Quotes (12/13): Beckham, Bettcher, Shula

WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Q: Had a little field trip today, I heard.

A: Yeah, nice little field trip. It was good. We just went in, got it scanned just to see everything and it’s doing much better than it was. Just taking it a day at a time, that’s really it.

Q: You have any idea about Sunday?

A: I honestly don’t know until Sunday gets here. It’s just been getting better each and every day so just got to figure out what it was. Kind of happened the last play of the Eagles game and I don’t know, whatever you want to call it, whatever did it and it’s kind of ever since then been lingering around. I just kind of played through it and then it’s just aggravated, so we just went in, took some looks, get some tests, want to see exactly what was going on.

Q: What was that 24 hours like between Friday and Saturday?

A: It sucked. I felt like, alright it’ll get better, it’ll get better and then it was just that part that was like nothing I can do because I remember a game last year in London or whenever we played in London, I was hurt back from the Baltimore game and I literally didn’t run until warmups and I just couldn’t miss it. I just couldn’t miss the game, so if I miss a game then I really miss a game. Of all the things to miss, I wouldn’t be trying to miss a game.

Q: What was it that made you feel like you guys needed to get it checked out today?

A: Just the way it was feeling. Come in Friday and go get it checked again just to see if there’s anything, if there’s progress, if they’re seeing the same thing. Just kind of feel like it’s the right thing to do, just check on it. You got the resources there, might as well use them.

Q: So it’s a contusion?

A: I don’t know. It’s like saying I broke my leg, well you really fractured it. It’s just choice of words, whatever you want to call it. Shit ain’t right.

Q: If you had to play today, would you be able to?

A: That’s a tough question. I don’t even know how to answer that question. Like I said, I wouldn’t have missed last week if I could play, so I don’t specifically know. If I had on pads and a helmet and the game was about to start in five minutes, I don’t know. I’m not in that position right now, so can’t really answer.

Q: I would think the only thing worse than missing a game and the team losing is missing a game where you end up scoring 40 points.

A: Yeah, but it was a lot of fun to be able to sit there and watch (Sterling) Shep score, Bennie (Fowler) score, Russell (Shepard) score, Saquon (Barkley) score, defense scoring. It was a lot of fun and that’s exactly the kind of atmosphere and energy I want to be apart of. That’s what I would love to see more from us. I know that we’ve been working very hard coming off 1-7 to where we’re at now, a lot of progress and that’s just the result of it. It definitely would’ve been fun, but the receivers we have are – we always have receiver nights and stuff like that where we eat and stuff. We had probably one of the best Thursdays of the year and the most fun we had and just great vibes, good times, and they went out and played like that. It sucked being at home watching, I wish I could’ve been there and watched, but it’s fun to see that.

Q: What’d you think of Shep’s blocking?

A: I love it, I love it. Any chance you can be – it’s kind of something me and him always talk about like I want to spring a big one, you want to have a good block though. Come in like the way he did and crack somebody so when I saw him fly onto the screen and make that block, that’s what we talk about in our room, that’s what we preach. Just for it to show up on tape is good.

Q: You surprised that you guys are still alive in the playoff hunt? I know that you’re not surprised that you’re winning these games, but just in terms of the whole scenario?

A: You know when we were 1-7 and I sat there and said I feel like we’re going to win every single game, the goal is to win every single game, it wasn’t me just throwing those words around. Now we’re in that position with the one little mishap, I still see us going 8-8 and I just feel like he’s got a plan and it’s all going to fall together. Whoever needs to lose and this and that and all the pieces that need to fall in place, I feel like they’re going to fall in place and we’re going to be in the spot we want to be in. Just take it one day at a time. I know we got a tough matchup coming up against Tennessee and we’ll see how it goes from there.

Q: You get more testing done today?

A: Kind of more of the same. Just kind of like a comparison with what happened five days ago to let’s see whatever it looks like now. That’s just kind of what it was, a reassurance thing, a double check, check-up kind of thing.

