RB Saquon Barkley
Q: How close do you feel like you are back to your old self?
A: I feel like how I’m supposed to feel right now. It’s week whatever in the NFL, everyone’s a little banged up, everyone’s a little sore. You’ve just got to suck it up and fight through it. I’m just going to continue to fight through what I’ve been going through, I guess you could say, and just try to get better and try to help my team win.
Q: Is this stuff holding you back in any significant way do you think?
A: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s holding me back. It’s obvious I had an ankle injury, but it would be easy for me to sit here and make an excuse of why this and why that, but that’s not what I’m going to do. I’m just going to find a way to get better, find a way to help the team get better, find a way to be more efficient in the run game and help our team win games.
Q: I know you have different ways to measure your productivity, whether it’s touchdowns, yards, wins—wins, of course, most important. In that regard, has this season been a disappointment for you?
A: Disappointment? No. What’s to be disappointed about? Obviously, yes, am I upset that we’re 2-7? I don’t think anyone’s happy that we’re 2-7. Am I happy that I hurt my ankle and I missed three and a half games this year? No, I’m not happy about that. But, disappointing? No. I get to come in and play the sport that I love and play for an amazing organization, so I’m not disappointed at all. We’ve just got to find a way to get better, find a way to fight through it, and when we do flip the script, there’s definitely going to be great things ahead, I believe.
Q: How would you critique yourself in the two games that you’ve been back?
A: Just got to be better. Even if I ran for 200 yards, I’m always going to say there’s somewhere you could be better, you’ve got to find a way to be better. I could be more efficient in the run, better in the pass game, better all around, better leader. I always can improve. Especially, it’s easier to just pick out the little things when you’re losing, but you’ve still got to be the same way when you’re winning games. Then, it’s easy to pick out the things you need to be better on when you’re having bad games, but even when you’re having great games, you’ve still got to be as hard on yourself the same. So, just be better overall.
Q: It looks like you’ve had tough sledding in the run game maybe. Do you want the ball more in the passing game? Do you feel like you could handle more in the passing game, in terms of getting the ball in open space and being more involved in that way?
A: When the running game’s not going well, the way I look at it is don’t panic. Whether it’s you’re going through a slump, whether it’s a game you’re going through a slump, whether it’s multiple games, the way I believe in myself and believe in the offensive line that we’re going to get it going, we’re going to figure it out. As of right now, I’ve just got to give credit to the defenses we’ve been playing. They’ve been doing a really good job within the run game. But we still haven’t been putting ourselves in positions to win games, and no matter whether the run game is doing great or not doing so great, we’ve still got to figure out how to win games. But to fix the run game, as a leader, and as the running back, I’ve got to take responsibility of that and find a way to do it.
Q: A year ago at this time, I think there was a really concerted effort for you to just get more downhill and be decisive. Is that something you feel like you need to get back to a little bit?
A: It depends. It depends who you play, with the defense that you’re playing. Yes, you always can say, the answer can always be, be downhill and hit it more. That always can be the way. But then there are some people where you just run into walls, you run into the back of your offensive linemen, and that’s not the way to do it all the time. You have to understand who you’re playing. I think a team like Dallas, they were slanting and doing a lot of things up front to get penetration, straight penetration, so you can stop the feet of the running back or, in that case, for me. So, in a situation like there, you’ve got to be patient, you’ve got to find holes, and they did a really good job. That’s for every team. Any running back, sometimes there are just certain plays where you’ve just got to be downhill and have that mentality. There’s also got to be plays where you have to be hesitant—hesitant is not even the word—it may seem hesitant to other people, but sometimes you’ve got to be that back and set up your blocks and put your blockers in position for you to create yards down the field. But the best thing that I think the mindset for me, like you said, last year would be like, “Okay, I know I have to do this, down more.” This year it’s just reflect on yourself. Go back and just watch a lot of film on myself, how I was in the first two games, where we were a top-eight, a top-whatever rushing team, to the last two or three games where the rushing game hasn’t been going as well as we would like. Just reflect on myself and see how I can help the offensive line and see how I can help just the run game as a whole. When you’ve got a good run game going, the offense is probably executing at a high level, and we’ve got to get back to that.
