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Quotes (8/30): Shurmur, Peppers, Engram

Coach Pat Shurmur

Opening Statement: I really don't have anything to lead with. Obviously, we are going through the final process of putting the roster together. I had a meeting with the players this morning at 11:30 to talk about the weekend and some of the final thoughts on the game and some final thoughts on training camp that I'll keep between them and myself. I will say, I appreciate everybody's efforts. I feel like we are starting to develop the type of team we can all be proud of, but we have a long way to go. This weekend's process of trying to establish the first 53 will be very important.

Q: A couple of us were talking to Golden Tate yesterday after the game. He was saying he was going to speak to you guys today to try to figure out the plan of what he can and can't do in terms of contact with the team, coaches and what not. What are those plans? How much is he able to communicate with everyone?

A: Yeah, I have spoken with Golden Tate all along as to what his plans are, and we'll keep those private. He's going to have to leave the building for a month, and he'll be off training and doing what he can do. We'll get him back when we can get him back.

Q: He wants to try to do what he can so he can still mentor the guys and what not. Is that still allowed if it's outside of the building? Is that a gray area—how does that work?

A: No, he's going to be suspended so he can't be around.

Q: Not in the building, but maybe outside the building?

A: I assume so. That's part of his personal life. In my mind, he's going to be gone for a month. I have spoken to him at length a couple of times about what he plans to do and I'm aware of that. We'll just look forward to getting him back when we can.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the scene at the end of the game last night when everybody came onto the field and celebrated from your bench and what you thought about that. You have spoken about what type of team you're envisioning. How does that fit into the whole culture that you're trying to build?

A: I don't really use the word culture. I think what we're trying to always do is win games. That's obviously what you're trying to do, and we're certainly all well aware of the fact that game doesn't count in the record books. The competitive spirit and part of what we're trying to train our guys to do is finish. I think that group that was in the game, we were involved in a two-minute drive and they found a way to finish with a score that won the game. I think, regardless of what that game meant, for the players involved, it meant that we won and the excitement of winning showed up. I think that there is something good to that.

Q: Do you anticipate letting guys know today or will that all be tomorrow regarding the cutdown? I know some teams have already started, but if memory serves, you didn't do it until Saturday last year. Will you let guys know today?

A: I wouldn't speculate on that. I think our initial plan is to do most, if not all, of that tomorrow. I can't say that something won't happen today. Again, with regard to who we are keeping, the process of going through it, I really don't want to speculate, and I don't think it's fair to our process here. I think it's important to remember that since we've had the 90-man roster, we have talked at length about all of the players, frequently. Obviously, last night we learned something about more of the guys that will help add to the conversation. I think we'll keep most of that private until it gets revealed.

Q: I don't know if this counts as a speculative question that you don't want to get into, but is there a position where you feel you're really deep, and a position where it's going to be exceptionally tough because you think you're really deep and the numbers might not work out?

A: You are absolutely correct, that is a speculative question.

Q: We've talked a lot about how Daniel Jones has looked this summer and his development. What about your starting quarterback? How do you think he's handled this whole summer, and do you think he's more ready now in his second year with you to have a big season than he was last year at this time?

A: I think he's had an outstanding offseason. It started by what he did by himself before the OTA offseason program started. I think he's had, in my mind, an outstanding camp from the practice setting. He's executed well in the time that he's been in the game. He's certainly a guy that's got a lot of experience, and when I look at him, I just see a guy that's much more comfortable in the system for the second year in a row, and I'm looking forward to him having a really good year.

Q: Last night, Brian Mihalik played the whole game. Can you talk about what you saw from him last night, and another guy maybe battling for a roster position, Paul Perkins? Can you talk about what you saw from them, and then maybe a little update on the injuries?

A: Mihalik, he did a good job. He's a trustworthy guy, and he plays hard, he's smart, and he's got all the traits that a coach is looking for—and he's long, he can play tackle. So, I thought he did a really good job last night in the game. Perkins made some plays and, again, I learned a little bit more about him—I would say we learned a little bit more about him last night in what he did. With regard to the injuries, we're still finishing up visiting with the guys that you may have questions about, so I don't have anything definitive there, unless you've got a question about a specific guy. That's part of it this time of year—that's really the unintended consequences of the fourth preseason game where you don't play probably a third of your roster, is you've got a lot of guys that are playing a lot of snaps and they get exposed to injuries, but that's just the way it goes.

