Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Remarks: Looks like we’re going to get more guys out there practicing today, I don’t know what that will mean for the game but we’ll have more guys out there. (Sterling Shepard) had a little thing taken off the base of his back that is just going to take him a day or so to get back from, otherwise he’ll be fine. If you have specific questions I’ll try to answer them, otherwise we should have more guys out there practicing at least closer to get to the game. We’ll figure it out as we go.
Q: Something taken off the base of his back?
A: Just a little cyst. It’s fine.
Q: Who are some of the guys that you expect should be back out there?
A: You might see (Olivier Vernon) out there practicing a little bit, (Eli Apple), I think those are the two you typically ask about.
Q: It seemed like (Eli Manning) was rolled out less this game than maybe he was against Houston when you guys had success with doing that.
A: Maybe a couple times less. That’s always part of what we do. We get to it more or less depending on what we’re doing. We actually had more, believe it or not, hard action in the pocket down the field throws called than movements, believe it or not. That’s not quite what the narrative has been, but that’s what it was.
Q: Are you having the success you are looking for on play action? Are you seeing it have its effect?
A: I think so. I think so. When you’re running the ball, it has its effect. I think what it all boils down to is we need to score more points. There are elements of what we’re doing that is good, and there are many things we got to get better at. We’ve got to be more explosive, more efficient and we’ve got to score more points. That’s the reality of it. I was talking about it yesterday. Whether you throw the ball 60 yards or you work the ball down the field, we need to score touchdowns.
*Q: It seemed like (Janoris Jenkins) followed Michael Thomas around last game more so than just having a side of the field. How did you think he did, and is that something you can see him sticking with when you play other big time receivers this season? *
A: That’s a tactic that you use depending on who you’re playing, so I certainly wouldn’t reveal that, but yeah. You can take one of your corners and match a wide out, or you can play sides. We’ve actually done both.
*Q: How’d you think he did in that? *
A: I thought he played well. Like everybody, there’s a couple things he’d probably like to have done better.
*Q: Do you think the way your defense is set up, if you can get Olivier Vernon back – you haven’t had him at all – that it can help with the aggressiveness, it can help with a lot of things scheme-wise, having him there? *
A: Yeah, I think when you have a fresh body that has the talent, the skill, and abilities of a pass rusher, it helps your defense. Certainly adding him back to the mix will help. Having him out there, whether it’s aggressive – a better player on the field is a good thing.
*Q: What have you seen from B.J. Hill and why has he been able to make such an impact early here? *
A: B.J. is a fine football player and he’s playing better than what you would expect from a rookie. He’s tough, he’s competitive, he’s got really good instincts, and he plays hard. When you’ve got a guy on the inside of the defense that plays hard and plays tough, then they find a way to contact the ball and I think he’s done a good job.
*Q: Will Hernandez seems to be getting better each week. What have you seen from him and what do you think has been the key to that? *
A: Part of it is just playing more and more. Some people say you need 5,000 snaps before you get into it, he didn’t have the benefit of that. He’s getting better. I think it was his best game, still has his mistakes but I think all in all, it was his best game, which is good, so we hope it just continues to go like it is.
*Q: Chad Wheeler seemed to hold up pretty good against (Cameron Jordan). Can you talk about his game? *
A: Same thing. I think he played better this game than he did last game. The thing I appreciate about him is, he walks around pretty quiet sort of Monday through Saturday, but on game day, you can see the emotions and you can see him playing hard and competing, and he works hard in practice. For a guy that plays with emotion and then he works hard and he competes, then he’ll continue to get better because he has a good skillset. Just like Will, we’re hopeful that he has a better game than he did last week. He’s going to get another tough matchup, so we’ll see how he does.
Q: What discernable differences do you see in Cam Newton from last year to this year so far?
A: It’s the same player. He’s big and he’s physical, and you’ve got to really make an effort to get him to the ground. He’s a big 260-pound guy. He plays above the rim, he can see what he’s throwing to because he’s so tall. I think (Norv Turner) is doing a good job of featuring him as a runner, a lot of structured quarterback-type runs. There’s a lot of eye candy to that to try to get you going one direction, then they’re willing with him to pull it and run. They’re doing a good job with that, they’re doing what works for them – fake it to (Christian McCaffrey), let him run, give it to McCaffrey, let him fake it, those type things.
