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Quotes (11/21) Shurmur, Manning, Shepard

Head Coach Pat Shurmur:

Opening Remarks: Today I think the only guy that won’t be out there to some degree will be Kerry Wynn, he’s in the protocol still, so we’ll just have to see where that takes us through the week. Otherwise, some of the guys are a little bit sore, they’ll all do something. It doesn’t look like we’re too bad other than Kerry from last week’s game, so little bit of an update there. Otherwise, I’ll take your questions.  

Q: How different have (the Eagles) looked from the last time you saw them on offense? It looks like the running game has dropped off a little bit and they’ve had to rely more on the passing game. Do you see the same thing?

A: No, I think it’s the same offense. They’re a hard offense to defend because they attack the width of the field. They have the bubble screen game, they have the flat path runs that attack the perimeter, so they’ll do the things to stretch the width of the field, but then they’ll attack down the field with (Zach) Ertz and some of the concepts they have. (Carson) Wentz does a really good job not only of executing in rhythm, but if he can slide it out of the pocket, I call them 60-yard check downs. He does a really good job, he remains a passer all the way ‘til he crosses the line of scrimmage, so it’s super important that we stay in coverage because guys running free downfield, he’ll see them all the way ‘til the last moment before he starts to run. That’s really what makes their offense tick. Their offensive linemen, they’re healthy and together, they’ve blocked as well as any group in the league. For whatever reason, teams have things happen to them, but this is an outstanding offense.  

Q: Their top four or five cornerbacks have (had) various injuries, it’s kind of unknown who’s going to play back there. How unique is that from a preparation/scouting standpoint?   

A: Because of the way they play defense and really the thing that stirs the drink for them is their front, there are times where they can take a little pressure off their corners by the way their front and safeties play, so they’ve been doing a little bit of that. The players that they have in there are good players, and it’s going to be important that we do a good job first off blocking them, and then when we choose to throw the ball outside, being really good about what we try to do. 

Q: On the success the Eagles have had against the Giants in the past and if there’s a common thread:   

A: Last time we played them, I know exactly why they beat us. We didn’t do anything that you need to do against any type of team to win. We turned the ball over, we gave them big plays, we just didn’t play well enough to beat any team, so we have to fix that. That’s more about us. Going back to it, we can’t turn the ball over, pick six early in the game. We did a lot of things where you go, ‘Ugh, now I see why we didn’t (win).” That’s more about us and less about them.  

Q: Are you using (this game) as a little bit of payback when you talk to the team this week? This is the only game of the year where they laid it to you pretty good, the only game you guys were out of this year. They’ve lost four in a row, eight of the last ten to these guys. Are you using that as a little bit of payback? 

A: No, I’m just saying it like I see it. That game got away from us. We played a really good team and we didn’t play well, and we got smacked. They need to know that, so that we can worry about doing the things well that we didn’t do well in that game. That’s more of the deal. I don’t get into all the payback things, we’re going to play this team twice a year and maybe in the playoffs if we’re both in the playoffs, so as we go, we’ve got to approach each time we play them with the mindset we have to do what we have to do to win that game.  

Q: Are you also a different team? I think you got five or six new players since the last time. 

A: Yes, we’re a much different team in a lot of ways. We found a way to have two good team victories the last two weeks, so we’re doing some things as a team better, not near good enough yet, but we are different. We have some new faces in there certainly, so yeah we are different. They’re different. That’s why this is fun. Even though you play a team twice a year, if you play them early and you play them late, they can be two different scenarios really. I’m looking forward to it. 

Q: Is there a recurring theme going on with the pass rush? It’s been slow these last few weeks.  

A: No, that’s one of the areas where we can do a better job of getting pressure. Let’s just start with when you’re rushing four – those four guys have got to beat their blockers. That’s the reality of it. I talk often about the offensive line, now it’s important that that side blocks their guys, so those guys, we’ve just got to do a better job of keep improving our pass rush technique and our guys that we choose to put out there, our rush line of choice, when they choose to throw the ball, we’ve got to win in a four-man rush and then when we choose to pressure, bring more than four, those guys that are blitzing need to beat the guy that’s trying to block him and try to knock the quarterback off his spot. That’s the challenge. It’s universal, and so our rush line of choice, when they choose to pass, they’ve got to pass rush. 

