Brian Johnson

Q. What’s the benefit of using both RB Kenneth Gainwell and RB D’Andre Swift, having that two-back look? (Reuben Frank)

BRIAN JOHNSON: There are a couple things. You keep guys fresh. I think both of those guys have very unique skillsets and I think they complement each other very, very well and they are both really good players.

Any time you have good players you’ve got to try to get them on the field and get the ball in their hands.

Q. We’ve seen a couple instances now where WR A.J. Brown has been emotional after a game and didn’t want to talk to us. Just knowing him the way that you do, how do you read that or what that means? (Tim McManus)

BRIAN JOHNSON: That means nothing to me. I mean, I know the type of person that A.J. is. He’s the ultimate competitor. He’s somebody that’s super trustworthy and that I have a lot of confidence and a lot of faith and a lot of respect for as a person and as a football player. That will never change. I’ve known A.J. for a really long time and he is as good of a person as you will come across.

I have nothing but good things to say about him. He’s having a tremendous year. We’ve just got to make sure that we continue to keep stride and keep growing and keep putting our best foot forward.

Q. WR DeVonta Smith said after the game that one of the things that him and QB Jalen Hurts were talking about in the locker room was about improving communication when QB Jalen Hurts is changing plays at the line. Can you give a little more into what the issue may have been there in that regard or what it may be? (Jeff McLane)

BRIAN JOHNSON: Well, I think communication comes in a bunch of different forms, right. So that could be verbal. It could be non-verbal. And I think, communication is key, and that goes so much to in terms of the operation because it is very fragile and it happens in such a quick amount of time, right.

So, once you put those time constraints on the communication, I think ultimately this is what it boils down to. It has to be clear. It has to be concise. And it has to be confirmed, right.

So, we’ve just got to make sure that everybody is on the same page because these things happen in the very heat of the moment in split seconds, and you have to be able to get that communication through to get it operated the way that you want.

Q. RB D’Andre Swift is on the verge of a thousand yards, he’s Top-10 in the league in carries. In the summer you were unsure if you would have that featured back or a back taking that workload. At what point did you guys realize that he could be that guy for you? (Zach Berman)

BRIAN JOHNSON: How many yards did he have against Minnesota, 150, something like that and he — you know, we were kind of rolling in that game and all three guys were rolling and I think [RB] Boston [Scott] ended up going out right before the half and all three of those guys were kind of rolling against Minnesota but he [D’Andre Swift], you know, had a great game and broke a late run for like a 50-yarder and he’s just continually worked and continually put himself in position to make plays and he’s done a tremendous job this season.

He’s someone who, again, is very dependable, very trustworthy and somebody that we have a lot of respect and trust in to get the job done.

Q. What did you make of the run the ball chant?  (Brooks Kubena)

BRIAN JOHNSON: I’m just trying to call the game, man. At that point, what was it, first and 20 and then it was second and 20.

It was interesting, like sometimes you call some of these RPOs, right, and based on the defense you get presented, it could be a run, it could be a pass. Very rarely are we in situations where it’s — we’re only calling runs, we’re only calling pass, we are only calling screens. These plays have a bunch of different options, and they can unfold a bunch of different ways based on what you’re getting defensively.

At that point, I think it’s really important when you think of it in the short term of what is the best way to get the first down in that scenario, right.

So, you’re calling it, trying to get a first down, and sometimes there’s two schools of thought, right. Sometimes you can say, all right, let’s play for a third down. There’s other times where you can say, it might be better to try to get the first down on first or second down, and I think when you call the game and you kind of have that mindset and you’re looking at it from that vantage point, I don’t know if everybody else would be looking at it from that vantage point.

But I think if you look at some of the top offenses in the league, a lot of those guys get first downs on first and second down. Fortunately, we are a phenomenal third down team, and we have that at our disposal. But sometimes we play situations differently.

Q. When did you have to go to the silent count? Didn’t you have to use the silent count in the game? (Jeff McLane)

BRIAN JOHNSON: Not for that type of reason. We have some certain plays that we like to use as a silent count.

Q. QB Jalen Hurts passing chart from this game had one throw across the middle touchdown to WR DeVonta Smith. Is that based off what the Giants were showing you, and do you think you guys should be throwing to the middle of the field more?  (Josh Tolentino)

BRIAN JOHNSON: I think he had an option route, and it was an in-breaker and they did a great job of reading that coverage. Offensively, you want to make teams cover the entire length and width of the field. I think for us, we are very uniquely built in terms of we have got guys who do a great job of winning one-on-one on the perimeter. So a lot of that focus and attention goes to that.

Ultimately, we just got to continue to put our guys in the best spots possible. I don’t know if you ever look at and go into it and say, the ball has to go here or to this particular part of the field, right. You’re thinking defensive structure, you’re thinking matchup, you’re thinking players not play.

