Head Coach Pat Shurmur -- December 12, 2018
Opening Remarks: The injuries of note, I think youíll get later that Odell (Beckham) (quad) will not be participating in practice. He was out there in the walk-thru moving around, he wonít be in practice, then Rhett Ellison (ankle) as well. One with a quad, one with an ankle, but everybody participated in the walk-thru moving around. Weíll just see where that takes us. Wednesday, Tennessee Titans week. Iíll try to answer your questions.
Q: Does that mean Curtis Riley (wrist) is good to go?
A: Yeah, heís full participation. Should be.
Q: Is Beckham still on the upward trend?
A: Yeah, I think heís getting better each day. Again, weíll know more as the week goes on. And I encourage our players not to talk about their injuries, so hopefully thatís about all youíll get out of it.
Q: Does it do something for the team when they donít have top players available, that theyíre still successful?
A: Teams beat teams, and at this time of year, Iíll bet thereís no teams that are playing with their initial rosters. Team beat teams and thatís where guys step up and make an impact in the game in and around injuries. I think thatís safe to be said about any position group or any player.
Q: What have you seen from Will Hernandez in the last couple of weeks? He struggled earlier in the year.
A: Yeah, I think itís night and day, but again, young players that are in there for the first time have a chance to grow much more than the guys that have been in the business for a while. I think Ė I donít think, I know his best game was last week, and heís played well really since the bye, just like that whole group in general, so itís good to see that. He has a lot of good plays in the game, I think as he goes along, what weíre seeing is less bad plays. When youíre out there 65-70 snaps against good players, every once in a while theyíre going to get you, and heís having less of those plays where they got him.
Q: We talk about the Ďrookie wallí. Iím guessing heís played more snaps this year than probably any time in his life, but he seems to be accelerating rather than decelerating. What does that say?
A: Yeah, heís getting better, thatís a good point. I donít know about the Ďrookie wallí anymore. We used to talk about it more, I think, when college seasons were shorter. College seasons now are so stinkiní long, they go almost as long as pro seasons, and so I think thereís less conversation about that. Guys take care of their bodies, understand the importance of getting rest, and so I think you see a little bit less of that now. We talk about it less than we did maybe 10 years ago, but no, heís pushing through it fine.
Q: Youíre going against (Tennessee RB) Derrick Henry this week. You saw what he did against Jacksonville (99-yard touchdown run) last week. How do you stop a guy like that?
A: Youíve got to stop him like you do Adrian Peterson or any marquee, downhill, hard running back. Good run defense, it takes the whole team to fit the runs properly and then when heís in your area or in your gap, youíve got to get him on the ground. Weíve got to do a really good job of fitting the runs, and weíve got to do a good job of tackling, and I think itís a team thing.
Q: Is that a strange situation, he hadnít gained more than 58 yards in any game and then all the sudden, 238?
A: Yeah, well, he had 99 on one carry which was Ė I think weíve all seen it, Iíve seen it numerous times Ė a terrific run. It was really a game-changing run. Jacksonville was on the devilís doorstop of taking the lead and then one play later, it ended up being a 13-point swing because they missed the extra point. That was a game-changing moment or couple of plays in that game.
Q: Youíve talked a lot about roster turnover this year, and youíve also said that going forward, you would think the bulk of this team will be back. How much will that benefit everyone? You didnít know much about a lot of these players and you have so much more knowledge now, they know more about you and the system.
A: Yeah, I think it benefits everyone. Experience Ė thereís no substitute for it. When youíre growing and getting experience, and youíre young and everybodyís new, thereís a lot of things that run parallel with learning, aside from the fact that right is right and you have to win. So yeah, I think thatís an important piece as we move forward.
Q: Do you have your antenna up about the possible foolís gold of playing in the back end of the season? Sometimes overvaluing what happens later in the season as opposed to what happens in the bulk of the season.
A: You canít fake football. Thereís no Ďfoolís goldí in my mind. You put a ball down in front of all those people and youíre on the field with 10 other guys, and youíve got a job to do Ė you canít fake that. Thereís no fooling, thereís no golding, thereís nothing. You cannot fake football. I donít care when youíre playing it, whether itís the first game of the year, the middle of the year, the end of the year, I think we all want to go out and perform well. Coaches want to perform well, we want to put our guys in the best position they can be in to win games. I think thatís the nature of competition.
Q: On having the majority of these guys back next year Ė Do you think itís important for them to hear that?