Q: Something happen Friday (inaudible)? Did it give you any piece of mind to have (inaudible)?

A: I mean yes and no. Just being in the doctor’s office isn’t fun. Knowing that there is something going on isn’t fun, but I got a peace of mind just in general about everything, life, in general so I’m good.

Q: What happened Friday? Was it something at practice, did it became worse or something because you guys had practice and then –

A: Honestly just was feeling something like alright let me just speak up. I feel like a younger me wouldn’t have spoke up or said anything and then I would’ve went out and played and could’ve been worse so we went and got it checked and seen whatever we saw, just kind of going from there. It’s not my expertise, I know a little bit about it, but I kind of let them read and figure out everything that’s going on and just go with their game plan.

Q: Did anything happen yesterday because you were out there just a little bit and –

A: No, nothing happened yesterday. I really was just trying to feel everything out. I’ve learned from pushing something, so it’s a timetable thing and just whenever it’s better, I’ll definitely be out there. I don’t want to be missing – I don’t even like missing practice, so whenever I could run, I’ll be running.

Q: You saw that clip of Saquon directing the line on how to block on that 78-yard run. How high is his football IQ especially as a rookie?

A: I didn’t see that, but I tell him all the time I’ve been calling him ROY (Rookie of the Year) since August. I think he’s going to be, if not, he’s going to be one of the greatest ever. He’s a ball player, so he’s got a great future ahead of him.

Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher

Opening Remarks: They understand the process, and it’s great to go to a practice like today and see our guys flying around, breaking up balls, highly competitive at practice and I think that speaks to how we’ve been playing as of late and what Coach Shurmur has done to keep this going with our team overall. With that being said, we’ve got a great opponent this week, an opponent that will run the ball, they love to run the ball and I know that’s a mindset of Mike (Vrabel), their head coach. Mike’s mindset is he wants to be able to run the ball and you can see that’s a point of emphasis with him. Had a really explosive game in the run game a week ago and I think it’s going to be a great test of where we are as a run defense. The quarterback scrambling and creating plays that are off-schedule is certainly something we’re going to have to be great with, the perimeter passing game, the screens, and the shots down the field. Again, we’ve stacked two really good days, I’m excited to go to meetings with this group. I love coaching these guys, I love working with them, and I can’t say that enough about this group right now. They’ve just been resilient and kept working. Can’t wait to see these guys go play Sunday.

Q: (Derrick) Henry’s run – is that a coach’s dream, the next week just put that up on the screen and say, ‘do you want that to happen to you?’

A: Yeah, I don’t know if you luck out when you say you get to see that the week before but we’ve been fortunate two weeks in a row. Adrian (Peterson) had one of those runs the week before we played him in Washington, and had one against us the first time we played, so when that stuff’s on tape, it’s certainly a great example about maintaining gap integrity, playing with great leverage, and finding a way to get someone on the ground when you’ve got to tackle him in space.  

Q: Is that about going low? Because it seems like a lot of guys were trying to tackle a big guy high.

A: Sure, one thing with him is he’s a great stiff-armer, and you’ve got to be able to handle that. He’s going to stiff-arm on the perimeter, he’s going to stiff-arm in open space. Sure, some of those guys went high on him but at the end of the day, getting down and don’t finish the down blocked, and it’s going to take 11 guys in the run game to be successful.  

Q: What has Kareem Martin done the last couple of weeks? Seems like he’s made more of an impact.

A: I think it’s the same thing. He’s working, he’s disruptive, he’s playing fast. Probably about three or four weeks ago, Kareem and I had a conversation just, hey, let’s start cutting loose, let’s start disrupting, getting off the ball, playing vertical, and I think we’ve been doing that better as an overall defensive front seven. We’ve played more vertical both in the run game and in the pass game, You see some of that leads to disruption. It’s not just the third down disruption in the pass game, it’s the first and second down where we’re kind of disrupting the quarterback a little bit now and I think Kareem’s following that with the rest of the guys up front.   

