BBI GUEST APPEARANCE ON GIANTS HUDDLE PODCAST…
In a wide-ranging discussion of current issues surrounding the New York Giants, Eric from BBI joined John Schmeelk on the Giants Huddle Podcast at Giants.com on Wednesday afternoon. The audio for the show is available at Giants.com.
Q: Does this feel like starting over with this franchise? Last year was sort of a bridge with Eli and Zak around and sort of a link to the history. Now it’s all new guys.
A: Yeah, I would definitely say it’s a fresh new start. I heard you guys talking with Shep earlier about history. I do think we are doing a great job of, especially when we are in zoom meetings, understanding the history, understanding the guys before us. There is a tradition here. Like you said, Shep is the longest tenured Giant and he has only been in the league for five to six years, I guess. It’s a fresh new start, we are learning every single day, on the offensive side and on the defensive side. Learning a new scheme and system and trying to focus on the little things to get better every single day. Capitalize on the things we are able to do.
Q: When you study the history of the franchise, is it with an emphasis that we have to create the next chapter in the history?
A: I wouldn’t say there’s an emphasis of we have to create the next chapter. You have to understand your history and what we’re known for. The Giants are known for being tough, physical and doing the little things right. That’s something that Coach Judge and all the coaches have made a focal point for us in the short time that we have been here. That’s what we try to attack every single day and try to get better every single day.
Q: Have you spoken to Ezekiel Elliott about playing with Jason Garrett? Does his success make you excited about the prospect of playing for Jason Garrett this year?
A: I have not talked to Zeke directly about how he’s been coached by Coach Garrett or the system and stuff like that. I’m definitely good friends with Zeke and we respect each other, but I haven’t reached out. Zeke has had a lot of success. Not only Zeke but the running backs before him, McFadden, Murray, Barber, the list goes on. I think ever since Coach Garrett has been the head coach or OC, they have been at the top in the running game every single year. I wouldn’t say their success excites me, just what we have. I love our coaching staff, I love the energy they are bringing, and the attention to detail they are emphasizing for us. It’s only been small, it’s only been through walkthroughs, but I’m really excited.
Q: What’s the biggest area of growth you have seen with Daniel compared to a year ago? How excited are you about going into this season, his second year, with you two together?
A: Definitely excited for DJ. We definitely got a lot closer from this point where we are from him being a rookie to us actually hanging out, working out together and stuff. He’s a hard worker, he’s a heck of a player, he’s very talented. You just grow, not just saying system-wise but as a player. Being more comfortable from your rookie year to your second year. I know for myself from my first year to my second year how much more comfortable I was just being in the locker room and talking with the guys. That’s where you are going to grow, and you are going to continue to see him grow in that area. He’s a talented player and hard worker and I’m really excited to see what he is going to do this year.
Q: Have you noticed him stepping up and being that vocal leader going into this camp? I know it’s tough with just the zoom meetings. Now that you guys are back together, have you seen him take up that leadership role as a quarterback?
A: Yeah, I have definitely seen him take up that leadership role. You can see it through his work ethic. I have seen him work out a couple times. You just know he is taking that step. I am really excited for his growth. I am really excited to see what he is able to do this year.
Q: This has been a year where you guys have had to adapt. Aldrick was let go after the car accident. Today the Broward County prosecutor’s office filed charges against DeAndre Baker, so I assume he is not going to be around this season. How difficult has this whole year been?
A: Obviously there have been some things going on within the world and everything. At the same time, we are presented with an opportunity to get better every single day. That’s what we have to do. That time that we do have, we have to follow the procedures, especially with our masks. Try to keep everyone safe, because at the end of the day you are not just protecting yourself, you are protecting everyone in this building. You have to focus on that and then when we are on the practice field, we are out there to work, try to work at a high level and each rep get one percent better each day.
Q: Is it disappointing to see some of the guys have the off the field problems?
A: I’m not really going to be speaking on that. I’m just focusing on coming in here working every single day. Trying to grow as a leader and get better every single day to help my team.
Q: What do you want to see from yourself going into year three?
A: What I want to see from myself is just growth. I feel like I have been saying this answer so much in my first two years. I’m really focused on trying to get better in every area of my game. I feel like I have so much more room to continue to grow and there is so much I can continue to add to my game. I would say some big focal points are pass pro, in between the tackles, outside the tackles, catching the ball, ball security. Every single day, try to focus and try to get better in every area of my game. I am a big stickler when it comes to stuff like that. Definitely when our coaches sat down, they really have us focused on the details and all the little things matter. That’s the focus and where I want to improve my game, which I guess you could say is everything.
