New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur is big on relationships. From his introductory press conference he has been stressing the importance of building relationships between players and coaches. Speaking to the media prior to Friday’s practice at the Giants’ rookie mini-camp, Shurmur expanded on the idea, linking it to his idea of the “New York Giants’ Way”
“I think what’s important is and I’ve talked to the staff,” Shurmur said, “I’ve talked to our current players, we want to teach our rookies the right way from the very beginning – here is your iPad, here is your locker, here is where you need to be, here is how you need to dress, here are the fields, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ work, push in your chair. We want to really train these guys in the New York Giants’ way and I think it’s every facet of their life and then, certainly what is most obvious, football. So that’s running parallel with them learning some of the scheme before they get kind of incorporated with our veterans on Monday.”
He added, “We want guys obviously that understand how important it is to have relationships, whether it’s in the building or being coachable and we want guys that are good teammates and certainly guys that love football. So we’re looking for those kinds of guys and I think we have to live that life in our building.”
When asked about this weekend’s practices in particular, he promised intensity and that he wanted it to “look like football”.
“It’s intense and we want them to compete,” he said. “But again and I told them last night, that our game is about the ball – throwing it, catching it, handing it off, kicking it, whatever you want to do with it and then protecting it when you have it. Our game is really, if you boil it all down, it’s about negotiating the ground – it’s how you move around, how you stay in front of your defender, what you do with the ball when you have it. So we want to see guys handle the ball, we want to see guys negotiate the ground and then the third part of this game is man whip a man. Because it’s not very physical right now, you can’t really get into all of that. But, we want the guys to play fast, no anxiety and try to stay on their feet, execute their blocks, work through their schemes, quarterbacks go through their progressions and, ultimately, make it look like football.”
Eyes On Barkley
Of course, Shurmur was asked about Saquon Barkley, who has quickly become one of the Giants’ most hotly anticipated rookies in recent memory. First and foremost, the media wanted to know what they were hoping to see from Barkley in his first practices as a Giant.
Shurmur said, “I think what we’re looking to see is how well he picks up the system. We’re very confident that he’s going to be able to do everything well and then just see how he works in just like everybody else. How he runs the ball, how he catches the ball, his awareness in pass protection, all the things we’re going to ask him to do going forward.”
He added that the coaching staff believes that Barkley is a quick study, and that he has shown them nothing to indicate otherwise. But while the Giants invested heavily in him, and are obviously excited about what he could bring to the team, Shurmur didn’t voice the lofty expectations that Dave Gettleman or Harry Carson have set for the rookie running back.
“I think he needs to be everything he thinks he can be and then we’ll worry about that later,” Shumur said of his expectations for Barkley. “I think what’s important is that they come out here and compete. He’s no different – come out here and compete, be the very best running back you can be and then we’ll worry about that as it comes along.”
Asked about the discrepency between the praise and the Hall of Fame expectations that John Mara, Gettleman, and others, have heaped upon Barkley, and his own words about Barkley, Shurmur said,
“Well, I’m certainly high on Saquon. But that goes back to let’s train them the right way. He’s a member of this team. If you ask him, he’ll tell you he wants to learn what he’s doing and compete at a high level and regardless of what my expectations are for him, he has to come out here and train and do it. That’s what’s really cool about him is that he has that mindset and so I’m thrilled with the players that we’ve brought in the building, I’m thrilled with the way that our guys have been performing.”