Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: On the injury front, I think the one of note is (Wayne) Gallman, who left the game early with a concussion. Otherwise, we just got banged around so some of the guys are just going to be a little bit sore. The challenge is to get them back going, get their energy level up to play on Thursday. We faced a good football team. There were times in the game when we presented ourselves with opportunities and we didn't take advantage of them. When that happens against a good team, they take advantage of them. They were able to run the ball on us, at a clip that it's going to be hard for us. They threw the ball, they did well. They played well, and we didn't take advantage of our opportunities to give ourselves a chance to win the football game. That's the message, I just told that to the team. We just have to get back to work. We obviously have a hell of a team to play on Thursday, and that's that. I'll take your questions.
Q: Your defense struggled in the first half. What do you think it was?
A: Well I think— they were running the ball, boots and nakeds, and they were able to get into the rhythm that they wanted to get into. They did a good job.
Q: How difficult is it to cover those boots and nakeds when you have new players at linebacker?
A: When you add the, 'new at linebacker,' that's making excuses for the fact that— no, we have to do a better job, everybody on defense. When we have opportunities to score on offense, we have to take advantage of that.
Q: How did Daniel Jones handle going up against a top defense and what are the takeaways from his performance?
A: I think he showed me Week 3 again, his toughness and his poise. He made some good throws under duress at times. Then there were a couple he was just off on. The one that comes to mind is the Shep (Sterling Shepard) throw in the end zone. I think that's a touch. We talk about making that a facemask throw, it was just a touch high. But there are a lot of things. There are situations where I wish I could've given him better plays. But I thought he battled, and that's why he's going to be a good player for us for a long time.
Q: After you got the big turnover, that fumble recovery at the goal line and you were at the 1-yard line. Obviously, you wanted to get out of there as fast as you can, so you give it to Hilliman, but you had other options there…
A: Other than run the ball? We could've thrown it. I certainly could have thrown it. It was a run play that, in hindsight, we didn't execute it well enough and we gave up a safety. That's two points, you move on. That's that. We got beat by what, what did we get beat by? 18. That was a bad play on our part, we have to clean it up and move on. Good question, though, tough question. Good question.
Q: How would you evaluate the offensive line?
A: I thought they battled hard against a really good front.
Q: What did you think of the unsportsmanlike call against DeAndre (Baker)?
A: I didn't see the actual call. My understanding is that it happened. I had a conversation with him about why that can't happen, and we got that cleaned up and we moved on. But I did not see the actual play. It was sort of between plays, or after a play, so I cut my eyes away slightly.
Q: I know you don't want to use excuses about personnel, but you had to compromise in the second half. It just didn't seem like you could get the running game going and it seemed like the Vikings could.
A: I thought (Eli) Penny had a couple nice runs in there. If you ask him, he'll tell you that he's a converted halfback. Just ask him. He plays fullback, but he's like, "hey coach, give me the ball." I thought he stepped in and did some good things. Then we had (Jon) Hilliman in there that was battling, too. So, we move on.
Q: Darius Slayton got his first touchdown. How do you feel he's progressed?
A: Yeah. Since the day he got here, he has made steady improvements. He was obviously a really good player in college, and we drafted him for a reason. He came here, and ironically, the first practice he couldn't catch a cold. So we were like, 'holy smokes, were we looking at the right guy?' From practice two on, he has made steady improvements. Those types of plays are not surprising for me to see based on what I've seen from him.
Q: What was it like getting Golden (Tate) back today?
A: It was good. He's a veteran presence, he gets in there and battles. We'll just have to look at it. I think we probably didn't do enough to get enough guys enough balls. That's partly because of who we played against, but I thought it was good to have him out there. You can feel his veteran presence on the sideline.
Q: You didn't shy away from throwing deep down the field against the corners. What were your thoughts on how the receivers competed and how Daniel Jones attacked those guys deep?
A: We felt like, we weren't just throwing go balls. Some of them were, certainly, but we felt like we needed to make some plays down the field. They didn't always present us those good clean one on ones. The times that we did have them, I thought Dan did a good job of letting the ball go. Then the other part of it is, the protection element and making sure you have that as well.
Q: You got sacked on 4*th and goal. Well, I guess it was 4*th and 3.
A: Yeah, we were going for it.
Q: Is there anything Daniel (Jones) could have seen to avoid that?