*Q: Sounds like you’re expecting a lot of zone read again? *
A: It’s part of what they do. Really, all the teams that we’ve played to date that have had kind of mobile type quarterbacks, these guys to date have featured it more than the teams than we’ve played. It’s just part of what they do. It’s just taking advantage of the skillset of Cam.
Q: Why do you think teams have been attacking you that way so much this year?
A: I think it’s a good way to control the gaps, take advantage of the numbers. Everybody does it, and if you have a quarterback that has a skill set, just like last week they put #7 (Taysom Hill) in there to try to do it, then you try to utilize it. It has to do with the players that you have.
*Q: Is it fair to say that part of the problem is the tackling? Some of the tackles that should be made closer to the line of scrimmage are being made several yards down the field? *
A: I don’t think it was missed tackles. I thought we tackled pretty well, we’ve just got to keep doing that. Teams that are going to run the ball, like all teams do, you want to minimize the effect of long runs and try to keep them to short ones obviously.
*Q: There’s a lot of cross pollination between these two organizations in terms of players and coaches, stuff like that. Does that make it more difficult, more challenging or is it a little easier? *
A: I don’t know. Every time I’ve ever been in this scenario where we really know this team or really know that team, you overthink it and I think it’s important that we don’t do that. I worked with Ron Rivera in Philly way back when, know him very well, I worked with Norv (Turner), I worked with Scott (Turner), and obviously the guys from Carolina that are here. There’s some generality, some things you think about and try to apply, but what’s really important is watch the tape, prepare for the team that we’re playing based on what we see.
*Q: Is their offense with Norv much different, drastically different than what Mike (Shula) had with them last year? *
A: There’s a lot of similarities, but again I think they’re featuring the quarterback run, kind of a zone read type game probably more than they did a year ago.
Q: You have a short week next week, does that play into your scheduling this week at all?
A: No. All our focus is on Carolina, I’ve obviously thought out what we’re going to do when we prepare for Philly, I have it in the books, but we won’t talk about it until we get back from Carolina.
*Q: If you have some players who are on the cusp of coming back, with another game on Thursday, that’s a hard turnaround, are you going to play them when you can this game or do you have some thought to Thursday as well? *
A: In our minds, there’s no tomorrows, so we get ready for this one and then we sort it out and get ready for the next one.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Coach said in our lives there is no tomorrow. Is that what you go with every week or is that because you’re 1-3?
A: I think that’s the mindset every week. All you can worry about is today getting better, learning the game plan for this week, learning about Carolina’s defense and go prepare, practice hard and get ready to play your best on Sunday.
Q: What’s important about this game plan so that you guys can actually execute and get the touchdowns that have been missing?
A: I think it’s the same every week. Obviously everybody knows their assignments, knowing the team you’re going against, what their looks are and everybody playing to their highest level so it’s execution moving forward and try to eliminate the mistakes and make plays when they’re there.
Q: What is the goal against this defense as far as the way you guys want to balance the offense with your play calls?
A: Obviously that’s up to the coach and his play calling, but obviously I think the goal is always to be balanced, it’s to run the ball, mix in getting the ball out quick, taking shots down the field, but it’s mostly just staying good down and distance and give yourself some chances to score touchdowns.
Q: What have you noticed in the way teams are defending certain routes that prevent you guys from going down field a little more?
A: I don’t know if that’s necessarily what teams are doing. A lot of it is just timing. Sometimes when you have some stuff to take shots they may be playing some soft zones and times when they’re playing man and you got different things called. We’ll have opportunities to make big plays and that doesn’t necessarily have to be throwing down the field. There will be opportunities to throw it down the field we’ll take it, but when there’s chances to hit guys – we have guys who can catch medium passes and catch short passes. It’s about hitting guys on the move, hitting guys on the run when there’s chances of runaway and being accurate with the ball and let them make big plays after the catch.
Q: I know that you and Pat (Shurmur) have both talked about the balance between being aggressive and reckless. At what point do you dial up the aggressiveness a little and feel like you have to give your playmakers a chance to make a play rather than maybe settling for four-five yard passes?
