Coach Pat Shurmur
Q: How did Daniel (Jones) look?
A: Good. Like I said, he's been making improvements. He got better last week, and then he was able to do much more today. He looked fine.
Q: Are you moving forward with the idea that he's going to start on Sunday?
A: Well, we don't know yet. We just need to see how his ankle responds to the added work he did today, and then we'll just take it from there. In the event he can't start, certainly, we have a very experienced backup behind him.
Q: How do you distribute those first-team reps though this week with him being back as a full participant?
A: He'll take as many as he can take. He took most of them today.
Q: You said the other day, not read too much into it but just don't think too much, you're thinking too much about what's going on and who's going to start, that kind of thing.
A: Overthink it, you mean? That would have been something I would say. Overthink it.
Q: Are we overthinking it that this is going to be a decision you're going to make that isn't based on health, or is this decision strictly on game health?
A: Strictly based on health. That's been the case all along. When we committed to Daniel to be our starter, he was our starter. The last couple of weeks, he couldn't start, so Eli went back in there. I'll double down on that. Let's not overthink it.
Q: Obviously, the team winning last week was important for everybody. How important do you think it is for Daniel moving forward, he's been riding a long losing streak with this team, to get a win before the season ends?
A: I think it's important for everybody to win every game they play. You only play one game a week. We play the Redskins Sunday, so we have to do everything in our power to win a game.
Q: For a rookie quarterback?
A: For everybody.
Q: Specifically, for a rookie quarterback going into an offseason?
A: Everybody that plays needs to commit to doing what it takes to win the game. Yeah, the quarterback is in there as well.
Q: You shut down Evan Engram.
A: He went on IR, yeah.
Q: Originally, he said it was 2-4 weeks (recovery). What happened that it ended up being something like eight weeks?
A: I'm not sure we said that. Again, players have different impressions as to how long their injuries are going to take to come back from. We felt like it was best to put him on IR, and then we'll just see here. They'll finish up the evaluation of what will need to be done to his (foot) to move forward. I'm sure when that information is… When we finish up with that, it will be made public.
Q: What have you seen from Kaden Smith in the absence of (Rhett) Ellison and Engram?
A: I think he's developed extremely well. I think I spoke about this a few weeks ago, but he was a guy that we liked quite a bit coming out of the draft. We were very fortunate that he was available. Since he's been here, he's really made steady improvements. He's had production in the passing game, he's sort of a tough, gritty guy that takes his blocking seriously, and he has a good feel for things. We've liked the development to this point.
Q: How has (Darius) Slayton progressed, and is he doing things that you expected of him or is he kind of exceeding them a little bit?
A: Well, I don't know what… I think it's safe to say you never really know what to expect from a rookie because you haven't worked with him. You can't always predict college success and then predict pro success. We liked him, we drafted him, he's come in and he's made an impact. We feel like he's done a lot of really good things this year. He has two more games to go out and to continue to improve. Then I think it's very, very important for him to have an outstanding offseason as he prepares for next season.
Q: Is the precision of his route-running something that impresses you?
A: Yeah, I think he's a very good route-runner. He finds a way to get open, I think he does a good job of catching the ball in a crowd, he's displayed really, really good ball skills, and he has the ability to finish in the end zone. He's caught some short passes and run for touchdowns, and then he's caught some long balls in the end zone. For a guy that can have production and score touchdowns, that's what you're looking for.
Q: What do you see when you look at Dwayne Haskins?
A: I see a guy that's improving. He was an outstanding college player, obviously. We did a lot of work on him. As he plays more and more, he has displayed the ability to get the ball out quickly. They're embracing some quick concepts so that he can deliver the ball. I think I've seen a lot of improvement in his play each week, and I think that's a credit to him.
Q: How much different is this version of him than the one you saw the first time? He was kind of thrown in there in the middle of the game.
A: It's hard to compare because he just got thrown in there. Now, we've had a chance to see him play, and that's why, like I said, it's a credit to him. He's made really good improvements and he's had a real positive impact on their offense. They've got three young receivers (Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon, Steven Sims Jr.) that he's dealing the ball to extremely well. They have Adrian Peterson, who I worked with, who's running as hard and as physical and as nasty as he's ever run. They're doing a lot of good things on offense.
Q: How easy or difficult was it when you were evaluating Dwayne and Daniel before the draft and you were making the call (of who to take)?
A: They're both outstanding players. I don't know what you mean (by) how difficult. They were both highly-accomplished guys in college.
Q: I know sometimes it's a little bit of a popularity contest, but no Pro Bowlers on this team. What do you think that says about this roster?
