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Quotes (8/9): Manning, Shurmur, Barkley, Webb, Solder, Collins, Ogletree, Halapio, Vernon

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

Opening Remarks: First one is in the books. I mentioned before the game, it’s important that we learn about our team in these preseason games. You want to win the games, and it’s always the same in the locker room when you don’t win. You get that feeling of disappointment that you didn’t win the game, but on the flip side, there were moments, there were stretches of this game that were positive, there were things that we did that were positive. Running the ball, I wanted to run the ball especially early with Saquon to kind of get him going, I thought he had some nice runs in there. And throughout the game, I thought our running backs did a good job. I thought we did a good job run blocking, but we had a stretch there in the middle of the game where we didn’t get it done in the passing game and I was trying to throw the ball a little more than the law allows with Davis Webb in there. I thought our run defense was good and then I told the team, we were tight in coverage, but at times we just didn’t make enough plays. I think that’s what it comes down to in a 20-10 ballgame. But, there’s a lot that we can learn from, the players can all learn from. I think the guys that played today got better in some ways, all the young players played, and now we’ll go back and watch the tape and get ready to play Detroit. With that, I’ll take your questions.

Q: What was your assessment of the quarterbacks, especially Davis Webb with some high throws.

A: Davis gets a little amped up at times and that’s what causes the ball to sail a little bit, but he had his moments. He had some good plays in there.

Q: What did you see from Saquon Barkley and his first game? What was your first impression of him?

A: I loved his first run. If only they all could be like that. You could see, it wasn’t too big for him. He’s probably played before bigger crowds at Penn State. It really wasn’t too big for him and I think he took the next step in his progress to get ready for the season.

Q: What do you want to take from film like this? As you’re building toward the season, how important is the film that you’re going to see tonight?

A: Yeah, film is very important. I told the fellas that we’re still in training camp, we’re in training camp mode. We’ve got to look at this just like we played a scrimmage against ourselves. Correct all the little mistakes so they don’t show up again, and just come back and try to be better each play next week.

Q: What did you see on the sack, Eli’s last play where he got sacked?

A: They just had a cross dog pressure. They got a little loose between the center and the back, two guys in the middle belong to the center and the back and they got a little loose. It happens all the time. Unfortunately, they got us that time.

Q: You started the second half with a hurry-up, was that something to try to calm Davis Webb down a little bit?

A: No, I use it periodically. Being able to go fast, sometimes it puts the defense on their heels a little bit. We got moving there a little bit, and then we had a third down throw in the flat that we missed on that could’ve kept that drive alive, but the good news is, and again this is something I didn’t mention, but we got a turnover. We caused a turnover on the punt, and turnovers are important, but what you do with them is extra important. So, we got the turnover, then we touched it in and scored. That was a good segment of the game, so we just have to build on that.

Q: What did you say to Davis [Webb] at halftime?

A: I just tried to settle him down, that’s all.

Q: Did you see better results in the third quarter?

A: Like I said, he had moments out there that were pretty good so we’ve just got to go back. He’s no different than anybody else, he has to go back and clean up those plays that there were mistakes on.

Q: Odell Beckham didn’t play. Is that because he’s coming off injury?

A: I want to be smart with his recovery coming back, and I never intended to play him in this game. I didn’t reveal that to you, but I never intended to.

Q: How much of that has to do with the contract?

A: Nothing. He is coming back from injury, I want to be smart with him, and I never intended to play him in this game.

Q: How about for yourself? You haven’t been a head coach in a while. How did it go?

A: I thought the communication was good. We had one substitution there at the end on the punt, but we were able to hold it, we didn’t panic, we had a guy out there in time, and actually had an excellent punt. But the communication was good on the sideline. There’s a few things we could clean up as coaches, but for the most part, our process was actually a little better than I thought it would be for the first game.

Q: On Saquon’s first run, how much did he make something out of nothing there and what did you think of how it was blocked? Can you describe what the play was intended to do when it happened?

A: I thought it was a good run. It was well blocked and he made a couple nice cuts.

Q: You talked about the coverage and just not making plays. They seem like they do a lot of back shoulder out there.

A: Those can be tough at times when you’re in pressed man. They hit on a few of them early, you saw later in the game, if they’re not thrown just perfectly, they can be incomplete or you can get a hand on them. I would say we defended those balls better at the end of the game than we did in the beginning. So there’s something to learn from. They probably didn’t see many of those in practice and we saw it now in the game, and it’s now something we can work on.

Q: How would you assess your defense? Anybody stand out?

A: It’s hard to tell. Typically if you play good run defense, everybody’s involved. So I thought we did a pretty good job on the run for the most part. You didn’t really see any runs slip out. A couple scrambles, we lost contain a couple times on Mayfield with the extended drives. That’s what a guy with good feet can do. For the most part, I thought the run defense was good. There were no breakdowns in coverage, there weren’t guys running wide open, we just didn’t make enough plays.

