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Quotes (6/4): Shurmur, Shepard, Peppers

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

First day of minicamp. It was very competitive and very spirited. Very typical of the way the OTA's have been. We got a lot done today. A lot of red zone, a lot of third-down stuff, situational things we need to work on and have been working on. It is just a continuation in my mind of the OTA's to this point. It felt that way as well.

Q: What have you seen from the defensive line?

A: There is no contact, so it is really hard to fully evaluate both lines until we start banging around a little bit. We like the way they are moving around. There are some youthful guys that are in there and doing a good job. They are picking up the system really well. We are pleased with what we are seeing.

Q: What did you see from DeAndre Baker?

A: It was fast out there, so it was hard to see who was making the plays sometimes, but he has been doing that on a pretty steady basis. I think he has made a play or two at each practice. Again, just learning how to compete at this level. Unfortunately, you can't do a whole bunch of bump and run and press coverage, so the corners are at a little bit of a disadvantage. However, you need to learn to play off and for him to be able to make plays in those situations is good.

Q: Daniel Jones' option run?

A: Just a normal zone read. He took off running. We have had them in our offense depending on who the quarterback is and his skill set. That is always available to us. He looked good. Looked like he scored.

Q: His teammates seemed to appreciate it?

A: They did. I think it is fun. He has a red shirt on, so they aren't going to hit him. The initial part of the zone read was good. He got himself out in space pretty quickly.

Q: He did a bit of that in college right?

A: Yes, he obviously moves around well. He is down there around the 4.6 mark. I think he had 17 rushing touchdowns. He can move around and that is a huge part. If a quarterback can move around, not so much on just structured runs but the ability to be able to create a play within a passing play, I think he can do that.

Q: Is Evan Engram banged up?

A: Just a little sore. He is fine. He will be ready to go here soon.

Q: You had a bunch of guys on the bikes today.

A: Just minor things. No one long term. We feel good about having everyone back here soon and definitely by the time we start camp.

Q: Anything you look for in particular in a minicamp?

A: Yeah, it needs to be competitive. If one side of the ball is making all the plays, then I don't know what type of team you have. When the quarterback is trying to be aggressive with the ball and the defense is getting their hands on the ball and both sides of the ball are making plays and competing, it is a good thing. That means your team is coming together. I feel like at least till this stage of the offseason, we have done a better job in the practice settings, getting our hands on balls when we play defense. That is probably what I have seen.

Q:  What have you seen in Jabrill Pepper's development in terms of leadership?

A: It doesn't really apply to Jabrill because his leadership was felt immediately. He has a very charismatic personality and he loves to play the game. He picked up quickly what we were doing on defense well and he is extremely smart. He is very tough and very competitive. When you see guys like that on the field, you feel their presence immediately. He got to it quickly. 

Q: Do you like the trash talking at your practice?

A: I do. It is all in good spirits. They are competitive. If you get into it, compete and are smart about it, it is a good thing. I don't mind it.

Q: What is realistic for a defense that is as young as yours is?

A: We made a lot of changes. You have all documented it pretty well. We have made a lot of changes the last year and a half and a lot of the guys we have added are young. They have fresh legs and are good players. They are spirited guys that are out there competing. We are just going to go out there and play ball, see what happens.

Q: Do you have to accept that the young guys will make mistakes?

A: Nope. We don't accept mistakes, but we understand at times they happen. The mindset here, regardless of how old you are and how experienced you are, is listen, you play fast with no anxiety, you make a mistake, you admit it and you find a way to correct it and move on fast. That is the message for the guy that has played plenty of years, just like it is the message for the guy that just got here.

Q: What are you seeing from Paul Perkins?

A: I think he is doing a good job. He is just getting back into it. There are a lot of running backs, so he is sharing reps, but the things that he has done out there, it looks like he has good body control and he handles the ball well. I have been pleased with his route running and the few carries he has had; it appears he has good vision.

Q: Where is RJ McIntosh in terms of progression?

A: He is caught up. He is doing well. With defensive linemen, we will see more once we can get in more hitting situations. He is moving around well and has gotten much stronger since he has gotten here. He fits well in the defense and looks like he is getting himself right for training camp.

Q: Golden Tate? Rod Smith?

A: He is a pro. Much like I mentioned when I was speaking in regards to Jabrill, he fit in immediately. He is smart, has picked up what we are doing offensively and finds a way to make plays. He is a real veteran presence. He has made a heck of an impact. Rod Smith, same thing. I think he is a pro. He came in and he has learned our offense pretty quickly. There is less and less mistakes in each practice setting. He does a good job with the ball in his hands. He is a big presence and we all know a lot of what he does is on special teams. He is getting himself ready to go there.

Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard

Q: How do you feel about the increased reps? Do you feel your importance to this team has risen since the departure of Odell Beckham Jr.?

A: "Yeah, I think that's just naturally what's going to happen. He was such a big part of this offense. I guess I'm the next one up in line. We also have a lot of great other guys that can make plays as well. (WR) Golden Tate has been looking great out there at practice. (WR) Cody Latimer had some great plays today too."

Q: Have you had to change your preparation at all coming into this year given your expanded role, or maybe change your thought process coming into this year?

A: "No, not at all. I don't let pressure get to me too much. I feel like last season with Odell going out for those last five games kind of prepared me for what I was going to get into. The season before that as well with him going down with an ankle injury. I feel like it prepared me for this moment."

Q: How beneficial is it to have a coach like (Giants WR coach) Tyke Tolbert to help you through the process?

A: "He's coached a lot of great players and has been around the game for a long time. He knows what he's talking about, and it's great to just have a guy like that in your corner to learn from."

Q: Are you being asked to run different kinds of routes or different types of roles within the offense  than you were in the past?

A: "No, this is the type of offense that you have to be able to run every route in the book, no matter where you are – because you can line up wherever. It's things that I've been doing."

Q: What did you think about the rookie quarterback's (Daniel Jones) wheels today?

A: "Oh man, he pulled that thing and kicked the knees up, it was good (laughter). I knew we were going to get the defense on that, but yeah, he looked great running."

Q: Did you know he had that kind of speed?

A: "Yeah, I've heard a little bit about him in college, and I've seen some tape on him running. He crossed somebody up – I forgot which team it was in college – but he was carving them up pretty good on his feet."

Q: Some people have said you and Golden Tate have very similar skillsets. Do you see that at all? Or, do you feel like it's more unpredictable for the defense?

A: "Yeah exactly, you can move us around anywhere on the field. We're just natural playmakers. Wherever you put us, we're going to find a way to get open, and find a way to get the ball, and make things happen after the catch. That's what he's been great at his whole career – making things happen after the catch. I don't think that's going to stop now."

Q: (S) Jabrill Peppers has added a little bit of trash talk to the practice field. He said you give it back to him better than most people. What has he added in that element? Why is that apart of practice?

A: "I think it's important for us to go back and forth with each other. That's what's going to happen on gameday and on the field. Then, it just brings out the competitive edge of everyone. We go at it a lot, and I'm not one to back down or shy away from trash talk (laughter). We go at it, but I think it's all great for the team."

Q: You talked about the injuries Odell Beckham Jr. sustained the last couple seasons. Does that make it less strange him not being here now since you've had times where he wasn't here? Or, is it still a sense of weirdness?

A: "Yeah, it's still a little weird, it's an adjustment, but I'm focused on the guys we have here now. That's always going to be my brother until the end of this. I'm just focused on the guys that we have now. Like I said earlier, I feel like it prepared me for on the field, and just not having him out there."

Q: Where does the weirdness come from?

A: "Just his presence. He's a great guy, he's loved around this facility. Just his presence, I guess."

Q: Did you get points deducted for that fumble?

A: "I stepped out of bounds before he hit it out, so it doesn't count."

Q: Do you think Jabrill is going to add a lot to the defense with his ability to play three different positions?

A: "Yeah, I saw him out there at corner last week doing one on ones. He looks great out there too. I think his versatility is great for the team and just the energy he brings. He brings a lot of energy on the field and that's been since day one. He was a new guy, so having him bring that energy is great for us."

Q: How important is that to make these things fun?

A: "It is serious work, but at the end of the day, it is football. Something that we have been doing since we were five or six years old. It always been a fun game, so why change that now? We can make it fun out here but we have to get the work that we need to get done, done. I think everybody senses that."

Q: Did you do off-season throwing with Eli, I know he was at Ole Miss?

A: "It wasn't at Ole Miss. We came back to Jersey a little bit early and got a few throwing sessions in."

Q: A lot has been made about his focus this offseason and him being in the best shape of his life, have you noticed anything different from the first three off-seasons or same guy?

A: "Yeah, he's the same guy but I think he's just upped it a little bit more. I saw him after every single throwing session, he was doing a conditioning session without us. I've always seen him do conditioning, but afterwards he was getting after it, that was a little different from what I saw previous years."

Q: A lot has been said about the talented group of young defensive backs. As a receiving corps, are you guys enjoying testing them and pushing them to see exactly what they've got?

