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Quotes: Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur


Q. What happened to the offensive line after the first quarter? It seemed like the run blocking in particular was just a mess.

PAT SHURMUR: Well, I think what happened to us -- that's quite a question to start out with. [joking] That's a breakaway lay-up. [laughter] No, I thought early on we did a good job. We got rolling, we got positive plays, and you can see what happens when -- we had some explosive plays, and we got points out of it. I think as we went through the game, if you look, we had some penalties and probably bad plays within a series that kind of stalls you out from doing all the things that we can do when we stay on schedule. So we were playing against a very good front. You know, there were some -- we probably had more downs that were good than bad, but we were playing against a front that we knew would give us some challenges, but you know, I don't think it's anything more than that.

Q. As you put the game plan together for Sunday, is it with QB Mark Sanchez at quarterback or is it with QB Sam Bradford?

PAT SHURMUR: We're just going to get ready to play Tampa, and really what we do, both of the quarterbacks you mentioned can execute.

Q. Will Bradford be out there at practice today?

PAT SHURMUR: I don't know yet. We'll see. We'll all watch him come out together.

Q. You have no idea?

PAT SHURMUR: No, I do. I mean, I have an idea.

Q. You can't tell us if the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles will practice today?

PAT SHURMUR: I don't know because there's times when guys will come in in the morning and they're supposed to be ready to go, and then as they go through their treatment it doesn't happen, so I don't want to misspeak. I really don't.

Q. Did you get everything squared away with T Jason Peters? Would he have been upset about being active, but not starting last Sunday?

PAT SHURMUR: No, my understanding of that situation, is that he just wasn't quite ready to go yet. That's it.

Q. Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis just said that he looks at his defense statistically, in terms of comparing it to the rest of the NFL, in terms of points per drive. Does the offense look at it the same way?

PAT SHURMUR: Absolutely. We've said this all along: it's not about plays, it's not about yards, it's about points, and if you want to break it down by drive, I think it's about 11.6 drives per game when you look at the average around the league, and so you want to make the most of all your opportunities. You certainly want to score a touchdown every time, and so that's a good way to look at it.

Q. What's the mark that you're trying to get to?

PAT SHURMUR: The best in the league. You know, I think you can look at it -- I'll kind of leave it at that. We're getting better in some of those areas.

Q. What were the issues with the handoffs between Sanchez and RB DeMarco Murray?

PAT SHURMUR: I think just because they were in there together -- now, we certainly do train it, but we've got to just be a little bit more consistent with our alignments, and they just need a little bit more work together. That's it.

Q. How much have they been practicing together?

PAT SHURMUR: They do it a lot. They do it on a daily basis and they do it quite a bit, actually.

Q. Obviously Sanchez's decision on the interception wasn't a good decision. How tough is it for a quarterback that enters a game off the bench and what do you do between then and now to get him in a better situation for decisions?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, you go through and you look at each play that was good, bad or ugly, and you get them corrected and you move on. That play in itself, you know, Mark was on a roll and he was grooving and we were moving the football. He made what he thought was a good, sound decision. Hindsight is 20/20 on all of this. You could have said, 'Well, check it down or use your legs and throw it away,' and all those types of things, and that's what we talk about. Our experience will all serve us well, and we'll all learn from that.

Q. When you're preparing this week with the uncertainty at quarterback, do you have a set of plays that might fit Sanchez better as opposed to Bradford or are they all just the same thing?

PAT SHURMUR: No, it'll be the same offense, and then we just -- we'll kind of just veer towards some of the things that whoever is in there might do better. But it's virtually the same offense.

Q. After the game last Sunday, C Jason Kelce said he played the worst game of his life. What did it look like to you?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, to me, I think that's what makes Kelce a great player is that he can self-analyze. He was probably overstating maybe a handful of plays because he did a lot of really good things, too, against a couple of tough matchups. That tandem of defensive tackles is about as good as you're going to face, and they were in there battling. That's why guys will tend to have long careers and be really good players, because they're hard on themselves when a few bad plays happen.

Q. Kelce has got eight holding calls already this season. He had 10 his entire career going into this year. What's happening there that you see on tape?

PAT SHURMUR: I don't know. I think a couple of them – with holding calls, sometimes you look at them after the fact. But I think the big thing for all of our offensive linemen, is just to make sure you keep moving your feet. When you tend to stop your feet, that's when you grab, or when you tend to stop your feet, the defender keeps moving and he gets on your edge and you tend to torque. So that's the big challenge.

