You've only converted in the red zone 5 out of 12 drives I think, was there any common thread there? Was it different for you each time? How much is that hurting you guys right now, and what do you see?
COACH SHURMUR:I think we need to score more points. Certainly in the red zone we want touchdowns. I think when you look at or when I looked at what we've done in the red zone you know, we've kind of stopped ourselves in some areas. You get a bad play or two down there and you put yourself in a third-and-long situation. You know, we need to be probably more efficient there in that area out of all of our downs in the red area.
DeSean Jackson's size, is it tough to capitalize on his strengths in the red zone or can he be as good as anybody else?
COACH SHURMUR: He can be an effective receiver all the way up and down the field. On Sunday night Chip Kelly was fairly adamant that Mike Vick needs more protection - what's been the issue with the offensive line?
COACH SHURMUR: Again, I don't think there is any common thread there. I think when we're throwing the football, there are a lot of elements to completing a pass. The first one starts with protection. I think when you look at it, the last two weeks we've played against some pretty good fronts, all right, and I think our guys battled in there. And there are times, when you watch any game, there are times when it's not a perfect pocket. Ideally you want them to be able to take one step from the gun or three steps from the gun and be able to play it, hitch, and throw the football. There are a lot of times when that doesn't happen. We're very fortunate that we have a guy like Michael that can escape and extend the play.
But I think generally speaking, our guys are battling. We faced two pretty good fronts. And I think all the position groups can play better, and we need to. We need to score more points. Let's face it. We need to score more points and we've got to do what we've got to do on offense to help us win. Mike seemed to be more willing especially in the first half early in the game to kind of take off and make the play with his feet. When you do that though, do you fall into a trend then of not going through all of your progressions?
COACH SHURMUR: Again, every passer is different. It's amazing. You have to coordinate 11 guys playing against 11 guys, and there are a lot of things that happen on each play. For instance, I think there is a service out there that counts targets on receivers. Well, if the ball is thrown away and the closest guy, oh, that is the target. So there is a lot going on that sometimes you can't see.
I think Mike, when he uses his legs properly can be very dynamic. We've seen him do that throughout his career. He's going through his progression when he takes off. Those are times when there is excellent protection where he's able to go through his progression, whether he hits his alert, his one, two, three, and after he hitches a couple times, he takes off. So those are some of the plays that don't get talked about. But I think it's what we coached and that's what he's very good at. Going back to DeSean, what did the Broncos do well to take him away? How do you correct that to get him more involved?
COACH SHURMUR: I think teams have played more man‑to‑man against us. I think DeSean battled and did a good job. I think sometimes catches come in bunches. I think in this case here, we spread the ball around. I think we had nine or ten different receivers that touched the ball, and I think all our receivers just need to battle when they're manned up.
If it's man‑to‑man with DeSean, shouldn't he win most of his battles?
COACH SHURMUR: He does. He's like any receiver though. When they come up and play man‑to‑man on you, you've got to win your match‑up. Can you talk about the ways in which Zach Ertz is developing and how close he is to becoming more of a fixture in the offense?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, he is a fixture in the offense. He plays. Anybody that's active on offense, we trust them when we put them in the ballgame. And some guys play more than others. For example, Chris Polk was in there and he played well. I think Zach learned something new every day when he's out here. He's a young player, much like Lane Johnson. He has his good plays and bad. We feel like he can do some really fine things in the passing game, and he's becoming a better blocker. What do you think of Lane's confidence level, he's obviously had some tough games?
COACH SHURMUR: He's a very confident guy. I don't know if you want to call it ‑‑ I think every player that plays has a few bad plays. They all do. I think the same can be said for a rookie. We just focus on it a little bit more. I think when you're playing positions either on the perimeter, wide receiver, corner or in pass protection at tackle, you naturally focus on that. But Lane's battling. I don't see a confidence issue problem.
Are you seeing him progressing from week to week?
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, absolutely. He's being asked to do a lot?
COACH SHURMUR: He's being asked to block, which is what we brought him here to do. But I do see progression. You know, what he lacks is experience in this league, and he's getting it. I think he's doing a good job. Is the Giants pass rush, even though they're 0‑4, is their pass rush still as dangerous?
COACH SHURMUR: There is no question. I think they're one of the best pass‑rushing fronts in the league. I don't really watch or think about their record when I watch them on tape. They can crank it up and get after the quarterback. That is just part of what they've always been good at. It hasn't changed. What do you think about Bryce Brown when he's running outside? Is he kicking out too much getting in those gaps or do you like the way he's running?
COACH SHURMUR: No, we like the way he's running. There are some areas and some plays where he probably could have been a little better. I wouldn't say there is a trend though. But he's a good, hard runner. Made a nice play for us on the screen. He had a pretty good, steady game. Can a guy like Jeff Maehl, he made a couple catches at the end of the game, can he earn more playing time with that kind of play, even if it's mop-up time?
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, well, it's never mop‑up. But when guys get an opportunity to go in and they produce, then it makes us say, hey, let's maybe give them a little bit more.
What about when the play is not extended? Is there a number in your mind or a number in his mind how quickly Mike Vick should get the ball out?
COACH SHURMUR: Depends on the progression, depends on how deep the drop, how far we're trying to throw the ball down the field. It's all different. With the protections on the front, how much of the break downs that are happening on the offensive line is Mike Vick responsible for?