Q: Did any of your offseason training come about specifically because of the high ankle sprain?
A: No. To be completely honest, my approach was to try to get bigger, stronger, faster, which I think I was able to accomplish this offseason. Those injuries, the high ankle injury I had last year, that comes with the game. I got caught in a bad position at a bad time. It’s those other injuries that I want to try to take care of. Make sure I am hydrated right, make sure I am stretching. Make sure I am working with our trainers, and PT. Obviously when we are back into the regular season, all the extra stuff I do on the outside. Just try to focus on all the little things that I can control. The injuries that you can’t control, that’s just part of the game that I love. Hopefully I can stay away from that.
Q: How hungry are you to be a part of a winning team? Your success personally aside, it’s now been a few years since you have been a part of a team that finishes with a winning record?
A: That’s the motive. That’s why we come in every single day and why we work every single day, to get better every single day, one percent better. Yes, do we want to have a winning record? Yes, that’s every team. I’m a big believer, I know what we are getting taught and what’s going on now, that’s not going to happen if we don’t take care of the little things. I want that and if I’m hungry for that, which I am, I have to focus on today. Right now, after this meeting, get some nutrition and go into meetings and try and learn and get better in the system and this offense.
Q: When you look at this time right now, there are a lot of expectations that are very low outside of your building. New head coach, second year quarterback in a new system, things like that. What do you see as reasons for optimism? You have been around the team that’s lost. What tells you that this could be different?
A: What tells me this could be different, one, it’s a brand-new year. It’s a fresh start. From what I have seen in these first couple of days is we are steps ahead, in my opinion. We are coming in, we’re locked in. Are mistakes being made, yes, that’s part of the nature of learning a system and learning a new offense. We have what I believe is really great coaching staff starting with Coach Judge to Coach Garrett and so on down the line. They are doing a tremendous job of having us focusing on the little things and focused on situational football, which I think is a part of our game we can improve on from this year to last year.
Q: How much thought did you give to opting out? What is your level of concern with playing a season in the middle of all this?
A: Great question. To be completely honest, I believe in our training room and our team and facility and our owners. They have done a tremendous job of putting the procedures in place and giving us the right equipment to make it as safe as it could be. I want to say thank you to those guys because they are doing a really good job and every single day, they put us in the best position to stay healthy and safe to be able to compete at a high level.
Q: How concerned are you that you might not make it through the full season? You see what’s going on in baseball and there have been problems along the way? How much is that something you guys talk about and think about?
A: When you see the stuff that is going on in baseball, I guess you could say it crosses your mind. We talked about this as a team, we have to focus on how we can take advantage of this. How we need to stay committed to the procedures of wearing a mask and even when outside following the procedures to stay as healthy as we can. There hasn’t been that much talk in the locker room. We talked about it a little bit, what happened in baseball. The only way we can handle it and try to focus on the season is by focusing on us and making sure we are following the procedures to try and stay healthy.
Q: What has it been like this training camp when you are not at the facility? What would you be doing at night that you are not doing now? What’s missing from the nighttime and how are you following the protocols?
A: In camp, it’s really similar. The only thing that’s different is you are allowed to be in the hotel or your house. Instead of going to a hotel, I go home. In camp, it’s different. When the season starts, you just have to be smart. If you want to go grab a bite to eat, you have to be smart. When fans come up and ask you for pictures or an autograph, that’s something that I have seen happen to me, I have to make sure I’m wearing my mask and make sure they are wearing a mask. Obviously, still be polite. That could be that little situation that could take a turn for the worst. That’s definitely in the back of your mind. Just go in every single day and try to do the best you can. Still try to live the life that you love to live. Just do it in a smarter way because you’re not just protecting yourself, you are protecting the people in your home. When you come here, you are protecting everyone in this facility and everyone that they have at home.
Q: I wanted to ask you a little bit about some of the things that happened in the offseason, your participation in the “I am George Floyd” video. Were you surprised at how quickly the NFL responded to that? Can you just tell us a little bit about how that came together and how that’s going to continue through the season?
A: Yeah, Mike Thomas had approached me about it, and I’m very supportive of it. That was something that I was very passionate about. I’m very supportive of change in the right way. That’s just kind of how it came about and how I heard about it. But yeah, moving forward as a team, we have things in place that we’re getting out to these communities and getting active. That’s something that I wanted to do, was take action.
