New York Giants Defense – © USA TODAY Sports
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 23-17 (overtime) loss to the Philadelphia Eagles:
Opening Statement: Injury stuff, (Kevin) Zeitler, ankle, he’s being evaluated right now— we don’t know how serious. Just some game soreness other than that, so we’ll just have to see where it takes us. But that would be the only injury. It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to finish that game. I thought we played a solid first half, we didn’t do enough things in the second half good enough to win. Defense battled throughout, and we didn’t stay on the field on offense and convert our third downs and give ourselves a chance to move the ball and score. It’s unfortunate to lose that game that way, but we’re going to keep battling and put our efforts toward playing Miami and beating Miami this week. I’ll take your questions.
Q: There was a report yesterday from NFL Network that Daniel (Jones) is going to be out 2-4 weeks and Eli (Manning) is expected to start on Sunday against the Dolphins. Is that accurate?
A: That’s not accurate. I couldn’t tell you that at this point.
Q: So, you haven’t decided your starting quarterback for Sunday or where does that stand?
A: No. Two things. First, I haven’t been able to see Daniel move around, and then we’ll just see where he’s at to start the week. If Daniel can’t go, the second thing would be that Eli would start.
Q: Where is Daniel at right now in his rehab? Where was he at the end of last week health-wise? We saw he did more at the end of the week. What has he been able to do so far?
A: Well, obviously, he wasn’t able to make it. He was still, pretty much, in the protective boot at the end of last week. He was able to stand on the sideline without the boot. He’s making progress, but it’s hard for me to say exactly where he’s at until we see him move around tomorrow.
Q: Eli said last night that in the second half the Eagles played a lot more zone and made sure to keep everything in front of them, which I would assume is something you guys anticipated after (Darius) Slayton beat them badly in some man stuff in the first half. Why was it impossible to move the ball against that kind of a defense, on the field with a veteran quarterback, veteran receivers, and obviously a veteran head coach and veteran play caller?
A: Well, I think, first off, they did mix in some man stuff. They mixed their coverages. They played zone in the first half as well. They probably played a snap or two more in the second half. It was a smaller sample size, certainly, because we didn’t stay on the field. When you don’t execute third downs, then you don’t get the number of plays that you want. But we certainly anticipated it, we played against zone in the first half as well.
Q: You don’t use a timeout with 40 seconds left. You said that you wanted to see if you could get the ball back, the Eagles punt and all of that. Did you lose confidence in the defense, is that why you didn’t force (Eagles Head Coach Doug) Pederson to make a decision there?
A: No, I didn’t lose confidence. It was fourth and one. Let’s say they go for it there with 40 seconds left, so what they need to do is execute a fourth and one, and then they would have time remaining to work the ball 15 or 20 yards for a field goal. So, what I wanted to do was make it less intriguing for them to go for it, but still give us an opportunity. Make them punt the ball. Had it been a little longer situation where I would be a little more certain he wouldn’t go for it, then maybe you blow it right at 40 seconds. But that was part of the decision— make them punt the ball on fourth down where anything can happen on the punt, and then if for some reason they did go for it there and didn’t get it, we still would’ve had…we had timeouts, and we would still have just a little bit of time for a play or two to get it into field goal range, which would’ve been a closest scenario for us. What I thought was going to happen happened. They chose to punt the ball. At that point there, it had nothing to do with confidence in the defense, it was just trying to dictate a little bit what they might do.
Q: We talk to you, we talk to the players, we kind of have a sense of the mood. What’s the mood like do you think in the rest of the building? If you talk to ownership, you talk to management, things like that, where is their mindset right now?
A: Well, that’s obviously a question for them. We’re all here, we’ve got the same focus to win a game and then win the next game. (Inaudible) competing for the playoffs, going further, and I think when that’s the situation, you just keep fighting and do the very best you can to win the next game. So, I sense that’s the mood in the building, but if you’re curious about that and how ownership is feeling, that’s obviously a better question for them.
Q: The final play of the game, what do you make of the fact that you have three veterans there, Michael Thomas, (Alec) Ogletree and Deone Bucannon, and it’s obviously some kind of breakdown, right? You don’t guard the best receiver on the other team. How do you sort of explain that?
A: Well, we just dropped coverage on (Zach) Ertz. That’s what happened, that’s how I explain it. There’s no other explanation than that. They were in 13 personnel and we had a big grouping on the field, and obviously, we just dropped coverage.
Q: How disappointing is that though that it’s happening with three veterans there?
A: Well, it’s disappointing when anybody makes a play, and I’ll just leave it at that.
Q: Why did you think it was possible that Doug Pederson would go for it on fourth and one and a half? It was almost closer to two yards. Why would he risk that in that moment?
A: Because he has a reputation for going for it there. That’s all.
Q: Leonard Williams is obviously a big piece of your defense, just curious why he wasn’t on the field for the first six plays of that overtime drive?
A: We had a rotation going and that’s basically it. For whatever it’s worth, I felt like the interior defensive linemen were pretty disruptive, and we liked the rotation we had to keep them fresh throughout.
Q: What’s the disappointment with Nate Solder and kind of the struggles this year, and is there any thought to maybe sitting him down for a game, giving him a chance to clear his head and just trying something different in that spot?
A: Nate’s just like everybody, we’re battling through this. When a tackle has a bad play, it’s glaring. He did a lot of good things last night. I think last night when (Kevin) Zeitler got hurt, we put (Nick) Gates in at guard, and we just feel like we’re going to still try to keep the best five guys out there.
Q: A couple of your players last night acknowledged that it feels like you guys find ways to lose games. How do you take a team that even in a game that you guys play a first half like that, you still find a way to lose and how do you turn that on its head into a team that creates its own opportunities rather than stepping on its own foot?
A: Well, we need to keep playing the games, and then we have to do it. You keep encouraging the players to play each play to the very best, and find a way to make a play by doing that. Once you do it, then you start to build confidence that it can get done.
Q: With all the losing, how do you as a head coach, if you do, remain positive and confident that the play is going to work, that down the stretch your team is going to find a way to win rather than lose? Do you find any of these doubts creeping into you as game after game this keeps happening?
A: We try as educators to do everything in our power to give the guys the best opportunity to win a game. Each play, you call each play with the idea that it’s going to work. You practice it during the week and you call it during the game, and you trust that the players are going to execute it. Same thing. You try to look at each situation and just try to give the players the best chance to win and stay positive. I’ll continue to say that I see improvement, but it means very little until we start winning games. But you just stay positive and you just keep working with the players. This is what we do as coaches, is we coach. I understand the numbers. I get it. I get all that. But you just try to keep inspiring the players to play.
Q: Do you think it’s a fair assessment to say that the Eagles made significant halftime adjustments, and that you guys weren’t able to appropriately or effectively respond to them on both sides of the ball?
A: No, I don’t think that’s fair. I think we both made adjustments. Plays change throughout the game. They were running very similar type plays in the second half on offense as they did in the first half. We adjusted some of our calls because they were playing some zone. But what happens is, and here’s really what happened in the second half, they were able to stay on the field by gaining first downs, and that extended drives and allowed them to score the points they needed. We did not stay on the field, so some of the things you like to get to, you don’t have the opportunity to do. That’s why it sort of looks the way it does.
Q: If you look at Daniel and you think that obviously he’s not 100%, but if you think he’s ready to play, will you put him back in?
A: Absolutely. When he’s ready to play, he’ll go back in and play.
Q: Is there any thought at all at wanting to get Eli a home start here in these last couple weeks, or at least some playing time regardless?
A: No, I haven’t really thought of that. That’s not something that we discuss.
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Wednesday.