Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: First, I thought Buffalo did a good job. They took advantage of opportunities, they scored when they needed to early. Then when we tightened it up a little bit and played a little bit of better defense at the end, we have to make sure we score. I thought early in the game, the missed field goal and then, obviously, the interception before the half – those are scoring opportunities that you can’t miss on. We knew going into it they were a good defense. I felt like throughout I wanted to keep Saquon involved as much as we could, even though the score got to what it was. Ultimately, we just didn’t make enough plays to win. I credit Buffalo, they played well in all three phases of the game and we didn’t make enough plays.
Q: What was the big difference you saw defensively in that first half that you were able to do in the second half?
A: I think we just challenged better. That was more of the focus, to make sure we challenged everything, and we did. I think they got a couple of incomplete passes within the drive, they were completing passes early and that was keeping drives alive. When you get those incomplete passes on first or second down, it puts pressure on your third downs. Then they had a couple of penalties, so some of it was, and basically from a defensive standpoint, we just challenged more and better.
Q: How were you able to get DeAndre Baker to settle down after the rocky start? He played better toward the backend of the game.
A: You just have to keep talking to him. This is his fourth half of football in the NFL. You just have to keep talking to him. The guys did a good job of coaching him. He’s a tough guy, and he learns from every play that he’s involved in, and he’ll continue to learn as he goes forward.
Q: Why do you think he struggled so badly in his first couple games?
A: Well, we lost, right? In both scenarios, pointwise, played out the same. They got ahead on us.
Q: I meant DeAndre Baker specifically.
A: He’s a rookie corner and he’s learning how to play the game at this level. I think he keeps challenging and he’ll keep continuing to get better because he has the skill and the ability to do it.
Q: In the first two weeks, you had good opening drives where you’ve scored on them. Why do you think the offense hasn’t been as consistent?
A: Well, some of the things that happened to their offense happened to ours. We get penalties, or for whatever reason, we don’t get those yards you need on first or second down, then you get those longer third downs that become a challenge for every team.
Q: Can you speak to the impact that TJ Jones had?
A: Yeah, he did a great job. He caught the touchdown pass, certainly. He had the long punt return, which was excellent and set us up in the position to get points, which we didn’t. For being here just a couple of days, he did a very nice job.
Q: How would you assess Eli’s play today?
A: I think his play is indicative of how our team played. There were some really good plays in there and then there were some things that we need to improve on.
Q: Starting the season 0-2 gives you a little bit of a challenge here going forward. What’s your message to the guys as you get ready here for Week 3?
A: Well, we have to go win a game in Tampa, that’s the message. That’s just how you have to roll this thing out. Just go play.
Q: Last week Buffalo had a lot of deflected passes at the line of scrimmage.
A: They did again today.
Q: So obviously you know that’s something they can do well. How do you think your guys handled it?
A: I mean the tipped ball, it happens. They are good at it. I thought our guys, for the most part, did a good job of protecting. When a guy can’t get home, they put their hands up. The one that was deflected, Saquon was running an option route. We were trying to throw him the ball and he broke inside and that’s where the throwing lane was, and they tipped it.
Q: What’s your overall level of concern at 0-2 and just not playing the way you want to play?
A: I think my focus is going to go right to the next opponent. That’s where it’s going to go.
Q: When Cody (Latimer) went down, did that hamper the way you wanted to run the offense since you only had three healthy receivers left?
A: (When) we came into this, obviously, we weren’t quite sure that Cody was going to make it until late yesterday, I guess it was. Played much more 12 and 21 than I normally would do. Our receiver situation, it just is was it is, and guys have to go out there and step up. Some guys did.
Q: Will you consider eventually getting Daniel (Jones) in? At what point do you start thinking about that?
A: I think we have to look at how our team played, and we just have to go back and take steps to get better in all areas. I don’t think that’s a conversation for right now. I think everybody has to play better.
Q: Is it a concern, it seems like the fans are getting upset early. Is that a concern for you guys?
A: I thought the fans, there was a stretch when we downed the punt (at the two), that was awesome. I thought the fans did a good job of trying to energize things. We have great fans, and they deserve to see wins. At this point, at least through today, we haven’t won. We have to do what we can to win and help them feel better about things.
