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Quotes (10/25): Shurmur, Shula, Beckham, Vernon, Jenkins, Barkley, McGaughey

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

Q: What do you like about Tony Lippett?  

A: Tony, I know a lot about him. actually. When he came out of Michigan State, he played receiver and corner, he’s got excellent ball skills, he played corner in Miami. As you know, he had an Achilles injury that he’s coming back from. I think he’s back, but we’re going to get a chance to get a good look at him.  

Q: On having taken a look at him before but not signing him: 

A: Yeah, we looked at him awhile back to see where he was at. He had a little bit of time left in his recovery, so he sort of has been on our radar and we had the opportunity to bring him in, so we did.  

Q: How would you describe the plan with Corey Coleman now that he’s up?

A: We’re going to try to get him up to speed. First, obviously, he’ll help on special teams, then try to get him in on our offensive sets as well.  

Q: You have seven receivers on your 53-man roster. Is that something you could go forward with?   

A: We got a couple that are coming back from injury, so we just have to see. It’s good if you have four or five up each week, so we’ll see where it’s at.  

Q: Eli (Manning’s) numbers are representative for his entire career in terms of completion percentage and things like that. Saquon (Barkley), I think, is fourth in the league in rushing, Odell (Beckham) is fourth in receiving yards. The numbers look good. 

A: Yeah, we didn’t score. We’ve said that, and I know I’ve said that all along. We had five trips into the red zone, and we got two touchdowns. If you convert those five trips into the red zone times seven, that’s 35 points. That solves your point problem if we’re better at the end of the drive. I think that’s pretty obvious. We’ve got talented enough players to move the ball, whether we choose to run it or pass it. When we get down there, we’ve got to score points. That’s glaring.  

Q: (Sterling) Shepard had three catches of 38 yards or more – was there a different focus on getting him the ball downfield? They weren’t catch and runs, they were downfield throws to him.  

A: Each game plays out differently. They were matched up on us, and we had an opportunity to get the ball down the field more. Some games, it’s not the case, and so it plays out differently. As a group here as you ask the questions each week about where the production comes, sometimes it has to do with how they’re playing on defense and who we get the ball to to make sure we move the ball. There was a game when Saquon had 200 something yards, it made sense to get him the ball because they were defending the pass. Moving the ball certainly is very important, but we’ve got to get it in.  

Q: On offense clicking late in the games:

A: I think it’s important we get a fast start. We’ve only had a couple games where we got fast starts on both sides of the ball, and that’s something as we get more and more familiar with one another, we’ll do. We just have to make sure we, as coaches, are putting the players in the right spots. 

Q: You guys are going up-tempo in those drives. Is that something maybe you could incorporate more? Is that something Eli thrives in? 

A: When I was with Chip (Kelly), we majored in it, so it’s in our DNA to do it and I think it’s something that Eli is good at. We always have it available. It’s sort of like, get that first first-down to get going, and I think that’s a little bit of what we’ve fallen victim to. 

Q: What do you like about Sean Chandler? 

A: He’s a good player, a young player. We’ve been impressed with him since he got here. He’s tough, he’s competitive, he’s got good instincts. I think, given an opportunity to get in the game, he’s going to do a good job.

Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula

Q: Are there specific two-point plays in the game plan or do you just draw from other plays you have in the red zone?

A: A little bit of both, a little bit of both and they differ weekly depending on the team we’re playing, depending on how they play down there. Some teams have a philosophy defensively two-point and some teams kind of play their what we call low red zone defense, so we kind of try to mix and match and figure out what’s best and/or if we haven’t used one already, then whether or not we want to use it again or move on to another one.

Q: The offensive line has been inconsistent all year. Is there anything you see that leads you to believe that things can be corrected from a physical or technical standpoint?

A: Sure. Guys are working hard and they’re working to get better. They’re working – we’ve had some moving parts, different guys playing next to each other. I think with each meeting, each practice, those guys are going to get better. Experience together – you hear it talked about a lot. I truly believe in that especially up front when five guys got to communicate and I think they’ll continue to get better each week. 

