Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Remarks: This was a similar blueprint to a week ago. Hard on the heart, I guess, but first I’d like to say this is our first victory in front of our home crowd, this new group. We were thrilled, I was talking to the players about how thrilled I am to be able to do that, it’s too damn late in the year for that to be the first one here at home, but that’s the way it is. I’m just glad they were able to watch a victory. It was a good team win, we had positive contributions on special teams. Again the return game is coming around, we did a good job with the coverage, we made a long kick, so we’re making progress there. We had a positive contribution on defense, four turnovers is out of sight, plus a stop on fourth down, which is essentially a turnover. That was awesome. Then on offense I thought we did a good job. Defensively, too, returning an interception for a touchdown, so creating points. Excellent. Then on offense, I thought we moved the ball effectively, we ran the ball, Eli (Manning) only had one incompletion, which is tremendous. He made some critical throws at critical times, Saquon (Barkley) touched the ball – let’s all do the math here – 29 times, 27 runs and 2 catches, so that’s a pretty good day for him. We got production from most of our guys, you saw the big one there from Evan (Engram) at the end, which was huge to get the ball down the field, so we had positive contributions there. There’s things we’ve got to work on, a couple times we lost our composure, which we can’t do that. When you’re playing a tight game, those are things that will kill you, but they kept battling. They were having fun playing ball, and we found a way to win against a team that we knew could move the ball. Again I think they had over 500 yards of offense and much like last week’s game, they fell victim to the turnover. I’d like to think we caused some of them, but they fell victim to that. In terms of injuries, I don’t know what you all know, but Kerry Wynn, concussion, so we’ll just have to see as we go forward, and I think Landon (Collins) was examined for one as well. Great win, great to be able to do it in front of our home crowd, and back to work tomorrow to get ready to play Philly.
Q: Was your offense more jazzed up today? Do you think your offense had a lot of flow this week as opposed to being choppy?
A: I don’t’ know. I challenged the guys to start faster than we did last week, so we went up 14-shade, which is good. The game flows better when you’re ahead by two scores. Then obviously they did a good job of getting down the field and making it a one score game. At halftime, I challenged them to race to a two score game and we scored on defense. That’s the way we’ve got to do it, I don’t know if it’s flow or it’s jazzy or whatever, but when guys are making plays and we’re making yards running the ball, it’s easier to call play actions and it’s easier to protect the quarterback against a pretty good rush.
Q: Eli only had one incompletion. Was that a function of Eli being especially sharp or the run game helping to open things up a little bit? What was your take?
A: It’s all coordinated and it all starts up front, but when you’re able to run the football early in the game, we took the long shot to Odell (Beckham) that got us down the field, that was a really good throw. I thought Eli for the second week in a row especially since the bye here, that was a winning performance by all accounts.
Q: When your offense is executing as well as they were today, how much do you like to balance creativity and discipline in your play calling? When you’re able to see the way Saquon was running the ball, the way the O line was protecting, and the way Eli was able to execute all his throws, you’re able to get more creative.
A: Yeah, it helps you. You feel better about calling some of the special plays. When things are working, you feel good about calling the Z reverse to Odell, you feel good about some of those shots when you’re blocking good. It helps. When you’re having success especially early, it’s a confidence boost for the play calling for sure.
Q: What does it mean to string together victories for this group? It’s been awhile for some of these guys to string some wins together, so what benefits does that have?
A: Even though these are tremendous athletes, confidence kicks in when you do it back to back like this. You have to be confident in what you do and aside from getting this right as we move forward, we need to learn how to win again, so when you put a couple victories together, you can learn from that.
Q: You brought Mike Thomas over here for special teams. Now (James) Bettcher has put a load on him defensively. Can you talk about him and how much he’s progressed?
A: Mike Thomas, as you know, was elected a captain, and I didn’t know much about him, but very quickly gained a huge appreciation. He’s one of the adults in the room. He’s an outstanding person, he gets it, he’s able to get it and he leads. He does the right thing at the right time for the right reasons and doesn’t care about the consequences. That’s Mike. He’s always got a smile on his face, he’s very competitive. Every time we put him in there to do something, he competes. He’s the kind of guy you want on the field.
Q: We’ve seen Evan’s snap count go down but the last two weeks he’s come up with big plays in the fourth quarter. What does that say about how you’re using him and how he’s adjusting to this new role?