Q: That first touchdown drive was pretty much all Barkley. Why do you think it took so long for the passing attack to get going?
A: I don’t know that. Anytime you don’t complete passes, there are reasons for it. We talked earlier about the tipped balls. If you have pressure, or you just don’t execute on the throw and the catch part of it, or they defended it. It was probably all of those things that showed up.
Q: What did they do defensively to limit Engram? He had a good game last week, less so today, until late in the game.
A: They are a very solid team. They’ve been a good defense here during (Bills Head Coach) Sean’s tenure. They just challenge you along the way. They have really good players that matchup well when they play their loose zones, and they also do a good job of playing man to man.
Q: What did you think of the way (Bills QB) Josh Allen played?
A: I thought he did a really good job. There were a couple times he broke contain, and he made some really nice throws. A couple times when we were in really tight coverage, I thought he did a nice job. Then they had the structured quarterback run that he scored on. I thought he played well.
Q: How much of a challenge is it to call plays when you’re that thin at receiver? Does that put a strain on you as a play caller or do you just have to try to figure it out?
A: No, we just figure it out the best we can. When you get to where…the big challenge can be going along when you’re down by three scores is making sure you keep the runner involved because we all know how dynamic of a player he is.
QB Eli Manning
Q: You had a great opening drive today, you got seven points. Why wasn’t the offense able to consistently score points today?
A: That’s a great question. On that drive, we had great first and second down production. We ran the ball well, obviously. After that, we just didn’t do as well on our first and second down stuff. We didn’t convert on third downs. We got into some third and longs. They did a good job of batting balls, just causing us to not get positive yards early in the downs. They got us into some third downs. I thought we had a couple of good drives. With the two drives before half, not scoring hurt us. They’re a good defense. They don’t give up many big plays. It was one of those, you have to take advantage of it when you have good field position and get into those scoring opportunities. We had a chance on a third down. The safety made a good play hitting Bennie (Fowler). We had a batted ball intercepted, which hurts when you’re in scoring position.
Q: What is the frustration level, disappointment level at this point starting 0-2?
A: Obviously, it’s not how you want to start. We just have to keep fighting and find ways to play better football. That’s as simple as it comes down to. I know we can play better. I know we can do better than what we are. We have to find a way to come together as a team and win as a team.
Q: Does being thin at wide receiver affect the offensive chemistry and production?
A: I thought the receivers did a great job today. They made plays. TJ (Jones) comes in. He was here in preseason a little bit. He had a couple of nice catches, had a touchdown. Yeah, when you have guys that have been here the whole time and all of a sudden you lose Sterling (Shepard), obviously Golden (Tate), lose Cody for a little bit today, it can change things. It makes us put Rhett (Ellison) in different spots, put Evan (Engram) in different spots. But I thought a couple of receivers, new guys that have been here just a few weeks, made some plays for us today.
*Q: How did they take away Evan (Engram) today? What were they doing?
*A: I don’t know if they had a specific plan to take away Evan. I think it just depends on the coverages and the plays you have called. We had to move Evan around a little bit, play him in different spots. We have to do a better job of getting our playmakers the ball, though.
Q: Does this start put more pressure on you personally?
A: When you’re 0-2, there’s pressure on everybody. That’s just the way it goes. But you can’t have that affect you. You can’t let that change the way you prepare, the way you play. I have to make better throws and better decisions, and find ways to convert on third downs. That’s the quarterback’s job.
Q: Is there something on those batted passes that you maybe could have thrown sidearm?
A: We’ll look. We’ll look to see if there’s a theme. Getting it over the top, like you said. I don’t know. We’ll have to look. Sometimes it’s just the defender having to put his hand up and he happens to be right in the lane of where you’re throwing. Sometimes it’s luck. I think they’re pretty good at it. They batted a bunch of balls last week against the Jets. We saw that on film. We kind of knew that they like to bat. They got a few today, which hurt us.
LB Alec Ogletree
Q: You seem a little up beat, Janoris seemed pissed?
A: I’m pissed for sure. I hate losing, the way we played the first half, that wasn’t us, it was terrible. I understand him being pissed, I’m angry as well, never discouraged because I know we can make plays like we did in the second half. It’s a matter of coming out and doing that for the whole 60 minutes.