COACH SHURMUR: I think the quarterback is ultimately responsible for how we block it, but our center does quite a bit as well. So those two guys are tied at the hip from a mental standpoint and making sure we're all going in the right direction and we know who we're not blocking. So, yeah, I mean, he's involved in that.
I mean, is Mike doing a good enough job? Is he ultimately responsible?
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, Mike's doing a good job. He threw the ball hot couple of times the other night. He was aware of the adjustments we made the other night. I think Mike did a lot of good things well the other night.
Are there, as far as receivers and getting open, are there just, in general, are there just not enough guys getting open or is the ball just not getting out?
COACH SHURMUR: It's a combination of things, I think. I think generally speaking we started out with a question about pass protection. We can certainly protect better. We certainly, in areas, can do a better job of getting open. We as coaches can do a better job of helping them do that. Then we've got to throw and catch. But there are guys that are open. Are the windows lighter?
COACH SHURMUR: Sure, there are guys open. What about the drops?
COACH SHURMUR: What about them? Unacceptable. I think our guys put individual pressure on themselves, and they know that it's not acceptable. And it hurts. I think when you drop the football or you get a penalty and for whatever reason you don't overcome it, then, of course, you're eliminating your ability to score touchdowns. I think that's something that we've got to just keep focusing on the details and throwing and catching, and that's part of the details of this game. Do you have any plans in practice to try to do something different about the penalties? You know, make guys ‑‑
COACH SHURMUR: Do somersaults, jump the fence, I don't know. Run in the street? It will be fun for you guys to write about, but we emphasize it. We talk about it, and we try to eliminate them. But I guess you're not going to see anything punitive that I'm sure you guys would like to write about. You played with a lot of 12 personnel early on in the game. What did you see from the Broncos against it? Did they play mostly base against it?
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, most teams match you up, so they stayed in base. We had a plan to run and throw out of it, and I think the guys that were on the field did a good job. Chris Polk is obviously behind Bryce, and it's tough to find him reps which you had mentioned after the game. What do you like about him?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, I think he's done a good job. He caught my eye in the spring. He caught our eye in the spring. I think he's a smart player. He really understands pass protection well. We saw the other night that he's kind of a productive runner and he did really a good job. So, you know, that's a good group. We feel good about our running back group. It's like anything, who do you take off to put the other one on? But in a game like that, we are going to run the football and we're going to run plays that involve tempo. We'll throw the ball to the backs, and so there are times when it's good to get a fresh body in there. You know, LeSean [McCoy] was out for a little bit, which then of course stepped up the reps for both Bryce and Chris, and I think they've performed well. Mike Vick is taking 3.4 seconds to throw the ball. Is that a number that is acceptable? Is that a number that's within the range?
COACH SHURMUR: I don't know. Again, I don't know where that comes from. We time up our throws by whether it's a plant or a hitch and throw or two hitches or as he goes through his progression time changes. Again, every once in a while, these guys are not machines and robots that you're playing with. Things happen in the game. I find it fascinating that people can just put a watch on something or see where the ball is being thrown and call that guy being targeted. Or so when the guy in the third row of the stands gets the guy is throwing the ball away, is he the target? The guy with the Dawkins jersey, does he get a target?
Same thing with the time. There are a lot of things that happen in a game.
So based on your internal thoughts, however you guys measure it upstairs is it an acceptable amount?
COACH SHURMUR: It changes depending on what we're doing. If Mike's going to run a keeper and he's outside the pocket, it's going to take a little longer to throw it, and typically that's what happens on a keeper. If he's in the pocket and we're throwing something that's three‑step rhythm, then the ball hits out extremely quick. Later in the game when you're trying to drive the ball down the field and chuck it a little bit because you're behind, there are times when you hold it a little longer. So, you know, it's fun. It's really fun to talk about. I think it's neat that everybody tracks that. But we look at it a different way. Is Mike, in general, getting the ball out the way you want him to consistently?
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, I think he does a good job of getting the ball out. And I thought he did a good job of throwing the ball pretty accurately the other night. What do you mean to say it's never mop-up time?
COACH SHURMUR: We're always playing. We're always playing. I don't like that term. I've never liked it. I think that's just personal. What do you call it when you take the starters out?
COACH SHURMUR: When we take ‑‑ let me just say this, everybody that is on our roster and we put them in the ballgame, we trust that they're going to go in there and do a good job. And our guys that went in there did a good job. Now you're not asking me why Damaris [Johnson] went in there. Next week you'll ask me about that. Is there a minimum percentage ‑‑ I mean, at the end of the season you look at your red zone production, is there a line that you feel is good enough or not good enough generally?
COACH SHURMUR: There are measures and there are percentages. We kind of use those for internal purposes. But we obviously want to score a touchdown every time we get down there. I think a good way to look at it, we always look at okay, what are the top five teams doing in terms of their percentages? What are the playoff teams doing? And typically those numbers can be skewed. You can be scoring a lot of points from outside the red zone and that affects it. I've been around here before where the game is over, you punch it into the red zone, you take a knee in the red zone. That goes against you in terms of the red zone percentages.
I just think going back to what I said to start this, generally we've had some bad plays in there, and we just generally need to be more efficient. So whether the ball goes in the end zone or we're inching it closer to the goal line, I think we can do a better job.