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Quotes: Head Coach Jay Gruden, DC Joe Barry, OC Sean McVay (12-29-2016)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On the injury report:

"Did not participate: Su'a Cravens, upper arm; [Quinton] Dunbar, concussion; [Vinston] Painter, calf. Limited were [Chris] Baker, ankle; [Will] Compton, knee; [Rob] Kelley, knee; [Ryan] Kerrigan, elbow; [Spencer] Long, ankle; [Trent] Murphy, foot; [Jordan] Reed, shoulder; [Martrell] Spaight, shoulder. And then full were [Bashaud] Breeland, [DeSean] Jackson. And of course we put [Donte] Whitner on IR."

On if TE Jordan Reed was more active today:

"He looks good. He did a lot more today and [we've] just got to keep monitoring him, make sure he's OK and getting the right treatment, getting stronger and more confident. That's the big thing is making sure he has the confidence where he can extend his arm and do all the things necessary to separate from defenders. But I think he's on the right track."

On CB Quinton Dunbar's status in the concussion protocol:

"That's out of my hands. Once they're in the protocol, I have no say… I don't know what they're doing. You know, if you're still in it right now and unable to practice, it's probably a long shot for him to be ready. But I don't know – I can't guess."

On how Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry has handled defensive injuries this season:

"Yeah, I think we've had some adversity as far as personnel's concerned – guys getting hurt and losing your captain early in D-Hall [DeAngelo Hall] and the safeties we've had to kind of mix and match a little bit. We're transforming corners into safety and all that good stuff and signing a guy late. Linebackers, we've had our issues the last few weeks. But, overall, I think he's done a good job. It's tough when you don't have the same 11 in there all the time. But I think for the most part there are things we obviously have to get better at. Third down conversions, red zone, obviously are issues, two-minute drills at the end of the half. But I like the way the guys compete and they play hard. That's very, very important. And teams are going to make their plays, but I feel like we're getting them in the right spots and giving them an opportunity to make plays."

On what enables RB Chris Thompson to succeed in pass protection:

"You know what, I think it's technique. A lot of it is technique. He uses a great center, low center of gravity, number one. He's been well coached by Randy Jordan, number two. And then he wants to do it, that's the most important thing. A lot of guys of that stature, they use that as an excuse, 'I don't want to block that guy, it's not in my contract [laughter].' But he actually… I think he likes it now. I think he takes a lot of pride in it and he's been excellent this year. Unbelievable, really. If you look at all the pickups that he's had to do and the ability to recognize all the different fronts and pick up the right people, stick his face on linebackers in the A-gap, he's been outstanding – as good as anybody."

On if Thompson's development in that regard has surprised him:

"Yeah, actually, just because of his size, you know? But he's been great. I wouldn't say surprised, but we obviously have to have a back that does that. And that's a very, very important part of our offense. And he's taken that role and really, like I said, taken it personally and really done a great job. Been a very, very important part of our success offensively."

On his assessment of the team's rookie class:

"Well, you know, it's hard when your No. 1 guy hasn't been able to play. I think that's been a disappointment for everybody, himself included. But I still think that he's going to be a dynamite player for us for a long time. And then Su'a [Cravens], I think Su'a we knew coming in would be a 'Let's teach him the defense and he's going to be a jack of all trades' type guy. But he's got to learn first. He's 21 years old. He's young. Let's teach him a piece that he can grasp on to and then branch him off. So I think those two guys obviously you can't see the rewards until two, three years down the road. And then after that I think obviously [Kendall] Fuller was thrown in the nickel spot earlier then probably people anticipated, but he's had his ups and downs but he's getting better and better. We like that pick a lot. Who else is there… [Matt] Ioannidis, yeah, he's obviously filled a role for us. He's going to be a good, solid nose guard for a long time. He's learning the position. And then we have some free agents that have really surprised us in Mo [Maurice Harris] and obviously Fat Rob [Rob Kelley]. So I think it's a solid group."

On what he hopes RB Matt Jones has taken away from this season:

"I think he just has to bounce back and learn from the season and continue to get better. He's still a young football player, number one. And number two, he's got to understand the importance of the ball, without a doubt. And he's just got to keep working. He's a young player. He's got a lot of carries left in that body. And he's just got to keep working and good things will happen to him."

