Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: Injury-wise, we had (Alec) Ogletree who couldn't make it, his back, we're doing some more evaluation on him. (Mike) Remmers with the concussion, obviously, we'll just have to see where he's at. Aside from that, just game soreness. We'll just see how they feel tomorrow. They're all in today. We had real good meetings, looking at yesterday's film and then moving forward on Philly. And then we're going to work tomorrow, and then as I already mentioned, they're going to be off on Christmas Day, and then normal Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So, that's what the week looks like. We're looking forward to playing the Eagles again. Looking forward to finishing the game better than we did the first time we played them. We got off to a good start and we didn't finish well enough, so hopefully we can get that fixed for this weekend. So, I'll take your questions.
Q: Does the game take on any more significance because of what's at stake for Philly?
A: I don't think so. I think what's important for us, we've got to focus on doing things the right way and winning the game. We try every week to win the game we're playing, and we're going to do the same this week.
Q: You guys made kind of a big deal at the end of last season and in the offseason about how you finished last season better, you went 4-4, I think, in the last eight, but you actually lost your last three games last year. Going into this offseason winning games, would that change anything momentum-wise?
A: Well, it only changes things if you build on it through the offseason and then play better to start the year. But, yeah, I think when we have the number of young players that we have going through this for the first, some of them just for the second time, them learning how to win in December is very important so that when we win more games early in the season, it'll be meaningful.
Q: Having young players is one thing, but having the right players is something different. How confident are you that you have the right young players? Not just Daniel (Jones), but defense, everywhere, you have the right guys moving forward?
A: We're confident we do, and as they play out their careers, we'll see. But, I think that the guys that are in there playing are all improving. I say it this way and it's really the case, they're having more good plays and less bad plays, and I think that the important thing is you get experience, because we all would agree that experience matters, and for some of these young guys who on most teams would be backups or maybe practice squad players, they're front line guys for us and this is huge for them to be able to compete as starters.
Q: Do you put Kaden Smith in that group?
A: Yeah, I mean, he's done a terrific job. He's got a real feel for playing, and he blocked extremely well yesterday, he caught passes, caught two touchdowns, and he's been a very steady performer for us. So, I don't know what group I'd put him in, but he's been very productive, and we're glad he's here.
Q: Last year with Saquon (Barkley) as a rookie, you often spelled him one series. You sometimes got criticized for it, like 'Why is Saquon not in the game?'
A: (Laughter) You really can weave criticism in anywhere.
Q: This year, Saquon plays a lot of the downs and Buck (Allen) a little bit once in a while, but it's really Saquon's show. Is there a difference in year number one and year number two you see with that?
A: No, I think some of it is flow of the game. Some of the games that you're referring to, the last game when we did stay on the field and do enough on third (down) — when you get enough plays, then he's able to go. But, I think it's smart for us to have him on the field, but we trust the other guys we put in there. I think yesterday he had a huge impact, obviously, running the ball and catching passes, so that's what you want.
Q: The story of the day on social media is your team out last night having a good time after the game. Videos of them at a bar drinking, whatnot. Are you okay with everything that went on last night?
A: Yeah. They're grown men and they look after each other. They were celebrating a victory. They should have invited me.
Q: We thought you were the one filming it.
A: No, no. You should know me better than that. The fact that they can't go enjoy themselves without it becoming public, those are the things that I'll never feel comfortable about.
Q: I know you said you're going to focus on you and not necessarily what's at stake for the Eagles, but in this situation, this isn't just another game in terms of what you're preparing for. I mean, this is essentially a playoff game for your opponent. Will you coach your guys up to that level of the importance of not only what you need to do right, but this is essentially a playoff game that you're playing in, even though it's not necessarily at stake for you?
A: Well, I don't know how you're going to write it. I'm sure there's a narrative there. But I will say this. This is our last game, and I assure you they're going to put everything into making sure this last game goes the right way. We'll see what happens.
Q: Well, I guess the way I will write it is the idea that when you talk about what's at stake, playoff teams rise to the occasion. There's something there at stake and you want to see how teams respond to that. Do you think it will say something about your team if you're able to respond to that level, even though you're not the one playing for the playoffs?
A: Our team understands what's at stake this weekend. We're playing the Eagles, and we're going to do everything in our power to put a winning performance on the field. I can assure you they know what's at stake for the other team as well. I just mentioned, it's our last game. I really believe that our guys are going to sell out like they do every Sunday, and do what they can to win the game.
Q: Because there's everybody and there's Daniel, this is Daniel's first chance playing the Eagles. What do you think he took from watching them last time, earlier this month really, and can now carry over to what he takes onto the field with him?
A: I don't know. That's probably a better question for him. He did some things yesterday. He got the ball off a little quicker in some situations, which was good. Maybe he learned some of that by watching Eli. Again, that's probably a better question for Dan. I don't know what to tell you there, other than I do believe the best way to learn is by playing. He was injured, so he was forced to watch. But the mental reps that you get by watching are also important. I'm sure there's something that he learned, and he could probably tell you better than I can.
Q: Do you believe, just because it's the same team within a four-week span here, that there will be a carryover from whatever studying he did?
