Pat Shurmur Tackles Hot Topics

(Opening statement)- "We're digging deeper on the preparation for the Giants. I think we had a good day of practice yesterday. Some of the younger guys had, in my opinion, some of their best practices of the year so we need to build on that. We're playing an outstanding football team on the road and I know our guys are excited to go out there and compete and get a victory."

(On if Mohamed Massaquoi or Travis Benjamin will practice today)- "We'll have to see. They're both dealing with hamstrings so we'll just have to see if they can make it back out there."

(On if a hamstring injury affects a speed guy like Travis Benjamin more than another player)- "It could, I don't know. Each guy handles their injuries differently. There are some guys that are really fast that have to be perfect to play then there are other guys that can play with nagging things and be affective so we'll just have to see."

(On if he was aware that Joshua Cribbs' family said they would like him to retire and his response to that)- "I was made aware of it and I've said this before, I have a huge admiration for his toughness. Josh is a tough man and Josh is a football player. He's been banged around quite a bit over his career and he loves the game. It's obvious by the way he just keeps getting back up and getting back out there so I admire that. I also know the feelings that families have for the people they love so I can understand that as well."

(On Cribbs wanting to get back on the field and what that says to the coaches)- "The most admired attribute for a person that plays our game is toughness. We as coaches know that. Most of us that coached the game played the game and we understand what it is to be tough and we admire that in all our players. When we bring guys here we're looking for guys that are tough. All the other attributes, of course, we talk about frequently, but that's one of the underlying traits that all players need to have."

(On if Josh Cooper will be doing more than scout team drills in practice this week)- "He's practice squad for us so in order to get him up we would have to make a roster move and then anything's possible. I would say this, don't read too much into my body language, but I would say that he's practiced well. He would have to become active in order to play and we'll just have to see."

(On if Cooper has just been on scout team this week)- "He's doing primarily practice squad stuff."

(On if he has seen Ahtyba Rubin become more of a leader and in what ways)- "I think he's exerted himself as a leader. It's important though that everybody be who they are and within his personality I've seen him extend himself. He's obviously a guy that leads by example because he's always where he's supposed to be on time. He busts his tail and that's one way to lead and then there are other ways quietly within the confines of the defensive line room where he's helped bring some of these young players along. When you have young players that establish themselves within a group you have to look around and say okay there are some older players here that are helping them when the coaches aren't watching. I would attribute some of the success that (Billy) Winn and (John) Hughes have had to kind of a veteran presence in there and Rub has obviously extended himself."

(On if they watch 2008 tape of when the Browns beat the Giants)- "No, I know the game that you're speaking of. We focus more on the current tape - this year and last."

(On what makes Victor Cruz a tough matchup)- "I think he's extremely quick and fast. There are a lot of times where players are involved in tight coverage and make plays and he's kind of established himself as a playmaker for them. I think he's caught 32 balls already and he's kind of a go-to guy for them. They can play him outside, they play him in the slot, they move him around and they try to get him the football. You have a guy that has talent and he's got confidence and obviously Eli (Manning) believes in him because he throws to him quite a bit."

(On if Cruz is more effective lined up on the inside or outside)- "He makes plays inside and out."

(On if it makes it easier to scheme against the Giants because of his time in Philadelphia)- "I don't know about easier. You feel like you know how they do business, but you've got to watch the tape and that's where we put in all our time. You actually watch all the tape of what they've done or as much of it as you can to try to either exploit matchups or run plays within your system that work or call coverages or fronts against what they do. I think that's where a lot of our time is spent. I feel like I really didn't understand how they did business, but then when I worked with Steve Spagnuolo in St. Louis, I got a little bit of a behind the scenes look of how they practice and what they do and it's good stuff."

(On if the New York Giants are one of the most balanced teams in the NFL)- "They're an outstanding football team. I don't know if you would consider that balance. I remember there was a time when they did not throw the ball as much as they do now, but as I mentioned yesterday, that offense really runs through Eli. I think they've found a way to be really effective running the ball as well."

(On where he rates the New York Giants in terms of organizations in the NFL right now because they don't seem to get much respect)- "They're a top-tier, admirable organization. I know that first hand after being out there. I don't go into that respect-disrespect thing. They've found a way to win two Super Bowls here in a few years with the current regime and I sure admire that."