A: No, we had a three-man concept to the left. They pressured the A-gaps, I thought we did a good job there. Just like anytime you get pressure in the quarterback's face, it kind of disrupted him some. Then the edge got us some. It was a good rush on their part. I'll have to look and see how clean we were blocking it. I'll kick myself in the butt for it, but I wanted to be aggressive there, we were down by two touchdowns. I felt like against a team like this, when you have opportunities, you have to hit on them. That's why we did it.
Q: You threw the challenge flag on the Shep (Sterling Shepard) play. Did you have any thoughts of throwing it on the fade to (Evan) Engram?
A: Yeah. I told you I was going to go there at some point— but, hold that thought. I thought about it, certainly. But in that situation, I'm surprised sometimes by what I hear and challenge. There was a grab on the left side of our receiver. That was a big play that could've put us at the one in a two-score game. That's why I felt like that one was worth it. You see, typically, on fade balls a lot of the time in the back corner it goes bang, bang. There are a lot of times where the demeanor of the defender is not playing the ball, but kind of goes through the offensive player. You don't ever get those calls. I made a judgement, and we'll check it out to see what anybody wants to say about it. I'll take it to my grave because I can't tell you guys what happens, but we'll figure it out.
Q: What do you hope Daniel (Jones) learns from today and what can he learn from going against this defense?
A: I think we played against four really good defenses prior to this, but I think each person that played today— number one, you can't get discouraged. I'm looking for guys who get discouraged, those are the guys we're going to get out of here—the ones that get discouraged. You can't get discouraged. We didn't make enough plays. So, everybody goes back, and we'll do it quickly because we've got a game on a short horizon here, and make our corrections and move on. I think Daniel's no different.
Q: Were you upset they didn't call, to protect Daniel, on that low hit?
A: That was one of a number of things I talked about. Hold that thought. I'm going to get to it at some point. It's going be to be epic, but not today.
Q: What do you say to the idea that it's going to be hard for you guys when you go against good offenses when you're really going to have to stop them?
A: Listen, we have to go out and play against whoever we play against. Every team you play is good. But when we play well, we're good, too. So that's what I would say.
Q: Do you feel encouraged at least that you got down into scoring positions at the bottom of these drives? You didn't finish them, but had chances to make a comeback?
A: No, I'm not encouraged or discouraged by that. When you get down there, you have to score. If we play these guys again, there's a handful of things I might do differently. It's not going to change my sleep pattern knowing that we played against a good defense. That's a bullshit mentality. We're out there to win games, regardless of how good the team is.
QB Daniel Jones
Q: How much did the pressure, especially up the middle, disrupt the timing of some of your throws?
A: I thought they did a good job. Like you said, they are a good front. I thought, overall, we did a good job handling it. I think that's going to happen in any game, you are going to have pressure at times and you expect that. I thought, overall, we did a pretty good job handling that, I think there's some situations where I can be better in the pocket and I can get the ball out.
Q: Can you talk about the two "almost" plays to Sterling, the overthrow in the first quarter and the touchdown that was high in the end zone?
A: Two big missed opportunities. I think when you play a good defense like Minnesota you need to convert those. I will certainly look at those, but I have to be better in those situations and we have to take advantage of those. You can't afford to miss those against a team like that.
Q: Most teams would shy away from these Vikings but you guys were aggressive, what are your thoughts on coming into this ball game and trying to be aggressive?
A: We have a lot of confidence in our receivers. Up against anyone, I think we match up well. Like I said, we had the opportunity, we had the chances. I have to do a better job of making sure we convert those chances. We are going to be aggressive and with every game we play, we are going to stay aggressive.
Q: What is your overall feeling about how you and the offense did today?
A: Not good enough. Like I said, I thought the plan was good going in, I thought we created a lot of opportunities for ourselves to make plays and we didn't make them. You're not going to win if you can't convert those opportunities, you can't make plays. I have to be better.
*Q: You have been tough on yourself, do you take away that mentality from this game? *A: Yea, that's always the mindset after a game, to use it to improve. There is certainly no exception here.
I think there is a lot of things I have to do better, we'll correct them as a team and move forward. I think it's always the same mindset.
Q: With Wayne Gallman going down, did that change some of the protections and how you guys wanted to attack Minnesota's defense?
A: Obviously Wayne going down is tough to see and you hate to see it. I thought Jon and Eli stepped up and played well with their opportunities. I'm not sure it changed a whole lot in terms of what we were doing.
Q: It's a short turn around for you, what are your thoughts on playing Tom Brady and New England?
