Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Q: Did (Mr. Mara) give you any good advice?
A: Just normal issues of the day. Fortunately here, and that’s part of what’s great about working here is we get a chance because we work together on a daily basis to visit often, which is good.
Q: We haven’t seen (Olivier Vernon) out at all this week.
A: It’s safe to say he won’t make it this week.
Q: Beyond this week, is there a concern that it could be more?
A: We’ll just worry about it week to week. He’s making great progress, so we’ll just have to see.
Q: How big of a loss is that to not have him at least for this week?
A: We’re going to play with the guys that are healthy and we’ll see. Obviously you’d like to have OV on the field.
Q: What does (Lorenzo Carter) bring to your pass rush?
A: He’s an edge player. He was an outstanding pass rusher in college. I think he’s improved in that area through the training camp and he’s going to get his opportunity Sunday.
Q: Was he able to go full again today after yesterday?
A: He’s fine. He just had an illness. He must have had the fish yesterday or something.
Q: How do you fill that void? Are you looking for just one guy to do it or are you looking for a whole bunch of guys?
A: We’ll use the whole roster to fill that void. Typically when you put a roster together, there are guys that will have to overlap in certain positions – your fullback overlaps at tight end, your fullback can overlap at running back, so we do the same thing with the D line and the edge players.
Q: When you signed (Connor Barwin), (Dave Gettleman) said you were looking for quality snaps out of him. Can he still give you quantity snapsm too, whatever a starting workload is?
A: Yeah, we feel like quality. We’ll just see how much he’ll give us, but he’s healthy and ready to go.
Q: You’re a football lifer. Does opening day mean anything different to you than it did when you were a player or assistant coach?
A: No, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to do this a very long time. I told the players, game day and game weekend never gets old. I love the rhythm of a Friday, I love the rhythm of Friday evening, the mock game on Saturday, the lead up to the night meetings, I’ve always enjoyed the night meetings, and then certainly game day has never gotten old for me. The anticipation when you wake up Sunday to play in the game, and I’ll bet you – and when I mention this to the players, they all start to nod, especially the ones that don’t play anymore – that’s what players miss. I think when they’re not playing anymore, I’m sure that’s what they miss. It’s important to stay in the moment and enjoy each Sunday.
Q: What about the flip side to that? You have probably four rookies that are going to play significant roles, if not start, on Sunday. Do you say anything to them about the moment and about how big it is, and not to make too much of it?
A: Yeah, I think the big thing is just try to keep them calm. Because it’ll be the first time in the shiny pants, the game uniforms, on a Sunday for real, I’m sure their emotions will run; but most of these guys have played in front of large crowds before in big games, so they’ll just lean on those experiences and then we’ll help them do it.
Q: It’s your first game. You saw last year the Eagles be super aggressive on fourth down and go for it left and right. I’m just wondering where you stood philosophically when it comes to that?
A: We’re going to try to make decisions each game to try to win the game, and if it requires going for it on fourth down, we’ll do it. If we feel like there’s a better choice, every once in a while you decide to punt it, get the ball down the field and stop them and get the ball back.
Q: Will you have someone specifically in your ear talking about those decisions?
A: We teach our staff, we have a shared situational awareness. We’re all connected on the headset so we’ll all talk about it.
OL Coach Hal Hunter
Q: Where’s your unit at?
A: I think my unit is very focused. They’re anxious to show what they can do. I think they feel like they’ve all got something to prove. Everybody’s got their own story with some – everybody comes from a different place and they’ve got a story to prove and what they want to try and show the NFL and the people that are going to be watching them play. Everybody’s got their own unique story. Am I a rookie and playing for the first time? Am I playing in a different position? Did I leave one zip code and come to another? Everybody’s got something they’re trying to establish and so you establish it by signing your work on game day. I think they’re focused, they’re together, they’re anxious to get out there and get some rhythm and play and play together as a unit and be productive, that’s the bottom line. They got two jobs, it’s real simple: they got to protect the quarterback and play good run football. The offensive line plays real simple. That’s all they’ve got to do and if they do that, you have a good chance to win. If you don’t, probably not going to win. That’s what you got to do.
Q: The first team unit running the ball in the preseason didn’t go too terrifically. What gives you confidence that you guys can establish it and move the line of scrimmage this weekend?
