View the best photos from the Giants' preseason matchup with the Steelers
QB Eli Manning
We just had limited opportunities. It was great to see Rashad [Jennings] on the big run. First series, we had a 3rd and 2, got them to jump offside on 3rd and 7, so that was good, using the cadence. Third and two, they just had a good call on. We still could've executed better, but that's something we'll look at on the film and learn from that. The next two series we just got backed up right away. We had a sack on the first play on that next series and then all of a sudden you're at your 4-yard line and 2nd and 17. That's not an ideal situation. The next series, two holding calls backed it up, so we didn't even get a pass off on those series. So I think we'll try to learn from it and understand that it's the preseason and not everything is going to be perfect. But we'll definitely have some stuff to look at and to get better on a few things.
Q: Over the next couple of weeks, assuming you don't play very much in the Patriots game in the last week, how much of the new offense do you think you need to get executed in these games, or is doing it in practice enough?
A: No, I think you have to do both. The practice is extremely important, just to get the plays repped and to get more work on it. But the preseason games are so important just because you get a new look, going against a defense that is going to play things differently, or they might bring new blitzes, or they're going to play different techniques than our defense. Things come up, how are you going to respond to this style or to this defense, so all those things are important. I think this next week will be good, playing on the road where you have to get into different snap counts, facing another 3-4 defense, which is good because we don't get to play against a 3-4 with our defense much. I thought we got a little experience with Pittsburgh, and will going against Indianapolis. These games are important for me to get a live rush, movement in the pocket, those types of things, and reacting when everything is real. So these next weeks in practice and games will be very important for us.
**Q: Did you ever think you'd see a game where you didn't complete a pass?
A: Preseason game? I think yeah, I'm not totally shocked. Obviously it's not the ideal situation but when you only have two attempts, there's that possibility.
Q: How heartening is it to at least see that the running game seems to be improving?
A: Yeah, I think the running game was good and we had a couple other good runs. We got called for holding on a couple things, and we have to get rid of those penalties. But it seems like we're getting good push and whenever you have a running back break a long one for 70 yards or 80 yards, whatever it was, that's always a great thing to have, to go be able to hit that big play and hopefully we can get a few more of those and also be a little bit more consistent offensively.
Q: Have you seen enough in practice so far to be really confident that this offense is going to work at a faster pace with shorter passes?
A: I feel very confident in the offense, in our ability. It is preseason and we're not putting everything out there, but I think over these next weeks, we'll start to get a little bit more and be a little bit more aggressive and see if we can make some plays. WR Corey Washington
Yes sir, God is working. I'm staying humble. I'm taking in the playbook day by day and just making plays out there.
Q: Last week 73 yards on a go route down the right sideline. This time a corner post fade. Describe how this play went down and how you made the adjustment on the ball once again.
A: The coach, he called a fly route and I saw that we had smaller corners on the outside so I ran it and the corner was holding me so I kind of boxed him out and made a play on the ball.
Q: Last week the longer play, this week the shorter play in the red zone. What kind of receiver do you think you can be in the pros?
A: I can be a playmaker. Whatever the coaches want me to do, I can do it. Just go out there and play ball.
Q: You know coach has said there is a crack in the door for a guy like you to make this team. He's been impressed, likes what you do in practice. What about the things you need to do to make this team? How close do you think you are? What do you need to do?
A: I don't know. I'm taking it day by day. I need to go on special teams, make some plays on special teams. If I do that, I've got a good chance of making the team.
Q: Have you come to expect a performance like that now after last week?
A: Yes sir, yes sir.
Q: Did your phone go as crazy as it did last week? **
A: Not as much because it wasn't televised (nationally). I'm just waiting for it to go out so everybody can just keep calling.
Q: How happy are you with these first two games personally?
A: I'm just staying humble. It's football, it's fun to go out there and make plays and help the team get a win. I'm just waiting for the regular season to start. Hopefully I'll make the 53-man roster here in New York.
Q: How much more comfortable are you getting within the offense as the weeks go by? Learning a brand new playbook and I guess moving your game from the college level up to the professional level?
A: I'm getting real comfortable. I've got Victor Cruz helping me in the playbook. The guy's staying on me. Going out here and making plays, just studying. Looking at Victor Cruz, the first and second team is doing what they do. I have to perfect my craft.
Q: How much is your height a part of your game? You have some wide receivers in the league that are 5-11, 6 foot. You're a taller guy. How much is that a part of your game and an asset that you use for your game?
A: It's a big part of my game. I'm 6-4, tall and lanky. I can go up and get the ball. That helps against smaller corners. It can be big for the team this year.
Q: What's the trick, you look comfortable regardless of who is throwing you the ball, what's been the trick for that?
