Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Q: How is (Aldrick) Rosas feeling today?
A: Better. We’re hopeful he will be ready to go Thursday. In the event that he isn’t, though, we made a practice squad move with Marshall Koehn, so brought back a kicker that we’re familiar with.
Q: When do you have to make that decision by? (A: 4 p.m., Thursday)
A: Game day, I guess. As late as we have to. I’ll have to wait and see, but got a little leg injury, we’ll just see how quickly he can come back. That’s the challenge when you play a Thursday Night game. As you might expect in our world right now, it’s Thursday. As we get ready for the game, which it’s really like Friday, but Thursday in terms of preparation, when their body clocks tell them it’s Tuesday. That’s the challenge with the Thursday Night games and we all have to embrace it because we all have one. Our guys have really done a good job of getting themselves back. That was a physical game and there’s wear and tear that goes with that, and they’ve done a good job to this point.
Q: Do you as a coach put more emphasis on a short week of the mental aspect of the game?
A: It’s important because a lot of what you’d like to do at full speed, you have to do in walk-thru settings. That’s just part of getting their bodies right, because it’s important that you have a confident, energized team on game day. You just don’t have the time, so you move forward.
Q: I know it’s early to look at standings but you’ve got some help around you even with your loss. Is that something you talk to the team about?
A: Nope. It’s a good point. I was made aware that everybody in our division lost, that really has no effect on us right now. We have to go out and win a game. That is what it is, but it’s just another indication and I’ve been saying it all along, you just keep playing. You never know. I think the last two times that the Giants made the (playoffs), I think they were 9-7, so we’ve just got to keep playing. These guys love to play the game, it’s their livelihood, but they certainly play it with great emotion and great passion and they just keep playing. As we get better, I think we played better last week. We need to find 63 more yards somewhere to get the win, but we played better and we’ve got to continue on that path. Then eventually it will crack.
Q: What do you expect from Evan Engram today? Is this rushed? If (he doesn’t come back), he’s got 11 or 12 days until the next game.
A: Two things: Number one, I think you burn the ships on every game, so whoever can play, plays. Then you reassess when the game is over. Evan’s been out for a while, but he’s going to be out here full speed today, so we are hopeful he will be ready to go. I think you get yourself in trouble, and I don’t think it’s very genuine to tell your team we’re going to worry more about down the road. I don’t know if that answers your question. We’ve put all our focus on the game we’re going to play and all our urgency.
Q: Is Brian Mihalik going to be your swing tackle?
A: Yeah, he will be our swing tackle. Brian’s a guy, we’ve liked him all along, he’s been with us now for a while so he knows what we’re doing. He’s played in games for Detroit, and we’ve liked what we’ve seen in practice, and he’s gotten his promotion.
Q: Particularly offensively in some of the bigger plays, what did you like Sunday that you can hope would carry over?
A: We completed them. Levity once in a while is good. I think the important thing is, we always try to get big plays and sometimes you don’t. There’s some times you have to march the ball, but it was good. We took some shots and we hit on them. We had one more where Odell had the ball in his hands in the end zone on the one, but we were seeing a coverage that allowed that to happen and our guys did a better job of executing, protecting, and doing all the things necessary.
Q: Can that success breed confidence?
A: I think so. I think what we’re confident about is that we got the ball across the end zone. We scored, and that’s where you build confidence. There needs to be an urgency, you’re charged with scoring every time you take the field on offense, and that’s what you want. If you’re going to be greedy about things, you want to score points.
Q: You’ve made a lot of changes, and this is a new offense. Eli (Manning), (Sterling Shepard) and Odell (Beckham) had a lot of success against the Eagles last year. Do you go back and look at those games?
A: We do. We look at recent history certainly against the scheme. They’re an outstanding team, they won the Super Bowl, so yeah, we look at things that were successful a year ago. We as coaches are all fond of plays that work, and dependent on who you play, you know there’s good ideas, there’s a lot of creative minds in the NFL, and so you’re always looking for something that -- we call it, ‘it doesn’t get a card.’ In other words, something that they don’t practice. In every game, you do that, and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.
Q: When you’re getting a guy back off injury – say you got Engram or OV back – do you put them on a pitch count, or do you just let the game unfold and see how it goes?