Q: Nate (Solder) obviously came here, got paid a lot of money. A lot of people have criticized how he’s played or handled the adjustment. What have you seen from him and how do you think he’s done?

A: I think he’s had some – he’s played some really good football, but he’s also like a lot of us. We all want to be more consistent throughout our game each week and continue to get better and help our football team win. 

Q: What do you see in Washington’s defense? What do they present this week?

A: They’re playing well. They’re disciplined, they do a nice job – first of all, upfront, they’re very active, they’re powerful. Their down linemen are outside backers which basically play like defensive ends and they’re athletic enough to cover as well. Do a good job whether or not they’re two-gapping or kind of stunting and moving around. Their inside linebackers are downhill, play the run very well. Their secondary is very athletic and not only athletic, but they’re really good with the ball in the air. I think they’re coached well. They have a nice package on third down, a variety of coverages and/or mixing in blitzes as well.

Q: How much does a guy like (Ryan) Kerrigan cause you to change what you do from a protection standpoint? 

A: I think there’s certain things that for sure we have to be careful of what we want to do and how we want to protect. He’s like a lot of very good pass rushers in this league, but he’s unique just because he’s very smart. If you make a mistake, he’s going to make you pay. His motor runs very high and he finishes every play, so whether or not it’s sliding to him or having an extra guy help out on protection, we just got to be able to mix it and then everybody else do their job as well and get the ball out on time. 

Q: They’ve only allowed like 87 yards rushing per game. What kind of challenge is that to get the running game going against a team that that’s kind of their forte?

A: We want to be balanced, number one, each and every week. We haven’t done a good enough job. Last week, we didn’t do a good enough job to be balanced. You still have to be able to run the ball against fronts where they’re bringing an extra guy and make that guy miss or make him the furthest guy away and use our receivers. All those kinds of things, but they’re good upfront and they do a nice job even in their seven-man fronts of stopping the run. I’m sure as coach and others have said, we just got to worry more about ourselves and getting better and whether or not that’s double teams or single blocks or running through arm tackles and then staying out of the long yardage situations. I think all that will help the running game.

Q: How key is tempo especially – can you look at tempo when you’re playing speed wise like you did against Houston, getting the ball out quick. How much is that going to be essential against Washington?

A: Every week, I think it’s important. There’s times where depending on your play, ideally, yeah you can get the ball out really fast, quick gain every single play, but you can’t do that against every coverage. There’s coverages that take that away, but I think the biggest thing is, again, stay out of the long yardage stuff. When we’ve moved the ball, we’ve been able to get the ball out on time, get open on time, protect well, and then all of sudden you just can’t have one or two little mistakes, whether or not it’s one guy here, one guy there, whatever it is. That kind of sets you back and just as we know, you guys hear it all the time, you just got to strive for the consistency and continue to when you make a big play, be ready to go make another play and get a first down and finish drives. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re moving the ball and we’re doing some good things. We just got to do them more. 

Q: What do you see from Sterling (Shepard) in terms of big play ability? Against Atlanta, he had I think three catches of 35 or more.

A: He’s explosive and I think you guys have all seen that since he’s been here. I think the thing that showed up the other night and hopefully we’ll continue. It’s just he’s playing the ball well in the air. He’s aggressive, making the contested catches, which at least since I’ve known him I think maybe early when I first saw him, he was maybe making them, but he’s doing a better job of making more of them and taking advantage of the opportunities. I think he’s a really good compliment with Odell (Beckham Jr.).

WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Q: What do you think of the moves that have taken place, the trades this week? 

A: It’s really not my job. This is a multi-million, billion dollar industry, and at the end of the day it is a business so it’s really out of my control. Those guys were family, Snacks (Damon Harrison) was like a brother to me, he came and visited me in the hospital. We’ll forever be lifelong friends, brothers, and I’m wishing him and Eli (Apple) the best in their careers, but it is a business. It’s tough, that’s the toughest part about this. You get close with people and things like this could happen at any point. It’s just the reality of our sport.  

