Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: Hard fought game. Obviously, shoot, there are plenty of things that we can improve on. We weren’t very good in the red zone, we did not create enough room running the football. At the end of the half there, they got back to a point. Hey listen, they were up by a point at halftime because we missed an extra point. Otherwise, you come out, you keep playing, do what you can to win the game and our guys did that. I think the turnovers hurt us. All of the things you can’t do in a ball game happened and hurt us, and we lost.
Q: Why are you having so much trouble in the red zone, especially deep in the red zone? A: I don’t think it’s a trend. Today, though, certainly, we did. We got down there and we didn’t... We wanted to give Saquon opportunities running the ball, we didn’t make really any yards doing that. A couple of times it got down to a third down pass that we didn’t complete. So, you kick field goals. That’s part of it. But we just need to do better there.
Q: How much of a letdown, speaking of that area, is just not getting seven up there after Antoine Bethea’s interception in the red zone at the start of the game? A: Yeah, certainly you want seven. But that’s early in the game, the game is very new and we’re up 3-0, so you just keep playing. We found a way to be up ahead, what? 12 to whatever at one point. Went down 13-12 right before the half.
Q: Right before the end of the half, you guys got the ball back with 48 seconds to go? A: Dropped it. Yeah, we threw a pass, dropped it, and then we had another one that was sort of deflected off-target. I think on the third one there, Slayton, the ball was designed to go to Slayton against the specific coverage. You just have to look for the ball there, break it up in that case. So, you don’t want that—right? The flip side of it is you just take a knee and go into the locker room, but we wanted to give our guys a chance. But we can’t have the bad things happen.
Q: Did you contemplate taking a knee? A: No. We had 50 something seconds to go. Go play. Why not?
Q: Is your confidence in Aldrick Rosas shaken? A: No, not at all. He’s our kicker, missed an extra point. He gets to miss one in a lifetime, that’s his miss.
Q: On the 45-yard touchdown there, did you guys run a zone, and was it Bethea there that was supposed to be… A: Which one? The one before the half?
Q: No, the one when they had 3rd and 18. A: I’ve got to look at it and see. The last one on third down you’re talking about?
Q: Yeah. A: They ran an in-route, and we have to do a better job, obviously, of squeezing it. Once it’s completed, you’ve got to tackle him.
Q: How frustrating it is to have you guys play well early on, and then have some inconsistencies throughout. Is that due to a lot of youth you have? A: I’m disappointed we didn’t do enough things to win the game. That’s where I’m at. I’m disappointed we didn’t win. I think everyone in the locker room is that way. That’s where it’s at.
Q: You said you will challenge these pass interferences if you think you’ll win the case… A: Yeah, I’m a hopeful guy when it comes to that. But in that situation, I think that was, prior to today they were 0 for 8. Now, we are 0 for 9 this weekend. So, that’s what I was told. There is a system in place for that. I believe in the rules, I believe in the system. At a time in the game when that could have given us a fresh set of downs, I thought it was worthy of the challenge. I guess there are just different views of what rises to the level of egregiousness, I guess.
Q: Leonard Williams got a lot of time today. Without looking at the film, what did you see? A: Yeah, it’s hard to tell. He was in and out. He competed, and he was out there battling. I couldn’t tell you at this point.
Q: There was a pass interference call right in front of your sideline, seemed like you got a good view. Were you looking at that as a penalty? A: No, I wasn’t, but it is what it is.
Q: What are your thoughts overall on Antoine Bethea? It felt like he had four or five touchdown saving tackles. A: Yeah, I’ll have to look at it. I’ll go back to the office as soon as we leave here and watch it. I’ll be able to answer that better. But, he was out there battling.
Q: On the last play, the play where they had the turnover for the touchdown, do you put that on Daniel or do you put that on the pass protection? A: No, we put that on the offense. He was just throwing a nine-ball, and they had pass rushed a bunch there. It just can’t happen. It can’t happen. He was going to throw it. I don’t think he was holding onto the ball, but we’ll see. I’ll look at it. Obviously, it can’t happen.
