Who decided to keep RB LeSean McCoy out at the end of the game?**
COACH SHURMUR: You know, what's interesting about that, is we as coaches don't care who's in the game and we have what we consider to be two dynamic starting running backs. So, when we're constantly answering these questions, as we've been the last couple of days, it's a non issue to us, and it really doesn't matter. There are times during the game when [running backs coach] Duce [Staley] will look out there and say, 'Okay, get in there, or get out of there,' and then there are other times where the running back himself has something happen in a pile up and he needs a moment and he'll come out. So it happens seamlessly and it was really a non issue.
Who makes that call? Does Duce decide?
COACH SHURMUR: We as coaches watch the game, and we see when we there are times when I'll say, 'Hey, listen, we need to get another back in there.' But because we don't care if LeSean or [RB] Darren [Sproles] are in there, it doesn't really matter. Last week, we were talking about, 'Let's get Darren in there.' Now what we're saying is, 'We want him in there a lot, but not in what's considered critical situations?' So from our standpoint, we're happy to answer the questions, but it's not a big issue for us.
I think some people are wondering whether McCoy effectively took himself out and seemed okay with not going back in. Is that a concern?
COACH SHURMUR: To us it's not a concern. We're happy when we see either LeSean or Darren in there.
When you evaluate this last game, this last tape, what did you see of QB Nick Foles?
COACH SHURMUR: I saw Nick battle through the game. We haven't given up sacks the last few weeks. There's been times when he's had to get the ball out in a little quicker manner than we'd like. There are times where he's had some bad footing. I go to one area of the game where we missed what appeared to be an easy throw to [WR] Jordan Matthews, then he followed it up by ripping a seam ball to Mac [WR Jeremy Maclin] on the next play, and that's really the tale of the tape when you talk about quarterback play. We'll watch games on TV hell, I was home watching games in the afternoon, and I saw some really good quarterbacks do some things where I said, 'Wow,' and then they'd turn right around and make a good throw. So I think that can be said.
On the throw that Foles made where WR Riley Cooper kind of had to be a defensive back and bat it down, the replay showed Fole's foot wobbling a little bit. Is that a footwork issue and why would that occur at this point in the season?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, it happens throughout the season. There were times when he had a little bit of heat in his face and he got the ball out. There were other times when he's got to slide in the pocket and make a throw. Then there are other times when you escape. And every once in a while, you have a bad play. So you know what you do? You admit it, you find the solution, you correct it and you move on fast to the next one. [It's] just like that scenario I talked about where he missed the throw to Jordan and he came back and made a great throw in the seam to Mac [Maclin]. That's the reality of it, you know, it really is.
As you judge a quarterback, how do you balance what the record is compared to the way the quarterback is playing in those games?
COACH SHURMUR: We're 4 1, and he's been our starter throughout. So that's the overriding judgment. Beyond that, he's our starter. We don't judge him so much, as we coach him to get better, and that's sort of how we approach it.
Why use the split-zone play with two tight ends? Why was that a play you went to a lot and why was it successful?
COACH SHURMUR: There are reasons, schematically, why we use it, which we don't reveal certainly. But depending on how teams play us, it's good to block things that way. So that's always in our pocket, even if we don't practice it during the week, and then we can get to it. We were in a situation where we were running the ball more than we were throwing it. We had a sizable lead, but like I was telling the guys today, it's important that we run the ball effectively when the other team knows we're doing it, and I think that's the part that we can do.
It looks like you guys were in more inside zone and needed some man blocking at times and not as much outside zone. Is that because of the opponent and what they do?
COACH SHURMUR: We run inside zone, we run mid zone and we run sweep -- and then we run one back power. We don't have that many schemes. Now, we have a lot of ways to make it look different on the perimeter, but we did run more inside zone. We felt like the way they were lined up, there were some creases in there, but we did attack the perimeter a couple times with our sweep plays.
Last year, three quarters of McCoy's rushing yards came out of three wide sets. This year he's not getting much out of those. Is that just a reflection of the blocking? What's going on?
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, and again, it's not a real jazzy answer, but it's a combination of things. When you look at each play in every game we've had, there's a handful of times where I say, 'Golly sakes, we're this close from breaking it.' I think as we go along, if we just stay consistent with the training, it'll come.
McCoy and a couple of the other players were saying that they were seeing a defense that they didn't really see on tape. Are you seeing more of that this year from opponents and what kind of adjustment is that?
COACH SHURMUR: No, it's not an adjustment. I think teams will come in with what they were doing to us, they had done throughout, and we were aware of it. What happens is teams will come in with a theme, just like we'll run certain plays in our playbook, we'll run more of one and less of another, that's what defenses do to us, and they'll come in with a theme. I think defensive coordinators are a little concerned sometimes about getting lined up fast to tempo. I certainly think we see less defense than we do if you were a traditional huddle type offense. So they come in with one or two things that they want to do and a couple wrinkles, and then they just let it eat. I don't know what the players were saying to you, but we as coaches had the guys prepared for what we saw.
Sproles didn't get a target in the game. Is that just part of the way the scheme worked out?
COACH SHURMUR: Sproles? Yeah, we targeted him a couple times where they doubled him -- when you guys go back and look at the game copy, you'll see that -- and then we moved on. The one play where Nick [Foles] scrambled and threw it to [TE Zach] Ertz on the scramble, we were trying to throw it to Sproles, and you can see he was doubled. That was something that they had done in the past, where they will double one or two receivers. That's kind of part of [Rams defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams' package, and then you just move on. But we did try to get him the ball.