A: I do. Again, Iím just doing the math, but itís a unique situation when youíre here in the first part of December and only 13 guys are on the roster that had a Giants helmet on last year. Thatís unique. I think thatís the lowest number in the league right now by a few, and we like our team and we like what our team is doing, so yes, the bulk of the guys will be here. I can say that with some certainty. We all know this, though, no team is ever exactly the same. Guys leave in free agency, you get free agents, you draft, weíre going to have a draft and get some new players. I think the important thing is we focus on the excitement of playing these games, and worry about that stuff later.
Q: You have an opportunity to talk to Landon (Collins)? Howís he doing?
A: I have not, but I got feedback. He had his surgery yesterday, but aside from that, I havenít spoken to him.
Q: Want to share that feedback? Did it go well at least?
A: I havenít talked to him. Yeah, the surgery went well.
Q: Does last weekís situation with Kyle (Lauletta) change anything this week? Does he remain the backup?
A: Yeah, Kyle went in and certainly thereís plays heíd like to have back. Thereís a lot of guys that go in, especially at the quarterback position, and donít do well in their first outing, so weíre just going to keep working with him and keep him going. As Iíve mentioned all along, I do feel confident in both guys that could potentially back up.
Q: Kyle will be backup this week?
A: At this point, but we could always change our mind.
Q: On that long run (Saquon Barkley) had, he was switching the ball from one arm to another to keep it away from the defender. Has he continued to amaze you that he pays so much attention to those little details?
A: Yeah, it does amaze me because heís a terrific player, but he knows that he needs to get better at all the little things and certainly protecting the football is very important. We certainly donít want him switching the ball around, but in the open field like that to protect it from the defender, I think, is the right thing. Yeah, thatís just one example of a guy thatís trying to do the right thing all the time.
Q: What did you think of Corey Coleman and his increased workload?
A: I thought he did a good job. He was involved in two explosive gains, had another catch, did a good job blocking. Because his role increased, he had a chance to get some production. We hit him on two nine-balls, one was the (pass interference) as you know that he did have an opportunity to catch, and then he caught a nine-ball later that he did a good job on.
Q: You held Michael Thomas back a little bit on special teams because of his increased role on defense. Is that hard, especially given that special teams is hitting its stride, to have to mix up the personnel and reduce guysí roles?
A: Heís one example of a guy that you have to do that with constantly. With Landon out, there was more stress on the safeties on first, second and third down, so then you plug other guys in and give other guys opportunities that are worthy and have been practicing it. Itís just the stuff that we deal with, those are issues of the day as we get ready for the next opponent.
Q: What did you think of Thomas as a full-time safety?
A: I thought he did a good job. I thought he communicated well, he was in the right spot, and made some plays.
Q: You talked about how much fun you noticed going on the sidelines on Sunday. How does that translate now to this week in practice? Are you more aware of wanting to see how guys react, do you have their attention more after such a big win? Or less attention?
A: Well, winning is fun. And when you go on the field and youíre having success, thatís fun. Iíve noticed that same as we prepare. Itís somewhat of a grind as you go through the week, but our guys enjoy practicing and getting better. Unfortunately, the world canít see all that. Iíve seen it, but when you have a game play out the way it did last week, it brings out the joy in a more obvious way for the people watching the game. Thatís the thing that we crave. The important thing is that was the result of good preparation and then performing well. The message to the team is, we want that again. Itís like that thing you want over and over and over, we want that again. In order to get that again, weíve got to make today the best day possible, tomorrow and so on, and then on Sunday, that doesnít guarantee itís going to happen again. Weíve got to go out and play well again. Thatís where the learning comes in.
Q: What do you make of OV (Olivier Vernon) last two games, putting aside the fact that he missed six due to injury? He only had one sack in his first five weeks he actually played, and then it seems like heís showing up every play, three and a half sacks and a lot more pressures in the last few weeks. Is it as simple as flipping a switch?
A: This is my first year with OV, but thatís more the disruption that weíre expecting from him. He can be a very difficult guy to block in the run and the pass game, and you can see the effect that has on a game when he makes plays like that. Again, we talked about it a few weeks ago, but different guys come back, he had an injury that set him back because he missed time, and then it takes a while to get going again for some guys. Heís really made an impact on these last few weeks by the way heís played. Itís good for him, good for us.
Q: Did you coach against (Titans HC) Mike Vrabel when he was a player?
A: Yeah, he was an outstanding player.
Q: Do those personality traits as a player transfer over? You have two former players in the league coming up now.
A: Yeah, I think guys that have played the game walk into their meeting rooms with players with instant credibility. That kind of gets the ball rolling. Beyond that, I know heís an outstanding coach, and so I think thatís why heís had a good impact on this team.