Quarterback Eli Manning

Q: Excited the way things started, right?

A: Yeah, started off with a nice run to get things started. Hopefully more to come.

Q: Seems like there’s a lot to improve on.

A: Yeah, there’s always going to be a lot to improve on. That’s why you play the preseason games. New offense, a lot of new pieces. I think every series, every play is important to learn from. We got to look at the film hard. There’s a lot of places we can improve. Some of it is just making plays, but also just fundamentals, and just make sure we’re doing the little things correctly.

Q: How did things go with the new offensive line?

A: I think it went well. I thought everybody was on the same page – making some calls, making some checks, changing some protections, and everything. I think everybody is doing the right things. No delay of games or those types of things. I thought the communication went smoothly. Now, it’s just cleaning some things up. We left some plays out there.

Q: What happened on the one play you got sacked? Looked like the defender came unblocked.

A: They had a little game up front, and they had a little twist going. We just got to look at it and try to get that picked up.

Q: How much of the offense was at your disposal tonight? Did you guys use the entire playbook?

A: I don’t know. It’s always a quick game plan for the first game. You kind of have one day where you practice first and watch Cleveland and kind of practice towards them. It’s not a whole lot of exact game plan in form. But the offense is in, and we had some opportunities to make some plays.

Q: On the run by (RB) Saquon (Barkley) to open the game, was it his patience that allowed that hole to open up? Or, was it more so by play design?

A: It’s just a run. Let’s not go beserk, yet. It was a good run. The offensive line blocked things well, he had a good cutback. It was a good play.

Q; Were you able to learn anything about this group in an uncontrolled situation for the first time?

A: I thought there were some good things. We made some adjustments. Again, everyone was on the same page. We just got to work from here. Now, we got to look at it and see where we can make some improvements and make some plays next time.

Q: Obviously he didn’t play, but did (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) look healthy to you during pregame warmups?

A: Odell is healthy, he’s ready to go. He’s been practicing, he’s been doing everything. It’ll be good to continue to get him out there at practices, eventually get him out in some games, and get going.

Q: What do you guys look to accomplish in Detroit during the joint practice with the Lions?

A: I think that’ll be great. Just going against a new defense. Kind of getting unscripted looks, and you have to adjust, you kind of test their rules. It’s different when you’re going against our defense. Now, we got a feel for what they like to do, and this and that. Going against new guys, new techniques, new style of defense. I think it’s going to be a great learning experience for us. We got to go out there and keep improving. We still got a long way to go before that first real game. So, we got to get better and make strides each and every week.

QB Davis Webb

Q: What did coach (Pat) Shurmur say to you, you admittedly said you were amped up, what advice did some of the guys give you?

A: Just kind of calm down and play. Guys know I can do it, there’s no doubt about that. I showed signs of it tonight, throwing check downs. They did a good job over there playing two deep, keeping everything in front of them. A few times I was close, I forced a few but I was a foot off for barely missing. At the same time, if I make those throws, we extend drives and get better chances of getting points on the board.

Q: That’s why the ball sails when you’re amped up? That’s the reason the ball sails?

A: Yeah, I need to put it on the guy’s chinstrap. That’s what I want to do, that’s what I need to do. Yeah, I missed far too many, but at the same time I’m going to get better from it. I’m not too worried about it. I’m going to learn from it and get better for next week.

Q: Do you have a checklist of things you’re trying to accomplish from week to week? Things to do in terms of improving?

A: One hundred percent. The biggest thing right now is going to the film room with coach (Pat) Shurmur and coach (Mike) Shula and kind of learn from my mistakes. It’s the first preseason game, I’m going to get better from it. This isn’t going to be the last time playing, so I got another opportunity next week in Detroit, go against them everyday in practice and going to be a good opportunity for our team to go against someone new on defense. Looking forward to it.

Q: Did it feel good to punch it in after the turnover on the punt?

A: One hundred percent. Scoot ran the ball really well, really proud of Jalen (Simmons). Jerell (Adams) played well, he blocked his butt off and that was a good feeling.

Q: No chance you were sliding on the play before that?

A: I thought I got the first down. I got to watch the spot, it was a questionable spot. We tempoed it and we got a good run out there, O-Line blocked their butts off and we had a good run in.

Q: We know how you like to prepare, how soon are you going to watch the tape? Tonight?

A: Oh yeah, I’ll watch the game tonight once we get out of here and have some questions ready for the morning and kind of get better from it. It’s the first preseason game, it’s an extension of training camp and you just try to get better from that.

Q: Did you have a view of Saquon (Barkley’s) run?

A: It was fast, first one. The guy works his butt off and hopefully there’s more to come.

Q: Coach said you were a little amped up, a little over-excited. Were you excited when you got out there today?

