Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Remarks: Fourth preseason game in the books. I thought the guys played hard, we didn’t make enough plays in the end to win the game, but it was a great illustration, in my opinion, of how important it is to catch the ball. I think we fell victim to the drops, and when you’re in pro football and you’re throwing the ball around, you need to catch it, especially in those third down situations or when we take a shot on the deep ball, if the ball gets laid inside a little bit, the ball’s got to get defended. So, there’s plenty of things to learn from. Like I just told the team, I said any mistake that we made tonight may show up three weeks from now in Houston, two weeks from now in Dallas, so we’ve got to make sure we’ve got it all cleaned up so that we don’t make any of the mistakes again. I thought all the guys that played, played extremely hard. We only had two (ankle injuries), (Nick) Becton and (Rob) Martin. We had two ankles, so for the most part – unless something creeps up in the morning – we pulled out of this thing pretty healthy. It kind of caps off training camp, and now we’ll get to the business of picking the roster. I’ll take your questions.
Q: On that point about picking the roster, what can you share around your process between now and Saturday when you have to reduce the roster?
A: We’re going to go and clean up the game tomorrow as coaches. We’ll have a meeting with the players and then typically, this is not new, the players will have some time off this weekend, and then we’ll get to the business of making cuts. That will happen this weekend.
Q: Talking about catching the ball, Donte Deayon made a couple of really nice plays.
A: He did a really nice job. And, on the flip side, I thought he did a really good job when the ball was in the air, and he caught it. It was the first interception along the sideline and then the second interception he undercut the route and did a nice job. He also had some tackles. I would say he helped himself tonight. He had a good performance.
Q: In your initial review without looking at the tapes of Kyle (Lauletta) out there, what did you see and how did that compare to what you expected to see?
A: I think he fell victim to some drops that would’ve made things look a little better. That one scramble where I think he hit (Jerell) Adams, that keeps a drive alive. He was aggressive with this throws down the field, which we wanted to see. You can see he has plenty of arm strength, which is good, and I thought he was pretty poised throughout the game. I thought the same way when (Alex) Tanney came in at the end. I thought Alex did a nice job, too, two pretty good drives. The first drive stalled on third down. Just catch the ball. We had the ball past the sticks and then we got a little fancy with it, so then I intended to go for it on fourth down there, anyways. You can be a little bit more cavalier in the preseason, but it was probably a good decision to go for it.
Q: We mentioned Deayon already, you seem to have a pretty competitive battle with the last spots for cornerback. How did (Chris Lewis-Harris)’s performance tonight factor into that?
A: I thought he looked pretty good. I saw where he made some tackles, I saw where he disrupted a couple passes. I have to go back and look at it. Sometimes corner play gets a little lost when you start running the ball, but I thought he showed up pretty well just based on what I saw in the game.
Q: Going into this game, you didn’t have a lot of penalties, but tonight you got a lot of helmet penalties. How do you think your team has adjusted to that rule?
A: I thought we had adjusted well, and then all the sudden a bunch of them creeped up on us. We’ll just go back and look at each one and just see why. When we went through this helmet thing, it was said that these were the certain plays we want out of our game and those are pretty obvious. Some of the plays now, we’re getting flags that if those aren’t part of the game, I don’t know if we have a game. So, we’ve just got to see. We all want what’s right and what’s best for the players. I feel like player safety is on the front burner. We want to make sure it’s a safe, physical, gritty game and play the way the rule is written, and I think it’s just a matter of us continuing to coach it the right way and then when it gets officiated, just officiate it consistently. That’s really what we want.
Q: With the preseason over now, do you feel pretty good about this team’s readiness for the regular season?
A: I don’t know about readiness. I feel like we’re on the right path with regard to team building, I feel like we’ve got enough information. We played all the players through the preseason, so we’re not going to be guessing as to whether a guy can do it or not. We’re in a position now to pick that initial 53-man roster. We’re in a position to keep moving forward, and I feel good about the work we’ve done to this point; but, the ultimate team, you need to keep practicing and you play games in between. Hopefully you can stay healthy and continue to improve and be in a position to be in the playoffs.
