*Transcriptions following Wednesday's practice *
Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
Opening Statement:Hope everybody had a Merry Christmas, good holidays. What's today's date? The 27th. So, it's almost the New Year. I guess I'll have a chance to wish you a Happy New Year, so I don't have to do it today.
Alright, two items first that I know you're going to want to know about. Listen, I think Landon (Collins) has already addressed what happened the other day. Just real quickly – I love Landon. We had a quick conversation this morning and then I had a quick conversation with Eli (Apple) and then all three of us had a really good conversation and it was very productive and I'll just leave it at that. It's between them and they were really great. I'll just leave it alone.
The second thing is that Davis Webb will be the second quarterback going into this game. Having said that, that's no reflection on Geno (Smith). Last week I told you all that we were going to try to get Davis Webb ready in case we could get him in the game. There's no guarantees that we will get him in the game, but he will be the number two on Sunday. Having said all that, I'll open it up.
Q:You met individually with Landon Collins and Eli Apple?
A:Both individually first and then all three of us together.
Q:Did you get a good feeling when the three of you were together?
A:It was great. It helped me.
Q:Why did it help you?
A:I don't know. I just felt good talking to the guys and I thought it was great.
Q:A couple weeks ago when this started to stir, you said that you would let them handle it. Do you regret not stepping in?
A:Maybe a little bit, yeah. But, I just felt like it was the right thing to do at the time. It was productive.
Q:Do you plan on doing the same thing this week in terms of Davis Webb's reps and the Giants vs. Giants portion of practice?
A:We did do that today. I cut it down. I can't remember if it went to six or seven, but it's not quite as many. I believe Eli (Manning) got the first one of each one of those periods. There's two separate periods and then Davis got the other ones. And then Davis and Geno (Smith) did the same thing they do every week where they get all of the 'look' team reps. They split them. So, that was the same.
Q:Not much change to Davis Webb's practice routine then?
A:Not from last week, no. You got to prepare as the second quarterback to possibly play in the game, but he's been doing that all the way through.
Q:Do you intend on playing Davis Webb in the game at some point?
A:Eli Manning – I got to make sure I stay straight on my Elis here. Eli Manning is the starting quarterback. We're going to go in the game to beat the Washington Redskins with Eli Manning and we'll just take it from there.
Q:Why even make Davis Webb the second quarterback?
A:I just think the process of getting him to two and if something does happen then we would have spent some time last week getting him ready and he would be the guy that would go in.
Q:When the quarterback decision was originally made, Eli said that these guys need to play and play substantial amounts rather than late in games. Did people relay that message to you?
A:I wasn't privy to any of that, so I'm really not going to go back to that. This is where we are today.
Q:Has he relayed that message to you in the past couple weeks?
A:The conversations in-house, I'm going to keep in-house. Just please respect me on that. This is what we're going to do right now. We just think it's good for where we're at and good for the organization going forward.
Q:What has Davis Webb shown as opposed to what he didn't show last week?
A:No. It was going to take a little bit more than – in my opinion. I'm not a quarterback guru. But, it was going to take more than just one week to say, 'Ok, if something happens to Eli Manning, he'll go.' So, we just needed a little bit of time.
Q:What is your confidence level and expectation if Davis Webb does get into a game?
A:I feel pretty good. I'd like to talk with Mike (Sullivan) and Frank (Cignetti) a little bit and get through the week. I've told you this before that he's been preparing. I see him in there all the time. So, there is some comfort level there, but you don't know until you get in a game.
Q:Do you think the Landon Collins and Eli Apple situation can be repaired and can they be teammates that can work together moving forward?
A:Yeah. I certainly am going to keep our conversations private, but based on what I was part of this morning, I would say absolutely.
Q:Eli Apple seemed separated from the defense on the sideline on Sunday. Is there some regret from you guys as coaches and front office personnel that you didn't handle this the best way you could have?
A:No, but I'm not going to get extensive on what we did, how we did it. I just think that is in-house, it's family. I realize this business is very public, but everybody is trying to do the best for the team and for the individual.
Q:Did you have a problem with the way Eli Apple handled himself on the sideline since he was off to the side by himself?
