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Quotes (9/10): Pat Shurmur, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

Opening Remarks: Let me first start with the injuries that we know of. Wayne Gallman is the only guy that got hurt yesterday, a knee, so we’ll just see where he’s at. He’s questionable moving forward. I don’t really have much to add in terms of starting us out that I didn’t talk about last night. I think the film played out the same way today, we didn’t have really any new looks at things that we didn’t see on the field. I thought our guys played hard front to back, I think it’s safe to say – and you might ask me about individual players, but I think the guys all had a lot of good plays; but we all had mistakes that we need to clean up, players and coaches alike. That’s the process you go through really every week, but especially after the first week as we get ready to play Dallas. With that, I’ll try to answer your questions.

Q: Will you give anybody else (first team) reps in practice this week at right tackle?

A: We actually rotate the guys during the week, so there are guys that get practice there. As you know, we kept seven guys up, so we rotate through there.  

Q: Did you contemplate yesterday during the game moving (Ereck Flowers) at any point?

A: No.   

Q: Why not?

A: Like I said, he’s like every player. I think I know where you’re going with this, he’s like every player. He had a lot of really good plays and he had a couple that he’d like to have back.  

Q: He got turned around a lot, especially on that first drive with the tripping penalty.

A: He had the tripping penalty and then on the hold, and that happens frequently, the quarterback scrambled, which was good, and unfortunately there’s times when those holds occur. That was the gist of it the first drive.

Q: Do you have enough time in this week to get him improved before Dallas based on what the film showed?

A: He’s like every player. Again, he had a lot of really good reps and he had a couple he’d like to have back. He’s going to work to get better just like every player.  

Q: What went into the two-point conversion call going right back to (Saquon Barkley) after his big run?

A: It was actually a pass and we audibled because we had a ---

Q: Do you have concern when guys come off of a really long run?

A: No. Saquon is a well-conditioned athlete.  

Q:  The fact that he was off the beginning of the next drive had nothing to do with that?

A: No.

Q: Late in the game, you said yesterday you had not thought of Odell returning a punt late in the game. You obviously needed a big one, why didn’t you consider that?  

A: Especially in that situation, I mentioned I didn’t because we were going for the block. Typically in that situation, the returner knows there’s a decent chance you might fair catch it. He (Kaelin Clay) did have a little more space than you normally have, he just misfielded it.

Q: Will you consider putting Odell back there moving forward)?

A: Possibly.

Q: What would go into (that decision)?

A: We’ll see.

Q: Is there a danger to an offense being too reliant on big plays?

A: No. You like to create big plays, we want explosive plays within our offense. I’ve said it all along, when the score is like that, we didn’t have as much success early running the ball as I would’ve liked, but I want to continue to call runs. You never know when a big one’s going to pop up like that. That’s what happened there.

Q: Sometimes you are just waiting and waiting for one to come along.

A: No, we’re trying to create them. We threw the ball down the field quite a bit actually, and we also threw some intermediate throws that we had success with. We had some concepts that were working. Again, I thought we did some good things against Jacksonville, but we need to do more things better.

Q: What’s your mindset? Do you feel like we did enough good things where we’re close or we did too many wrong things?

A: We just need to get better all the way around. That’s safe to say. Really, you make mistakes when you win games, so you go through the same process every Monday of trying to highlight the areas that need to get better and you work on them. That’s it.

Q: What did you think of (Eli Apple)?

A: I thought he played a really solid game. He was competitive in coverage, made a couple plays on the ball, and I liked it. It was a good opening game for him.

Q: Do you feel like you tried to get Saquon involved in the passing game early? It seems like getting him the ball in space would be one way to create those big plays.

A: We tried getting him the ball in some areas that they took it away down the field, so some of the crossing routes showed up. Yeah, we tried to get him the ball throwing it, running it, and we found a way to get one big play out of it.

Q: After watching the film, what was your takeaway from the offensive line?

A: Again, I thought they all had some really good plays and they all had some mistakes that we’ve got to clean up.

A: In the passing game, it seems 15 throws to one guy (Odell Beckham Jr.) is an awful lot. Is that because he was simply getting open, or that’s the way the progressions were going?

