Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: Relative to yesterday’s game, I don’t have much to add in regard to how it played out. (We are) certainly disappointed with that result. There are areas on all three sides of the ball that we can be better. Having gone through the tape and looked at the mistakes that we made, everything there is correctable. We need to just get back to work. I think there were some good things in the game, but those are obviously overshadowed by the things that contributed to the loss. That being said, I will add Kareem Martin had a knee sprain. Sterling Shepard may be dealing with a concussion here. We’ll know more. Then Kevin Zeitler has a little shoulder deal that we’re getting more information on. Other than that, it’s just your normal bumps and bruises. I’ll try to answer your questions.
Q: The Zeitler injury, is that something that you’re worried about being a long-term thing, or is it something else?
A: No, we don’t think it will be long-term. It may be not much at all. We just don’t have all of the information quite yet. He’s fine, though. In my mind, he is.
Q: Just to clarify, what does maybe in the concussion protocol mean? Are you just waiting for him to get tested still?
A: Yeah, he’s getting tested. He has to go through some of the testing. It appears like he might be in the protocol here. But each guy is different, as you know. We’ll just have to see how it goes here.
Q: As you look at Week One games, not just this one in particular, but as a whole throughout your career— how much do you put stock in them as a tone-setter, or do you look at it as when you guys struggle, that’s just something you have to work out the kinks with in Week One. How do you put that into context?
A: I think everybody has to work out kinks. No matter how much you play your guys in the preseason, this is the first time they are all playing a full game. In our case, we did play our ones a little more than some in the preseason, but we have a really young football team, especially on the defensive side of the ball, (and) especially in the backend. I think there is a lot to be learned from it. I have been on teams where you won the first game and had a so-so year, but I’ve also been on teams where we’ve lost the first game and (have) gone on and had playoff years. I think you just have to keep working. Just like between year one and year two you can make great improvement, I think the same thing can be said between game one and game two.
Q: You went back and you watched the defensive performance. What do you make of it and to what do you attribute the struggles? Did you see lack of communication, is it just young players needing more experience? What was your impression after watching the film?
A: Actually, I felt like from a defensive perspective in terms of the run game, other than one run that split out for a score inside the red zone, I thought we did a better job against Dallas this year of setting up the run game. Unfortunately, we had those long passes. A couple of them were breakdowns individually, a couple of them were, within the scheme, a guy not doing what he should be doing. Unfortunately, it was just a combination of things. But again, all things that can be corrected. I think some of the youth of our players on the outside, this is the first time going through it and we know there are some areas where they can be better.
Q: Anything in that game that you saw come out of the film change your perspective or affect your perspective of what you guys might do with your open roster spot in terms of need areas?
A: We’ll take a look at it. I think you’re always looking for players on the defensive side of the ball that either can cover or pass rush, that’s always a place to look, and then I think we’re always going to do what we can to address the offensive line. We’ll just see where it goes from there. A couple of the injuries I mentioned today, we’ll see how that settles in and try to find the best player available.
Q: The defense took a couple of lumps yesterday. Do you have to coach them up mentally too and just make sure their heads are on straight, as opposed to just the football stuff?
A: Yeah, I think we’ve got to coach the players constantly. Certainly, we didn’t do anything well enough to win the game yesterday, so you coach them on the details of it, but also on the mindset of getting back to work. You show them where they should be better, you show them how to be better, and then you go out and practice it, so that’s the process. You know, half the teams lost their first game yesterday, and I think that’s what you’ve got to do moving forward.
Q: I guess I’m talking more about their confidence--
A: In terms of that, again you just show them where they could have been better, or this was a mistake that—you show them doing it properly in practice, and then you try to get them to do it properly again, and just keep getting the reps you need to make them better. That includes obviously not only what you do physically, but also mentally.
Q: You guys struggled getting pressure. How do you pick it up?
A: Well, again, I think there’s areas—we have some more young players in there playing that could just be a little more active or violent. We went against a good offensive line that blocked well, they blocked well as a unit yesterday. We had a couple of spots where we got pressure, and Dak (Prescott) actually made a couple of good throws with pressure, so we’ve just got to get more of it. The players that we have in there have just got to continue to keep working to maximize the rushes that they get.