A: I was pumped up. It was my first time playing in a year, so I think the biggest thing was kind of just take a deep breath, let the game come to you. Again, I’m not too worried about it. I know I could make those throws and I know I will. I just got to get even keeled and ready to rock and roll next week.

C Jon Halapio

Q: Some of the positives you can take away from tonight?

A: I would say the running game early on. I think that was pretty good from the first run we had with Saquon (Barkley). That was a positive note. I think communication up front, getting everybody on the same page, blocking in the same direction, in the run game and the pass. I think that was pretty good.

Q: Things you guys can work on for next week?

A: Things that we can work on… Just harping on the technique, identifying the defenses and finishing drives. Finishing drives is our emphasis, something that we struggled with last year.

Q: How do you think Will (Hernandez) did his first time out there?

A: I think Will did good, I think Will did good. I think he went out there like a pro and he was poised. He was playing hard and I think he loves to hit so I think he did a good job with that.

Q: There’s so much talk about how you guys have to come together as a group, five new starters and all that. What do you think your biggest take away was from tonight versus what you’ve been able to do in practice?

A: The biggest takeaway I think – the chemistry. The chemistry showed up early on in the run game. I think that’s a positive thing that we can build on going on to next week to Detroit.

SIDELINE INTERVIEWS

QB Eli Manning

Q: How good did it feel to be back out there?

A: I think it’s always great to be back out there, get on the field, going against a new opponent, and I think after the first game you see a lot about things you need to improve on. There’s things guys need to settle down and get comfortable with everything, but I thought there were some good things, got a scoring drive, but definitely after watching, I think you can see a lot of things we need to improve on.

Q: First play of the game, Saquon goes for the huge run. What were your thoughts on that?

A: Yeah, good run by Saquon. Offensive line blocked it well, good cut back out there on the sideline, good way to start the game.

RB Saquon Barkley

Q: Explain what you saw on the first carry?

A: What I saw on that first carry, the offensive line did a great job of creating space and creating a hole. I was able to have patience and Evan (Engram) did an unbelievable job of blocking on the backside, and I was able to burst through the hole, make a guy miss and get up field.

Q: It‘s preseason, but describe what it felt like to play in your first game?

A: It felt weird, the feelings are hard to describe. I really didn’t get that nervous for this game, I have been preparing for this moment my whole life, I was just excited to get out there and show my team what I have. I only got a couple of carries, but I wanted to show that I’m willing to get the gritty yards, break big plays, and be productive in this offense.

S Landon Collins

Q: How good did it feel to be out there again?

A: It felt awesome, honestly. Just to be able to let it boom with somebody, come out with my hips, explode and hold, and not hold back. It’s not training camp anymore, it’s football season. Just to be able to do that was a fun time, brought back old memories and trying to make new ones.

Q: First time in James Bettcher’s defense against another team. Describe how fun you think this defense will be to play in.

A: Oh, it’s going to be amazing because of how aggressive we are, we play aggressive, we have a lot of aggressive people on this defense. This defense, and the task we have for this defense and the guys that’s on it, it’s going to be amazing.

T Nate Solder

Q: Describe what that first play of the game was like for a lineman?

A: The great thing about having awesome teammates is that even when you don’t play well, they pick you up. I thought that maybe I didn’t play well but the rest of the O-line played great, Saquon (Barkley) made a great play and it’s really exciting to be chasing the ball downfield like that.

Q: What do you think this offensive line gained going against another defensive front instead of your own tonight?

A: It’s always good to go against other competition. Getting prepared for another game scenario, like this, where there’s things at stake, you’re playing hard. Going against a guy you haven’t necessarily seen everyday, you have to be prepared through your film study and everything just like you have to be prepared during the season.

LB Alec Ogletree

Q: New team, new defense, how did it feel to be out there tonight?

A: It felt good, the guys got off to a good start, we got on the field and got off. The second series we did give up a touchdown, you don’t want to do that. I thought we came back the third series, got a three and out and came off the field pretty well. We have the young guys out there now, so I think it‘s going pretty well so far.

Q: When you look in front of you, you see Snacks. When you look behind you, you see Landon. How special can this defense be?

A: It can be real special. Like you said, we have players on all three levels. I think we have one of the top defenses in the league. With those guys, myself, B.J. and all the guys, we definitely have a chance to be a top defense.

RB Saquon Barkley

Q: What went through your head when you saw some space after you made that cut?

A: You’re just so locked in the moment and you’re just living in the moment that you really don’t even notice what’s going on in your head, but the offensive line did a great job with blocking up front, creating space. Evan (Engram) made an unbelievable block there and I was able to create some space and get a big gain. 

Q: Eli has been quizzing you on routes. Was that something that had been drawn out before for you?

