Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports
MONDAY PAT SHURMUR PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the team’s 41-35 overtime win against the Washington Redskins (the video is also available at Giants.com):
Opening Statement: Injury-wise, we had (Alec) Ogletree who couldn’t make it, his back, we’re doing some more evaluation on him. (Mike) Remmers with the concussion, obviously, we’ll just have to see where he’s at. Aside from that, just game soreness. We’ll just see how they feel tomorrow. They’re all in today. We had real good meetings, looking at yesterday’s film and then moving forward on Philly. And then we’re going to work tomorrow, and then as I already mentioned, they’re going to be off on Christmas Day, and then normal Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So, that’s what the week looks like. We’re looking forward to playing the Eagles again. Looking forward to finishing the game better than we did the first time we played them. We got off to a good start and we didn’t finish well enough, so hopefully we can get that fixed for this weekend. So, I’ll take your questions.
Q: Does the game take on any more significance because of what’s at stake for Philly?
A: I don’t think so. I think what’s important for us, we’ve got to focus on doing things the right way and winning the game. We try every week to win the game we’re playing, and we’re going to do the same this week.
Q: You guys made kind of a big deal at the end of last season and in the offseason about how you finished last season better, you went 4-4, I think, in the last eight, but you actually lost your last three games last year. Going into this offseason winning games, would that change anything momentum-wise?
A: Well, it only changes things if you build on it through the offseason and then play better to start the year. But, yeah, I think when we have the number of young players that we have going through this for the first, some of them just for the second time, them learning how to win in December is very important so that when we win more games early in the season, it’ll be meaningful.
Q: Having young players is one thing, but having the right players is something different. How confident are you that you have the right young players? Not just Daniel (Jones), but defense, everywhere, you have the right guys moving forward?
A: We’re confident we do, and as they play out their careers, we’ll see. But, I think that the guys that are in there playing are all improving. I say it this way and it’s really the case, they’re having more good plays and less bad plays, and I think that the important thing is you get experience, because we all would agree that experience matters, and for some of these young guys who on most teams would be backups or maybe practice squad players, they’re front line guys for us and this is huge for them to be able to compete as starters.
Q: Do you put Kaden Smith in that group?
A: Yeah, I mean, he’s done a terrific job. He’s got a real feel for playing, and he blocked extremely well yesterday, he caught passes, caught two touchdowns, and he’s been a very steady performer for us. So, I don’t know what group I’d put him in, but he’s been very productive, and we’re glad he’s here.
Q: Last year with Saquon (Barkley) as a rookie, you often spelled him one series. You sometimes got criticized for it, like ‘Why is Saquon not in the game?’
A: (Laughter) You really can weave criticism in anywhere.
Q: This year, Saquon plays a lot of the downs and Buck (Allen) a little bit once in a while, but it’s really Saquon’s show. Is there a difference in year number one and year number two you see with that?
A: No, I think some of it is flow of the game. Some of the games that you’re referring to, the last game when we did stay on the field and do enough on third (down) — when you get enough plays, then he’s able to go. But, I think it’s smart for us to have him on the field, but we trust the other guys we put in there. I think yesterday he had a huge impact, obviously, running the ball and catching passes, so that’s what you want.
Q: The story of the day on social media is your team out last night having a good time after the game. Videos of them at a bar drinking, whatnot. Are you okay with everything that went on last night?
A: Yeah. They’re grown men and they look after each other. They were celebrating a victory. They should have invited me.
Q: We thought you were the one filming it.
A: No, no. You should know me better than that. The fact that they can’t go enjoy themselves without it becoming public, those are the things that I’ll never feel comfortable about.
Q: I know you said you’re going to focus on you and not necessarily what’s at stake for the Eagles, but in this situation, this isn’t just another game in terms of what you’re preparing for. I mean, this is essentially a playoff game for your opponent. Will you coach your guys up to that level of the importance of not only what you need to do right, but this is essentially a playoff game that you’re playing in, even though it’s not necessarily at stake for you?
A: Well, I don’t know how you’re going to write it. I’m sure there’s a narrative there. But I will say this. This is our last game, and I assure you they’re going to put everything into making sure this last game goes the right way. We’ll see what happens.
Q: Well, I guess the way I will write it is the idea that when you talk about what’s at stake, playoff teams rise to the occasion. There’s something there at stake and you want to see how teams respond to that. Do you think it will say something about your team if you’re able to respond to that level, even though you’re not the one playing for the playoffs?
A: Our team understands what’s at stake this weekend. We’re playing the Eagles, and we’re going to do everything in our power to put a winning performance on the field. I can assure you they know what’s at stake for the other team as well. I just mentioned, it’s our last game. I really believe that our guys are going to sell out like they do every Sunday, and do what they can to win the game.
Q: Because there’s everybody and there’s Daniel, this is Daniel’s first chance playing the Eagles. What do you think he took from watching them last time, earlier this month really, and can now carry over to what he takes onto the field with him?
A: I don’t know. That’s probably a better question for him. He did some things yesterday. He got the ball off a little quicker in some situations, which was good. Maybe he learned some of that by watching Eli. Again, that’s probably a better question for Dan. I don’t know what to tell you there, other than I do believe the best way to learn is by playing. He was injured, so he was forced to watch. But the mental reps that you get by watching are also important. I’m sure there’s something that he learned, and he could probably tell you better than I can.
Q: Do you believe, just because it’s the same team within a four-week span here, that there will be a carryover from whatever studying he did?
A: Oh yeah. I mean, there is. We change, from a game plan standpoint, you always change. You run different plays at certain times. But the blueprint for how you play offense and defense is pretty well set for the year. You have to play. You have rules, you have things you need to do so that when a new play does come up or a new defense comes up, you know where to go with the ball. That’s always the challenge when you play a team the second time.
Q: You’re talking a lot about the Eagles have the playoffs at stake and things like that. That’s the spoiler role. Do you not like the words ‘spoiler role’? Can you at least acknowledge that people maybe inside the building or maybe outside the building really take that to heart? Fans, maybe front office.
A: Sure, sure. No, I understand that. The internal messaging is we have to do everything in our power to win a game. That’s the internal messaging. But we’re well-aware of what the external messaging is. We’re going to do what we can to put a winning performance on the field.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
By sweeping the Redskins, the Giants “clinched” third place in the NFC East.
The Giants gained 552 yards, the franchise’s highest total ever in a road game.
Quarterback Daniel Jones is the first rookie in NFL history with at least 300 passing yards, five touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a game. Jones is also the first rookie in Giants’ history to throw five touchdown passes.
This was Jones’ third game with at least four touchdown passes. The only other rookies in NFL history to do that were Deshaun Watson in 2017 and Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton in 1961.
Jones increased his season total to a Giants rookie-record 23 touchdown passes. Charlie Conerly had held the record since 1948, when he threw for 22 scores.
Running back Saquon Barkley set a franchise record with 279 yards from scrimmage (189 rushing and 90 receiving). The previous record of 276 yards was set by Tiki Barber vs. Philadelphia on December 28, 2002. Barber rushed for 203 yards and added 73 receiving yards.
Barkley is the fifth player with at least 275 scrimmage yards and both a rushing and receiving touchdown in a single game since 1970, joining Priest Holmes (Week 13, 2001 and Week 12, 2002), Chris Johnson (Week 2, 2009), Herschel Walker (Week 15, 1986), and Delvin Williams (Week 9, 1976).
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Tuesday and Wednesday.