Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: Alright. Nothing to lead with. I’ll just try to answer your questions.
Q: From an on-field standpoint, what do you do with Golden Tate now? Does he take less first team reps so the guys who are actually going to play the first four games can work with Eli (Manning)?
A: He’s going to work and get his work in. He’ll appear there with the one’s at times. We’ll just keep moving forward.
Q: What’s your reaction to losing him for the first four games of the season?
A: It is what it is. This isn’t the first time a player has been suspended. He went through the process to try to appeal it and all. We just won’t have him for four weeks, so you move on. You make adjustments, and then wait for him to get back in Week Five.
Q: You kind of signed him to fulfill a specific role, though. You got rid of Odell (Beckham Jr.). Golden was going to be the starter here. How do you fill that void now?
A: With another receiver. That’s how we do it. It’s unfortunate, this situation. He will not be with us for a month, so we’ll fill that void with another player.
Q: That seems pretty simple. There are not guys with his resume. You don’t have five guys with his resume just sitting there, ready to throw in.
A: It’s just that simple. It’s unfortunate. There are times when you have injuries, and you have to adjust on the fly. This is a situation where it’s a suspension, so we adjust on the fly. It is just that simple.
Q: Do you use multiple people to replace him on certain routes that are run better by certain guys?
A: We do. I think the players are somewhat interchangeable. Golden Tate is a player that obviously works well in the slot, but he also works well outside. We have other players that can do that. (Sterling) Shep is a guy that’s worked well outside and then worked well in the slot. You make adjustments. Really when you talk about skill players, you don’t have the same skill players for all 16 games. Those are the adjustments you make each week. We’re aware of the fact that we won’t have him for a month, so we adjust.
Q: With all of the emphasis on eliminating distractions, does this bother you going into the season with something like this?
A: You just move on. It’s just like anything that happens to a team. So, you just move on and adjust.
Q: For culture purposes, do you have to reiterate to players that this kind of stuff won’t be tolerated?
A: For culture purposes? He’s been very honest and open about what happened. Golden’s a great teammate. Yeah, obviously they need to be smart. Players need to always know what they’re putting in their bodies. It’s a constant reminder, but I think they all know that.
Q: Several years back, Golden made a comment. There was a guy on his team that was suspended, and he called it ‘selfish.’ I think that’s why he’s saying ‘do you have to address it with the guys,’ maybe it can be viewed that way by guys on this team now.
A: No, I don’t view it that way. I wasn’t around him when he made that comment. I know what happened behind-the-scenes with this suspension. I think you have to look at these as separate incidents, and you move on.
Q: Different from an injury, though, are you disappointed that a guy, through a conscious action, put himself in jeopardy and now has to disqualify himself for a quarter of your season. When you guys signed him, there was celebration in your building about what he would represent to your team. Are you disappointed that through his actions he now can’t be there for a month?
A: I think he’s been very honest about why this happened. Unfortunately, he won’t be with us. That’s really how simple it is, quite frankly.
Q: Do you believe him? Do you believe his explanation?
A: I do. Absolutely. I totally believe him. He told me exactly what happened, the timeline of things, and he was very open and honest when anybody asked him any questions behind the scenes. I do believe him.
Q: In terms of when you split Saquon (Barkley) out wide, what do you like about being able to do that? What about his skillset allows you to do that?
A: I think it’s sort of the obvious. He puts pressure on the defense being outside of the backfield in a detached position, because they have to decide how they want to cover him. I also think he does such a good job of catching the ball that it’s another way to get him in space.
Q: Do you expect any of the injured players to play Friday night? Alec Ogletree? Sam Beal?
A: Those two, probably not.
Q: DeAndre Baker?
A: Probably not.
Q: Is playing Daniel (Jones) behind the (starting) offensive line still a priority this week, or was that just a Week One thing?
A: Possibly. I do plan on playing all four quarterbacks, like I did last week. We’ll see. I’d like to see Eli get a little bit more time. We’ll just see how that plays out. But there’s a chance that he could play behind the one (offensive) line.
