MONDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Monday to discuss the team’s 36-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins:
Opening Statement: With regard to injuries before I get started, nothing really to report. You saw where DeAndre Baker kind of went out of the game, back in the game, he finished. He’s a full go, mark it down as game soreness. Nothing new, we actually pulled out of it for the most part pretty healthy. We’ll see what pops up here as we go through the rest of day. I think we ended up being okay.
Q: What is the plan for Daniel Jones this week when you guys get back to practice on Wednesday. Is he going to be a full go, what do you guys have in mind there?
A: We’ll just have to see. Even though this is what they call a victory Monday, there’s a lot of players in the building today getting weight training, treatment and studying tape. We’ll just push him along like we did last week. We started the week with the idea that he might be ready to play, and we’ll do the same this week.
Q: What do you hope that Daniel takes away from yesterday’s game, having seen all that? I’m not talking about the football stuff, I’m talking about the Eli stuff?
A: Eli earned all the really good things that happened to him yesterday over many, many years. Yesterday, in particular, he helped lead us to victory. The appreciation that the fans were able to show for many, many years of being an outstanding player for the Giants. I think we can all learn a lot from that. I think his availability, his ability to play, he’s played almost every game he was suited up to play. I think there’s a lot to be enjoyed and savored in some of the praise Eli received yesterday. I think it was all for the right reasons. I hope Daniel takes something away from that.
Q: Assuming Daniel does get back on the field, what can a strong finish to these last two games do for him propelling him forward? I think there is a pretty long documentation of quarterbacks who make a jump in year two. What can a strong finish in year one do for Daniel?
A: I think it’s important for not only Daniel if he gets back in there but for the whole team. It’s been pretty well documented for most of the year how young our players are. Young players, if they’re good players, they can improve and it can bleed into next season as long as they have a great offseason. I think it would be the same for him.
Q: Would there be any thought to not playing Eli these last two games just to let his last memory of playing in the NFL be what happened yesterday?
A: No. Listen, if Daniel can’t go and Eli is our starter, we are going to go in with the idea that we’re going to put a winning performance on the field against Washington. So yeah, I don’t know— I think that’s overthinking it a little bit.
Q: You mentioned a little while ago about success late in the season bleeding over into next season. I don’t know if there’s any real study of that, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. In your history, do you think that is legit, that a closing good three to four games, that you see it in the building the next year? Or, is it just a new year and whole new deal?
A: I think it helps if you use it as motivation to have an outstanding offseason. If the players that have played on the team this season recognize that what we did this year wasn’t good enough, and that if you believe in hard work and preparation, that it should be motivation to work hard in the offseason and prepare for next year.
Q: A follow-up to that— have you ever, in your experience, seen that sometimes what happens late in the season can be a mirage? That the team is out of playoff contention, not with this team but any team in general, and sometimes you can look at what happened late in the season and get the wrong conclusions out of that?
A: No, I think if we watch the players play…sometimes you win a game and there are maybe some guys that needed to play better. Sometimes you win a game and you see guys play extremely well. A couple of guys that come to mind who have played extremely well—obviously, Dalvin (Tomlinson) has had an impact this season, Markus Golden is always playing hard. There is a long list of guys that have been playing hard and improving. But you’ve got to look at it, and we look at everything we do tactically from a coaching standpoint and same thing player wise, then kind of make your adjustments as you go.
Q: What did you make of Nick Gates?
A: He did a nice job, and I’m not surprised by it. When he played against the Jets, his man didn’t touch the quarterback, he was productive in the run game, and he played at tackle. He went and played guard this week for (Kevin) Zeitler and had a very, very productive game. He’s a good, solid football player. He’s a little bit like (Sam) Beal, he’s here for the second year, but last year was like year zero because he was hurt, and he’s done a good job. He’s a steady performer and he’s got a bright future.
Q: Just curious, you mentioned Dalvin, and you go and look at the snap counts and his snap counts are down from maybe what they were even last year or the beginning of this year, and I know you guys have talked and kind of stressed the desire to have that rotation on the interior. Have you seen his production increase with his snaps decreasing and kind of getting him different situational spots to perform?
A: I don’t know if that’s the reason for it. He’s just been steady all year long. He contacts the ball really well for a defensive lineman. I don’t know what anybody outside the building gives him grade-wise officially, but for a guy who’s kind of a big kind of a run-stopper type guy, I find him to be very disruptive. He plays hard, he’s tough, he’s really all the things you’re looking for in a player, and I certainly appreciate what he’s done. I think it is a good thing to get a little bit of a rotation there so that they can, I don’t want to say remain fresh, but remain sort of powerful and quick throughout the game. If you’ve got enough good players in there, you can rotate them all through and then they all have production.
Q: Just as a follow-up, that’s kind of my point. You see the snap count and you say, “This guy is playing so well, why won’t you increase his snaps?” But I guess what you’re saying is there’s a little bit of method behind the madness, I would think.
A: A little bit, and it’s a fine line. You look at it and you say, ‘So and so is my best defensive lineman,’ and you could make a case that every play out there is a critical situation, and so you could use him too much. But then there’s times when you say, ‘So and so did this, why wasn’t he on the field?’ So, it’s a fine line, but I think the best-case scenario is you have six or seven guys that you can rotate in there and you feel confident that they’re going to do a good job throughout the game.
Q: This is kind of a two-part question. Have you or your coaches or anybody, when do you guys start looking at 2020 draft prospects? Do you do that at all on a bye week, in-season once you’re out of the playoffs? Do you look ahead at all, and have you ever been around a team that worries about its draft position while the season is still going on?
A: I’m not looking at draft players now, and my coaches aren’t unless they’re doing it and I don’t know about it. I don’t think that’s the case. We sort of get connected to the draft as we get ready for the Senior Bowl. That’s the first real big event that starts the coaches’ intimate involvement with the draftable players. We certainly are all football fans. On Fridays and Saturdays in between meetings in the morning and the afternoon, we tend to follow college football, so we know about some of the better players in college ball. We’re aware of it from last year’s draft who might be a player that we’d be interested in. But in terms of studying them intimately, no, none of that. With regard to having done it any differently any place I’ve ever been, no, I can’t say we have.
Q: Have you gotten any feedback from ownership or your general manager as far as is there anything that you’re aware of that you need to show in these final two games, these final two weeks, whether it’s getting results or getting results with Daniel at quarterback, in order to demonstrate that you deserve to be the person leading this team into 2020?
A: No, none of those conversations. No.
Q: Is this the first time that Sterling Shepard actually started looking like Shep since he’s been back?
A: Well, I thought he did a nice job. He made some plays. I don’t know. I think he had a productive game and he played well. I’m not sure what he looks like, but he did a nice job, certainly. He’s like a lot of the guys that we’ve had coming back from injury. Who knows how long it takes him to get back to what he should look like. No, he had a real positive impact on the game. He did a nice job yesterday.
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Wednesday.