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Quotes (8/22): Shurmur, Collins, Barkley

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

Opening Statement: We’re 48 hours out, I tried to mock up within reason what a typical Friday would look like. You go fast, blink fast, we have very little tolerance for mistakes, we exaggerate communication getting in and out of the huddle. We hit as many situations as possible, You kind of cap off the preparation before you have the day before a walk through, that’s what you saw today.

Q: Will you do a traditional walk through tomorrow?

A: Tomorrow’s a mock game, I’ll have a traditional schedule. They’ll come in on Monday, we’ll watch the tape, settle all debts. That way if they are a little angry with me they can go home on their off day, simmer down and come back on (Wednesday). Basically I think it’s important to clean up the game film and otherwise then come back Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and train. Saturday have a traditional mock game, which is more mental.

Q: What have you seen from Saquon?

A: Well, he practiced today, so he’s getting back out there. He’s coming back from his tweak.

Q: How important is that?

A: It’s very important for guys to practice, no question.

Q: I meant getting him into another pre-season game?

A: We’ll see.

Q: You started to say we’re going to be…. about Saquon, what was that next word?

A: We’re going to be smart.

Q: Are you okay going into Week 1 without having had Beckham and Barkley on the field together?

A: We’ll see if that actually happens.

Q: How important is it to get Odell in a pre-season game?

A: We try to be smart with it. He’s gotten so much work behind the scenes, we’ll just have to see how it plays out.

Q: One of biggest differences between now and when you were in Cleveland is there are no cut down days prior to the cut to 53. How does that change the mentality of a coach in those last couple of weeks?

A: It really doesn’t. Where the challenge really is, is for the personnel people. Now the market is flooded with players as opposed to in segments where you can decide if the guys that were cut fit your roster or would upgrade your group. Now there is just a lot of players all out there at one time. That’s where the challenge is, that’s a much better question for the personnel end of things.

Q: How big of a challenge is it to transition from corner to safety and how has William Gay handled that?

A: Well, certainly as a safety you have to communicate more, but he has been a nickel player before. Typically, you have to communicate on the inside of the defense. I think he’s done a good job with it. Certainly, when you play the back end you have to be able to play the middle of the field and play down in man and zone from there. You have to be able to tackle, which he’s been able to do. We feel like he can make the transition, we’ll just see how it plays out.

Q: What has B.W. Webb done that stands out to you in terms of getting the upper hand in the nickel corner spot?

A: I wouldn’t say he’s got the upper hand. What I would say is he’s done a good job to this point, and he’s done a good job covering the slot, and covering outside. That’s why he’s got our attention.

Q: The starters have gone from two series to maybe three or four series in the first two games? Will they play more than that this week?

A: Typically, the starters play more in this third preseason game. 

Q: How much value do you put into this game in general, in terms of the evaluation process?

A: It’s part of it. It’s one of the four games we look at. It’s just like any other game. I think you’ve got to put equal stock in all the games. It’s not like old Catholic school, you know. You can’t throw out your worst test (laughter). They all count, everything counts. What you hope to see is players play better as they go. If they played quite a bit at this point, and they’ve kind of had a good performance, you like to them play better.

Q: What have you seen out of (RB) Jhurrell Pressley, and will he be expected to play come Friday?

A: Good question. Jhurrell Pressley, he’s a guy that I’m familiar with from Minnesota. He competed hard for us there. He’s a tough guy, he’s fast. We’re going to get him in the game, and he’s going to play for us. He’s a terrific young man as well. Plus, it was easy to get him here. He was down there in Delaware. So, it was a quick drive up. We like what we’ve seen in the past. He’s going to get his opportunity.

Q: What do you like about (C) Jon Halapio and how he’s handled that offensive line?

A: Jon is very smart. He blinks fast. He makes good decisions in terms of getting us going in the right direction. He generally plays center for us at this point.

Q: Do you have an admiration for guys who’ve overcome adversity from being on various practice squads, things like that?

A: I’m fine with guys that got some scars, and some adversity, and they push through it. One thing about guys that push through adversity, they develop a mindset to handle adversity when it comes down the road. Sometimes, guys that haven’t had to face much, and then all of a sudden they’re faced with a third-and-five in the stadium, you don’t know what their mechanisms are.

Q: How has (DB) Grant Haley been performing?

A: He’s a competitive guy. He’s tough, and he plays very hard. I think he’s made improvements. I think that’s what you like to see from a young man.

Q: What’s your thought about the Washington Redskins obtaining (RB) Adrian Peterson, a guy you once coached? How do you feel about going against him twice this year?

A: He’s an outstanding player, that goes without saying. He’s a hard runner. Our guys are going to have to make sure they get their pads low to tackle him when he’s in there. Blinks fast, makes good decisions, doesn’t doubt things. So, when they see it, they know what they’re looking for. When they see it, they pull the trigger.

