Alec Ogletree – © USA TODAY Sports
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 40-16 victory over the Washington Redskins (the video is also available at Giants.com):
Opening Remarks: I’ll try to update you first on some of the injuries of note. Odell (Beckham) came in today, felt a lot better than he did Friday and Saturday. He received some treatments over the weekend, so he feels better and we’ll just see where that takes us. It’s too early to tell. Rhett Ellison, as you know, had an ankle sprain during the game, feels better, we’ll just see how the week progresses for him. Then Curtis Riley had a wrist sprain that they’re getting checked out. I don’t have any details on that at this point. Beyond that we’ve just got a little bit of game wear and tear. Not much to add after last night, it’s fun to win a game – fun to win a game in that fashion. It’s very rare you ever get to 40 to nothing on a team, that’s a very unique experience, it’s hard to do, and I credit our players for getting us to that point. They did an outstanding job of playing hard. Things sort of bounced our way, but we made enough plays along the way to take advantage of some of the things that we had to. As I say every Monday, we’re back in the moment, we’re getting ready to play Tennessee, and we’re finishing up the corrections from yesterday. Monday’s, in my mind, are more important than Wednesday. You have to clean up things. That’s why it would be extremely rare they get a ‘Victory Monday’ because I think this is an important day to fix the things that may show up as we finish the season. With that, I’ll try to answer your questions.
Q: What do you value about Alec Ogletree, both as a leader and as a player?
A: You sort of answered it in your question. He’s a leader because he has courage and he does the right thing at the right time for the right reasons, doesn’t care about the consequence, but in order to be a leader you have to be really good at what you do. He’s had a chance to get turnovers, I think he played one of his better games. Again, he’s played well, he’s playing better and better and better, I guess I could say. He’s played well throughout the season, but he’s playing better and better, and that’s a credit to him.
Q: Are you giving him an offensive package? He has five receptions.
A: Yeah, we joked about that. Sure, I’d love for him to play offense. (Laughter)
Q: Was it just kind of a process for him to get used to this defense and the system?
A: No, I think he’s played well throughout. It’s easy as you look at a play, and a player has high expectations, to maybe look at a play or two that doesn’t go well and say he’s not playing the way he should, but Alec has played steady throughout the season and played very well. He’s just made more impact plays probably in the past few games, but his presence has been felt throughout the season.
Q: Eli (Manning) said yesterday he thinks the offense is starting to run through Saquon (Barkley) more and more. Obviously the success you’ve had since the bye, was there a tipping point where you saw something and thought that was the direction that would yield the best results?
A: I think it’s all connected. I’m an old offensive lineman, and I understand the importance of blocking. I can remember when Lorenzo White and Andre Rison and Bobby McAllister were getting praise for doing what they do, the five of us (linemen) sat in the corner, drank one more beer, and were just happy about the fact that we were winning games. It starts up front, and I think our guys are doing a better job blocking, which helps the run game. It’s much easier as a play caller also to call runs when you’re gaining yards, and when you hand the ball to a runner that can score touchdowns. I thought his touchdown run, I’ve never seen him run that fast, even in college. I think there’s data to tell us that was pretty fast. And everything plays off itself – it helps the play action, it helps the quarterback, his feet are clean because they think it’s a run, so it all plays off itself. If we’re playing right, then we need to be able to run the ball.
Q: What did you see when you looked at your wide receivers, the way they’ve contributed as blockers?
A: There’s some terrific blocks. I thought Sterling Shepard, he had some terrific blocks. The one long run, he kind of slid back and blocked 36, and that was the key block that sprung Saquon, and then on Saquon’s next run, he flipped around and saw 24 and had a good block that helped spring him even further. That’s his nature, he’s gritty, he’s tough, he understands the importance of being a good blocker and he found his way in the end zone as well. Two Shep’s and a Bennie scored for us, but the group themselves, I thought they did a good job.
Q: Size-wise, you don’t have the biggest receivers out there.
A: I think they’re typical of what receivers look like. There’s some certainly that are bigger and some are smaller, but I’ve never thought that we’ve had a small group of wide outs.
Q: This offense, the way you’re playing now, do you think it bucks a trend in the league, and if so, are you ok with that?