Q: Are you going to wear a name or initials on your helmet, and do you know which ones yet if you are?
A: We haven’t really discussed it as a team yet, but we want to be unified. That’s something that we’ll talk about as a team.
Q: Just to get back to the first question, were you surprised about how quickly the league responded to that? I think it was probably within 24 hours that they came out with their own video.
A: Yeah, I think the impact of the video was pretty big. I expected them to handle it in the right way, and it seems like they did.
Q: You saw all of the opt-outs around the league. You have two young children. Did you give any consideration to opting out yourself? And your thoughts on the players who did?
A: I’m supportive of all the players that did. Everyone is going to make a decision based on what’s going on around them in their household, and make the decision that’s best for them. That’s the way we approached that as a family. We sat down and talked about it, and I made the decision that was best for my family.
Q: Along those same lines, what are you doing during camp? Are you going home at the end of the day? Are you staying at the hotel?
A: Yeah, I’m staying with my family. I have to get up a bit earlier because I’m not by the stadium, but yeah, that’s the decision I made to be with my family.
Q: How much of a conscious decision is it going to be to sort of limit activities when you’re not at the facility so you’re not exposing yourself, as much as you can control?
A: Yeah, for the past few months, I’ve been with the family not really doing much anyway. It’s kind of continuing the same thing. Just chilling with the family. It’s good family time.
Q: No Eli (Manning), no (Zak) DeOssie. You’re the longest-tenured member in that locker room and really the longest-tenured football player in all of New York, including the Jets. What does that mean? What does that come with? Did it come quicker than normal? You were “Young Shep” last year. Now I guess you’re “Old Shep”.
A: Yeah, I might have to shake the “Young Shep” off. I was thinking about that. I did not know that about the whole New York with the Jets and everything. But yeah, just set a good example for the young guys and kind of teach them about some of the different rivalries that we have and how important those games are to the New York Giants as an organization.
Q: You tell me, does Leonard (Williams) count? He’s been in New York one year longer but he changed teams. Does he count or are you the old guy?
A: Leonard’s up there, but if you’re talking about our team, I guess I am at the top.
Q: In terms of this offense, for you, I should have done the math but for how many new offenses, new wrinkles that you’ve had to learn since you’ve been here, what do you like about it? What have you seen from the guys you’ve trained with, obviously, with Daniel (Jones) and Saquon (Barkley) and Evan (Engram)? What has you most excited about what the new system brings?
A: Yeah, it’s an offense that utilizes everyone’s skill set. It’s a lot of moving pieces as well, which I like about it. I like to move around the field and the guys that I’ve played with like to move around, too. It makes it tough on defenses. Yeah, those are some of the things that I like about it, just being able to utilize everyone’s skill set.
Q: Do you feel like you guys have gained an understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish yet, or is that still ongoing?
A: Yeah, it’s still in the works. I’m proud of the guys and the way that everyone has been approaching each day. It’s a lot on us right now with all of the information being shoved at us. We’re kind of on a time crunch. I’m proud of the guys and the way we’ve been working.
Q: For you, I don’t know if we’ve ever even asked you this, but what does the idea of being a captain on the team mean? Have you ever thought about yourself being voted as a captain here since like you said in your previous answer, you’ve been a young guy, young guy, then all of a sudden, you’re kind of a veteran here?
A: If that’s what ends up happening and that’s the way my team sees me, then I’ll be happy to wear that badge and take that role. I’m happy with whatever role. I can lead in different ways, like I have for the last four years that I’ve been here. Whichever role they have me in, I’m going to find a way to lead.
Q: Have you spoken to Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott or any of the other Cowboys players about what it’s like playing for Jason Garrett and what to expect during the season?
A: No, I actually haven’t. I was going to reach out to Zeke at some point, but I never got around to it. I like to get my own view on the coaches and how they operate. That’s kind of what I’ve been doing these past few days.
Q: Just as a quick follow-up going back to the start, did you speak with Joe Judge at all about the Black Lives Matter video or social justice causes? I was wondering what his reaction to all of that stuff was.
A: No, I didn’t talk about that specifically, but we did have a talk as a team.
Q: You’ve had some time to spend with Daniel this offseason. You’ve worked with him a whole bunch. What do you expect from Daniel Jones 2.0, and what were those workouts like when you guys worked in New Jersey, and he also held the ones in Texas?
