Q. What do you take away from the way QB Mark Sanchez played on Monday and how he handled the huddle and the whole package?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, you saw that he's a very veteran quarterback. He's played in a lot of games. I thought his demeanor was terrific. I thought he handled the pace well. He did the things that we want in our offense. For the most part, he made really good decisions.
You could tell he threw the ball accurately. You know, I thought he managed the pocket well, which is good. Very rarely do you get a chance to drop back and it's all pretty. Although we did protect well, there's times when you got to slide in the pocket, keep your eyes downfield. I thought he did all those things very well.
Q. In terms of managing the pocket, is that something that Sanchez has always done well or has he shown a lot of improvement there since arriving in Philadelphia?
COACH SHURMUR: We're sort of used to seeing that. He hits his back foot and then he pushes up through the pocket and gives himself a chance. As he's going through his progressions, you see him kind of keep his foot moving, and if it's not there, then he is in a position to run with it, which I think is something that is good.
Q. Sanchez talked about how he was a little gassed from the tempo when he went into the Houston game, so he did some extra running last the week. How do you think he handled the tempo on Monday night, especially on the 91‑yard drive?
COACH SHURMUR: He shouldn't get tired. All the other guys should. I think he might have been just playing with you there. But he looked like he was aerobically fine. I thought he handled it very well. Like I mentioned, for the most part.
It all comes down to decision making. [The] quarterback's got the ball in his hands on every snap. If he makes good decisions, whether it's in the run game or in the pass game, then you get a chance to do what you want on offense. I think if you look at it from a group standpoint, we did not turn the ball over and when we had a chance to get points in the red zone, we did. Then you can see the results.
Now, we certainly weren't where we wanted to be in terms of running the football and being efficient on every down. There's certain things that we got to get better at. But if you don't turn the ball over, and when you're in a position to get points you get points, then you're doing what you should do.
Q. What are the particular strengths of the Packers' defense?
COACH SHURMUR: I think they play good team defense. When we sit down to game plan, you look at the tape and the defenses always look better than sometimes, you know, I think they're ranked. I think they're a good team defense. They're pretty good in the back end. Their linebacker level guys are outstanding. Plus they've got a couple premiere pass‑rushers.
Now, what was different in the last game against Chicago is, you know, they play [Packers LB] Clay Matthews at the second level as an inside linebacker, which is something they kind of designed on their few days away. So we have to deal with him as a second‑level player and then certainly he's an outstanding pass‑rusher and when they get in their dime sets, he's on the edge of the line of scrimmage. So, that will present a little bit of a challenge for us because he's certainly a guy you want to get blocked whether you're throwing it or running it.
Q. They had the worst run defense in the league and then they moved Matthews inside against Chicago. Suddenly, Bears RB Matt Forte couldn't go anywhere. Did that make that big of a difference?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, it did early in the game and then you saw the game got out of control. You kind of got to look at that game, unfortunately, as kind of a half. I don't think they revealed to us everything they'll do with [Matthews] in there.
Q. You were seven-for-seven with Sanchez in the red zone, which was an area in which you guys had previously struggled. How much of that improvement is a direct result of Sanchez or is it more about everybody else executing?
COACH SHURMUR: I think it's always a combination. We fell victim to turnovers the last -- when we haven't been good early in the year in the red zone, it was because we turned the ball over. It was a mixture of fumbles and interceptions.
So, you know, again, we as a unit took care of the ball better, and we as a unit scored more touchdowns.
Q. There were a lot of red zone drives where you didn't turn it over, but you also didn't get six points.
COACH SHURMUR: Again, that just speaks to us not doing what we were supposed to do.
Q. Going back to Matthews, how much of him moving inside had to do with the switch or was it more about using an un-scouted look?
COACH SHURMUR: I don't know. That's probably a better question for [Packers defensive coordinator] Dom Capers, but it was effective for them. They used him in there. He played at the second level. I think, like I said, it's hard to tell what they'll do with that whole package because it really was only about a half where you could see it. Then the game kind of got a little bit away from the Bears.
But he did a good job stopping the run. He was up into the line of scrimmage quite a bit, but yet he played a traditional linebacker spot.
We're just going to have to see how it plays out as we go forward.
Q. Has WR Jordan Matthews exceeded your expectations in terms of what a rookie receiver can do to make an impact?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, he's making the progress we hoped he would make. We've talked all year about production coming in bunches. I think [TE Brent] Celek got a bunch and [Matthews] got a bunch the other night. He made the best of it. It was a significant impact on the football game.