Q: What should he have done on scramble when he fumbled? A: Don’t fumble it. Just hold it tighter. The decision to scramble to get the first down was the right thing. Then, you’ve got to make good decisions, and you’ve got to play well throughout the down. At the end of the down, you’ve got to secure the ball. That’s pretty simple.
Q: I know he’s a rookie, but does it concern you that we’re continuing to talk about ball security and turnovers every week? A: Not every week. Obviously, this week he fumbled, right? Then he got hit in the pocket and he fumbled. Threw an interception. They are isolated incidents.
Q: He keeps committing turnovers. He is responsible for 15 turnovers. That’s a lot of turnovers, obviously. A: It is, and it needs to get corrected.
Q: Why did you not activate Sam Beal especially with DeAndre Baker struggling? A: Because we wanted to wait until the very last moment to do it. We have until Wednesday to do it, that’s why.
Q: Was using Daniel Jones more in the run game based on things you saw from the Cowboys or were you telling him, ‘hey, if you see something, pull it, don’t be hesitant to take off.’ A: He just pulled a couple that he’s got license to do if it just collapses, take off and run. In those cases, he made good decisions.
Q: You talked in the beginning about not creating enough room in the running game. You want to lean on that, are you getting concerned that it’s not where it needs to be? A: It’s been better. I’ve got to look at it and see why it wasn’t as good tonight. I think keeping Saquon involved running the ball is an important thing. Again, explosive runs are because everyone does things well. When runs are stopped there are times when maybe the path of the back could have been a little better, maybe we could have done a better job up front, blocks on the perimeters. It’s just like anything that happens on offense or defense. It’s a team thing, so I would imagine there’s a bunch of things that need to get cleaned up.
Q: Did you like Will Hernandez sticking up for Daniel, Rhett (Ellison) sticks up for Will. When it’s heated, the guys are having each other’s back? A: Yeah, I think that’s just teammates defending teammates. You have to be smart, though. You never want to do anything that’s going to create a penalty. But yeah, it’s good. Anytime you are out there playing you can’t let your emotions get the best of you. You’ve got to be smart so that you don’t hurt your team in any way. Especially after the whistle is blown.
Q: You’ve dropped five straight. How important is the game next week for you? A: Yeah, to win the next game is most important. Regardless of what happened this week, winning the next game is the most important thing.
Q: Do you think because it’s the Jets, and playing here? A: I imagine that just because it’s the Jets and Giants there will be build up to that. We’ve got to do what we can to win the next game
QB Daniel Jones
Q: How frustrating is it for you to see you guys start fine, start fast and then kind of hit a rut in the middle of the game and try to fight your way out of it? How tough is that to go through when you guys are so young as a team?
A: Yeah, that’s tough. I think we started better than we had in previous weeks, but we still missed a couple of opportunities to score touchdowns when we had the ball down there. That was costly for us. Yeah, in the middle of the game, kind of struggled. We were stagnant a little bit and couldn’t move the ball consistently. It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating to lose, but we have to make sure we learn from it and we improve. I think that’s what we’ll do this week.
Q: How much of a factor was the pass pressure?
A: They have a good pass rush and some guys up there who can do that. Credit to them, but I have to do a better job of getting the ball out and making sure we’re where we need to go up front and protections.
Q: Do you view games like this more along the lines of losses or lessons, and if it’s lessons, what are you able to pull out from a game like this, or games like this?
A: Well, it’s certainly a loss. I don’t think… You can’t hide from that. It’s a loss. But like you said, there are things to learn from that. I think a number of things. For one, just scoring in the red zone was huge tonight. I think first and second down, we have to do a better job. I have to do a better job making sure we’re moving the ball forward and getting third downs down there that are manageable and chances to score or get the first down. I think that was big for us tonight.
Q: How bizarre was it to see a black cat on the field?