So, a lot of that goes into it, and you know, there’s some plays that we have over the middle and there are some plays that we dominated on the outside edges of the numbers.

I think when you do that, you’ve just got to make sure that you’re getting everybody involved.

Q. The third and 20 play that QB Jalen Hurts made, how he stepped up in the pocket and threw a rope over the defender. How clutch of a play was that? I know you’ve seen that from him many times but does it still kind of amaze you every now and then? (Martin Frank)

BRIAN JOHNSON: It’s an unbelievable play by both of those guys. You know that one will be on some planning tape for a really long time. It was an excellent fundamental play in terms of his ball security through the middle of the pocket and keeping two hands on the ball and climbing vertically. That’s just part of it.

You see those plays when you see guys climb vertically through the middle of the pocket, you have so much more vision in terms of what’s going on and just the talent it takes to layer that throw over a second-level defender in a situation that’s third and 20 after you just got a false start on third and 15 to get us in position to get going and put a scoring drive together.

Those plays that Jalen makes, those are some spectacular football plays and not very many people can do that. That’s something that he has obviously a great knack and a great feel for, and it was no doubt a huge play in that game.

Q. Do you chalk up the interception as an unavoidable play? Obviously, TE Dallas Goedert slipped and just move on from that and say, hey, this is like a no-fault car accident?’ (Bob Brookover)

BRIAN JOHNSON: You get into like the details of like break mechanics and things of that nature, but this is football and things happen. That was a very, very unfortunate play. Again, we had another RPO called that got thrown, and unfortunately ,we slipped and [New York Giants CB] Adoree’ [Jackson] made a good play on the ball and was able to catch it and run it back.

But again, those things happen but, to me, the question now is how do you respond.

I think everybody responded appropriately and that next drive we were able to go down there and get it moving and put ourselves in position to go score again.

Obviously, you never want those things to happen. We’ve had some turnovers this year that have been very strange, but they are what they are. You know, we have to accept that. We have to own that and continue to use these next two weeks to eliminate those.

Q. WR DeVonta Smith was one of the players expressing frustration that the offense wasn’t where he wants it to be; that you guys are not good enough on that side of the ball yet. From a big picture perspective, what’s keeping the offense from getting to that high level that everybody is expecting and what’s your confidence level that it will get there? (Tim McManus)

BRIAN JOHNSON: We just have to continue to play clean and not turn the ball over and put our guys in the best position play-in and play-out with appropriate answers for what we’re getting defensively.

So, I think that’s the challenge and that’s the beauty of this game. The season is not done, so you’re continually working towards that goal. I think people can have frustrations, but that is because they understand and they realize what it can be, right. Those are the type of people that you want. You want people with really, really high standards. You want people who are really, really accountable. You want people that can perform to the best of their ability week-in and week-out. That type of consistency is something that you strive for.

And I know we’ve got a bunch of people in this building that have those standards, right. A bunch of people that strive to be the best they can be. Be the best in the world at whatever their role is. I think that’s something that’s really commendable.

Q. Who on the Cardinals are you really worried about on defense? (Jeff McLane)

BRIAN JOHNSON: [Arizona Cardinals S] Budda Baker is a fantastic player. I think they have a really, really good scheme. They know how to present problems offensively with some of their alignments and some of their packages. Budda is a ball hawk and he roams and can make plays. He’s a guy that constantly shows up on the tape week-in and week-out.

Q. TE Grant Calcaterra and WR Britain Covey had their first targets of the season, for Britain it was the first of his career obviously they are involved in the offense every week but why did it make sense getting them involved on Monday? (Olivia Reiner)

BRIAN JOHNSON: It was good, we got the screen up early to Britain. He did a good job with it, and Grant’s throw, we had an action shot called and the defense didn’t give us the look that we wanted. You know, we ended up checking the ball down and he made a great play. It was like a 12-yard gain.

All of those guys are very, very capable, and sometimes coverage dictates where the ball goes, and sometimes it’s intentional where the ball goes. It just goes to show, like you’ve got to be ready, right. I mean, it’s week whatever, and Grant has made some big plays throughout the course of his two years here, and you know, he was ready when his number’s called.

Q. Circling back to RB D’Andre Swift, in the preseason there was so much talk about how he could help in the passing game, has he surprised you guys as a volume runner? (Zach Berman)

BRIAN JOHNSON: No, he’s been somebody that I remember watching him back in the day at Georgia, and he was a guy who could do a little bit of everything. There’s been no surprise in terms of his ability and what he brings to the table in the run game and the pass game. He’s somebody that again is very dependable and we’ve got a lot of trust and faith in.