Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Dowell Loggains, 12.31
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Hey, Dowell, can you speak about what Jamison Crowder has meant to you guys since he’s gotten here? It’s pretty clear what he’s done for Sam (Darnold). But just in general, and what he’s done for you guys.
Jamison is obviously a valuable piece in this offense. I know he’d be a valuable piece to any offense. He’s an extremely talented player. He’s a hard worker, he’s very intelligent, has really good football savvy, and he’s a guy that Sam trusts. He gives us a lot of flexibility to do things a lot of receivers can’t do. And we’re very fortunate to have him.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Dowell, when you look at this New England defense, the faces are different than what we’ve seen in recent years. Is the scheme any different? Does it look the same to you with just different pieces in there?
They do a very good job of playing to each player’s strengths. So, it definitely, it changes when they have pieces around, they add guys, but they do a very good job of if they’re down guys and they need to play more zone, they’re going to play more zone. If they have all the pieces up and ready, they’re going to play more Cover One. And they do a very good job of playing to their player strengths. So, they have the ability and the flexibility in their defense to make minor tweaks that schematically might not be a big deal, but it helps them put the pieces where they need to put them to help their guys be successful. I think that’s the magic behind their defense.
Brian Costello, New York Post: The thing you always hear with them, Dowell, is they take away what the other team does best. Do you guys spend a lot of time trying to figure out what that’s going to be? Like trying to say like, “Okay, they might take away Crowder from us, so we got to do this.” Or is that just kind of a fruitless exercise?
No, that’s a very good question because you have to go on with some idea of like what your strengths are. And maybe what have we been doing really well the last two weeks? And they’re going to try to take away that way because they do do a very good job of that. They’re going to try to make you left-handed and move the football a different way, whoever that may be. Obviously, Jamison Crowder’s one of our better players. And through the history of playing Adam, they’ve done a lot of doubling the slot and doing those type things. So, you have to have answers and plans for those types of things.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday.com: Dowell, you’ve talked about believing that Sam’s only going to keep getting better. What have you seen the last couple of weeks that speaks to that?
I think the biggest thing that Sam has done the last couple of weeks is he’s been doing a very good job taking care of the football. And taking care of the football doesn’t mean game manager, it means aggressive as can be in the timing of the play. He still threw a post route last week, he still threw a go route, he still made those throws that he knew were going to be contested. But when he was out in space, he made good decisions. He played clean football and that’s what we’ve talked about within. I know we’ve talked about it in here with you guys last couple of weeks, but I think that’s where Sam’s growth is come last couple weeks. As he knows, put the cape away, you don’t need to be Superman, execute the offense and if it’s there, take it and if not, then throw the ball away, run, check the ball down and do those things and understand like for him, he wants this team to win, he wants this team to be successful, so he puts a lot of burden and stress on himself to make plays. And sometimes you need to trust what you see and take what they give you and throw the ball away. There’s always a time to be aggressive. And when you have your shots, you have to take them. But he did a very good job in the last game of doing that and the Rams game as well.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Dowell, how much do you attribute, whatever struggles he’s had in the last couple of years to not having a consistent cast around him, in terms of skill position, obviously offensive line was in flux both last year and this year. How much do you weigh that versus just him not developing as quickly as maybe you’d like on his own?
I’ll be the first one to tell you guys, and you guys have heard me say it plenty, the key to good quarterback play, a lot of times, is getting the other 10 guys around you to do their jobs. And Sam will be the first one to stand up here and take responsibility for any struggle that we’ve had as an offense or any struggle that may be perceived that he’s had. The kid’s extremely talented, he’s continuing to learn and get better each week. I think these last two games have been his best game, as far as playing within the system, understanding what we’re trying to do, understand the situation around him. And that’s just part of like going through the process and learning he can’t control those things. I think what he’s done a better job of the last two weeks is understanding you can’t control, there’s only certain things you can’t control. You can control your play, you can control making good decisions when the ball’s in your hand, because you can fix other people’s mistakes, no one can fix your mistakes. So, then it’s a heavy burden wearing the crown, it’s a heavy burden to play quarterback. I think he’s done a really good job last two weeks of understanding what he needed to help us win football games.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: What is your level of confidence that he can remain here and become a winning franchise quarterback going moving forward?
I can’t speak to that because I’m the quarterback coach. I have a lot of faith that Sam Darnold’s going to help us play our best offensive game this week. And I have a lot of faith in the kid’s talent and his ability. I think without a doubt, he’s a franchise quarterback.
Brian Costello, New York Post: What led to (Denzel) Mims kind of having a quiet day on Sunday and is it a priority to kind of get him involved in this last game?
No, I think there were a couple things that – coverage dictates where the ball goes. Obviously, the inside guys had a bigger game with Crowder, (Braxton) Berrios and (Chris) Herndon. I think we had eight targets to the outside guys and were 0-for-8. There was some contested balls, a couple of go routes that were thrown. Sometimes a game turns like that and when the ball goes outside to your guys, they have to make contested plays. And when you don’t make those plays, sometimes your stat line won’t be as good. And obviously Mims and BP (Breshad Perriman) are a big part of this offense and it’s nothing that they did. Sometimes the ball just dictates by a certain coverages playing zone and those things that we felt good about the mismatches or the match-ups with Crowder, Berrios and Herndon last week. They’re still a big part of this offense and when the coverage dictates the ball goes there, obviously we have stuff with speed and Sam did a good job sometimes last week of getting the number two in a progression when one wasn’t open.