A: That was part of the bye week thing too, making him a little bit fresher so he can take advantage of some of the things he’s good at. Much like the running back room, when it comes to your tight ends, it takes a village and they all have to contribute in ways. They were in there banging it out, we put Rhett (Ellison) and Scott (Simonson) in there, we had some three tight end stuff today. The first touchdown to Saquon was a three tight end look, so just try to mix it up and try to use them to the best of their ability, use their skillset. The last long pass on the last scoring drive, that’s something that of those three guys, only Evan can do – catch the ball, in the open field and run for a very long way. Those other two guys would have got hawked, they would have got run down, but that’s okay. They did other things well. That’s the challenge each week to try to use them in a way that makes the most sense.
Q: The only incomplete pass of the game, it looked like you had exactly what you wanted with Saquon there – the one down the right side, the wheel route. It looked like maybe he just missed the ball in the air?
A: We just didn’t connect on it. He was running wide open, we’ve got to connect on that.
Q: It looked like it was a back shoulder throw, was that the design?
A: No, it’s designed for him to get wide open like he was and to throw it to him so he can catch it. I’m making light of it, I wasn’t that fired up about it when I saw it because that could have been a game changer too, but that’s okay. You move on, I’m sure some people night have been frustrated I punted the ball there, but it was just a little bit out of our range in terms of the field goal that we wanted to kick. It probably would have been a little less than a 50% chance of making it from there, which would have given them immediate field position. I didn’t want to do that right before the half, so we elected to punt the ball.
Q: The Redskins losing today and no other team is above 500 in your division…
A: Crazy, isn’t it? That’s why I said through the first eight weeks, you’ve just got to keep playing. You never know and so if we let the noise get to us and get us all dark and stormy and weird about things, then you’re not set up to do anything at the end of the season. We’ve got a long way to go, there are a lot of things we’ve got to get better at, but if we can just keep battling and fighting, who knows? That would be a fun thing for everybody to write about.
Q: Was it intentional that (Aldrick) Rosas’ kicks were short? Was that by design?
A: Part of it. Then a couple we didn’t choose, he kind of got underneath, but that was part of the design on a few of them – not all of them.
Q: Saquon looked really fresh today. What did you observe about him today?
A: Early in the game we called runs where, I think I mentioned during the week those dirty five yard runs where it’s grimy and tough and just hit it up in there, and he embraced that part of it. I think by doing that early in the game, it really helped him. Yeah, he was fresh and ready to go. We had a little seminar on how to pick the right shoes so no one would be slipping, they’ve got to figure out what shoes to wear and he didn’t slip today, which was good. Those are things we went through with him.
Q: How much of a luxury is it as a head coach to have a (running back) like him?
A: Oh, it’s a huge luxury. He’s an outstanding player and when you can throw it to him and hand it to him, that makes things terrific. He’s had a positive contribution in our three victories, and he’s gotten better in each of the other games. It’s great for the New York Football Giants if Saquon’s with us.
Q: Most Giants fans gulped when they had DeSean Jackson out to field that last punt. What were your instructions?
A: I was on the other team when that happened one time. I was jumping around saying, ‘it’s #11’, so we just wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to catch the ball. My reaction was the same as the people gulping, because I saw the other side of it once.
Q: How great was your interior offensive line play tonight?
A: I thought good. It was a winning performance. When you’re able to run the ball like we did, I think that’s outstanding. We had a couple dropbacks we got stretched out on, but for the most part, the pass protection was good. Again as those give guys play more and more together, our hope is that they’re going to get better.
Q: You challenged Saquon to get those dirty runs, how does a young running back balance that and also being 27 years old and still playing, or as a young player do you sort of just put that out the window and live in the moment and not think about the future?
A: I think you’re bouncing around a little bit. Saquon is very coachable and that’s huge for a guy with his talent. He’s willing to listen when we say, ‘hey listen, if you do this, this will help you.’ He had a couple he bounced today with good success, we don’t want to take that out of your game but on a few occasions here, just do this and trust us, and he did it and did a great job with it.
Q: In terms of physicality at the position. Does a young player worry about that? I know those dirty runs are good but…
A: I don’t want to get banged up, right. I don’t know. Two or three years from now. we can re-visit that. We’ll see.
LB Olivier Vernon
Q: …. It’s 38-35 and it gets nervous at the end.
A: You don’t want to give up points like that when it comes down to any game. When you want to seal a win, you want to seal it the right way. There are some things that we need to go back and fix in the meeting rooms. You know, establish when we were wrong and how can we fix it.
Q: Now that you’ve won two in a row, do you almost wonder why did it take so long? Now that everything is clicking, turnovers are coming, points are coming. It’s almost like where was this for eight weeks?