A:I didn't see that. I'm not aware of that. I'm always facing the other way.
Q:Will Eli Apple play cornerback on Sunday?
A:Yeah, I mean, we'll see. We got to go through the week of practice. We'll see when we get to the game.
Q:Eli Apple played 60 snaps in the game two weeks ago.
A:I don't know if it was that many.
Q:It was. 60 out of the 68.
A:Brandon (Dixon) got hurt.
Q:Eli Apple didn't start the game, but he played the whole game and the next week you said you wanted to keep the continuity. Why isn't he on the field as a first round pick?
A:Well, the way the practices went last week, we felt that the two guys that we played practiced better with the group and that's why we went in that direction.
Q:So, it was merit based?
A:Yeah. Yeah. No question. No question.
Q:Did you tell Landon Collins that you were disappointed in what he said on the radio?
A:I'm not going to go into the conversation that I had with Landon. I'd like to keep that private.
Q:Are you disappointed in what he said?
A:I'm not going to comment on that. Landon and I have a great relationship and I'm good.
Q:How much of the stuff that has gone on this season the result of losing?
A:Losing is frustrating and when frustration and emotions get involved, sometimes this happens and you hope it doesn't happen and you hope it's handled in certain ways, but it's part of growth. It was something I talked with the guys about and I do think all of it is growth. I think some good will come out of all of it. I truly believe that. We'll find that out later what it is.
Q:Guys who performed at a high level last season are in many ways guys those that have disappointed you the most this season. How do you rectify that?
A:You're not talking about specific people, but in general…
Q:Janoris Jenkins, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Landon Collins and Eli Apple were all guys you could rely on a year ago.
A:I don't know that I have an explanation for it. Sometimes, when the continuity doesn't click. I will say – just speaking defensively here because you brought it up. One thing I realized a couple weeks ago is that we've had – I value this in a defense -- is we've played with five different mike linebackers. I think that's hard to keep it, you know, that person in the center. Those great leaders like the Antonio Pierces and other guys that you see around the league. Luke Kuechly. I mean, they kind of keep it all together. It's hard for all of the guys when that changes a lot. That may be one of the reasons. And then, you'd have to ask the guys individually. Now, I do think that they were – like you were talking about Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins) who I saw this morning in the training room. I know part of what he struggled with is he had his ankle injury and it never really went away and he fought through it. Landon (Collins) fought through injuries. So, I think that – I don't want to make excuses – but, I think that had a little bit to do with some of the difference in play. That and a lot of moving pieces is what I remember throughout the whole season. I'm talking about just defensively. Kind of got hard to hit a groove.
Q:Janoris Jenkins' ankle doesn't affect showing up for practice though.
A:That one incident thing. Can I be honest with you? I really don't want to go back to - I don't want to rehash the whole…
Q:Just in general, it seems like there are so many controversies on the defense this year.
A:Yeah. It all came at once. All separate, individual incidents. Not one reflective of the other. Just all separate.
Q:When you look at Eli Apple as a young player dealing with things both on and off the field, do you see growth potential for him and do you think he can get through this and past this?
A:Maybe I think a little bit differently than most people, but I always believe that in a person, that something positive can happen. There can be positive change. I'm not a person that gives up on people just in general, so I certainly wouldn't do that in this case.
Q:Landon Collins insisted that he wanted to start the final games of the season. What was that conversation like with him when you talked to him about shutting him down and putting him on IR?
A:Well, he's got a broken arm.
Q:Was it emotion for him?
A:He's disappointed, but he understands.
Quarterback Eli Manning
Q:What are your thoughts going into the final game of the season?
A:Well, obviously just want to try to go out there in the last game and try to play well, move the ball, see if we can get a win and end on a positive note. Obviously, everybody knows it's been a tough season. It's been tough for everybody, tough on the players, coaches, ownership, management, fans. Obviously we've been out of the playoff picture for a few weeks now, but we've just got to have a good week of preparation, go out there and try to play at a high level.
Q:Looking back on the season as a whole, how difficult was it offensively to find consistency?