Q: Did you find after watching tape that there were more opportunities to get Saquon the ball?
A: You bring up a good point, we only had four possessions in the first half, and one was a two-minute drive, so it really was three possessions and I think in our first 17 plays he touched the ball six times. Obviously, we want more plays, more possessions, a couple of the things we did were zone reads where they covered him and we threw the ball with success. Those are the things you are going to see. Obviously it was his first game playing in full action and I thought he did a good job. It’s always good to keep him involved throughout, but the way the first half, and I know that was a question last night as well, the way the first half played out, it was only four possessions. A couple reasons for it, they controlled the ball on us by making their third downs. We didn’t convert and again we had the one drive we got down there and got stopped and we have to do a better job of when we get down there, getting points and that changes things. You don’t go into it thinking he isn’t going to touch the ball, that’s just how that first half played out.
Q: There were a couple of short yardage situations where you didn’t turn to Saquon, was that because of what the Cowboys were showing or is there another reason why you went in a different direction?
A: On one of the short yardages, we did go to him and he converted for us. A couple of times we tried to throw it to him, the one I guess where we got intentional grounding, I’ll be surprised if they don’t say that’s a bad call, because he was in the area of the throw. It wasn’t like we were going away from him, no.
Q: On plays where the quarterback rolls out, is it sometimes less effective when the quarterback is not a run/pass threat, in this case Eli when you guys had the ball down near the Dallas goal line?
A: He’s executed our boots and naked’s pretty well throughout. They did a good job of covering the primary part of it, there was an initial quick throw. In that case there, they defended it well and any play that you call that doesn’t work with any success, I certainly can understand your question.
QB Eli Manning
Q: What did you think after watching the film? What were your takeaways and what was apparent coming out of the game?
A: I think it was kind of like we thought. We did a lot of good things, had some explosive plays, really good on first and second down, just not good enough on third down, and unfortunately a couple of them that we didn’t get were third and twos, and third and ones, and those types of plays. Then, some of the other ones, we got in too many third and elevens, and twelves, and thirteens, especially in the second half. I thought we moved the ball, probably the first six possessions that we had it, we moved it really well, and then after that kind of stalled out, got some penalties, and did not play as well after that.
Q: When you look at the two-minute drill at the end of the half, what went wrong there?
A: I thought we moved the ball well. They were trying to take away the sideline, so we got the ball over the middle some, but had a couple nice plays and got it near midfield with two timeouts left and 25 seconds. When we used our two timeouts, then you’ve got to be smart in that position. You’ve got to be careful. If you do throw it in bounds, do you have enough time to spike it and get up there and kick the field goal? So, we were kind of in that position where we maybe need six or seven more yards to get into field goal range, and just weren’t able to get something where we could get a completion and get out of bounds, and unfortunately had to try for the Hail Mary at the end.
Q: What did you think of the job done by the offensive line?
A: I think the offensive line did a great job. They did a great job in the run game and the pass game. They protected well all game against a good defensive line, a lot of movement, some blitzes, so I thought the offensive line did a great job. They gave me time to get through my progressions and gave us a chance to be successful.
Q: It sounds like Sterling Shepard is in the concussion protocol. For an offense that is already playing without Golden Tate, what would a potential loss of Sterling do?
A: Hopefully we get him back. If not, Russell Shepard is a guy that’s been in the offense and played well and done some good things for us. He’ll have to step in, and so hopefully we can get Sterling back for this week.
Q: What did you think about the Cowboys after playing them, were they as good as they looked against you guys?
A: It’s tough to measure after the first game, you have to always keep making improvements. Obviously, they played really well. Their offense seemed to be in rhythm, and I thought Dak played really well. They do good stuff defensively, I thought we moved the ball well, they had some good calls and played well in certain situations that kept us from scoring some points. I think they are obviously a good team and have played well the last couple of years and do some good things.
Q: How can you as an offensive guy help your young defense get better?