A: Yeah, of course, but sometimes it’s just the NFL, man. A lot of games, especially in the beginning, just came down to the last minute and things just didn’t go our way. Especially when it came to turnovers, it just didn’t go our way. That’s just how things were turning out for us. Now, we were able to get some turnovers and it was just helping us. Guys made big plays when we needed it and it helped us seal the win.
Q: Other than the fact that the result is different – the win versus the loss -- is there something that’s changed? Is there something that you guys have done differently that has led to the back to back wins?
A: Man, just staying together. Honestly, you know, everybody goes up and shows up and works hard, does the same thing sticking to the process. Ain’t nobody was ever folding. Every game we went out there, it was always a fight until the end. These past two games, they went our way and we made some big plays when they needed to be made. That’s what we need to win the game.
Q: Is it safe to say that that stop on fourth down early in the game, that that kind of I don’t want to say was the turning point in the game, but I guess was a big moment for the defense and kind of gave you guys some momentum going forward.
A: Yeah. When it comes to that, with a challenge like that, you want to step up and show up early, show up early in the game especially when you got an explosive offense like that. They’ve been putting up points these past several weeks, like non-stop. Right there it was a challenge man and we stepped right up to the plate and everybody executed.
Q: How much can the confidence and momentum off of two straight wins now help you going into a hostile environment in Philly next week against a division rival?
A: We are totally prepared to get a winning streak these past couple of weeks, but at the end of the day we are going into a rival, hostile environment, like you said, and all we can do is buckle up and study our opponent again and just go through the same process again like we have been doing each and every week.
Q: Has it changed to the point where when you’re losing games, it’s like ‘Oh no, here we go again’ and now at the end of the games you expect to make a big play?
A: No, I don’t think it’s ever gotten to that point. We got a lot of positivity on this team, it’s just that certain things weren’t going our way as far as capitalizing on turnovers. You know what I mean. I think everybody was just playing solid in all phases. Special teams making plays, offense making plays, and defense showing up and making plays as well. That’s what you need to help win the game.
Q: What was going on with those penalties? It looked like the tackle was doing something that…
A: We were kind of getting a jump on their snap count, so they ended up switching it up after the first penalty - switching up the cadence - we were just trying to shoot your shot and make plays. You got to shoot your shot if you’re trying to make plays in this league. They just ended up catching us on two in a row with the offsides. The less penalties you have in a game, you have a better outcome of winning, so that’s on me.
*TE Evan Engram
Q: What’s the feeling right now following another big win?
A: We played lights out today. We started out fast. We got our playmakers the ball and we did an amazing job blocking up front. The O-Line had control of the game and had control of the line of scrimmage the entire game. Tight ends, we had our blocking packages in. Everybody was just doing their job and so when we start fast and do that, we play complementary football, we score a lot of points and that happened today.
Q: This is the second straight week you’ve made an enormous play on the biggest drive of the game late in the game. Are you putting that on yourself to do it in that moment, trying to make kind of that splash play or how has it happened?
A: I’m just there when my number’s called. It was kind of a slow start for me offensively. Team was playing great, but just kind of took a little bit getting into rhythm. Had one catch in the third quarter, I think. I just keep telling myself that the big play is going to come, my number is going to get called, and I’m just there when it happens. It’s not really playing – I would love to be up 30 at that point and I didn’t have to do that, but just being there when my number’s called, that’s my mindset.
Q: Is that just a good old fashion beating your man one-on-one?
A: No. It was a great play call. They got two shell sometimes and we just hit the seams. Those safeties are too high, the middle’s wide open so when we’re running the ball how we do, those backers have to show respect. They step up one time, I’m able to just use my ability to get past them and Eli (Manning) puts the ball in the perfect spot and I’m just there.
Q: Two weeks in a row you guys have had to close out the game with a game-winning drive or (inaudible) the win to run down the clock today. How much confidence do you as an offense now have in those situations?
A: It definitely builds our confidence and it builds – it raises our expectations for ourselves. We know what we can do, we know what we’re capable of. We’ve been moving the ball, we’ve been almost there all season and these past two weeks we’ve been really going over the top, going over the edge like we know we can. Just doing that and especially us doing that all day today, it just builds confidence, it builds that chemistry, it builds momentum and we’re in the last stretch of the season and it’s definitely good that we’re going now, but there’s no room for complacency, no room for being settled. We still got a lot more work to do and feel like we can be better.
Q: That 54-yard catch had a little extra meaning for you – A, the situation and B, it’s kind of been a quiet game for you leading up to that spot?