A:Yeah, it's just tough. I thought we were kind of getting there a little bit after the first couple games, kind of got [wide receiver] Odell [Beckham Jr.] back and kind of got everybody in their spots and were playing some pretty good games in the third, fourth, fifth week and then kind of hit the injury bug and some guys were going down. We just had to rally and find different ways to play and move guys around, get guys comfortable. Like you said, just not consistent. We've had some guys we've done okay, just haven't scored enough points.
Q:With Davis Webb being promoted to backup quarterback, have you been told anything about the plan for the game?
A:No. Just playing normal, as far as I know of.
Q:How are you approaching an offseason with uncertainty for the first time?
A:Well, you can't approach it yet. Right now, I'm just worried about this last game and then kind of go from there and see what happens.
Q:Is there extra motivation this week, playing against a division opponent?
A:Yeah, I think there's always incentive just to play and win. That's the goal and you want to end on a good note, especially after last week, and just try to play better football.
Q:Has the thought entered your mind that this could be your last game with the Giants?
A:You know, no. I think in football you never know when your last game is going to be. It's a physical game, so you always treat it like it's your last. So, I'm just going about it, try to play well and move the offense.
Q:After the game, do you think you'll take a look around and think this may have been your last game here?
A:I don't think. I'm sure I'll have other opportunities to be in that stadium down the road, if it is the last one.
Q:How confusing has this season been?
A:Well yeah, like I said, it's just been tough. Got off to a slow start and then we just lost some heartbreakers early in the year. Did some good things and then just in final minutes, fourth quarter, just lost some games that we could've won. And then just kind of hit the injury bug and like I said, it's been difficult and frustrating and tough, but we kind of hung in there and guys have competed and fought the whole time.
Q:What have you seen from Davis Webb in practice?
A:Davis does a good job, he's got a good feel for what's going on, he works hard and he's done a good job when he's gotten the opportunity to play.
Q:How much extra value would it be to end this season with a win?
A:Yeah, I mean I think it's feeling good about going out there, playing well, get a win and kind of be able to leave the stadium with a smile, or leave [the next day] with a little bit of a smile, knowing that it's been a tough ride.
Q:Do you think you will be consulted at all during the head coaching search?
A:No, I don't know. I think obviously they've got to get a new GM, I think the new GM will make some of those decisions and see how it goes. So, I don't know how it's going to play out.
Q:Is it unsettling for you that this is the first time in your career that there is some uncertainty entering the offseason?
A:No. Again, trying to finish this season and after that, I don't know what happens or how it all works, just going to wait and see.
Q:Is there some regret that after the team's last Super Bowl win in 2011, the organization has not been able to put a team together to contend for another one?
A:Well, hey, it's tough to get to Super Bowls, tough to win them. No, I don't have regrets. We've worked hard, we've competed. Last year made the playoffs, didn't win in the playoffs. So, I don't feel regret in any way.
Defensive Tackle Damon Harrison
Q:How do you look at the final game of the season?
A:I mean, it's a division game. Any game is an important game, but it being our last game of the year and us not having the type of year we expected to have, it'll be good to go out on a good note.
Q:What kind of challenges does the Washington offense present?
A:When you have a quarterback like Kirk Cousins – he can run the ball, he's great moving out of the pocket, throwing the ball on the run and he can make all the throws. So, anytime you have a good quarterback – it's a proven offense. They have really, really talented players on the outside, as well as the inside. So, it'll be a challenge.
Q:How much do you want to finish this season off with a win?
A:Well again, [the season] hasn't gone the way that we expected, so to be able to go out with a win, I think that'll provide a little momentum for all of us going into the offseason.
Q:How challenging has this year been?
A:Very. Like I said, we just didn't have the year that we expected. Anytime you're 2-13, I mean, nobody has anything to be proud of. But if we can get a win, I think that'll take us to the right direction heading into the offseason.
Tight End Evan Engram
A:It's up to how I feel definitely. Definitely going to try my best to get rehab everything this week and give it a shot from there.
Q:In terms of your injury, it's just bruised?
A:Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The x-rays were negative. Just some bruising around there and just some soreness.
Q:Did the injury happen on the deep pass?
A:No it happened – there was a play that Eli (Manning) kind of broke the pocket and it was kind of scramble-drill-ball. Caught on the sidelines. He came in for the great hit kind of on my back side, so definitely felt it then. Tried to fight through it a couple plays, couple possessions and just couldn't really. I was ineffective. I was useless out there.