A: I don't really have a response to that. It's great when players are honored with being a Pro Bowl selection, but beyond that, I don't have any real response.
Q: Do you feel like there's anybody on the team that should have been recognized?
A: You know what, every year that question is posed to me in some way. I don't know totally what goes into it. We just need to get better as a team, and certainly, we need to do things better. When you're winning more games, then more of those Pro Bowl accolades come your way.
QB Daniel Jones
Q: How is your ankle feeling?
A: It's feeling better. I think I'm progressing well and doing more and more. It feels good, just have to keep it going that way.
Q: Coach said you took the majority of the snaps with the first team. Is there anything you are implementing or testing? What did you do to push the ankle?
A: I think just moving around on it and taking a few more reps. It feels good, it feels like I can do everything I need to do. Keep working through and hopefully I can continue to improve throughout the week.
Q: Second chance to see the Redskins. What are you anticipating? It's a different scenario for both teams personnel wise.
A: They're a good defense. Obviously, you said there's some personnel changes from when we played them earlier in the season. They do a lot of different things, they do a lot of good stuff. Pressure, coverages, they mix that stuff up pretty good, we'll be ready for that. It's the same system, the personnel is different, but it's the same system. We'll have a good plan in place for it.
Q: The last couple of weeks, what did you learn or take with you from being able to watch the game from a different perspective and now apply when you are back out there?
A: I was able to see Eli prepare and how intense he is and some of that stuff. The type of things that he does and working through that with (Alex) Tanney. Still preparing like I was going to play. You see things from a different point of view and I think that helped. (I'll) continue to work the ankle this week and hopefully get back out there.
Q: You said you played through a high ankle sprain last year. What was the biggest challenge in playing through that?
A: Some of the planting and maybe getting out of the pocket quicker, changing directions quickly, some of those things. It feels good moving around at practice. Continue to do what the trainers tell me to do and hopefully by the end of the week, it will feel even better.
Q: Is there anything you need to prove in order to get to the next level?
A: I'm not sure. I think it's showing the coaches and the trainers that I can do everything and I'm able to move around like I need to. Whether that's in the pocket or getting out of the pocket, I'm able to do all those things.
Q: How close were you last week?
A: I felt good through the week and obviously it's a process. I feel better this week. Through it, I felt like I've progressed every day and every week. Hopefully I'll continue to do that through this week and I'll feel even better Sunday.
Q: Would you be able to describe how much you want to get back out there?
A: Missing any time is tough and you want to play obviously. Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to be out there. I'd much rather play than watch, I'm excited to hopefully get back out there. There's a process to this and it's part of the game to be able to handle this, be able to recover and get back out there. I understand that and I'm looking forward to getting back out there.
Q: With two games left in the regular season, if I could ask you for one thing that you really want to polish up when the offseason begins, what would that be?
A: There's a number of things. Ball security is obviously the big thing and making sure that I'm doing my part in protecting the ball. Making sure as an offense we're protecting the ball. That way it gives us the best chance to win. That's the most important thing in these last two weeks, is to win games. My role in that, ball security plays a big part in that. I think that's the one thing.
Q: What was it like for you to see Eli have that moment and see the fans show him all that love? From your perspective, what was that like?
A: I was excited for him, that was a cool deal for the fans to do that for him, coach Shurmur and the whole team. That was a special moment and it was cool to be a part of it, cool to see it. No one more deserving, no better guy for that, for sure.
Q: You were at practice throughout the week with Eli, did you see it meant more to him?
A: I don' think so, he's a very consistent guy in his demeanor and his preparation. He's never going to make it about him, you know you always feel like it's about the team and doing what he can to help the team win. I think that's just who he is, I think that's what you see when you are around him every day and what you see when you are out there on the field.
Q: For you, personally, when you talk about the ball security and turnovers. How fine a line is that with wanting to be aggressive and not pulling it back but still doing that at the same time? Have they told you to pull it back at all?
A: Understanding that fine line and being able to play with that, being able to protect the ball but also being aggressive is our job and what you're trained to do, what you're coached to do. That balance and that skill in being able to do that is what you have to do to be good at this level. I've worked on it, but I think you have to be able to do both.
Q: Do you feel any pressure to win to try to take heat off of your coach and general manager?
A: We all want to win. Everyone in this locker room is doing everything we can to win every game. Coaches and management have supported us and believed in us. We're certainly going to do everything we can to win because that's what we've done. That's where our minds are.
Q: What's the best gift you have given or received for Christmas?
A: When we were younger, we got cool stuff, we got a puppy one Christmas. Hopefully it's a good Christmas for gift giving. We'll see.
