HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR
“Alright well that felt a lot better than the first two weeks. Before I get started here, I think you all saw Evan Engram got a knee. We don’t know how bad it is. He was out there on the sideline so we’ll have to see. (Antonio) Hamilton hurt his groin in warm-ups of all things, so he wasn’t able to compete. Anyways, great team victory. I told the team, I’ve always known they’re tough. I always knew they were gritty. I always knew they had great resolve, but today we just made enough plays to win. We went from being ‘almost’ in a lot of areas to finishing it. It was a team victory. There’s a lot of places we can go to comment how we got it done. We found a way to move the ball and score points early, which I think is important. I thought there was a stretch, and then the defense was very opportunistic. They did a good job of controlling their skill players for the most part, and then we had a stretch there in the second half where we didn’t move the ball worth a darn and our defense did a really, really good job of creating two turnovers when they were driving the ball. That’s very critical. Made all of our kicks. The key to the drill at the end was the last drive. I thought Eli (Manning) played a good game. I should say damn good game. Twenty-five for 29 for almost 300 yards and two touchdowns. Pretty fair day at the office, I might say to myself. With that, I’ll take your questions.”
Nine different players caught passes. Is that how you drew up the offense and envisioned it all along?
“That’s how I see playing offense. You deal up a progression. Dial it up and then the ball goes where it’s supposed to go. If it gets out on time, we really trust all of our players out there. The last touchdown was designed really to go to Odell (Beckham Jr.) isolated. They doubled him, so Eli went back and threw the ball to Shep (Sterling Shepard). That’s just the way this thing works, and it was good.”
How impressive was the fourth quarter drive? They were coming back, and you really needed something there. “Again, we found a way to finish the game. We started with a nice play to Shep, then we ran the ball a little bit. We found a way to complete some passes, and then obviously at the end, score there. They’re very dangerous especially when they get in those situations where they get you all spread out, which you saw before the half and at the end of the game.”
What went into the decision to change your right tackle today, and how do you think T Chad Wheeler performed?
“It’s probably more about Chad and less about Ereck (Flowers). I just felt like it was time for Chad to get an opportunity to play. It is super important that those guys play hard and play together, and I thought they did that. A couple times, he got beat, but Chad fought his way through it. I’ll have to watch the film in detail. I hate to say that. I thought for the most part he competed and battled, so we’ll see where we go from here.”
What did QB Eli Manning do well today? Was it his accuracy, decision making, all the above?
“All the above, all the above. I think he did what you’d expect a quarterback to do, and he did it at a high level against a pretty good pass rush. He did what quarterbacks should do. Complete a lot of passes and got us in the end zone twice.”
Was QB Eli Manning’s play designed to counter the pass rush?
“We’re going to do that every week. I’ve done that the first two weeks as well. I think it’s important. I don’t care what your style is as a quarterback, you should be able to complete a boot in the naked. When you change the launch point for the quarterback, especially on first and second down, it helps him not to be a sitting duck, and then it ties with the run game, and it is all coordinated.”
How did the two defensive turnovers help you survive?
“That was a boost because you felt the game tipping a little bit. We really weren’t doing a very good job of moving the ball in that stretch of the game. They were moving the ball, and then to get turnovers like that, that’s a huge boost. It’s a credit, you know, we stripped, fell on the fumble and then Tree (Alec Ogletree) on the interception in the end zone. They’re a very dangerous team. You saw when (Deshaun) Watson breaks the pocket, all hell can break loose. They made a lot of plays with him outside of the pocket.”
What did this first win with the Giants mean for you?
“Fortunately along the way, I’ve been involved with a lot of wins. It feels special because I think we’re making progress. I told the team that when you’re no longer playing and coaching, these locker room settings when you win a game is what you’re going to miss. Hopefully, we don’t miss that for a while here.”
Did anything happen to DL Damon Harrison Sr. late?
“I saw him come hobbling out a little bit, but I don’t know yet. I think he’s ok.”
Did anything happen to RB Saquon Barkley?
“Yeah, he got cut. They were tackling us low and that’s sort of how Evan got hurt on a low tackle. That was the first play of the game and he went back in there. He looked pretty good to me.”
How unique is it to have a running back like RB Saquon Barkley who can split out like that and go up for a jump ball?