Q: When Snacks was traded, was there a sense of urgency amongst the guys that we’ve got to step up? How has that sort of evolved?

A: I don’t know if I would say a sense of urgency. These are really good players, but at the same time, just like when guys get hurt, it’s opportunities for other guys. It’s unfortunate like we talked about a week ago with Landon (Collins) – I love Landon and Landon knows that, but it’s an opportunity for the next guy. So it’s (the Snacks trade) been an opportunity not just for Dalvin (Tomlinson) but opportunity for about three or four other guys that were maybe playing eight snaps or five snaps or 10 snaps a game. All those guys are getting more and getting more opportunities. With RJ (McIntosh) coming back now, RJ’s getting more and more opportunities and he’s getting better each week. Whether it’s Mario (Edwards) or whoever it is in that room, it’s just opportunity for other guys.

Q: When you talk about making plays off-schedule, what’s the key for a defense playing against a quarterback who likes to make plays off-schedule?

A:  Number one is integrity of the rushes, and that’s first and second down, that’s third down. It happened to us in the game Sunday, we lost the edge and the quarterback scrambles in, and we really got a third down stop. Great coverage, but the rushes have to have great integrity and that’s both on the edges and the perimeter, because he’s going to scramble both places. Really, the second thing is those off-schedule downs, you’ve got to cover a few more seconds longer. It might be, we use the word ‘plaster’ like a lot of people do, we’ve got to plaster in coverages, downs, extend themselves, and understand how and where different receivers are going to break. Everybody has a scramble thought process to them, where they want to break and how receivers want to break, and we’ve got to be aware of where those guys are going to break.

*Q: You talked about Kareem kind of cutting loose. What makes that the right time to say ‘go for it’?    *

A: I just think, overall, this group is playing with great energy, playing hard, and we keep talking about that with them. Sometimes conversations are just drive-bys and sometimes they’re, ‘hey, it’s time for you to play better’. With Kareem, I’m always in his ear because I’ve been around him so long. I’m always trying to push him. I probably may be in his ear more than some other guys.

Coordinator Mike Shula

Q: How much different is it this year being offensive coordinator who doesn’t call the plays? How much has your role changed?

A: I really kind of feel like it’s the same. I think that in this position and I’ve always felt this way because people have asked me all the way through whether or not you’re kind of coaching quarterbacks or the offensive coordinator calling plays. Kind of feels the same because you’re right in the middle of where all the decisions are made, whether or not you’re the one calling it or not, I really don’t think of it that way. Coach (Shurmur) has been great, he’s been great to work for, very open to any ideas that we have as a staff, and I think we’ve grown kind of getting a good feel of what he wants and our number one goal is to be basically an extension of coach. It’s been fun obviously when you win.

Q: Do you have like a specific focus, like you put in the red zone stuff, you put in the third down stuff? How does that work?

A: We have guys that are kind of across the board that take the lead in certain areas and then obviously I’m kind of with our staff, kind of overseeing all of that. I try to do as much as I can in all those areas and then obviously with coach Shurmur as an offensive coach, then you get another set of eyes doing that, ideas. We obviously collectively bring our thoughts together, but we also make sure it’s not a thing where we did it this way, we did it that way and it’s there forever. We’re going to put our guys in position to do what they do best and then let them go do it.

Q: I’m going to ask the quarterbacks coach part of you, what did you think of (Kyle) Lauletta?

A: Just about a lot of the other young guys that we’ve been around that come in the first time. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have more success with him in there, but he’ll learn from it.

Q: What kind of challenge is it for a guy who doesn’t get first team reps to go ahead in that situation without being prepared as the starter?

