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Postgame Quotes 12/27: Coach Joe Judge, QB Daniel Jones, DL Dexter Lawrence, WR Sterling Shepard, DB Logan Ryan

Head Coach Joe Judge

Opening statement: Obviously we didn't do well enough to get the job done today. We give credit to Baltimore. It is a well-coached football team. They are very talented. They play very hard, and it presents a number of issues that we start the game faster and handle it on all phases of the ball. I am proud of the way our guys fought. We were able to make some adjustments in the second half and get some things going. We have to get to that earlier, as a staff and as players, and ultimately, we have to coach better, we have to play better, we have to make the plays in front of us. We need to make sure guys are creating situations to put our guys in positions of their strengths. All that being said, I will open it up to any questions you have.

Q: (on the Giants' energy and emotions coming into the game)

A: It wasn't any issue in terms of energy or anything emotionally or mentally. We just have to execute fundamentally better. That is it. We have to tackle better, [and] we have to get off of blocks better. We have to make sure we put guys in the right call and help them to give them some type of advantage in the scheme that we are seeing. Obviously, they made some adjustments in their scheme during this game to account for some of the things we did. We got some different coverages and fronts later in the game that slowed them down and gave our guys a better chance, but we have to do some things earlier in the game as coaches and players to start faster. We knew going into the game that this was a team that in the first quarter has a big edge against all of their opponents. We knew it was going to be a fast-start type of game, and we have to react better than that.

Q: (on what he attributed to the Giants' poor tackling)

A: I think ultimately that has been something that has been a strength for us as a team this year. Our guys really improved in tackling and spacing of in-line, short-space tackles. To be honest with you, that was surprising today to see that. We have to do some things fundamentally better to make sure we make the tackles, keep our feet moving, keep our eyes up, wrap, and we have to do a better job coaching that throughout the week to make sure that doesn't show up on the gameday.

Q: (on his assessment of QB Daniel Jones)

A: I think Daniel [Jones] looked the way I expected him to look out there. He played confidentially, didn't look hesitant with anything he did. He had some chances out there. I thought Daniel did a lot of nice things today. Ultimately as a team, it was not enough. But in terms of how he moved around coming off of the injury, I thought he looked better.

Q: (on his assessment of the season if the Giants are eliminated from playoff contention later today)

A: No, our focus is on getting ready for the Cowboys next week. We don't have any control over what happens with other teams, other games played today. We had that control in our first 15 games, the results of those games are what matter. In terms of where this team is headed and what we have been able to accomplish this year, in terms of the foundation, the culture – we have improved a lot of playing across the board. A lot of players, a lot of development from young guys and new guys in this program. So no, the end result is where we are looking to get going in this program, I feel that we are on the right track and moving in the right direction.

Q: (on what he learned about his team during the difficult stretch these past four games)

A: I think I learned a lot about our team in the early-season stretch. We were 0-5, 1-7 and you find out right then that you have a team that comes to work every day, that is committed to everybody and starts getting better collectively. I learned how mentally tough they were through that stretch. I learned how focused they were and committed in getting this thing going in the right direction. I am not trying to take shortcuts, but we are trying to do it the right way. So, the results of the last three games are what they are. We are paid to win games, that is what it is, professional football. We have to do a better job coaching, better job playing, we have to do more things to help us win the games. Ultimately in terms of the character of the team, the work ethic of the team, the toughness of the team, we have the right start to who we are working with and the direction we are going right now. We just need to make sure we do more on the field to get the tangible results.

Q: (on the lack of changes to the defensive scheme at the beginning of the game)

A: I thought Pat [Defensive Coordinator, Patrick Graham] did a good job getting to the scheme when he got to it to slow them on down. There were some adjustments continuing throughout the first half. We changed up how we did some coverage in the back end to tighten up on their receivers. We played a scheme early on to kind of handle a lot more with the run. I think Lamar [Jackson] came out and did a really good job throwing the ball. They made some contested catches, but we need to tighten the windows up on them a little bit, we were letting up some easy receptions early on. Again, with this team, the focus is to stop the run, Pat made some adjustments, we were able to slow them down offensively and then we have to stay on the field a little longer offensively to really help the defense out on the back end. We need to play good complimentary football. All three phases have to play together.

