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Quotes: Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur


Q. You and Giants Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo go back a long way. Is this the first time you're going against him in this fashion?

COACH SHURMUR: No, actually when I was in Cleveland, we played the Rams. And so I've obviously worked with him. It was a fun couple of years when we were together. Learned a lot of football. I think we learned a lot of football together. I think when you work for somebody, you look back on it now, I wish I would have known some of the things I learned in the last five years that would have helped me do a better job for him then when we worked together. But got a lot of respect for him. He's been very, very successful. Very detailed coach and you can see his fingerprints all over the defense now. You can see, he certainly as a defensive coach had become very impressed by [former Eagles Defensive Coordinator] Jim Johnson and the way we played here. Now, he's a little bit different than when we were together. Plays a little bit more man-free, a little bit more just pure three-deep zone. But he's an outstanding coach.

Q. When you go against a guy that you know so well, do you see that as a good thing for you or a bad thing because he knows your tendencies, too?

COACH SHURMUR: I think it comes down to the players playing. You have a little bit of an idea of what you're seeing on tape, but the players still have to go out and execute plays against defenses. Nobody does anything 100 percent of the time in every situation, so our players have to respond to whatever coverage or whatever pressure he brings. I think when you know somebody, you can maybe -- there's maybe a thing or two you can talk about with the players but if you paralyze them by saying they are going to do this and I know this – I've been on the other side of that where you say, 'We know this defense,' and then you go out and the players are paralyzed and they don't play. I think it comes down to the players playing.

Q. Have you been able to pinpoint what the problem has been starting games, especially the first quarter?

COACH SHURMUR: I think it still just comes back to staying on the field on third down. You can see, when we get a lot of plays and we got close to 90 plays the other night, then the ball gets spread around, nobody is asking why this guy didn't touch the ball, that guy didn't touch the ball. You're getting a lot of completions and you're getting yards rushing. So we just have to stay on the field.

Q. You added a new player on the offensive line. Did you just feel that you had to cover your bets at that position and what do you like about him?

COACH SHURMUR: [G/T] Tanner [Hawkinson] is a big, athletic guy. He'll give us some position flexibility at guard and tackle. He's been in two really, really fine systems. He was with Cincinnati and then recently on the Niners practice squad. So you just -- I think everybody kind of cycles the last couple players on the roster to try to see if you can hit on a guy. So we'll bring him in, try to develop him and see what happens from there.

Q. Chip Kelly was saying the other day that he thought C Jason Kelce played two really good games the last couple weeks. What have you seen from him as far as what changed?

COACH SHURMUR: Well, I don't know what changed. I think he did really play well last week and I think he'll be one of those guys that can build on that. I think nobody – we certainly didn't play very well the first couple of weeks as an offense and so he shouldn't be singled out on that. But he works very hard. He's very professional and he feels challenged to improve when things don't go well.

Q. Is it fair to say when Kelce plays well, the whole line picks up?

COACH SHURMUR: Well, sure. I think you've got to be strong up the middle, so typically when your center and your quarterback play well, then it kind of vibrates out through the team.

Q. Chip was saying last week that a lot of times your personnel package is mostly dictated on what you expect the defense to do. Don't you have to try sometimes to see it for yourself and maybe go with more two tight ends like you did in this last game?

COACH SHURMUR: Well, I think when you look at an opponent, there are certain things that you try to take what you have as an offense and then matchup what's good against what hurts them. We felt like two tight ends was an advantage for us and it was. It's probably one of the games we played the most two tight ends, and then we'll have to see if we like it this week. But yeah, we do it, we play two tight ends every week but we just don't do it as much as we did last week. And we put various personnel – you saw we put two halfbacks in there with three wides, we can put two halfbacks with the tight end. So we've got a lot of different ways to play the players. What happened the other night is we got close to 90 plays so we had an opportunity to do all that fun stuff we wanted to do.

Q. Seems like you had QB Sam Bradford moving around a little bit in that game, as well. Is that something dating back to St. Louis that you've found that he's done well with?

COACH SHURMUR: He's a good player in the pocket or outside the pocket. When you're running the football well, then play action is meaningful. I think that's what we saw the other night.

