Head Coach Pat Shurmur -- September 2, 2019
Opening Statement: We got our first 53-man roster, plus all of the practice squad players were out there. I told the players, Iím thrilled about the team that we have. I really loved the team that we had when we had 90 (players). Going through that process this weekend, I thought we did it the right way. We added some new players that we feel good about and that we think will help us after going through the process of seeing who was released and whatnot. We had our first practice before Dallas today. Weíre off to the races. Iíll try to answer your questions.
Q: With what Daniel (Jones) showed you in the preseason and Eli (Manning) being the starter, Iím just curious about the decision to keep Alex (Tanney) and three quarterbacks, rather than maybe using that roster spot on another position?
A: I think it makes sense for us to keep three quarterbacks. Thatís why we did it. Dave (Gettleman) was in agreement. We felt like thatís the best thing for our (quarterback) room. Thatís why.
Q: If something happens to Eli early in the season, would you look at Alex as a guy whoís a veteran that can go in there if you donít think Daniel is ready?
A: Daniel is going to be ready when itís his time. Having Alex here, who is a veteran, I think adds to the room.
Q: What went into (B.J.) Goodson getting released?
A: We just felt like that was a move we wanted to make. Weíll see. We spoke with him this morning.
Q: What changed? He was a guy who was playing a lot. What changed?
A: We were just looking at the (waiver) wire. A lot of times, it doesnít come down to just the player. It comes down to the full roster. He did a really nice job for us. I was very fond of B.J., but weíve made a decision that heís not going to be here.
Q: Special teams played heavily into that decision, I assume?
A: I donít know that. Weíre just looking at whatís best for the roster.
Q: What do you like about David Mayo?
A: He is an outstanding special teams player, but he also plays well from the line of scrimmage. In our opinion, heís a good four-down player. That was the attraction to him.
Q: Sam Beal, last week you said he was close. Now heís out for at least six weeks of practice, making it an 11-week injury. Did he suffer some sort of setback?
A: I just feel like for him, (we want) to give him the opportunity to get as healthy as he can be before he gets out there. Again, sometimes itís not just the player. Itís the full roster, and maybe adding a player at another position. Thatís part of it. Thereís sort of the player, then thereís sort of the big picture. When youíre going through that process of picking the best 53 (players) to get ready to play Dallas, sometimes you have to consider both sides of that.
Q: Just to follow up on the quarterbacks, you said you wanted three and that was the best thing for the team. What made Alex the right QB? Because to the naked eye, it felt like Kyle (Lauletta) outplayed him.
A: There are things behind the scenes where we felt like Alex was doing well. I think Kyle made great progress. We were really pleased with what (Kyle) had done. We just felt like it was the best thing for us to move forward with Tanney.
Q: You said the other day that like the rest of the world, you were following the Cowboys situation with (Ezekiel Elliott). Now that youíre in the game week, how will you approach figuring out if youíre going to see him at all? And if you donít, how different they might be?
A: Thatís really an issue for Dallas.
Q: For your defense.
A: Weíre going to play defense the way we have to play to defend the Cowboys. Certainly if Zeke is there, you have to spend special attention (on him). They have some running backs that have done well in camp that they feel good about. We have to play good team defense, regardless of whoís playing against us. Thereís no telling who theyíre going to line up with at this point.
Q: So youíre not planning specifically for him at all?
A: Yeah, weíre getting ready for him to be there. If heís not, then we rally.
Q: How much does that change things for the game plan if heís there or not?
A: If we choose to play three deep, weíre going to play three deep. If we choose to play two deep, then weíre going to play two deep. If we choose to pressure, then weíre going to pressure. Thatís the way it goes.
Q: What do you think about Tony Pollard from what youíve watched?
A: Heís had a good (preseason). Heís had an impact as a rookie. We actually liked him during the draft. We had him on our board in a prominent position. But heís done a good job. Heís fast. He has really good instincts. He has good collision balance. He can catch the ball. Heís got what youíre looking for in a runner. It appears from what Iíve seen on tape and from what theyíre saying that theyíre really fond of what heís done so far.