Q: (on the pass interference call that was later picked up in the first half)

A: I mean look, it was what it was. They explained it, we are not going to have any kind of courtroom on the field to change what it was, so we went out there, kicked the field goal and took the points. We had to move on right there. They saw what they saw, and I will watch the tape and see if I see it any differently.

Q: (on broken coverages on both of the Ravens' passing touchdowns)

A: Yeah, anytime someone is that wide-open there is obviously some kind of breakdown within the scheme. We have to make sure we do a better job getting the 11 guys to play on the same page. It is never one guy there. It is easy to go ahead, look back at the tape and try to circle someone without having all the information of what the call was, what the scheme was, what the communication pre-snap may have been. We are going to take a look at that and make sure we never have that happen again. It is not something we have had a lot this year. Our guys have done a really good job of communication and playing ahead. We had it twice today, that is something we have to eliminate, it is tough to stop any team where we let guys run free, so we have to eliminate that.

Q: (on his argument for the progress the Giants' have made this season despite recent struggles)

A: Yeah I don't have to make an argument on that end. I can turn the tape on every week, I can watch with our players. I can see what we improve on every week. I can see what we are deficient in and need to improve on that week and put the focus on the next opponent coming up. Again, look I am not trying to make an argument for anything, the tape really tells the truth. Our guys are big believers on watching what is on tape and addressing what we have to internally and moving forward by working hard.

Quarterback Daniel Jones

Q: (on frustrations with today's game play and confidence in ability to run)

A: We didn't start the game like we needed to. We shot ourselves in the foot. On a couple plays, we weren't able to convert on third down, and that threw us behind. It dug a little hole for us. We've got to look at that stuff. We've got to clean it up. It makes it tough when you put yourself in that position. Health-wise, I feel good. I feel a lot better, and I'll continue to work on that and progress.

Q: (on getting sacked multiple times)

A: [The Ravens] deserve the credit. They were pressuring and found different ways to bring it. I've got to do a better job of seeing it and getting the ball out in a lot of those situations whether they're exposed in the back end and in coverage. We'll look at that and learn from it. I certainly have to do a better job.

Q: (on his health status)

A: I feel good.

Q: (on pending playoff hopes and team's progress throughout the season)

A: There's no moral victories and to not get the result we wanted is disappointing. By no means is anyone okay with that, but there are positives we can take from today, positives we can take from where we've improved throughout the season as an offense and as a team. We'll continue to look at those things. We'll continue to study ourselves and learn what we still need to improve on. Throughout this season, this team has improved from week to week.

Q: (on responding to Ravens' defensive pressure)

A: I've just got to do a better job with all that stuff – identifying it and getting the ball out quickly.

Q: (on the impact of Ravens' defense on the final score)

A: They know we have to throw it in those situations, and they're either going to play coverage or pressure you. I've just got to do a better job of handling it and getting the ball out.

Q: (on health status and mobility throughout game)

A: I'm not sure I have a percentage, but I do feel a lot better, and like you said, I'll continue to work through it and continue to work with the trainers, with the doctors and do what I'm told. I'm going to work as hard as I can to continue to improve. I feel good. I felt like I could move and get out of the pocket and do what I needed to do. I felt good about that.

Defensive Lineman Dexter Lawrence

Q: You guys have done a really good job of stopping the run all season. I know Lamar Jackson is a new challenge, but what do you think it was that they were able to come out of there and run on you guys like they did in the first quarter?

A: They just had the better this game by hitting the edges really hard. We didn't do a good job of setting the edge and they took advantage of that.