A: Burn the ships. If they get a jersey, they’re going to play. Then we manage it and keep track of it, but not necessarily a pitch count. Games play out differently, and so if you’re up, we expect that you can take a full load. If during the game there’s places where we’ve got to give guys a break, we do so.
Q: What do you remember about Doug Pederson as a quarterback and a player?
A: Yeah, I know a lot about Doug. I was a young assistant in Philly when we brought him in as a player, and he really was the bridge to (Donovan) McNabb playing, they drafted McNabb and Doug played the first half of the season and did a really good job. He was with (Andy Reid) in Green Bay, so he was able to add kind of the background to the stuff we were trying to do. He did an excellent job of working with Donovan at that time, and then we’ve just maintained a professional friendship through the years. He’s had success, and to his credit, he helped his team win a Super Bowl.
Q: As a QB guy, what impresses you about Carson Wentz and are the Eagles much different in what they do with Carson what they do with Nick Foles?
A: No, it’s the same offense. Very similar in nature, and I see a hybrid of things that we did the three years I was there with Chip (Kelly) in terms of the run game. They have Jeff Soutland there, who’s their line coach, and there’s some other coaches there, there’s some carry over, so I see some of those same concepts, but then you also see the things that Doug did at the Chiefs. They try to utilize their players’ strengths, they throw the ball to the tight ends a lot with Zach Ertz and (Dallas Goedert). In terms of the quarterback, I think we were all a big fan of Carson when he came out. He’s very intelligent, he’s very competitive, I admire the fact that he’s very genuine in his approach. I don’t know him per se, but it seems to me that there’s a humility there and a competitive spirit that I’m sure is contagious for their team. He can make plays off schedule because he’s a big, physical guy. I call them 60-yard check downs, it just turns into flat chaos, he’s running around, and he can locate a guy down the field and make a big play. I think that’s what he is as a player, at least from my perspective.
Q: You have a lot of different styles of leadership in your locker room and guys that seem to be attempting to lead in different ways. When you have a young player like (Saquon Barkley) who wants to be a leader and is developing in that, do you guide him in that process?
A: Absolutely. To your point, I spent a few minutes sitting with him on the plane after the game. I really think some of your younger players can be your best leaders. In the case of Saquon, he’s doing everything that you would want to see as a coach. He displays – he’s a lot like Carson Wentz, who I just talked about – he displays humility, he says the right thing but when he says it, and you all write about it and report on it, don’t you sense a genuine nature to what he says? You’ve got a genuine, competitive guy that can do really great things on the football field, and so those guys can lead naturally by just being themselves. If Saquon comes in everyday and everyday becomes the best version of Saquon he can become, and he sticks to those principles and that integrity, then of course, he’ll be a terrific leader, and he already has established himself that way.
Q: Is there an update on (Olivier Vernon)?
A: Yeah, he will be out there practicing today. We’re hopeful. I’m more hopeful.
Q: What do you need to see from him that’s different from last week or the week before that?
A: I don’t know, something that will make me even more hopeful than I was last week. I don’t know what to tell you there. He’ll be out there, and he’s fighting his way back. Make no mistake, OV is trying to get back. We all understand what a high ankle sprain can mean, and he’s doing everything in his power to get back on the field. When he’s back, we’re going to welcome him.
Q: Is he limited today?
A: Yes, he will be. But he will be out there. We’re all limited.
DT Damon “Snacks” Harrison Sr.
Q: Are you all still able to turn this season around and get things going?
A: One game at a time. I know it sounds cliché, but as far as anything out of line, I really can’t speak to it. We just have to take care of business this Thursday.
Q: A lot of talk this week about (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.). How together is this locker room?
A: We’ve been together from the start. I really don’t have too much to comment on what he said. It was handled in-house, and we’ve all moved on from it.
Q: Did you see the Pat Shurmur postgame press conference?
A: No, sir.
Q: Did you hear about how fiery he was?
A: No, sir.
Q: What do see you different about this Eagles team as compared to previous years?
A: I don’t know. I think they’re just still searching for – it’s tough to put a name to it. I don’t know, they just haven’t looked the same.
Q: Coming off a loss, given how wide open the division is, is that something you guys can rally around and gain motivation from? Is that the attitude you guys are taking this week?