Q:It wasn't on the interception then?
A:No. Probably made it a little bit worse on the interception. Kind of fell on it, but it was a couple plays before that.
Q:So, you were already hurt on the interception?
Q:Have you suffered a similar injury in college or is this the first time you've had something like this?
A:Last year, I pulled my hammy (hamstring) the second to last game. Yeah and couldn't go the last game. But, I've never had any rib injuries. It's bumps and bruises. This one is just probably just a real deep one. But, definitely last year was probably the closest thing to it – my hammy.
Q:How much do you want to play at this point?
A:I want to get out there and compete with my team. It's the last chance, last opportunity to fight together. This team and this locker room isn't going to be the same, so it's the last time. It's the last time that we get to go out there and fight together. So, I definitely am going to try everything in the book to get out there and fight with my brothers.
Q:Have you ever worn or are you considering a flack vest?
A:They have some rib protection stuff that we're going to experiment with, so I'm definitely giving all of that a look.
Q:Are you excited for Davis Webb getting the chance to get in a uniform on Sunday?
A:Of course. I mean, that dude – he definitely has been waiting for it. So, really excited for him to get out there and experience it and maybe even get out there and get some reps, so we'll see.
Q:Have you learned anything from watching Davis Webb this season and how he's handled not playing?
A:Yes. It's really mature. It's really strong. Eli Manning is our quarterback. I mean, Davis is my boy, but he's a rookie that just got into the league. So, definitely he's – that's the biggest thing I've seen from him is really embracing the opportunity he has to learn from Eli. Obviously he's a competitor and wants to get out there and compete, so definitely I know he's been itching and wanting a shot. I respect the heck out of Davis just the amount of work he's put in. How many times I've hit him up for helping me with some film stuff or questions. The dude has been tremendous all year. So, really proud of him and really excited to see what he can do.
Q:When Mike Sullivan goes up to him during the week and asks what are your favorite passes he goes anything to a tight end?
A:Oh yeah. I've been in his ear all season. I've been in his ear all season, but we'll see how it goes. We'll see.
Q:You're making investments.
A:Exactly. Planting that seed.
Quarterback Davis Webb
*Q: What changes now that you're the number two quarterback? *
A: Really nothing too much. It doesn't affect my preparation. I've been working all year as if I was actually going to play. So again, I've said it before in this environment that I go in every single week on Sunday's about 30 minutes before game time thinking I'm going to be the guy. So it doesn't really affect me at all. I'm just looking forward to helping Eli (Manning), last game of the year and help him enjoy some success with our teammates.
*Q: You'll be in uniform for the game. *
A: I am excited about that. It's never easy to work so hard and then at the last second say, you're not getting a jersey this week. That's been up and down. Again, I don't let it affect me. I try to be a good teammate and yeah, I'm excited about that.
Q: Has there been any game day where you've gone in thinking there would be a jersey in your locker?
A: Those are previous weeks. I don't know. It's been a few weeks since then so I just don't know. But right now, I'm excited about another opportunity, but again, it doesn't affect my preparation. I'm going to be up here late and help out Eli and the receivers and tight ends and running backs and help us win a game for our home fans on Sunday.
Q: Has your role changed with the two's?
A: No, no. I'm still behind Eli doing some air throws and getting mental reps and I'm just trying to be a good teammate. That's the only thing I'm worried about and working hard and again, that doesn't affect anything I'm doing.
*Q: How ready are you if you are put in the game at some point? *
A: I'm not sure. I've never played in an NFL game before. I have prepared very hard and I've taken pretty good notes from Eli and his routine, and Geno's (Smith), and talking to Coach (Frank) Cignetti, Coach (Ben) McAdoo, Coach (Mike) Sullivan guys who have been around good quarterbacks before so I've taken a little bit from all of them and kind of utilize it to my routine. So I think I'm doing just about everything I can do to be ready, but again, you never know until you play.