A: I was just there to make the play. I just kept telling myself that eventually I’m going to have to make some play, whether it’s a third and two block, whether it’s a little hitch route to move the chains or a big play like that. I just knew something was going to come and I just had to be there and make it. Literally everybody was doing their job. We were running the ball like that all game, it was easy for that play to happen just for all the team effort all game led up to that.
Q: How important is it that this team is actually able to string together victories when it hasn’t been able to do that?
A: It’s important and it’s fun. We put so much work in and we’ve been through so much, especially this year. To come out and start fast and to play a full game – in the league, those rare games where you just win outright and just chill the whole game. We had to work all game and that means a lot to us. Means a lot to the things we’ve been through and the work we’re putting in is finally starting to roll. We just got to keep going and keep building off of it.
Q: How wide did your eyes get on that play you see that linebacker crossing –
A: I saw it from the snap. We worked all week, they gave us two shell, see how the wind passed the linebacker and we run the ball like we did today, those backers got to step up, at least take one step and that’s all we need so I knew it was coming and I just had to be there to finish it.
Q: These last two games your playing time has gone down, but your impact has been big late.
A: It’s an easy position to get frustrated. It’s an easy position to kind of let doubt come in and question when your mind should be on other things. Now I just put that all to the side. I just stay positive. I knew something was going to come, I knew my time was going to come. It’s an NFL football game, it’s very rare that you just can cruise through the finish line, run the clock out. You’re going to have to make plays, finish drives. Just staying positive all game, just support my guys. Rhett (Ellison) and Scott (Simonson) did a hell of a job blocking tonight. That’s the package that we can lean on to get tough yards so anytime they’re coming in, anytime I’m in, we’re doing our job to get – we’re doing it together. It does feel good when those times do come especially in big moments.
Q: Coach (Pat) Shurmur mentioned just before that one of the things that the bye week they thought about was keeping you fresher so you can have more impact later in games. Is that – I mean you probably want to be on the field more.
A: If that’s the plan, if that’s what it’s looked like, it’s been best for the team these past two weeks, that’s just how I am. I’m not going to let it get to me. I’ve been in situations before where I was pissed and frustrated and then I do get my chances and I can’t deliver, so just the mindset, being ready, supporting the guys and making the play when it happens.
Q: Is this the way the offense is supposed to look with Saquon (Barkley) rushing –
A: You look at Saquon and me going crazy. We got Odell (Beckham Jr.) making big contested catches, moving the chains, Eli staying in the pocket, O-Line playing lights out. It’s complementary football. It’s something that we got to keep building on because we honestly, we’re not complacent, we feel like we can do things better. We just got to keep working.
Q: Your quarterback threw one incomplete pass today.
A: That’s 10, man, that’s 10. He hasn’t batted an eye this whole year and it’s really cool to be apart of these last two weeks with him and really excited what we got with him.
Q: How much does all this come back to the improved play of the offensive line last couple of weeks?
A: It’s big. You control the line of scrimmage in a football game, then you’re putting your team in the best position to win. Those guys, two weeks in a row, had a great, great two weeks. You see the chemistry with them, you see the fun they’re having. It’s something that we got to keep building on.
Q: How does that come so fast because even when you’re with guys during training camp it takes a couple games. These guys are coming in on parachutes midseason, but it seems to come along pretty quick.
A: It’s a big part of the chemistry and it’s a big part of gaining that confidence and believing in the guy next to you. I think offensive line is the most connected position room on the field so when you’re able to have success, that confidence builds, that chemistry builds and you get good results that we did today.
Q: You heard something that you haven’t heard much of and that’s cheers from the home crowd. What was that like?
A: Today was an especially good win for the city. Last one we had here was last year – well, last one I was apart of the Redskins win was a good one. I was out, but it felt good to allow them to have fun and take pride in us and for them to enjoy being up and not having to catch up or not having those tough heartbreaks like we’ve had. Today the atmosphere was crazy, it was great, and we just got to keep building on that for ourselves and for the fans.
Q: Did you hear that? Did you recognize the chants in the fourth quarter?
A: Yeah, they show up every week.
Q: Sometimes they go home every week.
A: They go home, too. This was a special day for them and special day for us in general.
Q: I know you guys are always looking forward, but is there any part of you that sits there and say man, if we could’ve just got one or two of those close games in the first half, it’d be a totally different ballgame?
A: It’s easy to look back and think like that, but we are where we are now and it would be nice. It’s definitely easy to think about, but we just got to keep working on what we got.
Q: You mention Eli. Publicly Pat said on the record that his starting job was kind of in the air coming out of that bye. What has he been like these past two weeks? Is he different? What have you seen from him?