Q. The offense has really struggled to start this season as a whole. When you have a game like you had putting up over 500 yards, can that breed confidence and does it look like these guys, especially the newer players in this offense are getting a little more comfortable?

COACH SHURMUR: When you do something once, certainly you want to do it again and again. We've talked all along about consistency, whether you're playing well early or late, you want to do it throughout the game and you want to do it over the course of a few games or the whole season. Yeah, it felt like an offense that we are used to being able to play. So now we just have to go back and recreate it.

Q. What did you see on the two end zone interceptions that Sam threw when you looked at it on film?

COACH SHURMUR: Just like what we saw on game. I think on the first one, we were running a flag route and if Sam could have done it again, we were open, he would put a little bit more air on it. And then the second one, I thought the defender made a good play, tried to fit the ball into [WR] Miles [Austin], and then the defender made a really, really good play. The ball was on the front part of the end zone so he went down and low with the throw and then the defender did a good job. So two plays that you'd like to have back. The good part is, we fought back from that, and I think – I don't think it's any mystery but Sam played his best game.

Q. When you have the two halfback set, I remember the one play where RB Darren Sproles went out in the flat and caught the ball for the first down, is that a pre-snap decision which guy is going to releasing or is that post-snap?

COACH SHURMUR: We can do both. They both can release. One could protect, the other one release or they both could stay --

Q. Is it pre or post-snap?

COACH SHURMUR: We decide. We decide.

Q. Since Week One, Darren Sproles has not been a big part of the passing game. Are teams doing anything to take him away or is it just circumstances?

COACH SHURMUR: No, it's just circumstances. I think we used all three running backs in a pretty good clip the other night. There's times when we put him out in the slot and run. But I don't think there's anything to it. Teams do make an effort to cover him and then the play you're talking about, fortunate enough, they played two-man coverage, so the guy covering him was one-on-one with inside leverage. So thanks for that. It worked out really well for us. But typically you'll see him get doubled quite a bit.

Q. Do you have any update on WR Nelson Agholor?


Q. Will he practice?

COACH SHURMUR: We'll have to see, I don't know.

Q. We've been told that Eagles Running Backs Coach Duce Staley handles the running back rotation, do you have an input in that during the game?

COACH SHURMUR: Yeah, I keep an eye on it from upstairs, just kind of get a feel for where everyone is at. The position coaches that are on the field – we try to play the whole roster so guys are just in and out all the time.

Q. You were with Sam his first year in St. Louis when he came to that organization and you're here in his first year here. Is there any different – the way he's gotten acclimated to this team, is it any different five years later than the way he approached it with St. Louis?

COACH SHURMUR: In terms of his preparation?

Q. I'm talking about his getting acclimated with a new team, new players, taking a leadership role. Is it any different for him this time around?

COACH SHURMUR: It's very similar. He's obviously a more veteran, more mature guy. He's seen more things. The one thing that you have to remember about Sam is he has not been able to play a lot of football in the last two years. So preseason is one thing; training sessions are one thing. But when you get in the uncontrolled settings of a game, there's still a little bit of a learning curve there and you can see he's playing a little bit better each week. We hope that will continue. But in terms of his preparation, the way he approaches things, it's the same guy. It's just as we all get a little bit more mature and a little bit more experienced, I think you just see a calmer, calmer approach.

Q. Have you found that RB DeMarco Murray is more effective running when Sam is under center as opposed to the shotgun? Do you try to tailor that a little bit?

COACH SHURMUR: No. I don't think that's the case. I think he's as effective in the shotgun as he is under center. I think a player may like something more than another, but that doesn't mean that they are not good at the thing that they may not – because I know he's made comments about how he likes to run downhill on it. That doesn't mean he's – some guys that dunk the ball well are still good shooting three pointers. So I think that's the case.

Q. When you run the ball out of the shotgun to the same side the running back has offset to, how does it make it hard for the linebackers to read and diagnose where the play is going?

COACH SHURMUR: I think if you just do one thing, in other words, if you just run the ball from offset, then it's easy for the linebackers. But we can be offset and run an inside zone and run a play-action, or we can run a flat-path mid-zone and run a play-action. So it's coordinated, just like when we are under center, we can run inside path or an outside path, run the ball or play-action or just straight drop back. So that's probably a better question for linebackers. But I think for the most part as long as it's all coordinated and you have one thing that's looks like the other, we should be able to take advantage of it.

