RB Saquon Barkley
*Q: Are you surprised by the news of what happened with Coach (Pat) Shurmur? *A: Yeah, I was surprised by it. Upset, we're all upset. I've been preaching all season whenever anyone asked me about what I think about if our coaching staff are the right people, I always kept saying it's easy to point the finger at one person. But at the end of the day, kind of like what DG (Dave Gettleman) said in the meeting, we're all responsible. We're all responsible for these last two seasons. Coach Shurmur is a heck of a person, heck of a coach, and definitely helped me develop over these last two years.
*Q: How hard was it today when you heard the news? *A: Very hard. It sucks. That's your coach. He's one of the guys that believed in me, believed in DJ (Daniel Jones), for us to get here and live our dreams of playing in the NFL. You don't want to see anybody go out like that. It sucks because, like I said, you point the finger at one person. It wasn't all him, it's all of us. We just need to take that and learn from the lesson, and in the future, to be better.
*Q: I think it's probably just another reality of the NFL that as you move on in your career, that these things happen at this level? *A: Yeah, definitely a hard reality. You understand what the NFL is, it's a business. At some points, it's going to happen to everybody. No matter if you go out your first year and as a rookie, you get cut, or you're in year 12. At some point, it's going to come to an end. You just have to cherish the moments, cherish the time you have in the locker room with your coaches and with your teammates, and try to take full advantage of the opportunities you have.
*Q: As it relates to you individually, as you take full inventory at the end of the season on your season, what would you say you were good at? What do you want back? What do you need to work on? *A: I have to work on everything. I'm always going to find a way to work on everything. I want to bring a championship to this city, to this team. I want to be a main reason why. It's not only one person that's going to do it. I know it takes a team. But that's my mindset. That's my goal in my career. I believe I have the talent to be one of the best to do it. The guys that drafted me here, they believe in me. It wouldn't be right for me not to have that mindset and that work ethic to go out there and try to be the best that I can be, not only for myself but for my teammates. That's what I'm going to continue to do.
*Q: How do you approach the uncertainty now of who's going to come in as head coach?
*A: I mean yeah, that's up for grabs. Like I said, when you guys asked me if Coach Shurmur is going to get fired, I said that's above me. Whoever they bring in here, I hope they just bring in a guy that has the right mindset and is going to lead us to try to turn this thing around. For me, I just keep that same approach. I'm going to take the lessons I've learned from the coaching staff here and from Coach Shurmur, to try to continue to help, and not only help me as a player, but as a leader and try to benefit my team for us to get moving in the right direction.
*Q: Do you believe in this franchise going forward? Do you think you'll find a way? *A: Yeah. I believe, 100 percent believe, we're one of the best franchises in the world, not only in football. Not only football, but in all sports. It's the New York Giants. What we've been producing the last couple of years is unacceptable. We're going to get back to having that Giants pride and being known for what the Giants are known for.
*Q: When a coaching change happens like this, do leaders such as yourself feel an extra need to step up another step as a leader? *A: Definitely. Definitely feel an extra need to step up. But you also feel like you're part of the reason why that coaching change happened. That's why it's a disappointment. You just have to continue to go with it, continue to work, continue pushing yourself and everyone around you to get this thing turned around.
QB Eli Manning
*Q: What's your reaction to the firing today? *A: Coach Shurmur and I had a great relationship. I think he is a great coach, I think he is a wonderful man and (I'm) just disappointed. I think you always feel responsible when a coach gets fired. It's obviously because as players we didn't do our part. We didn't play well enough, we didn't win enough games. I feel for him and all the coaches. They worked hard and did a lot of hard work and a lot of good things. Obviously, just didn't win enough games for them to stay on and move forward, so (I'm) disappointed.
*Q: Talk about your emotions coming into this locker room after what could have been your final game as a Giant? *A: Obviously, it's kind of tough to know how you are going to feel on this day. I think it takes a little time for it to truly sink in. I have so many fond memories and that's the great thing about football. You can reflect on the good things and you can choose what to remember and what to forget. I'm going to choose to remember the wins and the fellowship here with my teammates and coaches. From the past season and from the 16 seasons prior. Too many great memories and laughs and wins and celebrations to worry about the tough parts.
*Q: Have you made a decision officially on what you are going to do? *A: No, I haven't. I am going to think about it. Just dwell on it and talk to my family and figure out what's best for me and us and what I want to do going forward.
*Q: Do you have a time table on when you want to make that decision? *A: I don't. No plans, just sit on it and hopefully have that answer on what I want to do and what my next steps are. I don't want it to linger around, I want to try to make that as soon as possible. I'll think upon it a bunch these next days and weeks and try to figure out what I want to do.
*Q: How serious of an option is retirement? Is that one of the options? *A: Everything is an option. That's the first decision, whether I want to continue to play or not. Then go from there.