Q: Are teams defending you any differently, stacking the box a little more, or maybe seeing different looks than last year your first time through the league?
A: It’s not different looks. It is what it is. What I see is the same thing they were doing last year that they’re doing this year. When you have a good back, take myself out of the situation, when you go against a good back, a way you stop them or slow them down is by trying to stop his feet, not getting them going downhill. That’s what teams are doing, when you’ve got gap scheme runs, a lot of ways runs are designed, you want to get to that open defender, and sometimes that open defender is a cornerback or a DB, and what DBs are doing, they’ll fly down, or a cornerback will fly down and try to create space. When you’ve got a guy who’s very good in space—once again, take me out of it, just talking about running backs in general—there’s a way that you try to stop it. There’s things that I know is going to happen, but once again, in the run game, you’ve got to take what they give you. But when opportunities come, you’ve got to make them pay for it and that’s what I haven’t been doing recently and I have to get back to that.
Q: What percent healthy do you think you’re at right now?
A: Whatever percent healthy is to be healthy to play. You can’t put a percent on anybody, not on myself. I can’t sit here and say I’m on this percent. That’s not fair to myself, that’s not fair to my teammates and my coaches. We’re all in week 10 of the season, everyone’s got some nicks and bruises and they’re all grinding through it, and I know my teammates are going to do that and I’m going to do the same thing for them.
Q: Finishing drives with touchdowns instead of field goals—is that a mindset with the offense right now?
A: It’s not a mindset of the offense right now, it’s every game. That’s something that we write down on our objectives as an offense every week, finishing drives. Last week, that’s what Dallas did a really good job of. We had the pick, we still came away with points, you always want to come away with points—any time you can get points on the board, it can help—but as an offense, we have to take it upon ourselves to find a way to get seven. I had a screen that was called perfectly, blocked up perfectly, I have to find a way to get into the end zone. But I didn’t. We go into inside the 10, inside the 15, and only got three points out of it. Those are the types of plays where it can change the mood and change the outcome of the game. At the end of the day, we got three points, but we’ve still got to be better, and I think that’s where we’ve got to be better as a team, just play better complementary football as a whole. When the defense is playing at a high level, we have to be playing at a high level. We can’t be slacking when they’re playing at a high level, and same thing with special teams. All three of us have got to play at a high level together, and that’s how you win football games.
Q: Five straight losses, you’re playing the Jets, that matters to the people upstairs. How important does that make this game?
A: I don’t think it matters to just the people upstairs. I think it just matters to everyone, especially fans. For us, personally, it matters just because it’s the next game on the schedule. It’s another opportunity for us to get better and go out there and get a win. Yes, I guess there is some, not saying bad blood, but we both play in the same stadium, we’re both New York teams, New Jersey teams, whatever you want to call it. Some people might see it in that direction, but how I was always taught and how I was always focused on when you’re coming up against games like this, is treat it like another game. It’s another game on our schedule that we’ve got to find a way to win.
Q: How’s your dad going to handle this game?
A: It’s kind of weird because he has a Jets tattoo, so even if he wears a Saquon Barkley jersey, he’s still repping the Jets. But, if you ever met my dad, you know my dad, he’s been a Jets fan his whole life, so is he going to root for the Jets? Yes, but he’s going to root for the Giants and his son at the same time. So, he gets the best of both worlds. Watch his team that he grew up rooting for and get to watch his son live his dream.
Q: How do you root for both teams at the same time?
A: That’s hard, right?
Q: You’re saying he actually roots for the Jets to win?
A: No, not to win. To win is for us, but I think what he said, he probably, I think, is going to wear a Jets jersey. That’s going to be an interesting one, but I gave it to him because it’s a Joe Namath jersey. I think I got him that jersey actually, the Joe Namath one. But at the end of the day, I knew this situation was going to come up one day, but I’m happy for him. I was a Jets fan growing up, too, so it’s fun. It’s going to be a little fun competition in the Barkley house.
Q: What’s your level of respect for Le’Veon Bell?