A: Like I always say, Eli is always Eli in good times, bad times. There’s been a lot of adversity the first half of the season and he does (inaudible). He shows up to work each and every day, finds a way to get better and we’re riding for him and I’m just glad to be apart of it with him.
S Michael Thomas
Q: What did you guys talk about during the timeout before the onside kick?
A: We have a bunch of veterans who have been premier special teams players for their different teams. So once we saw the formation, we pretty much knew where they were trying to go with the ball with how they were lined up with two guys on either side of the kicker bunched in, so once we saw it, we were prepared. We saw the ball kicked at the tee, saw the ball kicked and went up and made a play.
Q: You looked like you almost saw daylight.
A: Yeah, obviously the rule is to get down, but if they didn’t tackle me, I was going to the crib. But nah, I was glad we made that play. At that point, we’re pretty much just trying to seal the game.
Q: You sealed it in the first half too, you made another play.
A: I’m just glad that Bettch (James Bettcher) and coach Lou (Anarumo) keep finding ways to put me on the field. I just thank God for the opportunity, I’m just going to keep taking advantage of it. We know that their tight end is one of his top targets, period, but especially in the red zone. It’s a big matchup for me. I love that I was able to go out there and prove that I can make a play and to seal it right before halftime so they don’t get points, that’s huge.
Q: How important were those interceptions?
A: We knew we were going to have an opportunity because they’re a top five passing team in the league. So they’re going to throw the ball, we’re going to have a lot of opportunities. When he throws it, let’s catch it, let’s take advantage of it. It’s great that a bunch of guys did that today. We probably left two or three more out there on the field, but it was a great opportunity for us and we knew we needed to do that to win this game.
Q: How big is it to win two in a row?
A: I mean, we’re playing one game seasons at this point. Two in a row, that’s a little run, but next week we’re going to try to go 1-0 again.
Q: How different was the game against Jameis Winston rather than Ryan Fitzpatrick?
A: They’re both good quarterbacks. He’s the number one quarterback, the number one overall draft pick whenever he came out for a reason. So we left a couple of interceptions when he got on the field too, but he came in here and he competed. As a defense, we have some things we have to work on now. We have to work on finishing. We played a great game for three quarters, let’s finish. You know what I’m saying? Now we can’t go into practice feeling great about ourselves, we have something to work on.
Q: When you guys were up 31 to whatever, did you guys hold back a little bit?
A: Nah. Like I said, we have something we have to work on and we have to finish. That’s it.
Q: How would you describe the defense’s day? You got a lot of turnovers, but you also gave up a lot of points.
A: That’s what I’m saying. That’s the frustrating part. We played a great game, we got our hands on the ball, which we wanted to do. They’re the number one passing team, so between the two quarterbacks, they put up some decent numbers. But each quarterback on their own, you feel like you did a good job, especially the starter. We just got to find a way to finish, that’s it.
Q: How much did the pick six from Alec (Ogletree) energize you guys?
A: That was something coach talked about. Let’s go back and make it a two score game and to be able to do it right there on defense and to do it right after halftime, that was huge. Playing with a lead is always huge.
Q: Talk about the character of the team how you were 1-7 and now have won two straight.
A: All we thought about and all we talk about, we weren’t where we wanted to be with that 1-7 start. But DG (Dave Gettleman) and this team, this organization brought in great character guys with leadership and talent from other organizations. All we talked about was staying the course, keep working, keep believing and when we come back from this bye week, one game at a time. Let’s just try to have one game seasons and win and we’re just going to keep doing that. That’s the type of guys we have in this locker room. That’s the reason why we’re trying to go on this run.
C Spencer Pulley
Q: Eli only threw the ball 18 times.
A: Yeah, and completed 17, right? That’s what you want right there.
Q: Why did you have so much success running the ball? Last week too.
A: It’s something we looked at during the bye week as a group with the running backs, tight ends and everyone, and it’s something we really worked on. We’ve got a great quarterback, no doubt, but we don’t want to pass the ball 60 times in a game and drop back, it’s just us working together with Saquon (Barkley) and other backs, and just getting it done.
Q: Were you just fed up a little bit? That’s the word Will Hernandez used. Were you fed up as an offensive line that because of the results you were taking a lot of the (blame)?
A: Of course. The outside noise about whose fault it is is not the big deal, but it’s personal to us – the sacks, the rushing yards – those things are personal for us. Being able to run the ball into the end zone is something we want to do.
Q: The way you guys handled Saquon running it between the tackles today – today, he was just running it right up the middle.