Q: Would you like to get Daniel a bigger chunk of action than he got against the Jets?
A: Yeah. The plan, obviously, last week was to play him longer. But with the delay, I shut down that whole group and restarted with a new group. That was the idea. Ideally, the way last week played out would have been for Eli to play a few more plays, and then Daniel Jones to play a few more plays.
Q: When Corey Coleman went down, you guys signed TJ Jones. You still didn’t know about Golden’s situation. Did you sign a guy like Jones, with his resume, with a kind of longer view, knowing that he could be a guy to step up with the ones during the first month?
A: To your point, we signed him because we liked him, regardless of moving forward. We felt like he was a guy that could come in, compete, and make our team, regardless of who we had on the roster. It was more of replacing Corey at that time. When you have a player that’s going to miss a month, then it kind of elevates the guys behind him. One of those guys may be a guy that’s here for a month until Golden gets back.
Q: You didn’t bring him to be a camp guy. There are some guys who kind of just rotate at the bottom of the roster. Did you have higher expectations for TJ Jones?
A: We had high expectations. Yeah, but we also have a lot of young receivers that we felt like had a chance to progress from what they did a year ago and make our team. That’s sort of the way our core is right now.
Q: Given how valuable Saquon is, how tempted are you to keep him out for the rest of the preseason games?
A: You make a good point. He’s a valuable player, so we’ll just have to see as time goes on if he’s going to play in these games. I gave you a clue on the quarterbacks this week. I’ll let that reveal itself.
Q: Saquon said he’s comfortable not playing. He essentially did it last year. Does that factor in?
A: Yeah, I just want to be smart. I want to do what’s best. I think as we go through it, you see the good work he’s getting in practice. We just want to continue to do that.
Q: In the third game, most teams play their starters longer than they do (during the rest of the preseason). Will this likely be Daniel’s biggest workload in the second week, given the circumstances and the situation?
A: I don’t know that. I think Daniel’s going to play throughout (the preseason). We’ll just have to see how it plays out. I think it’s important for him to compete in all four of the games, and certainly you’d like him to get as many reps as you can as he gets himself ready to play.
Q: When a team is learning how to win, how do you coach that? How do you coach learning how to pull out a close game in the fourth quarter, for example? How do you do that during training camp and practice?
A: We practice it and we talk about it all the time. As you get near the end of practice, you talk about, ‘Okay, now it’s time to finish, so let’s make sure the execution is good,’ so on and so forth. Then when you do it, you have to just do it in the games. You learn to do it. I think you also bring in players that have done it before, so you have more guys on your roster that are aware of what that process entails. Then you put the ball down and you play. That’s where we’re at.
WR Golden Tate
Q: You seem surprised by the ruling, why is that?
A: I just thought after we looked at the facts and the situation that the NFL would be understanding. It’s kind of a non-tolerance policy. They upheld the suspension.
Q: What was the substance?
Q: How did you find out that wasn’t allowed?
A: A few weeks after my test, I went back and spoke to the doctor. Initially, the doctor said it was not a banned substance. In fact, he had given it to other NFL players, which is why I trusted it and kept living my life. I was out to dinner one night with a guy who worked for me and he started talking about another player who was getting suspended for something completely different. A light went off in my head and I said let me call the doctor to make sure, to make myself feel better. I asked him what the active ingredient was and he looked it up right then and there and sure enough it was a banned substance.
Q: How frustrating is it, this decision that was rendered here?
A: It’s very frustrating. I have no problem with accepting the punishment. I’m responsible for what’s put into my body, ultimately. The tough thing I am dealing with is I’m letting down a lot of people. My family, the guys in the locker room, the people in the organization that brought me here. That’s kind of what’s been crushing me with this whole situation. I’m taking it day by day, the Giants have been overly supportive of this situation and worked with me throughout. I’m just ready to move on and get back to playing football. I guess my wife put it into perspective for me, although these times are very, very hard on me because I love this game and I take it very, very seriously. I think I’ve had a clean slate for the majority of my career. She put it into perspective yesterday. She said I played 182 games in my career, four games is a small part of that. Although right now it’s very hard to swallow and hard to deal with, she kind of put it into perspective.
