Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: I think the injury report went out, so I'll let that stand. Getting ready to play a really good team. (They) can be very explosive on offense. They certainly have good players on defense. I think it's fair to say they're coming together as a team. They're playing better and better each week, so it's going to be a big challenge for us. With that, I'll take your questions.
Q: They're getting back Patrick Peterson this week. What does he bring that maybe they were missing while he was out?
A: Well, he's a topflight corner in this league. Certainly, anyone that has his skill and ability and has played as well as he has for as long as he has, that'll be a boost to their defense.
Q: With Evan (Engram) and Saquon (Barkley) practicing fully today, is it reasonable to assume they'll play Sunday?
A: We'll just see what the week holds. I'm sure everyone has questions with regard to it, but they practiced today and they did well. So we'll just see.
Q: It seems like Daniel Jones is learning on the fly how to, when he's under pressure, the balance between throwing it away and holding onto it and making a play. I'm just curious, how much of that is coachable and how much of that is him processing in the moment and the decision-making?
A: You have to be a good decision-maker early, in the middle and late in downs. Young players that are hyper competitive like he is, they try to make a play all the way throughout. But as you go through this as a quarterback, there are times when it's important you use your legs and unfortunately throw the ball away. They get used to that as they go. Just like he's getting used to every single thing. I talked to him last week, I said it's kind of an interesting month he had. He went through a lot in the first month, learned a lot and did a lot of really good things. We're looking forward to him continuing to improve in all facets of playing quarterback.
Q: We've seen how Daniel can run as part of his skillset. How would you describe Kyler Murray's running ability? That seems like he's not just doing it when plays break down.
A: It's unique. They have many more structured quarterback-type runs. Your traditional zone reads, so to speak, where the quarterback runs it if either the edge disappears or the numbers are right. So, they have more of those in their system. But again, I think the most dangerous thing in our league with a quarterback with his skillset is when they drop back to pass, and then he takes off and runs. He's done that on a consistent basis throughout (the season) and that's where they're dangerous, because then they have the ability to keep their eyes downfield and throw a late check down for 60 yards, or continue to run and move the chains. That's part of his charm, and he's done a good job to this point.
Q: Do you have to change your scout team quarterback because of that? You don't have a 5-foot-10 quarterback, obviously, who can run around like that. Do you need to put a defensive back there?
A: No. We practice with the quarterback throwing the ball. He and Eli (Manning) have different skillsets, certainly. But there's a lot to be practiced in terms of their route concepts and what they're trying to get done. Then you just try to simulate the other stuff the best you can.
Q: You always talk about how everyone runs the same plays. We've talked about your style of offense and everything. When you look at them, are they significantly different than what most teams do now?
A: Well, I think everybody runs similar plays. Not all the same. I think everybody is game plan specific. We all try to do the things that work against the coverages we face. That's why it looks a little bit different for everybody week to week.
Q: Going back to Kyler just for a second. When you watch him, does any part of him look like a former baseball pitcher, when you look at the arm and the arm strength?
A: I don't know that. I see a guy that has… He's doing all of the things he did in college. He has a quick release. He's very accurate. In terms of his ability to throw the ball, I don't know… I see a quarterback. I don't know. That's sort of what I see.
Q: It's not intended to be any disrespect to the guys you played at running back instead of Saquon, or in place of Saquon, but did teams play you differently because Saquon was not your running back, and do you anticipate things changing when he becomes your running back again?
A: No, I don't know if they did or not. That's probably a better question for the coordinators that played against us. Against Minnesota, we saw the same combination of coverages that we had prepared for. Then certainly against New England, we saw all of the things that they did in terms of how they pressure to how they cover. In those two games, I'm not sure I saw something significantly different than what we prepared for.
Q: Going back to Saquon, if he plays this week, do you have to balance giving him too much to do in his first game back after so many weeks, or do you just say, 'Look, he got the greenlight. We're just going to go like nothing happened'?
A: Well, it's the middle of October, and we're playing ball. We'll just see how that plays out. Players that are deemed healthy, you try to use them to the best of their ability and maximize what they can do to help impact the game.
Q: When you named Daniel Jones the starter, you obviously had a plan in place where Saquon is a major part of this offense and you can use him to help augment a rookie quarterback. When he comes back, if he comes back this week, how much can that help a rookie quarterback to have a guy who is such a threat, who you're going to want to give the ball to and throw the ball to, all of those things, that quite frankly no one else really does?