Safety Landon Collins 

Q: Why are you in such a good mood?

A: I’m about to go to the movies.

Q: What are you seeing?

A: I don’t know the name of it, I just know I’m going to the movies, that’s all I know.

Q: Your thoughts after two preseason games on the new helmet rule?

A: It is still being worked out. There’s a lot of, ‘Is this a helmet to helmet?’, ‘Is this not?’, so we’re still working on it as a team and trying to keep our heads out of it, still working on it.

Q: Are you tackling any different or are you doing what you’ve always done and counting on that not being a penalty?

A: I’m just doing what I’ve done always, I mean, I’ve always kept my head up tackling, so just trying to continue doing that with it.

Q: What are you trying to get accomplished in the third preseason game?

A: I think we’re going to play about three quarters, so I’m excited about almost getting a whole game in and making sure we stay on the same page as a defense and making sure we don’t have any mental errors out there, playing fast and playing with a lot of aggression.

Q: That seems to be your focus, the mental errors part of it. Is that different than usual at all? Is that because it’s a new defense?

A: Yeah, it’s just because it’s a new defense. We want to make sure we get everything correct, be sound, be prepared and always playing fast.

Q: What are your thoughts on playing against the Jets and (Sam) Darnold?

A: I’m excited. He’s a rookie, we feast on rookies sometimes. It’s always an exciting game. To see him play, he’s going to have a fantastic career once he gets it going and I know he’s going to do a great job at the Jets, but you’re playing against a good defense and we’re going to have fun with it.

Q: You’ve practiced with (Janoris) Jenkins for three years, is he practicing at another level right now?

A: Jackrabbit? He doesn’t like to be called ‘Jenk’. (laughter) He always plays at a high level, he always practices at a high level, always on the same page with me and the other safeties and the other cornerbacks and always staying ahead of the game. That’s Jackrabbit for us. I always expect 100 percent from him. That’s what he gives me, even if he’s hurt.

Q : When you see the outside linebackers like Olivier Vernon just flying to the ball, how much of a boost does that give the secondary?

A: It gives us a big boost. We kind of get like, ‘Man, we want some plays at the back end’, but at the end of the day they take a lot of stress off of our legs and a lot of running off of our legs and that’s a plus because we can run for four quarters instead of two. It’s good.

Q: Pat Shurmur talked the other day about naming captains after the last preseason game. Is that something you would be interested in? Taking on that responsibility?

A: You know me, that’s an easy question, yes. I definitely want to be a captain of this defense one of these years.

Q: Last year, when things didn’t always go right, that’s a year where that leadership kind of comes through?

A: It comes through regardless of the fact, winning or losing. If you’re winning, people get comfortable and you’ve got to continue pressing that. You can’t get comfortable in this league. If you get comfortable, you get sent home. From that point of view, it goes hand in hand. If you’re losing, you definitely need it (leadership) and when you’re winning, you especially need it because you need to keep everybody focused.

Q: Do you like moving around so much pre-snap?

A: Yeah, honestly, guys key on me. Offensive guys, especially coordinators and quarterbacks, I see them eyeing me all the time, saying ‘21’ or stuff like that. Just trying to move in and out of the box, trying not to give them a clean read on where we’re coming from and stuff like that, or give them an idea of what kind of defense we are in, so yeah, I like to move up and down, side to side.

Q: Does (Defensive Coordinator James) Bettcher ask you to do that or gives you the freedom to do it when you think it’s necessary?

A: They kind of give me the freedom to do it. Honestly, they don’t ask me to do it. They know I know I can get to my position wherever I’m at on the field and do a good job at it.

Q: Is that the kind of thing that could lead to a season like ’16, where you had the sacks, all the interceptions, tackles? Can that new role get you back to that?

A: Yeah, that’s the purpose of doing it. You give a confusing look, you get sacks from other sides. You give them a confusing look, I get a sack. So it works hand in hand.

Q: You were about to say Sam (Darnold) is going to play against a ‘great’ defense and you kind of stopped and said ‘good’, why?

A: Why did I stop? Because at the end of the day we’re going to be good regardless of the fact, but until those stats come out and we put it on paper when it counts the most, that’s when we’re going to call ourselves great.

RB Saquon Barkley

Q: What’s it like to be back involved in practice today?

A: It felt good. It felt good to actually participate in indy’s (individual drills) and a little bit in practice drills. Like I said, been feeling really good, feeling strong, continue to strengthen it. The strength and the trainers have been doing a great job with me, conditioning me a little bit over there too, making sure I’m continuing to get ready for the game or the next time I’m able to play. Just felt great to be back out there.

Q: When was the last time you were out this long?

A: I don’t know. In college I didn’t really practice that much, so I guess it’s kind of very similar. Just I’m doing more stuff on my own conditioning, but in college I didn’t really take crazy loads in practice, so it’s kind of similar to me. So I guess that kind of helped me prepare for moments like this.