A: "Of course. We want to find out the guys that are going to be able to ball on Sundays for us. We're not going to let up on them as receivers in any way. We've got to get our work done. Like I said, we want to see the guys that are going to be able to help us out as a team on Sundays."

Q: What do you think when you see so many young guys on defense? Six or seven key guys are going to be first- or second-year guys.

A: "I like it, it's great for the future. You are talking about guys that are ballers, they are not just average guys. I know they haven't had as much experience as other guys, but the way they are looking, it's going to be great for us."

Safety Jabrill Peppers

Q: How has it been working with (Antoine) Bethea?

A: It has been tremendous, it has been tremendous. A guy who has played that much football in this league, definitely fortunate and he definitely knows what he's doing. Any chance I get to pick his brain and see what he does well, what methods work well for him, that's what I'm gonna do. I have no problem asking. He has no problem relaying information I need, so it has been great.

Q: You seem like you're having a lot of fun and bringing a lot of enthusiasm to the field, how much work is that?

A: You always have to remember this is a blessing to be able to play this game and get paid for it. No matter how hard the days get, you don't gotta do it, you get to do it. There's a lot of guys that would love to get this opportunity that we have. Whenever you don't feel like doing it, you just gotta bring yourself, something has to come over you to just (say) this is a blessing to be out there. That's what I try to do, even some days I don't feel like doing it. Once I get out there, that pretty much goes away and diminishes. It kinda comes naturally.

Q: Is it hard to come to a new situation, a new team, all new teammates and be that guy that brings the energy?

A: Not really. If that's who you are regularly, it kinda comes natural. I'm pretty much from here, so I already had a familiarity with the place. All I had to do was gel with the guys and learn the playbook.

Q: How excited are you that you are back home?

A: It's definitely exciting. I had some of my best years here, I hope to keep the streak going.

Q: Couple of the offensive players have said you really increased the trash talk on the field, why is that a part of practice?

A: Just to see how easy it is to get in guys' heads. I know how defenses play the game, so if they are used to it in practice, they will be used to it in the game, and to see how they respond. Competition brings the best out in everybody. It never hurts a little bit.

Q: Anybody ever tell you let's ease up on that a bit?

A: Not yet, I kinda know how to teeter that line.

Q: Who gives it back to you the best on the offense?

A: Right now, probably Shep and Saquon.

Q: Is there a sense of pressure at all in the fact that you are going to be one of the faces of the franchise because of the trade?

A: Even before the trade, I was saying that I have to pick up the play, it's year three. You definitely gotta pick up the play to be at the level I know I need to play at, and this organization needs me to play at. Regardless how I got here, I'm here, and I'm ready to play my best ball, work as hard as I can and help this organization win ball games on Sundays.

Q: Were you disappointed with your playing time with the Browns, you sent out a tweet a couple weeks ago?

A: In the grand scheme of things, I didn't really realize it. Looking back on it, more plays means more opportunities to make plays. Everything happens for a reason, I still think I did pretty well. I can definitely take it up a notch.

Q: How do you feel like your role is in this defense, in terms of how you are being used here?

A: I love it so far. Playing various spots, populating the ball, dropping back in coverage. Me and AB are two interchangeable guys. We can definitely mix up the looks, hold disguises, things like that. It should definitely be fun.

Q: One of the things that's been said about you is your versatility, that you are used in a number of roles. Do you have a sense that that's going to be the case here, are you going to play a number of different spots?

A: I believe so. Week in and week out, everything is probably going to go by game plan. Coach Bettch is a smart guy, he figures out where to put us and we gotta make him look good by making the plays. I'm not really too worried about it right now, just learning the playbook, learning as much as I can, soaking it all in, so if he does need me to play multiple spots, it won't be too much of a shock to me.

Q: What do you like about this system?

A: The aggressiveness, the mixture of coverages. You could be playing two different coverages on one set down. Things like that, there's always knuckleballs, curveballs, and he's an aggressive play caller. You love to play for guys like that.

Q: Out of all the roles, which one do you like the best?

A: I like all of them. You knew I was going to say that. Just to keep the offense guessing about what I'm doing, what AB is doing. Even with the backers, even with corners. If you just know what you are supposed to do, know where your help is and play to your strengths, I think you will be pretty good in this defense.

Q: They talk about offensive mismatches in this league, can you do that defensively, can you be a mismatch?

A: I definitely think I can do a lot of things defensively. My main thing is I'm going to be competitive wherever they put me. Whoever it's on, that's my answer on that.

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