Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: Nothing really to add to what I spoke about last night, so let's use our time. If you've got questions, I'd be happy to answer them for you.
Q: Are you guys considering starting Daniel Jones in Week 1?
A: I think what we're doing is, and I've said it all along, Eli's our starter and we're getting Daniel ready to play. I think he's done a good job in the preseason, as I've mentioned all along. He's getting better, and he's going to continue to do that so that at whatever time we need him to play, he'll be ready.
Q: So you're not ready to say for sure that Eli will be your starter in Week 1?
A: I just said Eli's the starter. Didn't I just say that? Excuse the fact that I had to repeat it, but I felt like I just said that. It's all good.
Q: A while ago, you were asked about how you teach this team to win, and I've noticed throughout the preseason you've been a little bit more willing to take chances. I know the results don't count for anything, but I'm just wondering if that's a way you're showing this team how to win, by showing them that you're not afraid to take chances, make mistakes, and hence they shouldn't be afraid to put it out there and make a mistake at this point.
A: Yeah, I don't know about taking chances, but I think we want to have an aggressive mindset. Actually, last year I think we were the second-most in terms of teams that went for it on fourth down, so I don't think that's taking chances, I think it's trying to be aggressive. I tried to use the timeouts that way yesterday before the half—we took a timeout on third down, trying to preserve time because I wanted to get a two-minute drill and if they kicked a long field goal and missed it, then we would've had the ball. Then, they made it, but then I still used a timeout, which forced them to kick a long field goal just so we could work on those types of things. I thought it was smart to go for two yesterday. So, I don't know, I think it's important as a coach to present an aggressive mindset, and we as a staff think that way, but I think it's more of just the mindset of being aggressive and less about just flat-out trying to take chances.
Q: Can you talk about Corey Ballentine's overall performance last night, and maybe some of the things he needs to clean up on?
A: I thought he competed well, I think he had over 40 snaps, I guess, on defense. Very competitive, he had a couple of nice pass breakups. He did give up a couple plays in the passing game, but he was matched up man-to-man, but I do think he was tighter in coverage this week than he was last week, but he's also a very sure tackler. Some of the tackles he made along the sideline were very sure in terms of the ball was completed certainly in the zone, and then he kind of was the first responder on the play and made the tackle, so he's making really good progress and we're pleased with the path that he's on.
Q: Was Corey (Ballentine) supposed to provide help for Jabrill Peppers on the touchdown to the tight end?
A: It was both. Certainly, Jabrill needs to be a little tighter, but then certainly Corey should back him up on that.
Q: What about Jon Halapio makes him the clear number one over Spencer at center?
A: I feel like we have two starting centers. I think Pio has done a really nice job and I feel like we really have six guys there, if you think of it in terms of two centers. We are going to need both of them at some point, for whatever reason we need help at guard, Pio can play guard, Spencer can play center. I'm happy with all of that and I don't really think of it in the way that you do.
Q: Oshane Ximines had two sacks last night, each of them with kind of a different move. Is that what you saw when you drafted him and you talked about being able to use counter moves?
A: Yes, I think so. I think as he plays more he will develop more of that. He probably was as disruptive as he's been in the preseason. He's just getting used to playing, I think he is one of the guys that he can find a way to the quarterback. We were pleased with some of the rushes he had last night. He was a little better in the run game as well. Much like my answer with regard to Corey Ballentine, I think we are seeing that type of progress from X-Man.
Q: Will it be tougher to make cuts this year than it was last year?
A: I think so. I think that's a good thing. You want competition within the groups. A year ago, we cut from 90 to 53 and there was only a couple guys that ended up on other rosters. I sort of feel like this year we may end up cutting more guys that are going to be attractive to maybe another team, which tells me that our 90 is better, and also tells me the players are embracing what we are talking about. The goal is to either make our team or somebody else's. I believe in our team, I love our team, I love what our team is trying to do. It's going to be much tougher for me this year when we get to that point, having to say goodbye to some players that I am very fond of. I'm just hopeful that they are available if we need them or somewhere they can go on and keep their career going.
Q: Has Kyle Lauletta played dramatically better football now than last year? If he is doing that, what is he doing?
A: He's playing better each week. I don't know how to phrase it, but he's doing some really good things with the reps that he's getting. He made some good plays again last night. I am pleased with his progress, and I think he's making good progress as well. It's a credit to him.
Q: Any other injuries of note come out of the game?
A: I haven't heard. We didn't get home until 3 o'clock so the training room start opened up a little later. I don't know of anything. Anybody specific that you know of that you're asking about?
A: Jonathan Anderson has his knee— we have to get that checked out. Rod Smith, I think it's a fancy word they call that, the adductor, he's getting that checked out. There is always something that shows up. We aren't anticipating that there is anything bad.
Q: You always feel with your quarterbacks you need to be able to get them outside on bootlegs and things like that. One year working with Eli Manning— do you think he can do even more of that this year because he is more familiar and maybe in better shape?
A: I believe in moving the pocket. If you are going to be effective running the ball, you have to do that to help control the edges. I did it a lot last year. I think it's safe to say, Eli even ran more bootlegs, to use your term, than he did since he was at Ole Miss in one year. I really don't think it comes down to the condition of the quarterback. I don't think it comes down to their ability to run. All quarterbacks should be able to fake a run and then get to the perimeter and make a throw. That will always be a part of what we do. They are in every game plan, and it's safe to say I'll call a bootleg or two, or ten, in each game.
Q: Are you concerned about your linebacker depth? Who do you think is standing out at linebacker?
A: I'm not concerned about our depth. I thought Ryan Connelly did a good job yesterday, he made three tackles. As he's going along, he's getting more and more comfortable within the scheme. For the most part, Tae Davis played well. He had the one where he kind of got behind in coverage and missed the tackle, but he's done a good job. B.J. Goodson has done a nice job, (Nate) Stupar is sort of a backup linebacker that has a huge impact on special teams. All that being said— that's what's going on behind (Alec Ogletree) Tree until he gets back, which will be very soon. He'll be ready to go, certainly, by Week One. I feel better about that group this year than last year, if that's what you're asking.