Q: You talk a lot about progress and being on the right path. Considering the way you got beat by the Eagles in the first game, will this week tell you a lot about where this team is? 

A: We’re trying to win this game this week against this opponent. I’m not using it as a measuring stick. We’re doing what we can to win this game.   

Q: One of the things you and Dave (Gettleman) talked about in the offseason was changing the culture. Do you feel like you’ve been successful with that?

A: I don’t know, I think that’s something you do every day. Like shaving, you’ve got to do it every day. It really has nothing to do with just signs on the walls, it has to do with the mindset. Everything above the neck is what we’re trying to change, and so there’s a lot that goes into that. How do you handle success? How do you push through when you’re having adversity? How do you keep in mind that this is the greatest team sport in the world? Being a good teammate? This is a great week. There’s a great message within this week because of Thanksgiving. How do you show gratitude for your team? You show gratitude by playing as hard as you can for that teammate and for the people that are rooting for you. When you win a game, call that person that checked in with you when we were on a little bit of a losing streak. Thank them for checking in on you. The gratitude piece of that is part of the cultural piece, and I think because it’s Thanksgiving week, they can lean on that a little bit.  

Q: Thanksgiving day, are you going to watch Cowboys-Redskins? Do you have a rooting interest? 

A: I’m a football fan, so when games are on, I watch them. 

Q: Will you have a rooting interest? 

A: No, I’m going to watch the game. I worked with Colt McCoy, I was a young head coach and he was a rookie quarterback. We spent a lot of time together, I think we grew up together in a lot of ways. Colt’s getting the opportunity to start with the Redskins, so I’ll watch him with interest.   

Q: On whether or not you agree that the Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Football game is the future of the league and where this league is headed:

A: There’s probably a lot of different ways you could go with that. Certainly scoring over 100 points a game, if that’s the way it works, that’s great, unless you coach the defense. If you’re the one that scores 51 not 54… I don’t know, I think each game plays out differently. You had a game the other night where you had two really good young quarterbacks that are playing. They have explosive players around them, but on the flip side when you’re talking about defense, Aaron Donald – there were strip sacks, fumbles for touchdowns, so there was some defense involved in that scoring. I’m sure TV loved it, I wasn’t awake for the end of it, but I could tell by the time I went to bed it was going to be a high-scoring (game). 

Q: You challenged Saquon (Barkley) to take the dirty yards, and he was pretty open about how he accepted that challenge. What’s the next level for his game? What do you see next for him?

A: Each week the coaches tell them what they did well and things they need to improve on, and there’s always little things he needs to improve on. He’s obviously an outstanding runner, he catches the ball well, does a good job in pass protection, so he just needs to keep working on all those things. Again, it’s more of a mindset as a runner, and then I’ve got to call plays that will relegate that he’s going to take some dirty five-six yard runs where he can stick it up in there, and we’ve got to block well for him. It’s all coordinated, but you like to build on some of the things you saw.  

Q: Do you like the idea that he individually, as much as he’s talked about how he’s a film junkie and wants to see how teams try to take him away, the fact that he’s going against a defense that has played him before? Do you think he could find something that they did against him that might work to your advantage? 

A: That’s the tactics of the game, certainly. But going back to it, I probably didn’t give you a good answer on the first question, when you see a player of Saquon’s caliber, the dirty runs, and he embraces it, that’s another part of his personality that’s outstanding because he’s coachable. People that thought that was the right thing to do told him to do it and he did it. That’s awesome. You don’t always see that from great, high-caliber, high-quality players, so that’s another box we can check on him.

WR Sterling Shepard:

Q: How is this Giants team a different team from Week 6 when you last played Philadelphia?

A: We corrected a lot of things that we wanted to correct after the break and one of those was being able to score in the red zone. I think we were struggling with that first half of the season and these last two weeks has been a pretty good turnaround for us, so we got to keep that going.

