Head Coach Pat Shurmur
August 2, 2018
You probably notice the schedule changed. We practiced in the late morning. We basically did it for the fans. As you know, there’s a big concert tonight in the stadium. It would’ve been parking issues for the fans. We wanted to make sure that they had a Giants experience today. We practiced in the morning. About half the teams in the league practice in the morning. I’ve been other places where we did that. I like, especially early in camp, to practice in the afternoon because you have your meetings, you have your walk-thrus, you have another meeting, then you have practice. So, it’s kind of the full process of learning. This part of training camp, I kind of like changing the schedule because now most of the installations are in. We can practice in the morning and change the schedule. I encourage the players to remember it’s not sudden change, but it’s change – and they got to deal with it. We’ve got to perform at a high level, whether we’re playing at one, four, seven, we’re playing in the parking lot, on a rooftop, on turf, grass, it doesn’t matter. So, changing the schedule and making them adjust, I think it’s a good thing. But initially, the reason we did it was so that the fans can watch practice.
Q: After monitoring Odell’s workload, has he been able to do even more than what you had expected so far in camp?
A: He’s doing what we expected him to do. Again, most of the scripted periods, we give him the plays that are necessary for him to learn. He’s right on track.
Q: How would you describe him on the practice field?
A: I think he’s very engaged. He’s very energetic, and he practices very hard.
Q: Did (RB) Saquon (Barkley) end his practice a little early today?
A: No, we’re just managing him like everybody. He’s had a really, really big workload. This was the day, for no reason other than just a little bit less.
Q: How carefully are you keeping tabs on Saquon’s workload?
A: We watch every player’s workload, and we talk constantly about not only how much we expect him to do, but after practice we’ll talk about how they did, and just keep managing it. We’re very aware of that. It’s important this time of year that guys practice, because this is when you get the heat, the humidity, the mental component of pushing through. But, we still have to be smart.
Q: We know you get all that performance data now on players. Is there anything specific that made you think that would be the way to go with him right now?
A: There’s a lot of data, somebody reads it for me. You’d be surprised, there’s many sheets and numbers and we have some very smart people that read it.
Q: Do they tell you when you should sort of take the gas pedal off certain guys?
A: No, we see it as coaches and then we just gauge how guys are doing physically and just give them what they need.
Q: Are you happy with the concentration and intensity level with every practice?
A: I am happy with how hard our guys try to do the right thing. There are some practices that are not as efficient as others and there is something to be learned from that.
Q: When you have a schedule change like this, do you look to make the practices a little longer or do you try to keep them consistent time-wise?
A: It depends, we’re in the early part of August and there is a certain amount of work we need to get done and we’ve got 90 players, or 80-plus players, at every practice and so there’s a lot of guys that are getting reps. I’ve said it before, those two and three reps are very important because the initial 53 roster changes weekly, so guys that we’ve trained that are available have this memory bank of reps of our stuff so that maybe they can come in and contribute quicker.
Q: What does Sterling Shepard bring to the offense?
A: Sterling is a good football player and he’s a gritty guy and is as equally engaged as Odell. I really appreciate what he brings to the table, he’s a football player. You have much more history as reporters than I do with him but I am gaining a real appreciation for him.
Q: The officials are at practice today to talk about the helmet rule, have they talked to you guys about it yet?
A: No, they were on the field today and so they’re getting up to speed. This is training camp for them as well. They’re out there looking at formations and alignments and the play, they’re going to visit with our players today, tomorrow and Saturday.
Q: So they’ll talk to you guys about it?
A: There’s a lot of education behind the scenes. There will be meetings set up where they’ll have league videos that they’ll show the players with suggestions on how to teach and coach and then we also have videos prepared that we want to show them of questions that we have with regard to things that we have seen in practice
Q: What kind of questions do you have?
A: A wide range, but we’re going to address some of the new helmet stuff, some of the new changes in the kickoff and how that will be approached and officiated and just really the new rules. It’s a chance to give us a crash course on what they’re looking for and how we need to coach things.
Q: Is it hard getting this information after a full week of camp? Do you feel like you will have to make adjustments or things like that?
A: No, we had the videos and we had the information in the spring and so we’ve been working on it, but as you know, as time elapses, there is more conversation about things and they may have some new information or a new way to say or coach something that may be clearer.
Q: What do you think of the new helmet rule?
A: I am all for player safety and I’m all for us playing and coaching a game that is still very fun for the fans to watch but safe for the players.
Q: Have you made adjustments teaching-wise as a result of the rule? Are you doing anything different at practice?
A: We have talked about how the use of the head, how we don’t want it, and how it can’t be a part of our game. So, yeah, we have talked about it.
Q: Do you shift your attention at any point toward the first game or is that something that is ongoing?
A: Right now, it’s Giants versus Giants. We’re working on fundamentals, we’re working on schemes and then we are certainly working on things we’re going to see throughout. We’re in the second week of training camp, so we’ll go through Saturday, then they’re off Sunday, then we’re going to come back and we have Cleveland on the horizon, so we’ll still be working Giants versus Giants but will tweak it as we get closer to the game.
Q: Pat, what do you think of your corner depth? Do you think you have the corners here who can fill out that secondary behind the starters?
A: I will say this – we like our corners and we like that group but with any group on our team, we’re always looking to improve in any way. You can just fill in the blanks at any position and I will give you that very same answer.
Q: Is it encouraging to see the progress being made in terms of an extension with Odell?
A: I certainly appreciate the question, but anything with regard to contracts I’m not going to comment on.
Q: I know the receiver room is pretty crowded but has Kalif Raymond opened your eyes?
A: He did in the spring, he’s made plays. He’s got a good knack for playing in the slot and he made a couple big plays today so, yes, he has done a very nice job.
Q: I’m sure you’re like most coaches, you want to get your guys to catch the ball with two hands, but there is one drill you do in individuals where they work on one handed catches. Can you just talk about how the game has evolved a bit, how that has become part of the wide receiver repertoire?
A: I think it is important that we catch the football and just like any drill, it simulates or helps simulate what might happen at some point. The reason they work that drill is there will be times when they’re running down the field, and I know that corners don’t hold, but there are times when their one arm is obstructed and so they have to make an effort to catch it with one hand. So that’s really the nature of that drill. To your point, catching the football, dropping balls, we can’t do it. Whether it’s an interception that can change the game or the obvious, receivers catching it from quarterbacks, we have to be a team that catches the ball well and then that will really, really help affect the outcome of games.
Q: With that in mind, having a back like Saquon adds so much to the passing game. Can you elaborate on what you’ve noticed from him, does he remind you of anyone catching out of the backfield?
A: He’s got excellent ball skills. In terms of reminding me of backs, we all remember Brian Westbrook and guys like that. They are big time threats when you throw it to them. If you noticed today, we had that ‘move the ball’ period that was unscripted and on the first play, we were trying to throw the ball to either Odell or Sterling down the field but if they vacated the flat, just pop it to the back, catch the ball and run for a bunch of yards. We had another one later where we were trying to throw the ball inside to Evan and things got jumbled up. They lost the back, and we threw it out to our right side for a big gain So, running backs need to catch the ball in today’s offense and I think we’ve got guys in our running back group who can do it.