Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Remarks: After watching the tape, not much has changed in my mind, comment-wise, after the game. It was a one-score game for a long time. We didn’t make enough plays, we didn’t do enough obviously to get the ball in the end zone. We did some things on defense that we hadn’t done in the last couple of weeks, we kind of missed some tackles, but still the game was tight, it was a one-score game. We didn’t make enough plays to get in the end zone, so that’s what you get. We move on, we’re doing the corrections now as we speak, and we’re getting ready to play the Colts. We’ll stay in the moment and try to go play, put a plan together to beat a good football team this Sunday. I’ll take your questions.
Q: Now that you guys are out of playoff contention, would you like to see Kyle (Lauletta) in another game? You said after the Redskins game you don’t think that was enough of an evaluation.
A: I think we’re going to try to put the players in that are going to give us the best chance to win. And again, as we go along here, we’re getting a lot of guys in the games. We’ll see if that includes Kyle at some point.
Q: That means Eli (Manning) is going to start the last two games?
A: Moving forward, we’re going to do what we have to do to win this game. Yes, Eli is going to start this week.
*Q: You won’t commit to the last two games at this point? *
A: We’re going to do what we have to do this week and then we’ll go from there. Eli playing quarterback, I think, gives us the best chance to win.
*Q: Going back to late last week, what did you think about Odell (Beckham) divulging information about the injury on Facebook? *
A: Yeah, I didn’t spend much time on Facebook and what not. I just work with him on a daily basis, and he’s doing what he can to come back from that injury. I don’t really have any comment on the Facebook part of it. He’s doing what he can to get back, going through treatment, and trying to do everything he can to get back in the game.
Q: Do you think he has a chance this week?
A: We’re hopeful. He feels better today than he did late last week, so hopefully he’ll work his way back in.
*Q: Is it in consideration to shut him down for the year? *
A: No, he’s like every other player. We’re going to try to get him back for this Sunday. He’s a valuable member of our team, and if he’s healthy enough to play, then we’ll get him out there.
Q: When you look at the load Saquon (Barkley) has taken, do you think at all about this in the last two games, about easing off on some guys, just looking at a big picture more so?
A: Yeah, the big picture is to win this game, the big picture is certainly moving forward, but certainly, listen, this is a dangerous game at times, but guys are very competitive and they want to go out and play, and I think it’s important that guys that are healthy enough to play, play.
*Q: Do you have to do anything special this week to make sure your guys remain focused? Do you go about that any different? *
A: Nope, no different than last week in my mind. You hit the re-set button, we’ll do this presser, then I’ll get to the business of getting ready to play Indy.
Q: As far as Eli Manning, is there weight in these final two games as far as looking for him to show you more when you’re evaluating whether or not he can be your starter next season? Or does what he does in these next two games not factor in, have you already decided?
A: I think what’s important is, things you decide in the offseason are things you decide. Right now, we’ve got two games left and we’re going to do what we can to put a plan together to beat Indianapolis. Again, we stay in the moment on that. After every game, really after every practice, we evaluate players’ performances at all positions. Then in the offseason, we all know that there’s decisions that get made that shape the roster; but right now, I’m going to stay right in the moment and get ready to play Indy.
Q: Do you want Eli to be back next year?
A: Yeah, I want all our players to be back. I really do. I believe experience matters, I believe that what we’re trying to learn to do -- we’ve grown two games better than we were a year ago here, we’ve got two more opportunities. When you start talking about roster-shaping down the road, you need to learn how to win again and the experience of playing through adversity. I learned some more about a lot of players yesterday, when we’re playing through a game that felt a little bit like some of the games earlier in the season. You continue to learn about people.
Q: You had said before the season you felt that with his ability, Eli still had years remaining. Do you still believe that after what you’ve seen up close this season?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: What makes you believe that? What do you see that makes you believe that?
A: Because I’ve seen him play good football, and I’ve seen how when we have a coordinated effort of protecting him, running the football effectively, and being able to run the ball throughout the game, it helps us. We threw the ball more than I would have liked to in the game that was really one score, but seven of those throws were two-minute before the half, and then there were 15 in the fourth quarter when we were down by 17. That skews the numbers. The important thing about yesterday in our coordinated effort was we didn’t get enough out of the runs when we chose to run the ball. We had a couple of situations where we ran the ball and got penalties and got knocked back and knocked off schedule. That’s where that coordinated effort comes in.
Q: Why was there what seemed like a regression from the offensive line? Each week, it seemed like you came out here and said, ‘that was their best game yet’. This obviously wasn’t.
A: I think we played another good front, and then we had some isolated breakdowns that affected plays negatively, and we weren’t able to overcome those yesterday.
Q: Do you feel like the Titans attacked you differently, taking into account what you had done the week before?
A: No, I don’t think so. We saw what we anticipated seeing – actually, we saw less than what we thought. They were very multiple in coverage, they did some stuff against us. They presented some opportunities to us that we didn’t take advantage of and we didn’t stay on schedule on first, second down, and that’s not a good formula for success, especially when you’re playing against a team that’s got the pass rush ability that they have.
On the injuries yesterday:
A: I’ll go through them all for you. Russell Shepard, ankle sprain, so we’ll see. Spencer Pulley had a calf strain. Antonio Hamilton, quad. Odell, as we all know, and then some normal game wear and tear.
Q: Any of those guys you expect to not be back?
A: I don’t know, it’s really too early to tell. Those are all injuries you can come back from in a week or two, so we’ll just have to see.
Q: Did you have a conversation with Kyle Lauletta at all about your decision to deactivate him on Sunday?
A: Yeah, we talked to him. We explained to him that he was going to be deactivated.
Q: He used the word ‘disappointed’. Is that a fair description from your point of view?