A: The two biggest… If a quarterback is going to pick two friends, one is an offensive line and then the other is a running back. The ability to be protected so they can make throws, and then a runner that you can hand the ball to and gain yards. Obviously, Saquon being back, if in fact he is, would be a big boost, not only for the quarterback, but for our whole team.
Q: The Cardinals have continued to run a 3-4 defense. Has it changed much under (Cardinals Defensive Coordinator) Vance Joseph, or is it the same that James (Bettcher) had?
A: Same conceptually. When we're in 21 or 12, so when we just have two receivers on the field, you see the 3-4 defense, much like us. Then when we get to 11 or multiple wideouts, three wideouts, they go to more of a nickel set. Then there are times when we're in three wides when they'll stay five on the line. Structurally the same. How they play coverage behind is a little bit different. How they pressure is a little bit different. But I would say the fundamentals of what they teach is the same.
Q: Do you think having a young defense, we've talked about you having a young defense, do you think that helps in a game like this because they already know the way the college game has changed, and the kind of play that Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury had in college that they're now bringing to the NFL? They don't learn new rules or things like that. Does that help?
A: I don't know that. Experience is always more important in things like this. When you're adjusting to tempo and tactics, I think experience helps you, obviously, more than inexperience. Youth is good as well. I think our guys are getting better each week. Part of what we have to deal with this week is a little bit like what we try to do. As a play-caller, you move the throttle around. Sometimes you go fast from the huddle, sometimes you go fast on the line, sometimes it's a little bit more methodical. Because they're newer in their system, they kind of line up without a huddle. I would say this to answer your question directly. Some of our guys that are young, it'll look more familiar to them. Now whether that's going to help us or not, we'll figure that out as we go.
Q: Corey Ballentine, not referring to the injury, but just for the first six weeks… it seemed in the late preseason he was coming on strong. I don't think he even played in the final preseason game. What has held up his progress in getting more defensive snaps and playing, whether it be in the slot or outside?
A: He's been working at it. We've been using him on special teams. He's developing. He's a young player and he's doing an excellent job. There's nothing holding him back right now.
QB Daniel Jones
Q: Coming off the game in New England last Thursday, what do you take from it? What do you continue to learn in a game like that against that kind of opponent?
A: I think a number of things. I think taking care of the ball is the first thing you think about, and just taking advantage of the opportunities. We missed a few there. Just taking care of the ball and trying to make sure we convert on opportunities to make plays.
Q: While not officially official at this moment, it looks like you're getting Saquon (Barkley) back. What do you think when you hear that?
A: Yeah, I think we're going to take it day by day and see how he feels. I know he's been working hard, so we'll see. Hopefully we'll have him out there.
Q: What kind of benefit will that be to have him back in the backfield? You had him for what, less than two quarters?
A: Yeah, I mean he's a big part of what we do. He's a special player. It would be big to have him back.
Q: How much do you think it would take pressure off you a little bit to have to make some plays in the passing game?
A: I think we have done a good job running the ball these past couple of weeks. Obviously, he's a playmaker, he makes a lot of plays. We all have to do our job, we all have to make plays when we get the opportunity.
Q: As he starts getting those reps this week in practice, what changes about the offense just knowing that Saquon is there?
A: Well, like I said, we are going to take it day by day and see how he feels. I think like anything, he's working back, and we're working back with him. We'll see how he feels.
Q: Did you get a chance to meet or spend time with (Arizona Cardinals Quarterback) Kyler Murray during the whole draft process?
A: Yeah, I think I met him. I didn't spend a whole lot of time with him, but I've enjoyed watching him so far and obviously enjoyed watching him in college, also.
Q: Against this Arizona defense, what are some ways you want to utilize the tight end more and exploit some of the struggles that they've had?
A: Well I think our tight ends are always a big part of what we do. Those guys have made plays this year for us, so they'll continue to be a part of what we do. I look forward to seeing them make some plays.
Q: What kind of challenges do you have to deal with (Arizona Cardinals Linebacker Terrell) Suggs and (Arizona Cardinals Linebacker Chandler) Jones as you look at their pass rushers? This is a pretty potent duo we are talking about.
A: Yeah, they are good players. I think from my standpoint, I need to be good at stepping up in the pocket and holding onto the ball. I think those things are always important. They've got two good ones, but I'm confident we'll do a good job. We've done a good job this season and I'm confident with our guys to protect. I have to make sure I'm doing my job stepping up and getting time.
