Head Coach Pat Shurmur -- November 6, 2019
Opening Statement: I guess Pat (Hanlon) talked to you about the injuries. I guess the ones of note, Evan Engram has a midfoot sprain. Heís in a boot. Weíll just take him day to day, week to week, see where he goes. (Jon) Halapio has a hamstring, and then Sterling Shepard did not participate today. Heís getting further evaluated for that concussion being that heís in the protocol. Then (Mike) Remmers was limited with his back. Weíre within two days of the game, so itís just a little game soreness there. But otherwise, Jets week. Itís important that we get back to doing things the right way every play, and not just play well during stretches of the game. Canít have bad things that affect the game like they did the other night. Itís going to be a tough game. I feel like every opponent we play is a tough opponent. I feel like if we play the right way, we have the ability to beat anybody we play. But when we donít play well or coach well, then we certainly have the ability to get beat. So, itís up to us to play better. Iíll take your questions.
Q: You said Ďday to dayí and Ďweek to weekí for Engram. Is there a chance he plays (Sunday)?
A: Well, weíre so new from the game. This would be like a Tuesday on a normal week, so itís really too early for us to assess.
Q: Any concern that itís a Lisfranc (injury)?
A: I donít know that. Again, as you all know, Iím not a doctor. It was told to me as a midfoot sprain.
Q: You also said that Sterling Shepard was getting further evaluation. Is that outside the normal?
A: No, not really. We sent him to Pittsburgh. Thereís, I guess, gurus there on this type of injury, and so weíre going to get him further evaluated there.
Q: What kind of a challenge is it for you to keep your team up and motivated through this difficult stretch?
A: Itís always a challenge to get going. I think we played hard last week and we stayed in it. We just had some plays that hurt us that affected the outcome of the game. I thought the preparation today was really good. We have a bunch of guys that are fighters in there, so that doesnít concern me.
Q: Were there technical things, red zone wise, that you think you can fix in time for this game?
A: I wanted to give the runner an opportunity in the red zone, so we ran the ball probably a little more than you normally do. I think itís important to. We had a couple plays there where they defended it. Maybe check it down, take it from there. Each time you look at a play, thereís a reason why it isnít successful. Then certainly the ones in the red zone are magnified.
Q: What do you see when you look at Sam Darnold as a quarterback right now?
A: I see an outstanding young quarterback. He can play and he can help his team win games. Thatís what I see.
Q: What did you think about him coming out (of college)?
A: We had a high opinion of him. Thought he was an outstanding player. A well-accomplished player that we were pretty certain he was going to have an outstanding career.
Q: How much can Leonard Williams help you off the field right now, getting ready for a team that he played with for so long?
A: Yeah, weíve talked about these things before, players or coaches from other teams. Itís going to be based on what we see on film. He obviously knows the players on that team intimately. But we just have to match up and play and not be too concerned about that.
Q: He had a good number of snaps in his first game. Do you think another week further along can get him more?
A: Potentially. Yeah, I mean he was fit and ready to go, fit into the scheme well and played quite a bit the other night. I anticipate at least that amount.
Q: Thereís a belief, people say heís a good player and that he hasnít reached being the great player that a lot of people predicted coming out. What do you think he needs to do in order to get his game to the next level?
A: None of thatís my concern. I think we just have to build on what he did last week. He had some really good reps in there. He had some things, obviously, that he has to clean up, like everybody else. We talked about it last week when he came in. He has the ability to play all throughout the front. I think heís a very active player that can get pressure on the quarterback, and I think heís good against the run. Just kind of continue to build on that within our scheme.
Q: Youíve talked about this before but it keeps happening. Daniel (Jones) with his slides at the end. Heís obviously taking hits he probably doesnít need to take because heís not sliding. Is that a concern of yours?
A: I think he needs to learn from that. He did slide the other night a couple times. Heís getting better at it where he didnít take hits. Then there was the one where he fumbled where thatís just a matter of a competitive guy who was well aware where the sticks were, and was trying to get the first down. So thatís what you balance. When you hold the ball, nothing you do is acceptable when you donít end the down with the ball. Thatís important for all players to know that touch the ball. Heís aware of that and heíll learn from that. There was one he went out of bounds, he got waylaid by some guy with a boom mic. I donít know what you do about that. Those guys have to be a little fitter and get the heck out of the way.
Q: Have you learned anything about Daniel in terms of his competitiveness? Itís a difficult stretch for him, but have you seen anything that stands out to you in his determination to fix it?
A: Yeah, heís determined to fix it. Thereís no question about it. He works hard to. I think what you see by watching him play is heís a young player that is fighting and scratching. We ran a reverse, he got out there and got a block. Iíd rather he didnít do that, but you know what it is. It flashes and heís a competitor and heís getting involved. In terms of his toughness and competitiveness, I think weíre seeing what we knew about him when we drafted him. Each week, heís trying to do everything he can to help us win.
