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Quotes: OC Pat Shurmur

Posted Dec 17, 2013

COACH SHURMUR:  Last week's game, of course, we didn't play well enough to win. We didn't make enough plays. They made more plays than us.  That was our game.  We didn't play it well.  We lost and we own it.  Now we're moving on to the next one, obviously getting ready to play the Bears.

A lot of teams have played man against you. It seemed like Minnesota extended a little bit more zone than you’ve seen.  Is that fair to say?

COACH SHURMUR:  They played mostly single safety middle, but they mixed it up man and zone.

Because you have seen so much man lately, do you think that rattled Nick Foles at all?

COACH SHURMUR:  No, we were ready for it.

Why is it better to dictate the run‑pass ratio based on a matchup as opposed to going into a game saying this player should have ‘X’ amount of carries or touches?

COACH SHURMUR:  We do what we have to do to win the game.  Sometimes you run it more than you throw it.  Sometimes you throw it more than you run it.

What happens is, everybody, after the game is over, looks at the numbers and says, ‘That's why you didn't win.’  We do what we have to do to win the game.

Overall, your red zone numbers aren’t great, comparatively speaking, but there has been some kneel downs in there. Do you guys view that as something that needs to be addressed?

COACH SHURMUR:  Whether you're good or bad in situational football, you always work on it.  Typically, we're always working on third down, we’re always working on red zone, we’re always looking at a four‑minute situation where you're trying to end the game while you're ahead.  You're also working on clutch situations where you're trying to win the game when you're behind. We work on that all the time, regardless of what the numbers say we are.

The red zone, why isn't it working better?

COACH SHURMUR:  I think we are scoring a lot of touchdowns down there.  We're scoring a lot of touchdowns from out.  There are times when we have a bad play or two that, as you know, if you have a bad play or two, it limits your chances of getting in.  I think for the most part we feel good about the stuff we're doing, we just got to do some of it better.

Zach Ertz had more snaps than Brent Celek. Is there a reason behind that?

COACH SHURMUR:  No reason.  It just played out that way.

You can have a difference in run‑pass ratio.  What circumstances is the leading rusher in the league only getting eight carries an advantage?

COACH SHURMUR:  Well, I think typically you do what you think you got to do to win the football game.  We were behind, as you know.  We felt like we had favorable matchups throwing the football as well.  They were down to their fourth and fifth corner.  I think that plays into it.

Then there were a couple times when we certainly might have handed him the ball where Nick pulled it.  A couple times runs were called where we threw bubbles.

There's a lot going on there.  When you just kind of look at it after the game on one piece of paper, there's also the rest of the story.

The behind thing, you were 14 behind the week before in the second half, you stuck with the run there.

COACH SHURMUR:  Would we agree the week before, those were less‑than‑favorable conditions to throw the football?  I think most reasonable folks would say that.

But that would have something to do with it.  I know where you're going with this.  It's very important that we're efficient running the football.  It's also very important that we're efficient and explosive throwing the football.  We chose to throw the ball more than run it and there were reasons for it.  I think that's not something you’ll see every week.

What was your overall assessment of Nick’s play on Sunday?  Were there any mechanical issues on some of his overthrows?

COACH SHURMUR:  Yeah, I think it could be said for everybody that played, there's a handful of things I know Nick would like back.  There were some obvious plays where the ball was thrown inaccurately.  Of course, you don't want to throw an interception like the one we did.  There's reasons why interceptions occur.

I think just generally speaking, Nick is one of -- all the offensive players and coaches, we’ve just got to tighten it back up.

Is that a mechanical thing, footwork thing when a quarterback sails it?

COACH SHURMUR:  Which throw are you talking about?

There were a few early and then the week before.

COACH SHURMUR:  Typically when the ball sails, you can point back to numerous things.  His front shoulder is not down, he's not stepping into it.  There's a lot of things that can happen.  We'd have to talk about the throw specifically.