A: Oh yeah. I mean, there is. We change, from a game plan standpoint, you always change. You run different plays at certain times. But the blueprint for how you play offense and defense is pretty well set for the year. You have to play. You have rules, you have things you need to do so that when a new play does come up or a new defense comes up, you know where to go with the ball. That's always the challenge when you play a team the second time.
Q: You're talking a lot about the Eagles have the playoffs at stake and things like that. That's the spoiler role. Do you not like the words 'spoiler role'? Can you at least acknowledge that people maybe inside the building or maybe outside the building really take that to heart? Fans, maybe front office.
A: Sure, sure. No, I understand that. The internal messaging is we have to do everything in our power to win a game. That's the internal messaging. But we're well-aware of what the external messaging is. We're going to do what we can to put a winning performance on the field.
RB Saquon Barkley
Q: Pat Shurmur was making a lot about the locker room and about your grit and how tough you guys have been playing. How much of that is your team rallying around him?
A: I mean, it starts with him. He's the one who sets the tone. You can tell by, not only him but all of the coaches, come to work every week— even though we're having a, I wouldn't say a disappointing season, but struggling year. It starts with those guys and it trickles down to us to the leaders and it trickles down, trickles down, trickles down. I think we've been displaying grit, fight, that effort in a lot of these games this year. But in these last two, it's been working for us.
Q: Does that feel like the most productive game in Giants history?
A: I guess. I didn't find that out until after the game. That's something you set goals to do, you want to set records here. I've already been quoted saying I want to be legendary, I want to be great. I'm thankful to have that record. Even though my name is on that record, it took a lot of people to help me to do it.
Q: When you were drafted, Tiki (Barber) said pretty quickly, 'I think he's going to get a lot of those'…
A: Yeah, when I was drafted, I went to Rao's with Tiki and I told him that I was going to break all of his records. Not in a disrespectful way, but basically coming from a respectful way that it's my goal that I want to be great like you one day. He gave me a lot of advice, gave me a lot of motivation. You know, he's a great dude.
Q: That's one on the list.
A: Yeah, that's one. I think that's one.
Q: Did you hear from him today?
A: No, I haven't. I'll probably hear from him soon though.
Q: For fans, when you guys play the Eagles they always want you to beat the Eagles, but do you get a sense this game is more important because of what's at stake for them?
A: Let's just go with, we want to finish the season off strong. That's something that we're focused on— finishing the season off strong. We have one more game to do it in front of the home crowd. That's our mindset is to try to finish the season strong.
Q: But it wouldn't give you any greater satisfaction to end their season?
A: We're going to try to finish the season off strong. That's the mindset in the locker room, this team and that's what we want to do.
Q: So, spreading holiday cheer is not something that you think is important to your NFC East brethren?
A: We just want to finish the season off strong. That's the mindset that we have. But, come on everyone knows…
Q: You're not going to keep this up, you'd be broken at some point (laughter)…
A: Yeah, everyone knows that it would be… it's a big game. It's going to be a big game because it's the last game for us, we want to go off on the right note. Obviously, it's a big game for them. I think they have to win to clinch in the playoffs. The last two times we've played them have been hard fought games when they've found a way to come back and win when we got on top. We just got to learn from those things. I think it could be something big for us if we could finish off the season strong going into the offseason into next year.
Q: As a player, will it feel different if you go to play your last game and the other team knows it's their last game too versus a team like the Eagles who definitely don't want it to be their last game?
A: It's going to feel a lot different, I actually think it's going to be a test. It's something not only myself, but the team is up for. We are playing against a team where this is a playoff game for them. We are going to get their best. At some point, hopefully soon, I believe we will be on the other edge of it where we will be a playoff team. We are going to get their best and we are going out there to compete at a high level and see who comes out on top. I know it sounds cliché and I have been saying it, but our real focus is to finish the season off strong. What a way to go out, against Philly in front of our home crowd.
Q: There are videos on twitter of your team having a good time last night. What was that, team bonding or was that blowing off steam?
A: Team bonding. I wouldn't say it was blowing off steam, it was team bonding. It's New York, so people are going to overreact to everything. We're grown men, you can go out and have a drink or two if you want. You can do that. Nowadays there are cameras everywhere, so you have to be a lot smarter and aware of your surroundings. You got to see Eli Manning out there, I guess, flipping the cup or whatever. I think it's pretty dope if you ask me.
Q: There seems to be video evidence that your veteran quarterback might cheat at certain games?
A: Yeah, he's a competitor. If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying. He's going to find a way to win at everything.
Q: Your rookie quarterback, that's not his game, I guess?
A: I don't think so. I actually have to watch the full clip. I just saw Bleacher Report or whoever put it out.
Q: The cheating and not trying, you can't be caught on video.
A: Exactly. I don't think they were planning to be caught on video tape. Like I said, we are grown men and you have to do it in the right way, which I know we did it in the right way. You can go celebrate, it's not the end of the world.
Q: Do you get a kick out of seeing that? I don't mean to bring attention to Eli.
A: It humanizes people. A lot of the time you think these athletes just go work hard all the time. We do, but sometimes we are able to go out and have fun. When you see Eli Manning, it definitely puts a smile on your face.