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Quotes: Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur

Posted Sep 5, 2013

The offensive line was a concern last year, what have you seen so far and what kinds of expectations do you have?

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, we expect them to play well and I think as a unit, for the most part, we have had guys in and out of the lineup through training camp which is typical but when they are in there playing together, they have done the job.

Is Allen Barbre your first guy off the bench?

PAT SHURMUR:  We'll see how that plays out but he's one of the guys that most likely will be active, so we'll decide.  You know, when you have an injury or you have to fill in, you only keep seven or eight up, so we'll have two or maybe three guys that would fill in maybe if we have an injury.

He can play guard though?

PAT SHURMUR:  He can play guard and tackle, yes.

Do you see Matt Tobin as someone who could play guard off the bat?

PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, he's been working mostly at tackle but anybody ‑‑ it's all hands on deck so there may be a combination of guys in there where either one of those two guys, if they are in the seven would have to play guard or tackle.

Do you get them ‑‑ as you practice this week, do you get them reps at guard just to make sure?

PAT SHURMUR:  They are always getting reps at the positions that they might play, for sure.

James Casey, we have not seen much out of him, he has not been out on the field a whole lot.

PAT SHURMUR:  No, he's doing a good job.  Most likely he's going to be active and we'll use him.  The one thing about our roster, I think on offense, anybody that's active is preparing to play the whole game, so we'll just have to see how many of the position or personnel groups that we use involve him.  He's done a very good job.  He's very multiple.  He can play our wide spot.  He can play our A spot.  He's done a good job.

Does James play special teams?

PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, he's involved.

Would you say Zach Ertz is ahead of James on the depth chart at this point?

PAT SHURMUR:  No, I think you have your starter [Brent Celek] and then you have your guys who are role players.  I wouldn't say that.

When you have a player like DeSean Jackson, obviously very explosive playmaker, his touches throughout his career have gone down, how important is that to you guys to make sure he gets his touches, gets the ball ‑‑

PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, I think ‑‑ I wouldn't compare anything that he's done, you know, going back.  I think what we have to do is look at what his production will be like as we move forward, and from when we first got here and started implementing our plan and our process, he's done an outstanding job as far as learning what to do.  He's really bought into all the sports science and getting himself ready to go physically and mentally and we anticipate he's going to have a good year, and typically that means touching the ball.

A lot of guys have talked about this offense in the preseason has been vanilla and we haven't shown everything.  How much are you looking forward to Monday night, releasing the Chip Kelly offense that's supposed to be dynamic?

PAT SHURMUR:  I think we have shown components of our offense in the preseason, nobody plays a full game and does everything that they are going to do.

But yeah, I'm excited.  I'm excited to play a game.  I feel like our players have trained themselves well.  We have got a couple more days here before we play where we have some things we have to touch up on.

But, yeah, I'm looking forward to it, yeah.  It will be new for me in terms of watching our offense work through a whole game and the effect it may have on the defense.

What will be the signature of this offense?  What will people come to think of this offense?

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, I'll let you guys answer that once you see it.  I feel like we want to put on the field an offense that's able to be efficient, but also dynamic.

Let's face it, we need to score more points than our opponents, so that's what we are trying to do.  I think that's really going to be ‑‑ that might be a better question from me to you, you know, once you see it.

We feel like we know how it's going to look, but, you know, how it gets implemented will be game-by-game thing.

Can you guys ‑‑ trying to counteract, Brian Urlacher was talking yesterday about how faking injuries was something he was taught; do you go in expecting teams to try to do things like that?

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, offenses play the way they play and then defenses try to defend.  There's strategies and tactics to everything that happens in the game, whether it's obvious or not.

So, yeah, we are aware of what gets said and what gets talked about, but we can't really control that.  We have just got to try to put our players in a good position to make plays and then do what we want to do.

Defending as lying on the ground, pretending you're hurt ‑

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, we'll just see if it happens ‑‑

Do you guys know that that was happening around the league?

PAT SHURMUR:  Did we know it?  I don't know.  It sounds like it was confirmed by some of the comments that were made nationally, but we can't worry about it.  We can't worry about it.

Did you ever suspect if a defense was maybe faking an injury or taking their time to slow your offense down?

PAT SHURMUR:  I don't know that.  To this point it hasn't displayed itself in our situation.  We can only go by what we see.  We try to plan for contingencies, and we'll just deal with it when it happens.

Defensive coordinators had an off‑season and a summer to try to figure out an answer for the read option, what do you think you're going to see from defenses this year with respect to that?

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, I mean, it's a portion of what we do, but we can do it a bunch or we can go a game or two games and not do it at all.  But there are ways that you control how you handle the edges and the perimeter, but we also have our answers, as well.