A: That’s the way the progressions were going. Fifteen shots to Odell. I think we might be here some day when he doesn’t get that many and you’re saying, why don’t you throw it to him 15 times? Again, every snap was not man and so there were some progression-related throws where, on a couple of those underneath throws to Odell, the initial read was maybe Saquon would run a wheel route. It just happens that way, and ideally, all the eligible receivers should get touches. I think that’s an important way to play offense, because I trust all the guys that are out there to make good catches.

Q: Do you put up video clips of positive plays for the guys after games, like (Sterling Shepard’s) block, for example, on Barkley’s (touchdown) run?

A: Yes, we cover everything. We do. We watch all the tape. The offense gets together and watches all the tape, defense watches all the tape, they’ll do it in their individual meetings, and we do it in team meeting settings. We watch it.

Q: What did you think of the mental state of your team today? How did they handle everything that happened yesterday?

A: I thought they were very professional. We came in and we talked about the things that went right, the things that went wrong, we talked about our approach moving forward, and that’s what we’re doing.

Q: What kind of a tone did you want to set (after the first loss)?

A: I’ve been involved in a lot of first games of the season – won about half of them, and lost about half of them. You just move forward. That’s the important thing is you move forward. You learn from the mistakes you made, you build on the things you did well and you just keep moving. That’s the important piece. That may get old as we go through these Mondays with me saying that, but you can win a game and still go through that process. When you lose a game, it hurts more, but you still go through the same process.

Q: We know the quality of the opponent you were going against, especially defensively. How do you balance being realistic and knowing that what you did against them, but also not fall into the trap of, ‘well, that was a great team, so now we’re not going to see a defense like that the next week and the following week’?

A: It’s a great question, and it’s one of the things we talk about frequently. You don’t get to go in our weight room, but it’s everywhere. We don’t make excuses or let other people make them for us, and that’s letting other people make them for us when we say, ‘well, we played a good opponent.’ Everybody’s good, and we expect to go out and win every game, so we don’t factor that in.

Q: Back to Ereck Flowers at right tackle – what would you have to see to rotate someone else in there?

A: We’re just going to try to get better. As you know, I’m fond of our roster. I’m fond of our offensive linemen. Ereck had a lot of really good plays yesterday, so what we’re going to do is try to help him with some of the technique work that he can improve on, just like every player, to eliminate some of those mistakes. You just keep working with him, and then we always rotate guys through in the event that we have injuries. You don’t see that, but that happens.

Q: I meant on a Sunday, to rotate someone in there, or to maybe use someone else there.

A: We’ll see. Right now, what we’re doing is trying to get every player better. I’ll probably say it for the 10th time now, he had a lot of plays that were really good.

QB Eli Manning

Q: Your thoughts on yesterday’s game?

A: Yeah, similar. There’s some decent stuff, some good stuff, really. I think we hurt ourselves some. Too many times we got behind the sticks. I think we had five plays over 3rd & 11. That just means first and second down, you’re having negative plays, penalties or sacks, or whatever. Got to get better at that. Just clean up a few things. There’s some good things. It’s just everybody. Everybody kind of had enough things that they need to do better, starting with me, that we can do to put us in a better position to win that game.

Q: Do you take a positive away from this game in the fact that you all played against a really good team?

A: I think you always look for the positives. We went against a good team, a good defense. We had some big plays, we had some opportunities. We got to hit a few more of them. We had a chance to win the game at the end, and we just didn’t quite make enough plays.

Q: Is it dangerous to rely on those big plays too often?

A: No, I don’t think you’re reliant on big plays. That’s football, though. It doesn’t have to be 60-yard gains, but you still have to hit some 15-yard gains, and you got to get first downs, and you got to have some explosives that still have to be a part of your offense. You can’t be going backwards if you’re not getting them. We can’t have the penalties. That’s preventing you from being in opportunities to take your shots. We got to run the ball better, then that’ll help out the play-action. All those things kind of help. We just had runs going backwards, we had penalties. It’s hard to get into all the plays you want to get to when you’re second-and-long.

Q: What did you think of the offensive line yesterday?