So, yeah, I think players, sometimes, when they have a game like that, when you're a player like Jordan Matthews, he'll come out here and try to recreate the work he did prior to that outing, and I think that's where he can get better, because he's certainly going to want to have that production each week.
Q. A few of the lineman suggested after the game that the Panthers hit them with things maybe they hadn't seen on tape from a run defense standpoint. How would you analyze why the run game went the way it did?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, I don't know what linemen you're talking about. I do think they did a good job against the run. There's a guy named [Panthers LB] Luke Kuechly. He was all over the field. I don't know what his production numbers were, but he did a heck of a job of disrupting us in there.
We had some creases in there. I think we left a lot of meat on the bone, but they did a good job defending us, running the football. That's why I think credit [is due] to the players that were out there. We had some success throwing it.
Q. In terms of scouting, what were some of the issues in the run game Monday night? COACH SHURMUR: Well, there were times when they had one extra up there. Again, we're going to try to be patient and run the football. Then there were times when we had some creases where all of a sudden Luke showed up. I just think, generally speaking, when you leave some meat on the bone in the running game, we can finish better. There are just little things each guy can do better. Then you can have a game where you're back effective again.
Q. Have you sensed any frustration from RB LeSean McCoy?
COACH SHURMUR: No, not at all. McCoy is a pro. Much like receivers have production in bunches, he comes out here and he's very steady with his approach. I don't sense it.
Q. In your experience over the years working with quarterbacks, what determines the difference between a backup succeeding or not succeeding?
COACH SHURMUR: In our case, you know, we've got a backup that was a starter for a very long time. I like to think that a guy has got a chance to be good as a starter if he'll prepare like a starter when he's not the starter. I think that's what you see from Mark.
Each week he was preparing himself like he was going to play. Then for whatever reason we said, 'You're not playing,' and he assumed that role on game day to try to help [QB] Nick [Foles].
If you keep going through that process, then when you get your chance, it's not like, 'Okay, now I got to change what I do.' There are certain times when if things come easy to [guys], they don't work hard. Then, all of a sudden, they get in a little bit of a slump and then they try to work hard and they don't know the process. Whereas Mark constantly goes through the process and I think that can be said for all good backups that then are thrust into a starting role.
Q. Have you seen it the other way, where guys didn't prepare the right way?
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, I mean, I think we've all sort of experienced guys that didn't ‑‑ you know, I guess I don't want to say specifically, but certain guys that don't handle that role well.
Q. In the last four or five games in your 11-personnel, you've mostly used Celek as the lone tight end unless you are in an obvious passing situation. Is that strictly a matter of him being a better blocker at this stage than TE Zach Ertz?
COACH SHURMUR: No. We tried to get a smooth kind of rotation with our tight ends in there. Brent is a guy that we know; he can play on all three downs, so he's in there quite a bit. If you can imagine, we may have a first‑ or second‑down play called and if we get into third down and we go tempo, he's in there.
We trust him to do whatever. We do think it's smart to get Ertz on the field in situations because he's productive as a receiver. But yet he's improved as a blocker. Then [TE James] Casey is just kind of Steady Eddie as far as doing everything we ask.
Q. You were talking about Jordan Matthews. How did Carolina try to match up with him in that game?
COACH SHURMUR: Just normal. In man situations, if he was playing on the inside, he was matched up with the nickel. There was nothing exotic about the way they played. I thought they did a good job of disguising things from a pressure standpoint. I think that's kind of Ron [Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera] and Sean [Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott]. You saw a lot of the [former Eagles defensive coordinator] Jim Johnson‑type stuff in there, which is really disruptive to an offense.
But in terms of how they tried to cover us, it was just like we'd seen.
Q. Why is C Jason Kelce having so much trouble snapping the ball? COACH SHURMUR: I think Jason is just getting back into the flow of things. I don't think there's any trend there.
Q. Given how important RB Darren Sproles is on special teams, do you have it mapped out how he's going to be used or rationed on offense?
COACH SHURMUR: No, we don't really think about that. I mentioned it last week, but regardless of what play we're going to call, we feel very comfortable if LeSean is in there, if Darren is in there, or now [RB] Chris [Polk].
