Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: The guys who didn’t practice— Zak (DeOssie) didn’t practice, Rhett Ellison is still in the protocol, Evan (Engram) practiced, Jabrill (Peppers) didn’t. Or no, excuse me, Evan didn’t practice, Jabrill didn’t practice and neither did Golden (Tate). The guys who are out, we’ve got to wait and see on Zak here, see if he’ll be able to go. But Rhett Ellison won’t go, Evan won’t go, Jabrill won’t go and Golden won’t go. I can tell you that at this point. Otherwise I’ll just take your questions.
*Q: So, Zak’s not going on IR as it’s reported? *A: Zak DeOssie? I can’t say that at this point. I don’t know that. But he hasn’t been able to practice this week, so we’ll just have to see as the rest of the week unfolds.
*Q: Didn’t he practice Wednesday, Pat? *A: No, he wasn’t… Or, Wednesday yeah. But he hadn’t practiced yesterday and today.
*Q: He got hurt in practice Wednesday?
*A: No, I think in the Jets game he got banged up a little bit. He was just fighting through it being a tough guy. He was just unable to go Thursday and Friday.
*Q: Do you think that had something to do with his bad snaps the last couple of weeks? *A: I don’t know that. Listen, Zak’s been a guy around here who has played at a high level. He’s a big-time Giant, and I’m sure he’s played through soreness in his career. This is just something that’s kind of revealed itself.
*Q: (Golden) Tate is another guy who has been diagnosed with a concussion after the fact. Is that a concern at all that something’s kind of not going right with that process? *A: The process of concussions? Listen, the one thing we know about concussions is the symptoms can come up immediately and we all know, and it’s happened probably to every team, the symptoms we know can sort of show up the day after. Each situation is different, each injury is different. I don’t have any way to quantify my concerns about it happening a day later or immediately.
*Q: How difficult of a test do you think this is for the four young DBs going against Rodgers and that offense? How do you think they did against Chicago?
*A: I think they are getting better each week. We’re going to have… Jabrill won’t be able to go, so Julian Love, another rookie, will start in his place. We’re sort of glad he’s been able to get reps here the last few weeks. We look forward to him playing well. Listen, they’ve got to go out and battle. Aaron Rodgers has made veteran defensive backs look not so good. So, we’ve just got to go out and battle and do what we can to keep them out of the end zone.
*Q: Presumably with the question mark over DeOssie, you’re going to have to do something with (Colin) Holba on the practice squad?
A: More than likely. If we have to, that will probably be the direction that we go.
*Q: What have you seen from him in the last couple of weeks for another guy who’s kind of unfamiliar with the kicking operation?
**: Yeah, we’ve liked what he’s done in practice to this point— short and long snaps. If we’re forced to make that move, we’re confident that he’ll do a good job.
*Q: What does this do for Aldrick (Rosas)? Different snapper, different process. *A: Well, I think snap, hold, kick is a process where you have to build trust. The last couple of days with Zak not being here, they’ve had an opportunity to practice. That’s the reality of a player out, new player in. You have to get up to speed quickly.
*Q: Why wasn’t Zak here though? You usually have guys who aren’t practicing but have relatively minor injuries at practice. *A: Yeah, well, he’s getting evaluated. He’s doing stuff to make sure… He’s going through an evaluation process. That’s why he wasn’t here. That is not accurate. There are times when injured players are not out here.
*Q: What toll has seven straight losses taken? *A: We just need to keep fighting through it. I love the way our guys train. I love the way they work. There are many things that happen in the ball game that is really good football. Then there are things that have been happening to us… For a team like ours, we have things happen, big plays, turnovers, that have affected us in a lot of close games. I appreciate the fact that these guys are tough and resilient and keep playing. The games have been close, and so we just need to find a way to get over the top. That will change the way we feel about ourselves, it’ll change the way the fans feel, and it’ll change the way everything feels when you finally get over the top. At one point, I used to think that saying your team was young was an excuse. It’s a descriptive term for this team, and it’s important that they figure it out quickly. The good news is even though it hasn’t been quantified with wins, and I get that, that’s the reality of this business, that changes the opinion of everybody when you win. Even though that has not happened, I’ve seen the improvements behind the scenes that I think are necessary as we reset this thing and move forward.