Q: In the run game, can Saquon (Barkley) be better to help the offensive linemen, or are you guys not winning the battles upfront?
A: I think itís coordinated. Again, I think you need to go back and look at each play, much like you do when youíre either getting or not getting pressure on the quarterback, or not stopping the run on defense, or stopping the run. Itís a team thing. There are times when we can get a little bit more, and I think both areas, the o-line and the running back, share some of that.
Q: I think it was asked in the conference call. You said about the throw at the end of the half when Daniel made the throw for an interception, I think you said it wasnít training Daniel Jones, like it wasnít a time to train Daniel Jones.
A: Because that was the way the question was phrased.
Q: Right. In terms of that, thinking from that perspective, that is a line that youíve walked from the moment you put him at quarterback. Does that line move? Does the goalpost move now where his development has moved? Have you changed your approach with him at quarterback, or has it been steady all throughout?
A: I think itís steady. I think you try to put together a game plan that attacks the team youíre playing. You have to trust the quarterback to do the right things, regardless of whether heís young or old. Certainly, with a younger quarterback, there are certain things that a guy that isnít much more experienced, thereís a thing or two that you wouldnít do. But heís been able to handle most of it. I think heís fallen victim to turning the ball over when he scrambles or getting hit in the pocket. Those are more of the bad things that are happening. There are some, obviously, technical things that we work on. This isnít about training the quarterback. Again, Iíll go back to that. This is about doing what we can to win the game, and we feel like him being in there gives us the best chance. So, regardless of your age as a player, you have to go in there andÖ You canít fake football. You have to do it and play it the right way.
Q: Is it harder to fix things like that during the course of the season, as opposed to in training camp or in the offseason when you can really hone on things? You guys have to get the game plan. All of these players, they have to get ready. Then you have to try to fix things. Is that hard?
A: No, thatís just the flurry of things that happen during the season when you go week to week. They are good players and we expect them to play well. If for some reason they did some things not well the week before, they have to improve on it. If they were doing things well the week before, then they have to continue to build on that. That goes for every position.
Q: You were a former center. If Pio (Jon Halapio) is out, how much more extra work do (Spencer) Pulley and Daniel have to do?
A: Well, theyíll need to work together. Certainly, the center and the quarterback need to be on the same page. But they do get work during the week together. Thereís a little bit of a mix in there, so itís not like they havenít gotten any reps. If Spencer has to go, we trust him. He played really well for us last year and weíre glad that heís here. If he has to get in there, weíre very certain heís going to play well.
Q: Is there any concern, you know he hasnít played a lot in the last two months?
A: He should be fresh.
Q: Do you see a common trend in the red zone problems the other day, or when you went back and looked at it, what did you come away with?
A: It came down to individual plays. We scored on one. The first series, we had two runs and then a pass that they pressured us on. We got the ball there, it justÖ He got pressured. We had what we were looking for. We just have to get that picked up a little better. Then we got down there later. We ran the ball a couple times. I felt like I wanted to give Saquon his opportunities down there. I felt like that was something that would have helped us. We did. On a couple of other occasions, we just didnít get the pass executed when we called it.
Q: A lot of times youíre talking about Saquon with the play-calling down at the goal line. Barry Sanders was often taken out of games on the goal line, and it was like ĎWhat are you, crazy?í
A: Yeah, I was a Lions fan. I was like ĎWhat are we, crazy?í when Iím growing up, yeah. I do remember that some, butÖ
Q: But thereís obviously reasons that go into that.
A: I donít know. I donít know if itís fair to compare the Lions of yesteryear to the Giants of today.
Q: Right, but the point of a running back who can theoretically bring it any time for 60 yards. Now, youíre compressed inside the five. There have to be reasons why itís not working.
A: Well, when we were on the goal line, we had penetration that had nothing to do with Saquon. When we ran the ball to the left, that we eventually came back and threw the ball in on. That had nothing to do with Saquon. I think had we gotten the backside blocked a little better, itís all the Ďif, dog, rabbití stuff. Then he might have had a better opportunity on the front side. But no, heís a three-down back up and down the field. Then we run the screen where he runs it all the way down the field. I wanted to run it again, but he needed a quick little break. So, then we choose to do a couple different things. It all plays into it.
Q: Whatís your assessment of (Antoine) Bethea so far this season? He had the two takeaways the other night, but the last two weeks, the flea flicker got him and he got crossed by (Amari) Cooper on the big touchdown last week. It seems like plays that maybe a veteran would make.
A: I donít know that. Heís been back there competing. Heís like everybody on the team, coaches and players alike. Each guy has had a play or two that heíd like to have back. But he made an impact in the game with the two turnovers, and he made some tackles that were huge. I like the way he was competing. I liked the impact he had on the game. We just need to clean up a couple of the bad plays. Thatís all.