Q. Maybe not this week but do you and Spagnuolo keep in touch?

COACH SHURMUR: Oh, sure. We talk a lot. I've seen him a couple times in the summer. You know, it's professional football. We're not talking about our teams. Our wives are very close and we're friends. We pull for one another and then it just so happens we're competing against one another this week.

Q. Were you happy with DeMarco's decision-making on Sunday? Looking at the tape, it looked like there were some times when he had some lanes that he could have broken some runs and chose to go in a different direction?

COACH SHURMUR: I thought he did a good job running the ball. I think when you look back, when you get enough runs you look back on it, there's probably a time or two, you play the woulda, coulda, shoulda game. But I thought for the most part he was effective running the ball.

Q. How much do you credit the adjustments that the offensive line made to what defenses had been doing to stop you?

COACH SHURMUR: They did a great job. We talked about, a lot of the guys playing missed practice last week or missed the training and they were able to go in and they really battled well. I thought they worked well together. We ran a lot of man-block plays where we were block down, block down, pull around sweep-type plays that were very effective and it takes a lot of coordination. I thought they did a good job. Our zone game was going well, also. So when we can get that going and kind of in concert, I think we're pretty good.

Q. Is the man-block, did that help a lot?

COACH SHURMUR: It helps us and we go into each game doing it but just like playing the players, sometimes you do it more or less depending on how the team defends you. You like to think if they are playing a lot of guys wide, you run inside – I'm going to really boil it down now – and if they are playing a lot of guys inside, you run outside and if you have them both going well, then it's a good thing.

Q. The Giants were one of the first teams that started doing a lot of slanting and angling on you guys.

COACH SHURMUR: A year ago, yeah.

Q. Do you expect a lot of that?

COACH SHURMUR: I don't know. That was a part of when [former Giants Defensive Coordinator and current Redskins Defensive Backs Coach] Perry Fewell was the coordinator. Steve, their front is a little bit different. Now we certainly anticipate that we could get some because you still peak at the film from a year ago. They are still primarily a four-man front. We prepare for that and plan for that each week. It hasn't been a bunch of what they have done so far this year, but we certainly prepare for it.

Q. When you watched the film of the Giants front seven, who are some of the guys that stand out?

COACH SHURMUR: I think they are sturdy inside. The defensive tackles are big, sturdy players. And when you look at their defense, I think this is probably textbook-team defense when it comes to stopping the run. They are very gap-sound. A lot of times they give you a two-safety presentation in the back end, which immediately says, everybody else says, 'Well, they are easy to run the ball against because it's two safeties.'  Well, then it's seven and a half or sometimes eight in the box depending how the safeties play it. And then I think their team, their linebackers are really good at their run fits. So what appears to be an open gap, they get down in quickly. So like good defenses, I think the reason they are having success stopping the run is because they play good team defense. And I think that's the reason for it.

Q. Kelce talked about the fact that guys were over thinking things a little bit too much on the offensive line. When you go to man --

COACH SHURMUR: The mind is a dangerous thing.

Q. When you go to man blocking, does that eliminate --

COACH SHURMUR: No, not really. Not really. I think you just got to go play sometimes. This is a game for P.E. majors now. (Joking) You have to go play and be aggressive and we've got to go. I mean that because you've just got to go play, and sometimes block, go right or go left or whatever you're going to do and block the guy that shows. I think sometimes that's what we need to do more. So when our guys say, 'Hey, we are over thinking things,' they are going past that first stage of go left and block a guy. I'm simplifying it again but that's essentially what it is. We can complicate the game sometimes where we've got to block them, the runners got to run, the quarterbacks throw and the receivers catch. That's what it is.

Q. All 17 under-center plays on Sunday were runs --

COACH SHURMUR: I was waiting for you. You moved your seat. I couldn't see you back there.

Q. Is that something you want to mix up more?

COACH SHURMUR: We certainly have plays where we throw the ball from under. They are there.

Q. Are you going to use them?

COACH SHURMUR: We intended to use some the other night. We didn't really need to get to them.

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