Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Q: How close Odell (Beckham Jr.) was to being ready –
A: He’s closer, he’s closer. He did more this week, he’s able to do more field work, so we’ll just have to see what the next couple days bring so we’ll see.
Q: You guys scored 40 one game without him and 0 one game without him, so how do find the balance?
A: Two different scenarios, two different scenarios. I think I would say we didn’t do anything that we needed to do against any opponent with any player on the field last week. We didn’t do enough on first down, we didn’t do well on third down, we turned the ball over in a tight game, so it doesn’t matter who was on the field. The week previous we did all the things necessary, so that’s how I balance it in my mind.
Q: Evan Engram’s role seems to increase a little bit knowing Odell’s not there. How much do you have to get more out of him when you don’t have a playmaker like Odell on the field?
A: I don’t think that’s true, actually. I think he’s going to always get his touches. It’s not like because Odell’s there that we’re going to look to him more. I think they all have plays where they’re primary and just so happens that we hit on some this past weekend.
Q: You would be more inclined to pull plays where he’s the primary when you don’t have a weapon like Odell?
A: No, I think it’s important we spread the ball around. Even when Odell’s in there, I think it’s important that six or eight or nine guys touch the ball. I think that’s the way you need to play offense.
Q: When you’re evaluating people as far as for next season, what is the most important thing for you to see in these last two weeks just from a player routine?
A: I think they need to stay in the moment like I’ve been preaching throughout the year. Like today was a really good Friday practice. There was good energy, attention to detail was good, I know you’re able to practice the whole plan to some degree, they were moving around crisply. That’s what I needed to see today and certainly doesn’t guarantee a good performance on Sunday, but it gives you a chance and then on Sunday we just got to go out and play the game like nothing the next day matters, really. Just go play ball and looking for guys to have a good performance just like I would’ve if it was early in the year.
Q: The other team has a lot to play for. I think someone described it as it’s going to be a playoff type atmosphere. Can you guys benefit from that and is it going to be different for you guys too?
A: I don’t think the motivation to play should be any different. Certainly they’re still in the hunt and they have played well of late, but we’re going to go on the road and I’m sure it’s going to be a loud venue like it always is on the road, so we’ve got to handle the crowd noise and just play good ball.
Q: I know you don’t expect a letdown or anything, but obviously the media, the fans always wonder if that’s the case after a team is eliminated. In your career have you seen –
A: Why? I’m curious about that because I don’t know why. Let’s assume you have a finite number of games that you’re going to play as a football player. Let’s assume that. I don’t know why you would let down. On the rare occasion when you’re in the playoffs and that next game means nothing, I see resting guys, but in this case here, we’re coaches and players. We’re paid to play and it just so happens that our profession is our hobby. I don’t – I’ve never understood that. That’s part of the narrative that I don’t understand because as football players, coaches – sometimes you play poorly. We didn’t play well last week in some areas and we lost, but it wasn’t because we went in there and let down. I don’t get that.
Q: So you have never seen it in your career guys who just didn’t seem to give an effort the next week or any –
A: No, I haven’t.
Q: With you guys eliminated, do you expect to try to get (Kyle) Lauletta active again and get him into games?
A: We’ll have to see. Again, we’re going to try to do everything we can to win the game, and I’ve said all along he’s got a bright future and we’ll just see where his participation is and when.
Q: What goes into that decision this week in that regard?
A: I’ll decide based on what I know about him and what I know about our team.
Q: John Greco start at center?
A: He will start at center, yeah, and then Evan (Brown) will be active and back him up. Evan Brown.
Q: You had a special visitor (Santa) at practice (inaudible)?
A: Oh yeah. You saw that, huh? Same as when he’s not wearing the suit. He carries the pads well. Carries the suit well.
Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern
Q: You missed Alec (Ogletree) a game earlier in the season. If he can’t play, who has to fill that role as the leader of the defense?
A: I think the group of guys has to do it, not just on the linebackers but all the guys. We’ve got some good players out there working with it, but in linebacker when we’re making calls and stuff, like we did it last time, B.J. (Goodson), Tae (Davis), those guys all have added responsibilities, and we’ll go with it that way.
Q: How much is lost when (Ogletree) is not able to play?
A: It’s always hard when you lose a veteran, a guy who’s a leader, a guy who’s a great communicator. Those are things that you obviously are going to miss out there on the field, but it’s an opportunity for the other guys now to step forward and prove themselves.
Q: I know Landon (Collins) is not part of your position group, but he plays sort of in that middle in almost a linebacker type role. How much does his absence affect your guys?
