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Postgame Quotes: Coach Brian Daboll, QB Daniel Jones, RB Saquon Barkley, OT Andrew Thomas, WR Sterling Shepard

Head Coach Brian Daboll

Q: How are you?

A: I'm doing good. A tough, hard-fought game, 60 minutes against a really good opponent. Give Tennessee a lot of credit. We're just making one more play down than they did at the end there. Credit to our players and our coaches. Tough win on the road so we'll enjoy this one on the way back and get ready for next week.

Q: When did you know you were going for two?

A: When we got the ball.

Q: Why?

A: Going for the win. We're going to be aggressive. That's what we want to do. That's the mindset I want the players to have. If it didn't work, I could (inaudible) with it. I thought that was the right decision. You're an inch away or whatever it was. I trust Saquon (Barkley). I grabbed a couple of defensive players and busted their tails out there. I went up to some of the offensive guys that weren't out there too and I said, 'Hey,' we got the ball, wherever it was. I said, 'If we score, I'm going for two, you guys good with that?' And they said, 'F-yeah.'

Q: Was that decision made easier by the fact that Saquon (Barkley) is playing? Do you feel like, 'I have the best player in the game?'

A: No. I think, again, that's probably part of it but it's also a testament to the players that are on the field, all of them, and Mike (Kafka) and the offensive staff. They knew the play they were going to call. I asked them when there was a timeout in there as we're going for two, 'What do you like?' And we had to play that we were going to call. Again, something we practiced since training camp that hasn't always worked. But the guys knew what to do. And it was a good play designed by Mike (Kafka) and good execution upfront. And I know Saquon (Barkley) played quite a few snaps in the preseason. But how many yards did he have today? Yeah, I told you all year that he's had a good spring, good summer. When you have a guy that you have a lot of trust in, you put it in their hands. It's a player's game. So, they're down there at the two-yard line, go ahead, tie and try to play it again. Trust your players and let them go.

Q: Looks like you had a fiery conversation with Daniel (Jones) after interception. What did you say to him and how did you like how he bounced back?

A: I wasn't talking to Daniel (Jones). I was talking on the headset to some of the coaches, but I just said what'd you see. He thought he could potentially back shoulder it. And I said, 'That's not what I saw, but you got the ball in your hands, so you're going to get the ball back at some point. Our defense is going to get it to you. Let's drive down and get it again.'

Q: Brian, the mood in here at halftime, you were down 13-0.

A: Fine. I mean, it's the NFL. Take a look at all the games. There's been some slow starts early in the season and you study that. You talk about resiliency. You've got to talk about overcoming things. You've got to talk about sticking together. All that stuff happens in training camp. It happens in spring. It happens – you just don't turn it on and off. That's not how you lead or build a team, which is, we've got a long way to go. I've said this since the beginning. It was good to get a win. The guys kept fighting. They kept believing. That's why you play two halves or 60 minutes. You can't get too down on yourself, and you can't get too up. There's going to be difficulties throughout a game, and you have to have a strong mind. You can't be an overanalyzer. You can't second guess every call that a coach made or a decision that a player made. You have a plan, you stick to it. You lead in tough times, and you hope it turns out the right way. It's the same thing. If things are going really well, is you don't get too high. You got it. This league will humble you real quick. Trust me, I've been humbled a bunch. Again, all the credit goes to our players and the coaches for fighting and competing for 60 minutes. And that's first, one. It's important. It's important to get a win. But I really appreciate those guys for the work they've put in since we've got here. Now we're trying to build something. We're a long way away, but it was nice to get the first W.

Q: Why was Darius (Slayton) was limited to a half a dozen snaps?

A: I don't know exactly how many snaps it was, but we had personnel packs. Seven, there you go. We had personnel groups for all our receivers. We'll do that for every game. Maybe it's more, maybe it's less. It just depends on what we're calling and what Mike (Kafka)'s calling and what we see. And he's in plenty of them. Some of them, obviously we didn't get to some of them. I thought the plays that he was in on, he did his job. Made a good decision on the one play down there at the end of the drive there, I think was – to take care of the football and get four, five, six yards, or whatever it was.