Q: Pat Shurmur mentioned to us that he had a conversation with you, I guess along the lines of it's been an interesting month for you. Do you have any takeaways as essentially your first month as a starter, or a reaction to that conversation with your head coach?
A: Yeah, I think it's been, looking back on the month, kind of up and down. I've been inconsistent overall. I've been good and been bad. I think there are certainly a lot of things to learn. When you look at the scheme or some of the decisions, some of my habits or bad habits, I think there are a lot of things to learn. So, I'll kind of separate those problems, (and) those individual issues and try to improve. But also, just getting more comfortable and getting more accustomed to what we are doing. I think I'll continue to learn and grow, but I've certainly had the opportunity to learn a lot this month.
Q: Is there a sense of "we have to start getting this right now"?
A: Yeah, I think there is always going to be that sense. I think we're always going to feel the urgency to fix things we haven't done as well. To improve, I think that should always be there. Starting today at practice, really starting Monday at practice, I think there's an urgency and a sense of making sure we prepare as well as we possibly can, so we can play as well as we possibly can.
Q: With Kyler (Murray), how much does it factor into your thinking at all like, 'he was the number one pick, and I want to show that I'm the best quarterback in this draft'?
A: Not much. My focus is on trying to help the team win the game. I think that's the biggest part. It's about being prepared as a team, it's about making sure I'm doing my part in that preparation and I'm ready to play as well as I can. I think that's the emphasis, is to go out there and help our team get a win.
Q: Can Antoine Bethea be of any assistance to you with the Cardinals' defense?
A: Yeah, I think so. It's a little bit of a new system there this year, but personnel wise, they have some of his old teammates. I'll continue to talk to him and understand what I can from his experience.
Q: When you say about taking care of the ball, what specifically goes into that other than don't put the ball where it's not supposed to be? What have you looked at in the last couple of days of wanting to improve in that area?
A: I think in the pocket, making sure I'm keeping two hands on the ball. When I'm running, securing the ball. I think that's part of it. Just making good decisions. I think being aggressive when the opportunity is there, and not when it's smart not to be aggressive. Just kind of managing that, understanding those situations, and learning from them.
Q: Is it really not a tangible thing that you can say, 'this is what I'm going to focus on?' Is it just a matter of week to week improving those areas from experience?
A: Yeah, through experience. Recognizing certain things as opportunities to be aggressive or not. I think it's a lot of that, just seeing more and understanding that.
WR Golden Tate III
Q: What are you looking forward to in this Arizona defense and ways you guys can exploit them?
A: I can't really tell you that (laughter). I think we are just excited to get back on the field and get that bad taste out of our mouth from last Thursday night. We have another opportunity, we are back at home, we're excited. We are getting some guys back, which is important for us, and we just want to go out there and play a complete game. I think we know how good we can be, we just want to go out there and execute the fundamentals. Do the small things right that make a world of a difference. Today was the first day of practice, or I guess the second day of practice, but I thought guys flew around, were excited to be out there and we are looking forward to Sunday. Arizona is a good team. I never like to look at the records, they're a good team that has some good players. They are getting Patrick Peterson back. We have to play good defense, offense and special teams.
Q: What are you looking forward to possibly getting Saquon back?
A: I'm excited to be on the field with him and block for him and whatever is needed to help him score and help us win. He's a huge part of this offense, we're excited about it. We have to do our jobs the best we can to spring each other.
Q: What do you notice about how the offense changes with him at practice?
A: I'm so new, this is only my third game, so I don't know, it's not a question for me because I haven't played.
Q: Getting the full arsenal back for Daniel Jones, how do you think that will impact him as he continues to grow game to game?
A: Just more options, we can spray the ball everywhere, which makes it tough to cover us. The more options we have, the better off we are, the better team we are. I know we are all excited.
Q: What was it like for you to personally contribute last week? I know it came in a losing effort?
A: I wish I could have done a little bit more to help us win, there were some plays I wish I had back. I had a decent performance personally, but I don't play the game for personal stats, I play the game for the collective effort. Going home having 100 yards in a loss is not that fun. Going home having 30 yards and a win, I'm celebrating with everybody. That's just how I am built, I'm on year 10, I've done all the stats, I want to win.
Q: With them getting Patrick Peterson back, what do they get on defense that they didn't have under the new system in the games he was out?
