COACH SHURMUR: You know what, he really made a huge amount of progress through the spring and then through the camp. Certainly we would have liked to have had a bigger sample size of what he could do. But you know, being injured like he is, he's shown us enough; he'll be a good player in this league.
COACH SHURMUR: They are all pushing to play. I think we'll make the decision, the front five, and then the guys that are behind them. I think the second unit guys now, since we don't have three units, I think the second unit guys have all performed very well. You saw in the game the other night, they are doing well as a unit in run blocking and then certainly they are doing a nice job pass protecting. So you can all those guys are pushing.
But would you say Tobin is close?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, we trust him. If he has to go in the game, certainly we trust him. That's why he's here.
COACH SHURMUR: I thought he performed in a way that was typical of what we would expect from him. He runs the ball well. He catches the ball well. He does everything we ask. He's very smart and an instinctive player. I think we know what we got in [RB] Darren [Sproles] and we are glad we have him.
Running back, you have some tough decisions there on the back end. Do you need a big, tough type of running back to be among the three or four that you keep or does that factor in at all?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, we are going to keep the best guys, no matter how many we keep. We can keep three, four, five running backs. We can keep as many as we want really. There's no real rules. The guys have done a nice job. That's a good group and we have seen production out of all those guys. You don't necessarily keep a big one, a little one and a medium size guy. You try to keep a running back that's going to fit and do the things that we do, whether he's the first the second or the third.
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, Matt will start as coach already announced and G.J. will probably yeah, he'll be the next guy in at some point during the game.
What are the stats on those two right now?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, I think they are both improving. We have said it all along, we feel like we have a really good quarterback group. This is a really good opportunity for Matt first. He's able to know days in advance that he's starting so he's out here preparing to play the Jets just like it's a regular season game and that's good for him and we'll be able to evaluate him in a really good way for a preseason game and G.J., unfortunately he's coming in in a backup role in this final game. He's a very athletic guy. I tell you, G.J. is a quick decision-maker and he's got a good set of legs on him. So he can do a lot of the things that we want to do offensively.
What has Barkley showed you this week?
COACH SHURMUR: He needs to play a good, efficient game at quarterback. I think he needs to go out and he needs to get completions. There's times when I call it putting the fish in the box, when you don't want to get skunked.
So there's some times when you want to get completions and there's other times when we have something designed to go down the field and you look deep to short and if you don't have it, you check it down. There are certainly times in the game when you have to do things on the perimeter and in our running game.
We need to see him make good decisions there. And then certainly when there's a handful of plays that go helter skelter and you've got to make good decisions at the end of the play just like you do at the beginning; and sometimes that means run. Sometimes that means throw it away. Sometimes that means, whatever. But it's just a matter of him being he needs to play a good, clean game, get the offense in the end zone and hopefully lead us to a victory.
Will you have Sproles handling the workload if something happens to LeSean this fall or keep it the same
COACH SHURMUR: When you put a roster together for the game, you kind of factor in how everything fits. But we've said it all along; Darren can play running back on first, second and third down. We always try to use our players in a way where we maximize their strength and minimize their weaknesses no matter what the situation and Darren is no different.
In your experience, how much value do you place on having a really good backup quarterback?
COACH SHURMUR: Oh, I think it's hugely important. You see time and time and time again where the backup is thrust into a starting role, we're watching it happen in St. Louis now. Unfortunately, [Rams QB] Sam [Bradford] got hurt for the year, so [Rams QB Shaun] Hill is in and he's got to go. That's why the development of the quarterbacks is very, very important.
The quarterback room, you've heard me talk about that before, is very important. Each guy needs to prepare each day like they are the starter, and when they are not, then they help the starter be as good as he can be.
So that's kind of the philosophy and it's worked well for us.
Can you talk about the progress you've made from the first teamers' standpoint in the course of the preseason?
COACH SHURMUR: The first teamers? I think when you just think about the games in general, we've improved each week, which is important. We need to obviously play good, clean football. We need to it's important we run the ball well and it's important the quarterback makes good decisions and then we have a pace that we like to play that you have to practice.
And so I think we saw more of what we want to see from our offense in this past game.
COACH SHURMUR: I don't know, I thought he had a good year last year.