A: Being a playmaker. You don't worry about whose throwing the ball, you just go get the ball. You've got to catch it.
Q: Doesn't each quarterback throw it a little differently?
A: Yeah, each quarterback throws it differently but that's the point of being a playmaker. You've just got to go out there and make plays.
Q: Take me through that last play, the fade route up in the air. What was going through your mind when the ball was released? Was it you and the ball you were focusing on? Your positioning on the defensive back? Just take me through that play.
A: It was me and the ball because the cornerback, he was kind of holding me so I had to shed him off and once I knew he was on my backside shoulder I could adjust to the ball and make a play on it. Of course they called a fly route so when I saw the height of the corner, I was like, 'OK, the quarterback's going to come to me. I'm ready to make a play.'
Q: Was there any doubt in your mind that the ball was coming to you?
A: There was no doubt. I knew the ball was coming to me after I saw the height of the corner.
It's a win and we have to recognize the fact that the effort was good. Didn't like a lot that went on. Didn't like the penalties. Didn't like the turnovers. Didn't like the muffed punt. Didn't like the backwards lateral that I think was awful close but they called it a fumble, so what are you going to do. Despite all of that, we found a way to win the game. Curtis (Painter) played well. When Curtis (Painter) came in, he moved the ball. It was an outstanding drive. Corey Washington made a nice play over in the corner. We thought maybe we were going to score on the running play. The ball was at the three. But again, credit where credit is due. Rashad Jennings with the very nice run. A couple of nice field goals. The production should have been better. But we certainly do have some things to work on. So we will again teach from the standpoint of correcting mistakes with a win.
Q: You left the starting offense out four series. Eli threw only two passes. Was it just situational or were you really trying to get the running game going?
A: We had a pitch count and we weren't even close. We had about eight plays in the second quarter. That's why they stayed in. The question about passing, I don't know what the numbers were. It seemed to me that there were more passes called than that. But they all got the predetermined number of snaps and then got out of the game. You saw us take people out in the two-minute drive right before the half. Time is out and out come the center and two more linemen.
Q: Was the pressure early a little bit of a concern? You just don't want your quarterback to get hit that early.
A: Well, you saw the game last year. It was the same thing. The first play of the game was a blitz. So you knew it was going to be. But it was good work. It's good work. The 3-4 work was good. The multiple, complex issues that take place on third down, that was all good. It is something you are going to face. Let's face it now. We worked on it. I don't know how successful we were in picking it up. It was obviously a problem from time to time. But nevertheless, it was good to see it.
Q: The offensive line stayed out even longer than Eli (Manning), Victor (Cruz), and some of the receivers. What was the thinking behind that?
A: They need to play. Those people need to play. They need to work together. They need to communicate. The idea of a set lineup is really not there. They need to play.
Q: Did you like what you saw from the offensive line at first glance at least?
A: Well, we will see. I will look at the tape. I liked to see the 73-yard touchdown run, that was fun. I wish I had seen more of them.
Q: You mentioned the penalties, a lot in the secondary again. The point of emphasis with the officials, is that an issue? Or is it stuff that they shouldn't be doing?
A: Oh, it is a big point of emphasis. Look around the league, if you watch any of the games. It is the interpretation that is being placed on the rules. There is no contact allowed at all. You bump into each other shoulder-to-shoulder when you turn and run down the field, it is called a penalty. That is an issue. We are going to have to do a better job of coaching it. Two weeks in a row and we are still guilty of pass interference and holding and illegal contact and all of those things. We have to get the straightened out. I was hoping that we would fare better this week, having gone through what we did a week ago. but it wasn't the case. But it will be interesting because there were a couple of situations out there that I think the officials are going to have to get straight as well. But it has to do with, again, contact.
Q: Do you put any stock into the fact that Victor [Cruz] hasn't even had a target and Rueben [Randle] maybe not as much?
A: No, I really don't. We still have three games to go. He gets plenty of balls in practice, et cetera, et cetera. I thought we would have a couple shots with Rueben tonight because the ball was thrown over there, but it was thrown behind him, or I have to wait and see what the problem was there. I thought the ball would go up over his head so he could run for the ball, and that's not the way it happened. I think it was Ryan Nassib who threw it.
Q: You ran the ball –I think it was two third-and-longs with the first team. What's the thinking behind that in a preseason game, trying to balance playing for the win and also trying to work on certain situations?
A: 'Backed up' is probably the best answer for that one. But that doesn't mean we're not going to run on third down. I don't care what the down and distance is. I'm not worried about it. Call the runs, let's see what the runs look like. That gives the offensive line a chance. They have a chance and they don't have to just pass protect the whole time, then we'll feel a lot better.
Q: You want everything to get a little better. Did the passing offense get any better today from last week?
