Transcriptions from Wednesday's practice
Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
Opening Statement:I ain't going to lie, I was chilly out there today. I don't know how long you were all out there, but it was good to get on the grass. We play on grass this week. I know it's going to be a little warmer in Arizona, but I think it was good for the guys' legs. Try to get back out there again tomorrow. We'll see how the weather is, but I thought we had a pretty good practice. Probably had a couple few more repeats than we should have. But, we're just trying to get the football right. That's what we talked about. So, having said that, I'll just open it up.
Q: When it comes to Arizona and their quarterback change, what's the biggest difference between facing Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert?
A: Like always, unless it's a drastic change in the type of quarterback, we just defend the scheme. I think both Blaine and Stanton are very similar in that regard. One might be a little more athletic or they might run a few more movement passes, but Bruce (Arians) likes to throw the football. I know their running back is banged up a little bit, but I think the other guy is a big downhill runner that we got to worry about and they have skill all over the place. They have speed all over the place. So, we're more concerned about the speed and the tight end skill and the scheme more than anything. I think Stanton has done a nice job in the game. He's 9-6, I believe, in games he started, so he's proven he could win in this league. So, he's not a guy we're taking for granted.
Q: Is your quarterback depth chart the same as it was now that you've got the game plan?
A: The depth chart hasn't changed. You're talking about ours right?
Q: Yeah, yours.
A: Our depth chart hasn't changed, but I will tell you this. We have eight reps in practice where we go Giants defense versus Giants offense and normally Eli (Manning) would take all of those, but Davis (Webb) took six of the eight today. So, we're amping him up a little bit. I've told you before that he's always preparing like he's going to be a two or maybe even play in the games. So, the preparation is the same, but we just wanted to make sure we got him some reps on the field.
Q: Will Davis Webb be active in a game?
A: As of right now, no. But who knows?
Q: Why did you want to give him more reps in practice then?
A: Just to give him some work. Give him some work.
Q: How did Davis Webb look?
A: I got to watch the (tape) – I can't honestly say that. Can I be honest with you? When we're doing – I shouldn't say this because the guys will get mad at me -- but when we're doing that period, my eyes are on the defense. And they should be.
Q: How did your defense do?
A: A couple good plays. A couple bad plays.
Q: RE: Giants offense vs. Giants defense in practice.
A: We like doing that because it's hard to simulate the opponent you're playing all the time and get good speed. So, at least that gives us eight plays of speed on speed. It might not be the exact looks we're getting in the game, but it was good to have.
Q: Has Davis Webb ever taken one of those snaps?
A: Not to my knowledge. Now, we were doing some of that earlier, then Ben (McAdoo) kind of got away from it and I kind of brought it back and that hasn't happened since we brought it back a couple weeks ago.
Q: So, you're running the first team offense versus the first team defense?
A: Yeah. Exactly. Yep.
Q: Would you like to get Davis Webb into a game before the season is over?
A: I keep going back to it and I'm just being honest with you, I'm focused on winning the football game and to me, winning the football game is with Eli Manning and should it be anything else, that's – I don't know – probably something bad happened. I prefer to have Eli Manning in there winning. I'm worried about this game first. I know we have two, but that's my preference.
Q: If you were ahead 38 now, would that be considered?
A: That sounds really good. That sounds really good. That would be a good situation to have. Good decision to make.
Q: Is it tough for you to balance doing what is best to win the game vs. the best interest of the franchise?
A: I want to do what's in the best interest of the organization, but I do know the organization wants to win football games. That has never changed. That's why when I say to you that my mind is on that, it truly is on that and we'll do whatever we can to win the football game.
Q: Are you reaching the point where you're close to shutting Landon Collins down with the injuries?
A: Have you seen him yet today? Have you asked him that yet? He's still hopeful. We'll see. We got to be careful. I'd like to congratulate Landon and Snacks (Damon Harrison) for their recognition – Pro Bowl recognition. That was good to see.
Q: What do you mean Damon Harrison?
A: Alternate. I believe that anybody that gets recognized Pro Bowl wise is a complement for them and to their teammates. So, I recognize them all together, to be honest with you.
Q: How do you shut down or deal with Chandler Jones.