A: I thought the offensive line did a good job going against a good front. That’s why their team has been so successful. Their front four is extremely talented, and they get pressure on the quarterback. I thought those guys competed. They hung in there tough. Obviously, that’s football. There’s times where you get some pressure, and you got to make good decisions with it. There’s some times we had great protection, and had a ton of time to really push the ball down the field.

Q: What do you say to a young player like (LT) Ereck Flowers who committed a penalty in two of the first three plays of the game?

A: You got to keep going. That’s football. In every game, it’s never going to be perfect. Sometimes you can get off to a great start. Sometimes you can get off to a slow start. You put it behind you, go to the next series, and it can only get better.

Q: Were you curious to see how the team came in this morning after the loss?

A: There’s kind of that fine line between hanging your head but not being okay with it. I thought, obviously, guys were disappointed. I think everybody knows that each one of us individually has to play a little bit better. I think that’s going to push us and drive us to practice smarter, prepare better, and go play better.

Q: This is the first loss with Coach (Pat) Shurmur. I’m sure there were a lot of eyes on him to let him set the tone.

A: Yeah, you’re going to follow the direction of the head coach. I think he expressed it’s not good enough, but I’m proud of the way you guys fought, competed, and hung in there until the very end, and found a way to kind of stay in the game. Had an opportunity to win it at the end. We just didn’t do it.

Q: What did you think of (WR) Odell’s (Beckham Jr.) first game back? Seems like you guys targeted him about 15 times.

A: Yeah, we’re going to do that. We want to try to get him the ball. They’re a one-high team (safety). We got a lot of one-on-one coverage. I thought he looked good. I thought he was running well. Ran some great routes, got open, and looked explosive.

Q: The deep pass on the left hash, is that one you look back at and say and kind of regret?

A: No, I thought I threw it in a great spot. It was just a deal. Kind of the way that route was. He did everything right. We kind of had to talk about it, from a game plan and from kind of his rules. Kind of got to talk about that route a little bit. He ran it the right way. So, I kind of threw a deeper post, which it wasn’t, just to try to give him a shot. I think I threw it in a good spot. He kind of ran into the safety a little bit and got thrown off course. We just weren’t able to connect on it. Kind of an unfortunate deal rather than like a missed opportunity.

Q: Can you elaborate on that last play before the half? It seems like you moved Barkley to your right, and the pressure came from that side and he went left.

A: They came out with an all-out-blitz, so I changed the protection to try to pick it up. We’re still going to be one short, kind of no matter what. They’re bringing one more than we can got, but you just try to kind of slide all the line. This gave us a little extra time to kind of throw it up. We got to talk about that one also, and get on the same page with the offensive line, for that type of blitz. Just to buy a little extra time to give Odell a chance for me to throw it in a spot where I kind of know where he might be. I had to throw it just before. You’re not going to be able to hold it long, I knew that. Just an extra count where I can kind of see his angle and know where to put it in a safe spot.

Q: What did you see on the two-point conversion?

A: It was close. They had a pretty good defense. Had a chance, he got held up. It’s tough for Saquon. He just had an 80-yard run and try to come do a two-point conversion. Just didn’t quite execute well enough to get it.

Q: How many of the things that were a little off can be attributed to this was only opening day with so many new parts?

A: Yes, 100 percent. When you have new things, new guys, there’s going to be corrections. They’re going to be adjustments you make in the offense, or things we weren’t ready for or we had to talk about. That’s always going to happen. I think the first game is where those things are going to come up. Things that we’ll be better prepared for next time, and talk about, fix things so we’ll be able to take advantage of it going forward.

Q: Coach Shurmur said you audibled out of the two-point conversion. Does that mean the play he called wasn’t going to work based on how the defense was lined up?

A: You never know. It was an audible kind of within the system. I made the right audible based on what we talked about. Just didn’t make it.

Q: What was going on with your headset? Did you have a technical malfunction?

A: Yeah, it was the first half. I had a hard time hearing Coach Shurmur a few times. I didn’t think anything was necessarily real wrong with it. Then the first play of the second half, it just cut out completely, and then they got a new helmet. Then after that, it was much clearer the whole second half than it was the first half. So, I guess I just had a bad connection or whatever. I’m not sure.

Q: Did Saquon seem more comfortable in the second half to you?

