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Quotes (11/17): Schwartz, Manning, Pugh

Posted Nov 17, 2014

Full transcriptions from the Giants media hour

OL Geoff Schwartz

Q: Do you have any reason in your mind why you should or should not be activated?
A: I am ready to go. I had a couple good weeks of practice. Last week was real good. I took every rep for the scout team. I felt good out there. I expect I’ll be ready to go.

Q: What do you think has been the hold up in your mind?
A: It was a pretty significant injury. It takes a little time for it to heal. Once you get it healed, it takes a little bit of time to get your strength back and that is kind of what it took. I think with that bye week they would have started my clock, so we waited a little bit of time for that week to pass before we could start practicing again.

Q: You knew at that point you weren’t really close?
A: Yeah, they wanted me to get the full three weeks of practice in. If we hadn’t practiced that bye week, we would have lost about ten days of just not practicing. I needed practice. There is only so much I can do as far as cardio off to the side or pushing that cart. What it came down to was I needed to be able to take those practice reps.

Q: What do you want to accomplish in the remaining six games?
A: We need to finish on a positive note. Just speaking offensively, we have had some struggles running the ball and that starts with us up front. I think we need to re-establish that identity of running the ball. It is not going to be just me that helps with that. We have to do that as a whole unit and I am excited to be a part of that. It has to be done. That is our job, to run the ball, and especially when the weather gets bad. It keeps our defense off the field. That are a lot of reasons why running the ball is good for us. Hopefully I can just help with that process.

Q: Is there a concern with your toe after seeing players such as Jon Beason and Patrick Willis go down? That maybe it is better to let your injury rest the entire year?
A: Every injury is a little different. Luckily for me, I don’t run as much as they do. I don’t have to do some of the movements that they have to do. There have been times where in practice I have done some things I didn’t think I would be able to do and I felt fine afterwards. My shoes are good. They set me up good. It is a little different with the skill guys. They don’t have the option to get the shoe that is real bulky and good for not being able to move my toe very much. Like I said I don’t know the extent of their injuries.

Q: We know you as a guard, but can you play tackle and guard?
A: I’ve started 11 games at tackle. I played three and a half quarters last year at tackle in the last game of the season. I can play tackle. Obviously I was signed as a guard, but I think they like my versatility and I feel comfortable definitely playing tackle.

Q: Has it been hard for you at all knowing that when you came back someone was going to be taken out of the lineup in theory?
A: Yeah, it definitely has been. We are a really close offensive line group. One of the closest that I have been a part of. The guys have worked really hard, I feel like they discount some of the work they have put in, but I know I can play and if I am healthy, they brought me here to play and that is the way it works sometimes.

QB Eli Manning

Q: When you went home after the game last night do you just put it right behind you, or do you bring out the tape right away?
A: Yeah, I watched it last night. Watched the film and looked at all of the plays and tried to learn from that. See why certain things didn’t happen, sometimes you don’t always see it exactly how you thought you saw it on certain plays. Try to learn from it, it is hard to put it behind you. Kind of wake up and you start thinking about it at night also when you are trying to sleep. Plays you wish you had back or opportunities you wish you had.

Q: How many of the interceptions were you thinking a receiver is going one way and he went the other?
A: No, none of them were mistakes in that aspect. There was one where the corner jumped it, tried to pull it back and couldn’t pull it back, and it went to another guy. I think all of them were on me, just a poor decision and trying to make the throw, or an inaccurate throw.

Q: You wouldn’t tell us if it was the other way around would you?
A: Probably not, but it wasn’t a receiver doing something wrong, or miscommunication. It was just some poor throws on some of them.

Q: You said it is hard to put the game behind you, but now you have the Cowboys coming up. How quickly do you guys have to get past that?
A: Obviously, today is the toughest day. You come in, you watch the film, you’ve got to learn from it, and just another reminder of how close we were. As poorly as we played at times, we were still there with five minutes left, at the four-yard line with the chance to take the lead. We didn’t make the plays right there that we needed to. The guys competed hard, we made a lot of big plays, a lot of outstanding plays out there on some drives to get down there on that drive. The interceptions by me hurt us and kept us from getting more points than we had.