A: Le’Veon, that’s my guy. He’s a heck of a player. Just the way he sees the field, the way he sees the game, the way he can catch the ball out of the backfield, block, set up his blocks, he epitomizes what a running back, how you’re supposed to set up blocks. Some people may call his running style hesitant, but no. It’s called patience, it’s called setting up the blocks and putting himself in a position to be more successful. I’ve been a big fan of him since I was in college and it’s going to be fun to be able to watch him live, and I wish nothing but the best for him.
Q: Just because you’re the only one in this group with the means to do it, when you say you got him a Joe Namath jersey, you mean a replica or an actual one?
A: A replica. I got it before I was in the NFL (laughter). I wish, though. If I got a real Joe Namath jersey, I don’t think my dad would be getting it, that one would be going in my house.
DL Leonard Williams
Q: In a situation like this, they know you, you know them, who do you think has the edge in the matchup?
A: I’m not sure exactly who has an edge or not like that, but I’m still preparing the same way I would any week, except for the fact that I do know them a little bit more. The difference is I know a lot of them, and they know one person over here. I think that’s the biggest difference. I’m definitely going to still prepare the same way and going to prepare with my teammates.
Q: Where is your motivation level, though? There’s got to be a little something extra, no?
A: I mean I’m obviously excited to play against the team that I once played for and that traded me to this team now. There’s no extra motivation than last week. I’m still with this team, I still want to win every game like I would every week. The motivation level is still the same.
Q: How much have they been picking your brain about the Jets’ protections and stuff like that?
A: I’m definitely being asked about it from some of the guys on offense. I talked about some of the o-line today with some of the d-line guys in the defensive meeting today. I’m sure they’re just going to keep picking my brain a little bit up until gameday.
Q: The schemes are evident from the tape and how they block is evident. What intel can you share that can help on a different level? Are you talking about guys’ blocking tendencies and stuff?
A: Just tendencies in general. Throughout a game, how they are as a person, how they are on and off the field and stuff like that can sometimes tell you a story on how guys are when they play as well. Just giving as much advice as I can.
Q: How are you doing with picking up the schemes here?
A: I definitely feel a lot fresher and faster and more comfortable with it this week than last week. Last week, not only was I learning a new defense, but I was also adjusting to new teammates, adjusting to new coaches, a new environment, all of the trade stuff happening. Even though I didn’t have to move far, it was still an adjustment whereas this week I kind of feel more comfortable. The trade has already happened and now I’m just moving forward.
Q: Are there times where you have to go to another guy before the play and say, ‘tell me what to do here’? It’s hard to pick up everything in one week.
A: Yeah, definitely. Even if I know it, I’ll just say what I know and be like, ‘right?’
Q: Who do you go to? Who’s that guy?
A: Dex. Big Dex Lawrence, he’s been helping me out a lot just because we’re in there a lot together. Even though he’s a rookie, he’s a smart dude and he’s been here for a while now and knows the defense. There are not too many times where I don’t know not at all what I’m doing. Just to reiterate it and make sure, ‘hey, I got this right?’ and he’s like, ‘yeah.”
Q: How long after the trade did it take you to realize that you were going to be playing the Jets two weeks after. Was it right away?
A: It basically happened as soon as I got traded. People were like, ‘oh, that’s crazy. You’re going to play the Jets soon.’ What’s interesting about it is they don’t play each other in the regular season often. It’s interesting that it happened this year, that we happen to be playing them right after I got traded to the Giants. It’s going to be fun.
Q: You’re more knowledgeable about their offensive line than most people. Why do you think their line has struggled so much this year?
A: I’m not sure. I think possibly just because of chemistry. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell some of the d-line guys here. They have some new pieces, they had some pieces go down, some pieces replaced and stuff like that. As it is with any team, if your guys don’t have enough chemistry, it’s going to be hard to work together. That’s one position group that has to work together the most.
Q: You’ve seen Le’Veon Bell much closer than any of us have, what about his skillset makes him special?
A: That’s hard for me to answer by myself. I think everyone knows who Le’Veon is in this league. No matter what stats or anything he has, every year everyone knows how talented that guy is. He’s one of the best backs in the league.
Q: So, when you were in practice, you were never able to hit Sam (Darnold)…
A: Yeah (laughter).
Q: What will that be like?