Q: What's your comfort level with Cody (Latimer) and Bennie (Fowler III) at receiver, and what kind of summers have they had so far?

A: I feel as though they've displayed a veteran presence. They have the skill and ability to play their positions, and I'm comfortable with both those players.

Q: At what point do you think you'll lift your head up and take a peek around and see what's going on with Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys?

A: Well, we've been quietly working on the Cowboys for a while now. We've known since the spring that they're our opening game, so you always have one eye on the opener. With regard to that, Ezekiel Elliott, I think we'll just watch that play out like the rest of the world does. Obviously, he's an outstanding player, but those are really issues of the day for the Cowboys, not so much for us.

Q: Could you give some general insights of what the process is like over the next 12 hours or so?

A: Generally speaking, we came in this morning, we all watched the tape as coaches, graded it like we would the first three preseason games and like we do any other game, met with the players here at 11:30, and kind of sent them on their way—they're finishing up their treatments, and they're finishing up their weight lifting. The players will individually look at the tape and make corrections, so coaches within their little group, given that information, spend time with them. This afternoon, we'll be in meetings discussing who's going to make the 53—all coaches, Dave (Gettleman) and his staff, and anybody who has a good opinion as to what direction we should go.

Q: Last night, you were asked if Daniel Jones was ready, and your answer was, "He's getting there." Now that you get into the regular season, and presumably his reps in practice diminish as you get Eli ready, how does he take that final step to get all the way there to where if you need him at some point, he's fully ready to go?

A: Well, I think that you continue to work, and this isn't unique to the quarterback position. I think that the backup player, and the primary backup in this case, is a guy that gets the mental reps, he gets the physical reps before and after practice, during special teams periods—he'll go and execute all the plays that we would execute in the game. On his own time, under our direction, we get him as ready as we can. That's just the way this works, and we're confident that he's put himself in position to go in and execute at a high level, so that's really how that works. This is not new.

S Jabrill Peppers

Q: How excited are you to get the regular season started?

A: I'm very excited. The magnitude of the game adds excitement. We've been working hard all offseason for this moment and we are ready to go.

Q: How close are you following the Ezekiel Elliott situation?

A: That's not really what I'm worried about. I'm just worried about getting myself in the best possible mindset, the best possible edge that I can have. Going out there to Dallas and playing a hell of a ballgame.

Q: The starting defense hasn't played a lot of snaps this summer. How confident are you in the defense come opening day?

A: We have played with each other all day in practice. It's not something we are really worried about. The issues that we have had have all been minor communication issues that can be easily corrected.

We are not harping on that too much, we know what kind of guys we have in the locker room, we know what kind of defense we have. We are going to go out there and put our best foot forward.

Q: Has the defense developed an identity yet?

A: We are definitely developing an identity. We have a relentless mindset, we are going to communicate, we are going to give maximum effort, we are going to play with outstanding technique and we intend to create a lot of turnovers.

Q: You grew up in the area watching Eli from afar. What do you think of Eli after working with him all summer?

A: Eli was everything I thought. A guy who has seen it all, he has played a ton of ball. A two-time MVP, champion, he has played in the tough games, he has basically done everything you want your quarterback to do. I definitely see the greatness that he has, whether it's finding the open guy or putting the ball where only his guy can get it, diagnosing the coverage, checking out to get those guys a better call. I think that in this league if you have a quarterback that can do that and do it at an exceptionally high level it gives you a lot of opportunities to win ball games.

Q: Talk about your receiver corps, particularly Bennie (Fowler) and Cody (Latimer) you won't have Golden (Tate) for the first four games?

A: I personally don't think there is going to be any drop off. Those guys have had a tremendous camp. I think they are going to surprise a lot of people. They are excellent route runners, they play hard, they block. Combine that with the run game, then play action pass, it's definitely going to be something to watch. I'm excited to see it play out.

Q: What has Tae Davis shown you?

A: Tae has been great. He's very fluid, he used to be a safety. He has very great feet, he's very fast, quick twitch. He's getting better with his calls and playing in there. I definitely think Tae's is going to be a tremendous help for us. He's involved in a lot of different packages, just making plays.

Q: Does it help that he used to play safety?