A: I really don’t care about trends in the league. I think we as coaches have to do what’s best for our team based on the players that we have, but from the beginning of time, a team that can run the football has a better chance to play good team offense. I really believe this, and we just played two really outstanding defenses. We saw what the Bears did last night against the Rams certainly, and we were able to score against them, and I really thought the Redskins defense is a top-tier defense in the league. But defenses are too good if you just start the game dropping back and throwing them. I think you’ve got to be able to run the ball throughout, and it helps not just for your offense but for your whole team. I don’t know if that’s bucking a trend, but I think that we as coaches all know that.
Q: You drafted Saquon where you did and have said many times why you valued that pick at that position. Do you think no matter who your quarterback would be, that if you draft a Saquon number two and he’s the kind of player he is, that it makes sense to tailor a lot around this guy as opposed to whoever the quarterback is?
A: It all goes hand in hand. You just can’t put Joe Schmo in at quarterback and think you’re going to win games. You’ve got to have a guy that can play the position. But the best friend of a quarterback is really the running back, because he can take some pressure off of him, but the running back can’t do it unless you block for him, so it’s all connected. That’s what we’re seeing. I think from an offensive standpoint we’re seeing a much better connection, that’s the way I would phrase it, since the bye – blocking, running, throwing, scoring points. I think in the last five weeks we’ve scored over 30 points a game, which in the first eight would have been tough to say, so it all goes hand in hand.
Q: What did you think of (Evan) Engram bouncing back coming off an injury?
A: Yeah, bouncing back from injury, I thought he did a terrific job. He had some explosive gains, he did a good job in the run game as well, got a couple knockdowns. It was good to see him have success. I’m rooting for him because I think he really works hard at being a good player. The guys that really work hard at it – right is right, you’ve got to go out and do it – but the guys that really work hard at it, I’m pulling for to make sure that they do well.
Q: Isn’t that second part especially important for him? If he’s putting some guys on the ground in the run game, that can enable the play caller to have him on the field?
A: Sure, more situations, absolutely. I think that’s, really unless you’re the quarterback, sometimes when you run reverse, it is what he has to do. Unless you’re the quarterback, everybody has to block for the runner. Everybody does, so tight ends certainly – it’s in everybody’s job description, and especially tight ends.
Q: You said there was data on Saquon’s fast run?
A: No, I’m just looking at it, but I know that they take data. There’s people that look at that kind of stuff, but when I was watching the run and then saw it again on the tape on the train ride home, just my naked eye and it looked like he was running pretty fast.
Q: It was the fastest running back touchdown this year. 21.91 miles per hour.
A: Somebody told me that. It all goes hand in hand. Everything’s connected.
Q: What was it that you guys did so well up front defensively when you looked at it?
A: Yeah, I thought we did a good job in the run fits, which was important so you didn’t allow Adrian (Peterson) to go that way fast. The one thing about Adrian, if he hits it, he can do what Saquon did on his run, so we were able to make him kind of have to move his feet side to side, which then negates all his skill and ability, so the run fits were very good. Then I thought we tackled better. I think we had a couple that kind of spit out, one comes to mind where the back backed up, or it spit out and Jackrabbit did a good job of a one-on-one tackle that could have been a big run if he missed it. Really in the run game, it comes down to run fits and tackling, and I think we did those two things better than we did at times in the last couple of games.
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:
The Giants improved their all-time regular-season record against Washington to 100-68-4 to become the first NFL franchise with 100 regular-season victories against another franchise.
Quarterback Eli Manning’s 197 passing yards increased his career total to 55,142. He is the seventh quarterback in NFL history with at least 55,000 passing yards.
Running back Saquon Barkley extended his Giants rookie record by increasing his season total to 1,124 rushing yards. Barkley’s 1,000-yard season is the 24th in Giants history, and first since Ahmad Bradshaw’s 1,015 yards in 2012. Barkley’s 1,124 yards is the highest total by a Giants back since Bradshaw ran for 1,235 yards in 2010.
Barkley scored his 13th touchdown (nine rushing, four receiving), a new Giants rookie record. He had been tied with running back Bill Paschal (12 in 1943) and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (12 in 2014). Barkley has five touchdowns from scrimmage this season of 50 or more yards, the most ever by a Giants rookie.
Barkley’s four receptions increased his season total to 78, breaking a tie with tight end Jeremy Shockey (2002) and moving into second place on the Giants’ rookie list. Beckham is first with 91 catches in 2014.
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.