Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Q: Did Saquon (Barkley) and Evan (Engram) practice?
A: We had kind of a 'teach tempo' today. We did a few things full speed, but teach tempo. The only guys that didn't participate in anything were the two guys that are dealing with concussions (Sterling Shepard and Wayne Gallman). So I'm just going to leave it at that.
Q: How's Sterling doing?
A: He's in the concussion protocol.
Q: Is he moving around? Is he at the facility?
A: Yeah, he's up moving around.
Q: It appears that you're going to be pretty significantly short-handed on offense entering this game. How do you adjust to that and accommodate to that as a play-caller?
A: We do everything each week to adjust to the players that we have on the field. We try to do the things that they do best and give them the best chance to compete against the team we're playing against. This game will be no different.
Q: Do you expect Evan and Saquon to be game-time decisions?
A: We'll see. Like I said, I'm not going to talk about injuries other than the two concussion guys didn't participate at all today.
Q: You guys are 16.5-point underdogs. What is your reaction to that? That's such a big number.
A: I have no reaction to it.
Q: When you look at the Patriots defense, the numbers have been dominant. But from a film study standpoint, what stands out about why they're playing so well?
A: They have all of the elements of what makes for a dominating defense. They're very sturdy against the run. When you drop back to pass, they get pressure, whether they're rushing with four or they choose to pressure. Then in the backend, they can play man-to-man coverage or in the case of zone, they do a good job of eliminating the big play. They have all of those elements, and that's why they've had success.
Q: What does not having all of those weapons do to Daniel (Jones)?
A: We're going to play with the guys that we have. We expect Daniel to go out and execute, and I'm going to try to call the game so that he has the best chance to do so.
Q: Your defense has given up almost 500 yards in three games. Two 98-yard drives, which is kind of unusual to see in a season. What can it do to get better beginning Thursday? Where would you want it to start?
A: We need to play more like we did two weeks ago than we did last week. Two weeks ago, I think we had three explosive plays. Last week, we had many more. It just comes down to all of the fundamentals of playing good defense. You have to be in the right spot. When a ball carrier or a route runner shows up and he has the ball in his hands, you have to tackle him. Everybody has to cover down properly, and when they choose to pass, you have to get pressure. Obviously, when they choose to run the ball, it's a team thing. You have to win your gap, which means you have to defeat the block, win your gap and then run to the ball. Those are just all team concepts that we just have to all do more like we did two weeks ago and less like we did last week.
Q: Do you get a sense that opposing defenses are getting a little bit of a jump on Daniel's snap count?
A: No. We have alternate snap counts.
Q: You don't feel like edge rushers are getting a particularly good jump?
A: You'd have to ask those edge rushers.
Q: Looking at it, it seems like they are.
A: Well, we played against some good edge rushers. You'd have to ask them. But we certainly have ways to combat that.
Q: It's out there that Engram and Saquon aren't expected to play. Is that accurate?
A: You didn't hear that from me. What's accurate is the two guys that did not participate to any degree today were the two guys that are listed with concussions.
Q: If those two guys can't play though, what does it do to your offense?
A: We'll put the next guys in and we'll go. I understand that you're curious about the injuries. I really don't have anything to add other than what's out there. And some of what's out there is not stuff that we put out.
Q: After watching the film, if Saquon can't play, do you expect (Eli) Penny to have more of a role than he did on Sunday?
A: We'll see how much he plays tailback. He's listed as a fullback, but when we put him in at tailback, we expect him to do tailback things.
Q: What did you think of him? It seemed like he was productive when he had the ball.
A: I think he's a good runner. He has good vision. He has good collision balance. To this point, when we've handed it to him, he's secured it well. Those are all of the elements that you're looking for in a runner.
Q: When it comes to Saquon, this is more philosophical than his status for Thursday necessarily, but a guy like that who pushes himself, who does heal quickly historically. Should it be a surprise that it's perhaps the training staff that has to say, 'You think you're ready to play. We're going to be cautious and give you that one extra game off,' because that makes sense for the longer term?
A: I don't know any of that. I do know this. We have outstanding doctors and trainers. We have open lines of communication between the players, the trainers and the doctors. At some point, when a player is ready to play and we feel like he's healthy enough to play, he goes back in there. That's really how it works.
Q: When you look at this Patriots defense throughout these first few games, how much is (Patriots head coach Bill) Belichick changing drastically what he's doing from week to week or do they have kind of a consistent approach? Because he has that chameleon reputation for being able to change weekly. How much of it is that versus (a consistent approach)?