*Q: Do you look at it as a couple of snaps won't matter or do you think every snap matters? *
A: I look at it as whenever I have to go in, I better be ready. I think I'm prepared to be ready. Again, I don't think of it that way at all, it's out of my control. Since the moment I got here, we had a plan going in and I've kind of followed that plan and worked really hard at it. I haven't asked any questions, haven't complained about it, just worked hard and it's a big credit to Eli and Geno for helping me, Coach Cignetti, Coach McAdoo, Coach Sullivan for keeping me going because I haven't had a ton of reps throughout the year, but they're asking questions in meetings and I always have to be on my A game.
Q: What's the biggest change for you in practice this week?
A: Nothing much. Just a little more reps today, that's about it. My preparation hasn't changed. I'm still going to be up here late helping Eli and helping the receivers be successful on Sunday and just be a good teammate, work hard. Nothing affects it.
Q: Would it mean something to you to have a couple of snaps this season?
A: No because that school of thought is out of my control. The only thing I control is if I go in there, I want to be ready, I want to be prepared to help my team have a chance to win. That's the only thing I think about. I don't think of that along those lines. Some people do think that way, nothing wrong with that, it's just not how I'm wired.
*Q: Will it be disappointing if you don't get a chance to play? *
A: No, no because the New York Giants and everybody in the organization was pretty blatantly honest with me about what my preparation, what my goals are, what my season was going to look like and I said okay, let's do it. I'm going to work really hard, we'll see what happens. I'm going to try to get better and be the best quarterback I can be because that's all I can control. I think I've done that this far and I'm excited with where I am today.
*Q: The plan did change because initially the plan was for you to not play at all, right? *
A: Again, that's out of my control. I haven't wavered. I just keep coming up here, working hard, try to help Eli and Geno succeed. That's never going to change. I'm excited to see some new receivers come up, play hard. We got a good plan for this Sunday and I look forward to Eli spinning it.
Q: Will your pregame routine with the practice squad guys change?
A: I'm not sure. Coach Cignetti and I have not talked about that, but again it's too early in the week to talk about that. We'll probably talk about it Friday or Saturday.
Q: It might be ironic because you might be active, but you might have to do less work.
A: I don't know. We get after it pretty hard before games. It's a pretty rigorous workout so I don't know. Coach Cignetti and I will talk about that.
*Q: When and how did you find out you would be activated? *
A: I found out yesterday from Coach Cignetti, Coach Sullivan and Coach (Steve) Spagnuolo and we talked about it today. We had a good conversation and that's about it. Those conversations are private.
Q: Have you spoken to Pat (Mahomes)? He just got a promotion too.
A: Pat just told me that so I'm excited, I'm about to text him. I'm fired up for him because if Pat didn't tell me, I would have had no idea. So I'm excited for him, I hope he gets the W for Kansas City this weekend.
Q: Was it hard for you to stay patient and keep to the plan this year?
A: I mean it's never not easy. I'm not going to lie to you. It's not easy because I'm such a competitive human being so I find little ways in practice or even on pro days, you can ask some of the guys I take it pretty seriously so I try to find little things like that. But at the same time, it doesn't affect me because it's out of my control, I just try to work hard.
Q: Do you feel ready to step in?
A: That's a good question, I don't know. I've never played in an NFL game.
Q: But mentally speaking and knowing all of your assignments and all of that stuff?
A: I just don't know. I haven't been asked to do that, but at the same time, I feel like I've done a good job preparing and following the footsteps of veterans around here on defense or offense and see their study habits and the way they get ready for games. So I think I've done everything I could do thus far to be ready, but at the same time, you never know until it actually happens.
*Q: Have you thought at all about the team taking another quarterback in the draft this year? *
A: Yeah that's out of my control so not too much to worry about. I've done everything the Giants organization has asked me to do, I'm going to continue to do more, as much as I can to help our teammates enjoy success and help us win games on Sunday. That's the only thing on my mind.
Q: Do you believe you've done enough to convince them you're the guy?
A: That's a question you have to ask someone higher up. I can't answer that. But I do feel like I've done everything I can possibly do to be a good teammate and I'm going to continue to grow as a quarterback in this league.
Q: Do you think you can be a starter in this league?
A: Again, you never know until you actually play a game. So the only thing on my mind is helping Eli succeed on Sunday and enjoy success with all of us.