PAT SHURMUR: I'll try to answer your questions. I know Coach Kelly has had an opportunity to visit with you a couple of times since we played on Monday night, but what I'll tell you is just like every week, we're already deep into our preparations for the Chargers, and so that's kind of where we're at. I know our guys are looking forward to getting out here and having our first practice.
I'll take your questions.
Looking at the tape of San Diego's game against Houston, what happened to their pass defense in the second half?
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, you know what, I think there were ‑‑ number one, I think Houston throws the ball extremely well. Houston had a few things happen to them early in the game that kind of put them behind, and they're very efficient at throwing the football. It was one of those tight games, it really kind of came down to the end a little bit like ours did. Our game got to the point where late in the game they needed to make three plays to beat us. They needed to score quickly, obviously get the onside kick and then score again quickly, and that's kind of how that game played out in San Diego.
How much of the offense would you say we saw on Monday night?
PAT SHURMUR: How much of it?
Yeah.PAT SHURMUR: Well, you saw the way we like to function through most of the game, and we just feel like we’ve got to play better. Even though we won, and there's been a lot of conversation about how we won, when we looked at the tape, we saw lots of errors, way more than we want to have. So that's what's fun is being able to enjoy the victory but know that we can play much better, and I know Coach Kelly commented on how we can play much faster, as well.
PAT SHURMUR: Well, let's talk about the obvious. You put three aside with two tackles over there, so that's number one. It forces the defense to adjust, and then we have a package of plays that we like to run based on how they respond, how they line up and so forth.
PAT SHURMUR: No, I think James Casey is going to have a large contribution as we go on. You know, we're going to make an emphasis to make sure that we play all of our players. I think what's important is we really ‑‑ once we put the active roster together and guys are active, we trust all of them to be out there, and so it's a long season, and if you just add them up, we're going to run a lot of plays, so we're going to need everybody.There will be some games where guys don't play as much as others, but we feel like he's a guy that's going to need to be very productive for us to play winning football.
After looking at the tape, how did Lane Johnson do in his first start?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, obviously I was concerned going into it just because he's a rookie, for no other reason, but he responded well in the preseason. I think he battled, and like everybody, he had his errors, but we were pretty pleased for Lane in terms of really how he played. He did a good job.
You watched the tape with Mike [Vick] as he was going into some lead blocks ‑‑
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, we did. I talked to him during the game, after the game, on Tuesday. I think it's important ‑‑ the one thing that I admire about Mike is something that we've all seen. He's extremely tough, he's very competitive, and when the game is going on, he reacts to things like you want a football player to react.Now, we don't want him lead blocking on sweeps, and so we told him don't do that. So we assume he won't.
Mike will practice today?
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, yeah, he'll practice.You played three wide a good portion of that game and still ran it about 30 times in the first half. How important are Jason [Avant] and Riley [Cooper] and their blocking ability to being able to do that with that package?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, I think you should be able to run the football. No matter who's on the field we have ways to run the ball, whether we're in three wides [or] we're in two tight ends. We can be in three tight ends or we can be in four wides. What personnel we put on the field, number one, doesn't say we can't run the football or we're going to do it more or less than others. But in terms of our guys blocking on the perimeter, it's very, very important, and we're very fortunate here. We've got guys that will do it, take pride in it, and are able to do it throughout the game.
We've always talked about it. Perimeter blocking comes down to effort and angles, and we talk about it quite a bit, that their effort and their angles that they take and their competitive nature can make a good play great and make a great play a touchdown, and I think that's the approach those guys take. That'll help us get some explosive plays in the run game.What's the most effective way to manage a game late?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, I don't think we're trying to manage a game, number one. We're trying to play. We realize you need to score points and you need to score more than your opponent, and I think we all know, regardless of what league you're in or where you've coached, you can't score too many. As far as managing the game, obviously there's a component at the end of the game when you're ahead where every Eagle fan wanted that clock to run. Now, I think what's important is you play efficient football. So whether you choose to run it, which of course keeps the clock going, you need to gain yards. And then if you choose to pass it, you need to complete the ball so the clock doesn't stop. All it does is speak to efficiency, and then there are times, and we need to do a better job of playing from the huddle. Our guys have embraced playing fast and at the line of scrimmage, but there are times when you take it from the huddle where you get in the huddle with 18, you break with 12 and try to snap it with the clock running.