*Q: Do you understand where the Giants fans would probably say that he or she wants to see the improvements in front of the scenes? They want to see that improvement. *A: Yeah, I know. I just acknowledged the fact that you can’t do that until we do it. I get that. The good news is that when we start winning and start winning consistently, then people can change their opinions of what’s going on. That’s that.
*Q: You’ve made a point of saying whenever you get an opportunity, you want to be outside. With inclement weather also coming on Sunday, why did you make the decision to be in here today? *A: The reason for it is I wanted it to be crisp. So, we made a decision. We considered going outside, but we were a little concerned about the footing, too. Sometimes, that’s one of the factors that will drive us in here.
*Q: Was the music back today? *A: Just for stretch. The good news, and again, I said this I think internally. The good news, and it’s an unintended consequence of that day when the music didn’t work, is I’m able, and all the coaches are more… The coaching can become immediate when there isn’t all that noise and racket. When we’re on the road on offense, we certainly will turn the music up during team periods. But we can coach them and they can get the coaching points immediately not having to work over the noise.
Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher
Opening Statement: I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving yesterday. We have a great challenge this week. (Aaron) Rodgers is one of the elite quarterbacks in this league, play extender. They do some really good stuff on offense schematically. Matt (LaFleur) does a great job, (I) went against Matt last year when he was in Tennessee. You can see his work that he has done with the offense, he’s done a really nice job. A tight end that’s a really productive tight end and a receiving corps that’s going to be a great challenge for our guys. (We) continue to have good work, continue to have good practices. Our guys are in meetings, guys are getting better, they’re growing. I think our guys will be excited to go play again Sunday. Last weekend we had a couple series earlier in the game where Sam Beal had a chance to get in. Our plan was to start getting him some opportunities to go in for more than just a couple plays in a package. To let him go out and play a couple series in a row at specific points in the game so he can get in the rhythm of the game and get playing. That wasn’t something we were just giving him, he’s earned that opportunity because he has been working hard at practice. He’s earned that opportunity because he has been engaged at meetings. There’s no plan to just go play a guy, we don’t do that. Guys earn their time and earn their opportunities and Sam has done that at practice. I was encouraged for him with some of the stuff he did in the game and there’s plenty of things for him fundamentally and technique wise he can continue to learn and grow from. Looking forward to this Sunday, it will be a great challenge. Guys are still stacking things. Again, I have said it from the beginning with this group, these guys run to things and I love that about this group.
*Q: What did Julian Love show going into the bye that made you guys decide this was the time to give him regular snaps? *A: I think with Julian since he’s walked in, he has been a guy that’s ahead of some other young guys I have been around, from just meeting, from just awareness. Not just awareness of what’s going on but also self-awareness. He’s been able to give you good feedback right away on something he wasn’t right on, whether it’s his eyes, his alignment, his technique. I think as he has sat behind one really veteran safety and I said this last week with AB (Antoine Bethea), he’s done such a good job being engaged with Julian and trying to help him along the way. Julian has also done a good job of being engaged when he’s not the number one. When Pep went down he had a chance to go in and he was ready for his moment. We had a plan for him to play on some of our third down stuff already in the game. (I) was happy with the fact he went in, knew what to do and he has to continue to work, as well as with our other young guys, how to do what to do. We’re getting past the what to do thing now, we just have to continue the work the how’s and the why’s. That’s reps, that’s days, that’s opportunities to work in indy (Individuals) and he’s included in that.