Q: Do you have a Christmas wish list this year?
A: Try to finish the season strong. Enjoy time with family around Christmas. I'm focused on getting these last two wins.
Q: Does that last Redskins game the last time you won seem like a long time ago?
A: Yeah, it was tough stretch for us through the middle of the season. We've done good things here and there and we have to build on that and do it more consistently and build off the win on Sunday.
Q: You have two more starts. When you look back at the season, what do you need to do to say, 'you know what' that was a successful rookie year'?
A: I think win two games and making sure we're in position to win the games. I'm doing my job in preparing to do that. I think that's the biggest thing, to win the games.
Q: Have you given much thought to the offseason and how you are going to handle that?
A: Not much. I haven't put together any type of plan for that. I'm focused on these last couple of weeks and focused on trying to win these games.
Q: You said you did a little cutting when getting out of the pocket. Is there anything you haven't done?
A: I've simulated everything I can through practice and I feel good doing it all. I'll continue to work on it throughout the week and hopefully continue to get better.
Q: Are you wearing anything on it?
A: Just tape.
A look at the New York Giants' current active roster
TE Evan Engram
Q: I didn't get the sense that you expected your season would be over. Are you surprised with the decision to put you on IR?
A: Yeah, I mean it's unfortunate. Definitely wanted to get back and get back out there with the team. Didn't really go as planned recovery wise, and just got to shut it down.
Q: What's the next step for you? Do you have to get surgery or anything?
A: Yeah, I'm doing a procedure with Dr. (Robert) Anderson in Green Bay Friday morning. Just putting stability back in my foot.
Q: What does that mean, 'stability'?
A: So, it's not a full Lisfranc injury, but the ligament is still not healed correctly. There's a little bit of space so they are going to put, from my knowledge, joints back to together to let that ligament heal properly and kind of stabilize the joints so the ligament is not stretched.
Q: Did they give you an idea of a timeline of getting back from that?
A: Yeah, but it's kind of up in the air right now. Just going to take it how it is, and I'll be back when I'm back.
Q: Did something change? Because I know you got checked out first and they didn't say…
A: It just didn't get better. It was a tough injury, a tricky injury, and that joint is really important in my foot, just how I'm learning how my foot is structured. It just didn't get better. This is kind of a safety thing future wise why I'm getting this procedure done.
Q: How disappointing is it to be having a really good year then have this happen?
A: Yeah, it's tough. It's tough. Definitely want to be out there with the team. I was having some success and we were doing good things as a football team. Pretty much out of my control. Definitely didn't choose to be in this position but it's all part of a plan. I have the utmost faith in the path forward and I can't wait to attack this process and get back to the player that I know I am and the player that I know I'm going to be for this team.
Q: Have they spoken to you yet about the option year? I think they've got to do that this offseason.
A: I haven't even thought about that. That's kind of an offseason deal. That'll all get worked out in time.
Q: Will you be okay for training camp?
A: One hundred percent, yeah. From the window they gave me, I'll be more than ready for training camp. Like I said, just going to attack the process and attack each day. Just try to get back as soon as possible.
Q: Just to clarify, when you got your initial recommendation, it wasn't a recommendation of surgery and you decided to play through it?
A: Yeah, so all of the pictures and everything didn't point to that in the beginning. That was kind of the 2-4-week diagnosis, it all depended on how I felt getting back. That wasn't on the table initially. But just to be safe future wise and for it to heal properly, we're going to go ahead and do it.
Q: Would you be surprised if they didn't pick up your option? You just said you think you have a long-term future here.
A: That's out of my control. We all know the business of this league. I can only control what I can control. That will be handled upstairs. I'm just going to focus on this rehab process and getting back. Whenever that time comes for me to get back on the field, I can be myself and do what I do.
Q: It's been a rough couple of years win wise around here, but when you look at this team, do you still want to have a long-term future here?
A: Of course. This is a special place, there is a lot of history here. We haven't lived up to the standard that's held here. I want to be a part of that turnaround, I want to be a part of the turnaround that's coming. Like I said, it's out my control and we'll have to see. But, of course, I want to be here.
Redskins Interim Head Coach Bill Callahan
Q: The last time we saw Dwayne Haskins was his first action off the bench. What have you seen since then from him?
A: Since that time, his overall preparation, his mental aspects of the game have really, really improved. The physical traits have been there and they're starting to come out, they're being developed a little more fully than they were in the game against the Giants the first time. But he's made a lot of progress, so I'm kind of proud of the kid. He's a tough-minded kid, he's competitive, he's trying to get a system down that he hasn't been familiar with, but he's done a pretty good job with handling all the stress and all the pressure that comes with it.