A: If you think you can complete the pass then you throw it. If you don’t, if it’s a risk, a turnover or throwing it into double coverage then that’s not what it’s about so yeah you try to put your playmakers in a position to get open and that’s what we’re doing. Sometimes they take away certain things you got to check it down and try to get a first down and move the chains and live for another down, another opportunity coming up.
Q: With (Luke) Kuechly, is he an elite middle linebacker more because of his physical skills or because of his mental approach to the game?
A: Yeah both. He’s obviously extremely fast, but he prepares hard, he feels things out, he senses things and just finds a way to be around the ball, so he’s just all over the place directing traffic and getting those guys lined up in the right spot.
Q: Is the biggest thing you have to do on Sunday is just stay on course, not behind the chains?
A: No doubt. It’s just having that great mix, but it’s obviously staying on course and not going backwards. I think a lot of drives we were doing fine until all of a sudden you have a sack or you have a penalty and you get 2nd and 20, so it makes it tough. At that point your game plan kind of shrinks down and obviously teams are going to let you throw it underneath. We actually did a decent job a few times of overcoming some of those things, but to have it happen again on the same drive, so it’s just hard to do that consistently. It’s a combination of – hey I’d love to get some shots, I’d love to throw it down the field – hit some long ones and that’s fine and we may get some of those, but if not, still got to run your offense and you can score points. I don’t care how you do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s throwing it deep, throwing it short. It’s a matter of hey we have to get the ball to the end zone.
Q: What are some of the challenges that you see in the Panthers defensive line?
A: They have a good defensive line. They do a good job bringing different pressures, moving around. We just have to make sure we’re all on the same page, understanding our assignments, where we’re going and if we get everything blocked up, here’s a chance to get the ball down the field.
Q: For 15 years we’ve watched you play. Do you feel as though from year-to-year, now it’s your third system that you’re in that the aggressiveness changes within the system versus maybe what you’re doing at quarterback and what’s being called for in your job?
A: Different systems have different approaches. The first system we were in was definitely a vertical passing system where guys had a lot of options. Depending on what technique they were getting, whether they would break it in or sit it down or go deep, so depending on the game plan or the defense, how many times you were throwing the ball down the field and what you’re doing. I think this offense is a vertical passing game. I think it has the option to get the ball down the field. Obviously versus certain things it’s not bad to get the ball to your playmakers hands underneath. If they’re playing soft you get the chance to get the ball in Saquon’s hands. He does a good job taking little six-yard catches into 12-yard gains or could’ve broken a couple for longer. It’s still all about getting the ball to your playmakers hands and getting the opportunity to move the ball, get first downs and stay in good down and distance and good rhythm.
Q: Is there anyway that you can do separate underneath stuff to make bigger plays as far as throw and catch with the blocking, you know what I mean? There’s one thing to throw the ball to the guy for five-six yards, but to get the long gains.
A: I think in Houston we had a bunch of those where you get pressure, you get man-to-man, you hit shallow routes and guys running away you hit them in stride and we got guys running for 30 and 40 yards. It is a matter of can you get those in the timing of those things and sometimes obviously they’re playing soft zones and taking away some of the deeper stuff. If there’s shallow routes sometimes obviously you don’t want to have them on third and long in those situations where they’re doing that, but sometimes you got to take the best you can get is six yards. It’s not all about just throwing it deep every play, that’s not the answer to our solution. I know that’s what everybody wants to do, it’s an easy thing to say yeah we’ll throw it deep and all of our problems will be fixed. It’s still about finding completions and when you do throw it down the field completing it.
Q: Would you agree that two years ago you had a lot of success doing that with Odell (Beckham Jr.). Short stuff that broke. So what is the key to getting that back?
A: Just hitting guys in stride, hit guys on the move. When they’re running slants and running in breaking routes and running deep over routes and those types of things, if you can get to those throws and hit guys on the move, they can turn those throws into big plays.
Q: Do you have a guy in this roster who can just blow past the defense and go deep? A pure speed threat?
A: It’s what Odell is, isn’t he?