A: When you have some new guys and some young guys, you have to learn. You have to learn what teams are going to do, you have to come along and make plays. I don’t know exactly what happened, it’s not about the defense, it’s both sides doing their job. Sometimes you have those high scoring games, we have to do our part to match. We had the opportunities, that’s the unfortunate part. We went down and scored, had opportunities to score a few more times in the first half, two more times early in the second half where we needed those opportunities to get points and get scores to keep it a close game. Unfortunately, the first two drives of the second half, we had two good drives, but only ended up with three points and they ended up with 14 points and stretched the lead. When it’s those games and you are down a little bit you just have to know the circumstances and make sure you execute a little bit better in those critical situations and keep yourself in the game and put a little bit more pressure on the opposing team.
LB Alec Ogletree
Q: What stood out to you after watching the film of yesterday’s game?
A: We just had a lot of little mistakes that turned into big plays. When you play a good team like that, they are able to do that to you. Like I said, it’s disappointing the way we lost. We know we are a better team than that. It’s a long season, and that’s only one game. You can’t win them all, but we definitely hate the fact that we didn’t do better than what we did and what we were hoping for. We have another opportunity this week to go out there and get that bad taste out of our mouth.
Q: You expressed confidence at the beginning of the year that this is a top 10 defense. Does yesterday’s result change that in any way?
A: No, it doesn’t. Like I said, it’s a long season and this is one game. We have the right people, we have the right scheme and everything. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it. You can’t talk about it, you have to go out and do it, and we definitely are going to do that. My confidence hasn’t been shaken in our defense. I know we have a great defense here, and it’s just a matter of us doing it, and doing it on Sunday.
Q: Over the summer the defense didn’t get a chance to really play a lot of preseason snaps together for different reasons. How much of that do you think carried over in terms of some of the rough spots you guys experienced regarding communication?
A: I think we communicated pretty well yesterday, it’s more so being in the wrong position on certain things. Like I said, we had a lot of really great practices this summer, in summer camp, and OTAs. It’s different when you get in an actual game—it’s a little bit different. I think it’s just a matter of us detailing everything out and being very detailed in our work. When we get to the game on Sunday, relying on our training and doing the little things. Being in the right position and being able to make plays when it’s your time. That’s the main thing that I took from the game yesterday—just keep growing, keep communicating, but also make sure we cross all our t’s and dot all of our i’s.
Q: It certainly wasn’t only the young guys on the defense that made some mistakes yesterday, but it seemed like a bunch of them were and had trouble in their first NFL game. What do you say to them, and how do you correct that and also keep their confidence high?
A: You tell them that they have 15 more games to go. It’s a long season. Welcome to the NFL. We’ve kind of all had those experiences. But those guys are confident in themselves. They’ve played a lot of ball. They study the game and they know how to play. It’s just a matter of all of us buying in. Well not buying in, we’ve all bought in, but all of us just doing the right things at the right moment and being very detailed in our work. Like I said, we have an opportunity this week to go out there and get that bad taste out of our mouths from last week.
Q: I’m curious what you saw on the Blake Jarwin TD? Really just that and some of the big plays and what you attributed that to?
A: A little bit of missed details. Everybody was in the right call and everything, but if you’re not looking at the right thing, you won’t see it. It goes right by you. It kind of took turns doing stuff like that. Like I said, we just weren’t in the right position to make those plays. When you play a good offense like that, they’re able to pick up on those mistakes that you have and get you big for it. It’s one game. Our confidence isn’t shaken, for sure. It was disappointing to lose in that fashion, but like I said, we have another opportunity this week to change that narrative and go out there and be the defense that we want to be.
Q: Ryan Connelly, the rookie, got some snaps alongside you yesterday. What was that like? How do you think he held up in his first game?
A: I thought he did well. He was able to get in on a few tackles. I thought he was able to play pretty fast with it being his first game. Him and Tae (Davis), they kind of rotated in and out. I thought they both came in and did well. Ryan played really well. He got in on a few tackles. We’ll see how it goes from here.