Q: When you look at rookie quarterbacks, what do you try and accomplish with them throughout their rookie season? You've kind of been guiding him here down the stretch.
A: It's an interesting question because usually if you're drafting a first-rounder, they sit for a while, they learn, and they obviously are gaining more experience through that knowledge in the classroom and through the drill work, but there's nothing more valuable than being on the field and playing. And I think the initial plan for Dwayne was that he was going to sit for the entire year and that course changed over the first five weeks. You know, we didn't do too well, and then Case (Keenum) suffered two injuries that took him out of games, and then the course of the season wasn't going well, so the option of playing Dwayne was a little bit more important just because of where we're at, we thought it would be a good decision to get him playing time, get him on the field, which is invaluable. I think the more that a rookie quarterback sees the field, defenses, coverages, making calls, understanding situations—you can try to mimic that in the classroom and the drill work, but there's nothing like the real experience, the NFL game day experience.
Q: What do you see from Daniel Jones in that regard then?
A: Well, I don't have a lot of comments on Daniel just because I don't coach him, so I'm not there every day. I know he was terrific, we had a lot of regard for him coming out of the draft and thought highly of him. You could see all the traits, he's going to be a good quarterback in this league. I think every rookie quarterback, they're going to take their lumps. I don't know what rookie quarterback doesn't really, very few. But you look back at some of the great quarterbacks over time, the Peyton Mannings; of course, you go back and look at Aikman. When I was in Dallas I visited with Troy and learned a little bit about his first year with the Cowboys. You're going to take some lumps, learning protections and pressures and understanding where people are coming from and how to protect yourself. It's challenging, man. It's really challenging. The more you see the field and you understand it, the more experience you get, you get better at it. So, like I said, it goes back to the invaluable-ness of being on the field and getting that game time experience.
Q: How much different does he look than the first time you saw him?
A: Better, improved. I see a lot of quality things. He reads progressions, the timing of decisions are coming quicker, faster. That's what we expect out of our guy. Increase the rate of progression, how fast you can get through your reads and identify coverage and get to the right answer and solution as fast as you can.
Q: How tough has this situation been for you, or any interim coach really? You're coaching a team to try to win games now, but your players and you are obviously aware there's speculation on this coach, or this coach, or this coach taking over next year.
A: I think it's a really challenging situation. I understood that when I got into it, when they asked me to do this. I knew it wasn't going to be all a bed of roses, that's for certain. I think that being 0-5 and taking over a club, we had some issues at quarterback where the quarterback was hurt, and then we had the rookie who we were trying to get ready. So, that dynamic was in place, the team wasn't doing too well. We changed some things up just in the way and the manner we practiced and went about our business as an organization. I think that helped make us more competitive. We didn't see the results in the win column, but I think there's pros, I think they learned how to practice better, how to prepare better. Gosh, I think we've had 65 rookies start this year, which is the most amount of rookies in the league that have started. So, it's a young football team, but that's why I go back to talking about practice habits and learning and prepping these guys the right way. That's important for a young club. Then, gosh, I think our situation is pretty bad—I think if you just look at all the guys that we have on IR, I think we've got close to $60 million sitting on the pine. So, that doesn't help you when you lose a lot of good players. So, it's challenging, record-wise, youth movement-wise, trying to direct them and get them to compete week in and week out, get them ready for divisional games which are most important, like we have coming up this week.
Q: How did you go about fixing Ereck Flowers and what have you seen from him this season in terms of what player he was and now what player he is?
A: I love Flowers. I loved him coming out of the draft. I think the world of him. I think he's one of our better offensive linemen, and to make the switch that he made, coming here from New York and playing tackle and then going inside to play guard—and honestly speaking, with Trent's (Williams) situation being unresolved in the spring during OTAs, we played him at left tackle and then he really only had the opportunity in a short period of time in training camp to make the transition into guard, but he made it remarkably well, and it's a really good position for him. He's playing better in live tight-quarter situations. He's physical, he's been really good in pass protection, he's a strong square force in that respect. I just love the kid. I just like the way he works, how he goes about his business. Sometimes, it's just a breath of fresh air. I've had a lot of guys in my career, a couple of different places, that sometimes a different exposure to new techniques, a different system, it kind of revives them. I can point back to a lot of guys in my career that that's happened to, and I'm just happy for him. He's a great kid and he's worked hard to get to where he's at, and he'll hit the free agency market and I think he'll do pretty well.
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