A: Yeah, that’s his word. I would imagine any player that goes from being active to inactive would feel that way.
Q: It seems obvious that his arrow was pointing one way and then you said he had done enough to be activated, and then after two weeks, he plays in a game and now he’s not activated. How is that not to be viewed as a demotion?
A: Because I feel like we have two guys in the back of Eli that can go in and function the way we want to. Some of what happens, happens behind the scenes and is not for public consumption, that’s all. But that being said, I think Kyle’s got a bright future, but we’ve said this all along – or at least I have, and I believe it – that he’s got a long way to go in terms of doing the things necessary and although he can get in there and function, there’s a lot to learn playing quarterback in this league. He’s got a bright future and he’s made great progress this year, and so it is what it is.
Q: A decision like that, is that made between you and (OC) Mike Shula and your coaching staff, or do you involve Dave (Gettleman) and John (Mara) in a decision like that, too?
A: We talk about it as coaches, certainly, because we deal with the players on a day-to-day basis, but nothing that we do with this team isn’t discussed with the people that you mentioned.
Q: You said after the Washington game, I hope you saw what you wanted to see with (Lauletta). Have you seen what you wanted to see of him in a game, or would you like to get more in that?
A: I would like to see everybody play more, but I think what’s important is you’ve got to do what’s necessary to win a game. That’s where it’s at.
*Q: Is that pecking order at quarterback in flux again this week?
*A: We’ll see.
Q: Where is Evan Brown in terms of his development? He’s one of the young guys you’ve had since the summer and we haven’t seen him in a game situation yet.
A: Yeah, he hasn’t been active yet. We’re hopeful that he’s going to have a bright future. He made the team, he plays center, he’s done a really good job, I think, behind the scenes, he’s made huge improvements throughout the year. At some point, we’ll see him.
Q: If Pulley has to be down for an extended period of time or the remainder of the season?
A: In the event Pulley can’t play, then (Brown) would slide up and he’d be in the center rotation, for sure. That’s fair.
Q: Your tackling yesterday -- technically, what was wrong on the edges as far as keeping it contained?
A: I thought for the most part the run fits were pretty good. You see frequently now with big backs, they bounce the ball to the corner and guys on the edges have to make those tackles. That’s what happened, we just weren’t as consistent making those tackles as we were in the last three weeks, I would say. That’s all.
Q: You’ve taken over a 3-13 team. I know there’s work to be done, but you don’t make the playoffs. I’m just wondering how you view it? Does the season automatically in your mind become a failure or are you looking at a bigger picture or at other things? Just wondering how you sort of make sense of that.
A: Not making the playoffs is, we didn’t reach our goals. We didn’t do enough to compete to win the Super Bowl. So we didn’t reach our goal. Does that mean we’re failures? No. What it means is we’ve got a lot of work to do. That’s what it means, and I want to finish this year in a way that shows that we’ve grown so that we’re at a different spot than we were a year ago to make some more of that growth that we all know needs to happen. Along the way, I will say this – playing and coaching football is what we do, and there’ll be some point in the winter where we’re not doing it and we’re all going to miss it. I know from my standpoint and I know our players in the locker room, we’re going to try to get the most out of these next two weeks and try to win two football games because that joy that you feel from winning, even though we’re not going to be able to go on this year, that’s something that we want to feel.
WR Sterling Shepard
Q: What’s it like coming into work today knowing that mathematically your playoff chances have been eliminated?
A: We’re still going to work. Guys are still upbeat in here and we’re going to work and try to win these next two games. That’s what our focus is.
Q: What did you see when you watched the film, what do you take away from yesterday?
A: We got to make plays. It comes down to that, we got to make plays and we got to get on the board. It’s hard to win games without scoring.
Q: Did you sense there were opportunities there or did they shut enough down that there was really not much there?
A: We had opportunities. We got to come up with plays. Got to be able to move the ball, get in some – we shot ourselves in the foot a few times, got in a few third and longs. There were plays there and we just got to make them.
Q: You guys have been pretty disciplined this year, but 10 penalties yesterday. What accounts for that in a game with that many mistakes?
A: We just got to stay fundamentally sound and just kind of had a lapse there. We’ll get back on the right track, have a good week of preparation this week.
Q: Did this game feel like earlier in the season when you guys were struggling?
A: No, I feel like we’ve come a long way as a squad and try not to take steps back and maybe we did in a few errors yesterday, but we’ll get back on the right track, like I said. This team is not going to stop fighting.
Q: How do you view this season? You’re not going to reach your goal of making the playoffs and competing for a championship?
A: It hasn’t gone the way that we planned it to go at the beginning, but like I said, we’ve been fighting through a lot of stuff, showed some great things and showed some things that we need to correct and this will give us good momentum going into next season if we could finish strong and win two games against two really good teams.
Q: How are you doing physically?
A: Physically, good.
Q: Do you think with no Odell (Beckham Jr.) they felt, they focused on Saquon and challenged you to beat them with the passing game in the bad weather?
A: That’s probably an approach that they took. Saquon with the ball in his hands, he’s special, so you got to shut that down and that’s going to be a primary focus. With everything that was going on yesterday, probably was their approach.
Q: Was it hard – I think one time you slipped, the footing, the grip, everything like that, the pouring rain…
A: It is hard to play in that, but that’s not an excuse. Everybody has to play in it. Both teams had to play in it, so you got to find a way to get it done.
Q: With two games left and no playoff possibilities, the idea of being a professional and having to carry yourself as a professional, does that kind of kick in and what does that mean to you?
A: Being a professional, going about your business and whatever place you’re in, we know we’re not going to make the playoffs. It’s still come to work and still grinding everyday and trying to get a W. Doesn’t matter where we are as a team, we’re going to try to go get a W and that’s about tomorrow.