Q: Is there a feeling in this locker room of “who’s next”?

A: I don’t know if that’s the feeling going on in this locker room, I don’t know if that’s one that you should have as much as worrying about who we are playing on Sunday. We’re promised 16 games this year, we have nine more left, we’ve got to make the most of them.  

Q: Does it send a message that maybe this team is looking ahead to next year already?  

A: I don’t know what any of that does, or message it sends, but like I said, it’s a very hard business. All we can do is focus on who we play this week really, as much as you think about it and every time I walk down there, it’s like my guy used to be right there. But it’s business. That’s all I can say.   

Q: When you were rehabbing and getting ready for the season, thinking about having a chance to play with the Giants again did you ever expect something like this this year, and how frustrating is it?  

A: No, I definitely wanted to do better. I won’t say I worked the hardest I ever worked, but I worked probably one of the hardest I ever worked this offseason – not only to get back, but to come back better than I was. This obviously is not where we want to be but this is where we’re at, and like I said, we’ve got nine more games to do something about that. That’s really all I can say about it. 

Q: If you had an idea that these kind of moves might be made, would that have affected your decision to re-sign?

A: I don’t really know. It’s not really re-sign, I signed something. I could have been here another three years. It’s hard to think about that right now, and it’s really irrelevant to think about that now because I’m here and I will be here.

Q: So there’s no second guess in your mind? 

A: No. I just wish we had a better record than what we have. 

Q: Obviously you’re not where you want to be this season. How do you set goals for yourself week by week? 

A: Just working on the little things. Just the small details, really, and you just keep going, you keep pushing, and just don’t quit. I don’t really know how to quit, so as long as I’m here, I’m always going to care, I’m always going to play football the way I play football. Having it stripped from me, and so many things previously to that, I fell back in love with football and fell back in love with the process. Yeah, sometimes the process is like this, it’s ugly. But there will be better days. Like I said, we just got an opportunity to come out the last nine games and make whatever of it. This division isn’t doing so hot anyways, so you never know what can happen, just do our jobs, and get some wins. 

Q: Did you feel that Monday night game came back more than any of the previous games, in terms of where you had been? 

A: They weren’t playing really doubling and having a safety over the top, they kind of stuck to their defense and we had some plays drawn up for that and we were able to take advantage of it, we just didn’t have enough plays to win the game. 

Q: You personally, I meant. You had some plays where you just kept your feet in bounds in the sideline and the end zone on that last one – it seemed like you were back to who you were?

A: I felt like that since I reported to camp. I felt in one of the best shapes of my life, some of the best form of my life. Just now when I have the opportunity, I’ve got to take advantage of them and do the most with them. There’s still plays I look at in the game, and that’s how I’ve always been. I’ve always said, ‘Man, I wish I could’ve did this’. I remember games in college when I had some of my best games and 400 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns, and I still look back at that one play that I wish I could’ve had. I’m always like that, but like I said, I felt like I’ve been in some of my best form, my best shape, just about getting the opportunity to do that and when you do get the opportunity, to take advantage of it. 

Q: What’s the pulse of the locker room right now in your opinion?

A: I’d probably have some music going on right now if you weren’t in here. It doesn’t feel dead. It sucks to have this record, but it’s just another game we lost by three points, another game where we’re close. I hate even saying that, because it’s not something I’m proud or accepting of, but it’s not like we’re getting beat by 20-30 points. Every game is close, it’s just about those little things that do matter. It’s a game of inches, whatever you want to call it, all that stuff matters and we just haven’t done enough to have those things go our way. 

Q: How do you view the state of the team overall at 1-6, and you just traded two defensive starters? How do you as a leader or key player on the team view the overall state of where you’re at?

