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Quotes (11/6): Shurmur, Jones, Engram, Tate

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

Opening Statement: I guess Pat (Hanlon) talked to you about the injuries. I guess the ones of note, Evan Engram has a midfoot sprain. He’s in a boot. We’ll just take him day to day, week to week, see where he goes. (Jon) Halapio has a hamstring, and then Sterling Shepard did not participate today. He’s getting further evaluated for that concussion being that he’s in the protocol. Then (Mike) Remmers was limited with his back. We’re within two days of the game, so it’s just a little game soreness there. But otherwise, Jets week. It’s important that we get back to doing things the right way every play, and not just play well during stretches of the game. Can’t have bad things that affect the game like they did the other night. It’s going to be a tough game. I feel like every opponent we play is a tough opponent. I feel like if we play the right way, we have the ability to beat anybody we play. But when we don’t play well or coach well, then we certainly have the ability to get beat. So, it’s up to us to play better. I’ll take your questions.

Q: You said ‘day to day’ and ‘week to week’ for Engram. Is there a chance he plays (Sunday)?

A: Well, we’re so new from the game. This would be like a Tuesday on a normal week, so it’s really too early for us to assess.

Q: Any concern that it’s a Lisfranc (injury)?

A: I don’t know that. Again, as you all know, I’m not a doctor. It was told to me as a midfoot sprain.

Q: You also said that Sterling Shepard was getting further evaluation. Is that outside the normal?

A: No, not really. We sent him to Pittsburgh. There’s, I guess, gurus there on this type of injury, and so we’re going to get him further evaluated there.

Q: What kind of a challenge is it for you to keep your team up and motivated through this difficult stretch?

A: It’s always a challenge to get going. I think we played hard last week and we stayed in it. We just had some plays that hurt us that affected the outcome of the game. I thought the preparation today was really good. We have a bunch of guys that are fighters in there, so that doesn’t concern me.

Q: Were there technical things, red zone wise, that you think you can fix in time for this game?

A: I wanted to give the runner an opportunity in the red zone, so we ran the ball probably a little more than you normally do. I think it’s important to. We had a couple plays there where they defended it. Maybe check it down, take it from there. Each time you look at a play, there’s a reason why it isn’t successful. Then certainly the ones in the red zone are magnified.

Q: What do you see when you look at Sam Darnold as a quarterback right now?

A: I see an outstanding young quarterback. He can play and he can help his team win games. That’s what I see.

Q: What did you think about him coming out (of college)?

A: We had a high opinion of him. Thought he was an outstanding player. A well-accomplished player that we were pretty certain he was going to have an outstanding career.

Q: How much can Leonard Williams help you off the field right now, getting ready for a team that he played with for so long?

A: Yeah, we’ve talked about these things before, players or coaches from other teams. It’s going to be based on what we see on film. He obviously knows the players on that team intimately. But we just have to match up and play and not be too concerned about that.

Q: He had a good number of snaps in his first game. Do you think another week further along can get him more?

A: Potentially. Yeah, I mean he was fit and ready to go, fit into the scheme well and played quite a bit the other night. I anticipate at least that amount.

Q: There’s a belief, people say he’s a good player and that he hasn’t reached being the great player that a lot of people predicted coming out. What do you think he needs to do in order to get his game to the next level?

A: None of that’s my concern. I think we just have to build on what he did last week. He had some really good reps in there. He had some things, obviously, that he has to clean up, like everybody else. We talked about it last week when he came in. He has the ability to play all throughout the front. I think he’s a very active player that can get pressure on the quarterback, and I think he’s good against the run. Just kind of continue to build on that within our scheme.

Q: You’ve talked about this before but it keeps happening. Daniel (Jones) with his slides at the end. He’s obviously taking hits he probably doesn’t need to take because he’s not sliding. Is that a concern of yours?

A: I think he needs to learn from that. He did slide the other night a couple times. He’s getting better at it where he didn’t take hits. Then there was the one where he fumbled where that’s just a matter of a competitive guy who was well aware where the sticks were, and was trying to get the first down. So that’s what you balance. When you hold the ball, nothing you do is acceptable when you don’t end the down with the ball. That’s important for all players to know that touch the ball. He’s aware of that and he’ll learn from that. There was one he went out of bounds, he got waylaid by some guy with a boom mic. I don’t know what you do about that. Those guys have to be a little fitter and get the heck out of the way.

