Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: I'll try to answer your questions. I had the chance to go through the tape and a lot of what I said last night really stands. We did a lot of things well. We improved a lot of the things that were a focal point last week, but some things popped up that we need to correct. I thought we were loose with the football. We dropped a punt, we had a chance at an interception which we didn't get, we did cause a couple of fumbles, which was good, but on the flip side, Daniel Jones had two fumbles, Rod Smith had one, we had three drops, and then Eli (Manning) had a little exchange problem. That was not up to our standards. Those are all correctable, every one of those, and those are the things that we will continue to focus on as we go through camp. If we're going to talk about what we did well and then what we need to improve on, I think just going back to Pat's t-shirt, it's 'all ball' and it's all about the ball, and we need to go a better job at securing it. I'll take your questions.
Q: Obviously in the first game you were pretty clear that Daniel (Jones) was only going to play behind the first team offensive line. Last night, do you give any thought to making the first team offensive line play as long as Daniel plays? What goes into playing him behind the second guys? Just showing some confidence in those guys? What's the balance?
A: No, I don't think I said he was only going to play behind the first line in the first game. I ended up shutting him down with that group because of the way with the lightning and that whole deal went. I have confidence in everybody that we put out there, and I think we have some players who compete in the second offensive line who have a really good chance to make our team. I think it's smart to get him out there and get as many reps as possible. I guess I didn't put much thought into that other than the first time out, I just wanted him to start behind the first line. If it was a perfect world that night, he probably would have played a series or two behind the second line.
Q: I guess I misunderstood because of the lightning.
A: Yeah, if I was unclear, I apologize.
Q: You mentioned the backup offensive line guys. Who in that group has really stood out to you?
A: There are a couple. As we go forward, I thought a guy who has played well, and obviously was hurt a year ago, is Nick Gates. That's one guy that has done a nice job. We have Evan Brown who has played in there and done a good job. Those are a couple— and then (Chad) Slade has done a nice job. (Then we) have Spencer Pulley, who I consider a starter, just as a couple of the guys, probably, who I have mentioned.
Q: With Daniel's fumble, do you chalk that up to sloppiness? Or when you went back and looked at the film were there things that technically he could have done better?
A: No, first things first- getting the exchange is the first thing and there's a reason for it. We were running a wide zone play to the left and he has to ride the center and do that better. I was a center, and I had an agreement with the quarterback when the ball was on the ground, I would say it was my fault, then he would say it was his fault. In reality, it's both their faults. I think that is something we have to clean up. It's just practice, and obviously very correctable. You always have to keep two hands on the ball in the pocket. I really feel like that's just something you have to get used to when guys are swatting at you. Those are things we can work on.
Q: Is that something that he needs to experience in the games, because obviously in practices he's wearing the red jersey and people aren't really coming near and swatting at him?
A: No, I think that's just general. All quarterbacks have to go through it. It certainly helps, and it helps the process being in the game for sure.
Q: How much differently are you operating training camp because of all the youth?
A: Well, I think two things. Every team is different, I think you would agree, relative to where they are in their cycles. Some have veteran teams they handle in different ways. While I was in Philly, there was a year where we had a lot of guys near 30 years old and we would give them a day or two off during training camp. I think every team is different, it's a dynamic model. We have ways to track whether guys are getting ready to play day one, so we track that. We also have, I call it our second brain, our gut, that tells us what we need to be doing, (if) we need more of this. We have a trend that we want to put our team on but then we have to adjust based on what we see and what we are feeling. I think you are seeing more and more where coaches are handling the preseason differently. To me, it's a little bit like everyone wants to talk about halftime adjustments. I marvel at that because you are constantly making adjustments. The same can be said about the preseason, people are starting to divert their opinions as to the importance of playing your players in the preseason games. I've already heard people talking to me about the third preseason game and it's your dress rehearsal, that's kind of like your halftime adjustments. I think you are getting ready to play every practice and every game. As a coach, you have to weigh the importance of the work you are doing and how much work each guy gets. To your point, every team is different, and every coach views it differently based on the players they have and their experiences.
Q: What did you find after looking at the tape regarding your pass rush?
A: I thought we were more disruptive. I thought the interior defensive linemen played better than they did the week before, I thought the edge pressure was a little bit better. X-man got his first sack, which was good. I feel, generally speaking, we were more disruptive. We still have to improve but I think it was a step forward from last week.
Q: What did you take away from Ryan Connelly's night, he didn't have any tackles?
A: He actually played pretty well, he has very good instincts and he played well within the scheme. He didn't certainly get the production as you mentioned, but he improved this week.
Q: If you agree that Dexter Lawrence has had two quiet games, why do you think that is?
A: I think he improved this week. He's a rookie, he improved from the first week to the second. I think, as I mentioned, that group in general played better the second week. I think they were a little rusty the first week, let's just call it that, even the guys that played a year ago. He improved, and we will look for continued improvement over the next two games.
Q: Any update on Antonio Hamilton, and are you guys in a little bit of a bind at the top of the corners if he's out with (DeAndre) Baker and (Sam) Beal?
A: Nope, we're not in a bind. There are nicks, little injuries where we feel like they're going to be back soon, so we're not in a bind. In terms of the update, I have no update yet. I'm having a staff meeting here with my coaches at 1:00 p.m., but we're going to go over the injury report and get ready for tomorrow's practice. So, unfortunately, I'm 46 minutes, 47 minutes, in 48 minutes you could ask that question, I guess. So, I don't know yet.
Q: Regarding players who don't post numbers on the stat sheet, obviously you're looking at them and how they play in the scheme, but do you have any other criteria as far as determining how productive they are, even though the numbers aren't necessarily there?
A: Yeah, I think certainly the sack is the ultimate, but disrupting the quarterback is what you're looking for. So, especially for guys rushing on the interior, if they can get the quarterback to flush or move off their mark, in our eyes, that's an effective rush. So, we keep track of those types of things.
Q: How much would it have helped you evaluate your own team if your opponent last night had approached the game as you did, meaning the ones likely would have played against the ones, perhaps the twos against the twos, and that sort of thing?
A: I don't know, I guess you could say at least for the first quarter, maybe one way or the other, you may learn a thing or two more, but for most of the game, a lot of the players we were looking at, we were playing twos versus twos. So, I don't know, I would imagine maybe a little bit. It's one of those things, it didn't happen, so what are you going to do about it? That's sort of the way I look at it.
Q: Is there any reason the defense has started off the first two preseason games so slow—touchdown against the Jets, field goal against the Bears?
A: Well, they gave up a field goal and I thought we were better in this game, I think, generally speaking. We only allowed three explosive plays, and none in the first drive. We caused two fumbles, then we had a defensive score on a safety. Didn't allow any touchdowns outside of the red zone. There were eight three-and-out series. So, there were many things that were good. Certainly, you don't want anybody to score on the first drive, but I think there was an improvement this game, we forced them to kick a field goal, so I don't see a trend there. Like everything, though, we're fighting to get better in all areas throughout the game.
Q: You've said when Daniel Jones' time comes, he'll be ready. With the understanding that his time isn't now and you're going to have Eli Manning as you're starting quarterback, is he ready now?
A: I think when his time comes, he's going to be ready. I still think we've got training camp left to push through, we've got preseason games left to push through. I would say right now, we're three weeks from any of us being ready, so that's sort of where we're at. We've got work to do, and so that's how I approach that. That would be my answer to that question, I guess.