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Game Vs. Giants: Head Coach Pat Shurmur

Opening Statement: No matter whether you're advancing or not, it's always fun to win. I told the fellas before the game to leave the unknown on the buses, and take three hours and go really have fun doing your job and try to win a football game. I thought they put together a tremendous effort. We needed everybody – offense, defense and special teams. I thought the guys earned the victory and I'm happy for them.

Q: Has the job not been fun for them this year?

A: I think it has been. Again, we feel victim to some unfortunate circumstances, most of them self-created, so I think as we move forward, we just need to build on that, and whatever happens for this team next year, I think there's just a lot of really good stuff here that you can build on.

Q: There didn't seem to be the kinds of problems with false starts and illegal formations and so forth today that you've had in previous games. Why was that?

A: Well, I don't know. I think the guys were very focused. There really wasn't much different to our plan than when Coach Kelly was here. We just kind of utilized some of our plays in a little bit different way. I thought the guys were focused, and aside from the one fumble and then the one tip-on interception, I thought we played a pretty error-free game on offense.

Q: How many audibles were there early in the game?

A: We audibled throughout. I think that was sort of the idea. We wanted to get lined up and we have a handful of plays, and then we tried to get into the best one.

Q: And that's different than the rest of the season?

A: No, it's part of what we did. We probably just utilized it a little more than we have in the past.

Q: Is that what you mean by "utilizing things in different ways?"

A: Yeah, I mean every offense is curl-flat; we didn't change the name of that in the last five days. We just tried to utilize it. The one thing that's important is that we have a quarterback that's extremely smart, we trust him, and so you don't have to be a play behind with Sam [Bradford] because he can get you in the right stuff.

Q: What was the message you gave to them after the game?

A: I was just proud of them. The reality of it is we were all just out there doing our jobs, but they had fun doing it, and because they played that well of a game, they get to experience that feeling you get when you win a football game one last time. My last message was – my last duty of the day – is to get them back to Philadelphia safely, and so that's what we're going to do.

Q: Some of the players have talked this past week about how there were a lot of new players in the locker room this year, changes were made, and it takes time to get everyone together. Did you sense that that was the case this year?

A: I think so. I kind of mentioned that all along that when you have a lot of new pieces – we had a bunch of new faces in Year 3 – it's like getting there halfway through the movie, and so you have to catch them up, and we had to do that a little bit. That's not an excuse, that's sort of the reality of it. I just feel like if we would've won more games, there may be a different situation.

Q: Having experienced the win on the field and getting to coach this team, did it give you that feeling of "wow, I'd really like to get this job and be the head coach"?

A: No, you know I've tried to segment my thoughts and my feelings on this one here. I've stood on the sidelines for two years just like I did today, in the same role, and we battled through some tough times in Cleveland, but I just wanted to do this one day at a time and finish my job for Mr. Lurie today by coaching this game. The players are the ones that did it. As we were driving here, I was saying that game day never gets old and winning games certainly never gets old. That's the feeling we were fighting for today.

Q: Sam [Bradford]'s numbers over the last seven games since the bye were pretty impressive. You know him better than a lot of people. What about him makes you think that is the quarterback he is versus maybe what previously happened in the past four or five years?

A: I can't speak to the four or five years; I was with him for one. I got to know him, and you all know what I think of him. I think what you're seeing from Sam in the last part of this year is more of what he is. When you have two season-ending injuries, those are like two big-time car wrecks. It takes a while to come back from that, and he wasn't doing it in a familiar system. He had to learn our system; he had to become comfortable with everything – the guys he was throwing to, the new opponents. I think what you've seen from him in the second half of the year is more of him as a player.

Q: We saw Marcus [Smith] mid-flash today. Was there a concerted effort to get him more involved?

A: No, he was just part of the 46. He was out there playing and he made some plays, which was good.

Q: You talked about everybody taking time to gel and such. Now we have some sort of turnover in the offseason. Is that affecting them in your view? Can they continue this growth together?

A: I think every year, when you put the locker room together, or, in this case, you have to put a new coaching staff together with whatever direction Mr. Lurie chooses to go, you have to recreate that chemistry every year because there are always new faces. No team ends the same and starts the same. Everybody changes and we'll just have to see how much change there is. I think you can build on stuff and on things like today.

Q: Is system or scheme change harder than just having different players?

A: I think change is change. You see organizations around the league that have committed to changing all the time, and it's hard for them to get traction. I think the decision the organization is faced with now is who is going to lead the organization and whoever that is will implement his systems and then we'll roll. That's the reality.

Q: I know coming into this week you were focused on the game, but now that the game is over, where does your mindset shift now?

A: Get in the shower, get on the bus, and go back to Philly. I'm going to see my family and whatever else and then we're going to go back to work tomorrow and we'll have a normal exit day for the players. We'll have a chance to go through the process and get them on their way and see what happens from there.

Q: Do you have interviews set up?

A: I guess we are going to meet here in the near future.

Q: Why can't you get a challenge flag out in time?
A: That was totally my fault. I'm left handed and I had it in my right pocket. [Laughter] So, it took a minute. My son will wear me out for that. I wasn't quite sure, but I thought he had stepped out. Now, the officials along the sideline after it didn't go through, said "nah, you wouldn't have won it," so it worked out pretty well.

Q: Are you handling the exit interviews for the players?

A: Yes. I'll handle that role just like I was the head coach.

Q: Did you talk to Chip at all heading into this game about anything?

A: I did. I talked to Chip after what happened happened. We've communicated. In terms of anything relating to the Giants, no.

Q: Would you like to be back with this organization in a coordinator role or a head coach role?

A: Of course. I've been here now for 13 years under two different regimes. I told the players last night that I probably learned more in the last three years than I've learned in any stretch of my coaching career. I saw Steve Spagnuolo on the field; we gave each other a hug and the one thing I told him is I said, "I wish I'd known some of this stuff when I worked for you."

Q: When you said if you did it over, you'd do some different things from Cleveland. Is that even more true now after October of 2014? Now you've had two more years. Is there even more to that?

A: My goodness. Absolutely. I think we constantly refine ourselves and we become a better version of ourselves every single day, you learn something new every day. I learned some things about myself today that, you know, would make me a better employee tomorrow. I think that's something we all keep in mind.

Q: Did you learn that you wanted to be a head coach again?

A: Oh, I don't know. I enjoyed this opportunity. It's kind of bittersweet. Then I think back that maybe had I been a better assistant that this wouldn't have been the case. So, I don't know. I just want to get out of here and get back to Philly.

Q: So what did you learn today?

A: It's fun to win and it's fun to see a bunch of guys fight to do it. This was not going to be easy. The other thing I told the guys last night is that we're going to fight to win. But that the Giants were going to give it to us. When I was visiting with Coach Coughlin before the game, I thanked him. He was really good to me when I was in Cleveland. You're not going to find a finer man than Tom Coughlin. I learned a lot of stuff.

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