Q. Just curious with the Giants and Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett there, how much that helps you. You’ve gotten to know him and what he does offensively the last few years. How much does that play into your game planning on a short week? (John McMullen)
JIM SCHWARTZ: Well, it’s not just Jason Garrett. And he had a couple different offensive coordinators for him in Dallas. [Current LSU passing game coordinator] Scott Linehan, who was my offensive coordinator in Detroit and [Cowboys offensive coordinator] Kellen Moore, who was a third-string quarterback for us in Detroit.
So it was a little bit different under those guys, but there are some continuities. [Giants offensive line coach Marc] Colombo is their offensive line coach. He came from Dallas. So we can see some carryover to those things. We take every team independently of their past. But after we get done all of our breakdowns, then we can sort of DNA match it and say we have some carryover here and there’s a certain percentage of carryover, obviously different personnel and things like that, but there is a certain percentage of carryover.
Q. I noticed DE Brandon Graham played only about 60 percent of the snaps on Sunday. I assume a lot of that had to do with the cardiovascular challenge of running around against Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. How well has he played for you this season? (Paul Domowitch)
JIM SCHWARTZ: BG is one of our best players. You are right, I think in that game, particularly when you’re chasing a scrambling quarterback and you see it all over the film, a great player like Lamar Jackson, and you see defensive linemen out of gas that can’t give relentless effort just because they ran 40 yards on the play before and have to go out and do it again on the next play. So we made a very concerted effort to try to keep guys as fresh as we could in that game.
It really had nothing to do with anything other than that. I think Brandon’s played really well for us, particularly against the run. I think our defensive ends in general played really well against the run in that game. A lot to do with stopping their inside run stuff, particularly their running backs. We got loose on the quarterback a couple times, but that’s generally not a defensive end responsibility in our book.
Q. Against the Ravens, you guys used at linebacker both your rookies, LB Shaun Bradley played quite a bit and LB Davion Taylor got in for some snaps here and there. Curious how you thought both of them played and can they expect to get more playing time going forward? (Martin Frank)
JIM SCHWARTZ: Well, we only had four linebackers, so just because of injuries and things like that, the way the roster is, that’s what you have to do. It’s all hands on deck. We played some extra backer formations against their big stuff. They had a lot of two tight ends and a fullback in the game, No. 42 [Ravens FB/DL Patrick Ricard].
So there was some opportunity for those guys. We don’t judgment ourselves really on anything other than wins or losses and it was a loss. All those guys have shown good progress, and I think it’s an important step that they see play time and things like that. But they are working hard to improve every single week.
I would say this, we did get to see Davion’s speed on that one play and that’s really not his play, but he saw the quarterback pull the ball and chased, and Lamar Jackson is a tough guy to catch. So we did see Davion’s speed on that one.
Q. DE Josh Sweat looked like he was active again on Sunday. Can you describe how has he continued to develop under you guys, and what do you see the future with him? (Chris Franklin)
JIM SCHWARTZ: Again, we talked about this before. I think the biggest thing is just consistency and repeatable motion with a lot of his stuff. His aiming points in the run game, we’re an attack team, we hit spots, the consistency of that, the footwork that goes into that.
A lot of people talk about footwork when it comes to a corner or a quarterback, wide receivers. You hear that talked about, but it’s very rare that you hear about footwork with defensive linemen but it’s just as important.
The consistency of that is where you make plays in the run game. And the consistency of that is your pass rush, the efficiency of the movement and things like that. Josh has really made a big effort to be more consistent. We’re all striving to be more consistent. He’s no different. Nobody on our defense or on our team is 100 percent efficient right now. But I think you’re seeing the fruits of that labor. We just need to keep making more progress.
Q. What led to the decision to play Jalen Mills at safety this week, and the way you used S Will Parks is that how you envision going forward or is that more of an introduction for him? (Zach Berman)
JIM SCHWARTZ: It was really just sort of where we were. We didn’t have [S Marcus] Epps in this game. Will had a chance to come back. [Ravens WR Willie] Snead was in the slot. He’s a tough, physical blocker. We put Will on him who is a physical player, too, so we tried to get him down into that box a little bit more. And just matchups with their wide receivers, particularly a guy like [Ravens WR Marquise] Brown, a smaller guy that can just fly. We thought that [CB Nickell] Robey-Coleman would be a good matchup.
Other than the first third down, he was loose on his coverage on that first third and 12, I think our whole defense was adjusting to the speed that those guys had. It’s hard to replicate the speed of the quarterback. It’s hard to replicate the speed of, whatever, Hollywood Brown [Ravens WR Marquise Brown] and all those guys. I thought that, in particular, Robey, after that first series, I thought he really settled down and did an outstanding job. That’s the most he’s played corner, probably going back to USC and he’s probably an eight-, nine-year guy in the NFL right now. It was another unselfish move for our guys. He’s obviously best suited in the slot. But you know when we needed to do that, a big part of Mills in this game was trying to get [Ravens TE Mark] Andrews covered, man-to-man and we liked — we wanted to accentuate that matchup, too. Our guys have a do-whatever-it-takes mentality. It’s going to be a little bit different on a weekly basis. Sometimes it’s due to injury. Sometimes it’s just due to matchups. Sometimes it’s due to responsibility in the game plan. But they are up for the challenge.
