Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Remarks: Monday. Game week. This is always a unique day, you have to tell roughly 40 players they’re no longer on the team. When I think about doing the cuts, we really feel good about the team we put together, but you have guys like Mark Herzlich, who helped this organization win a Super Bowl, played seven years in the league, the things he’s gone through personally -- when you talk to a guy like that, you talk to John Jerry, the veteran players and you let them know they’re not going to be on the initial 53, those are the tough conversations. Then I’m sure you’re going to have a lot of questions about Davis Webb. Talking with Davis, a young player that competed hard that you have the same conversation with, that’s where the human element of this comes in, but we make those decisions and then we move forward. That being said, we are all in on Jacksonville and I’ll try to answer your questions.
Q: At what point did you realize that Davis Webb was going to be cut? He was taking second reps all throughout camp, was there a moment where you figured this was move to make?
A: There’s no reason for me to talk about when. He was taking second teams reps. I think I mentioned long ago there was no depth chart behind Eli (Manning). We were trying to figure out who the guys playing quarterback were going to be behind Eli. He got a lot of reps, and I think it was probably that where people start to assume because he’s taking second string reps that he’s a second string quarterback, and it didn’t play out that way.
Q: Was he outplayed by Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta?
A: I feel like they are better choices for us now, yes.
Q: Who is your second string quarterback now?
A: We’ll see and I’ll let you guys know as we go here. I do like having a veteran presence in that group.
Q: You said after the Lions game after Davis played pretty well, it was the Davis Webb you were used to seeing. Did something change?
A: No, I thought he played better than he did in the week previous. Keep in mind Detroit practices, our practices here, we had a lot of opportunity to watch all the players compete. It would be just like me talking in detail about why we didn’t keep the other 39 guys or what not. It is the way it is. There are so many things about him that are good, he’s an outstanding worker, he cares about the game a great deal, and I’m hopeful he’s going to get another opportunity.
Q: You mention him getting all those reps. Do you feel like Alex or Kyle would’ve benefitted getting those reps?
A: No, we wanted to find out who our backup quarterbacks were and we went through the process and we felt like they all got an opportunity to show us what they can do.
Q: What have you seen out of Kyle that you like? Obviously, you saw something before the Draft that you liked that made you take him, you’ve had him now for the spring and summer. What do you like about Kyle Lauletta?
A: I like the fact that he’ll decide what he’s looking at, see it and pull the trigger. He’s very decisive in what he does. He’s a gamer of sorts and we’re looking forward to working with that.
Q: Do you think it’s important for the franchise to have a plan post-Eli Manning at this point in his career?
A: At this point, we do right now. It’s just not what everybody outside our building had predicted the plan was, and I think that’s where all the questions are stemming from. But we made a decision that we’re going to go with Alex and we’re going to go with Kyle as Eli’s backups, so we move forward.
Q: Whether it’s Davis or Darian Thompson, understanding you weren’t here for those guys’ drafts, how much can it set back or hurt a franchise when you’re getting nothing out of recent draft picks?
A: I don’t know that. Really, at some point, regardless of where you’re drafted, once you’re settled in as a player on the team, that kind of goes away. We’re all out here trying to earn a spot every day, players and coaches. So, at some point, whether you’re drafted in the third round or the fifth round, that sort of goes away at some point and you play it out.
Q: You say you like having a veteran presence in the QB room, but Alex hasn’t played, maybe one game in his career. How does that translate?
A: Here’s the thing with a veteran backup quarterback. They can go in and function with very few reps and I think that’s an attribute that I look for in a guy that could potentially be a backup to a guy like Eli, because they don’t get that many reps during the training sessions.
Q: How comfortable are you that Kyle is ready to play in an NFL game?
A: Very comfortable.
Q: What made Alex the right guy? Even back in May, there were other guys that were free agent veteran quarterbacks who had more game experience?
A: He’s the one we signed and he’s the one that we worked with and he’s the one we liked. That’s what it is.
Q: How did you come to grips with cutting a third round pick quarterback who hasn’t played in a regular season game yet, so you really haven’t been able to see him play regular season NFL football?
A: Let’s forget for a minute he was a third round pick. He was on our team as a Giant and we watched him go through what we do in training camp and what we do in practice and we made a decision to move on and go with the other guys. Let’s forget for a minute that he was a third round pick. I really do mean that. At some point, that all goes away.
Q: I didn’t see (Olivier Vernon) out on the practice field.
A: He was in the training room getting treatment.
Q: Is he making enough progress where you think you might have him on the practice field (soon)?
A: We’re hopeful, but we’ll just have to see. The fact that he was inside today tells you that he wasn’t out here.
Q: Evan (Engram)?
A: Evan was out here working, as you saw.
Q: No contact, so still in the (concussion) protocol?
A: Yes, he’s still in the protocol. But we’re hopeful.
Q: Follow up to question about Davis Webb being a third round pick – I was more asking about the element of the difficulty of cutting a young quarterback like that who hasn’t played in a regular season game.
A: It’s difficult to cut any player. It really is. It’s harder when you’re talking about older players, veteran players, and certainly younger players who gave it their all. It’s difficult, but you move on. We have to do it.