A: Yeah, that was strange. I didn’t exactly know what was going on at first. But yeah, you don’t see that every week.
Q: The fumble earlier on and then the one late, is that a particular source of concern for you that things keep happening with ball security?
A: Yeah, anytime you turn the ball over, it’s costly to the team. I have to work on that and making sure I’m securing the ball.
Q: Do you feel like games like this, you feel like you make progress, in a game like this? You kind of feel the light come on in certain spots?
A: I think week to week, I’ve gotten better in some areas and I haven’t in others. The challenge is to continue to get better and correct the things I haven’t done well. Yeah, I have to keep working at that.
Q: The pass to Golden (Tate) where he made the one-handed catch, did you kind of think there was some momentum built from that?
A: Yeah, that was a big time play there from him on third down. He came up big for us. Yeah, we felt some momentum there in the first half and felt like we were in control of the game. But like I said, we didn’t score touchdowns in a lot of those situations and didn’t do that throughout the rest of the game.
TE Evan Engram
Q: Why did this game get so chippy? There were quite a few scuffles, were they talking trash? A: No; The hit on DJ out of bounds, just protecting our quarterback, backing him up. (Inaudible), Will, O-Line trying to play nasty, trying to be physical and it happens sometimes. We just gotta be smart with it.
Q: Golden Tate was talking about some of the knuckle-headed things that did you guys in tonight, that you kind of struggled with. At what point does a young team get past that? A: You got to stop making those mistakes. Some turnovers, had some execution mishaps. Got to fix them. We can say that we have to fix them, but at the end of the day, it’s got to get done.
Q: What’s happening to the team in the red zone. You got down there 5 times … A: Yeah, we’ve got to score. We’ve got to score. Like I said, small things. Got to get them done.
Q: On the one play to you that the coaches challenged, what did you feel? A: I mean, it happened so fast on my end, but when I saw the video, he definitely got there before the ball. It was the right move by coach challenging it. I think it was… I thought it was one that can get reversed, but…. Whatever.
Q: Is it getting frustrated not getting these calls reversed when it’s obvious? A: Yeah, I mean it’s frustrating, yeah. There are ones that are kind of questionable, but they are the ones that are obvious, like that one. But, that’s out of our control and … got to live with it.
Q: Why can’t this group close out these types of games? A: Really no excuses. Got to play better, both sides of the ball. Got to play a full football game and we’re not doing that.
Q: Is next week, against a 1-7 Jets team that just lost to the Dolphins a “can’t lose” game? A: Every game is a “can’t lose” game.
Q: I know you haven’t looked at the tape, but why do you think you guys had so much trouble in the red zone tonight- just 1 of 5? A: Small things. Execution. Staying on blocks. Making contested catches. The small things we didn’t do that left a lot of points off the board.
Q: How much is losing wearing on you? A: It’s tough. It’s tough, but it’s adversity. All my life I’ve been taught not to back down from it, to keep fighting, and there’s going to be adversity all throughout life. So, I’m built to keep fighting, I think this team is built to keep fighting. I think we just got to keep working and keep chipping.
RB Saquon Barkley
Q: How hard is it to keep your composure when calls aren’t going your way and you have to try to keep everybody focused? A: It’s not hard because it’s part of the game. Calls aren’t going to go your way. Some plays are going to happen for you and some plays aren’t going to happen for you. You just have to stay in the moment, stay locked in. That’s something I was trying to keep on the sideline. Obviously you see a lot of after the whistle stuff and I didn’t want it to be us, so I was trying to keep our cool. But at the end of the day, we just didn’t make enough plays to win the game.
Q: As the leader of this team, how do you make sure the morale of this team does not go low and snowball into next week? A: Be me. Everyone be who they are. Obviously the season is not going the way we want it to go, but you still wake up every single day and play the sport that you love. You get paid to play the sport that you have been playing since you were a little kid. So come in with a smile on your face and come back to work every single day.