Q: Brian, what were your thoughts as they're coming down the field on that last drive. They get the pass on the left side and it looks like they'll be in position for a field goal.

A: Yeah, that's football, you know? I thought it was tight coverage. Darnay (Holmes) was tight on him. (Ryan) Tannehill made a good throw, and they caught it and they centered the ball and then they blocked it with four. We iced them. Whether it helped or not, I really don't know. But he just was off a little bit, what to the left?

Q: How are you feeling when he lines up for that kick?

A: How was I feeling? I was hoping the sumbitch would miss it. You know, it's funny. It's a special moment because it's my first win but last year coming here for the Buffalo game, I lost my grandfather on the airplane as I was landing. So, that was weighing heavy on me after the game.

Q: What was weighing heavy on you after this game?

A: Yeah, you know, when he missed it, you know, I thought about them. It was – I don't come from much. Those two people helped me get to where I am.

Q: How different is it from the last time you were here?

A: Yeah. You know, it was tough one, but a different story, this one.

Q: With (Kadarius) Toney, you see how dynamic he is. Do you have to get him involved in more?

A: We'll see, whatever we think we've got to do for that week. We've got a bunch of receivers active. We'll figure out ways to put him in the game. Maybe it's less. Maybe it's more. Each week is different. Who's inactive might be different. I think it's it depends on everything leading up to it. And that's why we make those decisions.

Q: What was your thought process when the left guard position there? How did you decide the rotation?

A: Bobby (Johnson) did a great job. We knew we were going a couple of series and flipping them in and out and Bobby did a great job with that. Communicating with those guys. Those guys were, I couldn't give you a play-by-play of all of them, except on one of them, I knew we got it. The first half we were – field position was killing us, right? We had a big punt return, and we fumbled the ball and a little scramble. So, I thought we were efficient. You know, we made the wrong decision down there. Threw an interception but I thought Daniel (Jones) played a heck of a game. Took care of the ball for the most part, but more importantly was accurate, made good decisions, led the team down to score points when we needed to. And I'm glad 26 is on our team.

Q: The touchdown to Shep (Sterling Shepard), was that a broken play or was that where you got to go?

A: No, I mean, there was four guys out of the pattern. Fifth if back didn't have to protect. And we got behind him a couple of times in the game, and one time it was (David) Sills. I think both times it was Sills. It was a little tough on the one towards the end of the half there. We ran a little out and go. It was cloudy, the safety role on top. The other one, I think the guy just slipped or the safety was way over there. But, every shot, we want him to be efficient. It's a heavy zone team, take what they give us. If it's – what was it? Seven to nine from 80 yards or not even 80 yards, whatever it was. Just keep on doing the right thing and hopefully you get a couple of shots in there.

Q: Any idea how severe Wan'Dale's (Robinson) thing is? What happened to him?

A: No. He got hurt. That's all I'm saying. I think he landed weird or something. I haven't even got to him. I just asked him at halftime real quick, 'You doing OK?' He said, 'Yeah.'

Q: By not going for the extra point kick at the end, you put yourself potentially in line to be criticized or do you feel like as a head coach you have to coach without the fear of consequences?

A: Absolutely. I mean, that's what you sign up for when you're a leader. Being a leader is tough. It's not easy. There's going to be plenty of times that I fail, and I understand that. But I try to prepare the best I can along with the other coaches on the staff and that's what I want out of players too. You've got to be able to take the good with the bad. And there'll be plenty bad. I understand that but I just have a lot of confidence in our players.

Q: Did you get the game ball?

A: I did. It was nice. I think Shep (Sterling Shepard) brought us up. He gave both Joe and I a game ball. Saquon (Barkley), sorry. Saquon brought us up and gave both of us a game ball. Which I appreciate but I don't play the game. It's those guys that earn it and get hit and fight through it for 60 minutes. But we've got a long way to go. It's good to get one win but we've got a long way to go. It's a lot of things to correct. I know that.