Q: Do the older guys need to step up and carry the young guys while they are getting their feet wet?
A: Everybody has to hold their own weight. We can’t do each other’s job, I have a job to do, the young guys have a job they need to do as well. We expect them to carry their own weight, just like us. It’s also up to us to make sure everybody is doing their job.
Q: One of the things Janoris said was, they can’t cover guys for eight to ten seconds, the pass rush isn’t getting there?
A: It all works hand in hand. If we don’t cover well, then the pass rush won’t get there. If we don’t rush well, then we can’t hold in coverage that long. It takes all 11 of us to get the job done. It’s not we need more out of this, we need more out of everybody.
Q: How do you assess what the frustration level is?
A: Everybody hates to lose. If you like that, you won’t last long in this league. As a defense, we didn’t play up to our standards that first half. The second half, I thought we played really well. When you lose, nobody likes to lose, everybody should be angry that we are losing. We have an opportunity to continue to work and write our own story. Everybody is pretty much going to write us off after 0-2. We know what we need to do in this locker room, we have to get the job done and it’s up to us to do that.
Q: What did you do to get pressure in the second half?
A: We just executed the game plan really well. We were able to get pressure on him and get some sacks in there. I wish we could have had some turnovers, we had some balls in the air that we should have got but we didn’t get them. We need those things, but we just adjusted at halftime and guys were receptive of it and we went out there and executed well.
Q: So you made changes, you didn’t just do the same thing?
A: Yeah, we had to make changes. What we were doing wasn’t working the first half. Obviously, they had three scores in the first half. For us, it was about coming in and making those adjustments and going out there in the second half and executing at a high level. I thought we did that.
Q: How discouraging is it after you have stopped them four straight times?
A: That’s our job, to make stops when we are out there on the field. We can’t look at how many times they got the ball back. As a defense, it’s our job to go out there and get off the field and give the ball back to our offense. We just have to continue to do that and carry that into next week.
Q: Was seeing that field goal come off the board for the touchdown tough?
A: The field goal definitely makes it better, but we shouldn’t have been in that situation. It was third and 10 and we let him scramble out, complete the pass and extend the drive. I think we had a tipped ball in the air that we didn’t come down with. Things like that, it all works together. Granted, they called a penalty on Dexter for touching his helmet or something like that. We just have to go back out there and try to hold up. We didn’t stop them at that time. Like I said, I’m proud of the guys for continuing to fight to the end. Now we just have to continue to work on what we did the second half.
Q: As a captain, how do you react when you hear fans are booing pretty early in the game?
A: Fans are fans, they are going to do what they are going to do. We are our own biggest critic, they are going to love us when we are doing well and hate you when you don’t. For us, it’s just about us continuing to focus on what we need to do.
RB Saquon Barkley
Q: After a terrific opening drive, why do you think the offense wasn’t able to manufacture the same type of productivity going forward?
A: Yeah, the opening drive was a great start. I don’t think you could ask for any better start for the first two games that we had, but it’s the NFL. They’re going to make plays, and the Bills made great adjustments. We adjusted off of that and I think we were able to create some drives later in the game. We’ve just got to find a way to finish on third down and finish in the red zone. We continue to start great, and as the season goes on, we’ve got to continue to have that in our back pocket, but we’ve just got to find a way to execute better and win games.
Q: What’s your level of frustration and disappointment starting 0-2?
A: It’s very disappointing to start 0-2, but we still get to live another day. The season’s not over, our chances at the playoffs aren’t over, but you can’t keep having that mindset. You’ve got to come in and attack it, we’ve definitely got to execute better, we’ve got to come to practice, we’ve got to practice at a high level. Everything we’re doing, just try to turn it up a notch just so we can take care of the rest of the games in the season.
Q: What adjustments did the Bills’ defense make after the opening drive?
A: They’re a very great defense. You could see it out there, a little more downhill, a little more focused on our run game. That’s life, that’s where we’re going to be probably the rest of the season—a lot of teams are going to try and focus on our run game and take away the running backs, but hey, that’s part of it. I think the linemen and the wide receivers and Eli (Manning) did a great job of answering, but we’ve just got to answer better and we’ve got to execute better. It just comes down to execution, it’s that simple. Every team that won today, I bet you they executed better than the other team, and it’s just that simple. It comes down to Xs and Os, and we’ve got to be better now.