Q: Have you learned anything about Daniel in terms of his competitiveness? It’s a difficult stretch for him, but have you seen anything that stands out to you in his determination to fix it?

A: Yeah, he’s determined to fix it. There’s no question about it. He works hard to. I think what you see by watching him play is he’s a young player that is fighting and scratching. We ran a reverse, he got out there and got a block. I’d rather he didn’t do that, but you know what it is. It flashes and he’s a competitor and he’s getting involved. In terms of his toughness and competitiveness, I think we’re seeing what we knew about him when we drafted him. Each week, he’s trying to do everything he can to help us win.

Q: In the run game, can Saquon (Barkley) be better to help the offensive linemen, or are you guys not winning the battles upfront?

A: I think it’s coordinated. Again, I think you need to go back and look at each play, much like you do when you’re either getting or not getting pressure on the quarterback, or not stopping the run on defense, or stopping the run. It’s a team thing. There are times when we can get a little bit more, and I think both areas, the o-line and the running back, share some of that.

Q: I think it was asked in the conference call. You said about the throw at the end of the half when Daniel made the throw for an interception, I think you said it wasn’t training Daniel Jones, like it wasn’t a time to train Daniel Jones.

A: Because that was the way the question was phrased.

Q: Right. In terms of that, thinking from that perspective, that is a line that you’ve walked from the moment you put him at quarterback. Does that line move? Does the goalpost move now where his development has moved? Have you changed your approach with him at quarterback, or has it been steady all throughout?

A: I think it’s steady. I think you try to put together a game plan that attacks the team you’re playing. You have to trust the quarterback to do the right things, regardless of whether he’s young or old. Certainly, with a younger quarterback, there are certain things that a guy that isn’t much more experienced, there’s a thing or two that you wouldn’t do. But he’s been able to handle most of it. I think he’s fallen victim to turning the ball over when he scrambles or getting hit in the pocket. Those are more of the bad things that are happening. There are some, obviously, technical things that we work on. This isn’t about training the quarterback. Again, I’ll go back to that. This is about doing what we can to win the game, and we feel like him being in there gives us the best chance. So, regardless of your age as a player, you have to go in there and… You can’t fake football. You have to do it and play it the right way.

Q: Is it harder to fix things like that during the course of the season, as opposed to in training camp or in the offseason when you can really hone on things? You guys have to get the game plan. All of these players, they have to get ready. Then you have to try to fix things. Is that hard?

A: No, that’s just the flurry of things that happen during the season when you go week to week. They are good players and we expect them to play well. If for some reason they did some things not well the week before, they have to improve on it. If they were doing things well the week before, then they have to continue to build on that. That goes for every position.

Q: You were a former center. If Pio (Jon Halapio) is out, how much more extra work do (Spencer) Pulley and Daniel have to do?

A: Well, they’ll need to work together. Certainly, the center and the quarterback need to be on the same page. But they do get work during the week together. There’s a little bit of a mix in there, so it’s not like they haven’t gotten any reps. If Spencer has to go, we trust him. He played really well for us last year and we’re glad that he’s here. If he has to get in there, we’re very certain he’s going to play well.

Q: Is there any concern, you know he hasn’t played a lot in the last two months?

A: He should be fresh.

Q: Do you see a common trend in the red zone problems the other day, or when you went back and looked at it, what did you come away with?

A: It came down to individual plays. We scored on one. The first series, we had two runs and then a pass that they pressured us on. We got the ball there, it just… He got pressured. We had what we were looking for. We just have to get that picked up a little better. Then we got down there later. We ran the ball a couple times. I felt like I wanted to give Saquon his opportunities down there. I felt like that was something that would have helped us. We did. On a couple of other occasions, we just didn’t get the pass executed when we called it.

Q: A lot of times you’re talking about Saquon with the play-calling down at the goal line. Barry Sanders was often taken out of games on the goal line, and it was like ‘What are you, crazy?’