A: It’s everybody that’s out there. Any time we lose anybody, it’s disappointing to lose anybody out there, but it’s an important opportunity for somebody else to get a chance to kind of show what they’ve been working on.
Q: Do your guys almost need to do more?
A: No, it’s one of those things you have to be careful that you don’t try to do too much. Again, it’s one of those things where you want to make sure you’re doing your job, executing your responsibilities, but it’s all these guys. As we’re going through the season, they continue to work out, we’ve got a great group of guys that are trying to improve, but it’s their opportunity to prove themselves and get out there on the field and do it.
*Q: What do you think of how Kareem Martin has played, especially in the second half of the year? (DC James) Bettcher was saying a couple weeks ago that he kind of talked to him about what you guys were looking for, are you seeing what you’re looking for from him? *
A: What’s good about Kareem, again he’s another guy who’s been around, he’s been working at it, he’s getting better, he’s being more disruptive out on the field and during the game. It’s what we’re looking for from him, but it’s a tribute to him that he’s been working at it, he’s been pushing himself in practice trying to get on top of some of the little things, and it’s showing up on the field now.
Q: How about Lorenzo Carter? Where’s his development at?
A: He’s continuing to progress. What’s been (good) is that he’s been working through the entire season. It’s a long season for the rookies when they get in here, and he’s been pushing through, he’s got a great work ethic. There’s things that he’s always constantly learning, but he’s eager to get out there and compete and challenge himself. There’s things that he’s doing better, there’s always things that everybody can do better, so he’s working on those things, too.
Q: As you look ahead, what is maybe the thing he really needs to work on?
A: With all those guys right now, especially a young guy, it’s the complete game. It’s, they’re going to have a year now, getting to a true offseason. Last year was kind of probably a whirlwind for those guys with workouts, draft, everything else, then coming into OTA’s, it kind of really happens fast. I think this year now, maybe they can get a chance to get some good workouts in the offseason, have a little bit more of a settled offseason, but also can delve into the playbook and stay into it, and just continue to improve.
Q: Could Lorenzo add some muscle or weight?
A: All of them can. Bigger, stronger, faster is something everybody wants. He’s one of those guys that, again, he’s in the developmental stage a little bit being a young player, but we’re excited about him.
Q: What have you seen from OV (Olivier Vernon) in the second half of the season?
A: He’s another guy that’s been very disruptive. I think it’s one of those things when guys get hurt, you miss him for X period of time, but to come back from it, they’re not going to be where they were when they got hurt. It’s one of those things where I think he’s kind of feeling better, I know he’s playing better, he’s being disruptive. It’s something we’re excited about and we’re happy to see him do.
*Q: Do you view him as a clear part of your guys’ future? *
A: We’ll talk about all that stuff at the end. That’s above my paygrade. That’s things we’ll talk about when it’s all said and done.
Q: Even though the numbers maybe aren’t showing it, do you think he can be as disruptive as he has been in previous years?
A: He shows it on the field, how disruptive he can be. You see it the last couple weeks that he’s making sacks, he’s disrupting, he’s getting quarterback hits, pressures, so you can see what a factor he can be or what a force he can be when he’s healthy and going.
*Q: Why does he play almost exclusively on that side? *
A: Different things. It’s one of those things where sometimes guys are little bit more comfortable.
A: I think it’s everything. There’s times we do kick him over to the other side, at times he’s been over there. But it’s one of those things sometimes he’s comfortable, he feels better doing that, or we like the matchup, and also you kind of move him around a little bit to kind of keep them off-guard too. But as we’ve been doing it, he’s had success on that side, so we’ve kept him there.
Q: In this division, there’s some pretty good left tackles. A tough grind when your best pass rusher is matched up against those guys for six games a year plus whoever else you’re playing.
A: In this league, yeah. He’s one of those guys that if that’s where he feels comfortable rushing from, it’s something we’ll take into consideration. Again, we’ve moved him a little bit, but it’s been primarily his spot and as we’ve seen here now in the last couple of weeks as he’s gotten healthy, he’s pretty disruptive and pretty productive.
Q: What did you like about Tae (Davis) in the offseason, and how much has he grown during the season?
A: He’s one of those guys, again, a lot like Lorenzo, last spring probably had to be a whirlwind for him. He’s done a great job of coming in here, being an undrafted free agent and he’s working at it. It’s one of those things, he’s still got a couple weeks here where he needs to really continue to improve and get better, and then obviously after the season’s over, we’ll sit down, have a conversation and try to go forward from there where we need to improve.