Q: From all the mental reps and having that first taste in a preseason game, if you don’t play against the Jets or the Patriots, would you feel comfortable week one?

A: Yeah. Obviously I would love to be out there and to play as quickly as I can, but that’s part of the game. Injuries are a part of the game. That’s even in the role or position I am right now. There’s some guys that don’t take as much reps as they would like and still have to go out there every single week and produce. I have to take that mindset and when my time is called and when I’m able to play, I need to be 100 percent ready.

Q: Yesterday, Eli (Manning) said he actually likes that you ask so many questions. As you sat out for the most part lately, have you continued to ask him questions?

A: It’s kind of hard to ask him as much questions as I like because most of the time I’ve been out on the side on my own, kind of away from the team and just rehabbing and running and conditioning so I can stay physically in shape and strengthen my hamstring and continue to grow every single day. I guess the questions haven’t been as much as they usually are.

Q: Are you able to go out there in your mind and just play and they’re just trying to be careful with you or do you still feel like the hamstring is something that needs to be built up, not quite 100 percent yet?

A: Personally, the way I feel, my body feels, I’ll be honest, I feel good, feel pretty good. I’ve been moving pretty well, but that’s what the trainers get paid for. They tell me stories all the time and I talk to other guys, even guys like O (Beckham Jr.) that hurt their hamstring before. It’s when you feel 100 percent and that’s when you give it that push, boom, and it happens again as a setback. I don’t want any setbacks at all, so that’s why I’ve been trying to be a team player there. Just listen and follow the instructions and I know they have a great game plan set out for me and when it’s time for me and when they feel I’m ready, that’s when I’ll be ready.

Q: You’re always going to be linked to (Sam) Darnold, drafted 2-3 and in the same city. Just curious on what your thoughts are that your careers are always going to be compared. The Giants could’ve made a different decision and the Jets took him.

A: That’s kind of really something that doesn’t cross my mind. We play two different positions. I see what you’re saying, but I don’t really look too deep in that. I only can focus and control what I can control. I’m just thankful that the Giants picked me and I’m here and I’m a New York Giant. I’m playing for the best franchise in the league and I’m going to continue to take advantage of the opportunity every single day and continue to work every single day.

Q: How well do you know Sam Darnold?

A: I got to know him a little bit during the draft process and I wasn’t a big Sam Darnold fan after they beat us in the Rose Bowl game my sophomore year, but that’s just a competitive thing. We joke around about that all the time. I got to know him a little more. Actually we were on the whole flight together going to the rookie premiere (out in Los Angelese), so definitely got to know him a lot more. Like I said, not only him, I said about the running backs, but with Sam, with Baker (Mayfield), with (Bradley) Chubb, with all those guys in my draft class, I want to see those guys succeed. I don’t want to see Sam succeed much this week against us, but I wish nothing but success for all those guys. I hope they have great careers.

Q: How hard is it to focus and get the full benefit of mental reps? Some guys when they get pulled to the side, they lose focus and they can’t necessarily get the mental stuff down and as sharp as they want it. Is that a hard thing for you at all?

A: Personally for me, I don’t think so. I don’t think so because everyone learns differently. Some people learn better on the field and actually doing it. Some people learn better not doing it and just learning from watching film and studying the playbook. For me, I kind of do a little bit of both, I like doing a little bit of both. I like learning on the playbook, learning on film and watching film and then go out there, doing it full speed so actually I’m not able to have that side of it, but like I said before, the difference between NFL and college, I don’t have class to worry about. Only thing I got to worry about is going home and taking care of my family. So I got football family, football family, and football family for me, so I kind of have no choice but to – especially how good I want to be and how passionate I am about the game and that’s part of life that I have to continue to grow. Obviously I have to continue to get better with the mental part of the game, I’m not going to sit here and lie to you and say I’m 100 percent perfect with the playbook, like I’m some vet and I’ve been playing in the league for 10 years. No, I’m still a rookie, I still have to get better in that area, but I definitely have a lot more time on my hands to continue to get better with the mental part.

Q: Do you have to convince your dad to not wear a Wayne Chrebet jersey on Friday night?

A: He got the tattoo so… I think my dad – I don’t think, I know and I hope he sees this, that he switches sides a little bit. I think he’s going to come with his son and wear a Barkley jersey, I hope. If he didn’t, I’d be a little upset. I can’t truly be upset about that. Obviously I don’t know what I’m doing (Friday), but just to be out there and be at MetLife and seeing my family and being across and seeing the Jets and growing up, it’s all kind of coming full circle. This puts you back and think of the past, all the hard work and determination when I said I was a little kid I wanted to be in this position, that little time is all coming together.

Q: How excited are you for Jacksonville?

A: I’m excited of taking advantage of the opportunity I have right now with practice and when the regular season comes, that’s going to be a fun time, too.

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