Quarterback Daniel Jones

Q: What was your initial reaction when Brian (Daboll) told you he was going for two points and not the extra point kick?

A: Well, he's been very clear throughout training camp and throughout the week preparing for this game that he's going to be aggressive in those situations and give us the chance to execute. So, I wasn't surprised. I don't think any of us were surprised by that at all.

Q: Given how Saquon (Barkley) played, was that playcall perfect for that situation?

A: I think so, yeah. He had a heck of a game and was big time for us and was big time there too. So yeah, I think just giving him an opportunity to make a play.

Q: You really spread the ball around to a lot of your receivers and you were fairly accurate for the day. What was your mentality as you're seeing the coverages in passing plays?

A: Well, I think it was just trying to stay ahead of the chains and move the ball. Take advantage of some of their spots in their zone and try to keep it moving forward. I thought we did an OK job of that. Bunch of things we'll look to clean up, certainly in the passing game. But guys did a good job getting where we're supposed to be and making plays.

Q: What was it like for you just watching Saquon (Barkley) play at that high level again? Just your perspective on what he was able to do today.

A: Yeah, it was fun. A lot of fun. You saw the explosiveness and it was fun to watch him. He's had a great camp and seeing where he's come from – he's battled back from a lot of adversity, a lot of injuries. To get out here and do what he did today was a lot of fun to watch as a teammate and as a friend.

Q: How about seeing Sterling Shepard come back from an injury so quickly? He had that huge play in the third quarter. What was that like?

A: Yeah, he's definitely there. He's had to go through a lot to get back to where he is now, and to see him make a big time play behind the defense and score for us in a critical point of the game was huge. And knowing where he's come from, that was fun to watch.

Q: On TV, it looked like Brian (Daboll) came to you after the interception when you were on the bench. What did he say to you at that point?

A: I was just talking through the decision there. Obviously one I'd like to have back and a costly mistake down there. So, I think he was just communicating that, and you've got to take advantage of those opportunities when we have points, and we'll definitely look to clean that up.

Q: How would you describe the feeling in that locker room? It's been a rough few years here, right? To win a game like this, what was that like, and does it compare to anything that you've had here since you've been the starting quarterback?

A: Yeah, it was exciting. It was an exciting one for us to kind of come back there at the end of the game. It wasn't perfect. The first half wasn't great, especially from an offensive standpoint. So, to stick with it, fight down the stretch and come out on top was exciting for us. We've played a lot of close games these past few years, so it feels good to finish one, to come out on top and be able to celebrate in the locker room.

Q: Was the interception a case of you just trying to do everything possible to get Saquon (Barkley) the ball in that situation or did it kind of just happen? How would you describe it?

A: Just a poor decision. Certainly a play to take advantage of him and try to get him the ball, but I've got to make a better decision there and make sure we keep points.

Q: You mentioned a lot of tough games, a lot of close games over the past few seasons. Seeing a brand new coach in his first game decide to go for two in that situation—a lot of times there's talk of the team taking on the character of the coach. How do you feel going into the future in close games, seeing that, you walk here into Nissan Stadium and you beat the reigning number one seed in a real close game on a gutsy call from your head coach?

A: Yeah, I think it means a lot as players to know that he has confidence in us to make that play at a critical point in the game. It's a good feeling and it gives us confidence as a unit, and he's been clear from the get-go that he's going to be aggressive in those situations and give us a chance to make a play. So that's what he did and it gives us confidence as a group, but we understand the responsibility to execute in those situations and take advantage of the opportunity.

Q: Daniel, what's the key on the two point conversion? I mean the shovel, is it not doing it too soon? What's the timing there for you that you need to really concentrate on?

A: I think each one of them is different. It depends on the read key and how he's playing it. You want to stay inside of the edge there and give Saquon (Barkley) a chance. So, he did a great job making a play there.

Q: I mean it didn't bust open because sometimes guys walk in in that situation and it's not 100 percent, you have to make a play.