Q: Why do you think it’s such a struggle on third down in particular?
A: We’ve got to be better on first and second down. We’ve got to be better at not getting penalties. When we get penalties, we’re having drive killers, we’re putting ourselves back—third and 11, third and 10—the defense is playing at the sticks. We’ve got to find ways to be better on first and second downs, but even if we’re in a long third down situation, or short third down situation, we’ve got to find a way to execute and capitalize on it.
Q: What would you have said if I told you in the preseason that this offense would have scored 20 points and be 0-2 in the first two games?
A: I would’ve said you’re lying, to be completely honest, because that’s how much confidence I have in this team. Not just in the offense, but the defense and the special teams, and my confidence is never going to go away. It never will. My belief in this team, it never will. We’ve got to believe in each other. That’s what we did in the second half of the season last year, we got back to team football and just playing for one another. If we can continue to do that, get back to that, I think we can turn the season around.
Q: How much did it hurt to come up empty in those two possessions at the end of the half?
A: It definitely hurt, coming up empty, not being able to put points point on the board, but I think we came out fast in the second half. We talked a lot in here, we addressed the situation, be we just didn’t go out there and execute. That’s just what it comes down to—execution.
Q: Does anything need to change with this team’s mindset?
A: No, I don’t think so. I’m not concerned about the mindset, I’m not concerned about the belief, I’m not concerned about the confidence, I’m not concerned about anything. The only thing we’ve got to do is execute better. It’s a simple game. There’s a lot of things that go on, there’s a lot of moving parts that go into it, but at the end of the day it’s a simple game—it’s football. It’s whoever executes better. All we’ve got to do is just continue to believe in each other. We’ve just got to turn it up a little notch. We started off 0-2, we’ve got to get back to the drawing board and be realistic with each other in the locker room. I think we’ve all gained that respect from each other where we can be realistic.
Q: Were you guys your own worst enemies in the first two games?
A: I would agree. I don’t like saying that because it’s taking away credit from the other team. I would never take credit away from the other team because those two teams played amazing. They did a better job and they got the win, but a lot of it is on us. But, it comes to the point where we keep saying it’s on us, and it is, it’s on us, but we can’t just keep talking about it, we’ve got to go out there and do it. We’ve got to go out there and stop making mistakes, get back to playing Giants football, what Giants football is known for. I think that’s the message we’ll have for the team this week, to play Giants football, and hopefully we can do that next week.
Q: Is your message about execution up to every individual in here?
A: Yes, of course. Everyone is held accountable when you lose. It’s team football. That’s the beauty of it, you win together and you lose together. All three phases of the game have got to play better. All three phases of the game have got to be better. If the offense played amazing and your defense not very good and you lose, it doesn’t matter what the offense did. Defense could be amazing and the offense not so good and you lose, and it doesn’t matter. Offense, defense could be great and you don’t play great on special teams and you lose, doesn’t matter. It’s team football, so everyone is held accountable, everyone has got to come back and have the responsibility and belief to challenge one another, and it starts in practice, it starts tomorrow. It starts in watching film, breaking it down, getting rid of it, and moving on to Tampa.
Q: What message d you give to fans after starting 0-2?
A: The message I would give to fans after starting 0-2 is, we started 0-2. I don’t know what they want me to say, I apologize, I guess. My concern is more getting everyone in this locker room right, being a leader—I’ve got a “C” on my chest for a reason, we’ve all got “Cs” on our chests for a reason—getting this locker room ready and getting this team back on the right path.
Q: A lot of people use the term “It’s still early.” When does it become not early, in your opinion?
A: That’s a great question. I’m not a big believer in “it’s still early.” I’m not going to lie, I’m not a big fan of that saying, but you have to understand that is the case in the NFL because it’s a marathon. It’s 16 games. I don’t like believing in that because I don’t want to get caught into that, but it’s true, it’s a long season and it’s early, but if we figure it out right, then we can laugh back at these games when we’re competing for the playoffs, but if we’re not, then we can go back to these games and address it, like these two games we didn’t address it. So, it’s early in the season and we’ve got a long ways to go, but we’ve got to address the situation now and continue to get better and try to get another win.