A: I'm pretty new to studying these guys, I just kind of started last night. Playing against Patrick in the same division when I was in Seattle, he's a lock down corner. We expect him to follow if needed, his knowledge of the game is strong. He is one of the most athletic humans I have ever been around, he plays hard. You just have to be aware of where he is, he takes the right chances. We are going to try to study up what we know and what we can on him and go out there and execute. The thing you will probably hear me say a lot is it's never about who we are playing or who they have, it's always about how we perform when we pay attention to details and what we do. If we go out there and handle our business, it doesn't matter who we go against. We are just worried about us and putting a good product out there.
Q: Did you volunteer to be Kyler Murray on the scout team?
A: I did, I definitely would, it would be fun. I think we have a good understanding of Kyler.
LB Alec Ogletree
Q: On facing the Arizona offense
A: Kyler (Murray) can run all over the field and make it very difficult for us. So, it was a challenge last week, and this is another challenge for us as a defense, as a team, to go against them.
Q: It seems like he creates opportunities down the field with his legs, too—how taxing is that?
A: It's very hard on a defense when you can't keep a guy contained and he's able to break the containment and stretch you down the field and force guys on the back end to cover for a long time. So, we've got to do a good job with the way we rush and obviously making sure we stay on guys even if he does break the contain.
Q: It was three years ago when (David) Johnson had 2,000-plus yards from scrimmage—are they using him differently now because of all the weapons they have?
A: I wouldn't say they're using him differently. I think he's still doing the same stuff. He's able to run the ball in the middle and also go out and run routes as a receiver, and I think he was doing that, like you said, three years ago before he got hurt. Obviously, it's a different offensive scheme for him, so they use him a little differently in that sense, but for the most part he's still able to line up as a receiver and run routes, and he can catch the ball out of the backfield and run in-between the tackles.
Q: How different is their scheme overall than a lot of other offenses you play against? Obviously, Kliff (Kingsbury) brings those up-tempo spread concepts from college.
A: Like you said, it's kind of more of a college feel to it where guys are on the ball and they've got the spread on, they make you defend the whole field—screen to the right, then come back, screen to the left, screen to the middle—all kinds of stuff that they do. So, it takes a lot of eye discipline and making sure guys are in the right positions.
Q: How much do you view their offense as unique? Have you seen something like it?
A: This year, I would say a little bit. It's still relatively the same, you still get your zone reads and stuff like that, for the most part. But they obviously try to play to the strong suits of the guys they have, so with Kyler, they get him out of the pocket and throw the ball down the field, and like I said, they try to use the whole field on offense.
Q: Are there more of those zone reads with the Cardinals than with some of the other teams?
A: Yeah, those are kind of their main runs, where they zone read and read the end, or whoever is on the edge, and he can give it or he keeps it and runs it.
Q: What has Markus Golden brought to the defense?
A: He's brought a big spark to us. He's playing great, you can tell by the numbers, he's getting to the quarterback and causing a lot of havoc. That's something that we needed, and you appreciate the energy that he brings to this defense and to this team, and he does it every day. He works hard, and you see that he's on a mission.
Q: What gives you the sense that he's on a mission?
A: Just the way he works, and some of the conversations we've had together. I know he wants to do a lot of good things here, and hopefully I can help him reach those goals that he has in mind.
Q: Do you think he's opening some eyes so far?
A: He definitely is, and I think he should be. He's a great teammate, guys around here respect him and what he does. Like I said, the more he keeps going, the better. I'm happy for him, for sure.
Q: He seems like a high motor guy—he's not going to bull rush you right away, but he'll get you at the end of the play?
A: He's got a lot of tricks in his bag, for sure.
Q: How much do you think the younger guys are picking up on that, and that's carrying over to the way they approach games?
A: I think he's been in the system before and he's been in the league a few years, so he has an understanding of what it takes to be a real good pass rusher, and also just playing in this defense. I see X (Oshane Ximines) and all those guys kind of asking him like, 'What do you mean?' and he's pushing those guys to get better and continue to grow.
Q: The fact that he can produce sacks, how important is that?
A: It's very important. You like to have it on each team—each team needs to have somebody who can go get the quarterback, and he's definitely shown that he's able to do that. So, we've just got to continue to get better, just push each other, and I think he's doing a great job for us.
Q: Is the speed at which Arizona operates faster than any other team you've seen?