Q: Yeah, but most of the plays he does make are those shorter plays that he turns –
A: No, he can do both. We got guys who can run away from guys and so I think we have speed guys who can run away and beat man coverage and we got to do a good job getting them the ball in those situations.
Q: Can you ever truly free up Odell because it looks like he’s got three guys around him as soon as he makes a catch? I can’t imagine a defensive coordinator would call anything that leaves him one-on-one.
A: I mean teams do it. Teams do it, yeah. They leave guys one-on-one. They’re playing zone, so the safeties usually favor kind of his side. If a corner is one-on-one, a lot of times he will play off just to try not to give up the big stuff, so it’s a mix. We got to mix in if they’re playing off we got to hit the 10-yard routes and hit some things just to move the chains and then set up some things to get down the field.
Q: I think you’ve been saying this, just to get the ball in his hands anywhere and trust that he does something with it?
A: Yeah I think we got to get the ball in his hands where he is on the move or some of it is just getting completions obviously as well. It’s doing it all. It’s not just him, it’s Sterling, it’s Saquon, it’s getting the ball to all of those guys hands with room to run and the ability to turn some things into big plays.
RB Saquon Barkley
Q: As you prepare to face this Carolina defense, what do you think are the biggest concerns about the offense? Just to find ways to execute better?
A: Yeah, we’ve got to get back to the basics. We’ve got to kind of do what we did the first drive against other teams, continue to have that momentum, that first drive epitomizes what we’re capable of doing on the football field and we have to have that mindset. It’s definitely going to be a tough challenge against the Panthers this week, a great defense led by (Luke Keuchly) who is an amazing talent, amazing player, but I think that we are willing enough and we’re ready to be able to match up with these guys and start to get it going on the offensive side of the ball.
Q: When you look at last week, that first drive, I think it was very similar to what you guys did the whole game in Houston, then it went away for three quarters. Why do you think that is? What do you think was different the rest of last week’s game?
A: That’s a great question. You’ve got to give credit where credit is due, the Saints had a great game plan I guess you could say. We got negative plays, penalties, that’s kind of been the story about a lot of the games so far on the offensive side of the ball getting behind the line of scrimmage when we can’t do that. We’ve got to get going early. That first play, you’ve got to be a five yard play, you’ve got to get the sticks moving somehow some way, whenever we get the sticks moving that’s when we’re at our best, that’s when any offense is at their best to be honest. I would say that’s the difference. Eliminate negative plays, MA’s, and penalties.
Q: In the four games, have you seen a pattern to the way teams are defending you that you guys can make adjustments?
A: Jacksonville played a little different. The Saints and the Cowboys kind of played similar. Houston kind of stuck with the game plan that they had, so it was a little mixture of everything. Obviously we don’t know what Carolina is going to do, but we’re going to game plan for what they’ve been doing and have answers for if they try to do something different. That’s the importance of football especially on the offensive side of the ball, it’s like playing chess, and you want to end up with that last piece.
Q: Different situation for you now in the pros being 1-3. Do you examine yourself when you go look at game tape, is it team-wise as far as play calls, how do you approach this right now?
A: The way you approach it is by not getting down. Obviously you’re 1-3, the season is obviously not over. It’s a long season but you can’t say it’s a long season forever because you get to a point where you get redundant and you keep saying that, then there’s no chance for you to make the playoffs. Everything that we still want, all of our goals are still in reach. Coach said something perfect today, he said the only thing that we’re not capable of doing this season is an undefeated season, and that only happened one time. I don’t know if everybody expects to win every single game, but most likely not going to win every single game. You’ve just got to continue to work, not get down like I said, have positive energy, come into the building and continue to work and like you said examine yourself, watch film, learn what you can do to help the team, learn what you can do better to help yourself better in certain situations and get ready for the next week.
*Q: Can it be as simple as, stop making mistakes? Penalties, things like that? *
A: Yeah, it is that simple. We’ve got to get back to playing Giants football. I don’t think really any team so far that we’ve played, obviously at the end of the game they had the win and they had more points than we had, but there’s a lot of things we did ourselves to put us in that situation. If we can fix ourselves and just focus on ourselves, I think the rest of the season will take care of itself.