A: I guess you can say that, but none of it matters if we don’t go out and win. No matter what the other teams in the division are doing, we still have to handle our business. We’ve got a job to do this Thursday. It could be a good start for us.
Q: Does that give you a little boost, especially on a short work weak?
A: Not really, I don’t believe in small wins. It was a loss, but we have a lot to improve on.
WR Sterling Shepard
Q: Reason behind outburst?
A: I really wanted to win that game. That’s the bottom line. I felt it kind of slipping away right there, and some other stuff going on too.
Q: Is everything ok?
A: Yeah, everything is ok. I’m getting through it. It’ll be alright.
Q: Despite the loss, is there some stuff you can take away from that game?
A: I’m so proud of the team. The way that we fought through adversity. That’s the best I’ve seen the team in a while. We’re taking steps in the right direction every week, and guys are doing a great job taking steps in the right direction.
Q: Offensively, is it the best you guys have felt in some time? It’s been a while since you all have scored 30 points.
A: It’s been a while. We’re happy to get 30 points on the board. Coach put together some great plays for us. Had a great plan going into the week. We were able to put the points on the board. That’s always a positive.
Q: When you were emotional on the sideline, (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) seemed to be the one calming you down. What did he say to you?
A: You got to have your brother’s back at whatever time, but I don’t really remember. I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. I kind of want to move on from that. We have a short week this week. Got to get ready for Philly, which is a tough one. Kind of trying to put that in the past as fast as possible.
Q: Could you have thrown that touchdown pass to (RB) Saquon (Barkley) that Odell threw?
A: I got an arm. I used to play quarterback in high school. Just go look up the film (laughter). I tried to tell the coaches. “O” can throw it deep.
Q: What kind of quarterback were you?
A: I little bit of everything. I’ll give you a little wildcat, I was tossing that thing too.
Q: Did you lobby for that play at all when it was being drawn up?
A: I did, but they didn’t even give me a tryout. I think they saw “O” throw it after catching a punt one time, and he threw it about 50 something yards. It was over with.
Q: Is this one of those games where it doesn’t matter what the records are?
A: Yeah, I just got through saying that. I was talking to (Former Giants linebacker) Carl Banks. It doesn’t matter. Every single year, this is going to be a dog fight til the end. It doesn’t matter the records. Plus, the division is wide open. They’re going to give it their best, and we’re also going to do the same.
Q: How meaningful was Odell speaking to the team Saturday night?
A: Everybody felt it. It was genuine. Things get taken out of context sometimes. That’s just the way it went. Everybody appreciated him talking to the team. It was a great message. I think everybody responded well when we played.
Q: What has it been like this week? Has there been much talk about the situation in the building?
A: That’s funny, because it hasn’t affected the guys at all. Nobody is talking about it. Nobody seems to be affected by what’s going on, on the outside. It’s kind of just everybody outside. Everybody in the building is fine.
Q: When distractions like these have happened in the past, have they been handled any differently than how this situation was handled?
A: This is first time he’s had to really address anything. I felt like that was great on his part. The message that he sent to the team, like I said, it was a good message.
Q: You’re 1-4, where does put the importance of this game in your mind?
A: It’s really important. Every game is important for us.
Q: Does being 1-4 add to it?
A: Yeah, you want to get wins, and that’s the bottom line. We’re going to do whatever we can to get the “W.”
Q: How do you deal with being frustrated?
A: You find different ways to relieve stress, or whatever it is. There’s different outlets than acting out like that. I didn’t want to watch it. Like I said, we’re moving on. We have a short week. It’s in the past now.
Q: Do the Eagles bring out something in this team that maybe another opponent wouldn’t?
A: Yeah, I feel like it’s a dog fight, no matter what the record is, or the team. I don’t think we had won a game, and then we played the Eagles and it was a dog fight to the end. I remember that like it was yesterday. We have a bad taste in our mouth. They’re the defending champs. We have to get after them.
Q: Does that help motivate you any more? Having the defending champs come into your building.
A: We approach the game the same way, like we do every week, trying to get a “W”, but it would add a little bit I would say. You always want to defend home field. They’re coming in our house, so we have to defend it.
Q: To see the Panthers escape with that win, what does that tell you?