Q: How hard is this weekend for you to cut so many guys?
A: The human element of it is tough. I think we all get used to it, but if you’ve got a heart and you’ve got a soul, you’re talking about guys’ livelihood. It’s a tough situation that way, but it’s real.
Q: Jhurrell Pressley came in late but you know him from Minnesota. He’s seemed to have picked up this system pretty quick. Can you talk about him a little bit and his progress?
A: He’s done a terrific job. We needed him to come in, we were a little short at running back and then he came in and quickly made an impact. He helped himself in our games and hopefully the eyes of the league.
Cornerback Donte Deayon
Q: You had the two picks tonight, what has made you a better player?
A: Really just the film preparation that goes into it. Studying harder, studying longer, and just being out there taking it one day at a time. Making those plays comes from a lot of instincts, anticipation and things like that. A lot of it goes into that.
Q: I know Kevin Dockery has been very close to you in your rehab. What has he taught you about being a corner in this league?
A: He’s really given me a perspective on things. He was a smaller player as well. Sometimes you get information from guys, but they were 6-2, you know, long range, so they play a little different. We kind of have a playing style where he could tell me since we are a little smaller, we have to do this or that.
Q: After last season, do you feel secure right now after tonight’s performance?
A: No, because honestly last year that’s how I felt going into the fourth game. I felt like I kind of laxed and it didn’t sit well with me. I had a little sick feeling in my stomach. Going into this game, I wanted to lock in, and got out there and give it my all. We’ll see what happens.
Q: So what will you be feeling at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday?
A: I won’t be nervous. At this point, I put it all out on the table, I put my best foot forward. At this point, what happens, happens.
Q: Did you feel you needed to do something special tonight?
A: My mindset is to go out and make plays, but really, I just wanted to stay engaged and stay locked in the whole game and play with good technique. When opportunities come, make the plays.
Q: It looked like they had a hard time getting you that ball (after the 1*st* interception), they handed you the ball and you threw it back down?
A: I was just excited, so I was throwing it back down, I was just excited.
Q: What’s it like when you turn around and see two balls sitting in your locker?
A: Man, it’s lovely. They are two Patriot ones, so it feels a little better.
Q: Are you going to change up your routine this weekend?
A: No, same routine, and then we will let it play out from there.
Giants QB Kyle Lauletta
Q: Did they tell you that you were going to start?
A: Yesterday: yesterday in the P.M., in the afternoon.
Q: What was that like for you
A: It was exciting, you know. I’ve been wanting to play a little bit more, so to hear Coach say that I was going to get that opportunity was big. I was very excited last night, for sure.
Q: What is your biggest takeaway going into the regular season
A: Personally? For me? I don’t know. There were a couple of near misses. Nothing really changes when you play really well or play really bad. I know what I have to improve on and work on. A couple of deep balls were just a little bit off today. I think if I had made a couple of those throws, everything would have been different, we might have even won the game. I’m disappointed, but I know what I have to do moving forward.
Q: You said you just found out yesterday about getting the start, what did it mean to you? Did you have any butterflies or nerves? Because we have talked about how cool and poised you are.
A: No, I was very excited. I mean, I have wanted to play more and obviously, I haven’t played a whole lot. Probably the first game was the most that I played, so to say, ‘Hey, you are going to get the start’ was big for me. I don’t think I was nervous. Any time you get out there, you’re a little bit amped up, but I don’t feel nervous. It’s more you just want to do well and you want to throw the balls so good and sometimes when you miss one, you really have to turn the page and move on. Sometimes that will haunt you and will cause you to make more mistakes. I felt comfortable back there; I just missed a couple [of throws], some by a yard or two, but it is what it is. We’ll move on and get ready for the season.
Q: How comfortable were you with command of the offense?
A: Good, really good. We had positive plays; I mean, run-checks and the protection, I felt like I was pretty good. I knew where I was protected and I knew where I was hot from, but like I said, just a couple [of things]. They played a lot of man coverage; anytime a team plays a lot of man coverage, you’re going to have those one-on-one deep balls and those are 50-50 balls, but as an offense, we want to complete more than 50 percent of those. Like I said, we had our chances, but we just missed a couple that I wish I had back. An interception where I should have checked the ball down and just not take that risk. Just little things like that, but we’ll clean it up and ill watch the film and get better and learn from it.