A: It’s tough, but there’s other guys in this locker room who now have the opportunity to go out and do what they love and have the opportunity to make plays for this team. They have to do that and they have to step up. Like I said earlier, it’s a business. As hard as it is waking up and seeing some of those things, it’s the business side of all this, so all we can do is keep going, keep playing with who we have in here and that’s really all we can do.

Q: Do you see where their big picture plan is or is it hard for you to even know where that’s headed?

A: I have no idea. I’m down here, they’re up there. I just have to do the best I can, make the plays I can make, and just do better.

LB Olivier Vernon

Q: How disheartening is it to see some of the guys you were in the trenches with be traded?

A: At the end of the day, it’s the nature of the business. Snacks was a good teammate. I know wherever he goes, he’s going to be alright. That’s just how the NFL works.

Q: Is there a feeling in here that “I may be the next to be traded”?

A: Again, this is the nature of the business. It’s not too many things I haven’t seen. All I can do is worry about football, and that’s it.

Q: What about yourself, do you worry about that aspect?

A: No, not really. I just think about football at the end of the day. Whatever happens, happens. All I do is focus on football.

Q: What’s the mood been like in the locker room as this has been going on?

A: Everybody is still positive. Everybody is just worried about football, and that’s it. You start focusing on other things and getting distracted. That’s what you don’t want to do. I think everybody is just dialed in. We got our eyes on the Redskins, and that’s it.

Q: What do you see with (Redskins RB) Adrian Peterson since he’s come over to Washington?

A: Future Hall of Famer, Adrian Peterson is still Adrian Peterson. I don’t know how he does it, but he finds a way. Kudos to him, he’s a hard-working guy. He’s been doing it for a long time. It’s going to be a privilege to play against him.

Q: How different is their offense with Alex Smith at quarterback as opposed to Kirk Cousins? Have they changed much on offense?

A: Smith is more of a mobile guy. He did a lot of work with this legs when he was over in Kansas City. Offensively, that’s one of the threats that they bring to the table. He can make good plays in critical situations. He’s a great quarterback. Just another threat that we just have to worry about, and try to contain.

Q: The frustration of the past two seasons and not being a winning team, how has that resonated with you?

A: You’re always going to have to deal with ups and downs. At this point in time, we’re just down right now. That’s just football. Nothing is a guarantee. All you can do is go out there and fight, and still try to get a W. Ain’t nobody laying down for nobody.  

Q: Are you disappointed? Are you frustrated? Are you angry?

A: It can get frustrating, but you can’t let that hinder you in any way. At the end of the day, come Sunday, you’re going out there to get a W, no matter what it is.

CB Janoris Jenkins

Q: How’s this week been like for you? They trade (CB) Eli Apple. Your name has been brought up in trade speculation. How have you handled this?

A: It’s been football to me. I’m not worried about what’s going on. Whatever decision they decide to make, they make it. I’m just here to play football.

Q: Has anyone said anything to you? Do you want to talk to someone in the front office?

A: No, it’s a business. I understand it’s a business. Whatever happens, it happens. Like I said, I’m here to play football, and I’m going to show up every day until whatever decision they make.

Q: When they make two moves like that, does it make you feel as if you’re next?

A: No, not my thinking, not my thoughts. That’s just something they made in the front office. I can’t control it. Like I said, whatever happens, it happens, and I’m just here to play football.

Q: Do you go into this Sunday’s game wondering if it’s your last game as a Giant?

A: No, never. I want to be here. I’m happy I’m here. Like I said, whatever decision they make, they make. I’m going to go with it. No bad feelings, no hard feelings, business is business.

Q: How are the Redskins different with Alex Smith at quarterback as opposed to Kirk Cousins?

A: He can control the ball. He doesn’t like to throw turnovers. He can scramble, he manages the game very well.

Q: Do they do anything noticeably different in your opinion that they haven’t done before?

A: Not too different, just a different quarterback that they rely to manage the ball more. That’s about it.

Q: What does (RB) Adrian Peterson bring to that offense?

A: He’s still a hard runner, downhill guy. We know he’s a great back, physical. 