But Nick works extremely hard on his fundamentals each week.  We know he's naturally a very good decision maker and naturally a very accurate passer.  He'll get that stuff fixed.

Chip is very adamant about thinking that time of possession is overrated.  Do you agree with that entirely?

COACH SHURMUR:  I think this game is about scoring points.  That's what this game is about.  You can hold the ball.  We've seen teams that have tried to go against explosive offenses, you hold the ball, hold the ball, and then all of a sudden you kick a field goal.  And then they get back on the field and in two plays score a touchdown.  Last time I checked, you're down 7‑3.

I guess my point is, those are all things that get talked about after, and I think what's important is that we're efficient.  You want to advance the football efficiently, which means you're getting first downs, which means you're probably getting more plays.  Aside from that, you want to score points.

I think there's times when you score a touchdown on one or two plays in a drive where that's just as good as running it for a bunch of times.  It's about points.

Have you ever been around coaches that do think that's a very important number, being able to control the football?

COACH SHURMUR:  Yeah, I mean, I think when you think about it, if their offense isn't on the field, that's one thing.  What's important is what you do with the ball when you have it.  That's scoring points.  I think that's the way we look at it.

The third‑and‑one run inside the 24, how much time did you get to look at that replay?

COACH SHURMUR:  The third‑and‑one, yeah, from our view, the ball was down before the line.  That was pretty obvious to us.  We knew we had to get to the line, so...

In that case a lot of times it's not spotted on the line so it might not be as obvious.  Some conversation was made of that, but we saw it.

Looked like Jason Kelce had a pull on that and Todd Herremans had a linebacker block.  Did LeSean McCoy bounce that out a little bit?

COACH SHURMUR:  That was a man scheme.  They had guys running to the play.  We need to do a better job of blocking it.  We need to get a yard, we got to get a yard.

Even when Nick goes through some rough patches, it rarely turns into a turnover.  Is that just good fortune overall or is there something more to that?

COACH SHURMUR:  He's got a very balanced psyche.  He doesn't let things rile him up.  I think he played consistently, at least mentally through the game.

Yeah, the games are not always going to be perfect and that's when the mental toughness comes in.  You play the last play and you move on to the next one.  If there's corrections to be made, you do it quickly and move on.

If he sails a throw, it’s rarely intercepted. Is that good luck for him or is there more to it?

COACH SHURMUR:  I don't know.  I don't think he's got a horseshoe in his pocket or anything.  I think you make your own luck, too.

I think his fundamentals are pretty good, he makes good decisions.  That keeps the ball out of harm's way.

It's been 10 months now working with Chip Kelly.  What did you learn about him that you didn’t know about him?

COACH SHURMUR:  I don't know.  I think we learn something about each other every day that sometimes you can't verbalize.

I've enjoyed the process.  It's a different mindset.  I guess I was traditional NFL.  Now being with Chip, we're trying to do the same thing that every coach is trying to do on offense, score more points than the next team and be better than the team you play on the day you play them.

When we play the Bears, we don't need to be better than them on Saturday or Monday, we have to be better than them on Sunday.  That's the mindset.  Then do everything you can to get the players ready to play, cut out all the fat and do the things that are important.

I've enjoyed it.  I've enjoyed the process.  I've enjoyed working with the players with the new kind of set of ‑ I don't know ‑ ways of training that Chip has put in place.

DeSean Jackson has set career marks with two games left to play. Is he better now at this point in his career or is it a product of the offense?

COACH SHURMUR:  DeSean, I was with DeSean previously when I was here before.  We all know what he is as a player.  The last shallow cross he caught where he ran down the field, we know what he is as a player.

He's embraced the change, which is not always easy to do for a veteran player. He’s embraced it.  He's bought into everything that's going on. I think you’ve seen he's reaping the rewards at least statistically.  I think when he has production, it's good for all of us.

He's catching a lot of balls out of the backfield.  Are these new ways to get him involved?

COACH SHURMUR:  We feel like it's a good thing to get him the football and we're trying to find creative ways to do it.