A: That’s funny because I randomly thought in my head, what if I beat somebody and go to tackle Sam and I let up because I can’t hit him (laughter). But no, that won’t happen, though. I’ll finally get to tackle him, that’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.
Q: Your defensive coordinator was talking about getting you in more situations where you’ll have one on one blocking. I didn’t hear a lot about that at the other place. Does that excite you?
A: Yeah, it definitely excites me. It shows me that they’re excited about me and they value what I bring to the table and they want to set me up with as many good opportunities and matchups for me. That speaks volumes on the staff and me as well. I have to prove to them why they should keep doing that.
Q: How much do you look at that as that might be the missing piece like, ‘okay, this is how I’m going to get to the next level as a player, I’m going to end up getting those sacks and getting the recognition and the guy that other teams say they need to stop?’
A: I obviously don’t want to make excuses. Everyone gets double teamed, especially good players in the league. I have to be able to beat double teams as well. That’s just the nature of the game. I think just keep working hard, keep staying at it, staying persistent, it’s just what’s going to make it past that hump.
Q: You keep saying it’s going to be fun. Is it going to be strange to play those guys?
A: I don’t think it’ll be strange. I’ve went to college with people, I’ve grown up and went to high school with people, I’ve played in All-America games with people all my life that I’ve lined up against that I’m friends with off the field. But on the field and in between those lines, we are still going against each other. I don’t think it will be totally strange. It might be a little strange just to think that we played together for so long. But at the same time, I’m seeing a different color than what I’m wearing. I think any football player has that mentality that after a while you see a different color and you go at it.
Q: I know you guys do one on one at camp a lot, but during the course of the season we don’t get to see a lot of practice. I’m just talking about your familiarity with their starting line. How much one on one stuff happens in practice during the season?
A: There’d probably be one period a week where you’d have one on ones. It’s a little different during the week because you don’t want to hurt guys. Especially guys getting banged up and stuff at the end of the season, so there’s not too much of it. If there is one on ones happening, it’s not really full-tilt all of the time. It’s a little different.
Q: So, you know their line then as personalities than game speed tendencies as players?
A: Yeah exactly, I’ve still never had full game speed, unless we were in camp that was like game speed sometimes going against one on ones. But even in practice near the end of the season, like I said, it’s a little more slowed down when you guys are pinning your ones against your ones. Like I said, that’s why I’m still preparing the same way, I’m still watching film, because players that I even know throughout practicing as a person can still be different on film when it’s game speed.
Q: When you were with the Jets, even though you only played the Giants in the preseason, did the rivalry hold some juice at all? From this locker room, it doesn’t seem to hold much. Did it from their perspective?
A: I definitely felt a little bit of it. I’m not sure if it was a whole organization feeling it, or this side feeling it more than this side or anything like that. I personally felt it myself just because it’s two New York teams, we play each other every year in the preseason. Even though it’s just preseason, like you said, it still felt like it was a battle of New York type of thing. I just used it as a little extra juice for the game.
Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher
Opening Statement: Coming out of the game, the thing that was really disappointing was obviously how we played in the run game. It put us in some tough second downs, easy first down conversions. We have to do a better job of gap leverage. We have to do a better job coaching in those situations and we have to do a better job executing. I know the question is going to be asked about the third down late in the game or the touchdown before the half. The bottom line is we have to coach better, and we have to play better, that’s the truth. While I’m standing up here, there will not be one second where I’m going to call out a player. We handle things in the meeting room, we coach the heck out of it and I think our players feel a high level of accountability to each other. They are working their tails off, just like I’ve come up here and said the last two to three months. These guys work, and they do not run from anything and they have a high level of ownership. We just have to keep working and the process is you watch things on tape, you evaluate, you identify, you work to correct and you repeat that. That is truly how you get it done, and I like that our guys had a heck of a practice. If you were out at practice, you would see these guys running around competing their butts off and that’s how all things will get fixed and we will turn this and look forward to this weekend and the challenges we will have this weekend. I’m excited to watch our guys play.
Q: The Jets have given up 37 sacks, do you try not to look at numbers like that and stick to the game plan?
A: I think each and every week you look at whatever someone’s strengths are, and whatever their weaknesses are and you build the thoughts of your plan to a degree around that. You build the other part around what your guys do well. Sure, you take a look at it, it’s part of the puzzle in terms of building the plan, then you look at why those things are happening and what can work in our favor in terms of that. Also, what do we do well that kind of builds the whole puzzle.