*Q: Do you think you have some quality football left in you? *A: That's what I'll decide and try to figure that out. I think I can still play but I'll figure everything out.
*Q: You have always said you can't see yourself in another uniform. If a team said you can compete for a starting job, is that something you would have to consider? *A: That will come into the consideration. That's what I will be thinking about these next couple of days.
*Q: What's your message to Daniel Jones? *A: I thought Daniel did a lot of really good things this year. It's hard coming in as a rookie and playing. I think he had some unbelievable games. Obviously he had some tough games. I think in the future it will be good for him. I remember after my rookie year it was terrible and it wasn't very good. Then the next year we go 11-5 and win the division. I think he will be so much more comfortable going into next season. I know there will be a new coach and maybe he will be learning new things. He'll have that presence and have that experience and he will be better for it.
*Q: I know you didn't enjoy being a backup but if the Giants wanted you to come back in that role, would you consider it? *A: I doubt it. Backing up is not real fun.
*Q: After 16 seasons, what are you most proud of? *A: It's easy to say the championships and I think those are special memories. I think just the work every day, came in committed to getting better and finding ways to win games and to improve myself and improve my teammates. I'm proud of the friendships and being a good teammate to all the guys that came in here. Trying to help out anybody who needed help and work. I think the commitment was there and sometimes you got the result, sometimes you didn't. I think I always gave myself, this team, and this organization everything I had.
*Q: Would you every consider coaching? *A: I don't think so. I felt like I was kind of a coach this year and I didn't enjoy it that much. I guess I take it back, I am coaching my third-grade basketball team with my daughter. I'm the assistant but I take it pretty serious and I'm enjoying that. I'll consider some coaching jobs.
QB Daniel Jones
*Q: How did the firing of your head coach hit you? *A: It's tough. Obviously, that's I guess part of the business and part of being at this level. But it's tough on me, tough on all of us.
*Q: What are you feeling right now? *A: Just disappointed. Coach (Pat Shurmur) obviously believed in me, Coach believed in all of us, and it's disappointing. I'm grateful to him for the opportunity. I think he's an excellent football coach and I really appreciate what he's done for us.
*Q: When something like this happens, do the players feel a part of it, as though they're responsible as well? *A: Absolutely, no question. It's a tough deal, but everyone is responsible. The players are very, very largely responsible for how this season has gone. I certainly feel responsible, and I think that's the tough part. That's the way we should feel and that's the way it is. Everyone on this team feels that way. We have to use that to motivate us going into the offseason and make sure that we're not in this position next year.
*Q: He addressed you guys. Can you give us a little bit of insight into what that was like? He addressed you guys as a team? *A: He did, yeah. He let us know of the situation and told us that he appreciated us, our effort. Coach's class and just who he is as a man was always apparent. It was apparent in that meeting also. I think the world of him. I have the ultimate amount of respect for him as a coach and as a person.
*Q: Is it important to you that the next head coach be a quarterback guy, have a quarterback background? *A: That's not necessarily up to me and well above my pay grade. My job is to work as hard as I can to improve, to learn the system and work with the next coach.
*Q: In that vein, obviously, you're not making the decision, but what kind of general characteristics would you be hoping for that the new head coach would have? *A: I don't know. Just an energy and excitement for this team. I think the next head coach will do that. I trust the people making that decision. Like I said, my job is to work as hard as I can to learn the system and to continue to improve as a player.
*Q: Going into the future, you're the franchise quarterback. How do you accept the responsibility of being the quarterback of the New York Giants? *A: Just work hard every day to improve. Where we are right now as a team, where I am right now as a player, is not where we need to be. I feel that, I think this team feels that. If we want to get where we want to go, we're going to have to use this, to learn from this. Otherwise, the season would have been pointless. We need to use it to motivate us, use it to improve going into the offseason.
*Q: There are going to be several head coaching positions open in the NFL. What do you think makes the Giants' opening so attractive? *A: I think, one, it's a historic franchise with a lot of tradition. This team has a chance to, like I said, continue to improve. We have guys who can build a special team, be a part of a special team, and that's our goal. We're excited about this team. We know we have an opportunity to be special and we're determined to do that. I think just the opportunity to be a part of this organization, this historic organization, is something anyone would be excited about.
*Q: Eli's (Manning) tenure here is basically over. Can you just encapsulate what his influence has been like for your growth this year? *A: Eli's done a ton for me. Since the day I got drafted, he welcomed me and did everything he could for me to help me grow, help me develop. I can't say enough about what I think about him as a person. I'm just grateful to have spent the time I've gotten to with him and learned as much as I have.
*Q: What does your offseason look like? Will you be mostly up here, mostly in the Charlotte area, mostly in Alabama training? Where will you be? *A: I think I'll be mostly up here. Back and forth some. I plan on being at Duke a little bit, and like you said, in Mobile some. I'll spend most of my time up here though.