A: At spots. We timed some of the passes, some of the routes, up. Some weren't as good as others. We still think the ball needs to go out in front of people when they have an opportunity. I would say maybe a little bit, but not to the extent that you'd like. Our punt protection was better obviously. Our punter did a better job. We thought we'd be okay with the punt return game – we had a lot of people in there, but then we had the fumble, so that hurt.
Q: Would you be holding back on offense more than usual during the preseason because this is a new offense and other teams haven't seen you guys run it and you don't want to show too much?
A: Well, there's some of that. Some of that goes into the thinking, but overall what you're seeing is it's very early in training camp installations and you really don't do a lot of game planning. You just say 'okay, here's what's in at this point in time, this is what we'll run in the game.' That's how you do it. Now you do have to take some time for protections and that type of thing, but by and large, wherever you are and as you continue through preseason, you have more installations and that's what you see during the game.
Q: Not just on the playcalling, but the pace of the offense, because it's going to move at a quicker rhythm, you don't want to show too much of that or do you need to practice that?
A: I think you need to practice that in a game. We've practiced this a lot and I think, quite frankly, it does need to have more rhythm. It does need to have more speed with it. But we have some more time to work on that.
Q: The negative plays, do you just attribute that to how early we still are or ….?
A: We had negative plays? Yeah, we had our share. I think you attribute it to trying to play every guy that dresses. That still doesn't give them an excuse. That's no excuse for me as a coach; they should do better. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn't happen. There's no excuse for it. It should've been better, I don't know what the exact number of negative plays would be tonight. I'm not talking about when you block the play as well as you can and it gains no yardage because the defense flat out beats you at a spot. I'm not talking about that. I'm just saying that if there were negative or bad plays, then we'll look at them and there should be an answer for that and we have to get to the fact that there is one.*RB Rashad Jennings *Q: How did you see [the 73-yard touchdown run] from when you got the ball?
A: It was a play that Eli [Manning] made sure we were in the right play. It was perfect. Offensive line beat the double team. A puller came around and put a body to clear the hole and it gave me an opportunity for a one on one. One on one battles, you have to win, and that's what I did. The rest was just a race.
Q: Its been said that you're a big power back but on that run you turned on the afterburners… It had to make you feel pretty good?
A: One thing I run around the locker room and say before games is, don't let anybody define you. You get a lot of labels as a player and an athlete. He is a physical runner, he is this, he is that. All positions. Same thing for me, I always want to be a complete back. That is what I want to prove in the league and that is the only thing I am going to settle for, so regardless what you are perceived as, it is more how you look at yourself. This is the beginning, we are still learning and growing and have a lot of stuff that we make sure we take care of, myself included. We are happy where we are at, but we are not satisfied.
Q: How much [does being a home-run threat RB] change the perception and kind of characterization of what you guys can do?**
A: I think that the way teams look at players that have the capability to take it the distance, it does play a role, but that is not my mentality to make defensed stay on their toes because you have a guy that can take it the distance. I do understand that it is won in the trenches. You have to be a physical team. Not every game will there be a gaping hole like that. Most of the time it you are going to be getting your four uglies. One-yard run here, maybe twelve. That is the type of game I am prepared for. Also it is good to see the offensive line be able to open up those types of holes for the backs to run through.Q: It is your first time to be in front of Giants fans and you come out and have a run like that….?
A: I actually put it on social media I said this is the first time as a Giant I get to play at the stadium, so you only get one chance to have a first time impression. That is something coach Tom Coughlin was reminding us before we went out on the field so it obviously feels good to get out there and gel with the offense and find a gaping hole like that and be able to make a big play. That is all good, but there is a lot we need to work on. We need to pick up the fast tempo offense and make sure everybody is on the same key. Detail everything out so we can get more plays. Q: Was there any doubt that you were going to beat [the Steelers CB] to the goal line?
A: I never had any doubt. I am not a man of doubt. Plus you got those big screen TV's up there so you can make a cut.
Q: Was that your longest run in the NFL?
A: No, it was not. It is 80 yards. It was last year with the Raiders we played against the Texans.
Q: Was that a touchdown?
A: Yeah, 80-yard touchdown run. Yes sir.
Q: What did you see on the three other offensive possessions?
A: I said it before. Work on detailing things out. It's always good to know when you watch film that it is not physicality that is the reason things aren't working. We kind of shoot ourselves in the foot….*
QB Curtis Painter*
Q: The last drive, especially the touchdown pass… the preseason's sort of becoming the Corey Washington show.
A: Yeah, he's doing a great job. He's been doing that in practice a lot. He's a big target, which makes it easy for quarterbacks. Yeah, he just made a great play, went up and got it. It was a good drive there, a lot of guys got open. It was a pretty good team effort there.