Did it seem like Foles faced these same kind of issues last year? He was successful, obviously, but was it just masked or what?
COACH SHURMUR: No, I think everybody is still hung on 27 2 [touchdowns to interceptions], right? We all know what I'm referring to? I think everybody is stuck on that a little bit, but we're a different team. We have different players in there. We're facing different opponents that are playing us differently, and we're grinding through it. I think that's a cool thing, and we're standing here getting ready to play the Giants in our sixth game, and we've got four wins. I think that's what you build on. It's not always pretty and I think that's the really cool thing about our sport; you grind it out, and there's sometimes when some units play better than others. We're still a little bit unsettled up front, and we're getting back and we're getting more coordinated there, and so you just keep grinding through it.
I think, we as coaches, we kind of I don't know, we kind of grow off of that. And I think teams do that.
Have you seen progress from T Matt Tobin and C David Molk?
COACH SHURMUR: Absolutely, absolutely. Last week [the Rams] did a good job of moving around on us, which created some problems initially, and then we got settled down and did a better job as we went on throughout the game. But Molk is doing a better job, number one, of communicating. He's doing a better job of kind of feeling the speed of the game, which certainly is always a little bit different than the training sessions. Then I think Tobin being in there as a first time he went into it planning to be the starter, then was the starter, and he did a pretty good job. So yeah, we are seeing progress.
How did T Lane Johnson help the run game? It looked like you guys did a little more unbalanced stuff with him and T Jason Peters.
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, we did. We always will carry unbalanced into the game. We feel good when we can create a three surface side with two tackles over there. We felt like it would do some things to their defense in terms of the unbalance. But Lane did a good job. There are plenty of things he can get better at, and we've addressed them, and he'll be out here training to correct them.
Ertz is averaging around 17 yards per catch on only 16 catches. Is that a number you're comfortable with, 16 receptions at this point, or would you like to see him get a little bit more involved?
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, we'd like all of those dynamic players that we put on the field to get more touches. I think as we get going and we're a little bit smoother with our operation, we'll get to run all those plays we want and the ball will get spread around properly.
You've been using TEs Brent Celek and James Casey lately, most of the time in a 12 personnel package. Is that a reflection of where Ertz is as a blocker right now?
COACH SHURMUR: No, it goes back to, 'Okay, is LeSean [McCoy] or Darren [Sproles] in there?' We feel like we've got a tight end group where they all merit playing time. We were in a game where we kind of got to a more run-type game, and we were in there banging around, and Casey does a good job with that. That has nothing to do with Zach, though.
You talked about smoothness in the operation. What does that mean to you? Is that just consistency?
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, consistency. I look at us as an offense and we need to get that first, first down and get rolling, because I think even watching it as a reporter, or even as a fan, you can see when we can get it rolling, we get in a little groove. When we're kind of grinding through it to start a drive, but if we can get that smoothness, not have any of those pre snap penalties that you have that set you back, and then I think it even helps [Head] Coach [Chip Kelly] as a play caller to get on a roll, as well.
On the plays where Foles has to decide whether to hand it off or throw to the perimeter, what did you see from his decision making there?
COACH SHURMUR: He did a good job, he did a good job. There are times where it's the right answer and the best answer. Again, I'm not trying to evade your question, but we had a couple scenarios where he could have handed it off and we got yards, and there were also a couple scenarios where we could have pulled it and either run with it or thrown it and gotten yards. But I thought he did a good job. There were some errors, but for the most part, good.
When you were head coach, how much time did you spend on special teams in practice? Do you guys do anything differently here than what you have done in previous stops?
COACH SHURMUR: We spend a lot of time every place I've ever been in my former lives, let's say, we've always spent a lot of time on special teams. It's structured differently here than what I'm used to in the West Coast type system. The special teams is within the practice itself, which is really working well for us, and I've learned a lot about how I might do it another time. But I think it's working really well for us.
I know this is the way that Coach [Kelly] did it when he was at Oregon, and our players embrace it, and it's working well. But we spend a lot of time. I think most NFL teams spend a great deal of time on special teams. I think we've got two really fine special teams coaches. We have a head coach that puts a lot of emphasis on it. As you know, with our players, it's very important how they train, and if you're not a starter or if you are a starter, you're going to compete on special teams, and if you don't, you don't make it here.
So the head coach makes it a very important part of the game. The guys that coach it do an outstanding job, and our players believe that it can make a difference in the game, and we've seen the last few weeks how it's really helped us win games.
In your previous lives have special teams drills ended practice?
COACH SHURMUR: No, that would have been high school. That was a lot of lives ago. No, if you remember here, we start it. We would have a half-hour special teams practice prior to the regular practice. I see you guys nodding your heads, but that's how we did it in that system.
Do you expect RB Chris Polk to be out here today? Any update on him?
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, he should be. I don't have any updates. Something could have changed since we broke the meetings, but yeah, I think so.
How did WR Josh Huff grade out?
COACH SHURMUR: He did a good job. He did a good job. He was in there for a handful of snaps and for the most part he did what we asked.
He had said that he didn't practice much in the slot, and it looked like he played there. Is that just a natural thing for him?
COACH SHURMUR: No, I mean, he's gotten reps in the slot. If you remember correctly, during training camp again, I don't know where you guys are getting all this -- but if you remember, during training camp, he and Jordan Matthews were working in the slot, and then we had a couple guys get nicked up, and then what did we do? We'll revisit all this, right? Then we moved him outside, then he had an injury and so he was watching for a while. My memory is better than I thought it was.