Q: Why didn’t you go to the league or the team doctor before taking it?
A: I think ultimately because the doctor had said no, it’s not a banned substance and I have prescribed it to other NFL guys. If the doctor says I’m not sure, I would have 100 percent looked into it. If the doctor never said he had never given it to other NFL players, I 1,000 percent would have looked into it. I’ve gone through the TUE process for a couple medicines and I completely understand it.
Q: Are you going to take any action against the doctor?
A: We are definitely looking into it, we are kind of examining all of our options. This all came out a few days ago, so I’m still trying to get through camp, trying my best to focus and continue to be a leader for this organization, and practice hard.
Q: How do you think the league should adjust how they view these things?
A: I don’t have all the answers. It’s a slippery slope. If you let my situation slide, then you have other guys that would probably try to say the same thing and it can open up a can of worms, that’s what I’m assuming. I have some ideas that I’m going to present to the NFL when the time comes. I think there are some ways to work with the players. (Inaudible).
Q: Is this one of those drugs that could have been a therapeutic use exemption had you gone to them before you took it?
A: I believe so.
Q: And you didn’t go to the league because the doctor told you it wasn’t banned?
Q: You said that he told you he gave the same treatment to a couple other players. Did you find out who they were? Did you try to get them to testify on your behalf? Did you find out whether those guys had been suspended before?
A: Because of HIPAA, he wasn’t able to reveal those people.
Q: What is your plan, since you can’t be around the team those four games because of the rules with the suspension. What is your plan for those first four weeks? Where are you going to work out? Are you going to stay here?
A: I have to figure out what’s allowed as far as communication with the coaches and people inside the building.
Q: I don’t think you can be here.
A: Yeah, I know that. I’m not sure about the communication part. I’m going to get with (Strength and Conditioning) Coach Wellman and get an intense workout plan or something that allows me to stay in tip-top shape so once I get back in Week 5 I can hit the ground running. Like every year, you kind of use camp to get in shape for the season. I have to come in that Monday after the fourth game ready to rock and roll and ready to be rolling. Again, this is all new to me and I was expecting not to have this suspension, but I am going to deal with it. I’m going to deal with it the best I possibly can, stay positive and continue to try to lead this team and just work through it.
Q: Do you think this will fuel your fire even more once you get back on the football field?
A: No doubt.
Q: How do you mentally move forward from this for the rest of the year once you come back?
A: I think you just take it day-by-day. I honestly think the hardest part is just about over. I’ve been thinking about this since April or May. This has been on my mind. I’ve lost a lot of sleep. It has kind of hurt me to my core having to explain to the organization what’s going on. I’m just ready to move forward. I just want to play football. Look at me, I’m not trying to cheat. I think I have represented the NFL shield pretty well in my career. I have achieved a lot of things, and I hope this doesn’t smear that reputation that I have worked very hard for.
Q: I don’t mean to pry, but a lot of people have written stuff saying your wife had a baby earlier this year, why does he need a fertility drug – can you answer that?
A: That’s pretty personal. Very, very personal, so I don’t want to get into it.
Q: You have said in the past, I think 2013, that it was selfish that two other guys on your team at the time had gotten suspended. Do you know what they got suspended for? I think it was for drugs like marijuana or something?
A: I think that’s a completely different situation than me taking a substance to try to have another kid.
Q: I was just going to say, if the players in the locker room felt the same here what would you say to them?
A: It hasn’t been asked of me, so I haven’t had to address it. I’ll think about that one though.
Q: How well equipped is the wide receiver group to make due?
A: Just based off of camp and what I’m seeing from guys, and getting guys back, I’ve really been impressed by the young guys. I think TJ Jones is going to be a great guy to come in and do work for us. He’s a very smart guy, an elusive guy, (and) has the ability to play all positions at the wide receiver group. I have no doubt that he is going to step in. We have Sterling (Shepard), we have Cody (Latimer), and we have Bennie (Fowler), who’s doing great. We have a bunch of really good guys. I’m going to root those guys on the best I possibly can while I’m here, and when I’m away I am going to watch the film like I’m there and try to lead the best I possibly can.
