Giants head coach Pat Shurmur met the media Wednesday at the 2018 NFL Combine:
Good morning guys. How are you doing? Alright, so most of us are down here, now that we've started the process certainly of trying to get as much information as we can this week. Actually did some meetings last night, we'll have meetings throughout the week and try to get as much information as we can on all of the players that are here.
Q: Since this is your first combine, what's your priority on how to shape this team going forward?
A: Well, this is about my 18th combine, so the priority here is to make sure you get as much information as you can about the player. We're trying to find guys that are passionate about football, the medical part tells us if they're healthy enough to play and then we want to walk away as coaches and try to answer the question by getting to know them as best we can. Are these guys we want to coach? So that's why this is really the first real big exposure for us as coaches in this evaluation process. So our whole staff is here and we're trying to get as much information as possible.
Q: What do you look for in quarterbacks at the combine?
A: Well, you're trying to look for all of the intangible things that a quarterback does. You want to try to determine whether he's a good decision maker, whether he has a sense of timing. The tape tells you whether he's an accurate passer or not. And then you just want to get a feel for, 'hey, is this the guy that we want to lead our team?' So some of it is subjective, some of it really just comes by getting to know the player. So we have a good idea of what a good quarterback is, so we're trying to see those attributes in all of these candidates.
Q: Does it matter if they don't throw (at the combine?)
A: No, I think times have changed. We've seen him throw on tape. He's going to have a pro day where we can see him throw. It's certainly nicer when they do throw. The more exposure you have, the more times we see the player doing what he does, it helps, but I think times have changed so some do, some don't.
Q: I know you said you thought Eli (Manning) had years left in his career, but given that you're sitting at the number two pick in the draft, what are your thoughts on the importance of setting up the franchise for the future there?
A: Yeah, I agree with both of your assertions there. We're looking forward, moving forward with Eli, but certainly with the second pick in the draft, we want to draft a player worthy of that pick. I think we've talked about it before, but the last time the Giants had the second pick in the draft, they picked Lawrence Taylor. The last time they had the third pick in the draft, they picked Carl Banks and those were two franchise changing players. So I think we have to keep an open mind on this and we certainly want to make our team better and I think that's the approach that we're taking.
Q: Can you afford to spend the number two pick on a player that might not even play this season?
A: We're going to pick the very best player that we can pick at the number two pick. We're coming into this, again, we're looking for passionate players that want to be coached, that we feel good about and we're trying to upgrade the whole team.
Q: Do you know what you have in Davis Webb? Will he impact what you do with the number two pick?
A: Yeah, that's a good question. It's interesting, he and Eli are in the building every day and I have to hold back from talking ball with them, so I see them in the lunch room after they have their workouts so that's a little uncomfortable for me because they're so eager to get going. But I like what I've seen in Davis Webb. I went back and watched his tape again from college just to get reacquainted with him. I liked what I saw on tape when he played. I had a chance to watch his practice tape, which has been terrific. We just don't have a large sample size of Davis Webb playing NFL football, but I'm excited about what he brings to the table.
Q: What can you get from the practice tape?
A: Well, you can see him drop back and throw and make the right reads and just all of those things quarterbacks do.
Q: How different has this coaching experience been so far compared to your tenure in Cleveland?
A: It's way different. I think the second time through on anything, I've said it, there's a list of things I'll never do again, there are certain things that I need to do in the first month and some of that I've already accomplished. You are just more comfortable with what needs to get done because you can see it a little better and I feel good about the staff that we've hired, getting to know our team and the way our organization functions and doing it at a little faster pace. So anytime that you do something for the second time and really the first time, I get it, those that say there are things they didn't see coming are full of it in my opinion because there are some things you don't see coming, but you get used to handling it. And then there are years since that time where I've become a better coach, so it helps.
Q: Since you have a successful history of working with quarterbacks, do you feel like you have an advantage because of your background?
A: I think we know what quarterbacks are. I added Mike Shula, who again understands what a quarterback looks like and how to develop a quarterback. We know what we're looking for, we know when we see it. So we want guys that are in the building that will develop the way that we see them having to develop. For guys that have been in the league a long time like Eli, we just want to try to maximize what he does well.
Q: What about managing the different personalities?
A: Yeah, that's hugely important, but I think your personality needs to be genuine. To your point, they're all different and what's important is that they're the best version of what they are. They don't want to try to model themselves after somebody else. So that's what we try to do, maximize the best of who they are.
Q: How much does having a Super Bowl caliber quarterback in Eli Manning allow you to expand your playbook?
