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Pat Shurmur: Eli Manning “stays the course,” and other takeaways

Giants coach discusses first victory of the season

New York Giants v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The day after his first victory as coach of the New York Giants, Pat Shurmur said he hopes the win was a game the Giants are able to build on.

“I told our team if we just keep focusing on being a team and being tough and being gritty and caring, which means you work to get better, then I think we can build on this,” Shurmur said.

Here are more takeaways from Shurmur’s Monday conference call.

Eli Manning can take a punch

Shurmur once again expressed his belief in Manning, and explained why.

“I believe in him, and our quarterback needs to know that we believe in him. We know that he’s got that in him,” Shurmur said. “The thing I like about Eli is, and I appreciate this about anybody, at some point in this game you don’t win all the time and at some point you take a punch. Eli can take ‘em and keep playing and I think that’s the thing that even before I knew Eli as much winning as he was involved with all those years I always admired the fact that he just stays the course and just keeps playing with the idea that tomorrow’s going to be a better day if today isn’t such a good one.”

Toughness and grit

Shurmur was still talking about Manning when he said “toughness and grit” were the characteristics he thought were most important. It applies, though, to the entire team.

“You can be smart, you can be well-dressed, you can be well-spoken but at the end of the day and it’s absolutely demanded in our sport is your ability to be tough and gritty,” Shurmur said. “Those are the attributes in people, especially in football players, that’s an absolute necessity in our business.”

Chad Wheeler

Shurmur said Wheeler “did a really good job in the run game” and took responsibility for leaving him 1-on-1 vs. J.J. Watt too often in pass protection.

“He battled and in my opinion even though he got beat on a couple of snaps I thought he had a winning performance,” Shurmur said.

Shutting out the noise

That has been a consistent Shurmur message.

“It’s an organizational message of just shutting out the noise. It’s equally important this week. I don’t read it, I don’t listen to it, and if I have to hear it or answer the questions to it it’s not something we concern ourselves with.The 0-2 and what 0-3 mean ... to their credit they (the players) shut all that out and they went out and played hard. That needs to be the approach every week. You’ve gotta turn your back on the pats on the back, too.”

Saquon Barkley “Everything we thought he would be”

Shurmur continued to be impressed by rookie running back Saquon Barkley.

“He’s everything we thought he would be to this point,” Shurmur said. “He shows up on game day. When you see it up close and personal you see the way he’s into it and how competitive his spirit is and how he wants to compete and get the ball in his hands.

“There’s a reason why he’s got a chance to be a really good player for a very long time.”

The play of John Greco

Veteran offensive lineman John Greco, in his 11th NFL season and playing for Shurmur for the third team, did a quality job at center Sunday as he replaced the injured Jon Halapio. Shurmur said he thought Greco’s experience helped the offensive line.

“I think there’s no substitute for experience, especially as an offensive lineman” Shurmur said. “The been there, done that idea is hugely important. That’s why veteran players, especially in the offensive line, can have an impact. Especially if they come in in a backup role or filling in for an injured player.”

Kerry Wynn was “outstanding”

Shurmur was as impressed by the veteran defensive end as everyone else seems to be.

“He’s kind of a relentless player. He’s tough. He’s all the things you’re looking for — he’s tough, he cares, he works and he finds a way to make plays,” Shurmur said. “That was an outstanding performance on his part.”

Injury updates

Aside from Evan Engram’s knee injury, Shurmur said the Giants have “the normal kind of post-game stuff ... normal wear and tear.”

Shurmur said he thinks the MCL sprain report on Engram is accurate, but adds “we’re waiting to see how extensive it might be.”

Shurmur said Olivier Vernon, who has yet to play because of a high ankle sprain is “making progress. Vernon and Eli Apple (groin) are both day-to-day.