Q: On the three straight fades from the four-yard line. Do you look at those three individually and say “well, two of them were in the receiver’s hands and we could have had touchdowns on those two?”
A: Down there, you look for your one-on-one matchups. We had one-on-one with Larry Donnell on a safety, we like that matchup. We had Rueben Randle one-on-one. We are very, very close to converting on those. It is not like we had four plays with no chance. I’ve got to throw better balls on it, the receivers have got to try and make the play and another reminder of how close we were. I thought the plays, we got what we wanted. We tried to move guys around and create a matchup that we liked, we got the matchup we liked. We just didn’t convert on it.

Q: You guys have not shown a lot of deception. Do you look at it and say it doesn’t matter?
A: They can say they were waiting for it, but it is still a matter of can you stop or can we do it better? Besides maybe the first one to Odell Beckham, the guy, he had a little help inside on the coverage from the safety, so he played it pretty well. The other two, we had opportunities, we’ve got to make those plays.

Q: What can you do better on those throws?
A: Just get it out there; just throw it out there a little bit more. (Larry) likes to jump and kind of use his athletic ability to jump up and go get it. Still got to get it a little further out there, a little higher, so he can jump up and catch it and pull it away. I think the guy got his hand in there as he was coming down and he got it out. It was a good play. Good play by the safety, but yeah I can make a better throw.

Q: What about Rueben Randle? Was that throw okay?
A: It can still be better, I gave him a chance. Probably could have got it out there a little bit further towards the pylon, and gave him a chance to make it like….just couldn’t quite get that other hand up to get two hands on it.

Q: One of the 49ers players said you got happy feet the whole game. Were your feet moving a little quickly at times?
A: No, I thought my feet were pretty good. There were a couple of times where I had to move because of some pressure. Thought my feet were sound. Where I was trying to throw the ball, they were in the proper position to make the throws.

Q: There is still a mathematical sliver of a chance to get to the playoffs. You think after yesterday’s loss guys come in here today and are sort of facing the reality?
A: I think our concern is try to get a win. After the run we had, just get a win, and get some positive energy, and feel excited about we are doing. It will be a great opportunity against a division rival, and a team we played. We played them tough last time. I think there are still some things that I thought we made some improvement in areas this weekend, kind of regressed in some others. We’ve just got to put it all together and try to get a win this weekend against the Cowboys.

Q: You have been on some winning teams, recently some that are not winning as much. Do you look around and recognize what is it that you guys need to get back on the winning track?
A: I don’t think there’s a huge difference between teams that win championships, or teams that go through it now. We have played some games close, usually the winning teams try to find a way to win the close ones. They try to find a way to make plays in the fourth quarter, and make the plays that are putting you in a great situation to win games. For whatever reason, we have not been able to win those close ones in the fourth quarter, make the plays that are going to take over the game and make the outcome differently.

Q: Tom Coughlin said he doesn’t call quarterback sneaks. Is that a decision you are involved with?
A: We haven’t called many. Over the years maybe we did a few early on, but that is not my call. That is what he believes in.

Q: Sometimes people want it both ways. They want the quarterback to play every week. Do you think that helps save you in some ways?
A: I am not sure. Obviously, it comes up sometimes, some teams do it, some teams don’t want to do it. Opportunities for the quarterback to take hits in the head, and I don’t know if there is a huge risk for injury. We never talked about it much. Coach Coughlin never told me, “Hey, we are not going to run a quarterback sneak.” I have heard him say it a few times, we feel for one inch we can get the movement with our offensive line and our tailback.

LB Jameel McClain

Q: Coming in here today coming off that lost, what is the mentality in here?
A: The mentality is, in reality in this game, you get can opportunity to lick your wounds at this point and this is what we get within this day. To absorb what happened and to see how we can get better, that is the mentality right now. We know we all have got to and play a great game, regardless. Next time is the next time, and we’ve got to go in and put in a great effort and come out with a win.