A: They were good. We were just trying to get down some of the material. Now that we’re here, that’s pretty much all that we’re focused on. All that stuff is behind us. Some of the things we were working on, Coach has added some of the little nuances in, different route techniques. Some of the stuff we thought we were doing right, but just fine-tuning those things. We’re really just focused on getting these plays down and getting down what the coaches like and getting on the same page with each other.
Q: What are your expectations for him? What are you expecting from Daniel Jones in his second year?
A: Just to continue to do what he’s doing. He’s going in the right direction. He comes in here and works his butt off every single day. If we keep doing what we’re supposed to do as a unit and he continues to work as hard as he’s been working, I feel like he’ll be doing great.
Q: I want to go back to a question that was asked earlier about you being the longest-tenured Giant here. With the departure of Eli and Zak, kind of like all the history that carried over from year to year, from generation to generation, has kind of evaporated. What are you doing or what can you do, I mean you haven’t been around long, but you are the longest-tenured guy. How are you as a team re-capturing some of that history, starting to develop an understanding and appreciation of that history from recent years?
A: When we were going through the OTA period on the Zoom calls, the coaches would have some trivia questions for us, so we did this Kahoot! challenge to kind of get guys going and understanding the history of the organization. Those were some of the different ways that we’ve already began to teach some of these newcomers and guys that really don’t know much about the history of the Giants, a way to get them caught up.
Q: How important is that to know the history of the team? Some guys come in and they’re all about ball. But I get the impression just from talking to some guys over the years that they don’t really learn the history of the franchise. The Giants are one of the most storied franchises. How much of an emphasis is being put on that?
A: Yeah, I think it’s very important to know the history. You have to know what the guys before you have done and how they played football, and to continue to play that way because that’s what this organization was built on and that’s what it’s used to. I think it’s important and the coaches do as well. That’s the reason they had us doing those different Kahoot! challenges and trivia questions.
Q: What has this offseason been like for you? When you got the franchise tag, was it your intention to get a long-term deal to stay with the Giants and what happened with that?
A: I think it’s always in the player’s interest to get a long-term deal, but that’s something that worked itself out between my agents and the organization. I’m just happy to be here, play with this team again, and learn about the guys that I’ve been with since last year. I got to know them a little bit more and play again with them this year. I’ve just been training hard and was ready for anything to happen. I was just trying to stay ready so I didn’t have to get ready.
Q: Was it disappointing to not get that deal and to be playing on another make good kind of contract year?
A: I wouldn’t say it was disappointing. I kind of knew the situation I was coming off of last year. I think it’s actually a good opportunity for myself. I’m looking at it as an opportunity. I’m not looking at it as something that’s bad. I’m looking at it as an opportunity.
Q: Obviously, the trade got a lot of criticism from outsiders and the franchise tag kind of got some criticism. Do you feel like you have anything to prove this season?
A: I wouldn’t say I have something to prove necessarily. I think the coaches know and my teammates know what I bring to the table or I wouldn’t be here. I definitely still feel like I’m playing with a chip on my shoulder at the same time, though. I’m ready to just go out here and play the best that I can. It starts today. It starts one day at a time. I’m not looking towards the future or next offseason or what’s going to happen a year from now. I’m just trying to get better right now and see what I can do for my team.
Q: You’ve obviously been in the league for a few years. Do you think there’s another level you can reach?
A: Definitely. I’m definitely still a young player in this league. I feel like I still have a lot in the tank. I still feel like I have a lot of years left in me to play in this league. I think I just need to keep going and take it day by day like I said.
Q: Eli Manning retired, Zak DeOssie retired, Bilal Powell is not here anymore. Leonard Williams is the New York football player who’s been in New York the longest. Obviously, you changed teams, but you’re the guy who’s been here the longest, the longest New York NFL player. What do you like about playing here? People are hard about this city, with us, with the fans, everything is scrutinized. Do you like it or do you almost wonder sometimes what it would be like somewhere else?
A: No, I love it. It’s a great media market. It’s crazy to think, first of all, that I’ve been here the longest. I’m only 26 years old. That makes me feel really old that I’ve been here the longest in New York. But yeah, it’s a great media, it’s a great city, great teams in this area historically and things like that. It’s great to be in a city like this, and you can take advantage of it if you can.
Q: Quick follow up. You’re on that Non-Football Injury list. Do you know how it happened, what happened, and when you expect to be back?
