Dave Klein was the Giants' beat
writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books
and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls.
Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.
SHURMUR POINTS TO SEVERAL GIANTS IN THE AFTERGLOW OF VICTORY NO. 1;
NEW ORLEANS AND DREW BREES
It is possible that Pat
Shurmur circled the date on his desk calendar Monday. It was, after all, the first
time he was going to hold a telephone press conference with the media after a
regular-season Giants' victory.
he sounded pleased to have the opportunity.
First, he outlined the injuries - not to worry, he intimated, about tight end
Evan Engram's knee. It's not torn, just a sprained MCL, and if he isn't back this
week (at home against New Orleans) it won't be much longer.
And don't worry about rookie sensation Saquon Barkley, who also took a shot on
his knee but returned almost immediately and recorded his third straight 100-plus
all-purpose yardage game - more impressive since he has only played in three games
"I had no problem with
either hit," Shurmur added. "That's football. I didn't think there was
anything intentional involved."
As for his new right tackle, Chad Wheeler, the coach was mildly complimentary.
"Wheeler did a really good job, I thought, in the run game against a really
unpredictable player [star Houston defensive end J.J. Watt]. I thought he did
a good job, and he finished blocks. When you watch him play, you say there's a
guy who's finishing blocks and doing those things.
"I'm going to take responsibility for it, a couple times he got stretched
out and just pure one-on-one (pass protection) against Watt and I can't put him
in those positions as many times as I did, but he battled, and in my opinion,
even though he got beat on a couple of snaps, I thought he had a winning performance."
Some readers have suggested that the treatment in these transmissions of Ereck
Flowers, who was replaced by Wheeler, has been unfairly tough. Let's listen to
"He blocked well against
the run and he got beat a couple of times in pass protection. Watt will do that
to anyone. Wheeler did a really good job, I thought, in the run game against a
really unpredictable player. I thought he did a good job, and he finished blocks.
When you watch him play, you say there's a guy who's finishing blocks and doing
"I'm going to take
responsibility for it, a couple times he got stretched out on one-on-one (pass
protection) against (Watt), and I can't put him in those positions as many times
as I did, but he battled and, in my opinion,, even though he got beat on a couple
of snaps, I thought he had a winning performance."
Barkley, who was drafted second behind and ahead of a quarterback, has turned
into a budding superstar and has spent his three games highlighting his various
skills as a runner, blocker and receiver. "Yeah, he's everything we thought
he would be to this point. 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."
And the Giants, now 1-2, can be said to be in the middle of the NFC East scramble,
since Philadelphia and Washington are 2-1 and the Giants are 1-2 with Dallas.
"It's a long, long way to the end of the season," Shurmur says, "and
it's way to early to feel one way or the other about anybody's chances."
A side note: The starters in the secondary - cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and B.W.
Webb and safeties Landon Collins and Curtis Riley were on the field for ALL 68
PLAYS for the defense. "We had to do that," said defensive coordinator
James Bettcher, "we had some injuries. All those guys played exceptionally
Reserve defensive end Kerry
Wynn (6-5, 265, sixth season), who has quietly been a dependable player for two
seasons, had another solid game. He recorded five tackles, two assists, one forced
fumble, one pass defended, one quarterback hit and one quarterback pressure.
"It was quite a game," Shurmur said. "I thought Kerry was outstanding.
That's a darn good day at the office. Kerry is long, 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. That certainly was an outstanding
performance on his part."
the Giants can take a bow.
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