Pat Shurmur – © USA TODAY Sports
Safety Darian Thompson (hamstring), linebacker Jordan Williams (concussion), and defensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli (knee) all suffered injuries in Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
FRIDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Friday to discuss the team’s 20-10 preseason loss to the Cleveland Browns:
Opening Remarks: First preseason game. We’ve had a chance to go through the film, and not much has changed from my comments last night. We ran the ball well, we need to complete more passes. I think that’ll help us. We’ll have shorter third downs and be able to extend drives. On defense, I felt like we did a good job controlling the run. They did make an effort to run the ball and our run defense was very good. I felt like just like last night, I thought we were tight in coverage in a lot of situations and they made plays, and so we need to make those plays as we move forward, and there’s certainly something to be learned from that. In terms of taking care of the ball, I thought we did a good job of taking care of the ball. We need to get more turnovers, or a turnover on defense, which we did certainly in special teams. I told the team, I said turnovers are important, but what’s most important is what you do after turnovers, so we got the fumble recovery on the punt, and then we turned it into points. So that’s a good team thing as we go along. If for some reason we turn the ball over on offense, the defense needs to go out there and stop them. There’s plenty to learn from. I also told the players that if each guy cleans up one mistake, then we end up being on the winning end of a game like that. That’s our approach moving forward. So, I’ll take your questions.
Q: I was curious what you thought of Kyle Lauletta’s play. He seemed at least from upstairs a little more comfortable maybe in the game than he had seemed in some recent practices even lately, but what did you think.
A: He’s very calm, and I think he finds a way to make plays. He had a nice deep ball down the sideline to Amba [Etta-Tawo] that ended up being a [pass interference]. In fact, somebody asked me at one point why we practice the one-handed catches – that was it right there. They arm-barred us and Amba had a chance to make the one-handed catch. We got the penalty, but we certainly would’ve wanted the catch. But I [think] he’s got a calm presence about him. I think he lost control of the clock once, we got the ball snapped, but those are all things you learn when you’re playing. So, it wasn’t a bad performance to start out for him.
Q: Did you get any clarity last night in the free safety competition between a bunch of guys that played, I know Curtis [Riley] wasn’t out there?
A: Curtis wasn’t out there and then [Darian Thompson] hurt himself on one of the special teams and was out of the game with a hamstring. Probably no. In terms of the clarity, no. There were guys that were out there performing well, but in terms of saying this is the guy, I would say no.
Q: You mentioned Darian Thompson had a hamstring injury. Other than that, did you come out of the game fairly clean?
A: The only two of note, [Kristjan Sokoli] hurt his knee, we’re getting the final evaluation on that. And then we all saw that Jordan Williams got taken out of the game and that he was put in the concussion protocol. There’s other stuff. I guess the next time we’ll visit will be Sunday. I’ll have more information then.
Q: The running backs besides [Saquon] Barkley, the other four, it certainly looked like [Robert] Martin and [Jalen] Simmons played well, but obviously that’s against third teamers. The other four including [Wayne] Gallman and [Jonathan] Stewart, what did you see from that group?
A: I think they all had their moments of good play. I thought Stewart didn’t have as many snaps as the others. I thought Gallman had a couple nice runs. I think they all kind of stood out in my mind in making a play or two here, but Jalen did a good job. There were some nice hard runs in there, and then we’ve seen Rob obviously, we’ve seen him in practice have some good runs and he’s a hard physical runner and it showed up in the game.
Q: I was wondering if you could comment about how the whole sideline operation worked with the coaching staff, the communication, and just putting that together for the first preseason game.
A: I thought it was much smoother than I had anticipated. Typically, for a staff that’s worked together for years, you would have a communication breakdown or two that you need to work through, but I thought we were able to communicate pretty effectively. We already debriefed it. There are a couple things that we’ll keep private that we’ll do a little bit differently, but for the most part I thought the exchange of information was good. We really didn’t have substitution errors. That usually shows up in preseason games, to speak of. Again, we need to keep building on that. You have to constantly work at communicating, and certainly being able to do that on the sideline can help the players play better.