A: Anybody that’s expected to come in as a backup, that’s part of your job description, so yeah, we would like to get everybody all the reps, but Alex (Tanney) doesn’t get any, Kyle doesn’t get any, but they know that. Especially at that position, it’s hard to get guys reps. Other positions you can get them reps just because physically you’re going to wear the starters out otherwise. Quarterbacks, it’s a little bit harder.

Q: Did you see anything that left you encouraged with the way – I mean obviously we see the box score, he had no completions, but with your trained eye, anything that encouraged you?

A: Yeah, he got experience.

Q: How did you see Evan (Engram) kind of bounce back last week and take on a bigger role maybe with Odell (Beckham Jr.) out?

A: Evan’s been – it was really good to see him. He’s exciting when he gets the ball and just the consistency that we’re asking all of our players is the same thing that we ask Evan just when you’re on the field finishing on every play. His game is becoming, I think, more complete just because he’s more experienced as a blocker as well. You don’t want to be predictable when he’s in the game. I don’t think we are, but yeah, we want to get him involved as much as we can and I think he’s getting better each week.

Q: Obviously you’re familiar with Russell Shepard from last year. What is it about his game that allows him to kind of go really with no offensive snaps for weeks at a time and then come in the last two weeks and have that kind of impact he’s had?

A: I think it’s a couple things. Opposite of unfortunately what we were talking about with Kyle, experience has been a big part of his – one of the reason why he’s been productive. He’s so passionate and the game means a lot to him and he takes a lot of pride in doing things right and the things that maybe he doesn’t quite get to start with, he’s going to make sure that he stays after, that he’s going to ask questions or he’s going to talk to us as coaches to make it right, especially when the game’s on and it’s his time to go make a play.

Q: What was it like for you last week to have the game plan and expecting Odell to play and even Friday he was going to play? Did you have to scramble a lot on Saturday?

A: Maybe a couple things, but we’ve been around that before where there’s been guys that all of a sudden show up and can’t play. We had it with Evan a couple weeks prior, so I think there’s a few things. The main thing is probably the slight personnel groupings that you have unique to that game plan maybe that you haven’t had in other games or you just got to make sure you cover the bases.

Q: So many times during the course of the week a guy will miss practice for whatever reason and then will play on game day. Some guys are affected by that, some guys aren’t. Is Odell one of those guys who can potentially play a game at a very high level even without practicing?

A: I would think so. I haven’t been around enough, but I would think so, yeah. You try not to do that with your players and I think that trend has gone away where if a guy doesn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday, that pretty much has gone away. You’re going to give guys every opportunity, but you want to make sure you put them on the field knowing that he’s healthy and ready to play. You don’t want to put him out there if he’s not and then you do have to rely on his experience and the mental part of it and him spending a little more time and even though he doesn’t get the reps physically, that he’s going to know what to do and do it well.

Q: Is it beneficial to have a couple of days o complete the game plan now.

A: I think so, but I think yeah I would say so, but I would also say each and every week, we’re always kind of ready for that at every positon just to make sure, and that’s part of the challenge of a coach is making sure not just the starters are ready, but the backups and not just ready at their position, but ready to take on new roles maybe at another position. One receiver going to another side or tight end taking on a different role. Sometimes a lineman having to play the tight end position, things like that that is unique about this job, as well as coaching your guys and helping them win.

Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey

Q: (Inaudible)

A: Incrementally, we’ve gotten a little better, and that’s the thing we strive. Our motto is continuous improvement, and that’s something that the guys see every day, and that’s what we try to do. Just go out there and every day and get better at something. Been very pleased now with the way these guys have played, and how they’ve kind of grown as a unit during the season. Just got to keep pushing, keep trying to get better. We still have a long way to go. We have some things that we need to clean up in the return game, but we just have to keep on pushing, keep playing hard.

Q: What is it that has allowed (K) Aldrick Rosas to be so consistent this year?