A: There's always a little bit of change to what they do. But they're playing extremely well, and they're very multiple within games. Again, that would be a better question for anybody that's watching this tape like we are. But that's part of their charm, their ability to change. They're like everybody. He has a roster of players, really good players, and he tries to put them on the field and use their strengths. That's what he does. And then take away what we do well.
Q: When you guys have injuries, it seems like your tendency is to call up guys from the practice squad rather than sign new players. Why is that? Why are you more comfortable with your practice squad players?
A: I don't know what our tendency is. I do know this, we have workouts frequently, and we're trying to add the best players available. Sometimes, those guys come from your practice squad. A guy that's been with you for a while has an understanding of what you're doing. They're on our practice squad because they're guys that we like to some degree. So, that's why.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about what Darius Slayton has done the last couple of weeks? I think he's been targeted 12 times, nine catches, he's averaging something like 17.4 (yards per catch). Is that surprising for a guy who's had a hamstring problem?
A: No. Unfortunately, he had a hamstring problem. But once again, we drafted him for a reason. I think I made comments earlier in the week about how we've liked what we've seen behind the scenes. He's getting more and more of an opportunity to play, and he's making the best of it. The hamstring problem for him was sort of the issue of the day. But aside from that, he's done a lot of good things.
Q: What did you notice coming out of that game from (Jon) Hilliman? What did he do well? Where does he have to get better? Can you just kind of assess that?
A: Yeah, he competed well. He did what we asked him to do, and with his opportunities, he made the most of them. We expect that he'll do the same this week.
RB Saquon Barkley
Q: How are you feeling in general?
A: I feel good, just taking it day by day, continuing to get better every single day. I'm trying to do whatever I can to prepare myself the most I can to help my team compete at a high level on a short week on Thursday.
Q: How much more were you able to do in practice this week compared to last week, is there a difference in terms of how ready you feel?
A: I was able to continue doing the same thing; running, cutting, I think that's the biggest focal point. Being able to run and cut and I have been able to do that, I think that every single day I continue to feel better and that just happens with this type of injury. As times goes on, you continue to feel better. Like I said, just continue to take it one day at a time to try to prepare myself the best I can.
Q: What do you think about Thursday night?
A: I think Thursday we are going against a really good team. Obviously, everyone knows about the Patriots and Belichick and Brady, they have the number one defense over there. They're allowing 240 something yards a game, we definitely have to bring our "A" game, especially on a short week. We have to continue to go out there and take advantage of the plays that they give us and do what we can to come out with a W.
Q: Do you think you will be on the field or on the sidelines?
A: That's my mindset, continue to go out there for my team, play at a high level for my team, that's the way I have been approaching this thing. Just approaching every week and attacking film, attacking rehab, and just try to do whatever I can to help my team win.
Q: Do you feel 100 percent?
A: 100 percent. What is 100 percent? I have been asked that question a lot.
Q: Do you feel good enough to play?
A: I think anyone is going to say they feel good enough to play. Everyone keeps asking me if I am 100 percent. Not to be rude, but it's Week 5. No one is going to be 100 percent, that's the NFL. That's what happens in the sport that you play, the sport that I love. For me, my mindset is every single day, continue to get better, continue taking those reps. Try to help Eli (Penny), try to help Hilliman, Austin (Walter) and all those guys out. So when the opportunity comes for them they can be able to execute at a high level. That's my main focus, trying to do whatever I can to help my team win.
Q: Is this harder than you thought, trying to play it smart and understanding how the team has to approach this?
A: No, it's not hard at all because when it happened, I had my mind made up that I am going to come back as fast as I can and I'm going to be 10 times better. Also, I had the mindset that I am going to be open-minded. I'm not coming in here struggling, I'm not coming in here with my head down. I'm going to do whatever it takes in rehab to continue to get better and, also, I'm going to listen to my team. Like I said last week, I can't just preach team, team, team on the field. Also have to preach it off the field. We have a great training staff, starting with Ronnie Barnes and also Ryan, my trainer and my PT (Physical Therapist) outside of football. (They) have done a really good job for me. It's not hard at all.
Q: Did you guys already make a decision on Thursday? Or do you have a doctor's appointment, say tomorrow, to make that decision?
A: No, my focus is just going out there tomorrow, we treat it like a Saturday since Thursday is technically Sunday. My decision is to come here, come here early, get my treatment, get my rehab, then go out to practice. Obviously, it's going to be a lot slower than what we were doing the last two days, but I'll come out to practice and get ready for the Patriots.
Q: Do you expect to get on the bus?
A: That's the goal, that's the mindset that I have. That's how I'm attacking it every single day, every single week. Getting ready for the Patriots and doing what I can to help my team win.