A: You mean some other quarterbacks I’ve played with? No. I’ve never really been quizzed on routes. He actually does quiz me like he’s my teacher. It’s been very helpful to me, just sort of checks and balances, making sure where I need to be, my mindset is where it needs to be, know where I need to be at especially in the route formation and the route scheme, just to help other routes open up.

Q: I know this wasn’t a game that counted, but it was your first time under the lights in the pros. What was your emotion coming in and what did it feel like during the game?
A: It was kind of weird. I was talking to a lot of guys there. For some reason I didn’t get nervous, I didn’t really get anxious. It was kind of a weird feeling. They said it would probably hit me when the national anthem goes off, but I kind of just got locked in so quick, I just have been preparing for this moment for my whole life and being able to play in the NFL, and I didn’t want any other thing to ruin it. If I had broken a long run, no, I just wanted to go out there and enjoy, and have fun, and take advantage of every rep and every opportunity I got.

Q: Did you expect to feel nervous? Did you want to be nervous?
A: Yeah, I expected to be nervous because since high school on, I was nervous in high school – not nervous, I think anxious is the word, because nervous is kind of like you’re scared. I just needed that first hit, I was just so ready for that moment, it was kind of weird. One of the coaches told me that he said it’s going to get worse, don’t worry, so definitely preparing for that. Just excited to live my life and live the dream I planned.

Q: You only get one shot to make a first impression. Is it satisfying that that is how Giants fans saw you for the first time?

A: I think it was more satisfying to me just because of the scenario. We were backed up tight, to be able to get us out running from, I think we were on the 12-yard line, and then to break out a 40-yard run really [helped] our offense out and we had a great drive. We just got to find a way to finish it. It was more exciting in that it was helping the team out, we were getting a drive started, starting off quick, more than making a first impression.

Q: What are two or three aspects of the game you really focused on?

A: One definitely was pass [protection], knowing what I needed to do and seeing my guys. I didn’t really get a chance to pick up a block today. I didn’t have one to pick up really, it wasn’t my responsibility, and being patient in the run game, creating a pull, setting up pulls. The third thing was being me, go back to being me. I have so many people outside of my family saying I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to be this, they have expectations for this and that, but the main focus was just to put that all aside, put that all to rest and not even focus on it. Just go out there and be a little kid again and play football.

Q: What are you looking forward to [moving forward]?

A: Learning. Learning throughout the whole game, even though I wasn’t in the second, third, or fourth quarter, and I split reps with [Jonathan Stewart] in the beginning and learn from his reps, learn from [Robert Martin] who played amazing, and [Simmons] who played amazing, learn from Wayne [Gallman Jr.] and continue to grow as a player.

Giants LB Olivier Vernon

Q: As a front-seven, how do you think tonight went? Obviously not a lot of playing time, but it seemed like you guys did get some pressures on some of their backups.

A: Yeah, I mean, we didn’t get that much time out there, but all we can do is get a little look and get our feet wet a little bit. You know, watching the young guys out there, I feel like the young guys did pretty good. A lot of guys were out there making some plays and all you can do is just enjoy it and amp them up. 

Q: We made such a big deal about the change to the 3-4 defense, but did it feel like you did pretty much similar to what you had done in the past?

A: Oh yeah, for the most part. It wasn’t anything that was different than before for the limited amount of time that we were out there, but it’s still good to get our feet wet a little bit and get back into pads and go against somebody that’s not on our team, so it felt good.

Q: When you guys are in the nickel, you are basically a 4-3 defensive end basically, right?

A: Basically yeah, so nothing really changes about that.

Q: O.V., I don’t know if you want to talk about it now, but why did you now decide to stand [for the national anthem]?

A: Well, you know, right now we’re waiting to see how everything goes with the League and we’ve just been engaging in talks and seeing what everybody is talking about and seeing where everything is going to lead to. For right now, it’s just football right now.

Q: Was that a team decision? Or was that something you decided on your own to stand?

A: I mean, first and foremost, it’s basically everybody just engaging and talking about what is going on, but right now it’s really just focusing on football. That’s it.

Q: What did you think of Saquon Barkley’s run?

A: That was impressive and that’s what you want to see. They brought him here just to see, you know, to be that horse in the backfield and make plays. He’s been doing that in the collegiate level and now in the big boy level. He’s very talented, I’m very happy for him and I’m just excited what the season has in store for him.

Q: You don’t get the full thing in the preseason, just little glimpses. Could you imagine 20, 22, 25 touches for a guy like that?

A: Pretty sure he’s hungry. I’m going to be a fan watching him just like everybody else.

Q: How much does that help the defense?

A: It helps tremendously when you’re able to move the ball, run the ball on the ground. Basically manage the game effectively like that. We’ll see, we’ll see how it goes this season.

Q: Of course, very long runs mean you guys are back on the field. I guess that’s okay right?

A: Hey, that’s okay. As long as there’s points on the board.

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