A: We can’t really talk about injuries. If somebody wants to get more information on that, you might have to bring it up with Coach (Joe) Judge or someone else on the team. I’m definitely making strides on it and doing the best that I can to get out there with my teammates.
Q: Two-parter for you. One, your first impressions of Sean Spencer, the d-line coach, what’s it been like working with him and getting on the field with him? Two, with this being kind of such a big prove-it year for you, is there something about this scheme and this system that makes you think this could be a breakout season for you?
A: Yeah, I love the scheme. I feel like our DC, Pat Graham, I feel like he’s a genius when it comes to x’s and o’s and stuff like that. I also love working with Coach Spencer so far. I like his energy and the way he coaches his guys. He’s real hands-on. He has that loud, deep voice that as a d-line coach, it’s kind of something that I like. I like it.
Q: I saw this offseason that you and Richard Seymour had gotten together and did some training. I’m not sure if it went beyond that initial meeting, but I’m just curious how that came about, what did you look to learn from him, what kind of parts of your game did you guys kind of focus on?
A: Richard Seymour is a good guy. He basically worked with my agent back in the day, Eugene Parker. I’m kind of working with his son now. They kind of linked us together. I went to Atlanta and met up with him. He brought me into his home, we watched film together. We just talked man to man about football and life and stuff like that. I feel like he’s just a mentor to me at this point. We’ve been able to keep in touch throughout the offseason and up to this point.
Q: With the film you watched together, did you watch him, did you watch you or both? What from his game can you bring to yours?
A: Not just mine or just him, D-line film in general and stuff like that. A little bit of both mine and his. He’s a really big, tall dude who uses power and I just feel like he was trying to teach me some of the things that he did. We worked out and stuff so he could see my body type and how I move and my strengths and stuff like that. He was giving me feedback and advice.
Q: We all want instant gratification no matter what profession we are in. How have you been balancing your desire to really take your game to the next level but at the same time realizing it’s a process. Coming over to a new system, a new team and having to learn it and then on top of that learning a new playbook and then having to learn a new playbook all over again.
A: For me, I definitely understand it’s a process. I got traded midseason, I had to learn a whole new team, a whole new system halfway through the season last year. Now I’m learning a whole new team and a whole new system. Every year is a new team, and now it’s a new system again. I understand it’s a process, not just with the system but in general, it’s a process. I don’t let too much outside noise get to me, I just try to work hard, keep the blinders on and keep working and doing what I can do.
Q: Right now, it’s projected that the starting defensive line is going to remain unchanged. It’s going to be yourself, Dexter and Dalvin. How important is that continuity and what have you seen in this new system that has benefitted the group as a whole.
A: I don’t know what’s set as far as who is starting. All I know is we have been competing and pushing each other and I think in general that’s going to fuel the team to be great and to be better. When you have young guys that are dedicated to working hard and getting better, it’s a great way to drive each other. I definitely respect those guys in the room, and I think we all have great respect for each other and we learn from each other.
Q: How are you expecting to be deployed in this defense? Are you expecting to play all over like last year? How exactly did you hurt your hamstring coming into camp?
A: For the second part, like I said, you might have to bring that up to Coach Judge or someone else in the building because we’re not talking about injuries. I’ve just been working on it and getting better. I’ll be out there with my teammates when I can. For the defensive part of it, it’s only week one. We are still installing a bunch of defenses. So far, I have been seeing myself in a few different positions. At the same time, I am not fully 100 percent with the injury. I’m sure stuff will change when I am back to 100 percent and once stuff gets fully installed. There is still week one stuff going on, it’s still an introduction to the defense to the team.
Q: If the schedule were normal, you would be a couple days away from your preseason opener. Do you think that the team and players will miss anything by not having preseason games? Do you need those couple of thumps against another team to get ready? Do you think everybody can roll into the regular season and it will be football as normal?
A: I’m not sure, I think it will be a little bit of a change and a challenge. I think some of the preseason games definitely help for younger guys who have never played in the NFL or younger guys who are working to make the team. It gives the coaches an opportunity to see them in a live game type of environment. At the same time, I think the team is doing a great job of creating that competitive environment to see everybody’s best. We’re making do with what we have. The coronavirus is affecting everybody in the world and we’re not excluded from that. We are doing the best we can.
