Q. This team has scored touchdowns seven of the last eight games, scored points on the first possession. What goes into that, the scripting and everything? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think it’s the preparation part. I say this every week, but I think it’s big. The preparation, I truly believe the separation is in the preparation every week, and the way we go about our business up in the meeting rooms and carrying it down to the players and trying to put our guys in position to make plays. Obviously, they have to go out and execute, which they’ve been doing, but it’s the communication part and seeing what we’re seeing on tape and trying to take advantage of those things.
Q. It seemed like there were a lot of moving parts on that opening drive this week. What goes into the choreography of that? Do you know what’s coming when and do the guys know? (Bo Wulf)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, absolutely, you have your openers that you go through, and you look at what you want to run in the first 15 and can that change every once in a while? Absolutely, dictated off what the down and distance is and the situation of the game.
But guys have a good idea of what’s coming. We always go through that Saturday night before the game of how we’re going to open the game and what it’s going to look like, and then we go from there.
Q. There’s been a lot of games where you guys have built a lead, you’ve thrown to get the lead, and then you just start running to protect the lead. This team’s ability to run the ball when the defense knows you want to run the ball, what goes into that, and how do you pull that off? (Reuben Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think going into that game last week, we thought the weather could be something that we have to be concerned about. Obviously early on in the game, the weather held true. It wasn’t too bad. The rain wasn’t bad. We thought we could be able to throw it there in that first half pretty good, and then we did. Then the rain started coming in the third quarter a little bit. To start that third quarter, I think we ran it six in a row maybe or something, and when something is working, I say that all the time, let’s keep doing it, and that’s what happened in that game.
Q. What’s the median number for dressing up the play? Let’s say a QB draw. (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: The median number?
Q. How much can you dress up a different play? What’s the max? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think it’s endless. I think it’s endless, honestly. You can do so many different things with a certain play to dress it up. We go up there and look at different ways to do that every single week, and that’s what we have to do as coaches to keep running the plays that we’re good at and keep dressing them up.
Q. We saw that pass to RB Miles Sanders off the sneak look. When do you know when it’s time to throw something like that out there? (Dave Zangaro)
SHANE STEICHEN: I don’t want to get into the details of that, to be completely honest, but that was a good opportunity for it there in that situation.
Q. The way things are working on offense, the different weapons that you have and the way the quarterback is playing, can you just not wait to get back to the office to figure out some more plays? (Bob Grotz)
SHANE STEICHEN: It’s pretty fun. When you’re executing at a high level, right now, we’ve got to keep doing that, but the biggest thing is consistency. You get late into the season, you’ve got to be consistent with everything you do, coaches, players, everyone has got to be on the same page of communication because once you get late in the season it’s going to get harder and harder. We have to do a hell of a job of being consistent and being relentless in our approach.
Q. You guys started with two long, sustained drives. So much of this league defensively is about trying to force offenses to go a lot of places, thinking something is going to go wrong. Can you put your finger on a thing or two that has made you guys so successful with these sustained drives because it’s been pretty consistent? (John McMullen)
SHANE STEICHEN: Honestly, it goes back to the preparation and the work that the guys put in every week. When you’re on the same page and you’re communicating and you’re clicking, things are going to go well. Obviously there could be some mistakes here and there, but when you’ve got the players that we’ve got and the way they’re practicing and preparing every single week, good things are usually going to happen.
Q. We talked before when you first got QB Jalen Hurts you never really had a quarterback as mobile as a coordinator or as a quarterback coach. Where did you go for information? Where did you go for plays? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: We took all our resources and we looked all over the place. We looked at college tape, we looked at NFL tape, all those different things that had mobile quarterbacks, what works for certain defenses. We did a lot of research on that when we got here, and then we built it from there. That’s how it went.
Q. Was there anybody in the building in terms of whether it was QB Jalen Hurts or whether it was Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland or anybody else who had kind of a lot of expertise in that that really helped out? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, obviously [QB] Jalen [Hurts] doing it in college, [Tight Ends coach] Jason Michael, [Quarterbacks coach] Brian Johnson, they’ve been around the zone read option game. Those guys are really good with that stuff, and then we build it from there and then we take ideas and then we kind of make them our own in some sort of ways with the formations and how we do it, but it’s been fun to be a part of it.
Q. The throw QB Jalen Hurts made to WR Quez Watkins on that out route against the blitz on third down, CB Darius Slay talked about it. Did that play stand out to you as one Jalen wouldn’t have made last year?
SHANE STEICHEN: No, he would have made that. It was just a great throw by him, and then the other one that I thought was awesome was that first 3rd down of the game, the drive to [WR] DeVonta [Smith], the quick out. He threw that ball with such great anticipation and accuracy. The guy was right on his back hip, and he let that thing go before DeVonta broke out, and it hit him right there. That was a huge play in the game.
Q. As a play caller, who were your greatest influences? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: You know, I started with, I got in the league with Norv Turner. I thought Norv just had an unbelievable feel for the game, calling the game, when to call shots. He always said, shoot, the best games I’ve ever called is when I really am not looking down at the call sheet.