A: Yeah, they're not all going to be perfect. You understand that when you practice them, but you know, luckily when you have Saquon Barkley, it works out.

Q: What did you think--what were you thinking when he called that fourth-down play and it's sort of a bootleg for you to run?

A: Yeah, that was a good call. Obviously, they're expecting a downhill run and I thought it was a great call there on fourth-and-one. Gave us a chance to convert and then ultimately go down and score.

Q: What are your thoughts when they're lining up for the field goal?

A: Yeah, obviously nervous, and you hope that he misses it. But the defense did a great job holding up. They played great all day. Played big time for us and forced a long field goal. We got pressure on the kick and fortunately for us he missed it. But hats off to the defense. They played great all day.

Running Back Saquon Barkley

Q: What were your thoughts when Coach Brian Daboll said to go for two?

A: When we scored, I was on the field and I saw him put up the two sign and we kind of made eye contact. He gave me that look, and I knew what the play was going to be. He gave me that look and I kind of looked back at him and said, 'F-yeah.' We called it up and we were able to execute the play and get in. He's a man of his word. He told us he's going to be aggressive. He told us he's going to lean on the players to make plays. In that situation, he did exactly that. When you have a coach like that, it's definitely going to make you go out there and fight for him and execute in those situations.

Q: What went into the decision to give Coach Daboll the game ball after the game?

A: It's his first of many, not only his, but Oshane (Ximines) too. It's exciting. It's a new era. There's a lot of things we can do better, obviously. You can look at that through the wins and losses. But at the end of the day, we're going to come out of here with a win. That's the most important thing. We're excited. We appreciate him. And that's why he deserved the game ball.

Q: When you were very vocal about this season being different for you personally, how does it feel to have this kind of performance this?

A: It's just one game, to be honest. That's how I look at it. Obviously, at the end of the day, I'm excited to get the win. Personally, just got to keep coming in. Something that just keeps tickling me that Coach (Daboll) says, 'Just enjoy the process.' And that's something I've been battling in the last few years with rehabbing and injuries. That's been my mindset. No matter what, win, loss, tie, I just want to come here with the same mindset and just keep enjoying the process and come to work every single day. We had a great week of practice and no matter what the result was going to be, we can't let that alter what happens this week. So we've got to keep grinding and keep leaning on each other.

Q: What part of the process did you enjoy about today?

A: How we responded. Obviously, the win helps that, but being down 13-0 against a great team – Tennessee's been very successful in this league for a very long time. They have a whole bunch of great players over there. No one came in and hit the panic button. We came here and we said, 'We have 30 minutes. It's going to be a dogfight.' Defense came out, got three-and-out right away. O-line did an amazing job on blocking. Got me one on the corner. They would pop a long one and then finish off and that one touchdown, that kind of created the momentum. There's something special when you feed off each other. Special teams made plays. Defense made plays. We've made plays. All three phases made plays. That's important.

Q: When you broke that first big one, did you get a feeling like you were starting to turn the game?

A: I kind of started to get into the zone. Started locking in. I kind of love being in that place. I've got to try to find a way to get in that place a little bit more and a little quicker. It's a lot easier to rip off those runs when you've got (Jon Feliciano) and the boys pulling and a set an edge and opening up the gap and getting me one-on-one with a corner. We had a heck of a game, but definitely we give shouts to the line. They play tremendously.

Q: What was it like to see Sterling Shepard get his touchdown?

A: I was running a flare, and I saw the ball up. I saw 3 (Sterling Shepard) wide open. (Daniel Jones) gave him a great ball. He scored and I kind of sprinted down there and just wanted to give him a hug. It's been a rough couple of years for a couple of us, and especially him battling to come back from his Achilles. When we needed him most, he made a big play. Everyone, whether it was two-yard runs, big blocks, touchdowns, everyone made key plays throughout this game. It's going to take all of us continue to win.

Q: You have been in this position before where it comes down to one play, how does that feel?

