Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher
Opening Statement: I'll tell you what, these last two days of practice, we come out here to work and I know that wins are the most important thing, but I've also been on teams that have been double-digit win teams this time of year and I will say this, and I've said this probably over the last month, I love the mental makeup of this group. They are competing, they're practicing hard, they're working with a purpose, with a high intent. I see individuals getting better, now we just need to take it to the collective. That's what needs to happen on game day, it needs to take to the collective. The rush needs to work for the coverage. We need to sack the quarterback when we have opportunities to sack the quarterback, we need to knock the ball away when we have an opportunity when we're in coverage. That's the next thing that needs to happen for the progress that we see on a daily basis in practice to show up. I'm sure you're going to ask questions about Jack, about Janoris (Jenkins), but let me just say this about Janoris Jenkins, you noticed it today at practice, he competes every day. Since I've been here and had an opportunity to work with him, he has competed on a daily basis for me and for his teammates. If you were here and watched some of the walk-thru, you'll see him grabbing young players, our young corners, and leading them around and making points to them of what he's looking at, of what he recognizes, and him and I have a really good relationship. I have been places where we traveled all the time and I've been here where we've traveled at different times and in the course of different games and different situations. The philosophy on that is if it works for everyone, it's a great thing to do. If it works to where it allows our best guy to be on their best guy, but at the same time, the other guys that are on the field playing to have their feet settled and able to play the downs in whatever those man or zone, or whatever coverages you want to run on them, then it's great. And we weigh those things when we make the decision, what's best for the collective group. Again, I love Jack, love working with him, he's been competing his butt off and I look forward to him having a strong finish to the rest of the season.
*Q: Did Mike Evans play any impact on maybe thinking that it wasn't the best decision for everybody, including Janoris, to have him travel? *A: No, I think again the decision is on the collective, not on the one guy. It was the same way if I go back to my time in Arizona when I had Patrick (Peterson). If it would not have been the best thing to do for everyone, we wouldn't have done it.
Q: Is that part of the youth? You have so many young guys back there, I think four rookies or first year players, that they just don't have the experience, to ask them to move around more than they have to is detrimental?
A: I think that, again, you look at the collective and whatever those reasons are. I've seen young guys that are fast to pick up, I've seen Julian Love the last couple weeks and he gets in there and he's fast to react, fast to respond, fast to communicate. So, I don't know that it's youth, it's just you look at each situation, maybe even each week separately. When we traveled all the time, there were weeks we didn't travel because it wasn't maybe best for some of the stuff that the opponent did.
Q: Had he asked you about why he didn't travel before he went public with his issues?
A: Him and I have great conversations, constant communication, and that's what I'll say.
Q: You mentioned Love, do you watch him the last two weeks and think, "You know what, maybe we should have made a move earlier to get him on the field?"
A: I think part of how Julian's playing right now is the fact that he's worked the process all along. Four weeks ago, eight weeks ago, I saw a guy that was in the meeting with his feet on the ground, taking great notes, paying attention, asking A.B. (Antoine Bethea) questions, asking questions in the position meeting room. When we were doing walk-thru, he might not have been getting the reps, but he was back behind taking mental reps and building for his moment, so that when his moment came he was able to play as fast as his mind would allow him to. I think that's why he's playing like he is right now, because in the moments that led up to it, he was doing the work that he needed to do. So, to directly answer that question wouldn't be right because every player would be potentially different, but if you work the process during the process like he did, this is what tends to happen. I'm proud of him, I'm excited for him as we go through the last four weeks of the season.
* Q: Does it make you wish you had that luxury to work the process with Baker, Ballentine and all the young guys?*
A: I think one of the first times we talked at the very beginning of the year we talked about when you develop rookies it's not just back pedal, break. It's in the meeting room, how you take notes, the film you have to watch when you go home. When you watch the tape what are you looking at when you watch the tape? I think there's a distinct process. I think that's why players generally that make it and play a long time in this league, their prime years are three, four, five and six because they build their process. I'm not saying anything about a luxury of playing or not playing. I just think as players play more they are able to take good things they do, mistakes they make and learn from them. That's how they build their process and build themselves into being able to use some of the talents they have to play at a high level.