Q: Regardless of the Elliott situation, how much of a challenge is Amari Cooper?
A: Heís an outstanding player as well. I think thatís what makes them, on offense, hard to defend. They have an outstanding quarterback (Dak Prescott) that can use his legs, which creates problems for the defense. They have skilled position players, not only on the outside but in the inside too with their tight ends. They have a runner, if Zeke plays, thatís one of the best in the league. They have guys in that room thatÖ We have to defeat our blocks, address our gaps, and play good run defense, regardless of whoís carrying it.
Q: Was Jackrabbit able to go full today?
A: Yea, heís fine. Heís just Jackrabbit, heís fine.
Q: What are your expectations this season for Evan Engram?
A: We expect that he is going to have an outstanding year for us. I think weíve seen, when he has been healthy and out there, what he can do. The challenge for any player is to stay healthy and stay out there. I think thatís first and foremost for all players and then when he is out there, we have to use him in a way that can really accentuate and really take advantage of his skills.
Q: How big of an impact does he need to make for your offense to be explosive?
A: I can tell your narrative by your question, I think he just has to go out and be him. He has to go out and he has to block when we ask him to block. Weíll try to utilize him the best way we can, based on his skill set. Heís got to be the best Evan he can be and that will be good enough.
Q: Have you had a message for Saquon, he is obviously coming off a spectacular season and a preseason where he didnít play?
A: I think he has to be the best he can be and try to make the most out of his opportunities. I think guys that everybody outside of the building has high expectations for, they canít get out of themselves, so to speak. They have to do what they can do, be the best they can be and when their number is called, perform well. I think thatís the challenge.
Q: What are your expectations for this season?
A: We are going to do what we can to go out and win every game we play. I would encourage you to ask me each week. My expectation is that we go out and put an effort on the field to beat Dallas and then next week you can ask me again.
Q: Question on the talk outside the building?
A: Two things, number one we donít really listen to the talk outside. We feel like we are a better team than we were a year ago, we just have to go out and perform. We know we are at the stage of our year where winning football games is what itís all about and so thatís where weíre at.
Q: What makes you think you are better than you were last year?
A: I like the way we have built our team. I like some of the changes we made personnel wise. I also feel like the second year in our system we are smoother in how we operate. Thatís why I think, I donít care what everybody outside thinks.
Q: Do think there is more talent in the building than you had last year?
A: I feel like we are a better football team right now, and this is a team sport.
Q: Where can Saquon be better?
A: I think he can get better really in all areas. Again, thatís a conversation for our building. There were some runs early in the year where he bounced them where he could stick them up in there and I think he learned that thatís how you need to run. He had a couple of drops last year, there was a couple times where he was a little loose in pass protection. Just the details of playing the position, I think if you ask him, I know keeping track of what he said a year ago, he said he was focusing on the details of the position. At least to this point and Iím sure moving forward, thatís been his mindset.
Q: How much improvement have you seen this year?
A: Iíve seen improvement. Again, second year in our system, second year for him in the league. I think he is more confident in what he expects things to look like. Weíll see on Sunday.
Q: How complicated did the injuries make filling out the roster, specifically Simonson and Rod Smith?
A: Thatís the tough part of what goes into the 53. This is the initial 53, those are two players that we thought very highly of that werenít able to be healthy enough at this point to be here. Weíll just revisit it as we go.
Q: Are there challenges to accessing where the offense is without major guys playing in the preseason?
A: I think each team from week one through week sixteen, you kind of build into what you are. We are going to add three of our better players (Barkley, Shepard, Engram) to the mix moving forward. We are going to try to do what we have to do to beat Dallas and use them in the best way possible. Weíre not predicting and projecting anything. Right now we are getting the plan together, all 70 or 75 plays, and do what we can to beat Dallas.