FLORIDA OFFICIALS DECIDE TO PROSECUTE DEANDRE BAKER…
Broward County, Florida officials have decided to prosecute New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker on four counts of robbery with a firearm. If convicted, Baker faces a minimum prison sentence of 10 years up to life. Baker was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List on July 27th due to his ongoing legal situation. At the team’s request, he has not participated in any team workouts this offseason.
Baker was charged in May with four counts of armed robbery and four counts of armed aggravated assault with a firearm from an incident that allegedly took place at a house party in Miramar, Florida. The incident was allegedly sparked by a game of dice that involved high-stakes gambling and allegedly resulted in Baker robbing party guests at gunpoint. Baker was released on bond after he turned himself into police authorities. Baker’s attorneys claim Baker was the victim of a shakedown.
The Giants drafted Baker in the 1st round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Baker had an up-and-down rookie season for the Giants. He started 15 of the 16 games he played in, receiving 87 percent of defensive snaps, and finishing the year with 61 tackles and 8 pass defenses. He did not intercept a pass.
ZAK DeOSSIE RETIRES…
New York Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie, who remained an unsigned unrestricted free agent this offseason, has officially retired from football. DeOssie was drafted as a linebacker by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2007 NFL Draft, but spent his entire 13-year career on special teams with the Giants. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2010. Last November, the Giants placed DeOssie on Injured Reserve with knee and wrist issues.
“To everyone at the New York Football Giants – teammates, coaches, trainers, management, ownership, and everyone else who impacted my career and daily experience in big and small ways: I can’t thank you enough for the best 13 years of my life,” said DeOssie. “I have worked with, and for, the best of the best, and that has made me better in every way, every single day. I am forever grateful for the opportunity, the lifelong friendships, and ten lifetimes worth of memories – the big wins on big stages, the tiny victories behind the scenes, and the challenges that have taught me so much. Eli said it best: Once a Giant, Always a Giant, Only a Giant. What an honor.”
DeOssie’s full retirement statement is available at Giants.com.
GIANTS CUT DOMINIQUE ROSS…
The New York Giants have waived undrafted rookie free agent linebacker Dominique Ross.
Q: I guess the most important question I have to ask today is do you plan to opt out?
A: No, I do not plan to opt out.
Q: You did a bunch of workouts with teammates during the offseason. What did you get out of those and how valuable were they?
A: I think they were valuable for us. Obviously, this year we did all our meetings and installs virtually through Zoom, which I thought went well and we did a good job of learning and picking up through that. Getting on the field together helped and we kind of worked on some things we had discussed in meetings in trying to get guys ready for this camp and make sure we were ready to roll.
Q: When you look at this offense, are you saying to yourself that you have seen all this before, or how much do you have to learn?
A: I think we’re all trying to learn and there are obviously some similar concepts and similar ideas, but it’s a new system and we are all learning it and putting it together. That is kind of what we’re focused on. Comparing it to last year, I’m not sure how much that helps in learning it. We’re taking it day by day and install by install and trying to learn it as quickly as we can and as well as we can.
Q: In terms of 2020, what are the goals? What are you trying to accomplish?
A: Right now, I think my focus is on this camp and trying to make sure I am as prepared as possible mentally. We have talked about a new system and a new offense to learn and pick up. So I think my focus right now is what we’re doing day to day here and trying to make sure we take the right steps forward and improving every single day. For me personally, I am doing a good job of picking up the offense and understanding what the coaches expect. Obviously want to improve on a lot of things from last year personally and as a team. In order to get there and to get there the right way, I think we want to focus on what we’re doing day to day in this camp.
Q: You have your five main targets back this year (Tate, Shepard, Slayton, Saquon, Engram). How has that continuity been beneficial to this point?
A: Just spending time with guys, and like we talked about, getting together in the offseason a little bit. Knowing how guys are going to get in and out of breaks is obvious and something you would expect, but that continuity helps. Also, just having a relationship with guys and me knowing how they learn and how they communicate as we all try to learn this system and try to work through it and make sure we’re on the same page. I think that continuity definitely helps with that process.
Q: Seeing photos and videos of you, it has been talked about how different you look. What was your training like and what was it about this offseason?
A: I feel good. I feel like I’m as strong as I’ve been. I feel like I’m in good shape. I was in Charlotte for most of the offseason and training there. I wanted to get stronger and wanted to gain some weight for what that does for every part of my game, standing in the pocket, running when I need to, and obviously throwing the ball as efficiently as I can using my strength, my lower body. Each piece of that was part of the goal of the offseason in my training.