Q: Did you think your defense would be farther along at this point?
A: I think that no matter where we were at, right now, I would want more, that’s just me. I think there are certainly moments in time, you can’t do this, but you take out two passes against a passer that’s not having a good year but a great year, I think it was 145 (yards) other than those two passes on numerous attempts. Do you just dwell on what wasn’t well? That’s not how you build. You accentuate what you did well, make sure you understand why did we execute something well here, why did we create a turnover here, then you look at the snaps that we didn’t play well on and you compare those things. We came in and we watched approximately thirty snaps of the game on a Wednesday, that’s not something you would normally do. We had 30 snaps pulled out, we watched them, and we coached the heck out of it, our players were locked in on it, that’s how you get better. I think there are some areas that we’re getting better and some players are getting better. We have to keep pressing forward to get the other things out of our game.
Q: Why did you play Corey (Ballentine) in the slot, we didn’t see him in the slot at all this summer?
A: I think Corey’s a guy that’s fast, he’s got speed. The thing I really like about Corey since he has gotten here is you walk around the meeting room and you look at his notepad and this guy is taking meticulous notes. He’s trying to be really locked in. Something that some young players take a while to figure out is the classroom aspect of playing the game in the NFL. I think it was just time for him to get an opportunity. Trying to find a way and where to put him on the field, and that was the position that we felt moved the least amount of people to get him on the field. He deserved an opportunity.
Q: What did you see in the game?
A: I saw a guy that played really fast and had some really good snaps on tape. Then just like a lot of other guys that you could ask me about, there’s the five, six, seven snaps a game we have to coach the heck out of him. He has to understand why the leverage or the technique needs to be played differently.
Q: How is Leonard Williams doing and will you put more on his plate this week?
A: His role keeps growing. Like I said last week, he came in and this guy, he works. He loves ball, he works at it, we were three days in and he was already communicating in our language and already locked in. I’m excited to work with him. We were just having a conversation on a couple things before I walked out here that we are doing this week, he’s already to the point that he can give you the feedback in terms of how it can apply to what we’re doing in our scheme. I’m really glad we have him here.
Q: What can he do to take his game to the next level?
A: I think one thing we need to do is keep trying to find ways to get him one on ones. He had a couple really nice one on one pass rush wins in that game. He can’t lift the quarterback and slam him down, we all know that and he knows that. He had some really nice one on one pass rush wins. We have to work some things to get him some one on one situations. I think he’s a guy that as he continues to improve, the thing that him and I have talked about in his one on one pass rush stuff is building his counter, what is his pass rush counter? This is a guy when you watch him, he rushes long, and he plays as tall as he is and as long as he is. Not all long guys do that. Just kind of building what that counter is off of his rush. We need to help him out and try to give him some one on one opportunities.
Q: How much do you go to him to try to figure out the personnel of the Jets?
A: He’s a smart guy, he has a great perspective. We’ve had, and we will continue to have, those conversations as the week progresses.
Q: Where does Sam Beal fit in?
A: He is going to get his hand in the pile. His role will reveal itself when we get to the weekend. The guy just has to go compete and try to show us he can earn some snaps. I think his role will reveal itself on game day.
Q: Do you think you can get to Sam Darnold with a four man pass rush or do you have to blitz him and can your guys cover well enough if you bring a ton of blitzes?
A: I think having a good balance and mix is going to be important in this plan. Sometimes you bring pressure, and everybody wants to have something schemed up where guys are running free. We got Corey free on the pressure against the Cowboys where we got a hit. You want to try to get them all running free, but at the end of the day, trying to create those one on one matchups that I was talking about, some of those pressures are designed to get three or four guys one on one and try to give those guys a chance to get in one on one pass situations. Then balancing that with whatever the man or zone schemes you want to play behind it.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula
Q: We get back to it every week. The turnovers with Daniel (Jones), what do you make of this round?