A: Try to contain him and keep him from wrecking the football game. That's what we talked about, because he is a game-wrecker. We're fortunate Pat Graham, who's with our d-line, had Chandler in New England. I don't know if the insight will help us, but he's a really good football player and he's one of those guys we say that can wreck the football game. So, we always got to be concerned about him.
Q: A lot of people think Damon Harrison was snubbed when it comes to Pro Bowl. Do you think he deserves more recognition for what he does?
A: I do because – but I'm biased. I just think he's one of the premier inside, interior linemen in this league. Now, I don't get my eyes on all of the other d-linemen, so I don't want to pass judgement on that because I'm certainly looking at more offenses than I am defense. But, I'd be hard pressed to say that there's many that do as many things as he does for us. Now, I haven't seen the other names. I just know I'm a Damon Harrison fan.
Q: Damon Harrison talked about getting more sacks and pass rushing opportunities this season and I don't believe he's had that many.
A: That position – it's hard to get them. He's not always in there in the third down passing situations. So, if we had him in there more in those down and distances, he might have more because he's talented and he can get a middle push, which you need in pass rush. Helps the guys on the outside. Actually, last week he was in there on a few third down plays. So, maybe we'll get more of those.
Q: Is there a chance that Davis Webb could be active this Sunday?
A: We'll see. We'll see. There's always a chance, but we'll see.
Q: How proud are you of Landon Collins getting the starting nod for the Pro Bowl with the adversity that he has faced this season?
A: I'd be proud of Landon even if he didn't get the nod, to be honest with you, because I've told you he's a warrior. He's banged up with that ankle and other things and he's still playing and still wants to go out there and play. He knows he hasn't had quite the year he wanted to or any of us expected, but it certainly was good football and he loves to play the game and when he goes out there you can see it.
Q: If you had Damon Harrison in there on a pass rush play, even if he's just pushing the pocket, would it help the outside guys, too?
A: Absolutely. We call that hidden production and we actually grade that. There's many times, especially for tackles and guys that play up front, where they make it easy for the guys behind him to maybe make a tackle. The linebacker gets the credit for the tackle and gets the production, but might have been and a lot of times, it is Snacks. Takes on two blockers. That middle portion helps the outside rushers. So, that hidden production is really important. People don't notice that on the outside, but we do. We recognize it.
Q: Did Jason Pierre-Paul have a setback?
A: No. He didn't go today. Just normal wear-and-tear and body soreness. So, figured get him ready for tomorrow.
Quarterback Eli Manning
Q: Do you see any weaknesses in Chandler Jones and any ways you can work around him?
A: Well, I think you just got to know where he is. If you can't get two bodies on him – you got to try to do that as much as you can – get the ball out quickly. But, he's a good player. They do a good job getting to the quarterback, bringing some blitzes, trying to make sure backs can't chip on him. So, just got to get it out on time, but he can make some plays. Just make sure – ball security. Don't let a sack turn into anything worse.
Q: Quarterback to quarterback, what do you see from Drew Stanton?
A: I haven't seen Drew play this year. Know him well. Known him since college and he's had to play these last couple years. Believe last time we played Arizona, he played. So, he's played well and smart guy. He'll know how to run the offense.
Q: Is the up tempo offense something you think you can sustain?
A: Well, I think you got to use some, you know, use it at times and try to make sure it's at the right moments and it's going to help us and not hurt us. So, just make sure everybody is on the same page, can get the calls done and go out there and execute well.
Q: It seems like most of the passes thrown were short. Is that something to keep you up?
A: Yeah, that's just kind of part of that West Coast offense is you get the ball out on time and hit the guys in stride and hopefully throw some short ones, let them run a long way. So, a lot of it is just timing and see if we can just get the ball out on time.
Q: What areas is Davis Webb more advanced in now than he was during training camp?
A: Tough to say. I think he's just having a year to watch how a season goes, watch the offense, see what plays are working, why certain plays work and don't work versus the defense, making protection calls and those types of things. So, I think he's done a good job just studying and asking good questions and trying to play the game from behind when he's watching practice.
Q: How much of a challenge do you think it would be if he was asked to go in a game at this point?
A: He just hasn't had many reps with running this offense and even in training camp we had four quarterbacks. He was the fourth one. So, he's played some. He's a smart kid and he can figure it out.