“It was a good play. They were playing man free. We had a good matchup. That’s one of the things that Saquon can do. That was a key play in the game right there.”
Why did you want to spread it out in that situation?
“I had a play I liked from being spread out, that’s it. The ball could come out quick in those situations.”
Was it specifically done to get that matchup?
“If that matchup is there, you take it. If that matchup’s not there, then you move on. That’s why nine guys catch balls. Certainly, that’s the first look. Eli liked it, popped it. It was a good throw, good catch and had a lot to do with us winning the game.”
Offensively, DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney was doubled today more than DE J.J. Watt. Why was that?
“It wasn’t necessarily by design. If we did that, that wasn’t smart. You can’t double and chip every play and there’s a couple times when he had an impact on the game. So I’ll take responsibility for that from our standpoint. The guys that were blocking him battled. He’s an outstanding player, and he got us a couple times.”
RB SAQUON BARKLEY
What goes through your head when you get out wide and see a matchup against a linebacker in that spot?
“In my mindset no matter if it’s a linebacker, if it’s a safety or cornerback I believe in myself in that situation. It’s the NFL and those guys are going to make plays, too. But, at the end of the day I believe I’m going to make more plays than they do and I went up to Eli (Manning) and thanked him for trusting me in that situation and giving me a chance to go up and make a play.”
What is it like to be in a winning locker room for the first time?
“It feels really good. I kind of just knew we were going to win this game just the way we were in the locker room before the game. It was different than the first two games how the energy was different, the way we looked in
warmups was different. It was just a different vibe. Obviously, we got off to a great start and that’s something that we really focused on this week. Coach (Pat Shurmur) challenged us this week to come out and have a fast start and we were able to do that on both sides of the ball. Obviously, we have to play a little better in the second half. But, it’s the NFL and they’re not just going to just sit down and let you run up the scoreboard. They played a heck of a game. You have to give credit to those guys especially number 99 (J.J. Watt). Ninety-nine is by far the best player I’ve personally going up against. It was a great game. But, we found a way to get a win this week.”
WR ODELL BECKHAM JR.
How much was the offense in the first half kind of what you envisioned it could be?
“I envision that to be the first half, the second half, overtime and the next game after that. That’s what it’s supposed to be. No letting up. Nobody said it had to be a close game. Nobody said we can’t go out there and score 50 points if not 100. It’s just a mentality that we have to have.”
What does this win say about this team?
“It says that we’re 1-2. We have to get some more wins and start putting them together. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves, because it’s just one game. Now we have to start tacking it on, build off this today and keep improving. “
You all had a lot of success across the middle of the field. Was that a part of the game plan coming into today? “Really the game plan was to make plays where we could and they left the middle of the field open a lot. We hit some big plays there. I don’t know if it was necessarily the game plan, but it just kind of happened that way.”
QB ELI MANNING
When that last drive began, what was your message to your opponent?
“This is an opportunity to go win the football game. It’s going to come down to this drive. We had a great first half and hadn’t really done anything the second half. We had a chance to go win the football game. Guys stepped up, made some big plays. Started off with, I think Coach (Pat Shurmur) called it aggressive. First play hit Shep (Sterling Shepard) with a little shallow route for a big play. Then came in for a little naked and hidden rep for a big play. Then Saquon (Barkley). Everybody got involved, everybody made some big plays. Getting the touchdown at the end to go win it. That was big for us.”
You had nine guys caught passes tonight, is that kind of how you guys drew up those offenses and had a vision of it working when everything was clicking?
“Yeah, I think so. I think you want to get everyone involved. The more guys ... I thought he caught a good game, mixed up the run, the pass, the play action. Some boot legs and stuff got us on the edge. Especially going against a good front that likes to pass rush, so it helped us hit some big plays and get off to a fast start. Again, we needed a drive at the end to secure the win and we were able to do it.”
The pass to RB Saquon Barkley on that last drive, can you talk about that play?
“We put him outside a few times and ran a couple different routes. That time he had a linebacker on him that was pressed up so, he just ran. He had a go route, beat him right off the line of scrimmage. So, threw it out, gave him a shot. He did a good job making a catch right there. He kind of came back to it, jumped up. He’s athletic and it's good to see him do that.”
On WR Sterling Shepard’s touchdown, Odell Beckham Jr. was doubled on that one.
