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Quotes: OC Pat Shurmur

PAT SHURMUR: I know Coach [Chip Kelly] covered a lot of the specifics of that game, but I'll tell you what, being involved, playing and coaching for almost 40 years, most of those years in the north, that's the first time I was ever a part of a game where the guys were playing in ankle-high snow.  I thought the elements were a factor, at least offensively.  It took us a minute, but we found a way to overcome the elements and score enough points to win. I'd also like to make the point that Brent Celek's play at the end of the game was truly unselfish on his part.  He was smart enough to know -- the guys went on the field knowing if we got a first down we'd be able to kneel and end the game.  What Brent did was very unselfish.  He could have scored there which would have made it 20 points, but what he didn't do was expose his defensive teammates to injury by having them go out there and play some more, and so that's what you're trying to do is win the game.  So it was very unselfish.  I guess if he was on your fantasy team or you were crunching the numbers on red zone efficiency, because we did take a knee in the red zone, that would bother you.  But I thought it was unselfish.

That being said, we're on to the Vikings.

One more thing about the Lions game.  How do you account for the difference in the offense through the first two thirds of the game to the last third of the game?  What exactly happened?

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, it took us a minute to ‑‑ we had to do everything going forward.  We had a good plan.  We had a lot of things we wanted to do against the Lions, and again, it's just like we were talking last week about what happens in the third quarter.  We just really weren't executing efficiently in the first part of the game.  So I don't think there's anything there. I thought our running backs did a nice job of ‑‑ they were patient to the hole, good speed through the hole, and they hit it downhill, and I thought they did a good job.  And then of course our line did a good job blocking.

Your tight ends did a lot of run blocking, staying in and pass protecting.  Would you say across the board they were as instrumental to the running game as anything?

PAT SHURMUR:  Oh, yeah, I thought the tight ends played extremely well.  At the end there, it really was a one‑deep safety game.  They were playing a three‑deep look on us, and it's important that the guys in those types of games do a good job blocking on the perimeter, and I thought our tight ends and wide receivers did a good job.  Jason Avant is another guy.  He was blocking the near perimeter there, and he didn't really get started in the game, but I thought he played outstanding.

Your wide receivers have been efficient blockers all season long.  What is it that you preach to them that a lot of teams maybe don't because not as many teams block as well as your wide outs do?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, I think it's an unselfish group.  You know, we're really all focused on trying to win the game, and we know that ‑‑ we like to run the football, and there's a lot of times when we choose to hand it off or it may be a zone read where all of a sudden the ball is out on the perimeter, and they all have opportunities to catch balls, so they all got to block for one another.  But it's a very unselfish group, and I think they just like to try to contribute in any way possible.

To follow up on Celek, you and Chip have been praiseworthy of him throughout the season.  His numbers don't jump off the page.  What does he do that goes beyond what we see on the stats sheet?

PAT SHURMUR:  We as coaches see what he does as a player and a teammate behind the scenes.  We appreciate what he does on plays where he may not get production.  You know, he's a very ‑‑ well, he's an outstanding blocker.  He's an unselfish player as he displayed the other night, and he just does all the things that you want as a coach.  He's embraced all the changes that have happened and how we do things, preparing to practice, and then our training sessions, he's bought into everything.  And if you ask him, he feels and sees the benefits of what we're doing, and we just appreciate him for all those things.

When you look at the offensive line, has Lane Johnson gotten to the point where he no longer looks like a first‑year player?

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, on one of the scoring plays, you saw where he did a hook slide and a snow angel, so I don't know what that would look like.  But he has gotten better each time he's gone on the field.  You know, he's still a rookie and there's still some things that he needs to improve.  But we feel good about the progress he's making, and he's got a couple more opportunities to even get better.

From Nick's standpoint, what adjustments did you guys make with him from the first half to the second half, because he was a different quarterback out there.

PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, I don't think ‑‑ we didn't make any real adjustments.  We got different types of plays, but for the most part he was executing in a way that was ‑‑ he was like everybody else.  We just found a way to make more plays as the game went on.