Q: Some people say that you need to be in a game to get the experience. Is there something to be gained from sitting back and watching it that you think can help expedite the learning process?
A: Well, I think both of them help. You got to be able to learn from watching, but also nothing like game experience.
Q: Coach Steve Spagnuolo said that Davis Webb got reps with the first team today. How do you think he looked?
A: Yeah. I thought he made some good calls and got us in some better plays, some good checks and ran the offense well.
Q: He hasn't gotten the chance to do that very often, right?
Q: Did they tell you before practice that Davis Webb would get reps?
A: They told me. Yeah. Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) told me earlier in the week. Late in the year. You don't mind getting a few reps off and let him get some reps. It's all good.
Q: How would you describe your relationship with Larry Fitzgerald?
A: Larry and I go back a long way. Known him since college. We were up for the Heisman together our senior years and from then forward, I've kept up with him his whole time in Arizona, seen him around different times. Obviously last year, we both won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award together, so I was around him a bunch there. Just a great person. Great football player. I've played some Pro bowls with him, thrown touchdowns to him in some Pro Bowls. So, we have a good relationship.
Q: How do you carry over last week's performance into this week?
A: You learn quick in football that nothing carries over from week to week. It's about we're going against an uncommon opponent. We haven't played Arizona in a while, so we got to have a great preparation and that's starting with me. But, everybody just understanding their schemes, what they're going to do and we just got to execute. Last week, guys made some great individual efforts. We got to continue to do that and then just find a lot of completions.
Q: Do you feel like the receivers are hitting their stride right now?
A: I thought last week they were winning some of their one-on-ones and that's what you need to do. They didn't win all of them, but they won the majority of them and that's how you can get some big plays. They're working hard and doing some good things and we just got to keep, again, know the coverages, know the style this week, know your opponent and how we can get open.
Q: When you get back from Arizona are you going to even bother going to bed or are you just going to wait for the kids to get up?
A: Yeah, I haven't figured that part yet. I haven't figured that part. Sleep on the plane a little bit. Yeah. They'll probably think I'm Santa as I'm coming in at 4:30 in the morning. So, just roll with it.
Quarterback Davis Webb
Q: What did you make of your increased reps in practice today?
A: I was excited. I got told yesterday and it's an opportunity for me to work on the things that got worked on behind the scenes in my preparation throughout the year. Eli [Manning] has been getting most of the reps, along with Geno [Smith], so it kind of got me a chance to be thrown in there and actually go through it myself, have the o-line hear my calls and see the receivers see my signals. It was cool, it was a cool experience and I got better from it today.
Q: How do you think you did?
A: I think I did good. It was my first time getting reps in a little bit and in a team setting and I think I did a pretty good job. And again, there's thing I need to work on obviously, but I think I did a pretty solid job.
Q: Did it feel faster than other scout team reps that you've taken?
A: No because I get to go against the same Pro Bowl guys, [safety] Landon [Collins] and [defensive tackle] Damon [Harrison], every day and so many great defensive players we do have. So, I get to go against those guys every day, it's just more fun to run your system and see your checks and pick up types of blitzes and protection and stuff. So, it was fun.
Q: Are things starting to slow down a lot more for you now?
A: Well, you can't say that, I haven't played in a game before.
Q: What about in practice?
A: Yeah, in practice. It's totally different though, you're not getting hit and I don't want to sound rude, but it's just different, you're not getting hit. You can feel the rush, but you'll feel it on Sundays if you're in there getting hit. So, I do think my grasp of the offense has gotten better every day since I've been here, that's a credit to [quarterbacks coach Frank] Cignetti, and coach Sullivan [offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan] and Coach Mac [former head coach Ben McAdoo] and Eli and Geno really helping me come along and I think I've gotten better. Today I took another huge step, had a chance to get reps and I was very excited about today. Now I'm more excited about getting in there and watching the film of it.
Q: How has your relationship with tight end Evan Engram improved since the season has gone on?
A: It has grown. We hang out just about every day. For sure every single weekend and we're roommates on the road still. He and I are very close, he's my best friend on the team and we have a good relationship. We go to dinner just about every Friday, so we have a really good relationship. He's a great player, he's had a great season.
