Coach Sherman: The Line Is Going To Continue To Get Better

Posted Oct 14, 2013

Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman meets with the media to respond to questions about the state of the offense as the team returns from the bye week to gear up for Sunday's AFC East opener against the Bills.

(On what is the tipping point when deciding on offensive changes, based on practice performance or what is needed in game plan)– “I think a combination of both.”

(On if there will be any tweaks to the team moving forward) – “Oh yes, every week when you go into game week, based on who you play, there’s always going to be tweaks. It may or may not be noticeable to people in the stands or to the media, but there’s always tweaks to how we’re doing things and what we’re doing. Your core is still your core but every week you go in with game plan thoughts that attack certain things that they’re doing.”

(On the rushing offense being down 50 yards on average from last year, what is the difference between this year and last year) – “Well if I knew that I would hopefully correct the problem, more soon than we have. It comes down to quantity, I don’t think we’ve run the ball quite as much. We’ve been in a couple situations where a couple weeks ago, we fell behind and didn’t run the ball, had limited reps in the first half. It’s just a matter of getting it called, executing it, and doing it the right way, and we can do a much better job.”

(On if there’s a reason for optimism based on how the offensive line has performed at this point) –“Well I think they’re a hard working group, they’re a work in progress, I said that from the very beginning. They’re going to continue to get better. I think they’re taking a lot of hits that aren’t necessarily all their fault, you can spread that around to all of us, not just to them. The irony is as you go back and look at it, the hits on quarterbacks are down, it’s just that our sacks are up. At the end of the game when you ask Ryan (Tannehill), how are you doing, he says ‘I feel fine.” The less hits you have on your quarterback, there as damaging, the hits that he takes that he doesn’t see are as damaging as anything in relation to his health. It has not been an inordinate number. Ironically after the games we’ll have more sacks, I don’t count a sack as a hit on a quarterback, that’s classified as a sack, even though it is a hit. We obviously have to clean that up because the sacks change field position, we gave up in the last game minus 35 yards on offense; we certainly cannot afford to do that.” (On if he feels pass protection has been cleaned up since the last game) – “I don’t think you can tell until you get into the game. You have to understand, when you go against the Saints and you go against their two rushers and their inside guys, I thought they were probably one of the best rushing groups we’ve had and they’ve caused people some problems. I think (Elvis) Dumervil and (Terrell) Suggs has caused people some problems, they’ve certainly caused us problems. This week they obviously have a couple guys who can do the same thing, so we have to be able to hold up. We have been up in a situation where we’ve gone against some pretty darn good rushers, and obviously we have to keep our quarterback erect and we didn’t do that. That lie’s on me as much as anybody else.

(On how it has felt to see Charles Clay’s emergence and how important he’s been for the offense…did he ever think the offense was in trouble without Dustin Keller at tight end) – “Well you certainly lose some of the services of (Dustin) Keller, he’s a talented athlete and we would have loved to have kept him healthy. The emergence of Charles Clay, I don’t see it as a result of his injury (Keller). I really thought that was going to happen even with (Dustin) Keller being here, and (Dustin) Keller would have his balls and Charles (Clay) would have his. I’ve read about the emergence of Charles Clay because (Dustin) Keller’s not here, I didn’t necessarily see it that way. I envisioned Charles (Clay) having, based on what he did in minicamps and OTA’s and the preseason, he would have his fair share of touches. Maybe Dustin (Keller) would have taken some catches away from him but as far as his performance I saw him being a vital part of the offense even previous to the injury to Dustin (Keller). Now we’re certainly disappointed to lose a player like him, and had a role for him, but Charles was always in the plans from the beginning.”

(On if the tight ends would have alternated, or would have played in a two tight end set) – “I think that we have three tight ends right now and there would have been an opportunity when you have 4, to maybe do a couple more things. When you invest in a package you have to make sure you can continue to run that package if you have an injury, during the course of a game, you don’t want to be out of business on something that you invested in during the course of the week. So maybe it would have been a little more of two tight ends, possibly.”

(On if anything has changed this week or has been examined during the bye week on stretch running plays) – “Well I think it goes hand in hand, we have to execute better. Execution was part of it, it wasn’t just the line, sometimes it was sometimes it wasn’t. We need to press the hole a little bit better, we need to be able to one step cut it and take it up behind the blockers, sometime we might have cut it just a little bit too soon. Other times we might have been behind the block a little bit as offensive lineman so there were variables that existed. Other times there were seven guys in the box, there were a couple of instances that I think we looked at that I think we can get fixed, and we’ve stressed that with our players.”

(On what are scheme options for a team that isn’t making personnel changes for an o-line) – “We do a fair amount of three step right now, we do about seven or eight times a game, we also have some max protect, we chip guys. I just think it’s a collective effort by everybody, the timing and rhythm of the play has to possibly speed up. I don’t necessarily think any more three step, people can sit on your three step game pretty quickly if you over use it. I think we’re using it, we’re very effective with it. I think we use it just about to the right percentage. We’re pretty much a five step team, we do some seven step, only had four of them in the game last time we played. We are trying to chip guys at different times, sometimes when they feel the chip, they’re coming underneath the tackles as opposed to us absorbing the chip block with the backs or the tight ends. We just have to coach it up better, that’s all.”

(On what he’s seen from Mario Williams, is Buffalo moving him around) – “He’s moved around different spots. Even in this last ball game we saw him do a couple things we haven’t necessarily seen him do on a regular basis. They’re certainly trying to free him up. I was with him in Houston and he’s a heck of a player, he’s come a long way from his rookie year, he was a great player as a rookie and he’s a great player right now.”

(On individually Tyson Clabo giving up 5 sacks and being on pace for 16 for the year) – “I hate it when you guys do that math, because it doesn’t normally work out. I’ve never seen it, when everybody says ‘if he does this’ they normally don’t continue that trend. I say normally, and I don’t anticipate that happen, there are going to be some games where there are none, it’s going to even out. Now do we have to get better protection across the board, absolutely, but I don’t necessarily project that after the amount of games we’ve had right now, up to five ball games that we can project that out for the rest of the season. I think we’ll make some improvements as I said from OTA’s to minicamp my consistent refrain has been we’re a work in progress upfront and I think we’ll keep getting better. They’re a good working group, got a good coach in there with Jimmy Turner, and obviously we have to do a better job as an offense and I believe we will.”

(On if Tyson Clabo is on notice or on a short leash) – “He understands the situation. It’s easy to say let’s put this guy in or that guy in, there’s a reason why he’s our starting tackle, it’s based on going on all the way back to when he got here and the body of work he’s done previous to that and that others have done. We’ve gone into this thing with him, we’re hoping that he can iron some things out and that we can iron things out as an offense as well and maybe help him in some situations. No one cares more about it than he does, he’s working hard, and I know that’s not the answer people want to hear, productivity is the bottom line. I believe because of the way he works, he’ll work through this thing and he’s in a little bit of a rut right now but I think he’ll work through it and we’ll be fine.”
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