Q: Did you expect more from the offense? You look at some of the numbers – 4 of 17 on third down, less than 50 percent completion, I think if you take away the big runs, the running game turns out to 2.4 [yards] per carry. What were your thoughts?
A: When you look at it in total, I think I mentioned at the outset, we need to complete more balls because when you complete passes, certainly on first and second down, you have shorter third downs. You can go back with regard to the running totals, you need to have explosive gains and there’s times when you get minimal gains in total, the run game has that effect. A lot of times that’s the way it works. If you’re willing to stick with the run, it’s a two-yard gain, it’s a three-yard gain, all of a sudden it’s a seven-yard gain, and then somewhere in there when you have a player like Saquon [Barkley], it becomes a 20, 30-yard gain, so I wouldn’t certainly look at it that way. We didn’t score enough points. That’s always what I would point to, but there are reasons for that in preseason games. Yeah, you want to score more points than your opponent, but you can dive into statistics like you did sometimes, and make it sound like you won.
Q: When you looked at Davis Webb’s performance yesterday, you mentioned a few times that he was too amped up. Is that something that he has to overcome, being too high-strung on the field?
A: He is so prepared and he wants to do well, that’s just his personality, and he does get amped up a little bit but that’s not a bad thing. Wanting to do well is a good thing. I think we as coaches can just help him with that.
Q: What was your take on the drive at the end of the first half?
A: There’s nothing other than the fact that we have to get out of bounds on that play. We called a route to get out of bounds and the throw was thrown inside, and it makes it almost impossible for the receiver to continue out of bounds. We knew we had to use the sideline because we didn’t have any timeouts. We had that communicated effectively, it just didn’t get done.
Q: Do you have an explanation for the pass Davis Webb threw to Kalif Raymond in the corner of the end zone?
A: I know exactly what happened, it was a corner route and we missed it.
Q: You talked about how the secondary had pretty tight coverage and didn’t make plays. I was curious if you were specifically referring to Leonard Johnson? He was around the ball a lot, but did you want to see more from him when the ball got there?
A: I think it’s a global statement. We had some balls completed on us on the outside down the field. We had a seam ball completed on us where we were pretty close in coverage, but they made a good throw and catch. Certainly, the slant play there, they threw a slant that went for a touchdown. It’s a general comment that I think is fair to say about the evening.
Q: Obviously, Odell didn’t play yesterday. But, what went into the decision to play Landon Collins after being banged up in the offseason? Also, Eli [Manning] didn’t play in the preseason opener last year. Was there a reason he started yesterday?
A: Each situation was different, and nothing went into them other than Eli played, Landon played, and Odell didn’t.
Q: What will your approach be these next couple of days heading into Detroit and the joint practices?
A: Today we’re having what I consider to be a “modified” normal Monday schedule for the day after the game. We bring the players in, we try to get information on them – any injuries and what not, weight training, the modality stuff of recovery. Then, lots of film work to get this game cleaned up, start to work on Detroit a little bit. Tomorrow is their league-mandated day off. We’ll practice on Sunday in pads. We’re going to practice on Monday, and then we’ll fly to Detroit. Then Tuesday, the practices will be held in the mid-morning. So Tuesday, we’ll practice in Detroit in Allen Park there at their facility. I guess it’ll be like 9:30 [a.m.] or so. Same on Wednesday, same on Thursday. Then, we’ll play them Friday night.
Q: In terms of your approach, do you plan any differently going into a joint practice where there is less ability to control what happens, knowing that you have some players coming back off injury?
A: My experience against practicing against one another is both teams need to be smart. Both teams need to understand the tempo of every drill. We’re out there competing, but this certainly isn’t the first time teams have practiced against one another. When Matt [Patricia] was the defensive coordinator at New England, I did it twice when I was with Philadelphia. I’ve worked with Matt before. We’ve got a good feel of the tempo and how we want to do it. We kind of set the ground rules ahead of time, and try to get good work.
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Saturday, the same day the team’s summer training camp officially ends. The players will practice on Sunday and Monday (no public access) before traveling to Michigan to practice against the Detroit Lions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (open to public).