Q: What kind of help can Engram give you with the offense?
A: Yeah, it's kind of back and forth because I sit up here watching a lot of film, especially of the other team's DBs [defensive backs], so I try to give him as much information on the safeties and nickels and dime players that can be going against him, what their tendencies are. It's a great relationship, we'll go back and forth and say, 'Hey, what does Eli say on this route or this play,' so we have a great relationship and he's been a huge help, especially someone that I'm very close with.
Q: How difficult is it for to suppress your eagerness and anticipation that you may get a chance to touch the ball in a game?
A: I commit to the controllables and kind of stay in the moment. Always stay present and today was today and it's over and now I'm excited to go in there and watch the film a little bit and getting better as an offense and all we're worried about this week is beating Arizona. We come here every day expecting to win and expecting to beat Arizona. So, that's out goal as a team.
*Q: Was today the first team reps you've gotten since the regular season started? *
A: Yeah, it's been a little while, but again, I felt great, I was out there, I did a good job of communicating to the offensive linemen, good job in the huddle. So, I think a good job. There's definitely things I need to work on, but I'm pretty happy with my start today. My first time in a while.
Q: Is it important for you to have the opportunity to make your case in a game? That you can be the future of this team?
A: I don't know. I think I've done everything asked of me and then some. I do a lot of preparation stuff with other quarterbacks, the receivers, tight ends and stuff like that. So, I don't know. That's a question you've got to ask a little higher than me that'll give you an answer. But right now, all I'm worried about is helping Eli and Geno prepare to beat the Arizona Cardinals. That's our goal as a team and we expect to win that game.
Q: Do you think your approach has helped you, to just control the controllables?
A: Yeah, my biggest goal as a player is to reach my full potential and the quote I saw in a book a long time ago was, operate with a heart full of gratitude, commit to the controllables and you're going to be okay. If you just trust the process, that's the big thing. So, I trust the process, I've gotten better each and every day and today I finally got a day to get some reps and put that plan into action a little bit. Which was exciting, but it's over now and I'm back to helping out these guys.
Q: Are the reps from today enough to feel comfortable in a game?
A: I don't know, I just don't know. Getting ready for a game, mentally I do every single week prepared-wise, I try to act like I'm a starter each and every week, every single day until about 30 minutes before game time. I try to approach that way, get into a routine, so if it ever does happen, I would be in a pretty good routine to be ready. But at the same time, I'm here to help out Eli and have him enjoy success with all of our teammates on Sunday.
*Q: For a quarterback, is the throwing part the easiest, and the adjusting the line and getting everybody in the right spots the hard part? *
A: Yeah, I think definitely when you first get here – the new offense, NFL system, different verbiage, it's longer than a college system. So, there's definitely some hiccups along the road, but I've had a real blessing in watching Eli and Geno go through reps in practices every day, see how they communicate to teammates and see how they are on the board and in the film room, in the classroom. So, I've had a real blessing to sit back and kind of learn a little bit and again, I'm going to continue to learn, those guys are the best at what they do and I enjoy being with them every day in the meeting room.
*Q: Did you tell Manning to open up a 38-point lead so that you can get into the game? *
A: [Laughs] Nope, all we're worrying about it beating the Cardinals, no matter what happens.
Q: Why do you think the team gave you first-team reps today?
A: Nothing, nothing at all. I was just excited when I got told I was going to get an opportunity to get out there and kind of practice what I've been practicing behind Eli the whole season, my air throws and my air communication. So, that was exciting, but again, now we're back to helping us beat the Arizona Cardinals and I'm excited about getting back into the film room right now.
Q: Are you going to get first-team reps again tomorrow?
A: I don't know, that's a coach Spagnuolo question.
Q: Has there been any week on game day where you've gone in thinking that you may be active?
A: Again, my mental approach is to be the best teammate I possibly can be, work really hard and if that did happen, I would be prepared because I work every day and every week. But right now, the only thing I'm worried about is being a good teammate and helping Eli be successful on Christmas Eve.
Safety Landon Collins
*Q: Have you thought about shutting it down? *
A: No. Not at all. That's not built in me. I'm definitely going to give my other guys some reps at the position, but I'm definitely not in the mindset to shut it down.