You know, those are just all things that we all know as coaches, and we've just got to do a good job of being efficient, right, but to be efficient means you move the ball, you don't have penalties, and when you get close, you score.
When you look at the replay of this game and many other games, the zone blocking, there's so much space for the running backs. Why don't all teams do zone block?
PAT SHURMUR: All teams do zone block.
But as much as you guys do.
PAT SHURMUR: All teams, and some teams more than us. We zone blocked the other night and we gap blocked, as well. So I don't ‑‑ I guess I don't know what you're getting at with the question. Everybody in the NFL zone blocks to some degree. Everybody in the NFL gap blocks, and I think that can be said for ‑‑ it's like when a family is going to have a baby: It's going to be a boy or girl. You zone block or you gap block. I think that's kind of it.
PAT SHURMUR: Well, everybody plays ‑‑ that's a good question. Everybody plays, and everybody that's active is prepared to go in whenever needed, and I think that's just the way our guys are wired. That's the way they're trained. We've seen many, many examples where guys are playing, and they didn't expect to. But our guys expect to, and I think that's why it's important that however we do it in practice, however they do it in our training sessions, we've got to make sure that they get themselves ready to go, whether you're with the ones or not. It doesn't quite matter.
When Andy [Reid] was here, the backup quarterbacks never really got snaps with the first team. Is that different?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, that's traditionally the way you do it, and for the most part the starter gets most of the reps during the week with the starting unit, but we do blend in Nick and Matt getting their reps. When we simulate ‑‑ it's interesting, too, when we simulate for our defense, a lot of offense is very similar no matter who you play for, and so they get some of those reps there, as well.
Is it important to get Bryce [Brown] some more work in order to sort of keep LeSean [McCoy] fresh, and going forward what's the kind of balance you want to see between those two in terms of touches?
PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, balance, participation, regardless of whether you're talking about running backs or we're talking about tight ends earlier. I think everybody that's in there needs to get good, explosive reps, and when we're going to get more reps than we have in past years, it's important that they all play. I don't know what the good number is, but he carried the ball quite a bit, and he's no worse for wear.
Is [San Diego defensive coordinator] John Pagano’s scheme similar to what he had before the coaching change?
PAT SHURMUR: Very similar. Last year in my former life we played him, and he was the coordinator in San Diego. The scheme is very similar; how they play is very similar. They blitz, they pressure a little bit more, but how they line up and the fundamentals and principles of what they teach are similar to a year ago for sure.
Who are the guys when you look at San Diego's defense that kind of jump out?
PAT SHURMUR: Well, they've got a lot of new faces, and I think they've got a good unit. They've added to their secondary from a year ago. They've got a lot of new faces, and I think they play well as a unit, and I'm just going to leave it at that. I don't want to single out anybody at this point.
Back to McCoy, when you see the 31 carries on Monday, do you say that's too much or are you guys kind of comfortable with the amount of workload that he had?
PAT SHURMUR: We won the game. He carried the ball, he carried the ball well, was very productive. Obviously, we want everybody that's active to play, and he did a good job, and he'll be out here running and practicing today, so that's not a problem.
Did Washington play mostly nickel against your 11 packages, and do you think if you continue to have this kind of success running the ball you're going to be able to force teams to play more base against it?
PAT SHURMUR: I think it's a personal preference for the coordinator. Typically when you put three receivers on the field, you'll get five defensive backs, so they'll match up with nickel corner, so to speak. That's very typical of what we see in the NFL. There are some 1st and 2nd down situations, though, where 3‑4 teams will leave their base personnel on the field, but when you get them to three wide receivers in 3rd down situations, there's times when you don't even go to three wides where they'll go nickel. We kind of expect that.
When you're playing your up tempo with no‑huddle, they start a possession with their base package, they're kind of stuck, aren't they?
PAT SHURMUR: They're stuck as long as we don't sub, and that's true. But as long as ‑‑ as soon as we sub ‑‑ so even if it's a back for a back, let's say LeSean needs a break and we put Bryce in there, they'll slow the ball down so that they get a chance to sub.