Q: How tough is it to stand around for however long you did and go in late in a game like that?
A: You know, I guess that's kind of the challenge you have. As a backup, you never know when you're going in. As long as you stay loose on the sideline and stay up, it's not too bad.
Q: You're out there with a lot of guys who haven't played at all, some guys haven't played much. Does that go through your thinking that you're almost the most experienced guy out there?
A: Well, I don't think about that much. You've got to put your faith that everybody's going to do their job and be where they're supposed to be and everything. I don't think you can really worry about that, you just have to go out there and play.
Q: It looked like it was right on target, the pass to Washington.
A: Yeah, I couldn't see it, I just kind of saw the ref. There were some guys in the way so we'll take a look at it tomorrow. Hopefully it was a good throw. I know he made a heck of a catch. It was tough coverage. I know he did quite a bit of it.
Q: Is that, you know, you guys want to get in a rhythm. You get in there in that drive and it seemed like you were in a rhythm right away.
A: Sure, yeah. That's key. Any time you can get a couple completions and get on a roll, it certainly helps. We were able to do that and move the ball. Our guys did a great job of getting open. Yeah, that definitely put us in a good rhythm and kept us going.
Q: How hard is that when you're the number three guy waiting today?
A: I said earlier, you've just got to stay ready, move around on the sideline. I guess that's kind of the position you're in – you never know when you're going to go in; as a backup, you never know when you're going to get your shot. You've just got to stay up and be ready.
Q: How much do you think you helped yourself today?
A: I think we definitely did some things well. We were able to have a nice, successful drive there. Obviously it helped, ended up being the winning drive, so I think it was good for us to see.
Q: You've been throwing to Corey Washington a lot in the games and in practice. From a quarterback's perspective, what do you see from him as a wide receiver and why has he been such an effective weapon so far in the preseason?
A: He's doing a great job. For one thing, he's a big target. It's easy for a quarterback to throw to the big guys like that. He does a great job of being physical and going up and getting balls that are thrown to him. Yeah, he continues to do a great job.
Q: Do you feel pretty comfortable with this offense in terms of the pace and getting the guys aligned, all of the calls and everything?
A: There's always room for improvement. I think we're definitely making strides. The more you're in the system and the more you're running it and getting reps, I think it's only going to help and hopefully get better from here. CB Prince AmukamaraQ: Tom Coughlin said the penalties are what needed to improve but the officials need to work on what's contact from their perspective. How do you operate with the new rules and as a defender?
A: It's tough. Last year they allowed the corners to have that healthy five. So six or maybe seven, depending on who you are, you can get away with just touching the guy. Now it's strict like hands-off, do not touch the receiver after five yards. It's just something that us DBs are going to have to get used to and be more aggressive within the five yards.
Q: How do you operate with those restrictions? It seems that it's getting more severe each season.
A: I think you just have to adapt as the years go and as the rules change because if you don't, you're going to get flagged. That's one thing our coaches don't like is penalties.
Q: Do you think some of this early preseason? Sometimes you see this and once the regular season starts, it calms down a little bit. Or do you think this is the way it's going to be.
A: Definitely could be. I hope it's like that. I hope they're more lenient. But I think they're trying to set the standard now and get us to play more clean.
Q: Is it possible to cover a receiver without making contact?
A: I'm trying to think how the guys did it before me like Deion [Sanders] and them. They were able to beat the receiver down the field a little bit. I think it is. It's more the receiver has more of the advantage where they can chip and push a little bit like the one with me and Antonio [Brown]. I'm going to have to watch it on film but I thought he gave me a little shove because I kept flying by. It is tough but that's why cornerback is one of the hardest positions in the NFL.
Q: Are you happy with the defense? You guys haven't allowed a touchdown.
A: Yeah I think we're doing pretty good. This game, I think they ran on us more than we'd like. It's tough to fall on, "Oh it's just preseason." I'm sure a couple of us said that last season and we started off 0-6. In preseason, we don't really scheme. We're just working on ourselves, working on our calls. Teams are trying to establish the run and run on us. But overall, I think we're pretty good.
Q: You were ready to kick it into gear to make a tackle on that screen pass…
A: Yeah exactly. I want to see how fast I ran on that play because DRC [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] takes pride in being one of the fastest guys on the team. I don't know about that. Either number 11 or 13, whoever it was, ran fast as heck. That was Dri Archer, yeah, that's fast.
Q: You also had that play where you shed a blocker and made a tackle on third and short and forced them to make a decision. Is that also part of your game, being more aggressive? Both in that spot against the run…
A: I've always taken pride in being a physical corner. That is one of my attributes. I'm not afraid to stick my head in there and hit. So I'm not surprised that I made that play at all.* *