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Quotes (11/25): Shurmur, Jones, Tomlinson

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

*Q: We saw the injury update on Jabrill (Peppers). Do you expect that to be a season-ender? *A: I don’t. My understanding, his too, in terms of the evaluation of it, as I knew yesterday he had a sore back. I guess he can return, it’s kind of relative to pain tolerance. So, I would say no.

*Q: He’ll be able to practice and play if he can tough through it? *A: Well, I mean today obviously we’re less than a day removed from the game, so he’s sore today. We don’t practice until Wednesday, so we’ll just have to see what the week brings. 

*Q: What do you think is going on with Saquon (Barkley) in the running game? I think the number is 88 yards on his last 44 carries over three games. If it’s not his ankle, why do you think we’re seeing a different Saquon production-wise than last year? *A: Again, I think some of it, we’re talking about a game where we did not run the ball very well. I thought we ran the ball better yesterday than we certainly did against the Jets. When you’re trying to establish the running game against a defense that is pretty much known for the way they pass rush, you’ve got to try to maximize the amount of yards you get on each run. I think that’s sort of it. Everything comes back to, (when) you clip them all out and watch them like we do— one thing here, one thing there. 

*Q: Not to focus more on Saquon, but how uncharacteristic was that drop and how did he handle it on the sideline? The pass that could have been a big gain. *A: Yeah, that is uncharacteristic of any player. I thought it was a good throw. We had a chance to, obviously, that would’ve been a third down conversion. That would’ve been an explosive play. (Chicago Bears Linebacker) Roquan Smith was trying to cover him, he was a little behind him. He would’ve been in the position there to make the safety miss for a big gain, maybe a touchdown. Those are the things that obviously are rare, but when they happen, and it’s obviously also magnified because it was a third down. But you just keep playing. I think he did have an impact on the game beyond that.

*Q: What did you like, or did you like, the rotation with (DeAndre) Baker and (Sam) Beal and how did that work out for you? *A: As I mentioned last night, some of those changes in the secondary were intentional coming off the bye. I thought Sam had some good plays and I liked the fact that he was healthy and able to be in the game playing corner. We get to see some of what we really liked about him. He had some good reps. He certainly, they caught the deep in-ball on him and it ended up being a penalty, but I thought he battled and for the most part was pretty effective. 

*Q: How do you think Baker handled it? Sometimes players don’t take it well when their reps are cut like that. *A: Yeah, you don’t see much response from DeAndre in those types of situations. When he’s out there playing, he’s playing, and when he’s standing there, he’s watching attentively. 

*Q: Is Russell Shepard close to maybe coming back? *A: Potentially. He’s in the designated to return kind of setting, so we’ll just have to see at some point here.

*Q: Would that be an option with Golden (Tate) obviously dealing with his concussion? *A: Potentially. That’s one option. I think we may have to consider, if we do something, with regard to the return game being that Jabrill and Golden are both returners. So, let’s just see. 

*Q: Is there going to be any movement in the sense of bringing in another kicker to pick up the intensity on Aldrick (Rosas) or are you just going to go with him? *A: We’ll talk about that as we go. I’m sure if we do bring any kickers in, it’ll be made public. Certainly, it’s unacceptable to miss the kicks like we did. But I think it’s important that the guys that are here continue to improve. In all areas, become more consistent with what they do. I think that’s the focus with Aldrick at this point. 

*Q: I’ll ask kind of a big picture question. With seven weeks of losses, in the absence of wins, what do you point to for the fans or to anybody in the building for progress, for signs of progress? How do you say, ‘we’re making progress’?
*
A: I’ve answered this question. I see the young players improving. I see us competing in games, we’re just falling a little bit short. Most of the games, unfortunately, are within a score for most of the game, or we’re ahead and somehow, we just can’t find a way quite at the end. But I do think that there’s improvement behind the scenes. It seems like each week we add another young player to the mix of guys. Then they go out and do some good things, and then they do some things that remind you that they’re young. That’s part of it. But there’s no excuses for any of it. We need to do what we need to do to win the game.