Q. Have you ever had the kind of help from special teams in terms of points and field position that you're getting this year?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, it's outstanding. I think Fipper [special teams coordinator Dave Fipp] and Harp [assistant special teams coach Matt Harper], they do a great job coaching those guys up. There's just a great feeling around the building that the guys on special teams are going to make a difference in the game in a positive way. Guys are preparing, number one, and then they're expecting to go out and make a play. It's had a huge impact on our games so far. When you can get production like that, when we've screwed up and turned the ball over, Billy [defensive coordinator Bill Davis] and the guys on defense have done a great job of eliminating points.
Certainly, last week [with] five turnovers, if we didn't score a lot of points, there would have been something wrong because there was such an outstanding effort from the defensive side.
Q. Was Celek a rookie during the last year of your first coaching stint in Philadelphia?
COACH SHURMUR: I don't remember. He was here, but I don't know if he was a rookie. He was here in a former life. I'm forgetting exactly. No he wasn't a rookie.
Q. When looking at all of the tight ends that you have coached over the years, where does Celek rank in terms of blocking?
COACH SHURMUR: I think he's one of the best going. I think he's one of the best in the business personally. Not just with his production, but what he does behind the scenes. So he's a guy that if you throw the ball, he can catch it and when you ask him to block, he'll block for you.
There's a lot going on for a tight end. They line up attached, they line up detached, they're off the ball, they're on the ball, they're in motion. So he's got a view of the big picture which helps him be good in both the run and pass game.
Q. In regards to some of these guys you're talking about. Celek, for example, through eight games had about 90 yards, but it seems like he couldn't care less as long as you were winning. Jordan Matthews didn't seem to be bothered by the games in which he wasn't catching many passes. It seems like there's a lot of unselfish guys who really don't care about their individual numbers. That is not always the case on teams. When you have a bunch of guys like that who are in key roles -- and Foles is the same and Sanchez is the same -- what effect does that have on a team?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, I think they just want to help us win and they want to contribute. They really don't look at the stat sheet to kind of measure what their contributions are. I think that's when you're starting to develop the team chemistry that you need.
Certainly as skill players, you like to have production because that's the way sometimes you're measured in terms of your contribution. But our guys don't feel that way and I think that's why you're seeing great team play. Zach Ertz was involved on special teams, and he had a significant role in Darren Sproles' touchdown run. That's what you're looking for.
We as coaches, when that kind of stuff happens and when you hear players talking about, 'I just want us to win and I want to contribute to winning,' that's good. That's really good, because when selfish behavior and selfish attitudes creep in, that's not conducive to team‑ness, I guess.
Q. When looking back at the film, what allowed Sanchez to have such a clean game when it comes to the decision making? There were concerns about his turnovers when he was with the New York Jets. COACH SHURMUR: Again, I'm not comparing anything to New York. We're just basing it on what we've seen from him. The protection was good. Mark made good decisions. When they were coming with more than we could block, like on the touchdown throw to Jordan Matthews, you know, there was one more that was supposed to be coming, then he pulled off and [Sanchez] put the ball in the flat and we scored.He's very comfortable with our progressions. I thought the line did a nice job of keeping him clean for the most part. Then when there was a little bit of noise in the pocket, I thought he did a good job of managing the pocket and getting the ball to the right guy.
Then we also saw from the receivers, there was some tight coverage where guys made great catches. So, you know, they kind of all helped each other and we all benefited from it.
Q. You just referenced Sanchez stepping up and kind of proved your point from previous weeks in terms of consistencies. He made three or four plays where he felt the rush and took two steps up. That's like having an extra play in your arsenal, isn't it?
COACH SHURMUR: Well, no. Managing the pocket is important. You first start practicing versus air and everything is very easy. Now colors start flashing, who is getting blocked and all that. He was able to -- we try to keep a firm inside and get the guys up the field, so when you hit your book foot and hitch through it, [you are] able to keep your eyes down the field. There's a trust there, but it's natural for him because that's the way he's always played. I think he just kind of did what came natural. He lowered himself to his training because he's been trained that way.
Q. You said from a coverage standpoint what Carolina did was pretty much what you've seen all year. Is that because you of the defenses of the teams you've seen or is that the template you think people, when they look at you, they say, 'We're going to go man, we're going to try to get pressure and we're going to try to stop the run?'
COACH SHURMUR: Yeah. When you boil it all down, teams can play one‑deep man, two‑deep man, one‑deep zone, two‑deep zone and then they can do what they want with the pressure.
I think we saw normal coverage concepts from Sean [McDermott] the other night.