Q. Last week in relation to the personnel decisions made at linebacker, you deferred to Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman and Head Coach Doug Pederson in making those decisions, but clearly they would have to involve you in decisions because of your scheme. Wondering, for instance, what was your involvement in the decision to release DE Casey Toohill as an example of how you would be involved? (Jeff McLane)
JIM SCHWARTZ: Yeah, nice try. I’m not touching personnel decisions.
Q. So you’re not — they never confer with you or – (Jeff McLane)
JIM SCHWARTZ: No, I didn’t say that. I said nice try.
Q. You have five defensive ends now including DE Genard Avery whose snaps were down. I guess it’s a good problem to have to have five healthy defensive ends, but how do you go through trying to figure out a rotation for those guys? (Dave Zangaro)
JIM SCHWARTZ: Sometimes game situation takes care of that when it comes to injuries or different things like that. Sometimes it’s a good problem to have. We’ve had plenty of times where it’s been like, man, we don’t have enough guys to be able to take reps off and keep guys fresh. That’s a big part of what we do with rotating guys.
It was good to have [DE] Vinny [Curry] back out there. He’s a physical player. I think he helped us and again, getting those running backs stopped, which I think a little bit with Baltimore, they put so much pressure on the edge. They make you defend every width of the field and a lot of people who you over play some of those, you get vulnerable on the inside, and I thought our defensive ends, you name them, they did a good job of doing their job in that scheme. It’s a little bit like playing option football. It’s responsibility football.
Q. Giants QB Daniel Jones, how have you seen his game change at all with the new coaching staff? It looks like he’s doing more running, maybe because Giants RB Saquon Barkley is not there, but how have you seen his game evolve with this new staff? (Ed Kracz)
JIM SCHWARTZ: Well, he is their leading rusher. There is that. They ran a little bit last year. They ran some zone read type stuff with him. He can surprise you with his mobility. We can’t be surprised about that on Thursday night because he does have good mobility and he’s run for some first downs. He’s probably not the first guy you think of when you think about mobile quarterbacks, but he’s run the zone read and a couple different layers of it really well, and he has not been afraid to put his head down and get extra yards.
I think that that mobility, his ability to extend plays, has shown up probably maybe a little bit more than last year. Obviously, not having Saquon back there puts a little bit more on the quarterback. The run game really hasn’t change with [Giants RB Devonta] Freeman or [Giants RB Wayne] Gallman or any of those other guys in there, but obviously they try to distribute that burden a little bit and the quarterback has picked some of that up.
Q. Following up on Nickell Robey-Coleman from a few questions back, you talked about he was good in that matchup, but that’s not really where his talents are best suited. But would you keep him out there this week? I’m assuming you don’t have CB Avonte Maddox back or anything like that. Do you see that as a one-game thing, or would you use him there again this week? (Les Bowen)
JIM SCHWARTZ: We’ll just see where it gets on Thursday night. I don’t really want to get into how we’re going to line up on Thursday night. Obviously, Avonte was our starter coming into the season. He’s working his way back from an injury. We’ll see where he is. We have some different ways that we can go with it depending on matchups and things like that. But we’ll just see where we get to on Thursday night.
Like I said, I was pleased with him. I thought Strap [CB Cre’Von LeBlanc] did a good job in that slot. Will [Parks] stepped up and played some significant snaps for us and played physical down in there. You take no consolation in a loss, but I thought [S] Rodney McLeod had an outstanding game again, and has taken another step to fill in some of those multi-dimensional holes that were there when a guy like Malcolm [Jenkins] left. He was responsible for spying the quarterback. The only time the quarterback really ran was when we were in zone coverage and we were deep in our zones and even then, we limited his scramble and got some good hits. I think all those guys are making contributions. We have had some injuries there, not just at the corner position, but at the safety position, and just trying to work it through until we can get our guys healthy.
But that’s life in the NFL. I mean, you start the season, and you have one plan and then on a weekly basis or a monthly basis or whatever basis, whether it’s game plan, personnel matchup or injury, you have to be able to be flexible and change. And I think that you see that from our secondary, guys like Robey trained at corner. Strap played at corner. Both of those guys have played inside-type roles. Safeties can play corner if we need them to. I think that it’s obviously not reflected in our record, but I think that that’s something that’s important to us over the course of 16 games.
Q. Your red zone numbers are not where we’re accustomed to seeing them. When you look at that, what are you seeing? What’s changed? What are you disappointed in? (Reuben Frank)
JIM SCHWARTZ: Yeah, people are running the ball over our goal line too much, and I think that’s probably the biggest thing. We’ve always prided ourselves on a good run-stopping defense, and I think that that’s too many times we’ve been in that.
Going back to last week, you don’t survive many first-and-goals on the one, and we put ourselves in those positions due to penalties. So I don’t really see that as a reflection of your run defense, but a lot of these other ones, we have to get that back. We obviously are not where we have been there and we’re not where we want to be, but we can’t rely on being good in the pass at that position. We’re not performing the way we need to perform in the red zone right now and it has a lot to do with the points that we’re allowing, holding the field goals in the red zone, that’s a four-point play for the defense if you can get a third-down stop in the red zone. Those four points add up both in a positive and a negative way. we’re not going to be where we want to be on defense until we are a consistent third down team, until we are a consistent red zone team, we are a consistent run-stopping team. Then those other things will take care of themselves.