A: I think it shows we’re capable of doing the same thing. That’s a team that we’ve battled with a lot. We got to just find whatever it is to take us over that edge. Once we figure that out, it’s going to be hard to stop us.
Q: Do you guys feel like you’re close to figuring that out?
A: I feel like we’re taking steps in the right direction. Every week, we seem to be going in the right direction, and I don’t see it stopping here.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Q: How do you look at Thursday given that you guys aren’t buried in this division and this game could be a big way back?
A: Very optimistic. I’ve always said, it’s a long season, and we have an opportunity to come in here in a big, big division game and be able to reshape our season. We know what we have in front of us, short week, just coming off of a tough loss, so we’re all just trying to get our minds wrapped around what the game plan is, how we can come out and best beat Philly.
Q: Is this one where it’s Philly, it doesn’t make a difference what the records are?
A: To an extent. If you’re any record at all, it’s Philadelphia, you want to beat them. Defending Super Bowl champs coming in here, Thursday Night game, but right now the focus is more on this just one game, and not putting so much pressure on what it could do for us, but this is a game that we need to win against a division rival.
Q: When you look at Philly, what’s been the biggest difference other than the fact that they have some personnel, they’ve got injuries? Why are they off to such a slow start do you think?
A: I haven’t got a chance to watch them that much, but there’s always a team each and every year where everything is right for them. Even watching them last year, there was third downs, third and sevens – they got all of them. It’s just the little stuff that was going on for them all year that was happening that allowed them to win each and every game, I don’t know if I’ve seen that in the past games. To be honest, I haven’t got a chance to watch much of them, I’ve really been focused on what we’re doing. I just don’t know the answers to their problems, I’m more worried about ours right now.
Q: Does the double pass from the other day set up stuff for you in the future? Now that teams know that, does it help you with maybe a bubble screen or some other look from a similar formation?
A: I don’t know exactly. I’m just happy that we had that planned up and I just had it in the back of my mind that it would happen at some point. It did happen and we connected on it, so I don’t know if it sets up better plays in the future or if it kind of would alert them that this is a possibility of something happening, I get what you’re saying, but I don’t know exactly how to answer that question.
Q: Did you see (Rhett) Ellison open too or were you going to (Saquon) Barkley the whole way?
A: To be honest, that’s the first read is right there. We’ve talked about it so much and the tight ends kind of joke about it knowing they probably weren’t getting that pass, but I didn’t get a chance to see him open. I was kind of locked in on where I was going to go, and I’m just happy we made that play.
Q: Is it a struggle to stay even-keeled and not get too jacked up for this game given the magnitude coming up?
A: I’m pretty jacked up for every game, to be honest with you. I really look forward, I go to sleep every night to wake up to come in here and be able to go 110 miles an hour in practice. Every day, I go home –it’s not as much fun to sit in meetings as it is to be out on the practice field and be able to work on your craft, so I get up every day with the same mentality to be able to get better at what I do. I’m excited about this opportunity, I know it’s a short week, and we’ve just got to come out and get a win.
Q: Did that game, your production, finally getting 30 points – did that make you feel like you’re back a little more than you had been?
A: No, what it made me feel like is that I like the direction that this team is going. I like the way we came out there and fought against every bit of adversity like I said. I’ve never felt so close to where all of our mindset is and where we’re heading and where we want to go, and I think that was a building point. I remember being in the huddle multiple times being like, this is the game that’s going to be determining for our season of how we’re going to be, what’s our character, what’s this team’s identity? That fight, that grit, determination, all that – that’s who this team is and that’s what we plan to bring every single Thursday, Monday night, Sunday game from here on out.
Q: Are you excited to play again on Thursday to build off that?
A: This probably would be the first time where I would ever not be upset about the turnaround. Coming off a tough loss like that, you just want to get back out there. When you lose a game like that, it’s like you wish you had five more minutes to play and you’ve got to wait a whole week usually, but we get a quick turnaround this week, we get to go out on Thursday, and I know we’re all excited about that opportunity. We’ve got to come out and make the most of it.
Q: What have these last few days been like for you? You lost that tough game, your name is out there, people are talking a lot about a lot of things-
A: Just chatter. Same approach every single day, get up, be the best that I can be. We’re moving forward. My teammates, my brothers, there’s nothing that can come in between us. We’ve had these conversations and like I said, we’re all moving forward onto Philly.
