Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Q: What are teams doing in the red zone to take Julio Jones away? He has no touchdowns. Is it similar to how teams play Odell?
A: When you get in the red zone, obviously the field compresses. There’s less of an urgency to guard the post, so what happens is you can lean in players toward who you perceive to be your star. That’s one of the areas on the field where you can choose to double one or sometimes two of the players that are involved. Again, the key comes to, you’ve got to have progressions where you try to get the ball to somebody, but the goal is to get it in the end zone. As long as you’re getting it in the end zone, and I think they do a pretty good job down there, the other guys have to do their part.
Q: They are being played similarly?
A: It’s similar, it’s not new. It’s just the way the world works and I think the players and the teams change, but sometimes it’s the same narrative.
Q: What have you missed without having Evan Engram in there?
A: Him being out the first few weeks can affect you. He’s got very good speed, he has some traits that a wide out might have, so that’s another guy to throw the ball to. Again, it kind of plays into if you’re going to stop one guy, the other guy has got to make plays. That’s not to say that the guys that filled in for Evan didn’t make plays, it’s just good when he’s out there.
Q: What is your assessment of your defense so far? Is it similar to the offense, still trying to find their way a little bit?
A: Yeah, every area of our team, there are stretches in the games where it’s really good, winning football, and then there’s also areas where the execution breaks down and it affects the outcome.
Q: Similar to Evan, obviously Olivier (Vernon) has been out most of the time. What will a healthy (OV bring)?
A: We saw his impact on the game last week. He can create a pass rush, and that is one of the things that we could have done better in the first few weeks of the season, but when you have a player that can pass rush like he did, he was disruptive in the game on Thursday night. Hopefully he can build on that.
Q: What went into some of the transaction decisions the other day? (Grant Haley) for (Donte Deayon) and the guys you put on IR – were their injuries that severe?
A: Yeah. There aren’t shenanigans with IR – if a guy can’t go for a long stretch of time, that’s something that we want to do. It’s pretty well-documented that we’ve had a lot of change to the roster as opposed to a year ago, so we’ve got some players that if a guy gets hurt, we want to see what they can do. The reason why we want to see what they can do is we think they’re good enough, so we’re going to give them opportunities.
Q: The only linebacker that has played fewer snaps than Lorenzo Carter is Olivier Vernon. At this point in the season, what have you seen out of Lorenzo so far? Do you feel like it’s a priority to get him more snaps and get him on the field?
A: We get him on the field a bit, he’s involved in special teams, so he’s got a pretty solid load for a rookie. I think he’s improving. He’s continuing to improve. We see the reasons why we drafted him, and we anticipate that improvement will continue.
Q: You used Nate (Stupar) at linebacker after Ray-Ray (Armstrong) got hurt. What have you seen from him and did you ever expect to use him there? He’s more of a special teams guy.
A: Nate is a very instinctive player. Nate understands where he fits in the defense – he’s very smart, he studies, he’s a real pro. He approaches his defensive or scrimmage snaps in the same way he approaches his role on special teams. He’s one of those guys that’s going to be in the right spot. He’s getting more and more comfortable as he goes. As he gets further and further away from that knee surgery he had a year ago, it’s going to be even smoother for him.
Q: What’s the plan with (RJ) McIntosh? Can he get up to speed enough to get on the field in these next couple weeks?
A: He’s going to practice. In theory, we started his clock, which can go for as much as three weeks before we can activate him. He hasn’t had pads on – the last time he had pads on, he was in college. Let’s keep that in mind. It’s important that he gets out there and gets a feel for things, gets banged around a little bit, and kind of goes through some of the season – it’s not the same – that you would in a training camp. That’s going to be moving forward in the next three weeks that we’re trying to get out of it.
Q: How far behind is he, because he missed so much time?
A: That’s a crazy question. He’s obviously way behind. I just said, he hasn’t had pads on since he was in college. It’s not like basketball where you can still shoot. He’s got to learn how to play again, and that’s what we’re going to use this three weeks for. So, yeah, he’s way behind.
Q: If you got one (win), would that change the whole season in terms of the overall focus, the overall feeling? Just get that one win to get going?
A: We got one. To get the next one, and the next one, and the next one, that’s the goal. Teams fight through adversity and it’s in the Giants’ DNA to pull this thing out. I’ve seen it, I’ve studied the history of it, and I like the locker room that we’ve assembled. I’m impressed with the guys that we have in the locker room, and I know they’re going to fight. I watched the games just like you have and coached the games – these guys fight, and these guys have enthusiasm. We just haven’t executed, and I’ll keep saying that until we do. And when we win the game, you know what I’m going to say? We executed better but we still made a lot of mistakes. Just write that down, because that’s what you try to do until you play the perfect game. I haven’t heard any coach take the podium and say their team played the perfect game. That’s the goal, and you really don’t worry about the results. You just try to eliminate those execution errors and then put it out there. It’s a thrill of competition, not to dread. You just go play. That’s what drives players and coaches to do what we do. That was a little bit of a rant, but we’re all friends here.