A: Yeah, the big plays are awesome, you love that. It’s like, alright cool, let’s get off the field, but when it’s first down and you’re running for eight yards, that’s second and two, that’s a great feeling. It opens up the play book, it makes everything easier.
Q: The protection was better too the last couple games. I think one sack last game and two or three today. Does that go hand in hand with the runs?
A: Of course. You look at how many drop back passes, or how many two-minute situations we’ve been in trying to get back into the game, and we haven’t had to do that the last two games. It just allows you to run more of your offense.
Q: What’s the right word for the feeling in here – optimism? Belief? What are you guys feeling after two straight wins?
A: Yeah, we’ve always been optimistic, we’ve always had the belief. It’s just good to see it come to fruition.
LB Alec Ogletree
Q: Can you break down what happened on your pick six?
A: I forgot what coverage we were in, but I saw Janoris kind of undercut the route. I told him he should’ve caught it the first time. It would’ve been his pick, but he kind of bobbled it, and I was running to the ball and was able to get my hands on it and kind of scoop it, and get up. It was a good play, and it scored a touchdown for us.
Q: What does it mean to get a touchdown in a game like this to help your team get a win?
A: It means a lot. It was a good play for us at the time. We had a lot of good plays today. Not only my play, but (CB) B.W. (Webb) at the end, (DB Michael Thomas) Mike – everybody made plays all around. Granted, we need to finish better defensively on certain parts of it, but I’m proud of the guys and the way we played today. I thought we fought really well. When you have turnovers, it brings a lot of energy to the team and helps keep everybody motivated and playing well.
Q: Giving up that many points, do you feel as if there needs to be a better commitment defensively?
A: Like I said, our job is not let them score. It’s not that they did anything to trick us, but when (Buccaneers QB) Jameis (Winston) came in, we didn’t execute as well. When you don’t do that, you continue to give up points and yards like that.
Q: Is the belief starting to build for this team after two straight wins? How are you guys feeling right now?
A: We know we can win games. It’s just a matter of time. Of course we didn’t start the season the way we wanted to start. Our focus after the bye week was to play these last eight games to the best of our abilities, and let’s see what happens at the end. We’re taking it one game at a time, one day at a time, and just going by that, and getting ready each and every week.
A: You just have to find a way to win. I felt like everybody just fought all the way until the end. We executed a lot better on certain stuff that we didn’t do well in the first half. We created turnovers. Special teams is playing really well right now. It’s just a credit to everybody staying the course, just staying focused on what they need to do to get better, and just buying in.
Q: How hard is it for you all to stay focused and buy in at 1-7, and you’re on a bye week?
A: It’s tough when you don’t have a commitment from everybody, but everybody here is committed. So, it wasn’t too hard for us to continue to stay the course and just stay focused. Of course everybody wanted us to go 8-0, but things don’t work out that way. All we can do is go into the bye week, look at ourselves and what we need to do, and come back with a different attitude, and execute a lot better. That’s what we’ve been doing so far. Just have to keep that up.
Q: On what difference did your defensive touchdown make in terms of helping the offense generate momentum for the rest of the game?
A: It helps everybody out. When you score on defense, that’s points that the offense – it cancels a stat for them as well, but for us, it energizes the team. We just have to continue to do that – get turnovers. If we can’t score on D, then we’ll make that happen.
Q: On your interception, did you think it had hit the turf before you had scooped it up and scored?
A: I think it was on his chest, actually, and I caught it and cradled it or something. Was able to get up, make a guy miss, and scored a touchdown. It was definitely a good play, along with a lot of other plays that were made today.
Q: Can you talk about the mindset of being so aware of the situation that you were able to score after that.
A: When I get the ball off an interception, I definitely try to score as much as possible. I always joke with the guys that if I get an interception, I want to score with it. I was able to make one guy miss, and went in for a touchdown. It was a credit to (CB) Janoris (Jenkins) for making the play first, and breaking up the ball, and giving me a chance to pick it up and score.
Q: Knowing how (QB) Ryan Fitzpatrick throws the ball, did you think you would have some opportunities to make some plays on the ball? Seems like you guys dropped a couple tipped balls there.
A: We knew we would have opportunities to make plays on the ball. It was just a matter of going out there and doing it. I thought we did that really well, for the most part. We missed a couple of opportunities there, but for the most part, we created those turnovers. A score on D helps out a lot. You got to be ready to catch it when he throws the ball.
Q: How was watching (QB) Eli (Manning) from the sideline?
A: It was fun. When the offense is rolling like that, it’s something that, as the defense, you want to get out there and get the ball back to the offense as soon as possible to let them go out and do their job. For the most part, we did that. We definitely got to fix some things that we didn’t do.