So we'll just kind of watch and see how teams play us.  We don't want to be on our heels.  We want to be able to play fast and if there's things that they are doing, then we have ways within our system to deal with it.

There's been a lot of talk about the best way to deal with the read option is to hit the offense as often as possible and dissuade offenses from running it.  Do you think we'll see a lot of that this year?

PAT SHURMUR:  I don't know.  I'm assuming since offenses don't show everything they are going to do in the preseason, the same can be said for defenses.  So we'll just have to respond.

Is the key for you guys, running the read option ‑‑ the fact that you read a different defender, not always the same guy, does that make it tough for them to figure out, to try to take that one part out of the game and make the adjustment?

PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, I think it's important you do your multiple ‑‑ regardless of what your scheme is, you have to be somewhat multiple.  If it's something you're doing all the time, you have to have answers when they defend it in certain ways, and so we all have that built in.

Chip's offense and the read offense and what he did at Oregon, that's not really what you did as a coordinator or head coach.  So when you're in the meeting room coming up with the game plan, what's your input?

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, I would like to think that I function like any offensive coordinator.  I run the meetings.  I help Coach put a plan together that he feels comfortable calling.  You know, function in practice like any offensive coordinator.  Have ideas that I interject and then on game day I try to support him and his decision making and his play calling from the box with the things I see.

Does Chip lean on you differently than Andy Reid did because you have more experience in the NFL than he does?

PAT SHURMUR:  I don't know, I think that's a better question for Chip and Andy.  I think we have a natural flow of ideas, and the conversation that we have behind the scenes amongst all the coaches is really good.

That's one of the things I admire about Chip.  He likes to listen and he has very strong ideas about what he wants to do.  But there are some things where he'll throw it out there and say, hey, listen, what do you guys think and then we'll put some ideas out there, decide what we are going to do and run with it.

There's a lot of turnovers in the preseason, I know you weren't here for all this, but in the last couple years, there was a lot of turnovers, as well.  How much of a concern is it to fix that going into the regular season and tighten up some things there?

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, turnovers obviously are something that they are really not acceptable and we coach against them, or we practice not turning the ball over.  Unfortunately, it happens at times, but we have to do everything in our power to eliminate them or minimize them.  So that's our focus, and you usually get what you emphasize.  And then the guys that are responsible for turning the ball over, have to pay special attention to making sure they secure the football.

Understanding what defenses are allowed to do in terms of going after the quarterback on a read option ‑‑

PAT SHURMUR:  Given an opportunity to hit a quarterback, defenses are going to do it, whether he's dropping back the pass or running around on the perimeter.  I think that's just something that is the nature of the game.

How it plays out, based on whether the quarterback keeps it or gives it, we are going to have to see but I know what the rules are, and we'll just have to see how it plays out.

How concerned are you about Mike's health in that respect?

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, we are not ‑‑ we are obviously concerned about any player's health when he's on the field but we can't be cautious in terms of ‑‑ a guy has got to go out and play and we'll do what we can.

Here is what we are trying to do:  We are trying to be efficient and explosive on offense and we are trying to score points and more points than they score.  That's what we are trying to do, and we'll do it in a way that gives our players the best chance to succeed.  That's what we are trying to do.

Can you put a value on Jason Peters for this offense, and can you maybe compare him to the rest of the league's offensive line?

PAT SHURMUR:  He’s a very valuable guy.  I've had a chance to watch him work now more on a consistent basis in training camp and I think the left tackle is a very important guy, regardless of whether your quarterback is right‑ or left‑handed.

He's an outstanding talent and a terrific player, and I'm looking forward to watching him work and do his thing, because I think he has the skill and the ability, and based on how he's trained, I think he's got a chance to be dominant.

Every team has important players.  How concerned were you when he was going through his hamstring issue earlier this season, knowing that, okay, if this doesn't clear up, maybe he's not full strength, maybe he's not participating.

PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, you're always concerned when guys are injured, but he fought back from it well, and I would say this, if you'll ask any player in the NFL, there's nobody right now that's a hundred percent.  You know, you try to get as close to 100 percent as you can for each game, but he does a good job of managing and handling it, and coming back.

So I'm anticipating he'll be there every week.

 Obviously you studied RG3 when you were at Cleveland, and it was possible you might move up to get him ‑‑

PAT SHURMUR:  There was a rumor we took a shot at him, yeah, there was a rumor.

In the evaluations, what are the greatest strengths, and what have you seen in the league so far?

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, I think his skill and ability was displayed last year, and that's what we all saw about him in college, very dynamic player.  He can beat you from the pocket, but then obviously it's been well documented and we've seen it on tape what he can do physically when he's running with the football.  Those are all things that put pressure on the defense and keep defensive coordinators up at night.

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