A: Had the one big run. I think the offensive line had some nice holes, had some good things. I didn’t really notice a first half/second half difference. He’s going to get better each and every week, and get more reps at things. He hadn’t played a whole lot of football. Didn’t play a whole lot during the preseason. So, he’ll get more comfortable with everything going on.

RT Ereck Flowers

Q: ??

A: You’re right. I’ll get better next game.

Q: Two of the first three plays were penalties on you. How tough is it to start a season like that?

A: It’s part of the game, ups and downs. Got to go to the next play.

Q: What positives do you draw out of yesterday? Obviously you lost your man down the sideline or down the line of scrimmage on Saquon’s run.

A: It’s cool, I’m just trying to get better. The other things, just try to play more consistent.

Q: What do you feel like you have to do better?

A: There were a couple of plays were I just need to – let’s just say more consistent. Let’s just say that.

Q: Were you disappointed with yesterday?

A: No, I think I did some good things, but I think there’s some things I need to work on. It’s part of the game.

Q: Coach Shurmur defended you today and said you had a lot of good plays, obviously a few you’d like to have back, but had a lot of good plays. What does that mean to have your head coach, a new coach, kind of defend you?

A: That’s good. That’s great, it feels good. Got to get better.

Q: Is your confidence level the same coming out of the game as it was going in?

A: Yeah… Next play.

Q: Was there anything about playing on the right side that…

A: I mean it was my first full game at right. Probably the best rushers yet that I’ve played at right, so it was a little different, but got to get better and move on. Go on to the next game and continue to work at it and get better at it.

Q: Any specific plays you wish you had back?

A: I mean any play that I thought I could’ve been better on. Yeah, that’s pretty much any player.

Q: The pick six, was someone supposed to help chip him that play?

A: No, I actually had the …, so the linebacker came, I was supposed to pick him up. He came and then he left, so I stepped to get him and then I had to pop back out last minute. See what I’m saying? I had two people inside first.

Q: So you kind of misread what he was going to do?

A: No, he came and then he left. You get what I’m saying? He came, so I had to step down, but if I blocked him and didn’t get inside, then I’d be wrong. It was kind of a hard play.

Q: Remind me, did you have help – did you have a running back on that side or a tight end?

A: No, it was a duel, so I got inside out. So I got that linebacker – I got the inside and the outside, so if that linebacker comes I got to get that linebacker and I got to get him. I can’t block the end. If I block the end, then he comes free and then I’m wrong, so he came and then he left. So he ran and then he popped.

Q: You got a lot of criticism for that play. Do you think that’s unfair?

A: I don’t really care what a lot of people have to say about this and that. I care about what my coach says and the people next to me and that’s all I really care about. If he feels like I’m wrong on that play then, yes, I’ll take that, okay coach you’re right. But if somebody else who’s not really in the room, doesn’t know the play, doesn’t know what we’re doing, doesn’t matter to me.

Q: What did he say about the play?

A: He said he would’ve did the same thing. Some things are just how it goes.

Q: Did you see enough from the good plays that you put out there that you have confidence that you can fix the bad plays that you saw?

A: Yeah, I just want to get better, that’s all.

Q: The tripping penalty was that just trying to make sure he doesn’t get to Eli (Manning) at any –

A: Yeah, it was a quick pass so I jumped out there too fast on it. Next time I know what type of player I’m against, he’s not really a speed guy, so next time I’m won’t jump out so fast.

Q: You say you’re playing a new position and your first game is against arguably the best front four in the league. How hard is that to jump into a new position against a team like that?

A: Any new position, it takes time. Just got to get better, that’s all we got to do.

Q: I’m sure you know there’s a lot of criticism of you from the fan base –

A: I could take it, it’s whatever. I’m playing for the dudes in my room, dudes on this team that I’ve been working with all season and I don’t have an issue with it. That’s going to be there, regardless. It doesn’t matter, I don’t lose sleep over it. I lose sleep over what these guys in my room and on this team think about me, that’s it.

Q: Is there any kind of worry that you have to play better or you could lose your job? Are you pretty confident with –

A: You can’t think like that. You just got to go out there and play as hard as you can play and whatever – leave it in God’s hand, that’s it.

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