TUESDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Tuesday to discuss the team’s 37-18 loss to the Dallas Cowboys:
Opening Statement: I don’t have much to add from last night, so I’ll answer your questions.
Q: Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins) last night, two missed tackles on the Jarwin and Gallup touchdowns. What did you see from the effort from him last night on those two plays?
A: Yeah, he just missed a tackle. He was making an effort to tackle him, and the guy had a head of steam and he missed it.
Q: I was looking at the play time percentage snaps this morning and I noticed Deone Bucannon had only 28 snaps. Was he just not ready, is that how the game plan kind of unfolded? Why so few snaps?
A: Well, that’s 28, right?
Q: Yeah, out of 71.
A: So that’s about a little less than half. He’s playing more and more, and he actually did a good job while he was in there. But we had a couple different packages that involved all three of the inside backers.
Q: We didn’t ask you last night about Sterling (Shepard). What’s his status? What happened that made him not feel well and might you have to shut him down?
A: I really don’t have much to add. I know we released a statement, but he just didn’t feel well. We were really pretty much made aware of it on Saturday night. This is a serious injury, and in my mind, it requires a serious response. We want to make sure he’s well before he goes back out there. That’s it.
Q: Is there a chance that you just have to step in as a coach who cares about his players and not worry about the concussion protocol and just tell Sterling enough is enough this year?
A: Well, I think we have to use good judgement and we need to be very deliberate about guys coming back from injuries such as this. There are signs and there are things, as they go through coming back from concussions, they certainly go through the protocol, but there’s also the activity and how they respond to it and all of that. At some point, we just have to use our gut. Listen, I mentioned it, it’s a serious injury and we’re taking it very seriously. We just have to try to make good decisions.
Q: You guys obviously weren’t the ones who cleared him on Friday, that was an independent doctor. How was he cleared if he still had a concussion?
A: Well, there are obviously steps that are taken to do that. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor so I can’t tell you that. But there’s also what I see, and then what he released to us about how he feels that we have to take into consideration. I can’t speak to that because I don’t know the fine details of that process.
Q: Is it worrisome to you, he could have said nothing?
A: I think as a coach, because there is a certain amount of activity that has to take place, this time of year it’s obviously practice, you watch him. That’s why you watch them practice, you see how they respond to it after and how they handle it the next day. As he went through that process, he wasn’t feeling well, so we made a decision. I’m not concerned about it, I just think we have to be smart and be very observant in these situations and try to make good decisions. Player safety is certainly on the front burner for us.
Q: Does he go back to the first step of the protocol?
A: I can’t tell you that, I don’t know that. He’s in the protocol, that’s all I know, we’ll take it from there.
Q: Did everyone else come out healthy? It looked like Evan Engram didn’t play that last series, I don’t know if that was health related?
A: He has a little bit of a sore foot. I don’t have any details on that, we’ll just have to see as the week goes on and how he’ll do.
Q: You went to Corey Ballentine over Grant Haley as your main slot guy, what prompted that?
A: Corey was back healthy, we felt like we wanted to change it up and give him an opportunity. He had worked both outside and inside, he had been dealing with some injuries certainly. Obviously, you all weren’t aware of the week of preparation, but I thought he went out there and battled. He did some good things last night and we just wanted to give him an opportunity. We like where he’s come, and we felt like he did some good things last night.
Q: Do you maybe have to make a change on the outside at corner, given how badly DeAndre Baker is struggling? Either with Ballentine moving out there or Sam Beal coming back and taking over. Seems like the repeat rookie mistakes and missed assignments are demoralizing and costing you guys points in games.
A: He’s out there competing and battling. He’s made great progress since the first time he stepped on the field and he’ll continue to do that. I think we all had mistakes last night and certainly he has to clean up his, but we’ll continue to encourage him to play well.
Q: Are you seeing the same mistakes on defense? They look the same to us, 40-yard chunk plays. Is your team making the same mistakes over and over on defense?
A: No. Again, it’s much like a turnover. If anything bad happens, there are certain things that happen. It’s not always the same. But no. Certainly, when you have a big play, that’s… If teams are going to make a play on you, you have to get him on the ground. That’s obviously first and foremost. Then you have to try to eliminate the big play to begin with. There are a lot of different reasons for it. We just need to make sure we clean those up.
Q: Just to follow up on what Pat Leonard just asked, so DeAndre (Baker) will continue to start?