*Q: A lot of times when you talk to coaches, they say the best and most productive way to teach and grow is when you win. Correcting mistakes and things like that. Without the winning now, is it more difficult for you and the coaching staff to kind of get some shots to improve and learn because there’s really not a lot of success that they can take out of it? *A: I think when you look at it, you’re always looking for ways to improve in everything you do. You try to tweak and change things within the way you do things. Our guys practice extremely hard. There’s good attention to detail. Some of these guys are doing it this year for the first time at this level. The challenge then is to make it happen on Sunday. There was a lot of really good things that happened yesterday in the game, especially against a team that was a playoff team a year ago. Defensively, we did a lot of good things. We still gave up some big plays and there are areas that we need to improve. We had some critical errors that affected us. But we had a couple of turnovers and got a stop at the end that gave us the ball with a chance to go down and score. Offensively, they’re a tough team to throw against. We knew that, but I thought we created opportunities for ourselves, and some of them we didn’t take advantage of. But you have to put that all together and do it in a way where you win a football game. That’s obviously the challenge.

*Q: On the offensive line, just considering how many veterans are there, where are they? It seemed like they got off to a faster start and they’ve regressed a little bit. Do you feel that way about the offensive line? *A: No, I don’t think I see regression. We did start out, as a unit, pretty well together. Then we had some injuries in the last couple of weeks. That set things back a little bit. I think they’re fighting as a group. It really is no different for that position group as any other position group. A lot of good things and just some critical errors that affect the outcome of the game.

QB Daniel Jones

*Q: When you went back and looked at the game, where did you see some of the opportunities that you missed? *A: The opportunities in the first half where we had really good field position and opportunities to take a two-score lead or more than that. Those were missed opportunities and a couple key third down conversions that we didn’t execute like we could have. I think when you go into the second half, it was more of the same thing where there were opportunities to execute third downs. A couple of those instances, I have to do a better job of getting through reads and finding the open guy. I think that was what we saw today. 

*Q: Obviously you knew your rookie year was going to be trial and error, it was going to be difficult. Is winning a single game more difficult than you imagined, playing 60 minutes and leaving the field with more points than the other team? *A: You understand you don’t know exactly what it’s like because you have never played an NFL game before. You hear all the time people talking about the margin for error and how close these games are with everyone being so evenly matched talent wise. It’s about who can make a couple more plays, I think that’s something you hear about. The older guys will tell you how fine the line is between winning and losing. It’s been tough and we’re all looking for ways to improve, ways we can figure it out and get back on track. I think that’s part of this game. 

*Q: Saquon has 88 rushing yards on 44 carries in the last three games. How is that impacting the way defenses play you, do you feel like they are testing you? Is there anything you can do to help get the running game going? *A: I felt we ran the ball well, I thought we ran the ball effectively yesterday. When you look at the first and second down numbers, we did a good job running the ball, I think that’s encouraging. I said after the game yesterday, all areas of the game complement each other. If we can throw the ball better, that’s going to open up opportunities for him and opportunities in the run game. I can certainly can do a better job making sure we are doing that and giving him the best chance to do what he can do. 

*Q: Eli Manning went 1-6 starting as a rookie in 2004. What’s the best piece of advice he has given you throughout this process as your losses have mounted this rookie year? *A: Just to be consistent in how I prepare and how I carry myself. Certainly there is a lot to learn and he’s been very helpful with me in that sense and learning from the mistakes and correcting things. His message has been to be consistent and continue to move forward and not let the last mistake affect the next play. 

*Q: Does he talk a lot about his own experiences as a rookie and as a young quarterback, or is it mostly focused on yours? *A: Yeah, I think we’re mostly focused on this team, and our conversations are mostly about what we’re doing this year as a team.