Q: Is it almost flattering to hear your name in trade rumors?

A: It ain’t flattering. Business is business, baby. Whatever they decide to do, that’s what they do. I can’t be mad at them. I can’t judge nobody, I can’t say nothing. If it happens, it happens, I’m on to the next step.

Q: It seems like a lot of teams want you.

A: Of course, they understand how I play. They know how I play. Whatever decision they make, I ain’t got no problem with it, but until then, I’m here and I’m here to stay.

Q: How much do you hear the rumors?

A: They ask me, my family asks me, my friends, but like I told them, I can’t control that. I’m just here to play football. Whatever decision they make, they make.

RB Saquon Barkley

Q: What affect do the recent trades have on this locker room?

A: Our main focus is trying to get ready as best as we can to compete against the Washington Redskins, and come out with a win. That’s the main focus of the locker room right now – focus on this week, one day at a time, and try our best to win this week.

Q: Do you believe in the “next man up” philosophy?

A: I do believe in that. That’s the nature of the game. It’s the nature of our sport. Those guys that we traded were great dudes, great players. [They] definitely helped me throughout this process, but the guys who got to step up got to come up and make some plays now. 

Q: What is the morale of the team right now?

A: The morale is just focusing on this week. That’s the only thing we can control. Only thing you can control is what you can control, and the only thing is the Washington Redskins this week, coming in today and practice, the first day of practice this week, coming out and execute, and try to prepare ourselves as much as we can for this week.

Q: What does it mean to be playing with (Redskins RB) Adrian Peterson on the same field?

A: That’s a crazy, crazy statement to even think about. Growing up, watching Adrian Peterson, big fan of his game. Even now, he’s still a special talent. He’s been doing it for so long. To be able to watch him play live is definitely going to be something that I’m excited to see.

Q: Is your goal to come out of this game with a #28 jersey?

A: Yeah, I’m not going to lie. That’ll be pretty cool if I was able to trade jerseys with Adrian, but you never know.

Q: He said he enjoys watching your God-given ability. When you hear a future Hall of Famer say something like that about you, what’s the reaction?

A: That means a lot when you can catch the eye of a guy like that, like Adrian Peterson. He’s one of the best running backs to ever play in this game – a future Hall of Famer. I admire his game and how he plays. For him to say that about me, especially being a young guy in the league, definitely means a lot to me.

Q: If there was one element of his game that you really admire and replicate, what would that piece of his game be?

A: He just runs through anybody in his way. Hopefully, he doesn’t do that this week against our team. I guess you can say that I just love how aggressive he plays, or his aggressive nature that no matter if there’s 12 guys in front of him, he’s going to just try to plow them over. That’s something that I can continue to add to my game, I guess you can say.

Q: What are some of the things you can do to bring a sense of focus back to the team?

A: I just got to be better all around. We all got to be better all around. I got to be a better leader, got to be a better player. I got to be better with pass pickups, got to be better at efficient runs. There’s so many things that I can improve in my game, but that’s not an excuse. I got to figure that out right now to help myself the best I can, so I can go out there and perform for my team.

Q: Coming out of a winning program, how disheartening has it been to not see the success team-wise?

A: It sucks, I’m not going to lie to you. It sucks being 1-6 right now. I think everybody in this locker room would tell you that, because we’re all competitors and we all want to win. We’re not happy with being 1-6, but it sounds crazy, everything happens for a reason. Got to just continue to stick with it, continue to believe in the process, believe in this amazing organization, believe in the coaches. We still have (nine) games left, I guess you can say. You never know what can happen. So, we just got to continue to come out there every single day, and push each other and believe in each other.

Q: What’s it going to take for this team to win a game?

A: Execution – we all know that. When we go back and we watch film, we see on the film all the plays we left out there. Execution, scoring points, especially on the offensive side of the ball. That’s the simplest way to put it. That’s where we’re at right now. We’re playing with effort, we’re playing with heart, we’re playing our butts off. We’re believing in each other, but at the end of the day, we’re not executing. If we can figure that out, our record would be a lot different right now. You can’t control that, you can only control this week, and this week we got to come out against a very, very good defensive team, especially in the run game, and execute against them.