I’ve been a part of a game we played at in New England when I was with the Browns, and I was up in the box with him, and he might have looked at his call sheet three or four times, and I was like, this is unbelievable, and we were rolling pretty good. We ended up losing the game at the end. But just to have a feel for the game, when to call certain things at the right time, and then obviously the players got to go execute it.
But he was the guy that I started with, and then just being around all the different guys. Obviously being around [Head Coach] Nick [Sirianni], too, when I was in San Diego, when I first got around Nick, Nick saw the game really well.
Those two guys have been a huge influence on me.
Q. Where have you grown the most as a play caller since you took over? (Zach Berman)
SHANE STEICHEN: I think just situationally from a down-and-distance standpoint, how the game is going, when to call certain things, how to get us back on track if things aren’t going bad. I think that helps, just doing it. Just like with the players. The more you play, the more you see, the more you call games, the more you see and the more you have a feel for it and when to call things at certain points in the game. I think that’s the biggest thing.
Q. On the 4th down throw to WR DeVonta Smith, DeVonta was saying that QB Jalen Hurts made a pre-snap check on that. What does that say about Jalen’s ability to recognize things? (Martin Frank)
SHANE STEICHEN: Again, it’s the growth, playing it and seeing it more and more. We had a little different route on right there and he saw the leverage of the safety or the corner that was on him, and he checked to that inside fade right there. It was an awesome, huge play in the game.
Q. It was around this time typically we see a lot of stories and stuff written about head coach candidates and your name has been mentioned a lot. Is that a career aspiration of yours? (Jeff McLane)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, if that opportunity came about, that would be awesome, but right now we’re focused on the Chicago Bears, and that’s it.
Q. Have you been in games where you haven’t looked at your play sheet? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: I’ve had a few drives for sure where we’ve been rolling, but I’ll look down at it every once in a while, but when it’s going good, yeah, you’re usually not looking at it.
Q. How excited is the sideline late in the few games when you got to empty the bench a little bit? (Dave Zangaro)
SHANE STEICHEN: It’s pretty good. I mean, just to see the guys, to be able to do that and win with those — the way we’ve been winning has been awesome. But again, like each week is a new week, and we’ve got the Bears this week.
They’re a young team. They’ve got a lot of young players playing for them. If you look back, I don’t care about their record, whatever it is. They’ve had a lot of one-score games. They’ve been right in the thick of it. We’ve got to be ready to go with our preparation and take care of business.
Q. How about just in terms of getting some of those younger players a chance to get some game reps? (Dave Zangaro)
SHANE STEICHEN: It’s great. That stuff is invaluable. When you can get those young guys in to play there, because at some point, if something happens to somebody, the next guy has got to be able to step up and play. So, to get those reps late in the game is awesome for them.
Q. What’s the significance of getting to implement TE Dallas Goedert back in the game plan? (Josh Tolentino)
SHANE STEICHEN: Yeah, it’ll be awesome once [TE] Dallas [Goedert] comes back. It’ll be awesome to have him back. Obviously, he’s an elite tight end, and to have him back in the fold whenever he comes back will be awesome.
Q. When it comes to pass protection and the running backs, obviously knowing assignments and schemes is important to having success. What else is needed to be successful and how have the backs that you guys have right now done with that? (Chris Franklin)
SHANE STEICHEN: Well, I think the biggest thing is, too, just the way they run the football, obviously it starts with the offensive line, their departure angles on the handoffs and getting those carries and reading their reads, whether it’s a defensive end or a linebacker, and being able to hit the hole. It’s been good to see, and [RB] Miles [Sanders] is playing at an extremely high level right now. What did he average, 8.5 [yards per carry], I believe, last game? He’s seeing it well. He’s running hard.
I think that’s the biggest thing, too, just having a good feel for the offensive line blocking scheme, and again, it always goes back to the preparation and these meetings and doing it in practice every single day.
Q. Would you be willing to give any detail on that preparation? Does it start kind of broad with a lot of fingerprints on it earlier in the week and then whittle down to later in the week where maybe it’s just you and Head Coach Nick Sirianni fine-tooth combing it? (Ed Kracz)
SHANE STEICHEN: It starts here. We install it when we get in here on Wednesday, we’re in here as a whole offense and we’re like, hey, here’s the plan, here’s how we’re going to attack, so everyone hears it. The receivers are in here, the blocking part of it, here’s how we’ve got to block this. Whether you’re on the perimeter as a receiver, the offensive linemen, the tight ends, the running backs, everyone is hearing the same message, and I think that’s big because when you can communicate and everyone knows exactly what we’re doing, that’s when you have success.
I think that’s the preparation and the process that we go through, and Coach talks about all the time is double down on the things you know and believe are true, and I think the preparation part of knowing that everyone knows exactly what’s going on at all times instead of having like you break up, hey, we’re not going to install this together but we’re going to do this together. Like we’re in here together, and I think that’s what it is. You want to win, you’ve got to do it together, and that’s our preparation part of it.