Dalvin Tomlinson – © 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 38-35 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the video is also available at Giants.com):
Opening Remarks: I don’t have much to add from yesterday, except I will say on the injury front, Kerry Wynn is in the concussion protocol. I know we announced that last night. And then once again, knock on wood, we just have some normal wear and tear, so we’ll see where they’re at when we get to practice on Wednesday. Some soreness, but nothing really to report. It was a good win, we’ve got many, many things to clean up. I’m sure you’ve got questions about how the game was played, but we found a way to win and to do it in front of our home crowd was fun. We’ll just try to build on it as we get ready to play Philadelphia.
Q: You had nine different pass-catchers yesterday. How valuable was that in your scheme to spread the ball around in helping Eli in the passing game?
A: It’s super important. When you have that many guys touch the ball, I think it’s good. If you think about it from a defensive perspective, then they’ve got to make sure they play us true. Obviously teams do things to take away Odell (Beckham) and we were trying to get him the ball throughout the game, and we got a couple explosive plays out of him early and late, but in the middle there, for those guys to catch passes is very important. Stat sheets are what they are, but typically if it plays out where a lot of guys are touching the ball and your main runner is gaining yardage, it’s a good thing.
Q: Out of the bye week there seems to be enhanced commitment to the run, you started the game with three straight runs. Was there something you saw specifically that made you want to do that?
A: No, I think all along we’ve talked about how important it is to get the run game going. In that first series there, we had some effective runs and then we hit a long play action pass, so I think it’s all connected. That’s the way I would like to play every game, get ahead and then be able to stick with the run because it has a good effect on the game. At times, the game doesn’t play out that way and you have to go a different direction, but the way it played out yesterday is the way you’d like them all to work. You want to win certainly, but to be able to run the ball consistently. For those of you keeping track, Saquon (Barkley) had 29 touches, more runs than catches, so he had his production.
Q: Saquon mentioned that one thing that was different for him yesterday was he found a pace, he called it, he got a feel for the offensive line. Is that what you’re talking about, establishing it early? Does a running back feel a rhythm when he gets the ball in those types of areas?
A: Yeah, you would have to ask him to define what he’s talking about. When you can start out the game running the ball effectively like we did, I think it’s a good thing. When you don’t start out running the ball effectively, then you’re picking and poking and trying to find the right runs, because we had a bunch of runs that we can choose from. When you start hitting on the ones that you feel like should be good against a defense, that may be the pace or the rhythm he’s talking about.
Q: After watching it on film, what do you come away with from the defense? Four turnovers, but 35 points and a lot of long passes.
A: Yeah, a mixed bag. The turnovers certainly are important, we really had five when you talk about the stopped quarterback sneak. I think in our three wins, we’re plus-eight in turnovers, and in our seven losses we’re like minus-eight. I pointed that out to the team and it’s very important. Those turnovers are key, especially when (Alec Ogletree) turned one into a touchdown. That’s excellent. Throughout the game, there was some good play. This team just put up 500 yards the week before, so this team finds a way to move the ball. They fell victim to the turnover again and that affected the outcome, but there are some things within the game that we need to clean up whether it be coverage, pressure, run fits. It’s no different than on the offensive side, which there’s certain things we need to clean up there, as well.
Q: What happened on the touchdown pass to (Mike Evans)? I’m sure in that situation that’s the last thing you want to allow, the deep touchdown with two and a half minutes left.
A: Yeah, we were in a coverage that should make that not be the case, but they got behind us and made a good throw.
Q: What do you think of the job B.W. Webb’s done since the Eli Apple trade when his role expanded?
A: He’s done a good job. I’ve gained an appreciation for him throughout this season, very competitive guy and he’s done a good job for us inside and outside. We played against some really receivers, I was with (DeSean Jackson) and (Mike Evans). This was a good crew of receivers, and he battled really hard.
Q: How do you balance as a guy who’s going to design what you want to do on offense, each game you have a game plan even though you have some things you want to do every game. You say you really want to run the ball early and stuff like that, but then you go against the Eagles this week and they possibly could be decimated in their secondary. So there, you want to run the ball and you want to attack their weaknesses and maybe not go down a path you want to go down?
A: We have to play offense and do it in a way that makes sense for us against the opponent we’re playing. Going into this past game, there were a lot of questions about their pass defense, but we started out running the ball. I think there are some fundamentals you have to stick to when you play offensive football, but I would consider us game-plan-specific in a lot of ways. We’re going to try to do the things, especially early, that we think will help us move the ball down the field, but it always involves running the ball to some degree, and I think that’s important.
Q: From your perspective, what has been the biggest difference for Eli (Manning) these last two weeks?
A: It’s all coordinated. When you can run the ball and play action, a lot of times that helps the protection, and then I think our guys have protected better. It all starts up front and I think the last two games were our best two games for that crew.
Q: Why has it worked up front better in your mind? The last two games when you watch your offensive line, why has it worked?
A: I think we’re playing better as a unit, and we added one new player.
Q: Does one new player have that much of an impact?
