S Jabrill Peppers
Q: After the Detroit game, you guys were all restless to turn this around. How much more so are you feeling that way and that kind of urgency going into a game like this?
A: There’s a sense of urgency every week. We still feel the same. We’ll turn this thing around.
Q: You’re from here. What does Jets-Giants and this kind of opportunity mean to you?
A: Growing up, it was a fun game. But now I’m at this level, week in and week out, the goal is the same—get a win, prepare like you’re going to win, and go out there and play your best football.
Q: It’s kind of being billed as the battle of “Let’s see who the worst team in New York is,” because of the records of both teams. How much does that bother you?
A: I don’t pay attention to stuff like that.
Q: (Sam) Darnold has been very inconsistent. When he’s going right, how dangerous can he be and what problems does he pose?
A: He has phenomenal arm talent. When things are going right, they’re going right. When it’s not, it’s not. But he’s a guy you’ve got to respect back there. He can change the game, and he has guys around him that can change the game as well.
Q: It looks like (Jamison) Crowder has become his go-to guy, he’s certainly a dangerous guy in the slot. What’s the trouble in trying to deal with him?
A: He’s definitely been a guy for them, but we’ve got a good game plan and we’re going to go execute it.
Q: You typically bring a lot of energy in here. You seem different right now. What’s different?
A: I’m good, baby. Just focused.
Q: Coming off an NFC East loss over this weekend, what message do you want to send to Giants fans playing the Jets this weekend?*
A: We’re preparing like hell to beat the Jets. That’s really it. We don’t really try to talk too much until we start putting good stuff on film.
Q: Has that been a conscious decision of everybody together that, “Hey, we don’t want to talk. This is how we want to approach it?”
A: You could say that.
Q: Is there still time to turn the season around with a win like this?
A: We’ve got six games left, you tell me.
Q: When you look at the defense, is it simply a matter of getting those big plays under control?
A: That’s it. In the League, you’ve got to win the explosive plays. This is a passing league, we’ve got to stop the run first to have the opportunity to rush the passer. We’ve got to limit those big plays and get off the field on third down.
Q: In terms of stopping the run, what kind of different qualities does Le’Veon Bell have than some of the other elite backs in this league?
A: I think we’ve played a fair share of some of the best backs in the league. His patience, he’s a big guy, people don’t think he is as big as he is because of the way he runs. He’s 6-1, 6-2, 230 (pounds) but he moves like he’s 5-10, 180 (pounds). His nimbleness, he has a great center of gravity. That’s a guy you have bring your hips through and wrap up when you go to make the tackle. (We need to) gang tackle, 11 to the ball. His cutback vision is exceptional, so you have to have great gap integrity and be sound with our techniques in our run defense. He’s a great back, but we have played great backs. We know what we have to do, we just have to go out there and do it.
Q: The reality is their offense has struggled, how much do you view this as an opportunity where you say we can get right as a defense?
A: I don’t really pay attention to that, it’s the National Football league. That’s the stuff you guys pay attention to. It’s not about who the best team is, it’s about who executes the best on that day. They went out and executed well against Dallas and got the win. Last week, they didn’t execute as well and didn’t get the win. That’s all it comes down to. We aren’t really paying attention to numbers.
Q: When you were a kid, did you ever go to a Jets-Giants game?
A: I did.
Q: What was it like?
A: It was fun.
Q: Who were you rooting for?
A: I didn’t really root when I was younger. I was too young. Half my family was Giants fans, the other half was Jets fans. It was cool to go.
Q: You hate losing, don’t you?
A: I do.
Q: How do you deal with it personally?
A: I have my methods. Since I’ve been in the league, I’ve been on the short end of the stick too much, so you definitely have to have ways to keep yourself sane, grounded, but keep playing your best football.
Q: How would you describe how you have handled five straight?
A: It hurts, but nobody is going to feel sorry for you, you can’t get down on yourself. You have another opportunity week in and week out.
Q: You forced another turnover the other day, you guys had two as a defense. Did you feel like you put your team in a good position at points in that game?
A: We lost, so obviously not in a good enough position.
Defensive Backs Coach Everett Withers
Q: Where do you feel like DeAndre Baker is in his development?
A: He’s coming along. Coming along. Guys progress as they progress and they work as they work. I think early, he didn’t quite understand the sense of urgency and detail in the things that you have to do. Sometimes when you’re in college, you go play corner on one side and that’s all you do. You just go play that one guy. So, he had a lot of details he had to work on.