Q: Six guys is a big overhaul for guys that are coming from the outside. How big of a challenge is that for you to get all six guys ready? You have a game in six days.
A: That is part of the challenge and hopefully we won’t have to do this every year, but if you look at the guys we picked up -- three in the secondary, an offensive lineman, we added different guys to the practice squad – we’re going to continue to try to improve all the position groups and if there’s a player that we have evaluated and feel good about taking a look at, we’ll do that. That’s just part of this process.
Q: What role do you see Mario Edwards playing up front? Is he more an interior guy?
A: Yes, more of an interior guy, kind of a five technique. As you know, we put Josh Mauro down for a month, so that kind of interior spot.
Q: Have you decided on your return specialists?
A: We’re still figuring that out, but we brought in a player, a receiver that played it and we think can do it, so we’ll figure it out from there. We all know we have a really good one just hanging around, number 13 (Odell Beckham Jr.), so we feel really good about the fact if he has to go in there and do it, but we are certainly looking for a guy that can also do it.
Q: Do the new kickoff rules kind of nudge you in that direction a little bit? If it’s close late in the game, that you maybe feel a little better about putting Odell back there?
A: I don’t know if the new rules have anything to do with that. I still think it’s a comfortable thing for a coach to just bang it out of the end zone, put the ball down and let’s play. You take the risk of a return out of it. There’s times strategically where it’s going to make sense to pop it up and we’ll be prepared to do both.
Q: You mentioned 13 (Odell), is 26 (Saquon Barkley) an option?
A: Sure. I think he returned one to open the game against Ohio State a year ago. So, yeah, he’s capable.
RB Saquon Barkley
Re: playing and practice time in the preseason
A: Yeah, there was only one week where I was like sure I wasn’t playing. But the rest, I was preparing just in case. You never know. I did get my practice reps, I was back on my normal schedule within preseason, and I felt pretty good throughout camp.
Q: Coach Shurmur had just mentioned he’s open to you being in the return game on kickoffs. Is that something you’re up for?
A: Yeah, I’ll be eager to definitely be in the mix of kickoff return. I did it in college. I was able to help my team out in college in that area. If they, or if I show that I’m capable of doing that for the Giants, why not? It’s definitely something I feel comfortable with, and I’m honestly willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. If that’s the job they want me to do, I would love to do that.
Q: You’ve hardly taken any hits during the preseason. In terms of football shape, how in shape are you to have a full load against Jacksonville?
A: A lot of people talk about football shape, and just being in shape regular. They don’t mean like their physical contact part of it. Obviously, that’s part of it, too. I still was able to take the physical contact within practice. I just didn’t go down to the ground, I got a little bit of it within the Browns. But, I feel I’m in really good physical football shape, because in practice, doing a little extra stuff with Stew (Jonathan Stewart) on the sideline – running, conditioning there. I was running the whole time when I was out. That’s more like track speed conditioning shape. So, the first day when I got back, I was a little winded. The best comparison is like a high school basketball player. Like they would understand going from football right into basketball season. It’s like two completely different conditionings. But I definitely feel pretty good in the football shape right now.
Q: What was your reaction when you see a guy like (QB) Davis Webb get cut?
A: Obviously, it’s new to me. I was able to see him in the locker room. It’s sad, because Davis was one of the first people I met when I came here. I remember I was going apartment searching. He was looking around the same spot I was looking at, and I got to meet him there, got to talk to him there. I just wish the best for that guy. He’s a great dude. He’s a hard worker. It’s football, that’s a part of the NFL. I guess that’s just this life I got to get used to, I guess. But, that’s part of it.
Q: You said you saw him in the locker room before he left. How would you describe his reaction to it?
A: The way Davis is, Davis is a competitor. Obviously, he wasn’t excited to get waived. I don’t think that’s going to stop him and stop his drive. Knowing him, he’s going to compete. Whatever team gets him, or whatever team he signs and goes to, I know he’s going to go in there and compete and work his butt off every single day. I’m just wishing him the best.
Q: Are you ready for a full workload against Jacksonville?
A: Yeah, I definitely think I’m ready for a full load. The way I’ve been preparing, the way I’ve been practicing. We got a whole bunch of great backs in our room. That’s going to help us in that area, too. I’m just excited for the game, excited to get the season started.
Q: Do you have any kind of relationship with (Jaguars RB) Leonard Fournette?
A: Yeah, a little bit. I’ve talked to him a couple of times. On social media, he joked around a little bit with the contract, when I got my contract deal. Worked out with him last year, in the offseason once too, and just throughout the nation knowing him too.
Q: How excited are you to show what you can do in your first regular season game?
A: I’m excited to show the team because, obviously, I only got a little bit of playing time there. I was able to make some plays happen in practice. I got to still be aware that it’s a long season and you have to take it game-by-game, and day-by-day. I’m just trying to get as ready as I can for this game – mentally and physically, and try the best that I can do, and try to do whatever I can do for my team to help them come out with a win.
QB Kyle Lauletta
Q: Now that things have been solidified, how does that make you feel?