A: At this point, yeah. Then we’re going to bring (Sam) Beal… Beal will be activated this week.
Q: DeAndre mentioned after the game that he needs to do a better job of kind of more diligently studying his playbook. Is that concerning to hear at this point of the season?
A: I think he’s learning how to be a pro. I’ve seen great improvement in him. The fact that he’s self-aware enough to know that there are areas that he can get better, I think is a good thing. I think he’s made great progress in terms of learning how to be a pro and doing things in this league, because it’s different than college. There’s a lot that goes into it, and he’s made great progress. The fact that he’s self-aware enough to know that he has to continue to improve tells me that he will improve.
Q: You said last week you try to keep stuff like the Cowboys rivalry, things like that, kind of outside the building. That’s not reality inside the building. This week, it’s a very different rivalry, obviously. Something that in the league is very rare, having two New York teams playing, things like that. How aware are you of what this unique rivalry is about, and how this resonates with fans?
A: I haven’t played in this (rivalry) obviously, but I’m well aware that there are a lot of Giants fans and Jets fans that it’s going to be a very competitive weekend from that standpoint. I’m aware of all that, but we have to do the things to beat the Jets… We have to play better than we did last night. That game was within one score for a great deal of the time, and we were ahead at the beginning of it. It got away from us. So, we need to do the things that we have to do to win the game and not let it get away from us. That really doesn’t matter who you’re playing. But I’m certainly aware of the fact that for this region, and for New York and New Jersey and the fans and everybody involved, this is going to be a big deal.
Q: I’m just trying to get a grasp on the thought process of the punt with like six minutes left, fourth and long and you’re down 12. Yet in the Arizona game, kind of a similar situation, you went for it. I’m trying to figure out what’s the difference there in your mind?
A: We had the timeouts there. I felt like it was the right thing to do at that point.
Q: When veterans are playing well or doing their assignments but the team is being hurt by rookie mistakes, is it difficult to keep guys invested in the short-term knowing that the long-term development is the priority for some of these guys and that’s going to negatively impact some games in the short-term?
A: No, I think we play the best players. It just so happens that on our roster, some of our best players are young players, and that’s the reality of it. We don’t go into I guess the elements of what your question suggests. We put the guys on the field that give us the best chance to win and they’ve got to play well. If for some reason they’re making mistakes, then we’ve got to clean that up. And the same can be said for us as coaches, we’ve got to clean up the things that keep us from winning games.
Q: Along those lines, having Daniel air it out there late in the first half on the interception, what’s the thought process there? Was there any notion of maybe you sit on the ball and go into the half with a lead, or did you just want to have him put together a two-minute drive there?
A: Well, that was the idea, to put together a two-minute drive, certainly. I think we started it out, we had a dropped ball and then he and Saquon were off target on the second down deal and then I think we get a little bit of a recognition, I thought put the ball up, probably could be a little bit further outside, but we had a coverage that we were trying to attack in that situation and try to be aggressive. We certainly don’t want an interception there, but then let’s get a tackle, let’s get a stop, then we go. I felt like at that point, so we went down 13-12. Because we missed an extra point, it would’ve been a tie ball game, and then you just come out swinging and keep playing. We weren’t doing that to get Daniel Jones training. We’re trying to do what we can to be aggressive and win a game.
Q: Does Darius (Slayton) have to do a better job of finding the ball in the air? It looked like on that interception he had trouble, and then there was a late pass last week where it looked like he didn’t turn around fast enough.
A: In that situation, I think if he had to do it again, he would locate the ball quicker. Sure.
Q: When there’s 10 guys running man and one guy is running a zone, or vice-versa, what do you put towards that? How does that happen? Is it a communication thing?
A: Which one are you talking about? The touchdown? Are you speaking to something specific?
Q: On the 45-yard touchdown to (Amari) Cooper, it looked like maybe (Corey) Ballentine was running man and everyone else was playing a zone. Something like that?
A: There’s a couple of players that could have played that better, but that wasn’t man coverage.
Q: Right, but it looked like he was playing man, no?
A: No. Well, he’s matching that initial receiver up the field, but that was through what was called as a zone coverage, which happens.
Q: So, he knew it was a zone but stayed with the guy? Is that what you’re saying there?
A: Yeah, but there was zone around him. So, in that situation there, there’s a couple things that could have been played better. So, if the ball gets completed, then we’ve obviously just got to get it tackled and then play on.
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Wednesday.