Philadelphia Eagles News

Quotes: Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur

            Q.  Is there something defenses are doing differently, or is it a matter of offensive line play when it comes to inside-zone runs not being as effective as they were in the past?

            PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, I think we've run the ball well at times throughout the season. Teams have defended us, they'll come into a game and have a theme, and there's games when we throw the ball 50 times like we did the other night, and then there's other ones where we run the ball a little bit more.  We've been unsettled up front in terms of the offensive line, and I think we just stick with the run. We're probably not quite as efficient as we were, but we stick with it, and it's been effective for us, and then we feel like we can continue to improve.

*           Q.  Have you utilized TE Zach Ertz well enough this season?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  We think so. We think so. He certainly had a marquee game the other night.  We've talked throughout the year, and again, I can talk like this because I think this is our last meeting here, but we've talked throughout the year about skill receivers' or skill players' production, and it comes in bunches, and that was certainly a big bunch.

*           Q.  But for Ertz there's a direct correlation between playing time and production: the more snaps he gets, the more production he has.*

            PAT SHURMUR:  We feel good about the way we used him this year, and he did a heck of a job the other night.

*           Q.  I think you explained before that your decision to go with Ertz in 12 personnel and WR Jordan Matthews in 11 personnel is based upon how you want the defense to play or a certain look?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, well, you saw the other night we kind of put two tight ends in the game and spread them out and did some things. They really played us softer than we anticipated; not much pressure, and they just kind of played loose and let us kind of work the ball, and we did so. We sort of used some of those possession throws to the tight ends in the way that you might use our run.

*           Q.  But the teams ‑‑*

            PAT SHURMUR:  But it doesn't happen that way every week.  Teams will make a decision how they're going to play you, and certainly the matchups are not always the same each week.

*           Q.  It seems throughout the course of the year, though, both guys, whether it's Matthews or Ertz, have demonstrated the ability to beat either a linebacker or a defensive back or whoever has been on them. So if both guys are beating both types of coverage, how do you decide which one is better for what you're --*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Well, it depends how the defense is playing because there are times when you put two tight ends on the field and they stay base, and it's a linebacker. There are times when you put two tight ends, one of them including Zach, where they'll play nickel, and so on and so forth. It's a weekly thing, and it's something that we go through, and there are schematic reasons for it.

*           Q.  Do you think there could have been times where could have got Matthews and Ertz on the field at the same time more?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  We did.  We did do that.

*           Q.  But more?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  I don't know.  I don't know.  At this point, I don't think it really matters.  We feel good about when either one of them is on the field, and there were times this year when we had them both out there.

*           Q.  Obviously you want to win, but as a coach seeing the team today for the first time since the playoffs are no longer on the line, is it difficult to get their focus and to motivate them for the game with not as much meaning?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  That's a very good question. I think, who is it for anyone to tell us what's meaningful or not? I reminded the offensive guys this morning that all of us dreamed of playing pro football, and for those of us that can no longer play, we're coaching it.  And we have one more opportunity to play pro football this year. Now, our circumstances are such where we can't go any further, but everything is meaningful. Waking up Monday morning is not guaranteed. So it's meaningful, and we're a prideful group, and we're going to put all our efforts into going and beating the Giants.

*           Q.  The last time you played the Giants they played nickel almost the whole game.*

            PAT SHURMUR:  They did, yeah.

*           Q.  How many teams have done that and how many teams have stayed in base when you've played 11 personnel this year?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  It depends.  You know, some of the 3‑4 schemed fronts will stay in their 3‑4 -- five on the line I like to call it -- type package on first and second down at times. Sometimes they'll stay with four DBs, two safeties and two corners. Teams have played us with five on the line and they've played three corners, and so it's different, and that's why the matchup sometimes ‑‑ that's why the way we look on offense some weeks looks different.

*           Q.  You mentioned this is the last time you're doing an interview this season, so it's worth asking. What do you think of QB Nick Foles' season this year based on what he's done to date?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  I'm going to avoid any of those recap questions. I think at this point he's just fighting to come back. Unfortunately, he didn't make it back in time to make our last game, but the way he's really approached his rehab, and there's certainly areas we all can get better, but the way he's approached his rehab, if he continues through the offseason, I'm really looking forward to what he can do next year.

*           Q.  Foles didn't play a full season last year, didn't play a full season this year and didn't play a full season his rookie year for that matter.  Do you feel like you've seen enough of a body of work from him to know exactly what you have?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, I think we know what we have in Nick, and we've seen a guy that I think, by last count, he's 14‑4 as a starter. So that's really how you judge a quarterback.