Q: You’ve talked several times about the fight you see in this locker room. You may not show us, you may not show the public, but is there part of you that needs to show to your team or you maybe made a conscious effort to show your team that you’ve got that fight, too?
A: My team knows my true personality. For me to rant and rave, or say something that can be written and reported about, and me making it about me, I don’t think that makes you strong and I don’t think that makes anybody think that I care anymore than the players in the locker room. They know my true feelings, and that’s what I care about. We’ll take it from there. I’m well aware of competition and how this works. I played in the trenches, I was an overachiever. I get that, but I also know that as an adult sometimes, you don’t just do it and say whatever the heck you want. This is about team-building and trying to do this the right way, and along the way we’ve got to win more games and I am aware of that.
*Q: Is Russell Shepard coming back this week?
*A: We hope. He’s on his way back. We’ll see.
Q: If he can’t go, with (Cody) Latimer on IR now, what are you looking at as far as replacing that receiver position? Have you worked out a couple guys – Jawill Davis played a little?
A: Jawill Davis played obviously and then we’ve just got to work with the guys that we have. We brought in Bennie Fowler, so if Russell can’t go, we’ve got four at this point on the active roster, so you can do the math there. Four for four, those four guys.
Q: Have you found in your career that difficult times and having to deal with them have been important to you, and kind of defined you as a coach?
A: I think so. I don’t think any coach has ever won every game. We do this because we’re career coaches, we’re educators, and we’re trying to get the best out of our players. Sometimes you start further back and sometimes you start in the front, and sometimes you’ve got further to go when it comes to team building and getting the team ready to win games. We’re all sensible enough to believe that, but the competitor in us and the ‘we don’t want to lose’ and ‘we have the feeling that you get when you lose’, it’s there and we carry it with us. But I do think any adversity you go through helps you in the long run as long as you find your way through it. That’s what we’re facing right now. That’s real, so we just keep fighting our way through it.
Q: Status for (Nate) Solder and (Olivier Vernon) today?
A: They were out there today in the walk-thru. They’ll be competing to some degree in practice. I think they’ll be there, but we’ll see.
CB Janoris Jenkins
Q: It’s not over, you can do a lot of things in the remaining games.
A: It’s a lot, there’s a lot still. We’re not there, but right now we just have to take it one play at a time, one game at a time, one week at a time, and just continue to get better.
Q: Do you believe that in your mind if you get one, if you get one W, you can build something?
A: You get one, then they all come in, we all know how that goes. You’ve just got to keep working, like I said, but once that one comes, they’re going to come.
Q: You’re going against a pretty good quarterback and a pretty good offense, so you have a lot to think about, don’t you?
A: Yeah, it’s just football at the end of the day. Winning your matchup, keeping your eyes on your man and doing your job is what it’s all about.
Q: What’s one of the characteristics about Matt Ryan that makes him such a good QB?
A: He’s got a lot of weapons, the O line protects him pretty good, a lot of threats like I said, and he just controls the ball. Nice arm, and like I said, we just have to continue to come out and play football.
Q: We were just talking to Coach Shurmur and he was very confident in the resolve of this locker room. Can you just talk about the way you guys are going to fight? Can you talk about what you see in here?
A: It’s all a family. We understand that we had some very tough games and we lost a few, but we also understand that adversity is going to hit, and it’s all about how we’re going to respond. Everybody in the locker room knows we’re going to come out and work every day and continue to push.
Q: What makes Julio (Jones) such a tough cover?
A: He’s fast, he’s physical, he can run every route, as we all know, great hands, and a quarterback that gives him the ball. We have to stay on point, lock in and play football.
S Landon Collins
Q: On playing Monday night against the Falcons.
A: Honestly, the guys, we all come in here and we got a good opportunity to play a game again and its Monday night so it’s a good opportunity to play another Monday night game and just showcase that we’re still here. The guys are very positive about what we’re doing and excited.
Q: So how do you go out there and finish and get the W?
A: Exactly what you said, finish. Honestly, finishing every play using our eyes, playing our technique, playing our gap assignments correctly and making every play like it’s our last.
Q: When you look at their offense and how capable they are of putting up big points, how do you go into this game as a defensive unit?