A: Well, as we’ve said before, there are a couple of different things. First of all, we all, as an offense, have to get the ball out faster when we’re throwing the ball. That’s when you’re most susceptible to turning the ball over, is when you’re throwing the ball, whether or not it’s a bad decision or a bad throw as an interception, or getting a sack, strip fumble in the pocket. So, getting the ball out on time… As coaches, and we’ve all talked about it, we work hard on protecting the football when we’re not throwing it. Keeping two hands on it. But the scramble right before, when was it… the third quarter, trying to make a play. Great effort, but you have to secure the ball. He knows that. As we’ve seen, turnovers result in points for other teams, just like we try to get when we get the ball. Protect the ball first. There are a lot of good things that we’re still building on. We’re not there, but one thing that can… That’s the other thing is when you have turnovers, it kind of, not kind of, it definitely overshadows a lot of the good things that you’re doing. It hurts in trying to win football games.
Q: Why do you think, and you kind of alluded to it, Daniel knows that, to protect the ball in the open field situation there. It’s a pretty simple thing to say from the outside, ‘Just do it.’ Why do you think in the moment, that thought in his head maybe gets lost?
A: I think it’s a lot of things. You’re competitive. You’re trying to find the first down marker to make sure you get the first down. Then you’re trying to figure out how to fall and all of a sudden, you have guys that are pretty good, maybe a little bit faster than what you’ve seen the last few years in competition that can get to the ball quicker and know how to get the ball out.
Q: I’ve heard of guys walking around the building with the football, people try to pop it out and stuff. What do you do specifically with that?
A: The biggest thing is when you’re in the pocket and you’re not throwing the ball, until you’re throwing the ball, keep two hands on it. Obviously, you want to keep it in front. But there are sometimes you just can’t help it. The best way you can get it where you’re not getting the ball stripped out is get the ball out faster. So, that’s us. That’s not just the quarterback. That’s us. That’s designing plays where the ball gets out faster, getting open faster, protecting a little bit longer, getting your reads quicker, all of those things come into it. In my experience, some years you have that and you have sacks and you don’t have a lot of turnovers. Other years, it seems like every time you get hit, the ball comes out. Other times, it’s been where the ball comes out the same time as it did last year, but you recover 70% of them this year, and the next year, you don’t recover any of them. You just have to kind of keep preaching it. Then when you research it further, you sa,y ‘Hey, well, stay out of long yardage situations. That’s when you’re most susceptible to it.’ So, all of those things combined.
Q: There’s nothing mechanically that he does in terms of his arm going back too far or anything?
A: No. I like his arm. I like the way he throws it. But yeah, I know what you’re saying.
Q: Why do you think it’s been such tough sledding for Nate Solder? It seemed like he was building some momentum late in the year last year, playing better than he started. But it seems like it’s been a struggle this year.
A: Again, he’s been like a lot of us, kind of been up and down. I think last week was better. He had the one (sack) late at the end of the game. That was tough. We were in the two-minute mode and trying to get the ball out quicker. I think he and some other guys, all of us, again, as coaches and players, we’re just not quite doing all of the things right consistently. Then when you have one thing go wrong, sometimes it just feels like when you’re losing games, it kind of gets magnified. You just have to kind of fight through that. We haven’t put everything together yet. When we do, we feel like he’s going to be a big part of that reason why we do because, as we know, he’s a good football player. He’s talented, he has good experience. He and all of us have to come together a little bit better and more consistently.
Q: When you call a reverse and Daniel is out in front, what do you want to see him do in that spot?
A: Well, not like that. Just kind of close the cushion a little bit quicker. He was kind of way out there in space, and then all of a sudden thought he could go one on one from about 40 yards with a defensive guy. But you can find ways as a quarterback to block and not have to do it like as a lead blocker with that much space between. We’re working on that.
Q: With Saquon (Barkley), what have you seen from him since he’s come back?
A: I don’t think he’s hit his stride yet. He’s done a lot of good things, and we know he’s a really good back. I think he’s part of that mix in where we’re just not quite everybody in stride. He’s had some really good runs where there hasn’t been a lot there, and there’s been some other times where I think he would probably say, ‘I could do a better job, because the line did a good job, I have to do a better job here, there.’ I think he’s getting there. I think just with more carries, and still he’s young, but with more carries and things like that, he’ll continue to get better.