What was your view of the interception play?  It seemed like Jackson didn't chase after the guy following the interception.

COACH SHURMUR:  Yeah, there's probably different views of it.  There's times when the ball goes up, when you're focused on the ball.  When you went to look for the ball, you had a view of where the corner was and then it changes for whatever reason.

I think what was good about that play is [Riley Cooper] Coop did a good job of getting him on the ground.

What about DeSean through running after him?

COACH SHURMUR:  I didn’t’ have a problem. We got him on the ground.  That's what is important.

DeSean is an emotional guy.  Are you okay with what went on on the sideline?

COACH SHURMUR:  That's not the first or last time you're going to see emotional players on the sideline.  What's important is that there's developed relationships with everybody and there's not a problem as we move forward.

I think we would all agree this is a very physical game played by emotional, competitive people.  What's important is we just control our emotions, that's all.

DeSean and wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell are all good?

COACH SHURMUR:  We're great.  Everybody's great.  We're moving forward. It’s all about the Bears.

What is noticeably different from the traditional NFL model with Chip Kelly?

COACH SHURMUR:  You've felt it by when we do our press conferences because of the days that we train.  Length of meetings, length of practice, tempos in practice.  All things that I think have had a good effect on players.

How does Zach Ertz compare to other tight ends?  Are you seeing a lot of growth week‑to‑week?

COACH SHURMUR:  I think he's similar to those guys that you would say came in as primarily pass catchers.  I think you want to be able to play a total game as a tight end, which means you have to develop as a blocker so that you can play more than just third downs.  First, second and third down.  I think he's made progress through the year.

We saw the other night, he can make acrobatic catches.  If you're a tight end and you can't catch the ball...He can do that.

All the problems the Bears have had on defense with injuries and whatnot, as you've studied them, what impresses you as something they're still doing well?

COACH SHURMUR:  Certainly they've had injuries.  They're playing through them.  But they're playing hard.  They're opportunistic.  They get stops at the right time.  They've contributed to their wins.  They score a lot of points on defense.  They'll get turnovers at the right time.  They'll give up some yards.  But most teams do these days.  But I think they find a way to get a team stopped at the right time.

I know [defensive coordinator] Mel Tucker very well.  I think he does an outstanding job.

We saw Chris Polk on the field more than Bryce Brown.  Is that the direction you're going?

 COACH SHURMUR:  No, that's just the way that one worked out.

You had some untimely sacks on Sunday.  Common thread there?  Coverage?

COACH SHURMUR:  Yeah, a couple times it was coverage.  There's certainly a couple times where we would have liked to have thrown the ball away.  Every once in a while, they storm the castle on you.  We’ve just got to do a good job of either getting rid of the football or checking it down.  But there was nothing common.

Putting DeSean in the backfield at times, what kind of dimension does that add to the offense?

COACH SHURMUR:  It affects the defense because they have to decide how they want to cover him if they're in man and where they put that man player.  If they're playing zone, him running out of the backfield, then he could get a matchup with the linebacker. It’s like it’s a boy or a girl, it’s man or a zone.

Back to Ertz, to make that one‑handed catch, do you see that a lot in practice?

COACH SHURMUR:  He's always been an outstanding pass receiver.  I think when he makes those catches, they're terrific.  But we expect that he'll make a contested catch. He’s done a good job with that.

How long do you generally allow for a primarily pass catching tight end to learn the ropes blocking in the NFL? How long of a process is that?

COACH SHURMUR:  Well, it takes time.  I think he's a rookie that's playing a lot of football in his first year, much like Lane Johnson.  Those rookies, we're always telling the same story with them.  They got a lot to learn.

You like to see improvement throughout the year.  He's very fortunate, just like Jordan Cameron was in Cleveland, getting a ton of reps as a rookie, which doesn't happen a lot.  You can see the benefit of it in their second year.

We'd anticipate that he's going to be hugely better as a total tight end in year two than he is here in year one.

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