Q: There must have been a lot more you saw watching this defensive effort that you can look at where you can say, “that is a little more of what we have been trying to accomplish.”
A: There are some positive notes, and there are some negatives with everything. Obviously, it was a better performance than we put out the last couple of weeks. We want to build off of that and we want to try to continue to excel as a defense. So we’ve got to keep going in that direction and not take any missteps. Like I said, there were some good plays, and there were some bad plays in there that we could’ve done without and we could’ve held them to less yards than what we gave.

Q: What is your confidence of maintaining the defense instead of dropping back?
A: Maintaining? I don’t believe in maintaining, I believe in consistently improving. Our goal is to always become a better defense, or become a better team. To try to play every game, compete at the highest level that we can. I don’t know anything about maintaining because everybody here wants to win, and everybody here wants to be better. So that is the goal, to continuously improve, and not make the same mistakes.

Q: Is that your motivation when you see the team’s playoff hopes slipping away?
A: You don’t need anything to motivate me, an opportunity to go out there and hit someone, and play the game that I love, that is motivation enough. I had a point where this game was taken away from me. I don’t need any motivation, and a lot of people in this locker room been through a lot of things. Nobody is short of motivation.

Q: When the other team has the ball for 35 minutes, on the day after, do you feel like they had it for 35 minutes?
A: I don’t feel like they had it for 35 minutes, you just brought that to my attention.

RT Justin Pugh

Q: As it stands now, do you know what the plan is terms of your activity this week?
A: That is something I am going to have to talk to coach about and make sure we are on the same page. I don’t want to say anything without speaking to him, so everything in regards to injury will come from coach.

Q: Did that surprise you to not be able to continue?
A: I knew I was going to be active, I knew I was going to play, I knew I was going to go out there and do it. I was able to play in Seattle so I thought there would be no reason why I wouldn’t be able to play against the 49ers.

Q: When did it start to really bother you?
A: It was out in the second drive. We went down, we scored and the second drive I got hurt on the first play.

Q: How are you feeling now compared to where you were yesterday?
A: I feel good. Keep getting treatment, making sure they are working on it. My job now is to get healthy, and get back out there and help this team.

Q: How did you hurt it in Seattle?
A: It was just something in pre-ame. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, it was a misstep on a pre-game warmup, I tweaked it, we wrapped it up, I played. Everyone is playing hurt at this time. So you have to go out there and you’ve got fight through that stuff, and it is something I want to continue to do. I’ve got to get healthy and get back out there.

Q: You didn’t miss any practice though last week right?
A: He just limited my reps, tried to get me rest, I came and got treatment, it was feeling fine and then it is totally different being in practice where you can kind of baby it a little bit. Once you get out there in full pads, obviously, it was a different ball game.

Q: Your reps were limited in practice last week?
A: Yeah, they were limited.

Q: What was the difference between last week and this week that you couldn’t play through it this week?
A: I guess last week I didn’t re-aggravate it. This week I guess I just stepped on it funny, I actually I got pushed back on top of it and that is when it went. Probably just lucked out last week that it didn’t get any worse.

Q: Do you think you will be able to play against the Cowboys?
A: That is my plan, that is what I want to do. I don’t want to sit out, you hate being out there when you feel like you could do something to help the team win.

Q: What do you think Geoff Schwartz can add if he comes back?
A: Having another great player out there is a huge for us. It brings competition, competition makes everyone better, and keeps everyone motivated. To have one of those guys you brought in to be a leader and a starter, it is good to get those guys back.

Q: Hard to watch some of those plays yesterday knowing that is what you guys pride yourselves on upfront. I could imagine the fourth and one really bothered you.
A: It was definitely the first NFL game I ever had to sit on the sidelines and watch. It was definitely tough to see that, and tough to see how close we came and to not get that one, that hurt. To not be able to be out there was something that wasn’t fun for me at all.

Q: Do you remember if you have ever run one?
A: No, I can’t recall how many I have done. There is a handful though.