Q: The touchdown pass, what was the play there? It looked like they had a busted coverage on the right side and it was just wide open
A: Yeah, it was just a man-beating concept, a mesh-concept. We had Amba [Etta-Tawo] coming underneath and a guy was trailing him and he has to fight through a bunch of stuff and we popped out wide open on the other side and he caught it. He had a lot of room; anytime on man-coverage, guys are chasing the receiver. He caught it with a lot of space and he made a great move down in the red-zone. To cut back and score the touchdown, that was a big play.
Q: How do you build on this for the next four months, when obviously things are going to change with practice reps and games and everything — how do you go into this season?
A: Just like anybody, I’ll do the same as Eli. You watch the film, and you correct it, and you make the most of the opportunities you get. Obviously, it’s going to be the regular season and I might not be playing in the games, but just in practice, when I get my reps I have to make the most of them — and then afterwards, we have receivers that are always willing to work afterwards, and if there is a throw that I feel like, “Yeah, I haven’t been throwing it real well,” we’ll get it after practice, and that way the next time you are in a game in that situation you feel a little more comfortable making that throw, so that’s all it is.
Q: The 50-50 deep ball, is that one that you’re going to throw most of the time?
A: It depends what the concept is. Sometimes we just call verticals, and you have a one-on-one matchup on the outside and that’s where we’re looking to do is take your best matchup and let it go. I think one of those interceptions, I had a couple misses to Kalif Raymond and I wanted to get a throw back to him, and they kind of bailed on me. The corner kind of bailed and he had good leverage on him. I probably had no business throwing that throw — I probably just should have checked it down to one of the backs that were open — so just simple stuff like that, but Kalif got behind the defense twice. He ran a great route (against) man coverage. The one time it was the free safety who was supposed to be playing deep middle, he cut one of the crossing routes — similar to what Eli had a couple games back, the one to Cody (Latimer), very similar situation — and I just kind of underthrew him. When it left my hand, I honestly thought it was a touchdown, but it kind of hung up in the air. I should have put it two more yards out there and he probably walks in, so it’s just little stuff like that, but I’ll learn from it.
Q: Did you feel you were able to do what you needed to do with the line you had and the receivers you had out there? Were you able to get what you needed to accomplish?
A: Yeah. We knew what we were going to get — the Patriots love to bring five guys, so a lot of one-on-ones on the O-line, and our offensive line battled. I thought they played well. The defense is good too — they are going to every now and then get a good pass rush move and get to you — but we understand that, so you just have to get rid of the ball and, like I said, one-on-one, the one to Amba (Etta-Tawo), he scores from 50 yards out on a simple crossing route, so that’s kind of the way you play if teams play man. You kind of take chances and hope that your guys on the backend can cover, but we should’ve completed a higher percentage of those. Even when Alex (Tanney) came in — he had a beautiful ball on the sideline that we dropped, and just a couple bad passes, a couple drops here and there, and the score is way different.
Q: Assuming that it’s the three of you in the room this season, you could have two backup quarterbacks who have never played in a regular season game. The taste that you’ve gotten from the preseason, do you feel like you’re ready to play?
A: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. As much as we’re in the room studying, and Eli is the guy, but me and Davis or Alex, we’re all hearing the same things that he’s hearing and we’re preparing the same way. We might not get as many reps, but look, this is the NFL and when you go out there, there’s no excuses. You study, you rep the routes and the throws as much as you can, and when your number is called, you have to execute it. So Davis is confident, I’m confident, Alex goes out there and plays extremely well. That’s what we do, so I’m confident, and if I were ever called to come into a game, I would have all the confidence in the world. With this coaching staff and this group of guys around me, (there is) no fear or nothing like that. Just go out and play and help my team win. Tonight, we fell a little bit short, and partly because of me, so it hurts a little bit, but we’ll just learn from it and it will carry into the regular season.