Q: You did feel the need to address the team before the game (Sunday) based partly on that interview on ESPN. Do you think it’s straight now, do you think the team understands where you’re coming from?
A: Yeah, I think we all understand each other. Like I said, there’s nothing that is going to come in between my brothers, my teammates, this is something that is going to pull us closer. I felt very close as a team this Sunday, and that’s the way that we have to play. That’s the way we’re going to fight. Nobody in here likes to lose, we’re all tired of losing, we want to change that culture, atmosphere, whatever it is, because this is a place that has a lot of pride and we want to be able to be proud of what we display and do all those things. It was a big week for us. We took a big step. Unfortunately, we lost on a 63-yard field goal. If I had to lose on a 63-yard field goal, so be it. That’s impressive by that kicker to be able to do that with the game on the line and hit it. We’re taking steps in the right direction.
Q: After one week of the offense doing what it accomplished last week, does that break the two-deep zone and whatever else defenses have been trying to do to you guys with a shell? Can that one game break it?
A: That one game is what you build off of, I don’t know if it necessarily breaks it, meaning we have to come out and bring that each and every time. Once we start bringing that each and every time, I could answer that question if it broke it or not. It was kind of a one game thing, and now we want to build off that and be able to do that again and again and again. Make plays on special teams, make plays on offense, defense, just be as a complete team. That’s really the goal at the end of the day.
Q: As much as you give everything on game days, what have you learned about Saquon in that regard as a competitor who wants to win at all costs?
A: Like you said, he wants to win. Not a lot of us came from losing, a college – like where I came from, I remember losing the one game to Florida or losing the one game to Alabama like it’s the end of our season. It’s everything, it’s about being undefeated. The NFL is different. There is seeding, there’s stuff in college where it’s more important, but the mentality was to never lose. The mentality was that losing that one game, it’s over with. There was importance, an urge to win each and every Saturday in college. That’s the mentality he has, he came from a place where I think they had only lost ten total games – I don’t know what his record was. But the mentality is to win, plain and simple.
Q: You had a lot of success last year pushing the pace against Philly. Why do you think your offense functions well when you go up tempo?
A: I think a lot of offenses function well when they go up tempo because it makes it hard for defenses to get in certain packages, to be able to game plan. It’s just kind of like you have to go on the fly, and we have had some success with that, and I’m sure it’ll be something we continue to lose, but right now we’re continuing to build off what we brought last Sunday. I’m excited about the opportunity we have Thursday night. Couldn’t come fast enough.
Q: You know Jalen Mills pretty well, it’s pretty well known he’s struggled with the double moves and stuff. How do you approach that when you go into a game against a guy like that?
A: Same approach you would against anybody else. Like I said, I was at college with Jalen, we talked every day on how do you feel, we got each other, that’s what we did. This is a familiar opponent, we go against each other each and every year, but the game plan is always going to be the same. It’s hard playing off coverage and going against very good receivers and having to respect somebody running a slant, and to run a double move. DB is a very hard position, so I’m sure he’s catching heat. I know he’s got a lot of ability. Like I said, I played against him in college, but we’re looking forward to the opportunities we have.
Q: Because no one has run away in the standings, that you can actually look in the standings and you’ll see the teams ahead of you, how much more urgency does it place on a game like this?
A: I think you could take away everything that’s happened this season, I think the urgency is what it is right now. We know we need to win right now, regardless of our situation. The mentality is to win each and every game and now there is a big opportunity ahead of us to be able to take control of our season and build from this even after the bad that we’ve had already. We can overcome it all starting with this game – not just one game, but starting with this game, and going from there on.
TE Evan Engram
Q: It is pretty encouraging that you’ll be out there full speed today. What are your feelings and what are you thinking about Thursday?
A: Today’s just a big day for me practice wise. Just going to go out there and see how I feel going full speed and getting full speed reps. Been taking it day-by-day and it’s a possibility, but we’ll see going forward.
Q: Have you cut it loose yet on your own or running around?
A: Yeah, the training staff, we’ve been kind of slowly, but surely working up. We started running and kind of introducing cutting and stuff, so today could start cutting a little bit last weekend, this past weekend so today will be a full test.