A: I feel good making the team. Obviously first and foremost, that was my goal, so it’s great just to be a part of this team. We flipped the page quickly and are getting ready for the Jaguars, so I’m just going to do everything I can to help the team prepare for Sunday and prepare to win that game.
Q: What was it like over the course of the 24 hours Saturday and Sunday when all of a sudden everybody sees the team has kept four quarterbacks after the cut down?
A: You don’t see that often, so it was a little bit unusual and we were thinking maybe something’s still going to happen. You still don’t know even when they finalize the roster, so many things can happen. I was sitting, just waiting to hear what was going to happen and then when I was one of the guys they kept, I was excited and just ready to go. I’m excited for this season.
Q: What do you think you showed them this summer that made such a strong impression on Pat (Shurmur) and Dave (Gettleman) and everybody else?
A: I don’t know, I think just doing what the coaches asked me to do - be a quick decision maker, be smart with the football, be accurate, let the guys get yards after the catch by throwing it accurately and just knowing where to go with the football. There were some rough practices towards the end of camp and a couple games I wished I played a little bit better, but all in all I felt like I showed improvement throughout the whole camp and I was on the right track, and I think there’s a lot I can improve on and a lot I will improve on. Like I said, we have great coaches, especially coach Shurmur being an offensive guy. He’s been a great help to me and I think I can only keep getting better with him at the helm.
Q: Pat mentioned the quick decision making at the podium today. How valuable is that in this system?
A: It’s valuable in any system, really. You have to be quick with the football and get rid of it on time. Any time you’re getting rid of the ball, it makes it tough for those pass rushers to get to you and if you can throw it accurately, you just stay ahead of the chains and keep the ball moving, and that’s kind of our M.O. as an offense. I’m going to look to do that and continue to improve moving forward.
Q: Do you know what your role is right now or is there still a little uncertainty?
A: Yeah, there’s definitely uncertainty. Obviously Eli (Manning) is the guy and we’re going to do everything we can to help him prepare, but Alex (Tanney) and I both have to be ready to go in. It only takes one play for something bad to happen so we’ll be ready to go. I don’t know my role right now, but if I did, it wouldn’t really change anything, so just going to approach it the same way and continue to learn and help #10 out as much as I can.
Q: How ready do you think you are to play in a regular season game?
A: I’m ready. I think I’m very ready and if my number were to ever get called, I think I would be ready to go and I’d be very, very excited to step in there and help the team win. I have all the confidence in the world in myself and despite how I perform out on the field, I’m always going to carry that. Like I said, if indeed I do have to play this season at some point, then I’ll be ready to go, no doubt about that.
Q: This kind of an introduction to the business side that really you always heard about, but just the way this weekend went down:
A: Growing up, I watched Hard Knocks a million times and they show you how guys get cut and how tough it is to move on. These are guys that we’ve spent a lot of time with in the past couple of months, so it’s tough getting to know all these guys and then having to say goodbye, especially seeing Davis (Webb) like that. He’s a good guy, he’s a competitor and I wish him the best; but yeah, it’s tough. It’s definitely tough when you see a lot of close friends that you have to say goodbye to after only a month or so of working with them. Wasn’t easy, but we’ll move forward.
Q: Do you remember how old you were when you thought about playing in the NFL?
A: It’s funny, my mother actually kept – I was four years old, I was in Pre-K and we had a class assignment ‘what do you want to be when you’re older’ and I wrote I wanted to be an NFL football player when I was four in 1999. She kept that and I still have it, so it has been a lifelong dream. I’ve always wanted to do this, so to get to this point is a great accomplishment. My goals are higher and I obviously want to do more with this, so I’m looking forward to the day I get an opportunity and I’ll be here to make the most of it.
QB Alex Tanney
Q: Over the course of the last 48 hours, as the (rumors) came and things changed the following day, what was going through your mind? How difficult was it for you to just sit back and watch?
A: I just tried to take my mind off it. I tried to play some golf. I’m used to this experience, it’s something I’ve been through quite a few times. Most times I try to hang out with my wife, but she wasn’t up here. I just tried to keep myself busy.
Q: What do you think it was you did during the course of camp and the preseason that made them make this decision?
A: I don’t know if I can really pin anything. That’s their decision. I just try to stay consistent day in and day out. Whatever we talk about in the classroom, just show that I can translate onto the practice field and operate in the system.
Q: Do you have any thoughts about being the two or the three? Does it matter today, being that you know you’re on the team, or is that something that even crosses your mind?
A: I’m just going to keep preparing the way I’ve always prepared throughout my entire career, that’s like I’m going to play, and that decision is ultimately up to the coaches.
Q: It was an interesting day because there were tweets about you being cut, then they were taken back.
A: I don’t follow any of that stuff for that reason right there. I wasn’t paying attention. I was just waiting by my phone and if I was going to hear anything, I wanted to hear it from those guys (coaches).
Q: Is it a weird situation to be in, being a backup to Eli if he gets hurt?
A: That’s similar to the answer I gave you guys earlier and that’s this is my seventh year now, I feel like I take the same approach every year whether it’s the offseason, OTAs, training camp, or preseason. I’m anxious to be ready and prepared if my name is ever called.