A: Yeah, I was a Lions fan. I was like ‘What are we, crazy?’ when I’m growing up, yeah. I do remember that some, but…

Q: But there’s obviously reasons that go into that.

A: I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s fair to compare the Lions of yesteryear to the Giants of today.

Q: Right, but the point of a running back who can theoretically bring it any time for 60 yards. Now, you’re compressed inside the five. There have to be reasons why it’s not working.

A: Well, when we were on the goal line, we had penetration that had nothing to do with Saquon. When we ran the ball to the left, that we eventually came back and threw the ball in on. That had nothing to do with Saquon. I think had we gotten the backside blocked a little better, it’s all the ‘if, dog, rabbit’ stuff. Then he might have had a better opportunity on the front side. But no, he’s a three-down back up and down the field. Then we run the screen where he runs it all the way down the field. I wanted to run it again, but he needed a quick little break. So, then we choose to do a couple different things. It all plays into it.

Q: What’s your assessment of (Antoine) Bethea so far this season? He had the two takeaways the other night, but the last two weeks, the flea flicker got him and he got crossed by (Amari) Cooper on the big touchdown last week. It seems like plays that maybe a veteran would make.

A: I don’t know that. He’s been back there competing. He’s like everybody on the team, coaches and players alike. Each guy has had a play or two that he’d like to have back. But he made an impact in the game with the two turnovers, and he made some tackles that were huge. I like the way he was competing. I liked the impact he had on the game. We just need to clean up a couple of the bad plays. That’s all.

TE Evan Engram

Q: What is the status of your injury? A: It’s a low-grade foot sprain. It could be a lot worse, I guess around the Lisfranc area, I don’t know all the details. I just have to go with the routine, roll with the punches. (I have to) trust the training staff, we are going to be ready and good to go and just attack treatment each and every day.

Q: It’s not a Lisfranc sprain?
A: No, that was the worry, that there was a real severe injury there. It’s not that bad. I don’t know all the medical terms, but it could be a lot worse.

Q: Do you remember when you hurt it?
A: It was the third quarter and then I aggravated it in the fourth.

Q: Can Russell Shepard help you, I think he has a similar injury?
A: We were actually talking about it in the training room. He’s just being there for me, he knows about the process. His was a lot worse, so he’s been there. Definitely, he’s been helping me out a little bit.

Q: What has the team medical staff told you about your foot?
A: It’s a low-grade sprain, we’ll take it this week and we have the bye week next week and see where we are.

Q: What is the course of action?
A: Attack rehab and see where we’re at.

Q: Have you ever had anything like this on this particular foot before?
A: No, ma’am.

Q: You don’t expect to play this Sunday?
A: That’s all the trainers and coaches.

Q: Do you remember how it happened?
A: It’s kind of hard to see it on film. I caught the ball and got tackled, I guess I got rolled up on and I was fighting through it. I finished the game, and when I woke up the next morning it was pretty bad.

Q: You weren’t out there that last series though, right?
A: I was out there battling, it was the drive before that when I re-aggravated it, so they pulled me.

Q: What is your level of frustration with just not being able to help the team?
A: It’s tough, I definitely hate missing time, I hate not being out there playing football. It’s out of my control, so I just have to control what I can and get back as soon as I can.

Q: With all the work you have done to try and stay healthy, is it frustrating that it’s happening again?
A: Yeah, but it’s not my fault, it’s this crazy game we play, things happen. I can attack the treatment, I can attack my recovery and continue to stay focused on the things I was doing and speed up my recovery time and get back out there as soon as possible.

Q: There was a report that your MRI got sent to Dr. Anderson, who is a foot specialist. Have you gotten that result back?
A: Not yet, that’s kind of through the Giants and my agent. My agent wanted a second opinion to get reassurance for what we already know.

Q: You are not going out to see that doctor, the doctor that Saquon went out to see?
A: No, just sending the pictures.

Q: You said it was low grade, so you just want to rule out that’s definitely what it is?
A: Yeah, it could be a lot worse. The pictures were promising, there is an injury there but it’s not bad.

Q: Are looking at it as encouraging that the doctor didn’t say come out to see me?
A: Like I said, it could be a lot worse, there’s surgery, there’s months of rehab that come with a really bad injury like this. I got lucky and dodged a bullet, just have to roll with it.