Q: This would be a short timeframe for what this injury length usually is. Is this rushing things or are you feel like –
A: No, it’s just based off how I feel and definitely being smart with it and that’s a big component, but definitely just based off how I feel and today will be the first full speed day, so the diagnosis was two to four (weeks), but outside of that it’s just based how I feel and kind of confidence I have in it.
Q: What do you need to see from yourself?
A: Just that I can be myself. Just play full speed and not try to nurse anything or not hold back and that’s going to be the full test so I have good confidence, I feel good, but like I said today is going to be the full test for me mentally and physically.
Q: How fortunate do you feel about the timing of it given the significance of the game?
A: I was just thankful and blessed that it wasn’t any worse when it happened, so like I said, the diagnosis was two to four and it is kind of a burden for it to be a Thursday night game because it kind of sneaks up on us, but it’s definitely a blessing just to be even in the conversation of getting back on the field. It’s definitely a – like I said, today’s definitely going to be the deciding factor on that, but it’s definitely just a blessing to be able to even get out there today and be out there and practice with my guys.
Q: Does this feel like all hands on deck time? It’s a division game, you guys are 1-4 and if it’s borderline, you’re going to do what you can to get out there?
A: We still have a long season ahead of us. You’re right, though, it is a big division game, but it’s definitely want to have the whole season in hindsight as well. There’s going to be a lot big games left and including this one, it’s a huge one. It is a big division game and a lot is at stake, but we’re not thinking about that. We’re just trying to execute our game plan and get everybody healthy so we can have everybody on deck.
Q: You said it depends in part how you feel, but knowing how much of a competitor you are, how honest do you have to be with yourself in this situation and not convince yourself that you’re fine to get out there?
A: That’s a big part, that’s a good question. The trainers have been doing a good job and they’re going to be smart with me. I haven’t felt rushed or anything and trying to force something that doesn’t need to be forced, but I am a competitor, it sucks. These past two weeks has been kind of sucky for me not being out there with my guys, but like I said we have a lot of games left and we have a lot of big games and I feel like this team is on the verge of really becoming a good team and we’ve been fighting and we’re almost there. It is a component, big part of me being competitive and wanting to be out there, but it’s also just got to be smart and going forward because we have a lot of season left after this game.
Q: What tells you that you’re on the verge of breaking through?
A: I don’t know if you watched us last weekend’s game, but there was a point in that game where maybe last year or the old DNA of this team would’ve given up or would’ve tapped out. We fought, it sucked watching on TV just because I know those guys were fighting and we showed a lot of fight and a lot of heart. We fought back in that game and that guy made a great kick to win it, but we’re definitely on the verge. Our confidence is up, our energy is up. We’re working our butts off, nobody has their head down or anything, so I just want to get back and be a part of that and also be 100 percent.
Q: You mention the old DNA of this team. Is there something that changed this year, in the beginning part of this year that feels different in the last couple of weeks?
A: Yeah definitely. I’m not saying the old DNA ever gave up or we weren’t fighting, but just the circumstances that we faced last year. We had a lot of injuries and a lot of adversity. It was kind of dark, but now we still have some adversity, still have some injuries, but we’re fighting each and every day. The guys we have in this locker room are trying to find a way to get it done every single day, every single game, so that’s just a positive thing that I’ve noticed about this team and it’s something that is great to be a part of.
Q: Something specific you can attribute that to, that different attitude?
A: I think it’s a lot of this energy and the standards we have and the standards that are here. It sucks losing and we’re tired of it and we’re getting close to that being in the rearview mirror, so I think just how hungry we are to win those games, have that winning feeling in the locker room after those games like we did in Houston on that plane ride back. That’s something we’re chasing and I feel like we have a lot of guys that are doing everything they can to get more of those feelings.
Q: How aware are you of what’s gone on in the division and what the standings say?
A: I’m kind of well aware. It’s pretty wide open right now. Thursday is a huge game for us and even the division games after that are huge. Every game is big, but definitely the division is wide open and we got a full plate ahead of us going forward and it’s starting this Thursday.
RB Saquon Barkley
Q: Do you feel like you’re already in a position to be a leader on this team even as a rookie?