Q: What were you seeing in the middle of the line on the early rushes? A: Simple, they are a team that runs a lot of games up front. They try to slant to create penetration, they were doing a good job of that. Everyone knows inside zone loves to come back in the back side and plant a back door cut. Sometimed I could have gone a little more vertical and gone downhill, but I have to go back and watch film and see how I can get better.
Q: How important is next week’s game against the Jets? A: It’s important because it’s the next game on the schedule.
Q: Why was it such a struggle, especially close to the goal line? A: It’s the NFL. They make plays, they did a good job getting penetration. I have to do a better job helping the offensive line and getting downhill a little more. But that’s what it is. They made plays, it’s the NFL. We have to be better.
Q: Was it a little bit demoralizing when you guys couldn’t punch it in on the opening drive of the game? A: No, it’s not demoralizing. We realize that we have to do better, we have to play better complementary football. When the defense makes a play like that, we have to find a way to put seven on the board. But we walked away with three points, you’re not satisfied with that, we would be happy if we put up seven. But at the end of the day, as long as you put points on the board, it’s a good thing for the team and the offense.
Q: Did you think you had a chance to score on the long catch and run? A: I feel like every time I touch the ball I have a chance to score. I feel like anyone who touches the ball on this team has the chance to score, that’s the nature of the game. I broke free, got us in a good position, but obviously we weren’t able to put seven on the board. We came up with three, but still, we’ve had opportunities to win, we just have to capitalize on them.
Q: Where are you at physically right now? A: It’s football, it’s the NFL. It’s week what? I don’t even know. I’m coming off of an ankle injury. I’m not going to make any excuses.
Q: You ever see a black cat run across the field in the middle of a game? A: That’s a first.
Q: What did you think? Are you a superstitious type? A: No, I’m not superstitious. No, not at all. It didn’t bother me. The only thing that I didn’t like about it was we were going and it stopped us a little bit. But I think we still scored on that drive, I’m not 100 percent sure. But I’m not sure how a black cat got on the field, but hey.
Q: Golden (Tate) almost seems like he’s at a loss for answers, are you there? A: No.
Q: What do you think is the answer? A: If I had the answer, I think I would be able to tell you guys and I think we would know as a team. But hey, things aren’t going our way right now, we can’t just cry about it. It’s part of football, it’s part of your profession, it’s part of your job. You just have to go back, watch film and learn from it and try to get better throughout the rest of the season and focus on the next game with that being the Jets.
Q: Did you hear the ‘let’s go Cowboys’ chants? A: Yeah, I mean you hear the ‘let’s go Cowboys’ chants. I think the Cowboys are one of the most known teams in the world, in the country. So they did a really good job, a lot of their fans came out and they made some noise.
Q: Did it bother you? It’s your home field. A: No. It doesn’t bother me. At the end of the day, what bothers me is that loss. That’s the only thing that counts. I don’t care how it is, whether it’s by 20 points, whether it’s by three, whether it’s by one. That’s what bothers me is the loss.
Q: How much is the losing wearing on you? A: Yeah, it’s crazy that you say that, but hey, the way that I look at it and the way I look at life is there are going to be better days. We are struggling right now and things aren’t going our way, but I’m not going to lose my focus, I’m not going to lose belief in this team and this coaching staff. I’m just going to continue to come to work every single day and I am 100 percent sure that it will turn around. It just hasn’t turned around as soon as we would have liked it to.
S Michael Thomas
Q: You have the Jets, who are rivals and also scuffling for a win, next week. How big does that make the game, the local rivalry, one of the two teams is going to be looked at as the worst team in New York kind of deal, or best team in New York kind of deal? A: The good thing about this Monday night game is it’s a short week, so we do get to play another game real quick. Like you said, it’s against the Jets, hometown team. Put this one behind us real quick and just try to go get this win.
Q: How bad do you need it though, for the mental state of this team? A: For everyone… For everyone in this organization at the facility, the players, coaches, front office, everybody… We need it, and we’re going to find a way to get it.
