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Quotes: OC Pat Shurmur

Posted Nov 5, 2013

COACH SHURMUR:  I know Coach [Chip Kelly] has had a chance to talk to you a couple of times since we played last.  And obviously that was a good performance by the whole team.  The important thing for us is to get back in the moment now and start our training in preparation for the Packers.  Once you do something well, of course in this business you want to try to recreate it and be consistent.  So the challenge for us will be to come out here and put together another good week of training like we did last week and try to then convert it to a good performance on Sunday.  So that's where we're at.  With that I'll take good questions.

I want to ask about Nick Foles’ touch on deep balls.  How much is arm strength and how much is timing between him and the receivers, what goes into hitting those plays?

COACH SHURMUR:  When you're accurate throwing a deep ball, there's a lot of elements to it.  I think he's a good deep ball thrower.  I think on the deep balls we hit the other night, when we hit the [Riley Cooper] Coop the post, of course, and later in the game to [DeSean Jackson] D Jack, I thought they ran good routes.  But he put good air on the ball and both guys were able to run through them.

What's the sample size it takes to determine whether a guy gets to be a starter?

COACH SHURMUR:  You just keep playing.  I think we all know.  And really we just stay in the moment.  I saw that each week.  And that's just the way we function.  And so what we try to do    you'd like to see guys perform well on a weekly basis.  Every once in a while you have some games not so good, and then you have some games where you're really grooving.  But along the way, I stand here and tell you you see improvement, and I think that's what we've seen from Nick.  I'm assuming that's who you're talking about.

There's a point with any quarterback you need to determine, make the determination is this a guy going forward or is he better   

COACH SHURMUR:  Those are discussions and decisions you make in the offseason.  Right now all our energy is devoted to getting ready to play the Packers.  Beyond that I think we're selling ourselves short, we're not doing what's best for this team if we worry about anything other than playing the Packers.

Chip said that you guys pretty much called the same offensive, same defense, pretty much the same as previous games.  Why did you guys feel so committed to that scheme?

COACH SHURMUR:  Well, we believe in our scheme.  And I felt like we executed better on Sunday and that's why we had success.  We believe in what we do.  We believe in the players we put on the field and the challenge for us is to go out and play good ball.  And we as coaches have got to give them good stuff to work with.

Is this the best game Lane Johnson has played?

COACH SHURMUR:  I thought Lane played extremely well in the run and the pass.  As a rookie there's a handful of plays where you're saying you've got to be much better.  But, yeah, I thought he played very, very well.  And the challenge for him now is to go out and put another good performance on the field.

Nick's done a good job of protecting the ball.  Right now he's thrown five interceptions in his career.  You coached a guy that was as good as anybody at that in Donovan McNabb.  What's the approach in quarterbacks, and the similarities in those two guys that enable them to have such a good respect for the football?

COACH SHURMUR:  I think you're hitting the nail on the head.  There has to be a legitimate respect for the football and not turning it over.  I think that's No. 1.  I think No. 2 the quarterback, when he's throwing the ball has to be a good decision maker.  And every once in a while a guy that doesn't throw interceptions or takes care of the football will pull back on one.  That's just the nature of it.  There are some guys that are cavalier and if you put them out there they're going to throw picks quite a bit. 

Nick has a great respect for the football, he understands how protecting the football is important to winning football games.  But yet the other night he was very decisive in making his throws, whether they were long, intermediate or short.

Looked like Nick used fakes and used his eyes to move the safeties back there.  Was that a game plan thing, how important was that?

COACH SHURMUR:  Yeah, there were some plays where he did a good job of looking guys off or pump faking, that's part of what we do.  But the quarterbacks develop a strategy on each play and each situation to really use that to his advantage.

How important is it to have three quarterbacks you trust to go out at any time?

COACH SHURMUR:  Three?  We'd like to have a bunch, more than three.  But yeah, it's important.  We saw again last night where the Packers ended up playing with Seneca Wallace.  I think what's important is you put a starter on the field, you do everything in your power to support him so he can go out and help you win football games.  And then beyond or behind that player you've got to keep developing whoever is there, because they're one play from being in there.  And I think the same can be said for all the positions.

Are you conscious of not throwing interceptions, do you look for a happy medium between being careful, and you look at Brett Favre, with a Hall of Fame career, that was a riverboat gambler and never worried about that?

COACH SHURMUR:  Yeah, I think it's a fine line.  And it's a feel that they have naturally.  Where they're aggressive, yet they have respect for the football.  And every once in a while interceptions happen.  You could be doing everything right and the ball gets tipped or you can do everything right and the receiver drops it.  Or there's numerous reasons why interceptions happen.  And then there's times when it's a flat out bad decision, bad throw, you put the ball in harm's way.  When we evaluate it, each time anything bad happens, we kind of put them in those categories.

If you were writing a scouting report on Seneca Wallace, what would it say?