Q: Do you have concerns about the direction of the franchise after this week?

A: No, I don’t really have any concerns with the direction of the franchise. I don’t know what you’re really trying to ask with the question. 

Q: With all the trades happening, it just seems like they’re trying to build towards the future.

A: I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re building towards the future. Obviously, I guess you can say that with the draft picks, but at the end of the day, we still have (nine) games left in the season, and we got to find a way to win. No matter what, whether if there’s trades that they believe in to help us win now, and we got to find a way to execute in games and win some games.

Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey

Q: What did you like about Quadree Henderson as a returner? What did he show you? 

A: Same thing he showed in college, production. He’s a sure-handed guy, does a good job of catching the ball. He’s a good young player that has a lot of potential as a returner.  

Q: Have you ever had anything like this? Seems like a new guy, every week you have a totally new unit. 

A: Welcome to the big leagues. It’s just part of the job, especially when you get in a situation like we are, trying to see who can do what and trying to find the right mixture to the T and see how it takes. 

Q: Henderson earned himself more opportunities I would assume?   

A: Absolutely. He did a good job. He did what he does, he did the same thing in college and played with a lot of confidence. He’s a confident kid, so I’m happy for him. 

Q: Does the unit and the returner play off of each other much? In other words, is there maybe more confidence if they know they have a guy who’s sure-handed or has that explosiveness?  

A: Absolutely. When you know you have a guy back there who has the potential to take it to the house, it just makes you play a little bit harder. They go hand in hand, and vice versa, it’s hard to create momentum when you’re not seeing anything, but when you see a guy that has the quickness and the burst that Quadree has and we know he has the ability to hit itm it’s like look, you’ve got to stay on your blocks just a little bit longer, you’ve got to play just a little bit harder and hopefully things will work out right.  

Q: It seems like you came close to blocking some of those field goals. Is that something that’s game-specific?

A: That’s something we’ve been doing all year. We’ve been close a lot all year, and it’s just each week getting a little bit closer. It’s what I talk to the guys about, just playing hard. We’ve just got to play harder, longer, and if you do that, if you play harder longer, then you make the plays. We had one return where if we stay on them just a little longer, he doesn’t run down Quadree from behind and we get a touchdown. You never know. 

Q: Do you feel as though all the special teams units are starting to settle down a little bit? 

A: We’re starting to – the punt return game is something that’s been our Achilles heel all year, I think we found a little mixture there, so we’re just going to try to keep getting better, keep ascending, and see where it takes us. Kickoff return, we’re still a block here away, a block there away, just leverage, angles, fundamental things. Having new guys in different spots, just trying to have some continuity. Then once you start to get that continuity, it’s no different than playing on that offensive line or defensive line, quarterback, wide receivers, they know where the guy’s going to be, they know how to play off each other. Special teams is the same exact way, it’s just developing that chemistry and trying to find the right fit.  

Q: How difficult is that at the end of the game, the little pooch, scoop and score? That’s got to work probably hardly ever, right? 

A: Regardless of if it’s down the field or at the line of scrimmage, it’s a 10 percent play. Thought process was getting the ball down the field and trying to recover it, try to kick a field goal. Didn’t work out. It’s like hitting the lottery, it’s just one of those plays where it’s difficult to execute because it’s not a play that you work on, like punt. It’s something that we’ll hit maybe a couple times a week. The kicker will work on it, but it’s just the execution of it and being able to make the right kick and hit it at the right time, ball has to take a funny hop back towards you, so it is what it is. 

Q: What’s the percentage of a more traditional onside kick? 

A: Ten percent. It’s just a 10 percent play. That one probably may be a little bit higher percentage because it’s more down the field, but any regular onside kick is normally about a 10 percent play.

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