          * Q.  Well, he's 14-4 under Head Coach Chip Kelly.*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, well, and me, as well. I mean, I was not here when he was here before.  Is that right, 14‑4? You guys are good at the math, way better than I am.

*           Q. Foles did play before you guys got here.*

            PAT SHURMUR:  True. True. I know that.

*           Q.  When Foles left the Houston game the score was 7‑7; he gets the win for that game.*

            PAT SHURMUR:  See, that's what I mean.  You guys are way more in detail with that than I am.

*           Q.  Would you like an opportunity to at least be an offensive play caller?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  You know what, I usually treat the world [as], 'I am where my feet are,' and right now all our focus, and my focus, is getting our guys ready to play the Giants and fulfill my role. I feel like we work and play for one of the greatest sports organizations there is, and Mr. Lurie [Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lurie] deserves our best effort every single day, and that's what he's going to get from me.

*           Q.  When you watched the film of the Washington game, were there missed opportunities downfield that you guys could have hit on?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  I wouldn't say that.  I think we were pretty efficient moving the football.  We certainly can point to a few mistakes we made, but we were able to move the ball and score points, just not enough.

*           Q.  There was a disparity this year between the number of times you guys threw the ball in a game when Foles was the quarterback and the number of times you threw it when Mark Sanchez was the quarterback. Some of that came down a little bit, as you've indicated, once you threw 50 times on Saturday. Foles was in games where you were mostly ahead and Sanchez was in games where you were mostly behind. You think that disparity would actually flip. Is there any way to interpret that disparity other than to say you were more comfortable ‑‑*

            PAT SHURMUR:  I'm having a hard time following all this quite frankly. Really, I want to give you a good answer.

*           Q.  You threw the ball more with Foles than with Sanchez. Is there any way to interpret that other than that you were more comfortable with Foles throwing than with Sanchez throwing?*

            PAT SHURMUR: No, I don't think so. I think we were equally comfortable with both quarterbacks doing whatever we do offensively. I think early in the year, when Nick was playing, that's when we were really unsettled up front in terms of injuries, and so the games were being played out just a little bit different than as we got to the middle and the later part of the year when our kind of front-line starters came back. Each game is different. You can look at each game kind of by themselves, and then certainly – as you get into recap mode, and I think you guys are already kind of in recap mode -- we'll kind of add them up at the end here.

*           Q.  You guys focused on turnovers in practice all the time. How disappointing is it that you guys were never really able to fix that problem. I think you had just one game without a turnover.  How disappointing is that?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Well, it is disappointing because it affected our wins and losses. That's what's disappointing. We're certainly not discouraged, and we continued to coach ball security throughout. It comes down to decision making. I think whoever has the football, has the hopes and dreams of the organization in their hands, and they've got to take care of it. The guys that we entrust with making decisions, whether to deliver the football or to hold on to the ball, have to understand how important that is.

*           Q.  You guys have been a little more settled up front since C Jason Kelce and G Evan Mathis got back.  How would you evaluate how the line has done since that time and maybe the things that ‑‑*

            PAT SHURMUR:  I think they're coming together, and again, as they play together longer, they get a little bit smoother. Smoother each week.

*           Q.  Last year you only had 19 turnovers and this year you have 35. How can that be explained? It was such a strength last year and ‑‑*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Well, I think it happens -- sometimes, it happens in bunches. We've all coached on teams where we did not have many turnovers, and then we've coached on ones where it's happened. You know, that's the little thing that you just keep going back to. We look at each play that involves a turnover, and there are reasons why it happens, and we've just got to do a better job of whoever has the ball in their hands, as I mentioned, has got to secure it, and whoever is throwing the football has to make good decisions and not put the ball in harm's way. You've got to be aggressive when you're throwing the football, but you've also got to understand you can't put it in harm's way. It's the No. 1 team stat when it comes to ‑‑ we all have a piece of that, and it's important.

*           Q.  Can you make adjustments in your offense to limit turnovers?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Well, we can limit our chance of having a turnover by taking a knee every snap. You know what I'm saying? 

Q.  That would be an extreme adjustment.

            PAT SHURMUR:  That would be extreme.  We really wouldn't score many points doing that.

*           Q.  Any realistic adjustments?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Well, I think it comes down to just the fundamentals of securing the football and the fundamentals of making good decisions when you throw it.