Q: You've had Leonard Williams now for about a month. Are you getting what you expected out of him? Is there more you want to see from him?
A: I have seen great energy. Today at practice he was flying around, he brought great juice. He has things in his game that he's working on to get better at. I thought this past game, he was even more disruptive for us, I thought he did some really good stuff. This last month of the season he needs to keep trending in the direction he's going. I've used the words as we've talked before, using his prescription to get better at those specific things that we talked about that needs to get better at. I do like the direction he's in.
* Q: He doesn't show up a lot on the stat sheet. Does that matter to you at all? Do you need him to get those tackles and sacks and the numbers that everybody else sees?*
A: I think that all of us would say we would love for him to have 10 sacks. I think he would love to have 10 sacks. I think before that happens, disruptive plays happen. Plays where he is changing the math, he's getting the quarterback to drop his eyes, moving him off his spot, changing the run lane on a run down. Those are things that you see him do. The other stuff, I believe for him it will come.
Q: From a rushing defense stand point, the last three games opponents are under three yards per carry. What changed there and are you surprised that making teams one dimensional like that hasn't helped the pass defense?
A: I'm a yards per rush (guy) that's what matter the most. Through the course of the season, when we've been the number one run defense in the league before, that was the number. It wasn't yards per game rushing. If someone rushes it 20 times for 150 yards or run it 30 times for 150 yards that changes the number of times they are willing to throw the ball. Obviously, when people throw the ball yards per pass attempt is obviously a higher number. I'm excited that it's gone in that direction that we have been getting better and better. I think some of that is we've been better with our gap leverage. We've been better with our eyes on pullers at the second level. Those are things that we've tried to identify and work in practice as much as we can.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula
Q: How does your new quarterback (Eli Manning) look so far?
A: He looks good. He's had a good week. He always has a good look in his eye. He's been great for me as a coach, to be around. I've learned a lot from him. I look forward to watching him on Monday night.
Q: He's never had to do this before. After six, seven, eight weeks, 10 weeks I guess, of sitting around watching and getting ready. What's the challenge for him to do that?
A: I don't really think there is one. Obviously, he's practiced every day. He's gotten himself ready mentally and physically. It's just a matter of getting back out there. We're going to be on the road, obviously, and so just the communication probably. He hasn't done that in a while. But other than that…
Q: How has Daniel (Jones) handled this week? He seems like a guy that doesn't want to be on the sideline.
A: Obviously, he wants to play. He's upset that he's hurting and probably won't (play). We talked to him about, 'Hey, get healthy as fast as you can. In the meantime, prepare this week just like you're going to play.' But he's been good. We have great guys in that room, like I've said all year long.
*Q: We saw him go into the tent during the game, so obviously we knew he was hurt then. Did he express to you how much pain he was in or did you know what he was playing through? *A: Well, we kind of watched like everyone else watched. He's very quiet. The fact that he's quiet and he's new, it's kind of hard to… there are lot of things to get to know. We watched him in college play with some tough injuries and get back early. He's a tough guy and he's a quick healer from what I've seen.
Q: How close do you think he is to getting back on the field? He's not in the boot.
A: I just listen to the trainers. We listen.
* Q: What changes are there in the play calling from Daniel to Eli?*
A: Just like Coach (Pat Shurmur) said, very few things. We might not have him running the ball like we did with Daniel on the one. But other than that, really nothing. Eli obviously knows our offense so well, and Daniel is really doing a good job of, even when he wasn't playing, just of… We've given him probably more than we've given any other rookie as far as volume, putting things on his shoulders more so than other rookie quarterbacks.
Q: Do you believe that time off could help a rookie quarterback, sitting and watching for a week or more?
A: I believe playing really is the best way to continue to learn. But I think you can learn in all areas, and he'll take full advantage of that.
Q: What about for Eli, the sitting so to speak? What kind of effect do you think that will have on him, a guy who's never done that before?
A: Yeah, I don't really think so. I don't think it won't be, I just think it's a matter of getting back out there, getting that first snap and going. It's kind of like, probably the same question you would ask me if we had taken a break from the end of OTAs to training camp, that type of thing. But like I said earlier, probably being on the road, the communication, making sure we're really, really detailed, loud and clear and things like that.
