that process each week.
Q: You haven't really gotten (running back) Saquon (Barkley) in the passing game maybe as much as people thought coming into the season and the screen game, haven't really seen a ton of it recently. How much is that something you would like to add and why do you think it hasn't happened so far?
A: Each week, we talk about those things and how we can get him in the most ideal premier look. It probably just hasn't shown up as much as we'd probably like to. Those things present themselves each and every week and that's what we look for as a staff – how we can get those things done over and over and over again. That's part of our evaluation process on the week to week.
Q: Did you think coming into the season that you'd be able to use that more?
A: Each week is different. Each opponent you go through, depending on what their defensive structure is, is different. You got to go into each week with a fresh mind and think about how you can attack a defense in the run and pass game.
Q: Obviously every week you're kind of toeing that line between aggressive and reckless is the term you guys use. Is there any thought that maybe you guys have gotten too afraid, not afraid, to weary of interceptions and turnovers? I go back to that situation at the end of the first half, that you're not being aggressive enough because a mistake could kill you guys.
A: I understand the question about it. I think each week is different. Each week, you go in with a plan then depending on what happens during the game, you have to be able to be flexible and adjust your plan.
Q: What happened on the third-down play when Richie and Saquon ran into each other?
A: Again, I hate to keep on bringing it back to this. It was one of those things where we didn't execute it well enough, didn't coach it well enough, and I take full responsibility for that. That's why we practice, and that's why we're doing it right now and excited for the other opportunity here against the Eagles.
Q: Did you approach that as if it might be four-down territory? It seemed like (head coach Brian) Daboll even said he was weighing that.
A: Dabs, again, will be the guy who tells me if we're going for it on fourth down. All those things are being discussed. We didn't get it done on that play, so it didn't work out for us.
Q: Any specific feelings or memories coming up? You were drafted by the Eagles, right? Any specific feelings about that team?
A: I have a lot of respect for the organization. Obviously (Philadelphia Executive Vice President/General Manager) Howie (Roseman), he drafted me there when I was there with coach (Andy) Reid. A lot of respect for the organization, owner (Philadelphia Chairman and Chief Executive Officer) Mr. (Jeffery) Lurie. They do a great job, they have a really talented team, so it will be a great challenge for us. We got to put together a good week of work.
Q: How many times are you going to face a defense where you they get to the quarterback, and they have two corners playing at a high level? Talk about some of the challenges you see when you look at these guys.
A: They're really talented, they're aggressive, they play with confidence, and they play fast. You see a lot of things that show up on tape. They're creating turnovers, interceptions. They have a ton of production in the pass game, in the run game and they're the best team in the league.
Q: It seemed like when you used those two running back packages whether it's Saquon and (running back) Gary (Brightwell) or Saquon and (running back) Matt (Breida) you've had success, but it hasn't been a staple of the offense. Why have you not incorporated that more based on the fact that it has been as successful as it's been?
A: Each week is different. That's not to say that we can't go one way or the other. Each week, we look at the personnel groupings that we like, that we think is advantages for us, and we go with those.
Q: How much have you guys missed (guard Ben) Bredeson in the running game especially?
A: Bob (Ben Bredeson) is working through the injury stuff, and whenever he's ready, we get the sign off from the trainers and Dabs, and when we want to move in that direction, we'll make a decision.
Q: What was it like having (tight end Daniel) Bellinger back in there?
A: He did a great job. It was great. He's a guy that plays with confidence. I think he gives the offense a lot of confidence and does what we ask him to do. It was great to see Bellinger back out there.
Q: You guys haven't been as efficient in the running game the last few weeks. Do you feel like it's just a matter of execution or do you need to vary the approach to where you can get to some of your runs a little bit more?
A: I think it's a combination of both. I think you have to, each week we go through it, go through our process. What are our favorite runs? What are our favorite looks? Personnel groupings? Really detail all that stuff out. We go with what our guys do best. We go and we practice it, we detail it up, and that's what we end up going with each week.
Q: With a player like (Philadelphia defensive tackle) Javon Hargrave, he's not a guy who gets a lot of attention. He seems like he's the guy you need to watch out for when it comes to their pass rush. How much do you see that when you look at him on film?
A: We're well aware of where he's at, and really that whole d-line does a really phenomenal job. I was there with – (Philadelphia defensive end) Brandon Graham was in my draft class. I got a lot of respect for Brandon and he's still playing at a really high level. It's great to see him playing. That whole front seven, they do a phenomenal job.
Q: Has that happened for you before? Going against a guy you were drafted with and trying to scheme up against
A: I'm trying to think from my draft year. There's only a handful left, but Brandon (Graham) is at the top of that list.