Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
Q: Players have talked about your even demeanor in meetings, practices. Why do you think having that coaching style is important and how much of that is just a reflection of your personality?
A: I think what's important is just being yourself. Coaching, playing – I think that's important to show your personality and I think you have to be you whenever you're trying to give a message, be as positive and go through that process.
Q: Being even, how do you think it helps these guys get through a season?
A: Football could be chaotic at times. I think it's important to kind of keep your composure, understand where you're at in a given situation, find a way and be able to problem solve. For me, being in that demeanor allows me to problem solve, think clearly and get the guys the right information.
Q: Why did you decide not to take any interviews this week and do you plan to take them next week regardless?
A: Touched on that a little bit last week. We'll find the appropriate time that's best for myself and the team. I know (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs hit on that this week about not doing them this week during the game week - try to keep that as normal as possible and then we'll communicate and find a good time when that's right.
Q: Have you ever been angry? Have you ever lost your emotions?
A: Yeah, absolutely. There's times and places where that happens but you try and stay within it - figure out what went wrong, figure out how you can fix it. That's really all the players want is an answer. Just get back into a mentality where you can help find answers for them.
Q: Does being away from the sideline help that on Sundays or Saturdays, whenever you play?
A: Yeah, as far as being in the booth you're saying? (Yeah.) Being in the booth was definitely different. I spent the last several years on the field. Not good or (bad) – I think they're just different experiences. Down on the field, you get a little bit more of a feel of the players, being right next to them and being able to communicate it. When you're up in the booth, you get a bigger picture – kind of a bird's-eye view of the field. They're different. You have to have trust both ways. Whether you're on the field, trust upstairs in the booth, and when you're in the booth, trust downstairs on the field to get the right information.
Q: I guess what I'm asking is does it help you to disassociate yourself from the emotion, the passion and everything going on?
A: Definitely, definitely. You can definitely think a little bit. You have more time to think and kind of spread out. You have an area there to write some notes down. You don't really have that on the field, a desk and all that. It's definitely quieter so you don't have to worry about the crowd noise in between drives and stuff. That's probably the two major differences.
Q: When you're up there, the communication is the only thing that matters, right? Have there been either issues or is it something you have to train yourself? You got a lot of people in your ear also. You got to be clear, you can't mumble and that kind of stuff. It sounds maybe not important but it's crucial, isn't it?
A: Yeah. Those are things that you really practice in training camp and OTAs, the pronunciation of the plays and working through how I'm going to communicate this number or this set of plays and how the quarterback wants to hear it. That's really all that matters if I'm talking to the quarterback, that he gets the information quickly, concise, he can hear it and that way he can relay that information.
Q: Is (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) a good listener?
A: Daniel does a great job with the headset and communicating to the huddle, communicating what we want to get rolling with on offense.
Q: We haven't talked to you since the game. What did you think of Daniel's performance in his first playoff game?
A: Daniel did a nice job. Obviously, had some really good production with his legs, good production with his arm. He made good decisions from the quarterback position and eliminating those turnovers, which is big in really any game. In the playoffs, those type of things get elevated. I thought he did a nice job, he directed the offense and he did all the things that we ask him to do from the quarterback position.
Q: On game days, how do you see his demeanor change if at all from the (wide receiver Darius) Slayton drop versus the (wide receiver Isaiah) Hodgins pretty remarkable catch?
A: You guys see it on the TV and even when you guys are on the field – he's pretty much the same guy every day. He doesn't really sweat it either way, up or down, he kind of stays in the game, keeps fighting, keeps playing and I think that's where you see a guy like him – he's put us in position to be in those type of games.
Q: What do you think has made the Eagles so successful at rushing the quarterback?
A: I think the first thing starts with they're really talented players. They have a really talented group, their depth is super talented. It's not just like the front four, they got backups, guys that are perennial All-Pros and Pro Bowlers. They're well coached, right. They have a good scheme and they're sound with their scheme. They do a lot of good stuff on defense. We got to have a good week of prep.
Q: The first half of the year, the identity of the team was running through (running back) Saquon (Barkley), run heavy. It seems like it's shifted. What has enabled you guys to put more trust in the passing game, put more on Daniel's plate in that regard?
A: I think each week you just go through that process and evaluate how the scheme is looking, what we're seeing on defense – we can put our players in the best spot to be successful and execute. As the games go longer each season and as you get deeper and deeper into the season, those things just get magnified. We have to focus on our fundamentals and our techniques. All those things are super important.
Q: How far has (tight end) Daniel Bellinger come this year and how much did he have to reset after the eye injury?
A: Belly keeps growing every single week, you see improvement in the little things that we talk about with him. In the run game, he's showing up. He's showing up in the pass game. He's one of those guys that's just really good, he's a great teammate. Just the little things with Bellinger, you're seeing him really improve on.
Q: Did he have to reset after the eye injury and do you feel like he's gotten back to where he was before?
A: I've never had an injury like that, with the vision and trying to catch the football and stuff. I don't want to speak for him on it, but it was good to have him back. He had great energy, he was in all the meetings and he was still around so it didn't really feel like he lost anything. He kind of jumped right back into the flow of it and was right back where he left off.
Q: When the circumstances are what they are two weeks ago when you close out the regular season against Philadelphia, I'm sure there are things you can gain schematically with how you put together the game plan. Can you look at the personnel and think, alright – we had these guys out there but when we reinsert out guys, maybe this works differently or the game plan is even more enhanced because of what you're bringing now off the sideline?
A: Yeah, when you watch the tape – we look at all the matchups, all the personnel, all the formations and see how they want to align to it and see if we can find just a little bit of an edge to gain an advantage for the offense. Whether it was a motion, a formation, a shift, the personnel grouping – changing in and out of those with the run and the pass. Trying to tie all that stuff together, that's an extensive process that we go through each week.
Q: How long have you been waiting to unveil the statue of liberty?
A: That was a good one. That was a weekly add for that game. It worked out, it worked out nice. We only got a few yards out of it, but it looked sweet.
Q: It was handled correctly, right?
A: Yeah. Daniel (Jones) and (running back Matt) Breida did a nice job with the ball handling. They worked on it. You guys left and that's when we started pulling it out.
Q: Is that hard for a quarterback? You played the position, were you able to do that?
A: I mean, yeah. I think the creativity that the staff has bringing that to them, and the players love that kind of stuff. Giving it to those guys and letting them kind of run with it. I don't know the level of difficulty; I think Daniel handled it great on that particular one. Those are neat plays, you wish it would have gotten us a little bit more.
Q: Is that a Chiefs thing or did somebody else bring that?
A: No, it's a Giants thing. Those are things that we're building for our offense and want to continue to build on.
Q: Is that something you work on doing during the season or you just broke it out last week?
A: It was a play that we had talked about. There was an opportunity for it versus the look. There were a few things that had to happen right for the play to work. It was the right situation, I thought – just a tick off. But yeah, we just pulled it out for that game.
Q: Can you speak on Isaiah Hodgins' development? Obviously, Dabs and (general manager Joe) Schoen knew him, I'm sure you were less familiar with him. The way he's come on as rapidly as he has – I think it's five touchdowns in six games.
A: Not having much experience with him before that, he's been nothing but impressive coming in, studying the playbook, working his butt off - he's a great teammate. He does all the right things. He's a pro. He's one of those guys that jumped into that room and was able to add some value.