*Q: When a team is targeting Corey like they did for that stretch, are there ways to help him, what do you do in that situation? *A: I think you always look at ways you can help but you always look at does calling something to help one guy, what other things does that put you in a position to have to defend? The second piece of that is what do your guys do well, what do they feel most comfortable in. If they get a play on us, whether it’s on Corey or anyone, what’s the call you want to go to if they have a couple in a row and you have to settle guys down. Sometimes when you just look at it from a naked eye and you’re just looking at the game, you might say, man, you have to do something for him, but you also have to think of what does he play best and what is he most comfortable in. We try to put him in those situations when things aren’t going well. (I) certainly evaluate those things as a coordinator, always have, always will.
*Q: You have had Leonard Williams for a couple weeks and you have moved him around quite a bit. Is there a spot that you say this is his best spot?
*A: One of the things when we looked at him in his tape, is his versatility. He can go line up in different places and I think the really good ones are able to do that. I think the really good ones, you can put him on a certain guy for a matchup, maybe that’s the game plan, are they able to move around? I like the flexibility that he has, I think he’s a really good three technique. He brings a dimension where he can go out and play like a big six technique, which we’ve done in our big nickel package with him over the last couple of weeks. His flexibility is one of his strong points.
*Q: Why do you think he hasn’t shown up in the box score? You said a couple weeks ago “splash plays,” he doesn’t have a lot of sacks or TFL’s (Tackles For Loss)? *A: I still think sometimes production is not a stat. I think there’s things that he has done as he has been with us for a few weeks now that is not a recorded statistical play. I can see that stuff showing up on tape. He is disruptive in the run game, he’s changed the course of the back, he has helped us immensely in those ways. I think even in pass rush as a rusher, he has disrupted the middle of the pocket on quite a few occasions. I want him to have sacks just as much as he does, I promise you. We’ll keep working towards that and I think there’s things in his game he is going to continue to work to improve and those numbers will come.
*Q: Are there any things the four young DB’s need to be aware of as far as facing Rodgers? Is it play extension, are they going to have to hold things longer? *A: I think you hit it on the head. That was what I was going to say, the play is not over until the whistle blows with him. He’s going to extend plays, his knee is going to be six inches from the ground he’s going to throw the ball over this shoulder and make a great throw. I can show you many times on tape, (I) went against him a few times in Arizona as well. He has the capability to do that, we have to finish downs.
*Q: There was a lot of optimism coming into the year because B.J. (Hill) and Lorenzo (Carter) flashed as rookies. Maybe (they) haven’t taken that next step, I don’t know if you agree with that. What do they need to do to take that next step? *A: I think both of them are a little bit different. I think B.J. inside, with the addition of Dex, on a day in day out basis it really created a highly competitive room. A year ago, he was our young guy that was playing next to Dalvin and those guys were primarily getting all the snaps. Now we have built a more deep room where there is a good rotation like you need to have in this league to have success. I think that plays into numbers and all that kind of stuff. I think just playing in the framework, both of the guys, just playing within the framework of their games. Both of them are different players and play different positions. Some of those specific things are different, but it’s just playing within the framework of both of their games.
*Q: Even though you lost, can you feel good about getting that stop to give the offense the ball back with a chance to win? *A: I think you said it, it’s about winning games. We want to be part of the reason we’re winning games. I sure was proud of our guys when they went out there in the four minute, got the stop, get the ball back. We had a couple series in a row where guys were on the cliff and they found a way to push themselves off the cliff. (They) got back and got a couple three and outs later in the game after they moved the ball in the middle of the game on us. I think our guys are growing, we’re getting better. I have talked to these guys, minute by minute, we have to be where our feet are, and we have to work with purpose minute by minute of each day. We’re not worried about 10 minutes from now, we’re worried about right now, what we’re doing, what meeting we’re in. We’re going to go out and have a four-minute individual period today and I need one minute at a time, I need you to find a way to get yourself better. We are going to work with that process and that’s how you build a foundation for success that has a chance to sustain.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula
*Q: I think one of the things highlighted a little bit this week was people pointing at rushing attempts into disadvantageous looks. Does Daniel (Jones) have the same amount of freedom as Eli (Manning) to change those, or do you have to scale that back when you’re dealing with a rookie quarterback? *A: There are a lot of different ways to have answers in the run game, whether or not it’s having your quarterback change plays, as we have all watched, the RPO’s (run-pass option) that everyone’s talked about, you have the ability to throw the ball to receivers at times. So yeah, we have that flexibility to do that. Sometimes, it doesn’t always look like, not necessarily a bad look, but where we just didn’t execute it well. There are other times where you run the ball, and not just us, everybody does this, you run the ball when there’s an extra guy there. But in your scheme, you block everybody other than the extra guy and leave him furthest away from the point of attack. Then you give him to the back and you make yards that way, too. You have a combination of those answers. Kind of like a lot of things, we just have to make sure we’re executing. As coaches, we’re going to give our quarterbacks the freedom to keep ourselves in a good play. Sometimes, we say, ‘Hey, this is a play that if they have an extra guy in there, he’s going to be the furthest guy away. We’ll run it and we’ll make yards on that play.’