A: It's the next opportunity. We are looking forward to the quick turn around and the fact that we get to play four days from now. It's a short week, so I think we are excited, it gives us a chance to get back out there and correct some of the things we need to correct.
Q: Is Brady a guy you watched a lot growing up?
A: Yeah, I think I watched everyone growing up and enjoyed watching everyone. He's been one of the best guys for a long time. I've always enjoyed watching him.
Q: On the safety, what did you see in their defensive front?
A: They did a good job on that. I probably can make sure that we are making the right decision in the run game. If I have a chance to get us in a better play, I'm doing that. I think that's a tough situation and we can all be better.
Q: Was this game different in the sense that you got hit more, there was less room to run? Was this just a better defense that you faced?
A: They are a good defense and they deserve credit. Like I said, I think we created enough opportunities for ourselves to win. Maybe there wasn't as much space at times, but I think that's going to happen any game, and as long as you are creating opportunities, you need to be able to convert those. We didn't do that, I didn't do that, that's why we lost.
Q: On the fourth and two from the three when you were attempting to go in and you got sacked, should there have been a hot read on that play?
A: There's always a way to get the ball out of your hands quicker. I have to do a better job.
Q: You mentioned the missed opportunities, what does this team need to do to put everything together?
A: I'm not sure it's something we need to change, do differently, I'm not sure it's that kind of problem. I think it's just about converting, we are certainly capable enough. We're aware enough, we know what we need to do, it's just about doing it and making sure we are doing it every single play we are out there. I don't think by any means we need to re-think things, or need to change what we're doing. I think it's just making sure we do it.
Q: You've played two games and done nothing but win, is it a different feeling walking off this time?
A: It's never a good feeling when you lose, certainly. I've been on teams where we have lost, I've certainly lost games before. I think you learn from it and it's an opportunity to improve. It's never a good feeling to lose.
Q: With Harrison Smith on the back end, did he give you different things to think about, because of how much ground he can cover?
A: He's a good player. Obviously has played in that system for a long time and knows what they are trying to do. There was a couple instances where I could have done a better job controlling him with my eyes maybe, or seeing it a little bit better. You have to give a lot of credit to their defense. Like I said, we had opportunities but they deserve credit.
Q: What was it like having Golden Tate back today?
A: It was good, I thought having him out there was good for us. Obviously, I probably missed some opportunities to get him the ball and making sure he's involved. It's good having him out there and I look forward to throwing and improving with him.
Q: Have you ever had to get ready in such a short duration, like you said only 4 days until you have to turn around and play again?
A: I don't know if I had anything quite like this in college. I guess we played Saturday and then we played Thursdays, so five days. It will be a different week, structured differently in how we practice and how we prepare. I'm confident we will be able to do it. The Patriots have four days, too. It's about making sure we are efficient and prepared to play, I'm confident we will be.
Q: The pass to Sterling in the back of the endzone that he caught, does that one upset you the most?
A: That one and a number of other missed opportunities, but I don't know if I value them different. They were all big plays we should have made, and I should have made sure we did. There was a number of missed opportunities and you need to convert those to beat a team like that.
Q: Was it too high
A: Absolutely, it was clearly too high.
TE Evan Engram
Q: Fans will look at this and say that you guys weren't able to get too much going against this defense. Then you have to turn around in a few days and play the best defense in the league. How in the world can you guys muster anything in a few days?
A: We just have to stay the course. Like I said, there's nothing to be discouraged about. There were plays that could have been made. There were a lot of 50-50 balls that we have to make. We make those plays, then it's a different ballgame. So there's nothing to really get discouraged about. We're fine.
Q: You've faced some good defenses already. Did Minnesota take it a step up at all?
A: They're a good defense. It's kind of hard to compare. We've played Dallas - they're a great defense. Tampa - they're a solid defense. They all have their differences, but they a good football game. We had our chances. We just have to make them.
Q: They don't seem to make them easy.
A: That's the thing. That's the league. You gotta earn it.
Q: When you guys get that big turnover on defense and you get the ball on the one-yard line. They look like they're going in and then you guys get a stop. You don't want to give them the safety. How tough is that to get the ball out of the endzone?
A: It's tough. It's something that we have to look at. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror at all aspects of offense. It's a momentum killer. That was something big that we could have turned around. We have to be better at my position and every other position across the board.
Q: On that play, especially when you have a rookie. You're handing the ball off to a rookie when it's not safe like that.
A: We've got to be better all across the board. We take care of our blocking assignments and we get a good push, then that doesn't happen.