Q: How demoralizing is it after you guys had that four-game win streak and you're feeling pretty good and then these last three games haven't even been particularly close. What's the mood of the locker room?

A: The locker room is great. It's one thing - we have to have those wins and not settle. We have to stay hungry and we have to keep going to get it. We have to just know that the next games aren't promised. We're not going to just win because we've been winning. We have to go earn it and make the plays to win.

Q: Were there any struggles there at times identifying who had the ball on those read option keepers? Sometimes it can be tricky to figure out if Lamar handed it off or not.

A: I don't want to say that. We were just at a gap and they found a way to get there. We didn't do the best job tackling or being in our gap or being disciplined. They were the better team today and we have to live with that.

Q: Those first two drives, did you feel like that set a tone for the game and the physicality? You were down 14-0 real quick.

A: No. It happens in the game. We just have to come back off of that. I think we responded really well as a defense. We held them to only a few more points after that. They came out strong, but it's all about the finish and I think we finished pretty well.

Q: What was the goal against Lamar and how is it different from other quarterbacks?

A: We knew that he likes to get to the edge and he wasn't a slider. He wanted to keep running. So, our plan was to keep him in bounds and contain him and tackle him.

Q: It seemed like you guys had a different formation almost. You had your inside linebackers kind of playing on the outside. Did that change anything for you guys in the interior at all?

A: No, upfront is whoop ass and let the linebackers flow. That's what we do upfront. We have to find a way to slow him down and we didn't do the best job of doing that today.

Q: Are you guys embarrassed on how this first half especially went as a defense? 249 rushing yards as a defense is really contrary to what you guys have made an identity doing.

A: That's not us. We're not embarrassed, that's just what we put on tape today for the first half. We don't accept that. We have to correct that and see what was going on. We have to watch tape and fix it for the next game.

Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard

Q: How ticked off does it make you that it takes until the fourth quarter for you guys to play the way that you want?

A: It's frustrating. We have to get off to better starts. We're not the type of team that can afford to get off to this type of start, especially against a good team like Baltimore. We have to figure out what it is and how to get into a better groove early next week.

Q: When you play a game like this against a team that may be headed to the playoffs, does it reflect how far or close you guys are to where you want to be? How do you evaluate it when you get this type of result?

A: No, it's simple things we have to correct. When you look at the first drive, little things like jumping offsides put us in a bad position. Those types of things are just mental errors, it's nothing the opposing team did, it was something we did to ourselves. I look at it like we have to get into the room and correct those things.

Q: You got on a plane leaving Seattle in first place in the division, you've now lost three straight and your touchdown was the first one in nine quarters, what is the frustration level and how do you bounce back from this?

A: I really wasn't frustrated, and neither were the guys on the offense. We got a group of guys that will keep pounding no matter what's going on. That's what I love about this team and this offensive unit. Guys are going to keep on working as you saw at the end of the game, we were trying to keep pounding and put up a point on the board. I'm proud of the guys and the way they finished the game.

Q: How much are you going to keep an eye on these games this afternoon?

A: We can only control what we can control, and our focus is on Dallas right now. That's where my focus will be immediately.

Q: You didn't have a play over 20 yards offensively today, why has it been such a struggle to get those big plays?

A: That's just the way the cards were dealt. We can't control what coverage they're in and when they're going to be in it. I had one today I should've taken deep, and I hooked it up. That was my chance to go deep.

Q: Are you talking about the one where (Daniel Jones) threw the ball deep in the first half?

A: Yes, that's my fault, I got to go deep on that one. I believe it was cover zero and that's my fault.

Q: Joe Judge was saying he thinks the foundation is getting there, and the culture change is there and he thinks moving forward, this team will be okay. Do you agree with that? And if so, why?

A: I agree with that wholeheartedly. Like I said earlier, we have guys that will fight until the end, no matter what the scoreboard looks like. It doesn't matter how well we played previously, we got guys that will keep chomping at the bit to play football. When you have a close-knit group like we have, you can only think that things will be on the up from here. We just got to keep on pounding, and we're focused on Dallas and next week.