*Q: Isn't there a danger that if you keep playing with it, you're going to hurt it more? *
A: Yeah, there's always a danger. It happens, it's the game of football. I know my health, I know where I'm at with it and I know my limitations.
Q: You must not have been 100% on Sunday.
A: No, I wasn't 100% at all. I just felt like my presence on the field would help my defense. It kind of did in the first half and I tried to just make it work from there. It was working until I tweaked it.
Q: How much did the Pro Bowl nomination mean to you?
A: It means a lot. It's an honor, it's a blessing, definitely to go back-to-back. I look forward to it. It's definitely hard work and after the season that happened, to get the honor off of the season we had, it's a blessing and I appreciate that.
*Q: Did you think you would get it based on your season? *
A: Based on my season? I played hard. I made different plays and stuff like that. I think I got the recognition I needed to get there.
*Q: Do you think since you've established yourself in the league, people took that into account? *
A: That could be one of the things and also I'm consistent, I'm durable and just playing hard on each and every down. I come out there to play and I play for the love of the game. I guess my passion and everybody sees that and they love that about me.
Q: Do you think you set the bar too high last year?
A: Yeah I got a lot of those tweets. Tweets and comments about I didn't have a great season like I did last year. It happens. We can't always get to those seasons. I got a lot of eyes on me this year. I was on a lot of one on one's with lineman and stuff like that. It's kind of hard to get to the quarterback this time. They're definitely getting the ball out quicker, I didn't get a lot of passes thrown my way and I should of had a couple more picks, but stuff happens.
Q: You've also been asked to do a lot of things in this defense and you've done it at a high level.
A: Yeah they move me around trying to get their game changers in play-making moments and stuff like that. Get them in the right position to make a game changing moment. Coach Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) does that and he gives me great opportunities to make plays and I try to make the best of them. And that's just doing what we do best within our defense.
*Q: How much did the quarterback change in Arizona effect this week's game planning? *
A: A little bit. We got to study both guys because one can go in, one can go out. You don't know which guy we're going to get. They could trade in halftime, we don't know what's going to happen. So you kind of got to study both guys. We know a little bit more about (Drew) Stanton. He's a gunslinger, he wants to go for the deep balls and stuff like that. So we kind of know him and then the other quarterback (Blaine Gabbert), he just kind of works the process of the offense.
*Q: Should you play again this year? *
A: I shouldn't play. No, not at all. I should not. That's the correct answer, but that's not going to be my answer.
Q: How do you weigh those two because you don't want anything to happen in the offseason?
A: Just know my limitations. Know how far I can push it. I think last week my only thing was I couldn't put too much pressure on it, I couldn't hold the line of scrimmage if I got a blocked, I couldn't hold him off. That's one of my limitations I have to know so I can be able to get off a block and make a play. And doing so with that, just knowing my limitations and giving my ankle and my body a rest and giving my other guys a chance to go out there and play.
Q: But you don't want to put your team in a situation where what happened last week happens again, right?
A: Right. Yeah, that's why my guys are taking all of the practice reps and stuff like that and getting an understanding because if I'm not in the game, they'll have to know what's going on and that's what we'll be doing this week.
*Q: How do you think the younger guys have been doing trying to step up? *
A: They've been doing good. A lot to learn. I do a lot and they try to do the same thing I do and they just try play behind me. I just have more experience than them so it's kind of hard to figure it out, but they're doing very well.
*Q: What challenges does being ready for both quarterbacks represent this week? *
A: Just preparation. Just being more prepared of what quarterbacks like to do, what is their eye candy, where do they like to go with the ball and stuff like that and we'll steal signs of what they like to do. So this is really more of film study.
Q: The offense is coming off of a statement game, what do you guys hope is the case for the defense this week?
A: Come out and make a statement ourselves and play great ball.
Q: How tough is it to play against a guy like Larry Fitzgerald?
A: It's fun, I'll tell you that much. It's definitely going to be fun because he's a great guy, he's a Hall of Famer and just seeing him on the field is going to be amazing. But playing against him, it's going to be tough. He's a great route runner, he's got great hands, he goes up and attacks the ball higher than everybody I've seen play the game and it's going to be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.