(On Tom Coughlin and the success he's had staying with the Giants)- "I think yesterday I talked about how he and Andy (Reid) are very resilient and they've been there a long time, they've stayed the course and they've won a lot of games and two championships, of course, in New York. I admire that. I think we all have to as coaches, we all endure criticism. Is that fair? I think we all do and that's why it's important that we try to keep our teams in the moment and we just keep pushing and we keep grinding. You just really try to focus on your team and that next matchup and that's how we do it. I think that's the way you have to do it. Really regardless of whether folks agree or not, we make all our decisions based on trying to win a game and I think that's really the gist of it and I'm sure he's done that."

(On if facing criticism is hard for him to deal with)- "No, because I believe in what I just told you. You just keep the guys going and you try to give them information that's relevant to playing the next opponent. Much like we talked yesterday about the show that was on last night. A lot of that information I covered with the team prior to playing the Ravens a week ago. I don't talk about what I tell the players behind the scenes, but that's when the information that was talked about in last night's documentary was relevant. A little bit of a history lesson when Art Modell passed away, there was a little bit of it. You put that information in the player's head in weeks that it's relevant. That's kind of how we do it."

(On facing criticism yesterday on the radio for his answer about the documentary)- "On the radio? Yeah, I think that's pretty constant. Trust me, that doesn't bother me."

(On people criticism him saying that he was unaware and doesn't care about the history of the team)- "I'm very well aware of it. In '95, I worked for Nick Saban, who was here. I know a lot of the guys that were on that staff. I'm very well aware of what it means to lose your team. Actually, I came from an organization, the St. Louis Rams, whose team went to Arizona. When the Cardinals came to play the Rams, it was just like the Ravens playing the Browns. I'm not insensitive to it. I believe that history is important. I believe in all that, I really do. I think as a coach what's important is, although I'm sensitive to all that, I get it. I grew up in a town that their team hasn't won a Super Bowl yet, I get it, really I do. I understand it. I think as the coach your focus has to be keeping your players in the moment, and the moments that we're dealing with right now is our preparation to play the Giants. I think that's important. I live here. I was told about all that before I got here. I've lived it. I eat in Cleveland restaurants. I don't know what to tell you other than the fact that I get it. I think it's important that as the head coach of this team, you keep the team focused, and keep their eye on the ball moving forward."

(On how you go about facing the Ravens and now the Giants with such a young roster)- "I think what you do is, like I told you, you keep them focused on the process. I talked about how we have 100 guys out there, when you count the coaches, the players and the support staff. If 100 people do one thing more right, one thing, then I think we'll find a way to get a victory. That's what you do, that's what you talk about. Those are the things that you do as you go through this journey that's a season."

(On what he does to break the trend of having slow starts)- "Let's talk about slow starts for a moment. If the score ends up 0-0 at the end of the first quarter, that wasn't a slow start for our defense. You know what I'm saying? I can point to those things. You'll see it, and I think we talked about it. It would probably be a fun thing to talk about in the offseason. It doesn't seem like there's a great deal of scoring going on in the first half of a lot of games. Guys are slugging it out, getting a feel for things, you're fighting and battling. Ideally, you want to jump way ahead of a team and we get that. We look at it all - tweaking the warm up to whatever, doing things that will help us get a faster start, changing the way we call plays, all those things. To generalize it, I think what you want to do is you want to try to get ahead of the team. Those are the things that we're trying to get done."

(On what has made Craig Robertson so successful)- "He's got skill and ability, he's got instincts. I think that's a starting point. He understands how to play his position. He works extremely hard with a bunch of coaches that are smart so I think that helps him have success."

(On if Robertson's mobility has been a key to his success)- "He's established himself in coverage with his interceptions of course, but he does a good job against the run as well."

(On what a win would do to validate the improvement made this season)- "I think it's important, I think it's really important. Teams that find a way to win, fight, battle, scratch, however you want to call it, find a way to win, then the confidence going into the next week is easier. Not that you prepare any less hard, but the confidence that you did it helps drive you into the next one so it's very important."

(On what the threat of a deep pass does for the offense)- "I think you need to be able to attack all parts of the field. I think it's fair to say we've taken more shots this year, which I believe in and I've always believed in it. You've got to be able to stretch out the field some, but you've got to be able to hit on them. Of course, it's just like winning a football game, once you hit on a couple, then you become more confident and the connection between the quarterback and the receiver, the protection and everything that goes into it."