A: First of all, it’s all about establishing – you got to establish some rhythm and the one thing a really good football coach told me 30 years ago was the most important element in the running game, first of all, is the runner and then the runner has got to be in sync with the offensive line and the tight end, the people that are the blockers because basically in offensive football if you don’t have the ball in your hand, you are a blocker, no matter what number jersey you wear. It’s all nine guys working together and so as they continue to establish, it has to be the line in sync with the back having a good feel. The back’s got to have confidence in the line. The line’s got to have confidence in the back. We’ve got to be on the right angles and blocking the right guys and the back’s got to feel. It’s all getting in sync and the back and the line are working together as one. Coming out of the preseason, is it an overloaded box? They got one more guy in the box than you can block, are you making all the blocks that you need to make? Are you making the right cut? Everybody’s involved in it, so the bottom line it’s all about execution. The hardest thing to do in the game of football is run the football. That’s the hardest thing you do. You look at special teams, offense, defense, throwing, pass protection. Running the football is five times tougher than pass pro. It’s the hardest thing to do in the game of football, so that’s why you got to work on that and continue to develop that.
Q: With the way the game is now, you hear it all the time, how much work you get in practice through the season, but really Pat (Shurmur) has talked about this first team offensive line hasn’t really played a full game yet together. Can you know that you have that rhythm with what you’re seeing now?
A: You can. You establish the rhythm, but it goes all the way when you start back in phase two and phase three (in the spring) and what your limitations are as you’re developing young guys, your limitations on practice time, you’re correct. It’s just a matter, it’s not something that’s either going to be – it’s not going to be a final process come Sunday. It’s going to be a process that builds through the season. It’s like anything – wherever you’re at on this Sunday doesn’t mean that’s where you’re going to be at for the season. It’s going to grow and progress week by week, day by day, week by week, week by week as the season goes on because that’s how the run game works, that’s how football works. No matter how we – I’m anticipating we’re going to have a great performance because the guys are focused and ready to execute. We had a great practice yesterday, but as we continue, we talked about it before, we will be in a continual process of development week one, week two through 17 weeks. That’s what we’ll be continuing to do, trying to – whether it’s our pass protection or our run blocking, continue to develop and move in the right direction.
Q: Chad’s (Wheeler) basically the next guy up at both tackle spots. What’s your confidence level in him? What have you seen from him this offseason?
A: He’s got more natural left than he does right, that’s just where his wheel house is. He’s played more left so basically what you do is you work on your weakness, right. We’ve played him a lot at right trying to get him a lot of reps so he has more confidence. Moving one guy from left to right, you can concentrate on right, but when you have to be able to do everything both ways, it’s hard. Mentally he’s really in tune to what we’re doing. Physically he’s made a lot of progress in terms of what we’re doing, but again the proof will be in how performs on Sunday. But he’s making progress and we do have a lot of confidence in him.
Q: When you look at Jacksonville, they’re ranked one against the pass and something in 20s against the run. Is the pass defense that good because of what they get upfront or is it…?
A: It’s a combination. They got two unbelievable corners. They got two really good corners, but if you look at the stats where the most of their sacks come from, four-man rush, right? So we saw it last night against Atlanta when Atlanta was driving the ball down and Philadelphia was hitting the quarterback with a four-man rush, did you see all those guys dropping? When you’re rushing four and dropping seven and getting pressure on the quarterback, it’s a long day, so if they rush four, you got to keep the quarterback clean. I think it’s a combination. They got four defensive linemen that could start for anybody in the NFL. I mean, they’re really, really good and they put pressure on the quarterback with four guys and that means they’re dropping seven guys into coverage. It’s like throwing into a parking lot after a game and there’s people everywhere. To be able to open up the passing game, you got to be able to protect. You got to make them add a fifth guy, add a sixth guy. Go from zone coverage to man coverage. If they rush four guys, you got to protect longer to give guys a chance to get open on their routes. I watched their defensive front and I’ve watched it evolve and when I was in Indy, we played them twice a year and they were stout back then, but it’s the same formula, the same defense. They’re going to put pressure on you with four guys and they’re going to keep bringing it and those are four really talented guys. In terms of that, we got our hands full on Sunday. Those are guys who are really talented.
Q: What’s made Evan Brown make this team because you have centers: (Jon) Halapio, (John) Greco, Spencer Pulley, I believe. What made Evan Brown worth having?
A: When you’re trying to make a decision, we talk about – you kind of look at, kind of go back to what the basics are. Who are the best players? Best players are the guys that play the best so how you know – You look at the tape and see who the best players are. Here’s what I like about Evan Brown and not to take anything away from Brett Jones because I love Brett Jones, tough, hard working. Evan Brown: strong, physical, smart, plays with leverage, plays with balance, bigger than people think. He’s pushing 6’3” and he weighs 310. I mean he’s a good size and so he did a lot of the right things that I like in terms of the center that not just I liked in terms of the center, but everybody’s that’s in the decision process likes as a center. He checked all the right boxes and when he got into the game, that last game against New England and played 56 snaps, he did a really good job.