Q: It seems like, walking into this locker room tonight, it might be more deflated than I remember seeing it. Guys seem a little more defeated than maybe in the past. Was there something more defeating about this particular game and how it went down? A: No, just the fact that guys came out there, we fought real hard and then it just seemed like at the end, it kind of came loose. You know what I’m saying? It just kind of came loose, so that’s frustrating. But we can’t fold. Never quit. We can’t fold. But it’s tough.
Q: The same thing happened in New England, too. You guys put together a good half, three quarters, and then the wheels kind of fall off. A: We just have to find a way to finish. Right now, young team, but there are no excuses. Young team, guys making mistakes, some big plays toward the end. Have to find a way to finish and not make those same mistakes. It’s growing pains, but we’re going to get it.
Q: What happened with the (Amari) Cooper touchdown? A: I don’t undress… It’s personal. I don’t undress teammates, I don’t undress plays. But we just have some young mistakes right now.
Q: Was it a miscommunication? A: Just have some young mistakes right now. We have to learn. Once we, as a team, get rid of those young mistakes that are happening, the growing pains, we’ll be fine. We’ll be playing winning football. That’s it.
S Jabrill Peppers
Q: Did you feel the defense holding them to a field goal most of the time (was) keeping your team in the game? A: I think when you have a four-point (swing) like that, I would say so. As I say every week, you just have to clean up on the little things, you have to execute as a whole team, play complementary football at the end of the day, so it really doesn’t matter.
Q: Why was Amari Cooper so open on the touchdown? A: We have to go back and look at the tape. I felt as though we were in a good coverage, I can’t tell you exactly until I go back and look at the tape.
Q: How much of a back breaker was that? A: You definitely can’t let them in the endzone in that situation with the time that was left. You have to get off the field and we had ample opportunities to get off the field, it is what it is.
Q: How deflating are these pass interference calls? A: It just seems like they don’t go our way. If you guys remember mine from Tampa Bay, it was really ticky tack, I thought that was going to be the tone for the whole year but there is no real consistency. At the end of the day, you can’t even give them the chance to the throw the flag. You have to stay clean, play with good eyes and technique and make a play on the ball.
Q: One thing that Golden Tate was talking about was the knucklehead plays you guys are making, that would seem to be a problem area for a young team. Why do you think those things are going on, do you think it’s the youth and how do you get past it? A: It doesn’t matter about the age, we have a job to do and we have to do that job to the highest level, to your best ability. Like I said, we are professionals, there’s no NFL in Europe, there’s no other league like the NFL, you have to be the best. I always like to say a surgeon can’t come back to a family and say my bad. I know it’s not life and death like that, but that’s how you have to hold yourself and your level of work. We have just have to cut back on the mental mistakes and play complementary football.
Q: Are you okay, you looked woozy at one point? A: I wasn’t woozy, I’m good.
Q: You hit your hand on his helmet or something? A: No, I got hit in the groin, so guys know how that goes (laughter).
Q: Did you feel like this was a real Giants-Cowboys game? A: Definitely, you definitely felt it in the atmosphere. I thought we did a bad job of making them make plays. At the end of the day, I don’t care about the atmosphere, I want to win. I’m going to get in there and watch this tape. We have to the Jets coming up on a short week to (try to) get this bad taste out of our mouth.
Q: The Giants fans will look at this game next week and they will be absolutely furious if you lose to that Jets team next week, how do you view it? A: You have to view it like every week, you have to go out there and play to win. That’s a good Jets team with a lot of talent. Regardless of what their record shows, regardless of how they played last week, they beat the Cowboys. It’s the National Football League, it’s not about who’s the best, who has this guy, who has that guy, it’s about who executes the best on Sunday or Monday, Thursday or whenever you play. That’s how we are going into it, we have a short week, guys have to get back healthy, get our bodies back, break this tape down, come out and play a hell of a football game.