What about Zach Ertz as a blocker?  What are some things he's improved on and what are some things he needs still to work on?

PAT SHURMUR: I think he's a lot like Lane.  He's a rookie player playing quite a few snaps, and he's done a good job with the run blocking.  He did some good things in the run game the other night, and we've seen where he can make plays in the pass game.

His general game just needs to improve just like all the guys.

Getting back to Celek, you were here for his first two years.  How has he developed as a blocker since then?

PAT SHURMUR: I think he's gotten better.  You know, he came in just like a lot of young guys.  You've got to get used to the speed and get used to playing the game at this level.  But he's a willing, try‑hard guy, and he knows how to use his feet and set his hands, and he tried to finish, and I think those are all key ingredients when you're a good run blocker.

As a coaching staff, how do you turn the page from so much of a buzz still about Sunday's historic, memorable day, and how do you turn the page to these players to get them to focus on the next game and the task at hand?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, we've been doing it all along.  In our minds, the only thing we've done is win five in a row.  There's a lot out there still, and it all starts with staying focused on playing the Vikings and doing whatever we can, and I think I kind of go that direction every time we visit here on Tuesday, and that's really the message to the team.  You know, there's nothing really in our sights other than playing Minnesota, and our guys have done it and displayed to us in the last few weeks that they can do it, so it's just hit the reset button and let's go.

With such a special accomplishment on Sunday and a memorable one, it must be a much more difficult task.

PAT SHURMUR: I don't know about that.  It was a good win.  We beat a very good opponent.  We found a way to come back from an 8‑0 deficit, and there were some lead changes, and we battled through it, all things that we weren't surprised that we saw from our team because we knew that.  Now we put that to bed and move forward.

When you look at Minnesota on tape, who are the game wreckers on defense, and when you're preparing for this particular defense, what will be your points of emphasis going into this week?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, much like a lot of the weeks, their front four is very good with [Brian] Robison, of course, and Jared Allen and [Kevin] Williams, just to name the three that come to mind first.  Their front is very sturdy.  I know [head coach] Leslie [Frazier] very well as a coach.  Leslie and I came here with Coach [Andy] Reid on his first staff, we worked together for a long time.  I consider him a dear friend, and I know the way he coaches, and he's very fundamental.  He teaches and preaches fundamentals and finishing and playing hard, and you can see that from his defense.

They play good team defense.  They find a way to get turnovers at times, and I think they're opportunistic and they've got a good front, so it's going to be a big challenge.

You've had a lot of years coaching, as you said, as a head coach and an assistant.  Teams always have a letdown, at least I've noticed.  This team doesn't seem to have that so there must be something with the coaching staff or the players that makes that different, and my question is what do you think it is that makes that different?

PAT SHURMUR: I don't know.  All I know is, as I talked about, we hit the reset button.  Our guys believe in the process that we go through each week.  From a physical standpoint, the way we're practicing or training now is a little bit different than in the past.  What they're putting their bodies through each week is a little bit different, and so they feel like they're strong and healthy and ready to compete.

They've really ‑‑ the veterans that have been around here, I think, have helped them.  They've been really good about putting the last game to bed and moving on.  We talk about this being the best Tuesday of the year, and they've embraced it.

Brad Smith is a receiver, but I know he gives you guys some other options.  What do you like about him as a ball catcher?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, I think he's got good ball skills.  He's got good size.  He displayed his size the other night; we threw him a quick one, and he was able to get yardage by – [Detroit CB Chris] Houston kind of jumped on his back, and then he took him downfield.  He's got good size, he's got good ball skills.  He's played a lot of football, gained a lot of yards throwing and catching.  So we're looking forward to developing him.

He's getting better and better each week as he gets to know more and more about what we're doing.

You've worked with a lot of young quarterbacks in their first and second years including last year in Cleveland.  What does Foles do or what makes him, this being his second year, so much ‑‑ it seems like so much more advanced than a lot of the other younger quarterbacks?