Defensive Line Coach Gary Emanuel
Q: What’s your impressions on (DL) Mario Edwards Jr. and (DL) John Jenkins?
A: They’re guys that are pros. They come in, they’ve come to work every day. They really have been engaged in everything we’re doing. They’re picking up the defense. Hopefully, they’ll be able to contribute for us.
Q: Do you meet with them and spend more time with them to catch them up to speed?
A: We just come in and the guys come in extra on their free time. They try to catch us when we’re not in meetings and try to get some extra time with them to get them caught up to speed.
Q: Is there a reason you all made a change to waive (DL) Robert Thomas and (DL) A.J. Francis after getting so many reps in the preseason?
A: We do what’s best for the Giants, and what we feel is best for the organization. That’s the decision the organization made.
Q: What has been your impression of (DT) B.J. Hill?
A: B.J. Hill has done an outstanding job. He came from a good program. He came in, he’s physically mature. He’s strong, he understand the game. He loves playing football. He’s a good player and we expect some great things out of him.
Q: What do you envision (DL) Mario Edwards Jr.’s role to be?
A: Hopefully, Mario will come in and contribute to the defense in whatever capacity we ask him to do. Obviously, he’ll play some defensive end. He’ll play anywhere along the line of scrimmage. He has a variety of roles. We just expect him to come in and do his job, whatever we ask him to do.
Q: Is John Jenkins more of an inside guy?
A: Jenkins would be more of an inside guy, but Jenkins’ history has been he’s played everywhere on the line of scrimmage – from over the tight end, over the tackle, over the guard, over the center. He provides a lot of versatility with us.
Q: How will (LB) Olivier Vernon generate pass rush if he’s subpar and not even playing?
A: All the guys are working extremely hard to get better at rushing the passer and stopping the run, and working. Everybody will just pick up their game and just do the best they can. We’ll live with the results.
Q: What will Kerry Wynn’s role be on this defensive line?
A: Kerry has developed. Kerry has gotten better every day out here at practice. Kerry works extremely hard in the classroom, on the field. He’s a student of the game. We just like where he’s headed and what he’s doing. His growth has been tremendous.
Q: What have you learned about ‘Snacks’ (DT Damon Harrison Jr.) that you didn’t know before?
A: I wouldn’t say I learned anything about him. Obviously, I didn’t know him, but the thing I love about Snacks is he provides great leadership. He’s a hard worker. He loves playing football. He has a great personality. The guys look up to him and respect him. We’re excepting some great things out of him.
Q: What do you like about him (Snacks) in terms of his football abilities?
A: The tape really speaks for itself. He’s a guy that dominates the line of scrimmage. He plays well against the run. He has some pass rush abilities. He’s tough. Again, he loves playing football. He’s a great football player.
Q: What’s the secret to the success of the Jags run game?
A: If I knew the secret, probably everyone in the world would want to talk to me (laughter). Their biggest secret is they have an outstanding offensive line. They’re really big, and they have a very, very good tandem of backs led by (Leonard) Fournette. They’re offensive line is what makes it tick. Their average is like 6-5, 320 pounds, which is a good size. They have a back who is almost as big as the offensive linemen, but he runs a 10.6 (100-yd dash) or whatever he runs in the 100. He’s a great player and they have a great offense.
Q: What stands out about (Jags LG) Andrew Norwell?
A: He’s a good, tough, hard-nose player. He just does his job. He’s a guy who you want on your team because he’s physical. He’s tough, he’s a good run blocker, good pass blocker. He’s a good football player. One of the best at this position.
Q: How much of an advantage is it for you to have the continuity between (DL) Dalvin (Tomlinson), B.J. Hill, and Snacks?
A: Anytime you have continuity, in many things, it works out well for you. Those guys are learning how to play off each other and how each other plays, and what chances somebody may be able to take, if somebody can cover up for them. So, that helps out a great deal.
Q: As a coach, can you tell if guys have that continuity heading into a season, versus guys who may still need more time to get on one accord?
A: We feel that all our guys got it, and we have the ability to play a bunch of different people at a bunch of different places. Everybody is going to work together.
Q: What do envision the amount of playing time those guys will get?
A: You get a feel for how the guys play and what kind of endurance they have. You try to keep them fresh. You try to sub them early. I believe in all the guys that are up there have the opportunity to play and have the ability to play. So, we want to try to utilize those guys, keep them fresh, and let them play to their abilities as much as they can.