Q: After the Seattle game, if someone told you you would lose three straight and not be in any for the most part, would that surprise you? This team was on a roll and it kind of fizzled.

A: That's the way this game goes. It's the NFL. Any given Sunday. You never know what's going to happen. You just got to prepare and go out there. Unfortunately, that's the way these last few have worked out, we weren't able to get these last three.

Q: Do these last three games show how far away you are from being a playoff contender?

A: Games are always going to show you what you need to correct. That's what we do. We get into the lab on Monday and we try to correct those things that we didn't do so hot on in the previous week. You're going to learn week to week what you need to do.

Q: How about just in terms of the caliber opponent you've faced in the last three weeks? You've played three teams that are fighting for playoff spots.

A: It's a good look for all the guys to play those caliber teams. We have to play better. That's the bottom line.

Q: Logistically, how did it work to have a coach calling plays who wasn't at practice all week? Were there any challenges there?

A: No. No challenges at all. We had zoom meetings, Coach (Jason) Garrett was with us just like he was whenever he was able to be in the room. So nothing was thrown off about that.

Defensive Back Logan Ryan

Q: Obviously, stopping the run has been a strength for you guys this season. I know [Ravens Quarterback] Lamar Jackson is a unique challenge, but what do you think wasn't working especially in the beginning of the game there? In the first quarter, it seemed like they were really running it down your throats.

A: Playing Baltimore, like you said, you can't really mirror Lamar Jackson, it's something you've got to get adjusted to in the game. They did a good job of keeping third downs manageable, rushing for four or five at a time, keeping it 3rd-and-2. Third-and-two, they have their run available, they have their pass available. They get to the red area, you've got to hold Baltimore – who's known to move the ball, known to rush the ball really well, they have a high rushing average – we've got hold them to field goals, get the turnovers, the plays that get them off rhythm, and we didn't get that. We didn't make those turnovers early enough, we weren't good enough in the red area to make it three-nothing, six-nothing or whatever. When you have a running quarterback like Lamar Jackson and they're committing 11 guys to run the ball and the fullback's 300 pounds, I mean they're going to move the ball a bit, but you've just got to manage those situations like I keep talking about. So 'run it down our throats,' I mean that's what the stats may say, but guys were out there banging today, guys were out there finishing. Call it what you want to call it, but until you put the pads on and really understand the physicality of the game, I think we don't call it that.

Q: You guys have lost three straight now all against good teams by fairly wide margins. If things don't go your way in the games this afternoon and you are eliminated from the playoffs, will you think differently about this team than you would if you were still alive in Week 17?

A: Never. I don't let results dictate my personality, I don't let results dictate the character of the team. You may lose on the scoreboard, that doesn't make you a loser in life. This team is hard-fought, this team is blue-collar. We've been there from the beginning. This team has been through lows and came back, had wins, then had a loss after that and had another loss or whatever it may be. But this team came out to fight. Credit to Baltimore, they were good today, we know they were good, we came in their stadium and they're good, they win here a lot and they won today, but to allow the result of a football game to dictate what I think about my teammates, I guess you weren't watching in the fourth quarter, the last drive there, and we're scratching and clawing and get a goal line stand. I think we're fighters and we'll fight regardless of the scoreboard. That's what I'm here for, that's what the Giants brought me back to do and I've got my head held high because I know what I laid on the line for my teammates.

Q: Joe Judge was talking earlier about the culture being set here and he feels good about that. You are now signed up for three more years of that culture. Do you agree with that and why? And how do you feel about signing that new contract?

