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Giants coach Pat Shurmur hints at personnel changes on defense

More snaps coming for DeAndre Baker, Dexter Lawrence?

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Antonio Hamilton in chase mode Sunday vs. Michael Gallup of Dallas.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of Sunday’s dismal defensive effort against the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur on Wednesday hinted at the possibility of personnel changes on that side of the ball.

Shurmur was responding to a question about whether Antonio Hamilton, a special teams contributor who did not play any defense a year ago, but played 36 snaps at cornerback vs. Dallas, would continue to play defense after struggling in that game.

“We’ll let that kind of reveal itself. You’ll remember that (DeAndre) Baker missed 14 days of training camp,” Shurmur said. “We felt like he still needed to come on. That’s why we had them both in there playing (Week 1). But you can expect the young guys to play, just like they did the other night. We’ll see how much. The rotation on that player and maybe a couple others may change on defense.”

Shurmur also hinted that Dexter Lawrence, the massive defensive tackle the Giants selected No. 17 in the 2019 NFL Draft, could play more than the 28 snaps he saw vs. Dallas. Shurmur said of Lawrence that “as he goes along here, he’ll play more and more.”

Here are more takeaways from Shurmur’s Wednesday media availability.

On whether his young defenders understand what went wrong on Sunday ...

“Sure. I think they do. The mistakes that were made were made very obvious. We made an effort to correct them. What you have to do now, you have to embrace the hard work of going out and practicing the right eye discipline, the right leverage, getting lined up quickly because we’re also in the world of quick snaps, which we all do, and then play with technique throughout the down. Then once the ball goes up in the air, then do what you do naturally. It’s all of the things that we teach and preach. For young guys, that’s going to be about as intense of a setting as you’re going to face, especially for an opener. There are many things to be learned.”

On the importance of not starting the season 0-2 ...

“We’re doing the math on this one game. We’re trying to be 1-0 this week. We don’t focus on it. I don’t focus on it. It’s not something we talk about moving forward. We’re putting all of our focus on what we’re going to do this week.”

On getting more opportunities for Saquon Barkley ...

“I think Saquon needs to touch the ball. That’s something we’re going to talk about weekly. I think there’s some weekly conversations we’re going to have, so I’m glad you brought it up. It’s important that he touches the ball because he has a chance to be explosive. Again, each game plays out differently. There were games last year where he touched the ball in the run game more than he did in the passing game, but his biggest plays came in the passing game, and vice versa. We’ll just see how it plays out. But it’s going to be the focus of who people stop. So, I think it’s also important to know that, offensively, it takes a village and everybody else has to do their part.”

On the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks ...

“... (18) years ago today was the 9/11 tragedy. It was one of the most horrific things. A lot of innocent people died. A lot of heroic people died, and probably are still dying from trying to be a first responder. The fire, police, port authority, anybody that helped. I think that affected those of us that were close to it. I was 94 miles away getting ready to play Tampa. I actually saw the second plane hit live. It’s had an effect on everybody, especially the people that were directly involved. I think we need to keep perspective on some things. We remember in a humble, solemn way because it was horrible.”