A: He can. The new player has played better, (Jamon Brown) I think has done a good job coming in here and contributing in a positive way. They found a way quickly to work well together. We still had a couple breakdowns last night, but for the most part, I think they’ve played their best two games as a unit, and we can see the impact it has on a football game. I’ll go back to what I said and you can probably quote it to me, we’ll go as far as that line will block for us, and they’ve blocked better the last two weeks. That’s contributed.
Q: I know Philly has their fair share of problems lately, but you play them and the Bears. Are you curious to see how your team performs when the level of competition will theoretically go up, at least record-wise, from the teams you’ve beaten?
A: We battled the so-called front part of our schedule extremely well. We had one game that got away from us, so we’re going to go down there and battle. Level of competition – like I’ve said in the past, I feel like we go into every game with the idea that we’re going to try to win it, and I feel like we can win it if we play well. I’m looking forward to playing Philadelphia. It’s going to be a competitive game, as we all know. They took it to us the first game, we did some things in that game that you can’t do if you want to win against any type of team, and they’re a good team. They certainly have had their struggles of late, they’ve got injuries like we all have to some degree, but I’m looking forward to playing them.
Q: The season could have gone haywire. It hasn’t, and there’s at least a little bit of buzz about the potential for the division. No one is running away with it. How much do you embrace that or kind of temper it? What do you do as a head coach?
A: I embrace it because we’re playing this thing just the way you have to play it. We own a poor record in the first half, but you keep playing. I keep answering the same questions about it, you keep playing and you keep improving. You never know what happens. You can never tell what’s going to happen, and that’s why you keep playing and that’s why it’s important for our locker room not to get ill. If you lose a game and you battle, you’ve got to find a way to come back and make the corrections, and move on to the next one. You can’t let that game create an illness on your team, and I think our guys have listened to that message. I think the leadership in our locker room is good, and we’re just going to try to battle this thing all the way to the end because that’s what we do. That’s what we do as coaches and players, that’s why we’re in this for the competitive spirit of this with the goal of winning each game, and then we’ll let everyone that does the math add it up at the end.
Q: Do you ever allow yourself to look back and say, ‘Man, if we just had that one play or that one win’?
A: No, I don’t. I don’t like to do that. I like to leave my feet right where they’re at. We’ll work on this press conference then I’ll move on to something else. I don’t look back. I just don’t. As we go through this and as a coach, you think about things that could have played out better. I played in a Super Bowl, I wish we would’ve won but we didn’t. You move on. You just can’t do that, and I think that’s part of that message that we give to the players – just keep going. Make today the best it can be. This should be the best day of corrections of the season, is what I told them. That’s why I don’t like ‘Victory Mondays’. I just don’t believe in them, because you have to settle all debts, you have to clear the slate from the day before and other than weightlifting and such, this is as important of a day as Wednesday because some of the things we have to clean up could show up against Philadelphia. And if you don’t make these corrections in a real structured way, then I think you set yourself back.
Q: Is that a lesson you had to learn as a player or a coach, just to stay in the moment? Or you’ve always been like that?
A: I think it’s been reinforced throughout my life, but I’ve always been this way in every sport I ever played in, in everything I’ve ever done. You can’t worry about yesterday. If you failed yesterday, let’s find a way to succeed today, and you just keep moving. Taken a lot of punches, and thrown a lot of punches, so you just keep moving. That’s what you have to do. If we played two or three games a year, we wouldn’t have to worry about that, or you don’t have to have that kind of mindset. But when we play a long season like we do, that’s got to be the mindset. Just keep rolling and add it up at the end.
Q: How do you handle Thanksgiving week with your team? What’s your philosophy?
A: What we’re going to do on Thursday is we’re going to work in the morning, I’m going to compress the walk-thru and it’s going to butt right up to practice. We’re going to work in the morning and the players will be out of here by noon so they can enjoy time with their families. Coaches will probably be out of here by (1 o’clock). Just like it was really important for us this week to recognize the armed forces and what they’ve done, I think it’s really important – this is my favorite of all the holidays. It’s a meal, there’s no gifts, it’s family, you get to practice or play around a meal, which is great. I’m fond of this holiday, and I also like it because it’s a little tweak in the schedule, and by this time of year, I think a little tweak in the schedule is good for the players. Then we’ll come back Friday, normal Friday, and then practice in the morning Saturday, get on the bus, and head down the turnpike.
Q: Landon (Collins) had to get re-evaluated (for a concussion) today, is that right?
A: Yeah, I think he’s going to be fine. I can’t say that one hundred percent, but I think he’s going to be fine.
Q: Do you enjoy the atmosphere at the Linc (Lincoln Financial Field)?
A: I do, because it’s a highly emotional, competitive environment. I’ve played there a couple times as the visitor, I certainly played there 13 years as the home team, and the fans are into it.
Q: Do you talk to your players, some of whom have not experienced this kind of atmosphere?
A: No, I think most venues are that way when you’re on the road, but I know the Eagles fans intimately. They love their team.
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.