QB Daniel Jones
Q: What is your mindset going into the second preseason game?
A: I think for everyone, it’s just to build off what we’ve done, what we did in that first game, and what we've done since then, and kind of taking the next step as a team. I think with each group, it’s just building off what we’ve done.
Q: Daniel, your owner (John Mara) said yesterday that an ideal scenario this season would be that you never play because that means Eli (Manning) and the team are doing well. Would you be prepared to sit an entire season?
A: Yeah, I think my job right now is to prepare, to improve as much as I can, and control what I can control. How that plays out, I certainly hope we’re winning a whole lot of games, too.
Q: Were you surprised to hear that at all?
A: Not really. Like I said, I think my job is to do what I can to improve, to make sure I’m taking the right steps to make sure the offense is moving forward to the extent I can help it.
Q: Do you take a step back and say, “Last week was so easy,” you don’t get overconfident?
A: I think it’s the same process in preparing for this week as it was last week. I don’t think letting that affect your preparation is—I think that’s part of being consistent, is having the same urgency to prepare every week, and I’ve certainly tried to do that so far.
Q: You checked some boxes last week--you played in a preseason game, you drove them down the field. Is there anything that you’re specifically looking to do when you get back out there for the second preseason game?
A: I don’t know about specifically. I know there will just be more to it now with the second game. We’ve had a little bit more time to prepare, and I’m sure they have, so it’ll be just a little bit more, I think. But, I think the same idea is to execute, to move the ball, and score points. So, If I’m doing that, if we’re doing that, I think it’ll be successful.
Q: What do you feel you’ve been doing well so far?
A: I think, for the most part, trying not to make mistakes over and over again. I think that’s how you learn, is not repeating mistakes. I think that’s a big thing, and trying to focus on that. When you’re told something once, to correct it and move on so you can take the next steps. I think I’ve done a decent job with that.
Q: Daniel, they say when you succeed at something, it builds confidence. Off of that drive the other night against the Jets, is there an instance this week where you can actually say you felt more confident because of that drive?
A: I think so. I think just being in a game situation and playing a live game, moving the ball, I think that built some confidence. But like I said, in the preparation, you want to go back to square one, you want to go back to where you were this time last week in preparing, and not letting that change the process for you. But yeah, I think it helped build some confidence.
Q: There were a lot of injuries to wide receivers in the early part of camp. Has TJ Jones surprised you, because he’s looking really good?
A: Yeah, he’s done a really good job for us. He’s a guy who’s been in the league for a long time, played a lot of games. So, he’s able to come in right away, pick up the playbook, he’s talented, runs good routes, and it’s been a lot of fun working with him, for sure. He’s done a really good job.
Q: What can you tell us about C.J. Conrad?
A: C.J., I think he’s done a great job also. He was my roommate for rookie mini-camp, so I got to know him pretty early. He’s done a great job, a really hard-working guy, going to be in the right spot and know what he’s doing. Yeah, I’ve really enjoyed working with him, too.
Q: How does he compare as a roommate to Dexter (Lawrence II)?
A: (Laughter) That was a little different, a little shorter time period, but they’re both good guys.
Q: Is it challenging in your situation going into the season not knowing how or when exactly you’re going to be played?
A: I don’t think so. I think, like I said, it’s just about improving. I think being able to control what I can control and accepting that is my job, and I’m certainly good with it.
Q: How do you balance making mistakes with trying to stay aggressive, and realizing it’s going to happen?
A: I think just learning from each one of them. I think when you understand why it happened or what really happened, you can be more confident in making sure it doesn’t happen the next time, and that kind of frees you up to stay aggressive. So, like I said, not making the same mistake twice and correcting it, but understanding what exactly it was that you did wrong and keep from doing that and staying aggressive.
