MONDAY MEDIA SESSION WITH HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the team’s 33-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints (the video is also available at Giants.com):
Opening Remarks: Last night, certainly we had a good start, we go down and score and you play a half of football, we turned the ball over, they go down. Our defense keeps them out of the end zone, and we’re in there at halftime down by one score against a really good football team, and then we came back out and really didn’t do enough. Offensively, I think we moved the ball in a two-minute scenario at the end of the game, but when you get penalties and you have minus-yardage plays and get knocked off schedule, that affects you, and we’ve got to eliminate that. Then you can’t turn the ball over like we did early as well, so that’s the name of that. Then again, defense, I thought in the bulk of the game battled, kept the score down, and that’s really the key to defense is keeping them out of the end zone, a very high-powered offense. We didn’t do enough in the end to win the game. On special teams, it’s kind of the devil is in the details in the return game, we’re a block or two away from making more yardage. We’ve got a young kick returner back there, probably one questionable decision, and then we dropped the snap on a punt, so those types of things. We’ve got to get those cleaned up and we move forward and get ready for Carolina. That’s what I told the team this morning. We’ve just got to clean up the details and keep moving, and we believe in our guys, we believe in our team, and we’ve just got to do what we do better. I’ll take your questions.
Q: What do you attribute to not being able to hit a lot of downfield passes?
A: Again, I mentioned it yesterday, we took some shots and they were playing in two-shell, so the ball gets checked down. That’s one reason for it.
Q: So you’re saying you called them?
A: Yeah, we called them. There were deep routes called that we couldn’t get the ball downfield, so you check it down. Then you move on.
Q: A lot of coaches say the best teams dictate on offense. What is the fine line between, you want to dictate on offense and you also have to be cognizant of how they’re playing. Moving forward, how can you dictate more on offense?
A: You call plays to be aggressive. If they’re there, you take your shots. That’s how you dictate. And if they’re not there, you check them down, and then the backs catch the ball and run with it. You’re talking about seven-eight yard gains, which is fine, so that’s how you dictate. Then you make them defend those. That’s how you dictate, and then when you choose to run the ball, you make yardage.
Q: Obviously we know (Saquon Barkley) can hit some home runs, but is getting more consistent run production the best way to get a team out of a soft zone defense?
A: Looking back on it, I think Barkley had 18 touches yesterday. I’d like to have a couple more probably, and those being runs certainly. We want to run the ball, we want to run the ball and when we want to throw it, we want to throw it, and we want to be explosive and efficient doing it. That’s the reality of it.
Q: Why do you think you got away from the run, or didn’t give him as many runs?
A: I wish I would’ve called more runs. That’s the reality of that, because I think the ball in Saquon’s hands is a good thing.
Q: The quarterback is such a vital position. Your quarterback has four touchdown passes in four games. What is your overall evaluation of him so far?
A: Eli, the quarterback. Let’s call him Eli, his name is Eli. He’s done some really good things, and each game he’s had a handful of plays he wants back, but that’s no different than any player on our team.
Q: Having a deep threat like Odell (Beckham), even if they have the coverage, isn’t it worth sometimes just taking a shot; he can make spectacular plays?
A: At times, when it’s a one on one scenario, sure. Absolutely.
Q: Is the same true for the red zone? Odell wasn’t really involved in your red zone passing.
A: He was actually. He actually picked on the two-point play, and he was available. What teams do in the red zone typically is they’ll double your star and then you move on.
Q: Understanding that the check-down might sometimes, and perhaps more than sometimes, be a smart play, does your offense though need Eli (Manning) to be a little more of a gunslinger and to take some chances because of the positive upside it could have, not only with the playmakers you have but also the penalties on offense. In Week 1 Odell was able to draw one, which were at the time really big plays in that game?
A: Sure. I think we had 45 yards of penalties in the first game. It’s important to take shots, you need to be aggressive and not reckless. I think that’s fair.
Q: Do you think (Eli) has shied away for any particular reason, afraid of an interception, afraid of something like that?
A: No, I don’t sense that from Eli.
Q: Are you happy with his level of aggressiveness?
A: Yeah, I am. I think if it’s there, he’ll take a shot. He understands it’s important to protect the ball, as well, and we are getting to it with these last couple questions – there’s a fine line between being aggressive and reckless with the football. I think that’s the line you walk all the time.
Q: How do you keep your defense from becoming frustrated with the offense?