Q: How tough was that 10 points they scored in the last minute of the first half? A: That was real tough. At the end of the day, you have to respond. I’m just the type of guy, I don’t care what kind of situation you put us in, you have to respond, we have a job to do, hold them to three.
Q: Have you ever seen a black cat run across the field like that? A: No, that was funny.
Q: From your vantage point, why were they so successful in the run game? A: They were finding creases, Zeke is a hell of a back, tough to bring down. He has great ball carrier vision. They hit all the soft spots, we have to have better gap integrity, we have to be a lot more sound in the run game. At the end of the day, it is what it is, tip our hats to them.
Q: Why do you think it got so chippy late in the game? A: There was a lot of jawing going back and forth, that’s football. It’s Giants-Cowboys, we don’t like them, they don’t like us.
Q: Do you still have confidence in Pat Shurmur? A: Absolutely.
Q: Why is that? A: I do, he’s a great coach, a great man. He works his ass off, we just have to play better for him.
G Will Hernandez
Q: On tonight being a particularly physical game at the line of scrimmage A: We’re talking football, here. It’s going to be like that, every game. You know, that’s the way it is. That’s what fans come to watch. That’s how we are, that’s just simply just the kind of players there are in this league. That’s just how it is.
Q: Moving forward for the offense, what do you guys need to do to clean some of this stuff up, score more points, and just become more consistent on that side of the ball?A: I mean, starting with the run game. That’s the number one thing that we’re focused on and we should be able to do well every single game. There’s no excuse. Everything is going to work itself off of that.
Q: That looked like a cheap shot from DeMarcus Lawrence after the field goal. Would you agree with that?A: I mean, like I said, it’s football. That shit is going to happen. Like, that’s how the game is. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. That’s why I play this game- because I love that kind of (expletive). You know, that’s just the way it is. We play hard and that’s how it goes.
Q: Do you think that when Daniel gets hit and you stick up for him- does acting like that, can that help to set a tone for what you guys are trying to build here? Can that have an impact in the game?A: Yeah, I mean, first of all, I don’t think nobody acts in any way. That’s just something that’s just unacceptable. Never going to let your QB get hit, especially out of bounds like that. Like, that’s just not part of the game- especially when we’re talking about our QB. I don’t care who you are, what it is. That’s unacceptable. I mean, that’s just the things we have to take care of- if that happens, we take care of it. But we keep playing ball- part of the game. But that’s unacceptable. We don’t let that happen to our QB.
Q: Was there anything specifically said to you, at least later in the game, that sparked the chippy-ness or did that all stem from the hit on Daniel Jones?A: I said, before this game, I care very little to what they have to say. Most of the (expletive) that they said, I didn’t even hear it. Like, it’s just all mumbling to me. It’s like, I don’t even pay attention to it. I don’t care. All I care about is what you did on that play. Did you do anything that affected my team negatively? If not, I don’t care what you have to say.
Q: What has to change to help Saquon get more yards, especially those inside-runs. He seems to be a little bit bogged down right now.A: I mean, it’s just when we have breakdowns here and there. You know, in order for the run-game to work, you have to be very efficient: everybody has to be on their block, on their assignment every single play. [If] one man breaks down, it can cost us the whole play to shut down. That’s the first thing we’re going to prioritize in doing right because we know we can do it right and just simply, we have to go out there and do it. It’s simple.
Q: Was the most frustrating part of this game the idea that this was a first-place team that you were playing, and it seemed like they were giving you opportunity after opportunity to take control of this game and, for whatever reason, you guys weren’t able to do that?
A: I mean, it’s really never about what the other team is doing. It’s about what we’re doing. We focus on what we gotta do and the things we do right and if we don’t get those things done, then it really doesn’t matter what the other team is doing. We’re not doing the things we gotta do. So, at the end of the day, we don’t blame the other team, we don’t blame anybody, we don’t point fingers. We don’t make excuses of ‘why’, we just simply take it upon ourselves and we know that if we get better at some of the things we do, we’re going to get the results we want.