Q: People are saying yesterday was the bad Eli Manning, and all season it had been the good Eli Manning. Did you look at yesterday and see what was different in that one game than the others?
A: I think we had some weird interceptions, trying to pull back one and just slipping out of my hands, that is unfortunate. The one on the fourth down was just double tipped, those are kind of unfortunate, some are from pressure and trying to throw it before the receiver gives me an exact place I want to put the ball, and just throwing it inaccurately. Thought I had a deep one with Rueben where the quarterback kind of hooked Rueben. He didn’t get to finish his route. Just had some unfortunate things occur, and that is football. I’ve got to make sure I can make better decisions and throw the ball more accurately.

RB Rashad Jennings


Q: How hard is it to pick this team up? Does it get harder as the losses go on?
A: I think for me, I’ve got a 48-hour rule, win or lose. Learn from it, move forward, win, lose, draw, it is always something that you can get better on from watching the tape. As professionals, that is what we are going to do, as far as rallying up, this is the National Football League. We don’t need nobody to rally us up, we all want to play, we all want to be successful, we all want to leave a good resume. Nobody is forcing us to play this game, we do it because we love it. I think our defense played outstanding, special teams played outstanding, and I think as an offensive unit, we let the team down. It is going to be a big healthy dose of ownership this week for the offense.

Q: Is that a feeling you see throughout the offensive guys today? You guys feel like you let the rest of the team down?
A: Yeah.

Q: Even though it wasn’t that way in previous weeks?
A: Yeah, you should feel like that. You should feel every single play you should want the ball in your hands, every single play you should feel your block is a key block. Every single play you feel your catch is the big catch. Every single week, your side of the ball should feel like that is the reason why we are winning. If because I left stuff out there, that is why we lost, it is ownership. Week to week, it is a new challenge coming in, division game, they are playing well, again. We are excited for the next challenge.

Q: This is your first taste of Giants vs. Cowboys right?
A: Yeah, I missed the last one. So yeah, the first one, I am excited.

Q: How did you come out the game?
A: As far as?

Q: As far as physically.
A: Good, we’re good, no setbacks. That is all in the past.

Q: Did you feel like yourself for most of the game? Or did you feel like you were trying to find yourself?
A: That is a weird question. RE: That’s a weird question?
A: Yeah, find myself? I’m right here, baby, I am not going anywhere.

Q: I was saying in the game? Did you feel like yourself, like you did before the injury?
A: Yeah. Obviously, when you are not playing ball for five weeks, and you get a chance, the first contact is in the game. That has its own element, but football is football, it didn’t change and it never will. That is not an issue.

Q: Some players come back and say, “I felt a little rusty,” or other people say it about them.
A: Well, I don’t develop rust because I am always moving; it was just a matter of fine tuning.

Q: And the contact?
A: Right, you can’t imitate contact. For me, I feel like that is somebody sublimely looking for an excuse of why you didn’t perform well, and I don’t do that.

Q: While you were out of the lineup, the running game did struggle. You’re back in there, did you see some of the reasons why it had struggled now that you are back in the line of fire?
A: Yeah, running backs didn’t get enough yards. I told you, man, I am never going to change that. As long as I am here, as long as I play ball, if the running game is successful, it is because of the offensive line, quarterback putting us in the right place, tight ends and receivers blocking downfield, and if it is not successful, it is because the back is not making the yardage, period.

Q: You have always been a guy that talks about finding your own motivation to play this game. Does that need to be brought up again in this locker room? Whether the playoffs are at stake or not, whether the division is at stake or not?
A: It is for yourself, like I said before, you have to find a different motivation to play this game. It’s got to mean something to you. Every man is different, every individual is different. We come from different cultures, different backgrounds, different reasons for cheering, different reasons for booing, we are all human. When you can effectively get 53 men emotionally tied into the same common goal, and leave it all out on the line, that is how you get a team. Of course, there are always checkpoints, and I think we need to do that.

Q: What do you mean by checkpoints?
A: For me, sometimes I feel, this is me, right, sometimes I feel like at a certain level in your life, goals can almost limit you because they cap. If I feel you have check points, you can still exceed the original goal you had. If we are making sure, if we are keying in on what we need to, remind ourselves of why we play this game, outside of the reasons why people want to force why we are playing this game, it is going to bring us back to the best of us. Again, that is truly how I feel you get a team.