A: They obviously have some hurry-up in their offense. They get on the ball, they don't really huddle much, so we have to be able to communicate, get lined up fast, and play what we see.
Q: Like a college game, right?
A: It's somewhat of a college game, and that's kind of what the league is trending toward. For him (Kyler Murray), like I said, they try to get everybody on the ball, let him get a nice read, and play what he sees.
Q: Are the guys that just came out of college maybe accustomed to that?
A: Yeah, it depends on which conference you played in, I guess. If you played in the PAC-12 or Big Ten, or whatever, they spread you out like that, and that's obviously what you're used to. But I think in the SEC you still get your two-back looks—we're kind of switching up a little bit, but you still get your running downfield, your hard-nosed football.
Q: So you're saying the SEC is still "real" football?
A: It's still real football.
Q: And you played where?
A: At Georgia.
Q: And they're in the SEC?
A: They are, they are.
Q: As you get ready for Sunday, what do you see that's so unique about Kyler Murray's skill level and what you're going to see?
A: Just his ability to make plays. Obviously, they brought in a coordinator and head coach that call solid plays, so he's a guy that if you're not careful, he can hit you with his legs, but also he's pretty accurate when he throws the ball, too. So, you have to be able to trust your coverage, and also just make the looks hard for him. We have to make sure our rush lanes are intact and stuff like that.
CB Janoris Jenkins
Q: What do you see from their offense?
A: Basically, zone read, a lot of in-breaking throws. They try to get him out of the pocket. They try to use his ability the best way they can.
Q: Is this still new to the NFL or have you seen stuff like this?
A: I don't see stuff like this a lot. You know, I played against Russell (Wilson) a couple times in the NFC West when I was with the Rams.
Q: So, kind of similar to what (Seattle Seahawks Head Coach) Pete Carroll and him were doing when he was early in his career?
Q: Is Kyler (Murray) faster than Russell?
A: I don't know, I just know both of them are mobile. Both of them are quick and athletic.
Q: Who's the fastest quarterback you have ever faced?
A: It has to be Russell. Yeah, it had to be Russell.
Q: You haven't played (Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Lamar) Jackson?
A: I played RG III (Robert Griffin III), but he was kind of iffy. His rookie year he was pretty mobile, but after that he had (inaudible).
Q: Corey Ballentine, a young corner, trying to learn his way. As a veteran, what do you see that he's doing well, how does he need to grow to earn opportunities?
A: I've seen him grow since he's been here. As far as watching film, picking my brain, picking AB's (Antoine Bethea) brain. Just staying focused and learning the details of the game. I think he's been tremendous. I just can't wait to see him get out there with us and play. As far as improvement, just the smaller things, just alignment, techniques and stuff like that. But it's nothing too major.
Q: What did you see from Sam Beal the first day back out there?
A: He's moving well, he's moving good. That's a good thing, that's a positive. He's getting into the rotation out there. I just wanted to see him work. Today was the first day, I hope he keeps it going and we're just going to move forward.
Q: Is there a way for him, you, and (DeAndre) Baker to be all on the field at the same time?
A: Yeah, there's a way for me, Beal, Baker, and Ballentine to be on the same time. We just have to find a way to get them out there. Hopefully we get them out there, but if we don't, we're going to play within the scheme and keep playing well.
Q: Have you guys talked at all about how you're still in this in the division, even with how things are going this year?
A: Not really. It's just one day at a time. We're focusing on Wednesday. We hear it, we might bring it up every now and then. But it's just one game at a time, one day at a time and attack the day.
Q: How admirable is what (Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver) Larry Fitzgerald has done with his career? The longevity of the receiver he is and how respected he is.
A: That's just him being a pro. He understands the game, he has a great catch radius, he's the go-to guy when the first read is not open. We understand he can make a lot of plays.
Q: What's the challenge against the way that Arizona plays on offense?
A: They play tempo, up tempo. Just being able to contain the quarterback, keep them in the pocket, cover his second option and his first option, and just play fast.
Q: What do you see from Kyler Murray when he improvises? How do you defend that and watch for that, especially with his speed?
A: You have to prepare. We need all 11 guys. We know he's very, very mobile, but he also can make a lot of throws, so we have to stay on our game and just be able to plaster when the play breaks down.
Q: What kind of strides have you guys made defensively when you see what you were able to do at times against the Patriots?
A: We've made big improvements, but we have to keep working. Last week was last week, but we have to come out and do the same thing this week and start even faster.