*Q: What do you want done in a situation like when you did the fake fullback dive and you pitched it out to Saquon (Barkley)? They were in a defense that had, I think, eight or nine up, and it probably wasn’t going to be successful. What’s the answer when your quarterback is in a spot like that?
*A: It depends on the situation. Again, it kind of goes back to sometimes you just have him call it and run it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good look, but it wasn’t necessarily a play that… it’s just a bad play by us. It wasn’t by them. A bad play by us.
*Q: So, that one he can’t switch out? That one, there’s no other option? *A: Well, it depends. Sometimes, we do. Sometimes, we don’t. Those are questions for Coach (Shurmur) on when we’re doing it, how we’re doing it, things like that. But as far as Daniel, giving him the opportunity in general to get ourselves in the best play, yeah, we’ll do that just like we would with a veteran quarterback.
*Q: I know your receivers haven’t all been out there at the same time very often, so maybe this is that. But that fourth down play, it was fourth and four and (Sterling) Shep ended up with a one-yard catch, Shep and (Golden) Tate ran into each other as they were crossing, and Tate and somebody else did that, too. Their routes intersected. Is that surprising from veteran receivers? How do you correct that? *A: Well, they play, too. They have guys out there, too. Obviously, you don’t have plays when it’s your veteran guys. A lot of those things are, as we’ve seen, where you’re running crossing routes, you’re trying to run interference and yet not get called for pick plays, things like that. There’s a fine line. All that being said, they’re trying to avoid and yet make the defense avoid and not get pushed where their guy is pushing them into our guys. We kind of want that without getting too much into philosophy. In general, we need to have a little better timing on that. If that ball comes out just a little bit quicker, and we just do a couple other things a little better, then we have a chance. They did a good job on defense, where if that ball goes quicker to Shep, we get the ball in a little more space and have a chance to go get the first down.
*Q: Just to clarify, were you saying that if a look doesn’t look favorable, Daniel does have the freedom to check out of it to a different play? *A: Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t, depending on what we feel like is a play, ‘hey, we can call this thing and if it’s…’ Again, if it’s a look where even though there might be an extra guy in there, if we feel like he’s away from the point of attack, then we’ll just kind of run that play, just like a lot of teams do that. Sometimes we have plays where we say, ‘Hey, we’re going to call it and run it.’ Sometimes we have plays where, ‘Hey, we can get out of the play to a pass play or get to another run play.’ Sometimes we have plays where it’s a run play with those RPO-type things. So, we have a combination of those.
*Q: Is it fair to say with a young quarterback, the pre-snap recognition is probably one of the biggest challenges and you really just need experience to hone that? *A: Is it fair to say that? I would think in general, yeah. But I would also say it’s fair to say that with veteran quarterbacks, too. I think teams are doing a really good job, defenses are, of disguising and holding coverages until the last second. Sometimes it’s harder to get those looks until the ball is snapped. I think that’s probably… Defenses are doing a much better job of that maybe than in the last three or four years, not that they didn’t do a good job then, because of these run-pass options and things like that, and trying to keep you from trying to get into the best play. You have to have plays where your quarterback can get you into the best play based on pre-snap look. But you also have to have plays that are good knowing that teams are going to disguise and you won’t know what the true coverage is until after the snap.