“Yeah, they were doubling Odell, they started doubling Odell a bunch on the outside, just favoring the safety over his side. So, it gives opportunity for other guys to get open on that one. They were doubling Odell so, still just playing zone, kind of all over the place. We were able to hit Shepard over the middle.”
You hit WR Sterling Shepherd first and then TE Rhett Ellison second, I believe on that drive.
“Oh second, yeah second one, just a little play action rolling out right and safety bit in, thinking it was run and had to hit him all alone. So, we got it to him, Odell (Beckham) had a good block from the outside and got a good 20- yard gain on a little short pass.”
And the first completion was to WR Sterling Shepherd, correct?
“First completion was to Shep, they brought a little pressure, played man-to-man, we picked it up. Got five guys out on a route, he stepped in on the shallow route and you know, no one was in the middle. You know, man-to- man and middle safety so I had him on a shallow, hit him, and we were playing down the sideline.”
You had two different offensive linemen in there this week, how was that transition? And did you have to say anything to T Chad Wheeler after DE JJ Watt had gotten to you a couple times?
“No, I thought Chad did a good job, came out early, did a good job kind of mixing in some quick passes and some tempo stuff and running the ball and got him going and got him in good shape. And JJ, hey, he’s going to make some plays. That’s just part of it, he does it against everybody, so do a good job kind of pumping him up and patting him and keeping competing, keep fighting and I thought he did a good job. Kind of first start, right, I gues he started a game last year. But you know, getting the start going against some good players this week, I thought he held his own.”
How much of a confidence boost for this team can getting this win be?
“Yeah, like Coach (Pat Shurmur) said we’ve become an almost team, we’ve been close on a few things and today put it together. It was good to see us start fast and have a dominant first half and then also finish the game at the end. We needed a drive to go finish it and we were able to do that. That was nice to see.”
You looked as comfortable today as you looked uncomfortable last week, how do you explain that?
“Well, I thought we did a good job having a good plan to get the ball out. The ball was coming out fast, could see what they were doing. The offensive line was blocking, doing what they were doing, they were blocking things up and we didn’t have the mistakes. I thought we kind of condensed the offense a little bit and made sure guys knew what they were doing. Plays that they knew, they were playing fast, the offensive line was playing fast and we have good players, just let them go play. Let’s not try to be perfect and trick or do too much. Let our guys go win, because we got good athletes.”
LB ALEC OGLETREE
Take us through the interception. What was the play and what did you see?
“We got a little pressure on him (Deshaun Watson), and he got out and my guy was running out to the flat. He wheeled up, and we talked all week about plastering in coverage, so that’s exactly what I did. I just plastered my man and turned around and saw the ball in the air. We (are taught) to go get the ball at the highest point, and we were able to get it. It was definitely a big play for us at the time.”
As a defensive player, how does it feel to see your offense putting it together and playing as well as you are? “It feels good. We knew it was only a matter of time before they got going. We didn’t have the production that we wanted to have in the first couple of weeks, but today was a great team effort. All three phases played well together today, and we just played complementary football.”
What is it like to get the first win out of the way?
“It’s great. It’s (been) a long time coming. We’ve been close in the last few games, but today we finally put it together and were able to make enough plays to win the game. That’s all you can ask for from the team to go out there and fight every play. I thought we did that today and were able to come out with a win.”
WR STERLING SHEPARD
What do you think this win does for the confidence of your team?
“It does a lot. This is what we were itching for, itching for a win. Guys had a great week of preparation, so it shows us how we should prepare, and if we want to keep this feeling then that’s what we have to keep on doing.”
QB Eli Manning said that guys might’ve been playing faster because the offense was condensed, can you elaborate?
“Yeah, I feel like we cut down on some of the stuff this week. Guys were pretty fresh, ready to go. The preparation was great for us and that shows us how we need to prepare. That’s all it was, was fine-tuning some things. Everybody was freaking out about the two games but we remained calm as a team.”
What happened on your taunting penalty when you got into it with Texans CB Aaron Colvin?
“That’s one of my boys back from college. We go way back. He was at my wedding, I was at his wedding. We’ve been talking a little mess before the game and got a little heated. He was doing the same thing to me, but it’s always the second guy that gets called and I have to know that, so I have to remain calm.”