*Q: How do you feel physically? *
A: Physically, I don’t think anybody would tell you they feel one hundred percent in Week 4 of the season but I feel great, I feel ready to go, ready to get this week started. Have practice this week, try to have the best practice we’ve had so far this (Wednesday) and get ready for Carolina.
*Q: As I’m starting to get to know you, you’re very hard on yourself not matter how well you do in a game if the team loses. Am I right about that? *
A: Yes sir.
Q: Have you always been that way? Why do you beat yourself up?
A: Even when you win, win or lose, I’m always going to be my biggest critic because I have the passion, I want to be great, I want to be a great player in this league and I have to hold myself to that standard. When we lose, you’ve got to look back on yourself.
*Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the NFL so far? *
A: Biggest lesson I’ve learned by the NFL is, the difference in college was your first five games, four games, I don’t care if you’re in the SEC, Big 10, or wherever you play, there’s going to be some cake walks in there. There’s going to be some games where you should dominate the team, and I think you look so far in the NFL, every team that’s played has been mostly a close game. That’s when we’ve got to find a way to separate ourselves. We can’t almost win these games, we can’t make those mistakes to lose those games, we’ve got to find a way to win that game. We got up against Houston, and Houston made a great comeback and they pushed in the second half, but we found a way to finish that game and win that game. That’s the difference in college and the NFL, every single week is going to be a dog fight no matter if the team is 0-7 and 7-0, this is their job. This what they get paid to do.
Q: How big a load touch-wise would you be able to handle?
A: Whatever. Simple as that. Whatever the team needs me to do, however many touches they need me to do, however many carries they need me to do, however many plays they need me to do, I’m willing to do it. It wouldn’t bother me, my mind wouldn’t be different, my body wouldn’t be different. At the end of the day you still have to come in here and take care of your body, I’m still going to do that no matter if I touch the ball twice or touch the ball 25 times.
*Q: You refer to ‘we have to play Giants football’. Can you describe what your vision of Giants football is? *
A: Giants football is just being consistent, running the ball, making efficient plays, maximizing on the opportunities when we get the opportunities, stay away from mistake-free football – obviously you’re going to make mistakes, but make less mistakes than the other team, not turn the ball over.
Q: (Pat Shurmur) said he thought Will Hernandez played his best game on Sunday. You both came in this rookie class. When you watch him develop, what have you seen out of Will so far?
A: One, I love his work ethic. I love his passion for the game. He’s a gritty player, definitely love how he plays in the trenches. Not only him, but everybody in this rookie class, when you see (B.J. Hill), even (Sean Chandler) on special teams, and even though (Kyle Lauletta’s) not playing right now, Kyle is developing in practice. I think our rookie class is very special, we have a lot of special talented players in that class, and I think there’s a lot of room for growth, and I think if we continue to work our butt off, we can be special.
*Q: Do you think the offensive line is starting to find its footing and building on some early season struggles? *
A: I wouldn’t really say it was early season struggles, the first game we played probably the best defense in the NFL and I don’t know if anybody really had – we’re probably the only team that got 100 yards on them so far. I don’t know that stat for sure, but I’m willing to bet. Obviously it’s just everything, it wasn’t O line struggles, it was everybody just getting comfortable with each other, getting familiar with each other, myself playing as a rookie early, new offensive coaches, offensive staff – everybody getting familiar with each other and continuing to learn, we just have to continue to believe in each other and I think if we continue to do that, we’ll get better throughout the year.
*Q: How would you evaluate your play personally through four games? *
A: I’ve got to be better. I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of breaking tackles so far, I’ve got to find a way to break more tackles. I was brought here to be an efficient player and when the opportunity comes, create big plays, and I’ve got to do a better job there. A lot of the reason we haven’t been successful is we haven’t been able to run the ball, we haven’t run the ball as well as we are capable of. That’s where my job kicks in and that’s where myself and the O line, we’re kind of a whole when it comes to that, where we’ve got to take that as a personal challenge and continue to work and get better. When the next game comes, when the opportunity comes, capitalize on it.
RT Chad Wheeler
Q: Coach said your more laid-back California, but you have that ability to turn that switch. Talk about how you – when do you start getting that switch? Is it in the locker room before the game, Saturday night? When do you start turning that?