Q: When you get the ball for the first time at the 8-yard line after the turnover, you come off the field with a three-point lead. Is that a little bit demoralizing, when you get the ball at the 8? You’re thinking: going into the end zone, obviously, the first time you guys got the ball. A: We always go in with the intent to score. But, points are points. We get the points up on the board, but, I mean, it’s not going to shut us down. We’re not mentally weak that way to just come off the field and be like: ‘oh, we couldn’t score on the first drive, now we’re going to have a hard…” No. There’s none of that going on. We got points up there, and then we go in, already thinking of the next drive. We don’t even think about what happened on that drive. We move on. That’s just the way you gotta play.
Q: Throughout tonight, you were inside their 10-yard line a bunch of times and came away with field goals. How difficult is it to beat a team like the Cowboys kicking field goals when you’re in range to score a touchdown? A: I mean, it was pretty close all the way up until the fourth quarter. So, I mean, as difficult as you’re making it sound, it’s not so difficult. We were right there [even] with [kicking] field goals. So, like I said: [if] one of them turns into a touchdown, there you go, there’s a big game-changer, a big difference right there. That just shows that one play is really sometimes all you need to win a game.
Q: If there’s one thing, as a group, that the offensive line can do better, what is it? A: Run game.
WR Golden Tate III
You have to collectively be better, point blank, end of story. I haven’t seen it yet, but the quickest way to lose the game is to turn over the ball. Point blank, end of story.
Q: Can you take us through the one handed catch? How it went down.
A: It was against a really, really good cornerback. Savvy guy, long guy who had a decent release and DJ [Daniel Jones] just placed a great ball where only I can catch it and you know, it was the spark I thought that we needed, that helped us and a few plays later we were able to score and I’m just thankful for the opportunity to be able to make a play, help our team.
Q: Why do you think this team can’t close out wins?
A: Obviously you’re feeling that, but I just feel like talking about tonight. We played extremely undisciplined football. It’s hard enough to win in this League, but when you’re doing, I guess, knuckleheaded things, it certainly didn’t work in your favor. We’ve just got to play a smart team. You look at this game going into halftime we were up—at one point we were up, what seven, eight?
Q: Nine. Nine with a minute to go.
A: Nine, three. You know, I guess a minute to go, they catch a drag route at the sideline to score. Okay, fine. We come back and they’re ready to get on the field and we pretty much go two plays and throw a pick to them and they run it back into decent field position, they kick a field goal, and all of a sudden they’re up by one. That’s a halftime swing that definitely worked against us. We come back out—did we go three and out? I don’t know what happened, but we didn’t move the ball the way we expected, still, still in the game and then from there I think things just kind of snowballed, you know, and kind of shot ourselves in the foot, but still we were still in the game, we still have a chance. I think it might have been one score at one point or maybe six points or eight points, we still have a chance, and we make another mistake and it’s just we cannot do that.
Q: But you gave up the slant to [Amari] Cooper that was open by about half the field. That was the back breaker, right, I mean you guys are in the game until about halfway…
A: Was that the one he scored on?
Q: Yeah. The forty-five yard one.
A: Like a [inaudible] six route with the field open? I mean, look, I’m not on defense so that’s why I have no clue what happened. Like I only see for offense, but we’ve got to all be better. I mean, I think special teams did a hell of a job at giving us great field position. I thought we did a great job kicking the ball to them. They kept us in the game.
Q: Big picture, when it’s offense and defense making similar mistakes, does that say the team meeting didn’t get through to people or?
A: Look, I think football is important to every single person in this organization. No doubt. And I don’t think any of us go out there with an intention on playing not intelligent, undisciplined football, but we’ve just got to think and understand situations and make the plays we’re supposed to make and, you know, just not make mistakes, and I’m very, I’m trying to put this very delicately because there is no one to blame. Not one single person. It’s a collective effort, but just play disciplined football.