A: Been in this position a lot. Me and (Leonard Williams) were talking about it. We see a lot of these game got the other way. At the end of the day, a win is a win. They were able to miss it and we were able to get the win. Like I said, just got to keep enjoying the process. Keep coming in, keep trusting the process, keep working, keep leaning on each other, keep fighting every day to get better. When we look back on this, we're going to be very happy with where we're at.

Q: Is your performance this year based off a mindset change or you have more confidence in yourself?

A: Mindset. More confidence. Not an arrogant mindset, when you come coming from rehab and everyone telling you that first year it was tough. But the second year is even better and you just put your mind – I'm not listening to all that. Especially when you see a guy like Adrian Peterson come back and blow up after his ACL. So, using a mindset you're just like, 'I don't care. I want to be different. I'm going to be different.' That doesn't affect me, but I'm human. At the end of the day, I learned a lot from the previous year. Keep trusting that process made me be able to go out there today and not even think about it. I knew we were going to have a great game, and we were going to make some plays. It was just when the timing was right. It wasn't really just a mindset change, it's going out there and just believing in myself, trusting myself, and letting my God-given ability show.

Q: Does playing against Derrick Henry inspire you to try to out-perform him?

A: I'm very competitive. At the end of day, I guess probably a little bit. But the reality is, like I said earlier in the week, I'm not playing Derrick Henry. I have nothing but respect for him. He's a heck of a player, one of the best players in the league. It's not like just competing against him. I'm not looking to see what my numbers are, his numbers. It's more like, you're peeking a little bit more. This guy, any moment, can keep breaking a long one. That's more of respect, I guess you can say. Obviously, we were able to get the win. Nothing but luck to him and wish the best of luck this season.

Q: On the Giants defense

A: Our defense played lights out. They played lights out. Especially in the beginning when we weren't worth a thing. We couldn't do anything. We weren't executing. We were penalties, negative plays, in the red the whole time. But that's the beauty of football. You've got to lean on each other. They had our back, and we told them at halftime just keep rocking. We're going to get this right over here. We were able to figure it out.

Q: Was there a face mask?

A: I was locked in. I was in the zone. I did feel something like that. I don't think we got a penalty for it. But we were able to get in the end zone.

Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas

Q: How does the offensive line feel after blocking for Saquon Barkley?

A: When we run the ball and we are explosive it is definitely a good feeling. We've got a good stable of running backs and if we open up the lanes they can be successful. 

Q: What was the thought on going for the two-point conversion with one minute to go?

A: We got to have it. Whatever the playcall is, we have got to do whatever we go to do to win. Coach (Daboll) said he is going to be aggressive.

Q: What does it say about Daniel Jones to throw an interception and come back and play the way he did?

A: Resilient. He doesn't flinch one bit in the huddle.

Q: What changed for you guys in the second half?

A: It was just execution. In the second half we started to run the ball a little bit better and that slowed down their pass rush a little bit. They had to read a little bit more.

Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard

Q: When did you find out you were going for two?

A: I knew that before the game even started. He told us he wasn't going to coach scared and that's exactly what he did. I mean, we all knew it. We knew we were going to go for it because he told us last night. He said, "I am not going to coach scared," and I believe everything the man says. 

Q: What is the difference in not coaching scared?

A: That just shows how much trust he has in us and we appreciate that. We want to be put in those pressure situations and we got guys that really want to be in those positions to make that play. Everybody in our huddle was like, I asked them, 'Who is going to make that play,' so we were all ready to make it and that is what you have to have to make it.

Q: What were your feelings when you got behind the cornerback on the play?

A: It's over with. I wasn't going to be denied on that one. It has been a long time coming, a long road for me so I just thank God, man. It was some dark times going through recovery. 

Q: On the field goal?

A: That's what your teammates are for, you have got to pick each other up. They could have been mad at us for the first half and the way that we played. That's just the way the game goes. It is going to have ups and downs. You just have to keep fighting for it. That is what this sport is all about.

View photos from the Giants' Week 1 win over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.

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