A: Absolutely, we kind of already have that feel for playing around the ball and working with one another in combo coverages and things like that. When you have a guy who can do that, but just a bigger guy I think that you have a lot of versatility in what you can call and where you can put guys. In the grand scheme of things, it definitely helps with our scheme, it definitely helps when we want to go sub or when we want to play fast or put him on the back or put him on the tight end. He's excellent in coverage, definitely excited at getting a look at Tae and all the guys for that matter.

Q: When you look at this league a lot of teams win because they have talent and they don't make mistakes. Last night, when you guys won, everybody ran onto the field. How important is that team feeling to winning?

A: It's definitely important. You want to chase that feeling as much as you can. I think that even though the preseason doesn't count, putting wins on the board and feeling that atmosphere, how the locker room is after the game, and showing that if you stay together and fight for the whole 60 minutes, it gives you the best possible chance to win the ball game. It definitely gives you things to build off of (and) things to coach on. Moving forward we can definitely build off that feeling.

TE Evan Engram

Q: How tough was it to see what happened with Scott Simonson last night?

A: That was tough, it was such a good moment with him making that great play and Kyle (Lauletta) throwing a great ball to him, finishing the play but it was just really unfortunate of what happened during the play so he's in good spirits. He flew back with us and everything last night and we got to make sure he is good. He's at the hospital today doing all the tests and stuff, so he feels good, we're just praying for the best results.

Q: You mentioned Kyle (Lauletta) you guys were obviously teammates last year, how much improvement has he shown?

A: Its crazy seeing Kyle (Lauletta) grow, just attacking every day at camp and making the most out of each opportunity he has gotten, so he has definitely been putting the work in. He has that confidence, he has that swagger, That's probably the thing I love about him the most and the fearlessness he plays with, and all of that showed last night.

Q: Speaking of opportunity, with Golden (Tate III) being out for the next month, can you talk about the receiving core around you, particularly the opportunity for Cody (Latimer) and Bennie (Fowler)

A: Yeah, it's just what it's always been, next man up mentality and everybody in that room is very talented and the guys, they know what they're capable of. They know the system and they have been making plays all camp. It's time for everybody to get into gear for Week 1 and a lot of people are going to have to step up and a lot of people are going to get a lot of opportunities and I know each one of those guys are going to be ready.

Q: What do you think those guys specifically they both kind of came together in the league and have been together.

A: They just know the game, they know how to get open, they know the system and they're kind of natural leaders as well. They're very versatile and very underrated guys that will wake up a lot of people with their route running and their big play making and the way they can keep the chains moving.  

Q: There was so much focus on Daniel Jones this summer. What did you see from your starting quarterback (Eli) this summer, anything you've seen different in the past?

A: Yeah I've definitely seen a lot of improvement with Eli. Each camp I've had with him he's done really well and worked really hard, but for this camp it felt a little different. There's more confidence, you could tell he's more comfortable within the pocket and he's been slinging the ball around all camp and hasn't slowed down. I'm very excited to get on the roll with Eli, and just the things I've seen and the things we are talking as an offense and the things we are working towards – we're kind of adding things to the system and putting guys in the right spots and trying our best to make him successful. I'm really excited about it. I can't wait to get the first snap going.

Q: At the end of the game last night you guys kind of ran on the field like you made the playoffs, is there a different sense about this team?

A: We're just a family, we have honestly just become a family. Everyone genuinely cares for the guy next to him and you can see that on the field the way that everyone has been playing this preseason and just the competitiveness we have had at camp. All the grinding we have done together, all the hanging out we have done with each other and growing as a team like I said we are becoming a family. We just love to see guys do well. Last night was a perfect way for us to finish this preseason strong. We had 19 points going into the second half and everybody just kind of clicked and everyone felt it coming. It was just a really good ending to a really good camp and like I said we became a family. It was a good moment for our team to celebrate together, in camp on the right foot.

Q: Can that be something good for the season?

A: Of course, when you come in each and every day and you're working for the guy next to you and you're playing with more humility and its becoming a culture that's permanent in our building. That's definitely going to help us on Sunday's because we put ourselves in those moments each and every day at practice. We put ourselves in those moments in games and so when its regular season and it really counts we are ready for it. We can trust each other and we can depend on each other, that's something that's different about the team that we can keep building on going into the season.

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