On S Duke Ihenacho's performance:

"I think Duke's gotten better, a lot better. And that comes with the repetition and the work and making the mistakes and learning from the mistakes. But the one thing that you love about Duke is the way he plays. He plays as hard as anybody on our defense. He plays fast, he plays physical. Sometimes he does get in the wrong gap from time to time or he'll miss a tackle, but for the most part, you love the injury that he plays with. He's learning. He's getting better and better and it's going to be an important position for him to overtake. It's a very important position that safety role. It's in the run fits and pass coverage. Sometimes you're playing two-deep, sometimes you're in the C-gap, D-gap, sometimes you're blitzing. So he's got a lot on his plate and we feel like he can handle it."

On the reason for the change in the practice schedule:

"I don't know, I just wanted to try to get these guys off their feet a little bit earlier. Usually we keep them in here until about 4:30, 5:00. Instead they can get home by 3:00, get off their feet. I just combined the practices. Usually we have a walkthrough, come in for lunch, and then go back out. Now we just go out to practice, have a walkthrough, then we have lunch, meetings, and then they can go. Just shaved about an hour and a half."

Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry

On Giants RB Paul Perkins:

"I think he's come in and done a nice job. They've had some key injuries at the running back position. It's hard for me to give a [UCLA] Bruin kudos, but he's come in and played pretty well for a rookie. He's done a good job."

On how he would assess Su'a Cravens' rookie season:

"Up-and-down. He missed three-and-a-half games with a concussion, now he's going on missing three-and-a-half games with the arm. Of course, frustrating for him because he wants to be out there [and] he wants to play. It's been frustrating for all of us, because he's a really good, young player that has a great, exciting future. But I'm greedy; I want to use him now, so, frustrating."

On if playing safety would have helped Cravens:

"I think that probably would have only happened, potentially, in necessity now, with us losing Donte [Whitner]. But it's so hard in this league. That's what you have offseasons for. That's what you have training camp for. It's really amazing what we were able to do getting Donte in here Week 4 or 5, whatever it was, and then after he was here 10 days, he became a full-time starter. That's hard to do with the schemes that you're implementing on either side of the ball, but then the schemes that you have to defend on the other side of the ball. It's hard. That would have been pretty difficult to get Su'a – or anybody – just thrown in and say, 'OK, you're going to play a position that you haven't played yet.' That would have been pretty difficult."

On the defense's effort this year:

"It's a resilient group. They fight. We've had times where we've played really good in a half, and then not so well in the other, or vice versa. I think that just gets down to guys just fighting and scratching and clawing and being resilient. Of course, you want to play well all the time. I talk to you guys all the time about consistency is the truest measure of performance, and we're always striving for that. That's our ultimate goal. The guys that have come in and had to fill roles – maybe bigger roles than were expected of them to start – it's been good to see."

On how CB Josh Norman's skillset helps him play multiple spots on the field:

"I think just that… he has the skillset where Josh can do a lot of different things. He can play man, and can play zone. We've been able to blitz him a little bit. He's been an effective blitzer. I think, first of all, you have got to have a guy that can do that. And corners are very finicky in the sense that some guys only feel comfortable playing on the left. Some guys only feel comfortable playing on the right. Some guys are more natural in the slot. I think Josh is a guy [that] once he gets into groove and once he gets into a rhythm and a feel – and we've done it a handful of time this year – he has a skillset that he can play on both sides, he can play inside and out, he can play zone, he can play man, he can blitz. It's nice to be able to have a guy like that."

On if there are still more roles Norman can play:

"Oh, yeah, I think we're probably at the point where he's done pretty much… He's played on the right, he's played on the left, he's played in the slot, he's blitzed. Josh Norman is – like most corners – they want to line up on the left side, cover number one and eliminate number one. That's what most really good corners want to do. But he'll do anything. That's the great thing about him.