WR TJ Jones
Q: When you come here for a tryout and guys get banged up in training camp, there are two I guess lines of thinking. One being, camp body or the other is you’re coming here with a resume and you’re saying you know what I can kind of make hay here. Did you come with that mentality?
A: I think that the opportunity, when its presented you make it what you want it to. If you come in leaving here, just a camp body then that’s what you put out on film. You won’t believe you have a shot so you won’t put your best foot forward, but if you come in with the mindset that I’m here to earn a spot, to earn a job whether it’s here to put out good film or if I were let go for someone else to see good film. That’s on you, so I came to make the best of the opportunity and to definitely not let the timing of it, kind of affect the way I approached it.
Q: After the game you really hadn’t digested what happened in the whole first game. Now that you have, like how do you look back at your first performance in the first ball game?
A: It was fun to get back out there, you know definitely fun to kind of play in a new uniform, play under the plays that we have been studying, get real game action against people who we aren’t seeing every day at meetings and practice. I definitely have things to clean up, little things and the more I learn the playbook, the more I learn the details. You know it’s not just about, what do you have? It’s what do you have? How do you do it? What may change the way that you run this route or attack this defender? So now it’s just getting into the depths of the playbook.
Q: But you played well, I’m saying when you look back at your performance, do you feel good? Do you feel like that’s you?
A: I feel like it’s an opportunity to kind of use as a stepping stone. Like you know you can say yes I made my catches, had some blocks, made some good plays here and there. But it means nothing to go in the second, third and fourth game to go in there and kind of blow it. It’s definitely a good first step for me coming in late and kind of forcing myself to get acclimated in a shorter than ideal time period but definitely a stepping stone leading into this week and these next couple of games.
Q: Was it good for you to work with Daniel (Jones) a lot?
A: I think it’s good to get work with all the QB’s, because at any point I could be with any of them so whether its Eli, Daniel, Tanney, Kyle I value each rep because at any point, especially in the preseason. You don’t know when they’re going to be taken out or when I’m going to be put in so the timing really matters with all of them.
Q: With this suspension do you sit in there and go wow this is going to be even better for me?
A: No, I’m not looking at it that way because I’m not the decision maker. I’m keeping my head down and focusing on what I can control and making sure that I do everything right and then when the time comes the coaches and front office will make their moves or whatever adjustments they need to make.
Q: When you came in how important did you think the return game was going to be? Because last week you did a lot of returning and it looks like that could be an extra feather in your cap.
A: I was always told that the more you can do the better. So whether its returning, blocking on special teams, running down on kickoff – I’ve played on every special team before not just as a returner but as a blocker also. So I came in with an open mind ready to accept any role that they wanted me to try or put me out there as returner or anything else on the special teams.
Q: You probably know Golden (Tate III) better than anybody in this pack here, we’ve talked to him two or three times. You guys were teammates with the Lions and probably looked up to him when you were at Notre Dame when he was probably the older guy coming back to campus. Did this surprise you at all? You know him. Who is he?
A: He’s a great dude, who took me under his wing. You know from Day 1 in Detroit, we knew each other cordially but because we were passing he left early, I enrolled early. We knew each other enough to say hello but I wouldn’t say we were friends. I’ve been to his house, I’ve hung out with his family, vice versa and having him here to kind of help my transition definitely helped me, eased me into the process which if you would have lost sight of what the bigger goal was. You could’ve got lost in the “ I’m here I need to catch up, camps coming, oh I’m behind” so great dude, great dude I have nothing but good things to say about him, nothing but love for him and his family and you know I feel for him.
Q: When (Sterling Shepard) Shep first came here, we kind of resented the fact we all thought he was a slot receiver, he said “I can do it all” do you pigeon hole yourself in anyone’s spot or do you say I can do it all?
A: No, I try to do it all. The more you can do. If you only play slot, then that means you can only go in when a slot receiver is needed but if you can do it all. Outside, inside, different personal groups, put you in different spots so being able to be as versatile as possible is important.