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Quotes: Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur

Posted Aug 18, 2014

Q. How do you feel Allen Barbre has played so far?

PAT SHURMUR: Allen has done a good job. We were talking about earlier in training camp he's getting used to playing on the right side, and for a left tackle to play or a guy that's played on the left to play on the right, it takes a little getting used to. But for the most part he's done a good job.

Q. How is his pass protection coming along?

PAT SHURMUR: He's doing fine in the run and of pass game. I don't know that we ever knocked him for it. Because he's a big, physical guy he probably looks more like a run blocker, you might say that. But he's done well running and passing.

Q. Was LeSean McCoy hurt yesterday?

PAT SHURMUR: Nothing serious to my knowledge. We'll see. I think he should be out here today.

Q. Was it a physical issue with him?

PAT SHURMUR: Again, nothing serious to my knowledge. He'll be out there. Every once in a while guys miss practice. He was here.

Q. Did the performance of Henry Josey excite you or surprise you in any way?

PAT SHURMUR: We weren't surprised by it. We felt like he had that in him and he did a nice job. We were really short at running back. You saw at the end there we played Damaris (Johnson), and he did a terrific job filling in. So Henry got more than his share of reps and he made the most of it.

Q. When you have a situation like that and you're missing a regular guy and guys get an opportunity maybe they wouldn't have gotten, how important is it to take advantage of it?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, it's very important. This time of year if you look around the league there are certain guys that aren't practicing whether it be soft tissue injuries or little things that keep guys out of games. So guys that are not necessarily starters, getting more reps than they'd normally get, they benefit from it. As a player, you need to develop, and the best way to develop is in game reps. So some of these guys that played, that I just mentioned Damaris, heck, he played three different positions for us. That's a huge thing for those guys.

Q. On Friday, would you say overall you were disappointed with some of the guys who had the opportunity to come in, or were you happy with them?

PAT SHURMUR: No, the guys that performed in the game, we were happy that they got the opportunities. As a coach, you never want to see a guy miss a game. We'd like to see all the players practicing, training, and playing every snap. But the reality of it is sometimes guys miss. I think that's what's good about the way we do things. Even when guys are out there and the lines are long, our twos and threes get a lot of reps. So when the lines get a little shorter for whatever reason, those guys, I mean, it's so valuable for them in their careers.

Q. We haven't seen Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, and Jordan Matthews on the field together. Is that a personnel group you need to see before the season begins?

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, because of injury, certainly. Had Coop and Mac not been out, we certainly would have seen it by now.

Q. But Matthews has been mostly with second team.

PAT SHURMUR: But as time has gone on and you've missed some of the practice sessions or training sessions that we've had, Matthews has had a chance to work with Nick (Foles).

Q. Do you expect Maclin to practice in full today?

PAT SHURMUR: I think he'll be out here doing something. I don't want to talk about injuries. We'll talk about the guys that are here. The portion of practice that you'll see you'll be able to judge.

Q. Now is Matthews getting more first team reps? Is he getting based more on merit or injuries?

PAT SHURMUR: No, he's in there, as coach would say, we don't have any lineups yet so the guys are in there getting their reps and certainly when Brad's (Smith) not in there, Jordan gets more of them. But we're just practicing at this point.

Q. How difficult is it to gain chemistry with guys like Cooper and Maclin being out? Is chemistry disrupted in any way without having them out there?

PAT SHURMUR: They've had a lot of time together in the off season. I think we still have some time left before we play the Jaguars, so we're hopeful that we'll get them out there all together at some point.

Q. How did Riley look yesterday coming back? Was that a big test for him?

PAT SHURMUR: He looked like he had fresh legs. He ran around well, actually. He looked very good.

Q. How about the emphasis on new rules and illegal contact? Is that going to have a significant impact in terms of making it easier to get guys open and head on plays down field?

PAT SHURMUR: I don't know if we've all realized the full effect of the way they're calling it. We're all getting used to the new way that the officials are emphasizing the bumping down field. I don't know. I don't know. I would imagine if they're calling it both ways, it will have no effect. But certainly there is an emphasis being placed on contact down the field, so if we can get more separation, hopefully that will help.

Q. What kind of benefit will the new rule emphasis have on contact down the field?

PAT SHURMUR: Big fast guys benefit from everything, I think. But anytime you can't grab a guy, I think maybe guys that are less physical don't have to worry about playing with somebody hanging all over them down the field.

Q. You’ve got depth at tight end. Can you talk about as you're putting things together how much that flexibility helps to create possibilities for the offense?

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, we feel good about our tight ends, and we play one and two tight ends quite a bit. We feel like we've got guys there that can play all the way through the unit. So it gives us flexibility. Then that factors in, too, if you have more or less receivers. Our guys are somewhat interchangeable in terms of where we can play. We can call a concept. We can call a three by one concept, and there could be one tight end in it, two tight ends, or three tight ends and they learn what the route is based on the concept. So, yeah, we'll do that. As we start to focus more on game planning and attacking certain things, then that will be something that we would consider.