Q: It looks like you're finally going to have all of your receivers with Golden (Tate) and even Evan (Engram) likely coming back. How do you see that playing out, and Darius Slayton sort of fitting in the mix with those guys?
A: Yeah, I think what it does is it allows us to not necessarily go and feature one guy. I think it presents, hopefully for the defense, it presents a personnel grouping of, 'Hey, we need to be careful here because if we focus our attention on this guy, then we have a one on one on that side,' or 'If we try to go split safeties, two-deep shell, where we're trying to umbrella coverage or we're trying to help out in cover, now we have to be careful about Saquon (Barkley) running the ball.' Hopefully, that's what it presents. That's obviously why they're here and what we're trying to do offensively. But it's a matter of us, more so than anything else, just executing what we have and guys making plays when it's their turn. We're going to have some one on ones. We have to win the one on ones, just like every coach tells every player every week. Then take advantage of any kind of looks that they might give us.
Q: Does it cut into Slayton's plays or usage a little bit, his playing time because you have those three guys together?
A: I don't think so. Sometimes, it might happen during the natural course of a game. For the quarterbacks, I think it's helpful that we have all our guys because now you don't worry about… you just kind of go through your reads and find the one on one, or find the zone areas where guys aren't favoring that side, things like that. You can try to keep balance across the field.
* Q: What has Kaden Smith showed you?*
A: He's done a good job each week getting better. He's still learning the offense. He knows the offense, he's a smart guy. But just all the kind of little adjustments that you make last minute or just coverage tweaks or things that the quarterbacks might be looking for. I think he's, from what we've seen, just going to continue to get better. He's proven that he can make some plays and catch the ball, make contested catches and hold onto it. Hopefully he'll stay on that trend.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
*Q: Obviously, we focused on Aldrick (Rosas) a lot, and we saw him in the snow and he makes three. What was it like to see that? *A: It was good. It was really good. We were talking about that the other day, as a staff, just in those conditions to be able to do what he did. Just to kind of move and operate a new operation, it was really good. It's obviously a confidence booster for him and just trying to get back on track.
Q: How much do you think the whole new operation was a reset for him?
A: He worked through it very well, all three of those guys are pros. They are good guys, they are good people to work with. He just, like you said, he just hit the reset button. It was just one of those deals like he just had to get used to seeing the ball, seeing the ball where it's going to be, where it's going to be, and getting comfortable with it. They just kept working. We had a bunch of reps last week, it was good.
Q: Is he wired a little differently? He looks a lot different than your average kicker. It seems like he doesn't let things get to him?
A: Yeah, he's very, I wish all kickers had that kind of mentality. It doesn't matter to him. If the football is on the ground, he's going to kick it. He's a hard charging bull, just a big strong man. He doesn't let a lot of stuff phase him. He doesn't get too high, doesn't get too low, he just kind of stays even keel, which is what you want.
Q: What did you see from Da'Mari Scott?
A: What we see in practice, just being able to catch the ball and get vertical. Da'Mari is a very talented young kid, he hasn't had a lot of reps of it in the past, but he's been practicing it for the last year and half. In the preseason before he left, we were going to feature him, and it just didn't work out. We saw it all spring, he's dynamic with the ball in his hands.
Q: Now that we have some finality on Zak (DeOssie), at least for this season, you go way back. I don't know what the future holds, but what has he kind of meant for this team?
A: So, me and Zak came in together in '07, it was my first year as an assistant here. Basically, we kind of raised him as a rookie. He was the first long snapper I had that went to the Pro Bowl. He's meant a ton to this organization. This guy, he's been a constant pro, he's been a great leader, a great teammate, and is just a selfless person. It's kind of hard to describe, really, and give it true justice, the kind of guy that he is, the kind of teammate that he's been. He'll definitely be missed, definitely.
Q: Does it hurt your punt coverage team not having someone screaming as a guy goes to makes a fair catch?
A: (Laughter) Yeah, he brought that element to it along with his speed, especially when he was younger, which were his old linebacker days. But he did a great job and we wish him nothing but the best.