*Q: How does your college experience help with this? You had to suffer through your share of losses there, more so than somebody like a Dexter Lawrence or somebody like that. How does that help maybe toughen you up for this? *A: I think there’s a lot to learn still for me. I think you understand that these games are close, like I said, the margins for victory and defeat are very close. It’s going to be a couple plays here and there that make a difference. So, I think we realize that and I certainly realize that.

*Q: How much does this team need the positive reinforcement of a win to sort of validate all the work you guys have put in for the last few months? *A: Yeah, I mean, I think we’re all looking for that, and I think obviously at this point with the results. But I think as a team and as a group, we’re focused on making sure we can correct those mistakes and trying to do all we can to get back on track. So, I think, yeah, we need a win and we’re working as hard as we can to get back on track.

*Q: What did you think when you saw the touchdown catch by Golden (Tate III)? I know you said you didn’t see it in real time there, but when you went back and saw it. *A: Yeah, it was a really good play by him there in the back of the end zone. It obviously gave us the chance to win the game, or to go down and get the ball back and have a chance to win the game. So, it was a big play by him and I thought he stepped up for us.

*Q: How did you think Sterling (Shepard) looked in his first game back? *A: I thought he played well. I think I can do a better job giving him a few more chances, but I thought he played well and definitely good to have him back.

*Q: On that fourth down play, it seemed like him and—I think it was fourth and four and you completed it to Shep before the line of scrimmage—did you think he would be further downfield than he was? It almost seemed like they ran into each other, did that screw up the timing of the play? *A: Yeah, I mean, I think I’ve got to do a better job there giving him the ball a little sooner and giving him a chance to get upfield. I think in most cases it’s not going to be perfect, but I’ve got to be able to adjust to that and, like I said, get him the ball a little bit sooner and I think we would’ve had a chance to get the first down there.

*Q: Does it add to the difficulty of trying to find the consistency and the continuity, like you said, when your weapons keep rotating? All of the sudden, you have Kaden Smith now and it sounds like Tate is going to be out and Sterling is coming back, and I don’t know what Evan’s (Engram) status is going to be this week, but does that add to the difficulty of trying to be a consistent young player? *A: I don’t think so. I think the guys who we have and the guys who have stepped up have played really well, so I feel like we have good chemistry across the board. I thought Kaden played well yesterday, and good to have Shep back, but we’ve got a lot of guys who can do a lot of different things who can help us out, so I think I feel comfortable with all the guys we’ve got out there.

DL Dalvin Tomlinson

*Q: The defense played one of its better games yesterday. Is it frustrating that this is kind of disjointed? It seems like when the offense plays well, the defense doesn’t and vice versa. Is that frustrating to you guys? *A: No, I feel like all you can do is control what you can control and that’s the defensive side of the ball for us. 

*Q: When you are trying to get better and working hard, is it hard when there is no positive reinforcement of a win for so long? How do you overcome that? *A: You just have to come in with your working hat on every day and just keep working and keep grinding day in and day out. Take it day by day. 

*Q: Is that difficult to do? *A: I feel like we have a lot of competitors on our defense. We all understand why we’re here, we have hard workers over here. We will keep coming in every day and we will keep working. 

*Q: What do you hope this team can accomplish in December with no playoffs on the line and things like that. What is there to play for? *A: We are playing for our Giants pride. Just coming out here to try and get some wins under our belt, keep working and playing for each other. 

*Q: Individually, it seems you have gotten more sacks, which to me means more pressure on the quarterback these last couple of games than you did the first two and half years of your career. Why do you think that is? *A: Just working with Gary Emanuel, working on my flaws and getting better every week. Just keep coming in each week working on my craft every day in practice. 

*Q: Has something clicked for you? Just being a little bit more of a veteran? Is there something more specific you can attribute it to? *A: The more you play, you just learn a little bit more about the game. There is an understanding of how the flow of the game goes. That’s probably it.

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