On the moves to safety made by Will Blackmon and Deshazor Everett:

"I think it's what people don't understand, especially with Will. Now, Deshazor is a young player, but Will was like a 10-year rookie this year in the sense that when you go and play a brand-new position, something that you've never done before, it's a different world. It seriously would be like a wide receiver going in and playing offensive tackle. There's a huge difference between… it's a DB, but it's a huge difference between being a corner out on the outside out on number one and doing those things that are asked, and then going back and having to play safety, it's a different world. I think Will, like most rookies, has been improving every single week, as is Deshazor as well. But, it's easy to say at the start, Will was like, 'Oh, yeah, it's going to be great.' But then when you actually have to do it, it's a different world back there. But he's gotten better every single week. It was great to see him make that big interception last week. It was exciting. I think every week he's gotten better."

On running next to Blackmon on the interception return:

"Yeah, I was keeping up with him pretty good. I almost pulled a hammy, but I was all right."

On the plan for Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. this week:

"4:30 [p.m.] on Sunday, you'll find out [laughter]. You'll see. Just be there. You'll find out, you'll see. I don't want to spoil it for everyone."

On how the safeties will fill in for S Donte Whitner Sr.:

"I think we've been playing – especially the last couple of weeks – all four of those guys have been playing quite a bit. Donte [Whitner], Will [Blackmon], Duke [Ihenacho] and Deshazor [Everett]. So obviously losing Donte, that was a… any time you lose a veteran presence like that, it has an effect. Donte was a guy that's played a lot of football, that was smart, was able to do a lot of things above the neck pre-snap, and adjustments, and formations – the guy has seen and played a lot of football. It's a shame that he got banged up, but we'll roll with Duke and Will and Deshazor. Josh Evans came in. He was with us for a few weeks earlier in the year, so he's got a little bit of recall. But those guys have got to roll. If you're on the field, you're a starter, and you have got to play like one."

On areas of progress and improvement he can point to following the season:

"That's a good question. Those are things that we will obviously address, but right now, I'm just 1000 percent on the Giants, and I'm not even thinking a day past that right now."

On if he is spending more time preparing for backup QB Josh Johnson than he would in most weeks:

"I'd be lying to you if I said not. We have some familiarity with Josh. I was with him in Tampa years ago. Jay [Gruden] was obviously with him and had him in Cincinnati. But it's too hard to have two different game plans, especially with Josh just getting there. He's learning their offense as well. I think he signed in the middle of September sometime. But, no, we're getting ready for the New York Giants' offense. It doesn't matter what 11 guys are out there. We can't control that. We don't even think about it. I can guarantee you that there's going to be 11 players out there. There's going to be somebody behind the center receiving the snap. And we're preparing for what we've seen on film."

Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay

On how the Giants' defense has changed since Week 3:

"Yeah, they've done a great job. You know, you look at a team that's improved throughout the course of the season, I think they're playing great situational football. They're really Top 5 in every major category that you look at that you talk about dictates and determines the outcomes of football games. And I think Coach [Steve] Spagnuolo does a great job putting his players in favorable spots. They've got players on all three levels and you could see why they're ranked where they are in all of those situations. They're excellent."

On DE Jason Pierre-Paul and how the Giants' defense changes without him:

"Yeah, he's a special player, very active. I thought he's done a great job in both phases. He's really rushing well and he's a guy that you're not sorry to not have to play against but they've done a great job having guys step up. And they've played excellent football really in his absence as well. He's clearly a key contributor for them, but I think it's a credit to what they've done and the depth that they have on that roster because it was kind of seamless and they've played great football especially over the last month. Regardless of who they're playing, it's a great scheme. They've got great players, you know, whether they're their starters or their backups and it's a challenge that we better be ready for because we know they'll be ready to go."

On how the Giants' defense compares to their defense from last season:

"It's a great question, and I think you've seen where you talk about the major acquisitions that they did make through free agency – whether it be [Janoris] Jenkins, [Damon] Harrison, you look at Olivier Vernon on the edge – all three of those guys have been huge impact players. I think really Pierre-Paul being another year removed from his accident, he's playing better, so you're seeing guys play at a really high level. I think [Landon] Collins is clearly starting to emerge as one of the best safeties in this league and I think [Jonathan] Casillas is an underrated linebacker in terms of the way that he runs and hits and it's a credit to what they've been able to do. They clearly have improved from the previous year, but those key guys that they did go out and get have definitely played excellent football. They're all Pro Bowl-caliber players and I think it's been a great example for them where you go out, you invest in guys that you feel like fit the structure and scheme of what you're trying to do and it works out for you."