Q: Mechanical corrections, but yet when you look at the mindset of this team, two wins in a row, do you buy into momentum and how much does that play into it?

A: You always want to have the momentum and I think that’s kind of what the two games gave us and we just got to keep preparing the way that we’ve been preparing and hopefully we keep it on the roll.

Q: You guys haven’t won in Philly since like ’13 – before you were in the league. Is there something different about playing there that makes it more difficult?

A: It’s a different atmosphere. The fans are pretty rowdy and they can play a pretty big factor in the game, but we got to go in there with the same mindset we’ve had these last two weeks, like I said, and we’ll be fine.

QB Eli Manning:

Q: You talked a lot about Saquon (Barkley) after the game, he’s been named offensive player of the week and he talked about how you’ve helped him in film sessions. How have you seen him grow this season so far?

A: I think he’s improved every week and I think he’s a guy who wants to be great, wants to get better. There’s something he thinks he can improve on, whether it’s just in a route or in protection or the way he’s running, he takes the coaching well and I thought he just ran with a little more sense of urgency and just hitting the holes hard and you can see it and it paid off. He had his best game.

Q: As you get ready for Eagles, how different are you guys compared to the when you played Week 6 against them?

A: Obviously we’re playing better football right now. We’re finishing drives, we’re – I think after a short week, we had some guys banged up with Evan (Engram) and Rhett (Ellison) at the tight end position, so I think also just with some receivers that we added since then. I think we’re running the ball better than we did so I feel like we’re playing better football, but we got to continue doing that. They’re a good team, they’re a good defense, they got a good front four and they’re a little banged up in the secondary, but they’ll have a good plan and we just got to go execute. 

Q: Saquon said that he sped his pace up getting the ball and getting to the line of scrimmage quicker. Did you have to adjust to anything to go along with him there?

A: No, but I noticed it. I said something to him about it and honestly that something that he needed to work on during the week, but there was definitely a little better sense of getting the ball quicker and hitting the hole a little bit quicker. 

Q: What’s been the biggest difference with Jamon Brown in the interior there, protections? How has it helped you and how’s the line kind of come together for you?

A: I think the last two games, it’s been their best games and obviously there’s just been a lot of turnaround at the offensive line from right tackle to right guard, centers, that whole right side and new players and it’s been different combinations, so finally for the last couple of weeks just had that same combination and those guys working together and working well and they’re passing things off and doing some good things so they can keep playing that way, the run game, pass game should help us out. 

Q: You guys have only won in Philly once since 2012. Why has it been such a difficult place to play at?

A: I don’t know. They’ve been good teams and obviously hey, every time you play, you got an opportunity. It’s just about what matters is this game and this opportunity to go out there and get a win.

Q: Is there something that makes that place more difficult than Dallas or Washington?

A: No, I don’t think so.

Q: One thing you guys seem to have mixed in a little bit more is you break the huddle, get to the line and snap the ball right away. What are the advantages of doing that?

A: Just kind of change up the tempo and makes the defense get lined up a little bit quicker, makes them rush, maybe simplifies what they do a little bit and just let them communicate and be perfect in their alignments or in their responsibilities, so you throw them off a little bit. It’s been good for whether it’s the run or play action or nakeds and mixes up different plays.

Q: What are you thankful for this year?

A: Got tons to be thankful for. Obviously my family and all the friends, teammates, coaches, this organization, fans, to play this great game, so tons to be thankful for.

Q: The Eagles have an elite defensive front. What separates them from most of the other good ones?

A: I think just obviously there’s good players and it starts obviously with Fletcher Cox. He’s a disruptive player right there in the middle and do a good job with their ends, getting outside pressure, and just kind of making sure got to step up and you got a big man making some push up front. They do a good job getting to the quarterback and being disruptive in the run game, so we got to handle that, try to get the ball out quickly.

Q: Are you rooting for the Cowboys on Thursday?

A: No. I mean, we’ll watch the game, but you never know how it’s all going to end up or play out, so just watch.

Q: Would you admit that even if you were?

A: If it had a direct impact, I’ve rooted for a divisional team if I thought it would help us out one way or the other.

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