A: Yeah, Eli is sharp. And again, I haven't been able to talk football with him, I just know him and he's very smart. Quarterbacks along the way have had to learn other offenses and get accustomed to new schemes and we call it apple, they call it orange. Eli's got all of that. So it certainly helps a great deal. Experience really matters for a guy that is a really good player because he's seen things, he's done things way more than somebody we would bring in that would be a rookie.
Q: What's your first impression on this year's offensive line draft class?
A: I think there are a lot of good players in this year's draft, but I think we've got some good players on our roster and, again, we have to maximize what they do. But let's make no mistake, blockers got to block, quarterbacks got to throw, receivers got to catch, runners got to run, and I'm just talking about on the offense. So all of the guys in our building need to do those jobs better and we've got to try to maximize what they can do and then, of course, we're going to try to upgrade all of the position groups. So the new guys that we're bringing in need to be passionate, they need to understand what a relationship is and be willing to be coached. So the new guys that we're bringing in, that's what we're looking to gain by getting the information we talked about earlier.
Re: NFC East
A: I think it becomes a personality of the teams in the division. Certainly, the NFC East is a tough division. We've got the Super Bowl champion in our division, but we also have the DNA in the New York Giants to do the same thing. So the Washington Redskins, an outstanding team, and Dallas is obviously an outstanding team. So we've got our work cut out for us. We were 3-13. There was a reason for it, we own that and we've got to do what we can to get back to those years where we're playing in the playoffs.
Q: What are your thoughts on what the Eagles were able to accomplish last year, especially with Nick Foles stepping in as the backup quarterback?
A: Well it's impressive. Let's get past the two quarterbacks that played last year, they have assembled a terrific team. So that kind of pushed them through. The quarterback piece is obviously very important and Carson Wentz had an outstanding year. And I was with Nick Foles when he had his very best year, so I wasn't surprised to see that he could lead them the rest of the way. So no, I've got a lot of respect for what they've done and I'm looking forward to competing against them.
Q: How much have you been able to talk to Eli Apple and what are your concerns with some of the maturity issues that happened last season?
A: Eli Apple, I've got to keep my Elis straight. Yeah, Eli was in the building, so I had a chance to visit with him and this is a clean slate deal. So I think we all know we need to get better. We had a great conversation, he's eager to get started when we do get started and we're going to put the ball out there and let it rip.
Q: Are you concerned about the stuff in his family circle?
A: No, I'm not concerned. And as I get to know him better and as we start to develop those relationships that are necessary for a player and a coach and an organization, we're sort of starting at ground zero with that and so I'm looking forward to that.
Q: Have you gotten an update on where Odell Beckham is in his rehab and what's your confidence that he'll be ready for the spring?
A: Yeah, he's been through, and to my knowledge, he's making great progress. So, yes. And I don't know about the camp part of it yet.
Q: He tweeted about not playing in any preseason games, is that a discussion you guys have had?
A: We haven't really been able to discuss football and certainly we wouldn't have talked about any participation in training camp. But no, we communicate on the surface like we have to with all of our players, but we've developed a relationship that's pretty sound.
Q: What did you see in Kevin Stefanski that you wanted to bring him over here with you?
A: Yeah, I think Kevin is a tremendous coach and obviously the Vikings feel the same way. So I think he has a very bright future, he's a good man, and the Vikings did a good thing by keeping him for the Vikings. So I'm hopeful they have a great year as well.
Q: What does it tell you that Davis and Eli are in the building every day?
A: Well, I'm encouraged by that because they feel like the best place to train is in our building. I think we've created an environment (in the league) now with the players where there are so many things that you can't do in the offseason, so guys go off on their own, they get trainers, they're trained away from the facility and you don't know what's going on. Even though we can't work and there are rules with how much we can be around them, the fact that they're there tells me that it matters and the fact that the two quarterbacks on our roster are spending time together every single day, I think it's a really good thing.
Q: What were you able to see from Brandon Marshall when you looked at the tape from last year?
A: Yeah, he's an outstanding player. He got hurt early so there wasn't much that we could talk about, but those are contract deals, we will talk about them at a later time.
Q: When you look at Davis Webb's college film, it was mainly all spread stuff, so some of it translates, a lot of it doesn't. How much does that put him back or does last year's time with the Giants help him?
A: You can see in college what a quarterback can do and it translates to our game. So the word 'spread' is used a lot like 'west coast offense' or '3-4 defense', there's many, many versions of those three elements of football, but we can see it. Obviously, he was drafted for a reason and we can see why on tape.
Q: What's your evaluation of Evan Engram?
A: Yeah Evan, he was a player that we really liked. He is a pass receiving tight end. He obviously had a really good first year. I mean, there are certain areas that he could improve, but certainly looking forward to working with him.