Q: So surgery and months of rehab are not on the table?
A: No.

QB Daniel Jones

Q: As you continue to go through a series of your firsts your rookie year, what have guys said about this rare Giants-Jets regular season matchup?
A: Yeah, I think it’ll be exciting. It gives both teams from New York an opportunity to compete against each other. I mean guys have said there is always a lot of energy in the game. It’s kind of unique playing an away game at home, but it’ll be fun.

Q: How are you feeling physically? I know you’ve taken a lot of hits during some of these games. A: I feel good. Obviously, it’s a short week this week, so it’s important to make sure we are recovered and feeling good for the game. But yeah, I feel good.

Q: When you look at the red zone offense, how are you guys approaching that this week to try to improve that?
A: I think there are a number of things. We had chances on Monday night and didn’t do a good job converting those. I think it’s understanding what happened there, making sure we’re getting positive plays on first and second downs, so our third downs are manageable, but that’s always… open field, that’s always what we’re thinking. I think those ideas, but when you look at the tape, we had opportunities, we just have to convert them.

Q: Are there things that you can do to avoid taking some of the big hits that you are taking? Not necessarily behind the line of scrimmage, but at the end of plays.
A: Yeah, I could do a better job sliding and getting down or getting out of bounds at times. That’s something that I’ll continue to work on.

Q: Do you have to fight your own competitiveness there? That third down comes to mind, where you’re fighting for the first down sticks but at the end of the play you take a big hit. Or the one on the sideline, I guess the guy with the boom mic gives you the big hit.
A: I think on the third down, I’m going to try to get the first down. I’ve got to do a better job of taking care of and protecting the ball there in that situation. But yeah, when I have the chance to get out of bounds or when I have the first down, I need to be mindful of that to get down or get out of bounds.

Q: Whether it’s ball management like that or whatever the case may be, despite the results of the last five games, where do you feel you’ve improved?
A: I think in some of my reads, some of my progressions, I’ve made improvements and have seen things better at times than I had before. There is still a lot to work on, and I think I realize that.

Q: You had a block on the reverse, you ended up downfield blocking. (Head Coach) Pat (Shurmur) said maybe you’d want to think about not doing that, but that’s spur of the moment, right?
A: Yeah, I’ve got to do a better job of getting my pads down and make a better block. In that situation, I’m going to try to block him, but I could definitely do a better job of protecting myself or making a better block.

Q: Did your facemask get bent at one point in that play or a different play?
A: I don’t know, yeah. I don’t know when that happened, but I think so.

Q: As the years go by, would you like to get to know Sam Darnold a little personally? I figure as much as Eli (Manning) can help you or Tanney can help you, the person who probably knows your shoes best as a young guy in New York, the pressure, a rebuilding team— is Darnold. Would you guys want to get to know each other better?
A: Yeah, I’ve met him at the Manning camp and have seen him at a couple other places here and there. I think he’s a guy who certainly I can relate to and learn from. So yeah, I’d say I’d like to.

Q: Have you guys run into each other much this season?
A: I haven’t seen him this season yet, no.

Q: If Pio (Jon Halapio) can’t go, how much of an adjustment is it with you and Spencer (Pulley)? A: Obviously, it’s tough to see Pio, and hopefully he’s feeling alright. I certainly hope for the best there. I certainly have a lot of reps with Spence, back to the spring really and through the summer. I feel really good about him. I think we’re all really confident in him.

Q: Did you watch the Duke hoops game last night? A: I watched a little bit of it, I didn’t get to see much of it, but I saw they won— off to a good start.

Q: The picture of you with (RJ) Barrett… did you know him much? I think you said before you didn’t really know him well.
A: Yeah, I hadn’t spent a lot of time with him before that, but it was cool to see him. He’s been playing well, I think, and he’s off to a good start. It was good to see him, and I look forward to seeing him again soon. Hopefully making it to a game.

Q: Did you not go to his game? Where was that picture? A: That was at Giants stadium, that was at our game.

Q: Do you think you’d like to go see him, are you a basketball fan? A: Yeah, I’d like to. When I have a chance, certainly.