A: Playing sound, honestly. We play with our eyes, play with sound technique, watching what we’re supposed to be watching and keeping our eyes off the quarterback because they’re a big play action team. We keep our eyes on what we’re supposed to be doing and where they’re supposed to be at, we’ll be alright.
Q: Bottom line do you still believe?
A: Yes of course I do.
Q: In what respect?
A: That we still can be one of those contenders.
Q: We keep hearing about finish, finish, finish. Why isn’t it being finished? Is it lack of execution? Why is that?
A: Lack of execution I would say. Not finishing the plays that we know should be able to finish or making plays we know we can make.
Q: Coach Shurmur was talking about his confidence level in guys not giving up, you’re 1-5. The outside world thinks your season is over at 1-5. He was talking about the resolve that he feels his players in this locker room have that you are continuing to fight and there’s no – I’m asking you what are the things you see in this room from most of your guys that you feel confident about that?
A: You still see smiles in people’s faces when they come up in here. Positive outlooks, nobody is saying the season’s over, nobody said that since we’ve been 1-5, no one has said that, and everybody’s just staying positive. We got the team, we got the guys, know what we can do and what we’re capable of so once we put one in the bucket I think we’re going to keep it going from there.
Q: How difficult is it when you go through stretches like this and lose some tough games to keep that attitude? What’s the challenge with that?
A: The challenge is that it’s hard. Definitely hard, but when you know you got guys that you play for, your brothers that you play for, guy on my left, guy on my right, you play for those guys each and every play. As long as we’re having a fun time, having a good time I’ll come in here with positive thoughts.
Q: How does it affect you guys to have 11 days between games? Does that help you or hurt you?
A: It helps. Body needs the rest. It helps a lot I’ll tell you that much. A lot of the guys needed that rest, a little break, but I would say it helps.
Q: Is there being an edge being that– last game you guys played was the Thursday night game and now it’s another primetime game. Just not wanting to have that sort of a result again losing by three touchdowns on primetime, having another opportunity to come out on national TV and show yourselves.
A: What’s the question?
Q: Is there sort of an edge that it’s back-to-back primetime games?
A: Is it an edge? No, I mean it’s a good opportunity to play football. Honestly, we got the time to go out there and play ball so we can show that we’re not that team that got beat by three touchdowns and we’re not that team so that’s what we got to do.
Q: How close do you think you guys are on defense because it seems like each game there’s one or two of those breakdowns that kind of get you?
A: What do you mean how close?
Q: How close do you think you are to kind of putting that game together defensively?
A: We’re right there. Like you said, it’s like one play, two plays. We’re right there, honestly. We just got to make those plays now.
Q: I’m sure you hear chatter and talk from fans who say Giants are better off losing and getting a higher draft pick. I know that doesn’t sit well with NFL players, but how do you react when you hear that?
A: I ignore it. I don’t even – that’s my first time hearing that comment, but it is what it is. That’s how fans want to be. Fans are going to say what they – fans got a right to their opinion so that’s how they feel and that’s what they want to say, that’s what they want to say.
Q: How difficult is Atlanta’s offense? What do you see when you see (Matt) Ryan and all those weapons?
A: It’s a big play action team, honestly. They’ll hit you with the misdirections, fake runs and stuff like that. You got to play with great technique, great eyes. You do that, you’re better off.
Q: When you say your eyes, what do you mean by that?
A: Watching what you’re supposed to be watching, keys, your techniques, the receiver or the line of scrimmage or the pulls, the gap schemes, stuff like that.
Q: So stay on what you’re supposed to be doing.
Q: Looking at the stats, you have Odell (Beckham Jr.) and Julio (Jones) and they have, it’s like 89, 90 combined receptions and only one touchdown among them. When you get a certain reputation, do teams just say we’re not letting you beat us?
A: Yeah pretty much. When you got a reputation like that, when you got one of the best receivers in the game, yeah you got that reputation we are not letting this guy beat us and that’s how it’s going to be. That’s how people attack Odell, that’s how people attack Julio, that’s how people try to attack Antonio (Brown), Keenan (Allen), (Allen) Robinson, all the type of receiver’s people try to take them out the game so we can have a better chance of winning.
Q: What’s the missing ingredient right now for your defense to go from sometimes making the play to being dominant the way you were two years ago?
A: Make the play. That’s the only difference.
Q: When you guys are correcting mistakes, are you guys making the same mistakes over and over again? Like you go to the next game –
A: No. Besides the RPO stuff, we corrected that and then from that point on it’s been good.
Q: Don’t have to worry about that too much with Julio – with Matt Ryan.
