Head Coach Pat Shurmur
*Q: What went into the decision to cut (Quadree) Henderson? He seemed like one of the better guys you’ve had back there returning. *
A: We had to make a roster move to get RJ (McIntosh) up. He’s cleared (waivers). We certainly can make a roster move all the way up until game day, so there’s always a chance we can bring him up, but we had to make a roster move that required us releasing someone and so we did that.
Q: What do you look for out of Eli (Manning) with the fresh start coming off the bye?
A: We just want to play good football. What’s important is, stick with the progressions, get the ball out on time, understand all the situational football. He’s done this at a high level for a very long time, and my conversation with him over the weekend is what coaches and quarterbacks do as you plot the course moving forward. He’s like everybody on the team, there’s areas where he can improve, we talked about that, and we’ll get ready to go and put all our efforts toward beating San Francisco.
Q: What’s the feeling around your team in general here coming off the bye?
A: The feeling is good. We’ve got eight games left, but we’re pointing toward one game and that’s always been the case. I’ve said it all along, I feel like we can go in and beat every team we play if we play the right way throughout the game. That’s no different, and the practices last week were terrific in terms of guys getting better. When they came back this week, we obviously had an extra day because of the Monday night game, practice was great. We’re getting a lot of guys back, they seem like they were refreshed physically and mentally, so that’s really the mood.
Q: Was Nick Mullens a name you had familiarity with before last Thursday, and what was your impression watching that game last Thursday night?
A: Yeah, I certainly knew who he was. I didn’t know much about him aside from who he was coming out, but I thought he did a really nice job. He took advantage of some situations early, they had a third and two where he ran a naked and the guy was just uncovered, and he threw for a touchdown. Then he made some tougher throws, there was a stick (inaudible) in the second half where he threw it to (George) Kittle, that became an explosive play that was a tight window throw. You saw some things in him, he obviously understands their offense and how to execute it, and they feel confident enough in him where they’re moving forward with him. It was a really good first outing for him.
Q: How do you handle Jamon Brown now that he’s here and wants to be here, can he just slot into these practices looking ahead to Monday as a starter?
A: We’re putting him in there and getting him ready to go like he’s going to start, just like we do every player. From what I’ve seen already, we’ve spent a lot of time with him already, he’s a fast learner, he’s a big man – a really big man, which I’m fond of in linemen – and he can move his feet. He was a starter last year on a team that won more than 10 games, so we were glad he was available. What we’ve seen to this point, we’re excited about getting him going.
Q: Assuming when he plays, he’ll be the tenth different offensive lineman to play. If he starts, the ninth different offensive lineman to start. Those units always talk about cohesion, how difficult has that been?
A: That ship has sailed right now, wouldn’t you agree? So, we don’t talk about it. We get guys ready to play and we expect that they’re going to press it forward and expedite that process. Everybody deals with it, the Redskins lost three guys, so that’s out the window. They’re going to put five guys in there and go play. That’s really where we’re all at. I was watching the game, this was about a year ago today when the Giants went out and played the Niners, and I was watching the game just because it’s the same defensive scheme and I think there were four players on our offense that played last year. If you do the math, there’s seven new guys in there. There’s a lot of change, there’s a lot running parallel, but the urgency to win is always there. That’s what we’re trying to do.
Q: If Jamon would start, would (John) Greco sit and (Spencer) Pulley stay at center?
A: We’ll probably stay with Pulley at center, yeah.
Q: What have you seen from (Pulley) in the two starts he’s made?
A: I think he’s done a good job. He’s a natural center, he’s a little leaner than guys that play guard. He started last year the whole season at center, so he’s got experience. He’s smart; you need more than a fishing license to get into Vanderbilt. He’s a smart guy, he understands football, and he’s doing a good job of directing us. Typically, centers, you’re giving help or getting help, and for what he’s asked to go in and do what he’s doing, he’s done (a good job).
Q: With Evan (Engram), obviously the last game he had the drop and he seemed to take that to heart. Have you had conversations with him, talks about what you want to see from him going forward here?
A: Sure. Evan is a pass catching tight end, I think that’s just the nature of who he is, and it’s important that we catch the ball consistently. The one thing I’ll say about Evan is, he works at it harder than any of our guys. He’s had a couple drops just like there’s been some other guys that have dropped balls, but he works at it and if you believe in hard work changing the outcome of things, I feel good about him not having that be a problem.
*Q: So you don’t doubt his desire in that aspect to improve? Because that was certainly something he talked about coming into the season. *
A: No. I think, all along, he’s one of the guys that really works hard at catching the football. He will just continue to do that, put it behind him and move on. That’s really the nature of it. If I had a guy who was dropping balls and didn’t work at it, then the rubber’s going to hit the road on that; but with Evan, we have lots of drills that he does, he works hard at trying to catch the ball constantly, and he’s just got to trust and believe himself and go out and do it. As long as he’s a Giant and he’s out there playing, we’re going to do everything we can to help him.
Q: Has Corey Coleman caught up enough that he can help on offense?
A: Yeah, he has. He’s only been here since the 25th or 26th, he hasn’t been here that long, but he’s getting a feel for it. He’s out there practicing, and there’s a chance you could see him Monday night.