*Q: What do you like about Kaden Smith since he’s likely going to be in a pretty big role again? *A: I think for the first time, and Coach alluded to this, I thought he had a nice day for his first start. I think the more we’re kind of getting to know him, I think he’s got, in fact we just said this in there today, he has good football sense. Really good football awareness for a young guy. You can tell by the way he asks questions and just little adjustments, whether or not it’s the run game or the pass game. We’re looking forward to him getting him out there a little bit more and giving him more opportunity.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
*Q: Why yesterday with Zak (DeOssie)? *A: He just wasn’t out there. The thing about Zak is, we’ll handle that situation as it comes. It is what it is.
*Q: Have the injuries contributed to his inconsistency do you think? *A: I’m not going to talk about injuries, he’s just been inconsistent. If you’re out there as a pro you’ve got to do your job.
*Q: Why shut him down though? *A: Who said he was shut down?
*Q: It’s reported you guys are putting him on IR. *A: That’s something you’d have to talk to the head coach about. I don’t know, we’re just working.
*Q: What have you seen from (Colin) Holba, the guy you brought in? *A: He’s a veteran guy who’s done it before. He’s been in a game, he’s been on the practice squad, he’s worked. He knows what he’s doing.
*Q: Is Aldrick (Rosas) your kicker for Sunday? *A: Absolutely.
*Q: What’s the balance of sticking with the young guy through struggles, like Aldrick, but also you need results on Sundays? *A: It’s tough. It’s always hard because this is a results business, so you want to have the results. In the process, when you have a guy like Aldrick, who’s been a Pro Bowler, who’s had success in this league, you just got to keep working. And you’re right, there’s a fine line. He knows it’s a results business and you’ve got to get it done.
*Q: Why does it seem like that position, maybe more than others, can be up, down, up, down, throughout his career? *A: When you look at kickers around the league, and people are talking about the numbers are down, it’s experience. There are not a lot of double-digit guys in the league anymore as far as experience and there’s a lot of young guys. With young guys, young players make mistakes. A lot of times you’ve got to work your way through those rough patches and just keep going.
*Q: Do you blame the snaps for his misses? *A: I don’t blame anything on anybody. Again, if the ball is up you’ve got to kick it.
*Q: You think it has been? *A: It’s been inconsistent. It’s like what we talked about, the thing you have to have is consistency between those three guys. It’s like I told you guys a couple weeks ago, better snap, better hold, better kick. It’s an old adage in football and you have to have those three things working in that order.
*Q: Can you explain the end of the game punt safe? *A: We just moved up Antoine Bethea to the corner and dropped back Jackrabbit. Jackrabbit has returned punts in this league for years and had success. He probably should have fielded the ball in a perfect situation. DeAndre Baker should have blocked [Cordarrelle] Patterson more, he didn’t get anything on him. We’re talking about Jackrabbit possibly getting in his way or blocking Cordarrelle and the same thing with Baker. If we get a little bit of him the ball goes into the end zone. It’s just a matter of execution and we didn’t execute.
*Q: Why not when they sub in you just sub in your whole punt team so it tightens up the execution? *A: It’s just a decision we made. Players have to do their jobs. Regardless of how we would have switched it, we would have put our gray team in and it’s basically the same exact people minus the returner, just a different returner. It’s just a matter of getting hands on people and stopping them from being able to get to the ball.
*Q: Why Da’Mari Scott for punt returner? *A: He’s a talented kid, very talented.
*Q: It didn’t seem like he did it a lot in college, I know he did it a little bit with you guys in the offseason. Just curious what he has shown you.
*A: He’s very talented, he has very good open field run skills. He’s a talented kid, trust me on that.