COACH SHURMUR:  One thing about Seneca, he's a veteran player, he knows how to play this game.  He's got a good set of legs on him.  And he can move around and make throws.  I think he's got a very strong arm, and he's played long enough in their system, Mike's [McCarthy] system, to be efficient.  So I think if Seneca ends up playing this week, we've got to be prepared for a guy that can execute at a high level and really he can be dangerous using his legs, as well.

What were some of the things that you tried to improve in Seneca’s play when you were coaching him?

COACH SHURMUR:  All the normal attributes.  All the normal skills that you see from a quarterback, decision making, timing, accuracy.  But he's on the Green Bay Packers roster for a reason.  He's their backup.  And in the case of last night he was in there playing quite a bit.  And so if for some reason Aaron Rodgers can't go we anticipate he’ll play.

Did you feel like there were missed opportunities in the Cowboys game and that's why you felt confident going back to the scheme and you felt Nick would be able to go back to hitting those guys?

COACH SHURMUR:  Well, you're circling back.  We believe in our scheme.  And we did not execute our scheme well.  And we as coaches didn't give our players good enough stuff to work with, and we didn't play well in those two games that you're talking about.

This past week, we ran the same scheme, we executed better, and the results were much better.

What do you see from Riley Cooper?  There's a clear difference from his numbers with Nick at quarterback and Mike Vick at quarterback, what do you attribute that difference?

COACH SHURMUR:  I don't know.  I don't know why that is.  I think I've always said receptions come in bunches.  I wouldn't say that Nick is looking to Riley more than say Mike is.  I don't know that would be something I'd run with.  I would say that our guys battled the other night.  And Nick made some good throws.

What do you see from Riley?  Obviously the last four weeks    maybe part of it is that Nick has spent some time on the scout team with Riley, and maybe over the last year they've spent some time?

COACH SHURMUR:  I don't know if you can develop anything there.  I would say that Riley battles each week.  He practices hard and he's always out there battling in the run game and the pass game.  And they come in bunches.  He may not get as many touches this week, and it may have nothing to do with who's in the game, it just may happen that way.

The tight ends seemed to be more involved this week. Is that something we can expect going forward?

COACH SHURMUR:  No, it was just the flow of the game.  We've got plays where they're first or second in the progression.  And then there was plays in the game when they caught the ball when they were third or fourth in the progression.  It's just the way the game flows. 

We've got James Casey in there a little bit more and he did well.  And then of course we got    we hit [Zach] Ertz on a touchdown throw, and he was really not the primary read as you saw, Nick pump faked and he scrambled and was in the right spot and was able to catch the ball.  He caught a touchdown in that case, but he was not the primary throw.

How do you handle Nick this week, his jersey was sent to Canton, he's going to get a lot of attention.  Do you bring that up with him at all, do you ignore it?

COACH SHURMUR:  You guys have been around Nick long enough to know his demeanor.  And it's very    that's very natural and that's very real when it comes to Nick behind the scenes.  He's in there preparing right now, just like he would if he was last week talking about what he did the previous week.  And so we don't worry about that with him.  I think he's like any player, you feel good because you had a good performance, but you know that every team in the league is dealing with Tuesday in preparation for their next game, and we're just trying to recreate that process.

In all your years of coaching where would you rank Nick's performance?

COACH SHURMUR:  Well, just the pure numbers, I mean that's got to be one of the top ones that I've been around, if you cut out the numbers, and this is what happened.  And he did some good things behind the scene, as well.  That was one of the better ones I've been around, for sure.

Bryce Brown had a good game. What have you seen from him?

COACH SHURMUR:  Yeah, the backs are doing a good job.  We have numerous paths that we take when we run the football.  And he did a good job the other day.  Part of it was we got the edge sealed the right way, and he saw it and he got his football and got vertical and that was good.  He's a big, physical runner, and if we can get him to the corner and get his paths turned toward the goal line, I think that's good for all of us.

It looked like Nick had a clean pocket for most of the game.  How important was that?

COACH SHURMUR:  I thought the pass protection was pretty good for the most part.  There were a couple of times it ended up being    there ended up being three penalties on one play when he took a hit.  There was a couple of holds and then I guess a personal foul.  That was really the only solid hit he took in the pocket.  For the most part the pass protection was good.  But we have a new challenge this week.

The Packers use like two different defensive lines.  Do a lot of teams do that, is it just as simple as waiting for them to put the guys in or how do you approach it?

COACH SHURMUR:  We like to try to control it.  If we put big people out there, they typically match with big people.  They have big people inside, make no mistake.  When we go to three receivers or whatnot, it becomes a match up thing.  So they get players on the field to match up how we do things.  That's just part of how you play it.

You can make it harder for them by keeping your pace brisk?

COACH SHURMUR:  Yeah, we like to think playing with tempo helps to eliminate some of the substitutions that they might make.  That's a good little evaluation. 

Will Vick be here today?

COACH SHURMUR:  He should be out here, yeah.

Doing what?

COACH SHURMUR:  Practicing.  At quarterback.  You'll see.  He'll be out here. 

We are not allowed at practice.

COACH SHURMUR:  My guess is you still find out what happened at practice, that's just my guess.

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