Pat Shurmur on Eli, the Giants Front Four, Phil Dawson

(Opening statement)- “As I start every Wednesday, this week’s game captain will be Ahtyba Rubin. It’s another good choice. He’s kind of a quiet, dependable guy, who leads by example although I’ll give you one little story. In the offseason, it was during an OTA practice, some new players came in and around their area after practice things got a little sloppy. As I was making my swing through the locker room later in the day, I saw on each person’s chair a printed off sheet that said, ‘Don’t be a pig, take care of your area,’ kind of a reminder to some of these guys. Well, my first reaction was it was Brad’s (Melland) crew that did it, the equipment guys. I came to find out it was Rubin that did that which it was a little thing, but he’s a guy that leads by example. He’s quiet and he thinks about things and he understands what’s important. In his mind it was important to give a few guys a reminder so I appreciate that about him. That’s one little thing that you can go with. Other than that I think he’s a very fine football player so it was a good choice. Other than that we’re getting ready to play the Giants and again we’ll get our team as good as we can be and then make every effort to go to New York and get our first victory. I think that’s what is most important.”

(On if he expects Joshua Cribbs to practice today)- “Again, I do this every week, thanks for asking the question so I can say it – I don’t want to talk about injuries, but Cribbs will be out there.”

(On Mohamed Massaquoi’s injury)- “Again, I’m not going to talk about injuries. Thanks for asking again.”

(On if Massaquoi will practice)- “We’ll see. I’ll let the afternoon injury report speak for what is going on.”

(On the Giants defense and their front four)- “I think they play good team defense which is very important. It all starts up front obviously, disrupting the run and then when you drop back to pass, getting pressure on the passer. It all start there, but they do a good job. They do play a lot of zone coverage, they do mix in their man coverage in situations and they don’t mind pressuring on all downs in any part of the field. Those are the components of a good defense. They feel okay rushing four, but they don’t mind trying to get pressure with more than four and they play a coverage that’s very fundamental.”

(On if Joe Thomas’ knee is bothering him and if it is leading to more penalties)- “No, I don’t think his knee’s bothering him and I don’t know about the other premise. Joe’s battling just like everybody up front.”

(On what kind of a weapon Phil Dawson has become over the years)- “It goes without saying. He plays a position where he scores points and when we don’t get it in the end zone he’s been very, very dependable about making his kicks, whatever the distance. I think that’s awesome. There are a lot of games where the conditions are less than ideal to kick field goals and I think there’s something about Phil. Phil is a winner and he’s been able to do it over the years for a very long time. In my time here in Cleveland, I’ve gained a huge appreciation for Phil. He and I talk frequently and I really appreciate really everything he brings to the table. He’s a pro and I can’t imagine there’s really a better kicker anywhere else. I think we’re really blessed to have him as our kicker.”

(On if more experienced players like Sheldon Brown have to treat their bodies differently)- “I think experience kind of trains you to on how you get yourself right each Sunday and he’s got a great deal of experience. He understands his body. He knows how he fits in the scheme and you just get a feel for it. As we get older, we find a way to park closer to the door. You would have to ask him some of the specifics, but what I evaluate is on gameday if he is ready to play and I think he finds a way to get that done.”

(On the different changes in the defensive backfield and what he’s seen from the secondary since Joe Haden has been out)- “We’re dealing with a couple of different situations with the secondary. Of course, Joe being out is one so that causes us to have to juggle and we’ve had some injuries that we’ve had to deal with as well. We’ve played different types of teams. Some that play in a situation where we’re playing three corners and then we’ve played a couple of teams that are more base so what it’s given us is an opportunity to see some of these other guys compete for a full game and then have to play at a high level. We’ve learned a great deal about the guys on our roster and I think our guys have been forced to adjust in a lot of ways and I’m pleased at the way they compete. Our guys fight hard, I think that can be said. Now we’ve just got to make sure we play better.”

(On how tough of a task it is to go up against Eli Manning)- “It’s a big challenge. I mentioned it yesterday, that offense runs through Eli. There are games when he gets hot, he gets real hot. I was involved in over 20 of these games when I was in Philadelphia and I watched that happen a lot of times. He can be dangerous so it’s a big challenge. I think we’ve faced outstanding quarterbacks and will face outstanding quarterbacks most every game we play. Each guy within their skill set presents threats to the defense and we’ve just got to make sure we do a good job of trying to get pressure on them. You’ve got to disrupt any quarterback. Eli is no different and then we’ve got to challenge the receivers. I think that’s fair to say.”

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