Q: Did you realize what Eli’s stats were?
A: No, I don’t know.
Q: I think he was 17-18. He had one incomplete pass.
A: I’m not too surprised the way they were going today. It’s a great thing. It makes us feel a lot better when the offense is out there executing the way they are and they’re playing like that.
Safety Landon Collins
Q: What were the emotions like as they were coming back scoring late?
A: We were giving them too many opportunities. If we go back, we probably dropped eight picks. Every time we gave them the opportunity, they moved the ball. We gotta get off the field when that happens.
Q: How would you describe today’s performance from your defense?
A: It was good. We gave up too many points, we gave up too many opportunities, but we came out with the win, and we finished it.
Q: How big was it to create a lot of turnovers?
A: It’s very big, honestly. It changed the momentum of the game. It gave our offense plenty of opportunities to score, and they did that most of the time when they got the ball.
Q: Coming from this game, what will you guys harp on as you face the Eagles next week?
A: Different scheme. Mostly going into Philly, we just gotta know our assignments. They know a lot of the stuff we like to do, so we just gotta be on our assignments as much as possible.
Q: Two down, six to go, how hopeful are you guys feeling after Odell’s comments about this being a ‘new season’?
A: We have in our mindset that we can make a run. We’ve been better prepared and we know our assignments going forward.
Q: Despite the record, how do you guys continue to maintain the positive vibes and block out the noise in order to continue to stack wins together?
A: Honestly, we look at it as if we’re in every game. Besides the Eagles game, we were in every game. We were one play away a lot of the time. One interception, one dropped pass, we look at it as that. We just gotta keep playing and we’ll turn it around eventually, and it looks like it is.
Q: Does each win make momentum shift leading into the following week?
A: Yes, of course. Offense and defense are giving us more confidence to try to make it work.
Q: The offense comes out and scores on the first three drives, the defense comes away with takeaways. How much can you emphasize how much they balance each other out?
A: Great question, because I don’t know. It’s a great feel, it’s a vibe. It’s just a feeling honestly.
Q: What happened with the concussion test?
A: I hit Fitz, I guess his knee hit me in the head. They saw me shaking my head cause they ruled it a touchdown, but I played the next play, I remember the play called (gives the play call). They made me go inside the tent, and then they made me come inside here (the locker room). And that’s what made me mad.
Q: So you were shaking your head on the touchdown?
A: Yes, when Fitz went in. It was like a scramble (laughs) yeah definitely.
Q: But you passed on the sideline and they still made you come in?
Q: With the two wins in a row, is part of you saying, ‘What took you so long’?
A: No, none of me is saying that. It’s just now we’re taking advantage of the opportunities we weren’t earlier in the season.
Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Q: How much did the early offense help in the team’s win?
A: It started off with a big kick return, it put us in great field position. Corey (Coleman) did a phenomenal job getting us to the 40-yard line, 50-yard line and starting the drive from there instead of where we’ve started some of our drives, inside our own 20. It just makes it tough. It’s different play calling when you’re back there, so we’ve just done a good job in all three phases, putting ourselves in position to move the ball on offense, backing them up on defense, making them have long drives. We just started putting it together in all three phases or at least play better in all three phases.
Q: How much did the defense help the offense?
A: It’s just like that. The defense provides for the offense, offense provides for the defense. It gives you motivation to go out there and make plays. We see them get a pick, okay let’s get a score for them and just keep it going.
Q: How did the ending go?
A: We’ve been in this position before and we’ve come up on the short end multiple times. So that’s the good thing about this team, we’ve been down to the wire, we know what it takes to pull these games out because we’ve been on the opposite end, so it’s helped us out a lot.
Q: You’ve talked about running the table, you got two and have six to go. Are you still thinking the same way?
A: It’s the same mentality every week. If the o-line is playing like that every single game, it’s going to be hard. The goal is to win every game. So six games left, it’s really only crazy until you do it.
Q: Do you think that prediction has inspired the team?
A: I don’t know. I just know that we’re playing better and I just love to see these guys in here after the game with smiles on their faces. We just put it all together, so it’s always a lot more fun when you win.
Q: How much confidence does it give you guys to be able to ice the game on offense two weeks in a row?
A: Like I said before, I think we always want to have the ball in our hands. It’s an uneasy feeling when you’re on the sideline watching the outcome of the game. You want to be able to put it away or whatever the case may be. It’s a hard thing to sit there and watch.
Q: Have you noticed a change in how Eli (Manning) has played?