On S Landon Collins:

"They do a great job rolling guys and he's kind of one of those constant pieces that's always in the game. They do a good job. He's one of those players that seems like he's always in the right spot to be able to make those plays and he's very active. You feel him as a coach offensively and I think it's a credit to him. He does a great job in the run game when they play him down in the box, and when they do use him in the deep half or some of those quarters concepts and coverages, he shows excellent range, ball skills to be able to make plays and create those turnovers. And it's why he's playing at such a Pro Bowl-caliber level because he is able to get his hands on the football and get it back for their offense."

On Collins' improvement this season:

"I think you're just seeing an active player. I think he's active in both phases and I think they do a nice job utilizing him, so I wouldn't really say there is one area that clearly sticks out. The production obviously with the picks is something that you notice but I think he is doing a great job in the run game. You know, they'll mix in times where they'll use him in some pressure situations, so I think it's just he's just another year of experience and clearly it shows on the tape because he is a very good football player."

On how they could use TE Jordan Reed this week:

"Yeah, you know, one of the things that anytime you're able to get a player like him back on the field, you certainly feel like it gives your offense a boost, but if he's playing, he's going to compete in both phases. It makes it too hard where you have some tendencies and different things like that where they can just say, 'All right, he's in so you know they're throwing the football.' So it's going to be one of those deals where if he's going, he's going to be able to compete in both phases. And he's done a nice job in the run game this week, and if he is able to go, then he's going to be full-speed and there's going to be no… we're not going to have any limitations on what we're going to ask him to do that he's done earlier in the year."

On if it would be worth it to play Reed if he's not 100 percent healthy:

"Well, I think that's something that the doctors would be able to answer better than I would. But what we're looking at is if he's able to go, then he's able to do all the things that we ask our tight ends to do – that's compete in protection in the run game and in the pass game. So if he's going, then that's the understanding that we have. It's not one of those deals where you're kind of holding back what he's able to do, and he's shown that we feel like if he continues to make progress, he'll be in good shape for Sunday to be able to do that."

On players saying there are no decoys in the NFL and if he agrees with that sentiment:

"Yeah, I think you have to be really aware and conscientious of some of the tendencies. Now, certain situations dictate maybe heavier run or pass based on what the down and distance is, the area of the field. But these defensive coaches and players are too good. They recognize things. So you have to make sure that you're always aware of what you've shown and put on tape. And if guys are playing, it's too competitive of a league not to feel like I'm able to go compete and try to be the best version of myself that I can be."

On if there were certain plays in recent weeks they were able to run because of attention paid to Reed:

"Well, he's a player that's always going to draw attention, especially in those known passing situations. But for Jordan, what makes him an elite player is his ability to be able to separate, whether that be using his feet or sometimes your upper body when guys collision you at the line of scrimmage. And that's something that if he's feeling like he's capable of using that shoulder to the best of his ability, that's what makes him special. We ask our tight ends to compete in the run game and in protection and that's something that if he is going, we were mentioning earlier, then we expect him to be able to compete in those two phases as well."

On what enables RB Chris Thompson to succeed in pass protection:

"He's a lot stronger… he might be short but he's a stout guy for a shorter player. And he does a great job playing with great leverage, uses excellent technique. You talk about getting underneath people and being able to go attack, not letting them dictate things. I think that's why you see a guy like him – who is a little bit smaller than a lot of the players he's blocking – still be able to sustain and finish. And he's a really conscientious guy. So from a technique standpoint, just overall understanding of how I can use my leverage to be able to block some of these bigger players, I think that's why you've seen him have as much success as he has had, especially in that third-down role."

On if he still marvels at Thompson's ability to block bigger players:

"Yeah, you do. And I think it's his overall understanding and awareness of certain blitz patterns, things like that, when he can expect 'OK, this coverage, this formation, or whatever it might be, I might be used in this specific protection.' I think he does a great job with his eye progression, kind of understanding those things that help him to be successful. And that's why you see a guy like him have success. And he's really the epitome of a true pro in terms of what you're looking for in guys you're coaching."

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