Q: How much do you expect (Sam) Beal to be on the field this week?
A: We’ll see. We’ll see. Don’t know.
Q: What have you seen from him?
A: He has, obviously, a little bit more confidence now. He’s been healthy, and I think that’s the biggest thing, is being healthy. You have to kind of get through that barrier before you can do anything else. Now he’s healthy, now he’s more into what we’re doing schematically.
Q: What does he bring as a player though? No one’s really seen him much.
A: Yeah. Big, long guy that can run. That’s what you need on the outside part of the field. That’s what he brings.
Q: So, he’s an outside guy, though? That’s where you guys are looking at him?
A: Yes. Yes.
Q: What did you think of Corey Ballentine logging a ton of snaps in the slot?
A: I thought Corey did a nice job. I thought he did a nice job. Obviously, there are some things to clean up before a guy coming off of concussion protocol, a couple weeks in it and now playing in a ball game. I thought he tried to handle it, the details, and tried to handle just the speed of the game.
Q: How hard was that, though, to get him up to speed in that regard, because he was a guy who’s played mostly on the outside? He spent most of the summer and spring here on the outside. What was that like, and how long a process was that?
A: it was a pretty tedious process, but I think he engaged it and encouraged it and embraced it. I thought Henry Baker did a nice job with him just with the little details. As you put in scheme, more of scheme, he did a nice job. Henry did a nice job with just the little details.
Q: This was a multi-week project, I assume, to get him ready to go play in the slot?
A: Yeah. And again, it doesn’t work unless you embrace it and want it, and I think he wanted it.
Q: DeAndre Baker said after the game that he still needs to work on knowing where he’s going to be, knowing his assignments. How can he get better at that? I mean, we’re pretty deep into the season here.
A: Yeah. As a first-year player, to me, it’s a season-long deal anyway. I think he just needs to continue to grow and understand concepts more than anything else. You know, in college, it’s like memorization. You learn this and I do this. Here, it’s you have 18 things that affect that one thing you just learned. So, he has to learn the concepts, and he’s getting better at it. He’s working at it.
Q: Is that kind of what you were referring to when you were talking about his sense of urgency earlier?
A: Yeah. Just understanding the concepts that go with that particular coverage, technique, whatever it is that go with it, because there are 18 things that other teams can do to that coverage and you have to be able to match that. So again, I think it’s a season-long process. Obviously, there’s a sense of urgency for him to get it as fast as he can. I think he’s working at it.
Q: Does that urgency almost go back to the summer when he’s first getting here because I guess you probably don’t realize you need that level of urgency until the season gets going and now teams are taking advantage of things that maybe you didn’t work on in August, and now you’re in Week 4 and you’re like, ‘Well, how am I going to catch up now?’ Is it a year-long, almost catchup game that he has to play?
A: I think for any first-year guy, it’s that way. They don’t ever know the speed of the game until they get into the game. They don’t ever really know what they know until they don’t know. You know? That’s usually how it works.
Q: What did you think of Janoris’ (Jenkins) effort on that Jarwin (Blake Jarwin) touchdown? The long touchdown?
A: I thought he tried to get himself in position to make the tackle. He just didn’t make the tackle.
Q: So there was no issue with the fact that he…
A: No. Obviously, I want them all to go 110 miles per hour.
Q: When you go and look at that, what does he need to do differently?
A: Keep his head up and run through the tackle.
Q: Do you need more from both safeties?
A: I’m always looking for more for all the guys back there.
Offensive Line Coach Hal Hunter
Q: Nick Gates—what do you like about him as a player and how capable is he?
A: What I like about Nick Gates as a player is, first of all, he’s a tough guy, he plays with athleticism and balance. He’s a conceptual player, he kind of does everything you ask him to do. I like everything about him. I think he’s got the mental makeup and he’s got some physical tools. What he needs the most, as any young player, he needs to play more. He needs to play. What he did in the preseason, and all of the different positions he played– he played all five positions in the preseason. He shows a lot of promise, and I’m glad we have him.
Q: You guys have had so much consistency this year on the line. How do you think the various injuries and the substitutions will affect you this weekend?