A: Just keep playing, because I think we on all three sides of the ball have things that we need to get better at, and that’s what the focus is. It’s not becoming frustrated with the other side of the ball, it’s about trying to become better at what you do, and I think the way you keep that from happening too is you have a locker room full of guys like (Alec Ogletree) and good guys that are good players that understand you just keep playing, and understand that the first step is to try to win your division, and we’re one game out of that right now. We’ve just got to play our way back into it. That’s the reality of it, and that’s the world that we live in as coaches and players, and we all have things we need to do better.
Q: How important is that to instill that message for the long term?
A: It’s a constant conversation. We talk about that all the time. It goes back to establishing what your team is all about.
Q: We haven’t asked you about Jonathan Stewart since he went on IR. It didn’t seem like at this time last week you were that concerned, did his injury get significantly worse? And if his season is over, he has six carries for 17 yards. How much does that hurt the cause when a big free agent signing doesn’t really produce much?
A: Once a player is a player on your team, what he signed for or where he was drafted doesn’t matter. In the case of Jonathan last week, he came in after the game with some foot soreness and then we were going to try to let it play out to see what could happen throughout the week, and it didn’t improve, and that’s why we put him down.
Q: Does he need surgery? Is his season over? Can you bring him back?
A: He’s a potential to bring back. I think that’s an eight-week thing.
Q: You mentioned after the game the idea of maybe doing some things differently offensively.
A: Keep looking for that right combination of things that gets us in the end zone. Again, it showed up in sections of the game during certain drives and you’ve just got to keep getting back to those things. We’re constantly looking for and trying to do the things that our players are good at. Eli is not a zone read quarterback, that’s just an example. Our receivers are a little different than some of the receivers on other teams. We have a running back that can make yardage when we run it. As I mentioned earlier, I will always wish that a good player like Saquon, he’s got to touch the ball. That’s the reality of it.
Q: Can you understand from the outside where those of us who do look at even without (Evan Engram), you have (Sterling Shepard), Odell, Saquon and others, and say how is this offense not scoring?
A: They’ve had their production. We got down and scored twice yesterday. It’s not enough, I get that. I get it.
Q: When you look at all the plays, you had a fumble and a return, but your quarterback saved a touchdown. Do you mention that to the players?
A: Absolutely. That kind of goes without comment outside the building, but those are things we comment on, we hit all those points, we obviously are able to see the details of the full game from the coach’s copy and that’s what we go through today.
Q: Did you think on that play (Eli Manning) had a chance to run him out of bounds there?
A: We stopped him from getting in the end zone, that’s typically what a quarterback should do.
Q: How did you feel the pass protection held up yesterday?
A: I thought we made progress in that regard in terms of pass protection. Again, Chad Wheeler drew a tough draw with number 94 (Cameron Jordan) and he made progress. He played better than he did the week previous, and then a couple other guys. Again, I say that knowing we didn’t win, but there were some things that we made progress on and we just need to build on that.
Q: A couple of Saints defenders said that they felt there were opportunities to be had downfield but Eli didn’t take them. When you’re watching film back, did you see any of that?
A: I don’t know. It’s easy for a defender to say that, but again, there’s a handful of things we should’ve done better.
Q: Did you have any meaningful injuries coming out of the game? Significant?
A: Meaningful – they’re all meaningful. Especially if you’re the guy that got hurt. Nothing really we haven’t talked about yet, just normal wear and tear.
Q: Is Josh (Mauro) back this week?
A: He will be back. He’ll be out there. We’ll get him out there practicing, and I think we have a week before we have to put him back on the roster. We’ll see how that goes. I think we’ve got to make the official move by next Monday.
Q: (inaudible) quoted James Bettcher saying he’s optimistic (Olivier Vernon) returns this week. Are you?
A: I’m optimistic, yes.
Q: Were you aware an official apparently told (Alec Ogletree) that ‘I wouldn’t have made that call if it was in the Super Bowl’?
A: I was made aware of that. Mr. Hanlon over here told me that about 15 minutes ago. That’s a unique comment. I have no comment.
Q: Are there any calls you guys are going to look for an explanation from the league on?
A: Oh yeah. There’s a handful of things, but that’s typical of any week. I have a bigger handful this week.
Q: Was that rule changed where that was a horse collar, because it wasn’t a horse collar unless they changed the rule?
A: We’re going to inquire and try to get an answer.
Q: Will you let us know?
A: Oh, I can’t. I think it’s silly. When we start talking about the O word – officiating – then that’s excuse-making. We don’t do that.
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:
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.