Q: Just to be clear, there has been no decision yet? You don't know yet whether you're playing Thursday night?
A: I do not know if I'm playing Thursday night. There is no decision yet. I know you guys asked Coach (Shurmur), I know there are reports out there that I'm not going to play. It didn't come from my mouth and it didn't come from Coach Shurmur's mouth, so I don't know how that story happened.
Q: How much do you want to be out there since it's primetime and it's the Patriots?
A: It's not just the primetime Patriots. We could be playing Whitehall High School, I just love playing football, I just love playing this sport. I love being out there with my brothers, I love going and lining up with EP (Eli Penny), with Daniel (Jones), all those guys, Sterling (Shepard), and so on. Obviously, you get paid to play this game, and I think it's a blessing. But take that away, I get to come out and live out the dream that I had since I was a little kid. For me, that's the biggest thing. That's why I want to be out there. Just go out there and play the game that I love and go out there and compete with my teammates.
Q: Do you understand the idea, because you are so far ahead of the timetable, whatever timetable, that they want to be safe? They want you back and then to be back for the rest of the season, where they would hold you out Thursday with an eye on 10 days later, and then you're essentially good to go. Would you understand that thinking if that's what the training staff wanted to do?
A: Yes, because that's the mindset, that's the thing that they want with the team, I guess, that would be the mindset that they came in with, and the decision that they came up with. Like I said, I have to continue to be openminded. That's one of the biggest things I wanted to do, is not come in here and be closed minded and be ignorant to the fact of the situation. Just trust the team, trust the process, trust myself, and trust God and everything. If that's the decision that they make, I am going to be all for it. I'm going to be there no matter what, or however it is, I'm going to be supporting my team.
Q: What did you think of your fullback carrying the ball?
A: EP (Eli Penny), yeah, he was going. He was doing really well, he was doing his thing. I'm excited to see him. That's the stuff that you love that goes unnoticed. They may not get all of the love and the shine, or all of the credit, but for him to go in there and get back to his running back days, he was a running back back in the day. He loves to tell us that and loves for us to know that. But I think he did a really good job not just only in running back, as fullback. The last few years he's been definitely beneficial to me, and has helped me out a lot to grow, not only into the person but into the player I am.
LB Alec Ogletree
Q: What was it like to get back out there?
A: Glad to get back out there with the guys today, so I feel good.
Q: Obviously a full practice today, so you expect to play Thursday night?
A: Yeah, that's the goal right now, to go out and play. We'll see what the coaches say and the trainers and everybody says about it, but as for right now, I was able to practice today and get better today.
Q: Is it tough when you see the Minnesota game where they had 490 yards and rushed for 211 and sit there and go, "Man, I could have helped?"
A: You like to think you could've helped, but you never know. Things like that could've happened if I was out there, and it wouldn't make me feel any better. But I was proud of the guys that did step in and play. Obviously, you always feel like you could always affect the game if you were out on the field, but I wasn't able to be out there, so hopefully this week I'm able to go out there and play and have some effect on the game. It's just a matter of us taking that mentality to the field.
Q: How did you feel moving around today at practice--was anything still nagging you?
A: I felt good. I was able, like I said, to do everything that the coaches asked me to do. I had a good rehab process.
Q: It looks like you and Tae (Davis) are both going to play—how much does that help?
A: Our mentality is next man up, we don't have one guy that's just going to save the day for us. It takes all 11 of us to go out on the field and do our job and do it well. When somebody needs to step up, we expect them to step up and do their part, and the same with me. When I come back, they need me to do my part, and the same with the rest of everybody.
Q: Are you curious to see how your team responds in what seems to be a challenging situation?
A: We will respond well. We've got a good opportunity to go against a top team in the league and one of the best quarterbacks in the league, so we're looking forward to the challenge. It's up to us to go up there and do our part, do our job, and we'll worry about the results at the end.
Q: This is the first prime time national game for this team—what do you want the rest of the country to come away thinking about the Giants after this?
A: They're going to think what they want to think. We're looking to go up there and win the game, obviously, but you have to go out there and play well. We want to go up there and put on a good show, for sure.
Q: Trying to out-think Tom Brady is a pretty difficult thing to do—is execution more important than trying to fool him or play mind games with him?
A: Yeah, for sure. He's a guy who's seen everything you could throw at him. He's obviously done it longer than most anybody on our team, and for us, it's just about executing, and they do a good job of doing that—executing, not making mistakes. We have to do the same, not make mistakes, be where we need to be, have great eyes, and play well.
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