A: We’ll see what happens come gameday and who’s up and who’s not up. The bottom line is every single week, everybody’s got injuries. At every position, including the offensive line, you’ve got to put five guys out there you need to win with. So basically, you’re always coaching two offensive lines— the one you’re getting ready to play on Sunday and the one you may have to play next Sunday. I’ve been coaching Nick Gates and I’ve been coaching Evan Brown and I’ve been coaching Spencer Pulley and I’ve been coaching Slade and Eric Smith. I didn’t just start coaching him this week, I’ve been coaching that guy for months so that when the time comes, he has to step in. You have to do that— every position has to do that. You have to always be proactive because as we know, the game of football, especially in the NFL, is a game of injury. Your next man has to always be up, but it’s my job to make sure that when the next guy comes up, that I’ve got him prepared and I didn’t wait until this past Wednesday to start getting the guy ready.
Q: We’ve talked all along about Pio (Jon Halapio) and Pulley and how you guys thought you had six starters instead of five. From a player standpoint, how different is Spencer Pulley than Pio? What do you expect, if you do expect anything, different?
A: I don’t expect anything different. Pulley played really good for us last year. I went back, and I watched a couple of the games from last year just to look at him and see how he played last year. He’s a smart player, he’s a tough player. He’s probably bigger and stronger than he’s ever been. I’ve kind of monitored these guys and how they’ve progressed. He’s actually about 9 to 10 pounds heavier, he’s a lot stronger. So, I expect more physical play out of him. He’s a cerebral player, he’s a functional player, he plays with athleticism. Honestly, we should not, I don’t expect to miss a beat. To say they are going to miss a beat, I think, is making an excuse. I expect that he will play, and demand that he will play, every bit as good as Pio did. That’s what I expect. That’s what he has to do for us when there is no excuse, ‘well he’s not…’ No, you go out and play.
Q: Can you assess your run blocking and pass blocking? What have you liked about it and what do you think you can get better at?
A: The one thing I think that’s really important is within the concept, let’s say in terms of the run game, there is usually 10 guys involved in the run game. First and foremost is the offensive line, we bear the most burden and then with that is the tight ends, the fullbacks, the receivers, the running back and all those things come together. The thing that disappoints me the most right now, normally on each play we are one block away, we have seven or eight guys doing something right and one guy is doing something wrong, and that one guy makes the play. You look on the other side of the coin on defense, you could have seven guys getting blocked and one guy skirts through and makes the tackle for a one-yard gain, and you’re like what a great defensive play, that’s the problem right now. I think to run the football, which I’ve said is the hardest thing to do in the game of football against overloaded boxes, there is no room for error. It’s a lot of one on one or two on two matchups and through your assignment and fundamentals, you have to execute. To say I’m pleased with the run blocking right now, I’d be lying. I’m not pleased with the run blocking until we are rushing the ball for 120 yards a game. What’s the issue right now? It’s not preparation, it’s not want to, it’s not effort. When the rubber hits the road and you’re in that one on one fist fight with that guy upfront, do you technically outmatch him and beat him or does he beat you? That’s what offensive line play is, it’s 75 one on one fist fights every single game. Same thing in pass pro, offensive linemen average 70 snaps a game. A guy like Nate Solder, we’ll go back to this past week because he has been a guy that has struggled at times. Out of 75 snaps, he probably graded positive on 65 snaps. He had one bad play, but that bad play can’t happen. Whereas a defensive lineman can get blocked for 65 plays and he gets a tackle for a loss, a pressure, and a sack and he had a great game. That’s the difference between offensive and defensive line play. Offensive line play is all about consistency, we don’t have to make a great play, we aren’t throwing a touchdown pass or making a long run. We have to be consistent play after play and block our guy. You are going to get beat, you’re not going to win every single play, but if you do get beat, it can’t be a disaster play, it can’t be play where you cut a guy loose and he comes in and smashes the quarterback, or he tackles the back, it can’t be a no-hitter. That can’t happen, that’s the consistency of offensive line play and it has to be there every single play. As we continue to move and go in the right direction, we have to continue to play with more consistency fundamentally. There’s not been a lot of breakdowns schematically, that starts with me. I take the burden of it, I take the forefront. Coaches coach and players play, it’s the job of the coach and the player to work to together to get the right outcome. Like teachers teach and students learn, but they work together so they can succeed. That’s on me, that’s what we have and that’s how we look at it.