Q: You're confident that you guys can go up to New England and perform well?
A: That's our mentality. There's no worry. There's no doubt. We put the work in. We believe in each other. There's no doubt in our minds that we can go up there and compete with this team and go get a win.
Q: Even without Saquon?
A: Like I said, we don't have any doubt. We have belief in our players and our team that we can go out there and get a win.
Q: What would it mean to get Saquon back?
A: It would mean a lot, obviously. That's a no-brainer. But we've got to be smart with his recovery and be smart with his timeline. Like I said, we had chances to win the ballgame today against a really good team. There's no doubt in our minds that we can go out there and compete.
Q: Unintelligible..down to your third running back..
A: It's tough. You hate to see Wayne go out early. Obviously Hilliman and Penny came in and did what they could. But it's tough to lose guys in general. But we had our chances today, even with all that happening.
* Q: When's the last time you ran the ball?*
A: I had a couple of reverses last year. I'm a playmaker. It's nothing new. They made some good plays.
WR Sterling Shepard
Q: What was your reaction when they called you off the field there?
A: I didn't really have a reaction. Just whatever they say for me to do and then go back out there.
Q: Do you physically feel fine coming out of this game?
Q: The Vikings have a pretty good defense. Did you guys have chances or what?
A: Yeah, we had some chances. We have to take advantage of them. (We need to) get in the film room and figure out exactly what it is that we did wrong, and try to correct them before the quick turnaround.
Q: You already had Saquon (Barkley) out, and then Wayne (Gallman) gets hurt. How much does that handcuff an offense when you're now down to your third running back?
A: It's next man up mentality. That's what we have here. Guys have to pick up where other guys left off. That's the bottom line.
Q: Does it though? Especially when you're playing a defense like that, it can't help.
A: Well, if you don't have the number one running back in the league, obviously, there are some big play opportunities that he can make. But we don't have him, so that was the bottom line.
Q: Then obviously, Wayne went down, too.
A: Wayne as well. Yep.
Q: Did you feel that this was a case of near misses for yourself personally? Back of the end zone, you made a great catch but you're out. Then you just missed that ball in the first quarter.
A: Yeah, I mean it's a game of inches. We saw that today. We have to correct some little things, but I think it's all things that are correctable. We'll be alright.
Q: How close were you to the play in the first quarter when you're diving around the 20, Jones threw it deep and you just missed it? Do you remember that one?
Q: In the first quarter, it was a long pass and you made a dive for it.
A: Oh yeah. Yeah, it was a near miss.
Q: How about the play in the back of the end zone where you propelled yourself backwards? Did you think you had a chance on that one?
A: Yeah. For me, I feel like I should come up with that. It's a tough catch, but I feel like I can make tough catches. Myself personally, I feel like I need to come up with those.
Q: That was the fourth quarter one you're talking about, right?
A: Fourth quarter, yeah.
Q: How do you feel leaving here today? Do you feel like this was a game you guys could have won, or at least could have been closer?
A: Yeah. I mean, that was a great defense that we just faced. But we look at ourselves as a great offense. Like I said, it's a game of inches. You have to be sound in everything that you do. We have to get in the film room and figure out what we need to correct before this quick turnaround.
Q: Those two plays, do you think those are both plays you should have made?
Q: Neither was necessarily an easy play.
A: No, it's not an easy play. But you know what? I feel like I can make tough catches. I feel like that's the reason why I play this game. I put that on myself.
Q: How different do you think the game could have been if you made one of those or both of those plays?
A: It could have been big. It could have been big for us.
CB DeAndre Baker
Q: …Grasping exactly what's asked of you and being in the right place at the right time?
A: Just paying attention and being aware of what's going on. Just player awareness. We have older guys in the room helping me out with the little things. I'm just using what they give me to help me in the game.
Q: Did it feel like at times, they were maybe targeting you, especially on the (Adam) Thielen touchdown in the second half?
A: No. No.
Q: When you give up a big play like that, how does a young cornerback block that out and bounce back on the next one?
A: I mean, that was his first catch. I just have to make sure next time, it doesn't happen. Just technique wise. That's all. But it's the NFL. There are good players everywhere. If they make a play, you have to forget about it and get ready for the next play. We came back on third down and they went back to him. I made a play. So, you just have to have a short memory.
Q: Why don't you get down? I mean, it's easier said than done.
A: That's just my personality. That's the way I play. That's who I am. You can't let one play just mess you up for the whole game.
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