Q. What have you seen from QB Thad Lewis since he got here?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, I've been with Thad now in two other places. We brought him into St. Louis as an undrafted free agent from Duke, and he made our team as a [No. 3 quarterback], and then when he was let go in St. Louis, [we] brought him to Cleveland. He actually started in my last game as [the head] coach in Cleveland, and actually aside from one play where [former Steelers S Troy] Polamalu got him, he played a pretty gritty game. So, he gets it. He understands the game. He's got a live arm. He can move around well, and he's really taking to what we've done offensively, and so given a situation where he has to go in and play, we'll trust what he does.

Q. With Kelce, how much of his problems are the two guys on the line next to him being very different from the two guys that were next to him last year? These guys have much less experience and have accomplished much less.

PAT SHURMUR: I wouldn't say that's the issue. I think sometimes you just have a handful of bad plays and then you just keep fighting to get rid of them.

Q. What's your understanding of when you'll get Peters back?

PAT SHURMUR: My understanding is sooner than later. Again, we'll see how much he can do today, and we'll all tend to watch that I imagine, right? As they come out here and you're out here for a while.

Q. How tough is it, though? When it comes to the offensive line, so much of it is about having the same five guys and letting them grow together. It seems like since your first year here, when almost everybody played every snap, there have been guys in and out of the lineup for a couple years now.

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, it's really been – That first year is sort of unsustainable. Those guys were in there next to one another the whole year, and I think you really benefit from it. It's a unit, and they play as a unit. So the more time they can be in there together, certainly the better they play together. So yeah, we've just got to keep training. This is a game you have to train, so you can't expect to go out and have a great performance against Tampa if you don't come out here and train. It's a game you ramp up because you certainly want to be playing your best football at the end of the year, and I think that's what we all want. I think everybody had Kansas City killed and now they've won three in a row. So you've just got to keep playing. We know that Tampa is our next opponent, and by beating Tampa we're one step or one week closer to doing the things we want to do in January and February. So that's really the way we've got to approach it.

Q. Why are you watching Kansas City so closely?

PAT SHURMUR: I'm not. I'm bringing it up because we all know that situation. But that's just an example.

Q. Why is WR Miles Austin playing as many snaps as he's playing?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, we've had some injuries, and so we had guys in and out of the lineup. We use the whole roster, as you know, in terms of the receiving corps. Some games he plays more than others. He's had, in the last couple weeks, probably more snaps than you're used to seeing. That's all.

Q. You had everyone back on Sunday, correct?

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, I guess you could say that.

Q. So why was Austin still getting as many snaps as he was?

PAT SHURMUR: I think we're getting -- we were getting [WR] Nelson [Agholor] back in there, you know, so we weren't totally sure how many he could get, and then we were playing a bunch of different groupings, and we were trying to play with tempo. There are times when you're trying to play fast when you kind of maybe planned on having another guy in there, but then [you say] 'No, no, you stay in there because we're going to go fast.'

Q. How do you think Austin is playing?

PAT SHURMUR: I think he's competing hard. I think, like everybody on offense, you know, he had a handful of plays he'd like to have back.

Q. Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis said that the wheel route seems to be the hot play in the league this year. Do you agree with that and why do you think it's become that way?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, I think it's a good way to attack the defense, and depending on how you structure the wheel route or however you do it, whether you run a rail or you run a flat-and-up, typically you're running that route in tandem with maybe a couple other receivers who might be running vertical or crossing the field. So let's say, for instance, it's man-to-man, and now you have to cover your man, pushing through two stems, which makes it difficult, and it's an easy thing for the quarterback to see. I think there's a little bit of a trend going around the league where a lot of teams are playing probably just a touch more man than they have in the past, and so then those types of plays that kind of get natural rubs become maybe a little bit more on the front burner. I don't know, did we all get that? That's sort of kind of how I see it.

Q. Can this offense be what you want it to be with the outside receivers producing at the rate they are now?

PAT SHURMUR: Absolutely. I think what's important is we all get better. And then every year is a little bit different. It's hard to compare year to year. We've had a lot of formations this year where we're in one-by-threes, where you've got the tight end by himself and all the receivers on one side, so really who's an inside or outside receiver, you know? We have different combinations of guys, right, and so the challenge is -- like we're talking about points per drive -- the challenge is to score more points than the opponent and to score absolutely as many as you can. You know, we fell victim to not getting points a couple times when we got down there, and that's the reason we lost the football game. Really, who does it, it really doesn't quite matter, as long as you're moving the football and scoring points, and that's what we're looking to do.