A: He’s always going to be Eli Manning, in my opinion. The offensive line is doing a good job at giving him some time, he’s striking them up. I don’t even know if he had an incompletion today or whatever the case is, but we’re just playing better as a team.
Q: Do you see this offense being more versatile now that everybody is a part of it?
A: We’re putting up more points, so we’re doing something right. We’re taking steps in the right direction. All we can do is continue to do that and that’s really all we can do.
Q: Can you talk about your touchdown catch?
A: I just need it, I need it. I just wanted it bad, so I see it in my hands and he really tried to rip it out and I couldn’t let it go.
Q: What went into the Warren Sapp tribute celebration?
A: I don’t know. I heard Warren was talking bad about me or something. Somebody told me. I don’t know what he said or anything like that, so I just had to give him a little love. When people hate on you, you have to give them a little love.
QB Eli Manning
Q: What feels different and what do you see differently after winning two in a row?
A: Just finding the rhythm. Just kind of our identity. I think the offensive line has been playing really well the last couple of weeks. Just running the football, play actions have been really good for us. Getting the ball down the field, the protection has been good down the field. I think those combinations. We can run the football and play action. That first drive, run the football, get a first down, have a play action pass and hit Odell for a 40-yard gain. That was the start of it. All day, ran the ball well, play action was good and we scored in the red zone. That has been good for us the last couple of weeks.
Q: Can you address Saquon and what he has done for this team as a rookie?
A: I think he has gotten better every week. That’s what you ask everyone to do and I thought today was the best he ran. He had a better tempo. He was hitting the holes fast and was running hard. He was close to breaking a couple of long ones but he was just efficient. He has been great the past games. He works hard. We missed him on the one third down down the sideline so we will work on that one and make sure we hit it.
Q: Was that a back shoulder throw?
A: No, I just missed him. I have to look at it on film. Just a combination of both, I could probably throw it a little better and see when he is looking back to make sure he is not looking too late. We have to be able to hit that one. That was a big third down.
Q: Did you realize you were perfect up until that point?
A: No. You just have to worry about the score. It was a tight game. We were going to have to score some more points.
Q: Did you ever have a game at any level where you only missed one pass?
A: I don’t know. I may have had one versus Oakland here years ago. I only played the first half but I think we had it going pretty well.
Q: What is the feel of this team? 2-0, maybe getting some momentum?
A: Yes, I think there is some excitement going around. It is good. It is a good feeling to have in the locker room and you see some growth. You see the improvement. You see guys getting familiar with their spots and what they are doing. We never had a lot of screw ups, but it is just guys executing. The execution has been better and we are putting ourselves in better positions most of the time. We are not having the negative plays on first and second down. Still had some sacks on first and second down that hurt us a bit and pushed us back, but overall just executed better and put ourselves in better positions.
Q: Did JPP say anything to you on those sacks he had?
A: No, nothing at the time. I saw him afterwards and he let me know that he got me a few times. He went easy on me, didn’t give me an extra push into the ground or an extra hit. A lot of respect for JPP, he was a great teammate and is playing at a high level this year. He is one of the good guys in the NFL.
Q: A couple of weeks ago we were wondering if you were going to be benched. Is their any personal satisfaction in this?
A: There is always personal satisfaction when you win football games. I feel good for all the guys. The new guys, guys that have been here, the coaches. Losing, it is not fun for anyone. It is not about me, it is about this team coming together and doing it for everyone and for everyone to feel good about all the hard work that has been going in. We just have to keep doing it. We are going to Philly this week. Thanksgiving week always changes things. We just have to keep our focus, have great preparation and continue to find ways to win football games.
Q: Coach challenged Saquon to work hard and get those dirty yards. Why is that still the goal?
A: It sets up everything. It helps the offense get going. You can run the ball and be physical. They can have that push and it should help you get into third and manageable situations. Instead of getting two yards or three yards, you are getting those extra yards running hard and not bouncing around. You are hitting the holes hard and getting the five and six-yard runs. Eventually, it’ll break. He is a big man. Those guys get tired of taking him on. I thought he played outstanding today.
Q: You have won two straight. Washington lost today. What do you think about where you stand?
A: Coach explained it two weeks ago. We have an eight-game season, but it is one game at a time. That is all we can focus on. Obviously, going to Philly, all we can worry about is that. It is a division game, a big one. We have to keep going.
Q: Did you hear what happened to Alex Smith in that game?
A: I just heard he got injured. During the game, I saw Colt McCoy in there. I didn’t know if it was bad but I saw that he was injured. Alex is a good man. I feel for him. You never like to see that.