A: You start throughout the week. I think you start on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Sort of like build up for game time. So yeah, you got to be calm around family and friends and then you got to turn into a savage when you enter the building.
Q: Do you start rocking certain music or something like that? What do you do?
A: I like Eminem. I don’t know, Logic is good. Lil Wayne’s new album is good. Yeah. just whatever is out.
Q: How are you and Patrick (Omameh) working together communication-wise?
A: It’s great. He’s a very savvy vet. He understands the game, he’s played a lot of football so anything I can take away from him I try to and I try to help him as much as I can, holding up my end of the bargain by being as prepared as I can be and just sort of help him anyway I can.
Q: You guys talk about Carolina – you look at Carolina on film they like to give you stunts, they do some twists and stuff like that. Do you guys talk about that?
A: Yeah we’ve seen that in the film study days before, and this morning. A lot of teams are going to end up doing that. We’ve sort of struggled with that early in our first two games so we have to prepare for that.
Q: As a group, do you feel like you guys are making some progress up front?
A: Yeah as a group I feel like we’re coming together just doing the little things, it’s just do something better. Honestly, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel or try to be Superman out there so you just got to do your job and hope the guy next to you is doing it.
Q: Just looking back to New Orleans, is there anything in particular you guys saw on film that you can do better?
A: Some of our run fits we could’ve done a lot better, getting on linebackers, opening up holes for Saquon (Barkley). He was getting like four-five yards, but we want to bust those for like 30-yard gains, 10 or 30-yard gains, so we have a lot of work to do in that area. Passing game, we gave up some pressures and sacks so we just have to get on our guys and stay in front of them.
Q: Coach was actually pretty complimentary about the way that you played on Sunday. Are you kind of hard on yourself in general?
A: Yeah you got to be hard on yourself especially being an undrafted free agent. You’re always going to have that chip on your shoulder, never going to feel like you’re good enough and honestly once you start feeling you’re good enough, that’s when you get humbled in this league, so you just got to keep pushing.
Safety Landon Collins
Q: When you look at this Carolina offense, what do you all have to do to contain them?
A: Play our technique, play sound ball, run through the ball, and just make plays. Play our assignments right, play our gaps right, and be sure we surround the ball as quick as possible.
Q: Is there any significant differences in the way (Panthers QB) Cam Newton is playing under the new offensive coordinator?
A: It’s hard to say. I’m trying to watch all of their games. They aren’t a conference team, so we don’t play them twice, so it’s just hard to figure it out. After watching him, I feel like he’s the same Cam. So, it’s not too much of a difference.
Q: How much have you missed (LB) Olivier Vernon, and how much does he mean to this defense?
A: He means a lot to this defense. He’s a big part of it. We need him. I think he’s going to be back this week. He’s a big part of the defense.
Q: How have you missed him?
A: He’s just a big part of the defense. He gets some sacks on the quarterback, definitely some TFL’s (tackle-for-loss). Big part of the defense.
Q: As you face yet another mobile quarterback, what impact can Olivier Vernon have?
A: The great thing about Vernon is he’s quick on his feet for a big guy. Very smooth. He can get rid of blocks very strong. When the quarterback comes his way, he can outrun some quarterbacks and keep up with them. It’ll be good.
Q: What kind of unique challenge does (RB) Christian McCaffrey pose as compared to some of the other running backs you’ve seen so far?
A: He’s shifty, he’s quick on his feet, he could razzle-dazzle you. He also has strength. He’s a nice back, he’s very solid. He’s a well-rounded back.
Q: He’s (McCaffrey) a guy that can do some damage as a receiver too. Is that something you guys have to keep an eye on?
A: Yeah, he’s kind of like (Saints RB) Alvin Kamara coming out of the backfield, a receiving-type running back who you can also hand the ball off too. You get him in open space, it’s kind of hard to cover him. You got to keep an eye on him, definitely.
Q: When you look at Cam Newton and his size and physicality, how do you break him down and try to tackle him coming out of that read option offense?
A: Like anybody else, you just tackle him. Other than that, when he’s in the backfield and in the tackle box, you still got to treat him like a quarterback. When he’s outside the tackle box, you just tackle him, honestly. Go after his legs. Every running back goes down when they can’t run with their legs.