Q. Does it concern you that Chris Polk has struggled to stay on the field and stay healthy?

PAT SHURMUR: As a coach you're always concerned when guys miss training sessions because there are so many valuable things that happen each day. It's like going to school and skipping class, and all of a sudden, you have a final exam. You certainly might pass it, but there is a chance that you won't do as well as if you'd been there every day. So, yeah, durability is something that we consider. Guys get injured for different reasons, but we'd sure like to see him out there.

Q. How tough is Brent Celek?

PAT SHURMUR: On a scale of 1 to 10, I think he's a 10. I've always thought that. He's one of the toughest guys that we have, and it displays itself and reveals itself in ways sometimes you don't even see. I'm a big fan of Brent's. I think he does everything we ask. He can catch a ball in a crowd and take a shot. He's an outstanding blocker and an out of sight teammate. So those are the kind of guys you want on your team.

Q. Does Zach Ertz have that ability to be that kind of blocker?

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, I think Ertz has improved his total game this year. He's blocking well. He's certainly making plays in the passing game, and then he's also being a little more multiple in our eyes. We can play him in different spots. He's just got a better understanding of what we want to do, and within that he's working on all the little skills necessary to play the position.

Q. What kind of effect do you think this injury is going to have on Josh Huff? You've spoken about how important reps are?

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, well, he's certainly going to miss some reps. But part of being a pro is dealing with soreness, injury, and if you are injured and you miss time, this will help his development coming back from this. So anybody that's played this game has gotten banged up or nicked, and there is a process mentally and physically that you go through when you come back from it. So I think early in his career he's going to learn something from it.

Q. Arrelious Benn made a play on special teams, how is he doing on offense?

PAT SHURMUR: He's done a good job. He's in there battling like the rest of the guys. He's made some plays. He's taken advantage of his opportunities. He is a big, physical guy. You can feel his presence when he's out there because he's a big guy, and I think that's why he performs so well on special teams. I think we're starting to see that on offense as he's getting more and more comfortable with what we do.

Q. What determines whether you'll keep five receivers or six receivers?

PAT SHURMUR: I think you've got to look at the big picture of what your roster looks like. You've got to decide how many positions you're going to keep at receiver, how many you're going to keep at tight end, how many you're going to keep at running back. We have a number in our mind, so you might have to go one heavy or one light depending on some of the other positions too. So some of it has to do with the players at the position, and how many we think are pro players and have a chance to help us contribute. Also you've got to figure in how many other skilled players do you want to keep at other positions. So at times, it can be a fluid number.

Q. Getting back to the way the officials are calling it. The back shoulder fade has become a big weapon. If they keep calling things the way they are right now, is it going to have any effect on that?

PAT SHURMUR: I don't think so. The one thing about a back shoulder fade, at least the way we teach it, you're running the route to win and if for some reason you don't win, then it's sort of like okay, I see you haven't won and I put it on your back shoulder. You start predetermining those things and what happens is nobody tries to win. So I think it's like when a guy runs a middle read, he's either going to take the post or break it off and run flat. Sometimes when you run flat and there is nobody around, you just stop. So it's sort of a reaction to a route that you're trying to throw down the field. How it's going to have an effect by the way they're calling things? It's hard to say.

Q. Why did they move Matt Tobin to guard in the offseason?

PAT SHURMUR: He needs to be multiple. And we felt like he needed some work there. He practiced and played last year at tackle and he's done a good job.

Q. Is 12 the number between receiver and tight end that team’s typically keep?

PAT SHURMUR: I think it's different per team. But I think if you look at rosters historically you could probably do the math and come up with the right number.

Q. Back to tight ends. Can you describe James Casey's skill set? How he fits into the offense?

PAT SHURMUR: James, first off, he's probably got one of the best sets of hands on our team. You see him out there and he can catch the ball extremely well. He's very smart, he's very multiple. He can play attached or detached or in the back field, which is huge. We can use him as a running back in pass protection if we release the back standing next to them. I can go on. We'll have to go to practice here. But he's a good teammate and he works hard. He's one of those guys as a coach he doesn't say a whole lot, but when he does, it's usually something pretty insightful. Hey, coach, why don't we think about calling it this? Or can we change the signal to this, because this signal looks like that. So he's a valuable guy.

Q. These few days leading up to the third preseason game, do you kind of like try to set your rotations for how it would be in the regular season going into this game?

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, we think that all the games are equally important, number one. Typically this is the game where the first line guys play the most. That's probably what you could say about this game. So we'll put some first line guys out there and give them most of the reps and that's really where we're at right now. Sometimes you don't know what's going to happen and who is going to play until right before the game.

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