A: I think it’s mindset. I think he’s kind of shared with you guys how he approaches every kick. It’s just good or bad, and it’s about the next kick. He just focuses on where the ball is, put the ball down, let me kick it, and lock into that moment, stay in the moment. Once that one is gone, it’s gone, and on to the next one. I think he’s had some success with that. I think moving forward, it’ll be a formula he’ll stick with, and look forward to really good things from him.

Q: How much does the change of weather affect things?

A: Welcome to the north east (laughter). It is what it is. I think these guys – Aldrick being here last year, and just getting a nice fall and good season underneath his belt. Knowing that the weather is going to turn. We get out in it. We’ll go there today and hit a couple balls outside. We went out in it yesterday. So, it is what it is. It’s just life in good ole New Jersey.

Q: How did you look at (WR) Jawill Davis’ performance last week?

A: He’s on the right path. You look at what this kid has done, it’s incredible. This kid has never returned punts before. For him to do what he’s doing, he’s doing a tremendous job. I’m extremely proud of him. Every snap is a new experience for him. He just has to go out there and just keep doing what he’s doing. Catch the ball. When you catch the ball, get positive yards and he’s done a good job of that.

Q: He let one or two of them drop. How do you decide whether or not to go out and get those?

A: Each punter is different. (Redskins P) Tres Way, first of all, he’s a lefty. He can hit a different style ball other than the traditional ball. He’ll get that again this week. A lot of times, some of those balls you can’t get to. The one thing about punt return is, you’re getting the ball back. You would rather get the ball back as opposed to the ball bouncing off your head and they get the ball. That’s the most important thing we tell them. Obviously, we want to field all the punts, but if we don’t, it’s not the end of the world.

Q: So err on the side of caution type of deal?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Do they go into the stadium to practice kicks the week of the home game?

A: Yes, we always try to use the home field advantage to our advantage. That’s something we’ve done around here since I’ve been here the first time. Me and (Former Giants Kicker) Jeff (Feagles) used to go to the old stadium and we knew every nook and cranny about it – how the wind blew, where the dead spots were. We go over there and try to get as much work in there as we can.

Q: How does the new stadium compare to the old stadium?

A: It’s definitely different. It’s a calmed down version of the old one. The old one, it was different – wind swirled, and you really had to have a really intimate relationship with that stadium to really know it, and be in it every day. Even with being in it every day, it still would change on you, but this one is a little bit more calm, a little bit more tamed. It’s nowhere close as being as volatile as the old one.

Q: How often do you go over there? Once or twice a week?

A: At least once a week we go over there and try to get some work in.

Q: (CB) Antonio Hamilton, you’ve talked about how good of an athlete he is, but it seems like every week he’s making a big play on special teams. Why is he so consistently effective?

A: He plays hard. I think that’s Antonio’s biggest attribute, is that he plays extremely hard, and he knows what he is. He knows who he is. He knows his ability and he knows his role. He’s living up to it. He’s a hungry kid. He’s passionate about football. He loves ball, and I think it shows up on a game day.

Q: Seems like (LS) Zak (DeOssie) never makes mistakes. What comes to mind when you talk about him as a long snapper?

A: Knucklehead (laughter) – I love Zak. Me and Zak, we go way back. I had him as a rookie here in ’07, and he’s been a really good leader in the room. He’s really grown into that role. When you do a good job of being consistent and being a leader, being a good person, being a good teammate, you sustain that longevity of a career and he’s done a good job. Zak is a good man, and he’s really good for our room.

Q: Did you know back then that this kid would be doing this 10-11 years later?

A: Heck no (laughter) – when he came in as a rookie, he was not going to be our long snapper. We had Ryan Keele, who was our long snapper, and Ryan tore his achilles during training camp, and just so happens that Zak was a snapper in college. Obviously, his dad was a snapper. We had two different snappers that year. We had (former Giants DT) Jay Alford and Zak. I never would’ve thought that Zak, 12 years later, would be still be here long snapping. I thought eventually he’d go back to playing linebacker, but it is what it is. He’s made a great career out of it.

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