Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Remarks: Injuries from last night – (Chad) Wheeler left the game, so Brian Mihalik went in there and played about half the game for him. Otherwise we’ve just got some normal wear and tear. We’ll see where it goes. We’ve got a game two weeks from today, so meetings were good this morning, cleaning up what happened yesterday and then we’re going to practice tomorrow and Wednesday. The players will be off starting Thursday. Typical bye week routine. Again, we as coaches will get together and evaluate everything, plot a course as we move forward here. Aside from saying we’re going to evaluate everything, I really have no information as to where that’s going to go. We’re just going to spend our time looking at the good, and then certainly the areas we need to get better. Certainly the focus on offense will be the red zone, and we’ll try to unlock that and get the ball in the end zone at a higher rate, and hopefully win some games. That’s where we’re at.
Q: Is Wheeler’s injury anything significant?
A: I don’t know. It’s the same ankle that he hurt earlier, so we’ll just have to see where it goes from there.
Q: How are you going to organize the evaluation? Will you have coaches look at other coaches, other areas, their own areas?
A: No, we have a process we go through. It’s internal in terms of what we do, just look at what we’ve done to this point and try to build on the things we’ve done well and try to look at areas where we’ll minimize doing certain things to try to get better results.
Q: How much can realistically change with a bye week review?
A: In terms of the players, there may be some changes, we’ll see. But in terms of the scheme, you just step back and look and seek better ways to do things. We’ll look at it.
Q: As a head coach, coordinator and assistant, you’ve always had the bye and the staff always looks back at things. In your experience, can you make big scheme changes?
A: Not really. It’s not like you’re going to come out and we’re going to be running the Wing T, but what you try to do is within the things you think you do well, you go back and say this route combination has worked against these types of coverages, we’ll do this more, this less, this is what the quarterback can do well, so we have a pretty good sample size now, half a year, and then try to refocus on those things.
Q: Landon Collins and Odell (Beckham Jr.) are two players that teams reportedly are calling you about. Would you be ok with the right return coming back, trading two players – either of those players of that caliber – for (the future)?
A: I’m not aware of any of that, so we’ll just have to see; but no, those are two players that are playing very well for us. At this point, they’re New York Football Giants, I see them being a Giant looking forward.
*Q: When we asked you about if the quarterback was part of the changes, you said that’s not something you want to tease. Is that at all something that’s on the table this week?
*A: I will stick with what I said last night. I think we’re going to evaluate everything, from who the guy is and how he’s playing, and that’s just what we’ll do as we move forward. We certainly have not done things well enough and we’ve got to do things better. That’s what we’re looking at. Again, I wouldn’t change what I said last night.
Q: You’ve made changes at a few different positions already. Is quarterback different? Is there more weight on that?
A: It’s important that everybody plays well and everybody does what they can to help us win games, no matter the position.
Q: How important is it to you to get Kyle (Lauletta) into games this year. You are 1-7 at this point, how much does that factor into it for you?
A: We’re trying to do what we can to win this season, and certainly you always do what you can in the short run. It’s hard not to look at things in the long run, but what’s important is we try to put an effort on the field to beat the 49ers.
Q: Five of Eli (Manning)’s touchdowns have come in the final two minutes of play in a two-score game or larger at that point. How do you get a more complete effort out of the offense?
A: We’ve got to start sooner. You don’t want to be shooting three-pointers at the buzzer. We’ve got to start sooner and get points on the board sooner. We had opportunities again last time, it’s not like we’re not getting down there. We are. We just aren’t getting it in for whatever reason, and the reasons are spread out. You can’t point to one thing. If we could have pointed to one thing, then that change would have been made a month ago. It all comes back to, when we run the ball down there, the runs got to go forward, not backward. We’ve got to be better in the run game there, and when we choose to throw it, we’ve got to get more out of those throws, whether it’s a third down throw that needs to go to the end zone, or a first or second down throw that may just move the chains, or also get in the end zone. We’ve got to get more out of it, and so that’s part of what we’ll look at.
Q: Coaches often say we’ll go as far as our offensive line can take us. Is that also why you are where you are now?
A: I have said that and I do believe that, I think it all starts up front. We’ve got to do a better job in all areas, including the front. But I agree with that, I think in order to do the things you want to do offensively, we have to block them well. All of our units need to play better.
