Pass game coordinator/wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea (1.5.24)

The opportunity they have in front of them this week with getting a lot more, significantly more meaningful reps this week. 

“Really excited about the group that’s going to go to Cincinnati and play at receiver this week. They have worked so hard and really have done everything we’ve asked them to do and there’s no doubt in my mind they’re going to go out there and they’re going to really try to put all of the preparation that they’ve done and everything that they’ve earned over this period of time from their preparation and their hard work and now be in an opportunity to go play.”


James (Proche) in particular, we know what he can do in the return game. He was seen that describe him, if you could, as a receiver because you probably see him more in that role in practice than even what they see him as a return guy. 

“Yeah. James Proche has been outstanding to work with. He’s been such a professional. He really takes a lot of pride in the offense and learning all positions. And he’s a player that I consider as a receiver, a multiple position learner where he can go to the field and he can align across the board at these multiple spots and you feel confident that he’s going to know what to do and he’s going to do it at a level that you’re going to be pleased with. He has a very good skill set that I think you see as a returner, where he has the ability to produce with the ball in his hands. But the thing that I see on a daily basis from him are the things that I see in the meeting room and on the practice field. His work ethic is outstanding, very professional, and I think he’s got a really good skill set with the ball in his hands.”


I know you’re focused on the receivers, but you’ve been around the game a long time, a while. You’ve seen a lot of quarterbacks. Is poise with a quarterback something that is kind of innate to the individual or is this something that it’s something that can be developed over time?

“Yeah, it’s a great question and it’s something that, the trait poise is so important to all positions, the quarterback position obviously being one of them. But we evaluate poise in the receiver position as well, and I think it’s something that you can develop over time and you develop with experience and confidence of doing those things on the field. And I think you become a more poised receiver. If number one, you’re prepared, but then you go out there and you do it and you have confidence that you can do it consistently. But poise is definitely something that we look for in receivers. And when I describe poise in the receiver position, I describe it as somebody that can function, maybe in a role during the game that they didn’t practice or they have the ability to adjust and be calm enough to say, okay, I’m now going to go to another spot if you have an injury or you have to adjust during the game. Those receivers that have that trait poise have the ability to really allow your team to function in different roles than they may be practiced or prepared for. And that’s one trait that I think that a lot of our guys in that room have right now is poise because I feel confident if something were to happen in the game and we have to start adjusting or guys that are playing maybe increased roles here moving forward, even this week, they have the ability to do that because they have poise.”


You had to do that really Thursday night. Amari (Cooper) goes down and that probably pushed everybody up the pecking order and then Elijah (Moore) goes out with the concussion. Is that probably the perfect example? 

“Yeah, that is perfect. I mean, Thursday night versus the Jets, our guys did an outstanding job of being able to adjust when we had unforeseen circumstances, you know with obviously Amari’s injury prior to the game, he couldn’t play. And you know once Elijah was injured during the game, it’s a domino effect and guys are now in different spots than they prepared for. And our group is outstanding at being able to adjust, but they’re outstanding at that because they’re prepared and they work very hard. In particular, David Bell just does such a great job for us of being able to play all the spots, both mentally and physically, even help other guys get lined up at times because he’s so intelligent, he works so extremely hard. And that’s now, we take a lot of pride in that. I know David does, but having a guy like David Bell on this roster is very beneficial to us in regards to he can play all the spots, he can adjust when he needs to be, and he does it with like, as you said, that word poise is so important to be able to get that done.”


What has just stood out this season as we look at his body of work as a whole and then just how has he grown as a player? 

“Yeah. Cedric Tillman, it’s been a very positive year for him and I think it’s been positive because he has truly improved and grown every day. He takes the coaching. He works extremely hard, but to see where he started off when were at The Greenbrier to now, we take a lot of pride in his development. But that development only happens because Cedric works hard, takes the coaching and continues to improve. It’s been really nice to see him on the field to make plays. He’s got such great value in both the run game and the pass game. He takes a lot of pride in both. So that’s been very nice to see, but I’ve continued to be impressed with Ced, just the way he goes about his business and works, and I think it’s important for all rookie players to understand what it is to be a professional, and it takes time. There’s learning involved. It’s not done overnight. The development is always going on with these guys that are young players and certainly Ced’s taken advantage of all the resources within this building and he’s taken advantage of the coaching, the veteran leadership to put himself in position to be successful on the field.”


Does he (Cedric Tillman) ask a lot of questions with some of the older guys because I know they’re a quieter group. 

“Yeah, obviously very quiet group. We all know how quiet they are by personality, but they do really lean on each other, especially the young players. Lean on some of the veterans in our room, I would say not only the receiver room, but offensively, there’s some players in there that can kind of lead them down the path of what to do as far as not only schematically, but the way they go about their business. So Ced’s been great at asking questions and he understands how valuable it is to get the information from the veterans, not only the coaches, but the veterans on this team have been very beneficial to Ced’s development.”


Chad, I know we’ve talked a lot about injuries in general this year, but kind of looking back on a little bit, why do you think you guys have been able to overcome, not just in the receiver, but overall overcome everything that’s happened? 

“I mean, it’s probably been the thing we’re most proud of. I think the players would say the same of how we’ve dealt with some adversity, specifically the injuries, and I believe that happens and we’ve been able to have success because guys are prepared for that moment. You take the receivers, for example. When we have had some injuries, whether it’s been during the course of a game or it’s happened during the week, those guys have done a tremendous job of being able to adjust, but they do that because they work so hard and come to work every day with the intent of what is best for the team and we’re going to help the team. So I think it goes back to, we have a lot of guys on this team, on this offense, on this team that put the team first. And that’s one thing that I love about this football team, [what] I love about our receiver group is we don’t have selfish guys. They put the team first. And when you put the team first, guys step up in different roles that they might have not expected to. And I just can’t say enough about our players and the job they’ve done to be able to overcome some adversity, specifically injuries at other positions and go out there and play quality football.”


Is there any comparison between this year and I know it’s a different circumstance, but this year in 2020, in terms of the uncertainty, the weekly uncertainty of whether guys would be available, again, obviously different, but is there some comparison, some similarities? 

“Yeah, I mean, all years are unique to itself, but I don’t think the uncertainty is unique. Right. It happens often. And I think that coach (Kevin) Stefanski has done an outstanding job of really doing a great job with the team of that 1-0 mindset, that 1-0 mentality. Regardless of the circumstances, regardless of some of the uncertainty that we’ve dealt with throughout the year, he’s really done a great job in his leadership, standing in front of the group and saying, hey, let’s focus on the present. Let’s stay 1-0. And I really feel like the guys have really taken that and they’ve done a great job with that.”


Guys have talked a lot this season about the next man of mentality as you guys have dealt with injuries, was there a moment where you saw them really just change from just being a mentality to really come into embodied? 

“Yeah, I mean, there’s not a specific moment. I just think it’s been the body of work and it’s been a collective effort for the guys that there’s so many examples that you could use at all positions of like, hey, that guy stepped up for us and what a great job he did because he was prepared to do it. And I think that, again, that happens not by accident. It happens because we have a lot of guys on this football team that put the team first, and I know that’s stressed so much from our head coach of the team, and we talk about the team every day. And when guys truly buy into that, you see it on the field and you see it by their performances of maybe again in different spots than they might have not expected to play and guys stepping up in roles that they didn’t expect to be in, but they’ve made the most of their opportunities. But I think it starts with that team first mentality that I think our team really has good all.”


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