*           Q.  If turnovers continues to be habitual, as it was this year, could there have been ‑‑*

            PAT SHURMUR:  I wouldn't call it habitual. I think we had more turnovers than we did a year ago, and we need to clean that up.

*           Q.  What do you think of WR Josh Huff's future as a wide receiver?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  I think he's made great progress. You know, I think he came in -- He probably got a little slower start, and it's easy to make comparisons to Jordan [Matthews] because they're both rookie receivers, but he probably had a little slower start than Jordan. But he came back off his injuries, has done an outstanding job in the return game, and I think he's a very explosive player [and] it's starting to click for him. So I think he's got a very, very bright future.

*           Q.  Following up on the offensive line questions, a few of those guys have expressed that they haven't lived up to their own expectations. It's been the same five guys for six games or so.  Have they met your expectations and considering that continuity hasn't been an issue in this last stretch?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  We haven't done enough. We haven't made enough plays. We haven't played consistent enough. We haven't done enough to win the games that were necessary for us to have a game beyond this Giants game. We just need to get back to the drawing board and improve.

*           Q.  Have you seen enough of QB Matt Barkley in practice and preseason to know what you have in him?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, I think we've seen him improve greatly in the year he's been with us -- at least in this last year. I think when he gets his opportunity to play in games, everybody is going to see it.  We certainly haven't seen him in a game, and that's going to be where it's important for him when he gets in games.

*           Q.  Obviously Head Coach Chip Kelly made the decision to play Sanchez in this last game, but would this not have been an opportunity to see what Barkley could do in a game?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Had Mark gotten hurt, then yeah, he's in. But at this point, we're going out to try to win the football game, and we feel like Mark playing, with the way that things are lined up right now, gives us our best chance.

*           Q.  Last year you had 99 plays of over 20 yards, and so far this year you've only had 68.  I think one easy thing to immediately point to is the absence of WR DeSean Jackson this year.  Did you guys miss him on the field this year?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  You know what, we're very comfortable with the receivers we have, number one. We felt like they gave us good production. Certainly DeSean had a good game the other night on a couple of deep balls. But no, we feel good with the guys we have. In terms of missing things, it's one of those things you don't worry about it, you move forward with the guys you have, and we felt like they gave us good production.

*           Q.  Did you find that guys like WRs Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper were able to get open deep enough?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  I think they did a good job of getting open this year, and I think we've got to continue to improve there.

*           Q.  Until Saturday the running backs really hadn't been much of a factor in the passing game, particularly with Sanchez in there.  Why has that been?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Well, when you look at them, and I'm sure you can add the numbers up, when you look at the way -- first of all, Ertz had a big game, and I think we've done a better job of throwing the ball inside largely because of some of the players that we've had inside. We got a lot out of Jordan Matthews this year, and we felt like we spread the ball out outside, as well. So the ball was spread out probably a little bit more evenly, and I think that's probably something to be said.

*           Q.  Matthews was used exclusively in the slot this year. Are there any plans going forward to move him outside or train him outside at any point?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Yeah, we'll have to just see as we go. I think it's important when you're a young receiver, and we really believe that [it's important to] get in a position, learn, and then you can continue to improve. He practices -- unfortunately you don't get to see it, but I assure you, he practices some outside-receiver-type play during our training sessions. We'll just have to see how it all lines up. But for us right now, he's been a really pretty good inside guy.

*           Q.  You talked about the running game earlier and you said that you've run the ball well at times. It seems like there haven't been a whole lot of games where you've run the ball well consistently throughout the game. For example, it seemed like you had a lot of success early on Saturday, but not so much in the second half. Any idea why it hasn't been sustainable?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  Well, I think, again, that comes in bunches. There are times when you can hit on something and they're playing a certain way. In the run game it's three, it's four, it's six [yards]. You've got to eliminate the minus-one-[yard rushes], but then you've just got to stay with it and be consistent with it throughout, and then you kind of look at it in total. There was a game last night, I think there was an 80‑yard run to begin with, and then you can look at the numbers and say, 'My goodness, they had a great night rushing.' I don't know what happened beyond that, but you might look at the numbers and say, 'Boy, they had a great night rushing the ball,' but you look at the efficiency of the other runs, and that might not be the case. I think you want to be efficient running the ball. You like to be explosive and get the ball in the end zone when you do it. We've just got to be consistent with it.

*           Q.  So were you efficient enough running the ball this year?*

            PAT SHURMUR:  We feel like we stuck with it, and we feel like our run game contributed to us playing good offense. There are certainly areas we can improve on in running and passing, though.

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