Q: How much of that comes from being young? I mean it sounds like you’re exasperated at this point by that sort of stuff, but how much of it comes from being young and how long can you put up with that stuff from a young team?
A: It’s hard. It’s hard, especially at times like now, just moments after the game, but we’ve got to bounce back. We’ve got to watch—I don’t know what’s going to happen with the film watching it this week, but we’ve got to understand like the situational football. We have to be much, much, much better being efficient on third down, penalties. You know when we get in the red zone, we have to get points, especially against an offense like that. They have some big time players.
Q: Why is it so hard for this team to convert in the red zone?
A: I’m not sure. If I had the answer, I would definitely speak up. I think we all just need to be better from top to bottom.
Q: The most frustrating part of this whole thing is that the team in first place in your division came here and it seemed like they were just begging you guys to take this game from them.
A: We had more missed opportunities. After our screw-ups, we were still in the game. We still had a chance to do something and we didn’t. We just, we didn’t. We made some very crucial mistakes that hurt. I mean, look, I said it earlier. It’s hard to win in this League, but then when you make key mistakes in key moments, that’s not going to help you.
DL Leonard Williams
Q: How did it feel running out of a different tunnel and being in a different room and all of that? A: I don’t know, man, it feels different. There’s really not that much to say about it. I was so used to parking in the parking lot, going this way and luckily, I’m still in Metlife and I’m still familiar with the stadium and the field and all of that type of stuff, but it definitely felt different.
Q: Did you play as much as you thought you would today? What did you expect? A: Yeah, I feel like I was out there a lot. We had a good rotation, which I like. I still need to pick up the defense a little bit faster so I’m not hesitating so I can play a little bit faster and not rely on my teammates to tell me a play here and there when I forget. I just got on the team, so I’ve been quickly trying to learn my teammates and the defense as soon as possible.
Q: You had a couple of plays where you were almost there. What is it going to take for you to finish those plays? A: Yeah, what came to my mind is how you are able to horse collar in the pocket, so when I bull rushed the guard, I got right on his lap, I tried to reach around him and grab the back of his shoulder pads, but he just stepped away in that one split second and he was able to get away from me.
Q: Did the Cowboys do anything different from when you played them a few weeks ago? A: I think they did run a little different plays. They ran more perimeter type runs with the Giants compared to with the Jets. I think overall, they were still the same scheme. We didn’t do a good enough job stopping the run first of all and then getting off the field on third downs.
Q: Why did you guys have so much trouble stopping the outside run plays? A: I’m not sure. I still have to get on film and see exactly what happened. Obviously the d-line is always going to say it’s on us. We want to take the blame for anything on the run and we’re going to put it on our back and try to fix it. But at the same time, we have to watch film, it’s going to be a short week so we just have to have a 24-hour rule, quickly get this out of our system and get on to the next game.
Q: How odd is next week going to be for you? A: It’s going to be fun. I’m playing against guys that I know, but it’s still football at the end of the day. I’ve played against guys that I’ve known before throughout college, throughout combine, people that I’ve met and stuff like that. So it’s still the same, you know?
Q: As odd as it was today, will next week be even more weird? A: I think next week will be a little odd. One, being that the Giants and Jets don’t normally play each other in the season, so it’s like ironic that the one time they do make a trade together, we play them in the same year after the trade. But at the same time, I think I’ll be more comfortable with my teammates, more comfortable with the defense and I’ll be able to play faster next week.
Q: Is this a ‘can’t lose’ game for you guys next week? A: Yeah, I think so. Going forward, we basically have to treat almost every game like a playoff game. You don’t want to take any more losses than we already have. We want to turn the tables over and get the ball rolling. Once we get a win, just keep stacking some wins.
Q: Did you watch any of the Jets game yesterday? A: I watched some of the highlights of the game, yeah.
Q: What did you think? A: I think that was a tough loss. I think that was the Dolphins’ first win or something like that. It’s not mine anymore. This is my team now. I’m focused on tonight, I’m focused on watching film and getting better for next week.