A: Yeah. I felt that way since I was drafted here. That’s something I wanted to do as a goal of mine, but I know you can’t just take on that role from day one. You got to grow into that role and earn the respect of your teammates and that’s something I’m going to continue to try to do every single day.
Q: Is growing into that role and earning the respect of your teammates part of going after Julius Peppers or responding to him going after you the way you guys did?
A: It’s not really so much as that. It’s just the way you carry yourself, the way you work. Come to work with your head down, try to do anything you can possible to help the team. That stuff goes a long way. Obviously your play on the field goes a long way too, but try to be one of the first people in here, working your butt off in the weight room, asking questions, try to prepare yourself like a pro, like a vet. Stuff like that is what sits well with your team and that’s how I try to continue to grow into that role.
Q: Coach Shurmur was saying that he sat with you on the plane a little bit on the way back, talked to you a little bit about that. Is there anything he imparted to you at all that reinforced that?
A: Coach Shurmur sat down on the plane with me and said some great things that I needed to hear, but obviously that’s a conversation between me and coach Shurmur.
Q: It seems like every game there are two or three plays where someone is tripping you up by a shoelace and preventing it from going the distance. Is it hard to be patient to know that you’re like a shoelace away from going to the end zone?
A: Yeah it’s not hard to be patient in there. Obviously you get frustrated because you know it’s so close from breaking those big ones, but you also got to know how those big ones develop and it’s just like in a game is throughout the season and you got to be patient, you got to take your time, you got to take what the defense gives you, but understanding that when your opportunity comes you got to be willing to execute and we’ve been capable of doing that sometime this year, but that’s something where we could expand also as a team and as especially on the offensive side and in the run game.
Q: For a guy who comes from college and you lose one or two games, it’s really awful. If you win Thursday night, you could be right in the thick of the NFC East chase. Is that surprising to you? Frustrating? Shocking? What is it?
A: Not frustrating, it’s not shocking. At the end of the day, I think everyone’s goal is to win a Super Bowl and that’s still in play and in my opinion, if you ask me, like you said I think we’re a game behind in the division and I know I haven’t been in the NFL for a long time, but I think if you win your division, you automatically go into the playoffs, so everything like I said before, that coach Shurmur said a couple weeks ago, everything that we want in our season is still there. The only thing that’s not capable of doing is having an undefeated season. I think only two teams are still alive to do that so everyone wants to win every single game, but that may not be the case. Cases make it to the playoffs and try to win the Super Bowl and all that is still in play, so we have to keep that mindset that this game is a big game. It’s a huge game coming up because it’s the next game on our schedule and obviously it is in our division, but we have to treat it like it’s the biggest game of the year because it’s the next game on our schedule and come out with a win.
Q: Even though it was a loss on Sunday, what did you take away offensively? This team hasn’t scored 30 points since before you got here.
A: I think that showed what we’re capable of and we put up 30 points, but I think we left a couple still out there too. Like I said, I’ve been saying from day one since I got here that I believe in this offense, I believe in this team, I believe in the coaching staff and I believe the sky’s the limit. It wasn’t going to be pretty from day one. We wouldn’t want it that way anyway. We got to continue to keep growing, continue to keep working and to be able to put up 30 points and obviously lose a game like that, I think that game showed it was the toughness, the grit, the passion that we played with as a team and obviously the outcome wasn’t the way we wanted to be, but you could learn a lot of things from that game and take that game a long way.
Q: I haven’t watched Eagles tape yet this year, but they’re known for playing that wide nine defense with the defensive linemen spread out wide horizontally across the field. Is that a different style of defense for you as a running back to attack?
A: Every defense’s style is a little different. You have to attack in a different way, seeing different ways, but at the end of the day, it’s all about keeping your shoulders squared to the line of scrimmage, try to set the blocks running for your linemen to get to the next level and take what they give you when you get the opportunity you got to gash them. The Eagles, I think they’re probably one of the top rush defenses in the league. When you watch them on film, they stand out just like every team in the NFL. That’s what I’m starting to learn, every team in the NFL is legit. Every week you go into the NFL, it’s going to be a ball game and you got to fight and grind and find a way to win, but yeah like I said, they’re a very talented team, but we’re a very talented team too, so it’s going to be a heck of a game and obviously it’s a short week, but we got our mind right, get our body right and come out to play to the best of our abilities.