Q: When you looked at the seven sacks yesterday, was it mostly not enough protection time? Was it holding the ball too long? Was it the receivers not getting open? What was the cause of the seven sacks?
A: There was one I would say that was a coverage sack, it was a longer third down. Aside from that, there’s a combination of things and the quarterback’s got the ball in his hands, the guys up front have to block. There’s always somewhat of a combination. Every once in a while a guy will just get steamrolled or beat, and the quarterback has no chance. But, a mixture of things.
Q: You’ve been asked at various points this season about Eli (Manning) and you’ve said he’s our quarterback. You don’t seem to be saying that right now. Are you at least leaving your options open at that position?
A: Eli is our quarterback, and we’ve got to do what we can to help him be better. There’s certainly a handful of plays each game where he needs to do better and I think that’s pretty obvious when we all watch. That’s the approach moving forward, and like I said, we’ll look at all things. We’ve got a minute here to do that, and we’ve just got to make some good decisions moving forward.
Q: When you want to replace a guy, you’re always cognizant of who you’re replacing them with and what he can do. In the case with Kyle (Lauletta), I’m sure you want to make sure that he’s ready to play before you play him. Is that a delicate balance, when a rookie who’s never played is going to play?
A: Yeah, I think you always want to make sure when you replace somebody, you replace them with guys that can do that job. Snacks (Damon Harrison) left this week, the guys that went in there and replaced him did a good job. I thought the defensive effort was actually really good, we kept the points down until the last run and they gave us an opportunity to stay within one score for a very long time. That’s an example. The guys that filled in for Eli (Apple) did a pretty good job. I think you always consider that, because the team counts on the fact that we’re going to play the best people at all positions.
Q: You said Eli is our quarterback. Can we assume that he will be your quarterback for the next game?
A: We’ll see. Yeah, I think Eli is our quarterback; but I did say, and again, I know you’re all trying to tease a headline out. At this point, Eli is our quarterback, and we are looking at all areas to improve. That’s where it’s at.
Q: At right tackle, you can rotate reps. Can you do that at quarterback or if you make a decision, do you have to switch it in practice?
A: Every once in a while you see that happens where a guy will come in and run the zone read or do something like that, but typically the quarterback is the quarterback.
Q: I mean in practice, if you were going to get Kyle ready, would you have to make a full change?
A: You guys haven’t seen it, but Kyle is getting reps, getting himself ready, just like Alex (Tanney) is getting himself ready.
Q: As your only other active quarterback, has there been a point where you considered Alex in a game in any of these games?
Q: When you scored your late touchdown, you kicked the extra point compared to going for two in the last game with the same deficit. Why the different decision in a similar situation?
A: The time on the clock was way different. That’s why.
Q: With the evaluation process, and the delicate balance between the here and now and guys you’re looking at for the future – When you evaluate, how challenging is that to say we think this guy can get us through Week 10, but we like this guy for 14, 15, 16? How do you make those determinations?
A: What you do is you try to do what you can to win the next game, and then you reassess each week and move forward that way.
Q: A lot of the guys on the offense were talking after game yesterday saying if we could only run the ball, this would be different. It seems simple, but how do you run the ball?
A: We called some runs yesterday. It’s important when you call runs they gain yards, and that’s the challenge. We’ve got to get more out of it, more out of the run game and that will help the red zone as well.
Q: Do you anticipate the front office or ownership speaking with you about the quarterback situation? They’ve done that in the past here.
A: I can’t speak to that because we haven’t.
Q: You haven’t spoken to them up to this point though?
A: No. Really, we’re cleaning up what’s going on here. I imagine that might be part of what we do this week. After we leave here, I’ll spend some time with Dave (Gettleman) and we’ll talk.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Is it kind of best to just get away during the bye week and kind of flush yourself of what’s happened to this point?
A: Yeah, I think we’ll keep looking to see what ways we can improve, personally, as an offense. For everybody to see how we can score more points. Once we eventually get away, take some time to get your mind and body healed up and rested, and then come back knowing we got eight games, and you got to make the best of it.
Q: Do you approach the self-scouting period any differently?
A: The same – you look at the last game, and all the games. Just take things from each game that you need to improve on, and work on those things, and have the mindset of training those things when you get back to make sure we’re not repeating any mistakes.
Q: Have you ever felt more helpless in your career?