WR Golden Tate III

Q: If the game doesn’t go your way, it’s six in a row, you’re 2-8. If you lose to the Jets, do you think some changes will be made around here?

A: That goes through my head every year, because the recipe to staying in the locker room is winning. When you’re losing, something’s got to change, you don’t know who it’s going to be. So, I think about it. I love this locker room, I love the personnel, I love our coaches, but ultimately we’re all here to produce wins.

Q: You mentioned you haven’t been around for when Saquon has walked off the field as a winner, at least not without crutches. There are some key players here who haven’t tasted that feeling yet.

A: Yeah, it’s something that I wasn’t expecting to experience. Here we are, we are what we are. I’m focused on this week, I think we’re all focused on this week. I think we’re all excited to get back out there, get this bad taste out of our mouth. Today was more of a mental day, but we’re going to continue to work hard, prepare ourselves, and one thing I want to do personally is kind of be more fundamentally sound this week, just do my job the best I possibly can and see what happens.

Q: The Giants and Jets are both in the same boat, both teams are just so incredibly hungry for a victory. Every team wants to win every week, but the desperation that both teams must have right now is kind of unique.

A: Yeah, I can only speak for us, but we want to get this thing back on track. Like I said a lot of the last few weeks, I feel like we do have a good team. We have great personnel. I don’t know if you guys can get a sense for this locker room, but we don’t seem down and depressed, I don’t feel like we’ve tanked, despite our record. I think we’re still hungry to win and I think we still feel like we have a shot to do something special. We’ve just got to get it going, and it’s going to start with us.

Q: How much of that is knowing that most of the games, against the Patriots and even last week, you were close, you just kind of let it slip away at the end? How much of that is kind of consolation, if you will, to say that “Hey, we’re close, but not there yet?”

A: I’m a believer that we look at all the good things we do each week and we praise the guys and say, “Hey, good job. We want more of that.” The things that we don’t do so well, I think we need to be very, very critical and accountable and make sure those things don’t happen next week and the week after that. So, hold onto the good and get rid of the bad and I think we’re fine. We’ve just got to be a more consistent team.

Q: Away from the Giants and Jets, when you hear Shep (Sterling Shepard) has gone into the concussion protocol again, is that scary?

A: Yes, it’s very scary. One, we know the game of football, this organization, his teammates are very, very important to him, and he is one of the ultimate competitors in the NFL. It’s very unfortunate that he’s still dealing with the concussion, but that’s something you do not want to play with. You can kind of wing an ankle or other injuries, but when it comes to your brain, you only have one of those, and the picture outside of football is way more important, I think. We obviously want him out there, but I think it’s important that he makes sure the timing is right, if it is right, that he comes back and he is completely healed. Me being married and having a family, that’s kind of the most important thing in my life and it’s more important for me to remember my child’s childhood than to force myself to play right here and now. So, we want him to understand that we support him, we’re praying for him, and we want him to make sure that he’s right. Whether it be this week, not anymore this season, next year, whenever it is, we’re going to support him.

Q: I know you can’t speak for him, but as a competitor, as an athlete, some people will kind of fool themselves. They say even if the body breaks down, it’s not time to go. So, how do you kind of balance that? Speaking for yourself, like when the time comes, will you say, “My body just can’t do it, but I still want to do it?” How do you make that decision?

A: That’s something very, very tough to cope with, and as a guy who feels like I have a bunch more years in me, I don’t know how to answer that question, and that’s what makes it tough. As a competitor, I feel like it is very, very hard to ever say that I can’t play. I could imagine me being 45 or 50 and feeling like, ‘Hey, I could still go out there and be effective.’ This situation is a little bit different with his brain. It’s not really his body, it’s his brain. But I don’t know. I think we’re just going to all gather around him, support him, let him know that we love him, we miss him, but you’ve got to take care of yourself right now. All these other things you can kind of play through, but not when it comes to your head and your neck.

Q: Back to the game, what do you expect from your first Jets-Giants matchup?

A: Hopefully a win, first and foremost. I don’t know, you guys kind of have to put me on game on what to expect. I’m assuming it’s a pretty intense rivalry when it happens. The battle of MetLife, I guess. We’re just going to go out there and try to win the game.

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