Q: Is that getting back into that mindset of running it up in there hard. He mentioned that, a little bit of getting back to his college habit.
A: Yeah, I’ll kind of defer that to him, just because I think he’s had a few more carries than I’ve had. As far as coaching those guys that are really good runners coming out in college and good young runners, I think you kind of show them, ‘Hey, look how you did it here in the same situation. Now look how you’re doing it there. Let’s get back to doing it this way.’ Things like that. I think he has a good feel for that. Our best game is definitely still out there in the run game, and when we get that going, I think it’s going to help everybody else in regard to ball security, pass protection, productivity and points.
Q: In the passing game, can you find more creative ways to kind of get him involved? Obviously, you had the long catch and run on the screen, but just moving him around, finding ways to kind of use his full skillset?
A: Yeah, we feel like we’ve got some ways to get him the ball now, whether or not it’s checking the ball down to him on certain plays or getting him out wide, or even splitting him out wide at times. We’ve done some things. Could we do more? Yeah, potentially. But we kind of want to do it within the framework of what we do and do things that he’s comfortable with doing and Daniel is as well.
Q: How much do you need to do it more? You don’t have Sterling (Shepard), you’re not going to have Evan (Engram). Obviously, you need him to do more now.
A: I think, in general, obviously, you want to use your playmakers. I think that varies week to week on how you want to do that. For example, with Saquon, whether or not you want to keep him in the backfield or run routes from there or split him out, because he can do that. I think it kind of varies.
Q: In the red zone, do you think Daniel is a half-second tentative on letting go of the ball in some of these situations? Like late against Detroit, there was one in the red zone against Dallas where he took a hit from the guy (Kevin) Zeitler was blocking and overthrew Bennie (Fowler), who was open on the side.
A: I don’t know if I’d really agree with that. I would say just, in general, on offense, we were just a little bit off. We were really, really close on some things, whether or not it was ‘Man, we just need a little bit longer.’ He had to move in the pocket just to avoid some pressure and then he tried to get the ball there, or the receiver comes back just a little bit more. I think it was probably a little bit of everything. You look at that game last week and between the turnovers and then those opportunities in the red zone, and that’s kind of what we have to look at. We feel bad. We feel like we’re nowhere near where we, and we’re not, where we need to be. But you have to move past it. There’s nothing we can do about our schedule or what’s happened so far. But moving forward, we’re focusing on the Jets and just correcting those things that, ‘Hey, if we get this done, if we’re better in the red zone just by a little bit here, there, we get points, we protect the football, now we get ourselves in position to win games.’
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: You got a little something out of your return game last week?
A: Yeah, like I told you guys last week, it’s going to come down to execution. Guys took it upon themselves to be intentional and deliberate about what they were trying to do in the return game and it worked out. Execute the fundamentals and the techniques and big things will come, and it happened.
Q: We talked about the short kickoffs and you guys had a few, was that by design, is that conditions, or is that a miss hit?
A: A little bit of all of it. We saw some things we thought we could exploit on tape. Like I told you guys, we pick our spots. When we feel like we can make a play, we’ll go down and make a play. The first one was a miss hit, he didn’t hit it as good as he wanted to. That was something we wanted to do, pin them in the corner, take advantage of the opportunity and we did.
Q: Three misses in three weeks for Aldrick Rosas, where is your level of concern?
A: None, just have to go back to the drawing board. It’s a rhythm thing, he’s starting to get more into a rhythm. Sometimes he has a tendency to get a little fast, he gets a little anxious. He has to calm himself down, slow down and go through his mechanics and go through his progressions and not rush through anything. That has been his issue right now, he just has to stay within himself and be himself. He’s a Pro Bowl kicker, the kid has a ton of talent. You have to realize, too, he’s a young player, young players make mistakes and he has to make sure he limits those mistakes.
Q: What he did last year, is that what you gives you the confidence he is capable?
A: He is really good at self-correcting. Sometimes he has a tendency to get a little fast. He is such a big, strong guy, and he likes to make good, solid contact with the ball. He has to understand he doesn’t have to swing (hard), he is so much bigger and stronger than everybody else, 65 percent of his leg swing is 90 percent for most people. He just has to stay within himself.