Q: How did Carolina have so much success running the ball against Cincinnati? What did you observe from that tape?
A: I haven’t gotten to that film. I’ve watched the Atlanta film, and one other game. I haven’t watched that one yet.
Q: What do you see that’s allowing them to have so much success running the ball?
A: Their misdirection, guys like McCaffrey catching the ball out of the backfield. Cam Newton holding their zone read longer than most quarterbacks will hold it. Sometimes, he just takes it when he shouldn’t take it. On those, you just have to play sound defense. You’ve got to play sound defense against him and be able to tackle these guys. They can make big gains.
Q: They like to throw a lot of vertical routes down the field to open up McCaffrey to the short passing game. How do you guys stop it?
A: Like I said, there’s a lot of misdirection. You have to use your eyes and play sound defense. You got to run around and play hard defense.
Q: What can you tell people that are sitting there panicking saying the run defense isn’t as good as it used to be?
A:Our run defense is really good. If you go back to the Saints game, we gave up three carries for 84 yards. Before that, we were giving up 2.9 yards a carry. Throughout the game, and before those three big rushes, he had 84 yards. We just have to play sound continue playing sound throughout the whole game. If we do that, we’ll be alright.
Q: How did you guys evaluate what happened on that zone read that went for a touchdown against the Saints?
A: Honestly, it’s a different play call. Everyone just has to know their gap assignments.
Q: Can going to a hostile place kind of bring a team together going on the road being in the hotel?
A: Yeah, always, because it’s us against the world you feel like when you’re going to a hostile place like that. We’re going away, it’s an away game. So, we definitely have to stick together as a team. We got a few fans there, but there’s going to be more Carolina fans than Giants fans.
Q: What kind of things do you expect from a team coming off a bye? What kind of challenge does that present?
A: They kind of got to get back into the swing of things. That’s the biggest part, just getting back into the swing of things, and making sure, coming off a win to continue having that winning mentality.
Q: With Coach (Mike) Shula previously being the offensive coordinator in Carolina, can he give you any more insight in addition to watching the film? Or, is it totally different now?
A: We talked to him about a couple of things. We’ve got some insight about what they do, and how they use stuff. I can’t give you that information (laughter).
Q: Have you talked to your guy (Seahawks FS) Earl (Thomas)?
A: I have not yet. We got a lot of stuff going on right now, especially with the injury. He has to go through surgery, so I’m going to wait. I talked to my agent, and he talked to him – he’s good, he’s good.
Q: You’re not exactly in the same situation, but you have a contract on the horizon after this season. Does his situation give you any pause or concern?
A: No, it’s always in the back of your head. You don’t want to get hurt, definitely in contract season. You want to be secure. I play football and I love this game, and I’m going to play hard.
Q: What did you think about the job (CB Janoris Jenkins) Jackrabbit did against (Saints WR) Michael Thomas?
A: I think he did a good job. They were running a lot of drag routes away from Jackrabbit’s leverage, and he made the plays, he made the tackles. He got a good back-shoulder pass from (Saints QB) Drew Brees, but Drew Brees is a Hall Of Fame quarterback. He can make those throws.
Q: Do you think he gets enough credit for being one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL? Or do you think he kind of flies under the radar?
A: I don’t pay attention to all of that, honestly. I think Jackrabbit is one of the best corners out there, and he proves that each and every week.
Q: You guys have a quick turnaround with the Thursday Night game after this Sunday. How big is this stretch of games in terms of defining what you guys can do this week?
A: Honestly, I’m not even thinking about next week. Right now, it’s Carolina. Obviously, we have a Thursday night game, but it’s not on my mind right now. We got Carolina.
Q: You had a couple of good pass breakups, one that got called back for a penalty on somebody else. The way (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) is itching to get into the end zone, are you itching for that first forced fumble or interception?
A: No, honestly, I’m just playing ball, because if I’m itching for it, that’s when I’m pressing for it. It might cause some mistakes. If I make mistakes, it’s going to cost for us either for a first down or a touchdown. I play my game, I play my assignments, and I just let it come to me patiently.