Q. WR Riley Cooper and Austin are both playing on the outside. They combined for 97 snaps and zero catches.

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, I mean, on a couple-game basis, maybe. I know there's a team up in New England that throws the ball inside a lot and nobody is probably asking about why they don't throw it outside. So the challenge is to move the ball and score points.

Q. The Patriots outside receivers aren't ranking near the bottom of the league in yards per route run.

PAT SHURMUR: I don't know that.

Q. What do you think about WR Brandon LaFell's numbers compared to --

PAT SHURMUR: I don't know that, but I'm just saying, when you generally watch the game and we watch some of the cross-over tape, they throw the ball a lot inside to [Patriots TE Rob] Gronkowski and [Patriots WR] Danny Amendola. It's inside, not outside. That's all I'm saying.

Q. Is Riley Cooper not getting open? He wasn't even targeted at all.

PAT SHURMUR: Riley gets open. Riley does a good job of getting open. As we play this thing out, there's going to be games when he gets his production.

Q. Have you been able to follow Rams QB Nick Foles from afar or monitor his situation?

PAT SHURMUR: We really haven't had much cross-over tape, but I have not been able to kind of watch what's happened to him. I mean, certainly I'm a fan of the league and I kind of watch what happens with teams, but I really don't have any details of what's going on with him.

Q. I'm sure you've analyzed Sanchez's interceptions since he's been with you guys. I know that everyone is different, but do you find it a common theme? Is there any kind of teaching point that you're giving him to try to limit those?

PAT SHURMUR: Each one is different. I think Mark is very aggressive, very aggressive pushing the pace, and he's very aggressive with his throws. You know, and I think it's always important to match that aggressiveness with staying in the moment, and matching the situation that kind of reveals itself within each play, and I think that's -- but that's good. You want somebody that's aggressive and to be able to coach them into the other stuff.

Q. Given that case, do you remind him in that situation that a field goal gives you a lead? Does he have to be reminded of that situation?

PAT SHURMUR: He knew the situation, certainly. But every time you call a run play, you don't tell the running back, 'Don't fumble.' Every time you call a pass play, you don't tell the quarterback, 'Don't take a sack. Don't throw a pick.' I mean, those are -- you would say that every play. I think the challenge is that you train the players the plays and how they kind of relate to the defense you're playing, and then we all learn the situation. We've got a shared situational awareness, and we do what we can to score as many points per drive as we can.

Q. So some of that falls on the play caller then right? If you're in a situation where you don't want to do that --

PAT SHURMUR: That was a great play call. I don't think it was wrong. We just -- we threw an interception, which we don't want to do. Why does that fall on the play caller?

Q. I'm talking about conservative versus aggressive if you have a player that showed tendencies --

PAT SHURMUR: That was a simple naked play that was off of a run play that they had defended earlier, so in that situation, you have a deep, you have an intermediate and two short throws, and it's all layered up there for you. So I thought it was a great call.

Q. In Mark's case, this is not the first time we've asked you about his interceptions. How do you fix that? How do you reduce that if he has to step in for a game, two games?

PAT SHURMUR: I think what you want to do is go out and execute the plays in the way they're designed and match that with the situation that you're presented in, and that's what you do. If you go out there with all this anxiety that 'I'm going to make a mistake,' then you won't be able to receive the snap. So you train, you train against what you're going to see, and then you go out there and you let it rip, and then you try to do what's right. Primary for a quarterback is being able to be a good decision maker, throw the ball on time and then be accurate with your throws. That's what we're always working on, and within that, you work on the fundamentals of it all the time. Every practice field that's out there working on football, that's what happens.

Q. Getting back to Riley for a second, it's not even that he didn't get targeted in the last game. He hasn't been targeted since the Giants game. So if he's getting open, how can he not get thrown to in over a month?

PAT SHURMUR: Well, I don't know. That's hard to say in terms of the question you're asking because we're trying to move the football. There has been times when Riley has been open. There's times when it's a pick-a-side read. There's times when it's pure progression, and maybe some of the things that you're looking at where he's getting open, the progression didn't take the quarterback there because somebody else was open. So you know, it's hard for me to say from that standpoint.

Q. It seems like four verticals was something that worked pretty well for you against the Dolphins. What was their defense doing and why do you think that worked so well?

PAT SHURMUR: Yeah, it was good. We thought it would be good going in. We called it more than a handful of times, some with drop back, some with play-action, and the way the coverage was revealing itself, you know, typically when you get single-safety coverage, the four verticals are a good concept to match against it.

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