Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett
Q: Last game it seemed like (Tight End) Evan Engram was doing a lot of pass pro. Was that part of the plan or was that an adjustment you made in the first half?
A: Obviously, we ask our tight ends to get involved in protection at different times, particularly against a really good defensive front when you think about (Chiefs Defensive End Frank) Clark and (Chiefs Defensive Tackle Chris) Jones. They're really talented guys as rushers, so we've asked our guys, both the tight ends and the backs, to get involved at different times to do that. At other times, we get them out. That's just part of our plan week to week as to what we feel like we need to get the job done.
Q: Two-pronged question – number one, as a play caller, a coordinator and then as a head coach, you've kind of always been known as a guy who was tight-end-friendly. Would you agree with that or was that more of a product of having (Former Cowboys Tight End) Jason Witten for all those years?
A: No, I love tight ends. Tight ends are a big part of the offense and really because of their versatility, like we talked earlier, we're going to ask them to do a lot of different things. They're going to run block. They're going to pass protect. They're going to run routes at different levels, and we like to get them involved in what we're doing.
Q: You had no touchdowns from your tight ends before last week and then you got one from Evan and one from (Tight End) Kyle (Rudolph). I'm sure you want more of that. Was there frustration earlier about not getting those guys in the end zone and a real satisfaction of finally getting them into the end zone last week?
A: To be honest with you, I didn't really think about that, specifically. We love those guys. Rudy has been a darn good player in this league for a long time. We're excited to have him on our team and, obviously, we love Evan. He's been a guy who's made a lot of little plays for us and some big plays for us. I have a lot of respect for those guys, and (Tight End) Kaden Smith when he's involved and his role, he does an excellent job as well. Whatever we ask those guys to do, they embrace, and last week they did a really good job. Those are nut-cutting plays down in the end zone. The fourth-and-one to Kyle, he ran a really good route and I think we had a third-and-four to Evan, and both those guys got in the end zone for us. Really love those guys and love their approach and how they're handling and taking advantage of the opportunities they do get.
Q: With everything that's going on, what's this like for you trying to game plan – I guess specific to (Running Back) Saquon Barkley's ankle and now COVID list? Do you expect him back? With guys who might not be there, how are you game planning for not knowing if you'll have guys?
A: You just control what you can control. That's been our mantra really all year long. We've had a lot of different moving parts on offense and I really challenged the guys to embrace what the opportunities are. If a guy's not available to play, the next guy has got to be able to step up in there and play for us. That's happened on the offensive line. It's happened with our tight ends, receivers, our quarterback and also our running backs. I think each of those guys have had the opportunity to come in and they've embraced their opportunity and they've done a good job. They've been prepared. They've been ready and they've gone out and done it. Obviously, we'd love to have Saquon Barkley back. He's one of the best players we have, and we love the guy. A real tribute to him and how he's improved coming back from his knee injury. I think we saw him get better from week to week to week in the early part of the season. Now, he's dealing with the ankle injury and he's working his hardest to get back from that. Whatever the circumstances are, as coaches, we have to be ready for him or to have our other running backs take those roles.
Q: Do you get the sense your guys still enjoy playing in front of the home crowd? They've been kind of hostile to you guys lately. Even the win against the Panthers, there was early game booing. Do you get the sense they enjoy it? Do you consider that at all, like we have to be aggressive to start this game when you're scripting plays just to get like the fans on your side, if that makes sense?
A: Again, I don't really think much about that. We love playing and coaching for the Giants and one of the reasons we do is because our fans are passionate about football and we love that. The biggest thing that we try to focus on is that playing, coaching to the best of our ability and what we need to do each day to prepare to do that on Sundays, regardless of where we play and who we play and when we play. That's what our job is, and I thought our guys did a really good job the last time we played at home against Carolina. It was a good outing for us. It was a good team win and they're excited to play at MetLife again this weekend.
Q: On that third-and-four down by the goal line, you have a pass play for two yards. Was there a mix-up on the route there? Did you think you guys were going for it on fourth down? What happened there?
A: (Wide Receiver) Sterling Shepard will be the first one to tell you that he probably needs to push the depth a little bit more. We felt like we had a good look there that that route was going to give us first down depth. Unfortunately, it came up a little short on that one. But again, Sterling has been such a good player for us in those critical situations. Unfortunately, we came up short on that one.
Q: My second question is about (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay). Obviously, he was a big addition in this offseason and hasn't really done much on the field for you guys in terms of being 100 percent healthy. Is that frustrating at all and do you almost have to kind of wash this year, take this year as a wash on him and hope that he can come back fully healthy next year?
A: Oh, I would say absolutely not. Kenny has dealt with some injuries, but his approach has been outstanding. When he's had opportunities to be out there and practice and then play in games, he's doing everything we're asking him to do. The biggest thing for him is to get himself healthy and then once he does, we'll get him back integrated on the practice field and then hopefully on game day. His approach has been great. He works hard. He's been a damn good player when he's been healthy for us. He's made a lot of good plays for us and we expect that again this year. He just has to take it day by day and get himself back and ready to go. Once he does, he'll be a big part of what we do.
Q: I know we talked about next man up, but with (Running Backs Coach) Burton (Burns), I mean is there any chance he's back Sunday or who's the next man up?
A: You're talking about Burton Burns?
A: Well, he's certainly involved in everything we're doing. He's been remote, but he's involved in all our staff meetings and he's in our meetings. He just hasn't been able to be out on the field. Freddie Kitchens, the senior assistant for us, so he's going to work more with the running backs, along with (Offensive Assistant) Jody Wright. Those guys will handle that, but Burton is still a part of everything we're doing every day.