Last season, Herremans admitted that it was an adjustment for him moving from left to right.
COACH SHURMUR: Well, I think any time you change positions, it takes a little getting used to. But I think he's done well. And I think it's also another year that you’ve got a huge memory bank of reps working together. He's actually kind of he's the one guy that's got a different guy playing on his right now with Allen [Barbre] in there and that may be forcing him to do a little bit more than he would have a year ago. But for the most part I think he's just improving.
Because QB Sam Bradford went down in St. Louis, there were reports that they could potentially be interested in QB
COACH SHURMUR: Those are just issues of the day, fun things for you guys to think about. Mark was in the meeting today. Those aren't my decisions.
Sure, I think everybody should be interested in Mark. I think he's done a good job and played well for us and he's won a lot of football games in the league. I've said it before, but he was sitting in the locker room at halftime of two AFC Championship Games, ahead.
So we are very glad we have him. I think he's added a lot to this team as a football player and as a professional, and you know, we're sure, a lot of people should want him. But we have him, so that's the reality.
Has the way Sanchez played, has that surprised you at all or happened sooner than you expected? Because at the time he was signed, it was really billed as competition between him and QB Matt Barkley and he took off.
COACH SHURMUR: I think we as coaches see it differently than some of the people that write and worry about it outside this building. You know, we knew what he brought to the table. We knew his strengths and his weaknesses and we felt like it would fit in well here, and at least to this point, the way he plays, his style of play, translates to what we want to do. Makes good, quick decisions. He's right most of the time, and he's a good player. And so we are glad we got him.
Chip Kelly had said in May that it was going to be a barnburner between Sanchez and Barkley. Sanchez has taken most of the second-team reps.
COACH SHURMUR: Again, we haven't lined them up yet. But if we are just talking specifically about Sanchez, he's done a nice job.
When you do play WR
COACH SHURMUR: Every one of our receivers can play in the slot, and we do it for reasons. There's schematic reasons why you take an outside receiver who plays on the right and move him over to the left slot and vice versa. It's just part of what you do. Defenses have to show you their hand just a little bit. But some of the things we've asked him to do he's done very well.
Could you break down why you think Jeremy in the slot could be a good weapon for you?
COACH SHURMUR: He's quick. He certainly can get deep fast. He's good at running post and some of the deeper routes. So any time you have a threat, whether he's playing outside or inside, it helps you and there's reasons why we use him schematically.
How about RB
COACH SHURMUR: Well, he has a little bit of an understanding of how we function. Some of the words have changed and a lot of the numbers have changed but philosophically he had a foundation of how we function, and so that helped speed up the process.
We worked extra with him making sure he was ready to go. And then when we put him in the game, we had him just do a small handful of things. And he did a good job. So he's obviously the new guy and we don't know as much about him as a coaching staff. Certainly, Chip knows about him quite a bit having played for him. But he's done a good job.
Since the first preseason game and as camp has gone on, what are you learning about WR
COACH SHURMUR: Well, he's improved every day. And again, I think his improvement shows up on the practice field. I still say he's one of the most improved guys that we have and he's shown up well.
In games, is he still trying to find his way?
COACH SHURMUR: No, I think he's doing a good job in the games.
During the first two games, you saw the depth of the team as well as the starters. Are you satisfied with that depth at this point? Do you think that there are guys who can play Sundays?
COACH SHURMUR: We love the guys that we have here on the roster. I think we're always looking to upgrade at every position in a way that would help the football team. I think that's just the NFL reality. The system is set up where if there's guys available at any position, that can help you win football games and fit within your culture, then you try to get them. But we like the guys we have and we feel like we can play winning football with the guys that are here.
What do you like about WR
COACH SHURMUR: Will is a very steady performer. Will is one of those guys that works hard, first play to the last. We ask him to do everything. He's played inside, outside and he’s just very steady in his performance in terms of knowing what to do and going out and competing.
COACH SHURMUR: Well, we do know him, but we sure would like to know him better. I think he's probably had one of the most lingering of injuries. So, yeah, it's important for him to get out and play. I think it's not so much for us knowing who he is as a player but just for him as a player, getting going here before the season starts.