A: No not with Matt Ryan pulling anything like that. Not at all. They use 12 back there, but you could play – we know they ain’t throwing the ball so you could just kind of play honest.
QB Eli Manning
Q: How does this team finish this week and get a win?
A: It’s putting a full game together, and we haven’t done that. We’ve shown glimpses of good play in series, but we just got to play that complete game. Just finding ways to extend drives, stay consistent, and try to avoid the negative plays.
Q: Do you believe that if you get one win, you guys can get on a streak?
A: It’s easy to get hot in this league, it’s possible. We just got to find a way to get one. This week on the road, a tough contest against Atlanta, but I think the guys are ready, and focused, and ready to go out there and ready to play better football.
Q: Have you learned anything about Pat Shurmur in terms of how he handles adversity?
A: It’s a tough situation for everybody, but I think he’s handled it well. Trying to stay calm. He’s leading this team, and pushing guys every day to get better – to stay the course and keep fighting. Everybody just make small improvements.
Q: Pat Shurmur seams to appreciate your demeanor. Do you feel the same way about him?
A: Yeah, I think it’s pretty similar. You see the passion, you know there’s passion and hard work. He’s not throwing chairs, he’s not screaming and yelling at everybody. He has his own way of motivating guys. I think he’s done a good job of just kind of handling the pulse of this team and keeping us together, and I think that’s the most important thing.
Q: Do you sense your teammates are able to block out all the negativity that’s being said about the team?
A: That’s always a challenge. It’s just a challenge to try to focus on the things that you can control, and that’s us and your assignments, the game, going out there and playing well. Keep the focus on that, and we’ll be okay.
Q: Atlanta is not a high-pressured defense. They tend to sit back in coverage often, which is different from the defenses you’ve faced so far. Is that easier to deal with?
A: They’re a good scheme on defense. They don’t bring tons of pressure, but they will a little bit. So, they try to mix it up. They try to mix up their zone, their man, to keep you off balance. We just got to have plays that are good versus both of them. They’re mostly a single-high team (coverage). We’ll be prepared for everything. Just try to have different ways of getting the ball down the field. Different ways just to get the ball out on time, and get completions, and just try to stay out of those third-and-longs.
Q: Against a high-pressured offense, do you feel as if you guys have to match that? Is this going to be a shootout?
A: You just know offensively, we just have to move the ball. They got some guys banged up on defense. We know we got to do our part. We got to try to get out to a good lead. Just keep playing those four quarters, like I said earlier. You can’t give this team a whole lot of breathing room, because they have the ability to come back and to score.
Q: What do you miss with TE Evan Engram out, and what can he add to this offense?
A: I think with Evan, just that guy who can get open versus man (coverage). Another option if teams want to play a little two-high (coverage), and play two-man (coverage). A guy who can get open versus linebackers and create some mismatches and move him around. I think it’ll be good to get Evan back.
T Nate Solder
Q: What is it going to take from the line, from the receivers, from your quarterback this week to put together a thorough team effort for 60 minutes?
A: Same thing that we’ve always believed in. It’s one play at a time, competing at a high level, doing everything that you can to do it one play at a time and think about nothing in the past, nothing in the future, just focus on now.
Q: What’s the urgency to just get a win and get something going here?
A: The urgency is as it always is. This is a tough league to ever win a game. It takes everybody so we’re working together to the best that we can to prepare this week for another tough game.
Q: You’re going to have to score some points against a team that’s going to put up points so is this group capable of just doing that?
A: Well that’s our job as offensive players to score points so managing the clocks, scoring points, those are all the things that we need to do.
Q: Is it been a challenge because you got a bunch of new guys on this line to get it all together and kind of find that continuity? Has that been part of the issue?
A: I think there’s a ton of challenges. I think that’s the NFL. I think there’s always challenges so we do the best that we can, we improve the things we screwed up and we keep doing the things that we were doing right and we move forward.
Q: Apologize if this has been asked, but are you okay physically?
A: Yeah, thank you for asking.
Q: You know locker rooms; well you’ve been in championship locker rooms over the years. Does this team have what it takes to be a championship team or at least be a team that’s competitive right now?
A: I’m really thankful to be in this group. I think it’s a wonderful group of guys. We’re doing the best we can, we’re working hard and you can’t look forward, you got to take it one game at a time so we’re on Atlanta right now and that’s the focus of everything that we’re doing.
Q: You have never been obviously 1-5 before. What’s the challenge keeping the heads up in the room and carrying on when the outside world’s, you know, the sky is falling the season’s over, all that kind of thing?