PAT SHURMUR:  I remember ‑‑ I don't remember Nick from a year ago.  All I can tell you is this year, he's taken that 'put it to bed, move on' mentality.  He's embraced it.  He's up there now finishing up his preparation for today's training session.  I just see him on a day‑to‑day basis trying to get better.

And like ‑‑ it's really important, too, he's willing to admit when he makes a mistake, and that's the first step, because then you can do what you have to do to find it, correct it, and then move on, and so that's part of the process and he's embraced that.

Is there an example of that from Sunday's game?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, he threw a pick, right?  So he's willing to admit how on that play he needs to do better so that we can move on and not have it happen again.

Chip had said yesterday that Chris Polk has been having good practices and maybe deserves a few more snaps.  Can you elaborate on what you've seen from him?

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, Chris has done a good job.  I've been impressed with him all the way from the spring training sessions, and he's just real steady.  You saw he's got a burst, and that was one of those runs where he broke through, there was actually ‑‑ James Casey did a good job of sealing one defender.  There were two there, he broke a tackle, and then once he broke a tackle and got to the third level, he was able to score with it.

That run kind of illustrates a little bit what Chris is, and then we've seen him more out in practice and in the training sessions doing that on a consistent basis.

Is it knowledge of the ‑‑ in practice you're not in pads every day ‑‑

PAT SHURMUR:  He knows what he's doing, and he's like all the players that are up each week.  We trust him when he gets in there, and he made the most of his opportunities the other day.

Is there a comfort in knowing that weather is not going to be a factor on Sunday in the dome?

PAT SHURMUR: I don't think we need to take our rain gear.

So much of what LeSean McCoy does or the attention he gets is for his shifting and his cutting.  When you saw him run north‑south that way, is that something he does frequently?  Is it something he can do more?

PAT SHURMUR: No, I thought he ran hard.  He ran in a physical way.  Typically we love to get the running backs to the second level all the time, then we either break a tackle or make a guy miss, and he displayed the ability to do both the other night.

Do you take the north‑south running that he was doing as almost a lesson to him?

PAT SHURMUR: He can do it.  He can do it.  But we've also seen him wiggle guys and go east and west, and I think that's something that he can do both.

Where does he rank among the running backs you've seen in terms of cutting and moving laterally?

PAT SHURMUR:  Well, he's got a great ability to do that.  He's got to be one of the top ones.  You know, and I think ‑‑ I remember last week, he was being compared to Barry Sanders, and I liked his response to that.  I don't know, I just have seen him grow since the last spring, as well.

You're in the booth, Chip is on the ground.  When he decides to go under center and start handing off, did you talk about that through the headsets at all first?

PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, you can imagine what our conversations were.  We snapped one over Nick's head and we didn't handle it well.  So at that point in the game, we just felt like it was probably better to go under, and then as things settled down a little bit more, then of course we got back to the shotgun a little bit more later.

I know you do practice under center ‑‑

PAT SHURMUR:  We talk about everything, quite frankly.  We've got headsets and microphones. But when you do it really for the first time as much as you guys did, was there in your eyes something like, 'Alright, let's see how this works?'

PAT SHURMUR:  We do it a lot, and there's a certain percentage of plays that we'll run from under in every game.

The numbers were significantly better in the shotgun than under center.  Why was that?

PAT SHURMUR: I don't know.  I didn't look at it that way.

It was nine and a half yards per play in the shotgun, four and a half yards per play under center.

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, but it also was later in the game, and we were getting settled down for other reasons, too.  It's a good number crunch, but I don't know if it tells the whole story.

That's why I'm asking.

PAT SHURMUR:  I don't think it tells the whole story.  I think we feel like we can be effective under center and in the shotgun.

Was it a visibility thing late in the game or was it more than that?

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, it was snowing less, I guess, so you could see better.  No, I don't think so.  I don't think so.  We just weren't playing very well early, and the Lions were moving the ball well early and not so well late, and so we just kind of flipped the switch.

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