A: I feel extremely grateful and blessed. I've been through quite a journey of ups and downs this last year, as many people have in 2020, and it definitely hit my personal family hard, my wife. Rocky road there not being signed for a minute, but I found a newfound belief in myself, my belief in myself as a player, as a leader and I believe the organization believed in me as well. I wouldn't sign a deal two weeks before free agency if I didn't believe in this organization. I believe in the culture set, I believe in the work ethic we put in each and every day. Like I say, you don't always get the result, but you really see peoples' true character when they put their all into something and they don't win, how they come back to work the next day. That's how I really figure out who should be around me in life when times are going up and times are going down. When I come back from losses and I have the same five texts from the same five people, that's how I really know who's around me in life and who really matters. I think that we've got some good pieces here to build off of. I think Joe sets a demanding culture to do things the right way and you do them even when you lose and you keep doing them, and one day the wins come your way. We've had a taste of that this year. We have everything to play for next week playing the Dallas Cowboys and I don't think you're going to see this team packing it in by any means, not if I'm on the field.

Q: You talk about the foundation being here, that it's already laid. What do you say to the idea that these last three games show you how much growth you still have to make in order to get where you want to be?

A: I think executionally, there's always growth. There's learning from every game and every game is its own game. Baltimore presented different challenges than Cleveland. Every game is different and there's different things in each game plan that you need to execute in order to win. I believe at the level that we're at, to be a professional, to be a winning professional at this level, I think foundationally you need to have a chance organizationally. I think there's a great organization here. I think we have great support, I think we have a great fan base that cares and is very demanding, a culture, a coaching staff that gives us a great chance to win, so I do believe we have that. I believe we have a great toughness and resolve to us to come back regardless of what the fans may say, what the media may say from win or loss to go into the next game, so I do believe that. I think the next step is to execute at the highest level against MVPs like Lamar Jackson, some of these top-tier quarterbacks which we've played a lot this year. When we executed against them, we looked pretty good. When we didn't execute, they look like they got their averages, they look like we made them really good quarterbacks. So I think the execution is always something you can improve, but when you talk about culture and attitudes and wins and losses and foundation, I think those things can be set daily with how you practice, how you come to work and I think that's being set by Joe Judge. That's what I believe in, that's why I believe the future's bright here. Execution-wise, we can always get better, we can always clean that up.

Q: Take us through the deal. Did it just pop up? Is it something that you guys have been working on for a while?

A: It got done fairly quickly. The organization asked me if I wanted to be here, I said yes. They talked to my agent, Joel Segal – who I believe is the best in the business – and he got it done quickly. I think it was a good deal for both sides. I've had a lot of things in my career, I've had two Super Bowl rings, a lot of big games, 15 playoff games in my career, been the highly favored for four years in New England, been the underdog role in Tennessee, but I haven't always felt appreciated by the organization for whatever I did that year. I think the Giants really appreciate me for not even just being the player I am on the field, but I think they appreciate what I bring off the field, I think they appreciate what I do in the community, I think they appreciate my wife and I, our family, our struggles, our successes and I think they appreciate the leadership I bring to the team. That feeling of appreciation is what we all look for in life regardless of money, and that's something I felt was special here and something I wanted to continue to feel, and I wanted to pay that back to the organization by committing here as long as I did.

Q: They had a couple of touchdown passes to guys who were wide open. Why in Week 16 with pretty much the same personnel you've had in the secondary all year were there breakdowns there?

A: I think schematically they're good play calls. They put a stress on our defense. They were running the ball really well. Sometimes you call calls to stop the run and they have a pass that puts you in a tough position. That's what makes the Ravens a good offense is when they're running and throwing, so ideally you want them to play left-handed, you want to take away one thing so you can get a grip on it. But sometimes in football they have a good call and it puts us in a tough position. It's something that we need to be prepared for, which we are, and it's something that we need to play better. Hats off to them. When you're loading the box up, as you do it, it puts a stress on the pass game and that's what they were able to do. You tip your hat to it, you watch film and you improve.

View photos from the Week 16 matchup between the Giants and Ravens in at M&T Bank Stadium.



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