A: I don’t think you can pay attention to any of that. I think that’s just a life lesson. There’s going to be plenty of stuff that goes on and the noise in just general. Everyone else that doesn’t really know or is involved in and they’re always going to be looking to bring you down. If they’re going to condemn Christ, they’re going to condemn us so we just take one step at a time, do the best that we can with our god given abilities and just thank him for what we have.
Q: In terms of inside this locker room, what’s the challenge to kind of keep that going?
A: The challenge is we just got to support each other and not take anything for granted. We only have a short time on this earth, we got to enjoy every single minute of it, love on each other and just spend the time with each other and prove, get better and have fun doing it.
Q: Do you see that support right now in this locker room? Are you guys together?
A: We got everything we need in this locker room it’s amazing so I’m very thankful to be here.
Q: Have you learned anything about yourself? Like Mark says it’s a first time going through being 1-5 I imagine. Have you learned anything about yourself or how to deal with it?
A: I do believe that I’m constantly learning about myself. What have I learned? It comes down to us and how we love on each other and take care of each other and you can’t do it as one player, you have to do it as a team. It takes everybody on the same page and everybody working hard and I think we have those elements and it’s just a continued process. We have to keep working at it, we have to keep pushing, we can’t back down and we have to put our foot on the gas.
TE Evan Engram
Q: Missed question.
A: It’s a great opportunity. It’s a great opportunity for myself. I’m looking to come back, looking to play this week and great opportunity for our team, Monday night primetime. Going back home against a good Atlanta Falcons team, it’s exciting. Gives us a lot of motivation to work this week and it’s just a great opportunity for this whole locker room.
Q: Were you frustrated in watching and not being able to help and you saw a lot of things go wrong with this team?
A: Definitely. It was just frustrating not to be out there to begin with, but seeing some of the struggles and seeing some of the things I know we could be better at, it was tough and it was tough not to be apart of it and just try to be just a helping hand or that piece to fix some of those mistakes or to make catches in the end zone or just make big plays in general, so it was definitely frustrating, but the whole team has grown from it. I’ve grown in my time off and I’m looking forward to getting back out there and try my best to help.
Q: Anything you can’t do in your mind this week or you feel like you’re 100 percent?
A: I feel good, I feel really good. There’s no limitations. They’re letting me loose at practice. I’m pushing through and I’m getting my confidence back in it and everything’s good right now, so definitely.
Q: Is this offense, in your mind, capable of competing with this Atlanta offense and playing in a shootout game?
A: Definitely. We showed flashes of it this year. We just got to put it all together and we know that their offense is really explosive. They’re a little injured on defense, so we can find some holes in there, but we’re just worried about us. We’re worried about executing on ourselves and scoring ourselves and whatever the scoreboard says at the end of the game, we’ll live with it.
Q: What would a win do, especially 1-5, a road win. What would that do for this team right now?
A: It would do a lot for us. That’s the goal going in it, to win each game. We’re 1-5, that’s what we are, but a win will be a testament of what this team could be and what we’re supposed to be and definitely just keep allowing us to give us some energy and keep pushing forward for the rest of the year.
Q: How far is your hometown away from Atlanta?
A: Probably like 25-30 minutes without traffic. It’s not far at all so I got a lot of people coming in. It’s a great opportunity, I’m really excited, it’s going to be fun.
Q: Does that add more pressure because it’s going home and playing in front of –
A: No, I don’t really look at it like that. I’m really excited to play in front of all my friends and family. A lot of people are going to be there that have been with me growing up and my whole process in getting to this point, so just coming home and playing in the new beautiful stadium is crazy. I’m really excited. It’s going to be fun.
Q: Is the attitude of the team any different when the owner comes out and says he’s disappointed with the 1-5 record?
A: That is what it is. That’s the owner, he’s pushing us. He’s going to be real with us and real with you guys, so it’s something that we got to be better at at the end of the day and that’s what he expects most out of us and we got to deliver.
Q: Is that the message that is taken that he obviously cares. Is there any danger in creating too much pressure?
A: No. We’re really chill here. We’re transparent from the top down, so we just take it as it is, we’re working each and every day and we’re trying to get better and we got to deliver on Sunday.
Q: Possible that kind of intensity on his part helps?
A: Definitely. We push each other each and every day. When it comes from the owner like that, it’s definitely – that’s a big one, so just got to look at the mirror and get to work and make everything happen when it counts.
Q: Why hasn’t the offense worked? Especially in the passing game, why haven’t the big play opportunities been there and scoring plays?
A: It’s an execution thing. We have the talent. We have everything else. We just got to execute at the end of the day.