*Q: How have you seen Odell (Beckham Jr.) handle all the ups and downs this season? Do you think he’s on the right track the last eight games? *
A: Yeah, he’s been fine. He’s like everybody, he’s disappointed we’ve lost but he’s out at practice every day, he’s working hard, and on game day, he’s been great about trying to be part of the solution to get us to win. He’s been fine.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Does any part of you feel refreshed coming off the bye week?
A: I think always when you get a little break, just let the body and mind heel up, and get excited and get ready for the second half of the season. I look forward to getting back on track, and improving on some things, and playing good football.
Q: Coach Shurmur said you both had a great conversation over the break. Can you elaborate on how that conversation went?
A: Just get ready for the second half. Go play well. We need to improve. Everybody needs to improve and get going, but I do feel like we’re close. We just got to score some more points.
Q: For you personally, do you feel as if there’s a little more urgency going into this game given the record?
A: I think there’s urgency to get things going, for sure. We got to get some wins. We got to get going, and everybody wants it. The team needs it, for the morale and for just the hard work and everything we put in. Just need to reap the benefits of the work, and feel good about what we’re doing.
Q: It was a year ago today, you were in the same position with one win on your record, facing another one-win team. How stunned are you to be in this position again a year later?
A: I just worry about going out there and try to get the win this time, and just handle our business.
Q: When we asked Pat (Shurmur) about your status for this week, he said you’re starting, but wouldn’t guarantee anything beyond that. What was your reaction to that?
A: You worry about this week. We got the 49ers. I got a job to do, and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.
Q: Do you appreciate Shurmur’s transparency as far as having those multiple conversations at this time, as opposed to not communicating with you?
A: Yeah, it’s always good. Communication is important. We’ve always been good at that, and be on the same page. It’s always helpful just knowing where everybody stands.
Q: When you look back at what’s happened the last eight games, what do you feel like has been missing?
A: I think it’s just scoring more points in the red zone. I feel like we’re moving the ball well. I feel like we’ve made improvements between the first four games, and the second four games. Getting yards and moving the ball, and getting down there, and being a little bit more explosive. Now, we need to translate that into more touchdowns.
Q: Why do you think it’s been a struggle to score in the red zone?
A: Every time has its own reason. It still always comes down to execution, whether you run the ball, whether you’re throwing the ball. Avoid the negative plays. We got into some third-and-long situations. There’s some fourth downs we hadn’t converted. It’s just executing a little bit better.
Q: What was your reaction and what did you say to (QB) Kyle (Lauletta) after the incident he had last week?
A: I understand it’s a tough, tough situation. Just try to support him, and knowing that this will get forgotten about. It could be a lot worse. It’ll kind of be water under the bridge in a little bit.
Q: (TE) Evan Engram has been having trouble catching the football. Coach Shurmur says that nobody works harder on catching the football that Evan. Can you talk about that?
A: Evan, he works hard. He want to do everything right. He puts a lot of work into it. He’s going to make some plays for us. He’s too good of a player and athlete. We got to get him going in helping out this offense.
S Landon Collins
On the bye week:
A: The break helped a lot of guys just get away from football mentally, just get their minds back right, and everybody’s energized and getting ready for these last eight weeks.
Q: There was a report over the weekend that the Giants would either look to franchise tag you or sign you long-term. Would that be something you’re interested in?
A: When we get there, we’re going to get there. There’s no time to be talking about that. Nothing about contracts have been talked about yet, so when we get there I’ll let you know.
Q: Did the bye come at a good time for this team to just get away and focus on the last eight games of the season? Did it come at a good time especially the way things have been going?
A: I think so, honestly. We’ve got eight weeks, put us at that halfway mark so we kind of just figured things out. Like I said, a lot of guys came back energized, ready to play, and at the same time, when you come back to this game, it’s a lot. So that break definitely helped a lot of guys with the stress relief off their shoulders.
Q: How about yourself personally?
A: It was good. It helped.
*Q: Because it was tough, right? No denying it was tough. *
A: Yes, definitely tough.
Q: There’s only so much you can change over a bye week, but in terms of attitude, approach, work ethic, do you notice much of a change since you’ve been back?
A: From the guys? Honestly, the momentum has picked up. We had Tuesday practice, practice was really fast. Attention to detail was there, everybody was keyed in, tuned in, and ready to go honestly. There was nobody out there just lollygagging it, it felt really awesome to be out there.
Q: How much did you know about (San Francisco 49ers QB) Nick Mullens before a few days ago?
A: Not much honestly. He had a great game against Oakland, he played very well, and we just have to keep an eye out on him. We know he’s going to be the starting quarterback for those guys, and we’ve just got to key on what he likes to do, what he sees, and he likes to read.
Q: It was almost a year ago exactly you guys went out to San Francisco, you had one win -- they had none. Are you stunned to be in kind of the same position a year later?
A: I would say so, yeah. That’s definitely crazy, but I don’t think the outcome – not saying we’re going to win, but how they took over on us last year – will be the same.
*Q: Does it feel any different this year? How would you say you’re different as a team a year later? *
A: Like I said, guys are ready to play honestly. Guys know they’re still playing for something for themselves – either their family, the name on your back, or just interviewing for the other (31) teams if you’re still on this team. It’s always good to just go out there and play great ball.