A: I think the answer just comes to execution. We got good players. There’s some good football. There are some good plays. There’s some big plays, some explosive plays. There’s just some bad football as well. So, it’s just cleaning up the bad stuff – and there’s going to be some every game. There’s going to be bad plays. There’s going to be defenses that make good plays, and those types of things. It’s just trying to get on the same page with coaches, with players, and make sure we’re giving ourselves the best chance to be successful, and make sure we’re doing all the things possible that we can to play at a high level.
Q: Is there a lot you can change during a bye week?
A: It’s not like you’re going to change your style or get all new different plays and all of a sudden. Just trying to figure out what are we doing well, what’s not going as well, what plays are in our system that we can run more, or do differently to just keep us out of some bad situations.
Q: You’re on pace to take 62 sacks this year. Your previous high being 39. How difficult is it to be functional when you’re taking that many hits?
A: It’s tough, every sack has got its own story. Some, it’s coverage, or some it’s on me not throwing it away. All of them really happen every once in a while. They just happen too frequently. We just got to find ways to be productive, whether you get the ball out quickly or more max protection, or just have a combination of the two, or move in the pocket. Just things to try to get us out of those situations, because sacks are drive killers. They make it tough, and the ones that aren’t sacks, you’re still able to move the pocket. We just got to find ways to be productive. We have playmakers. We got to get them the ball, and get it to them in a timely fashion, and let them make plays.
Q: When the unit struggles on offense, do you feel as if you’re pressing to make plays that you wouldn’t normally make?
A: I think we’ve done a pretty good job of not doing that. It’s what’s kept us in some games, is not forcing things, not turning the ball over. We’ve been pretty good with turnovers. There was definitely a play or two where you press things in certain situations, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job of not making things worse by trying to force things that aren’t there. I think guys just got to keep doing the right things, and just do a little bit better.
Q: Pat Shurmur said he’s going to evaluate everything this week, including the quarterback position. How does that make you feel? Do you think coming off the bye this will still be your starting job?
A: Yeah, I hope so. That’s what the coach does. In a bye week, you evaluate everything. That’s part of his job.
Q: If it means at some point stepping to the sideline so that a player like (QB) Kyle Lauletta can get a look, is that something you’re willing to do?
A: I’ve always been a team player, and do kind of what I’m told. I expect and want to be the starting quarterback until I’m told differently.
LB Connor Barwin
A: I think the coaches are doing a good job leading. I think the players are doing a good job leading. I think guys are staying and fighting the entire game and I think guys are playing for each other. We’re not getting the results, but people are playing hard and playing for each other and that’s important. That’s why guys are sticking together because when you see your brothers out there giving everything they got, then you’re going to do the same thing.
Q: Is it a little different dynamic because in Philly it was the end of something with the coaching regime. Here it’s the beginning of something, so is it a sense of more stability maybe?
A: I think – I don’t know if there’s a sense of more stability, but whenever you have a coach in his first year, you hear people say everybody’s got a clean slate, everyone wants to put their best foot forward and that’s the benefit of having a coach in his first year. I think it’s more so, I think Shurmur is doing a great job leading, sticking to the message that is just keep fighting, just keep playing for each other, keep playing hard and we’re going to get this fixed and we’re going to find a way to kind of get over the top and start getting wins. There’s an opportunity in everything and this is really bad, but adversity can bring teams together and you could see people’s true colors. You can see who’s tough and who wants to be here and all that stuff is what can be happening now over the next two months.
Q: With the offense struggling, it seems like everybody’s saying it’s time to dump Eli (Manning) and give Kyle (Lauletta) a chance or something like that. You’ve been in the league long enough. Is it one guy or is it –
A: No, it’s every guy doing what they can to get better. For me, that’s doing everything I can in my snaps to be the best player I can for this team and that’s what I need to focus on. I need to focus on doing everything I can to get Lorenzo (Carter) to be as good as he can be and if everybody keeps doing that and takes that approach, the wins will start piling up.
Q: When you signed here, you obviously assessed the situation and did you look at – not that you were the missing piece, but you were going to be an added piece to a team that was going to be really good. Is that what your sense was?
Q: So how stunning is this to you that without a major, major rash of injuries –
A: Football is – it’s hard to win games in the NFL and we haven’t been able to finish and make just a few plays in a lot of games to get the wins, but I don’t think we’re far and that’s why I decided to join this team or sign with this team when I did.