Q: What are you weighing right now?
A: 229, 228.
Q: Is that up from what, 220?
A: Yeah, I was at 220.
Q: It has to be different for you walking in without Eli Manning here and you being the starter. What is the biggest difference for you walking in as the starter? And how would you describe your collaboration and relationship with Jason Garrett and what are his qualities as an offensive coordinator and a coach?
A: The biggest thing is not being a rookie and having relationships with people in the building and my teammates. Obviously we have a new staff and I’m certainly learning and going through that process like I did last year. There is a certain level of comfort in it being my second year and it’s been good. With Coach Garrett, I have enjoyed learning from him so far. He is extremely detailed in his thinking and what he expects on the field, and I think that is probably what has stood out the most. I look forward to working with him and continuing to learn this system.
Q: You kind of laughed off that first question about opting out, but I’m curious if that is something you gave any thought to it and how do you approach teammates who are considering it or who have chosen that option?
A: It’s important to realize that everyone has different circumstances, whether it be family related or personally or whatever it may be. I certainly don’t have those situations. I live by myself and I’m healthy, but everyone has got to consider their own personal situation and I certainly respect that and expect people to do that and do what’s best for them and certainly don’t hold that against them. Obviously Nate (Solder) made a decision to opt out and he’s got an extremely tough circumstance and he’s got to do what’s best for his family. All the respect in the world, all the support in the world to him.
Q: Are you surprised at how many players around the league have decided to opt out?
A: I don’t know. I’m not really sure I had an expectation. Like I said, you’ve got to look at everyone individually and personally and you have no way of knowing exactly what’s going on and why they made that decision. That’s up to them, so like I said, I certainly respect it and support it for all the people who made that decision.
Q: You and Darius Slayton came into the league at the same time. How would you describe your relationship with him and what is it like throwing to one of the faster guys on the team?
A: I’ve certainly enjoyed playing with Darius and working with Darius. He’s a guy that comes to work everyday and knows what to do and knows what’s expected of him from the coaches and does his best to do that. Obviously he’s a talented guy. Like you said, he can really get out and run. He has a big frame, he’s a big target. I’ve really enjoyed working with him and I know he’s excited going into this year and has attacked this offseason and this new system the right way, so I’m excited to continue working with him.
Q: How difficult an adjustment has it been getting used to the new protocols, especially as you are trying to become a leader of this team?
A: It has definitely been different, but I think our organization, the Giants, the medical staff, the operation people have done an unbelievable job of setting up the facility here at the stadium and making sure it is clear what they expect from us, wearing a mask and socially distancing and doing all those things. It’s different, but it’s not hard and it’s not getting in the way of us doing our work. As long as we’re conscientious about it, I think we haven’t had any problems with the policies and the procedures.
Q: Has anything been a bigger adjustment than others?
A: Not really. Just being here, just being in the stadium is different, but like I said, our organization has done a great job of setting it up and we’re lucky to have this space and do as much as we can do over here with all the space we have.
Q: As you look to the start of the season, how difficult do you envision it will be to go into that first game in a new system without having played a preseason game?
A: When you look at it, a lot of other teams have that situation. Obviously no one is playing a preseason. We’re all operating under the same rules, the same outline as far as practice and into the season. All we can do is prepare as well as we can in the time we have and make sure we’re getting the most out of every single day and those practices leading up to the first game. I think that’s our approach as a team and we’ll make sure we do that and prepare as well as possible.
Q: As a second-year quarterback going into a new system, does that put you at a little bit of a disadvantage as opposed to some veterans in the same system?
A: I don’t think so. I think it’s on me to learn the system as quick as I can and as effectively as I can. Use the time we have, use the practices we have to do that and come in prepared and ready to go.
Q: How ready can a defensive lineman be to play football with no offseason program?
A: We’ve been thinking about it with everything going on, but it’s something that you must mentally prepare for as well as try to as much as possible physically prepare for the practices for when we do get to practice with the pads on.
Q: What is your reaction to the number of optouts around the league and did you ever consider it?
A: I can’t react to them because I’ve been so locked into the playbook. I just have been trying to get the plays down with training camp going on and meetings. I’ve just been so locked in here just trying to improve and help everyone else improve. I really haven’t thought too much about opting out because I Just want to be with my teammates.
Q: Obviously this is a different offseason, a different training camp, how different does it feel to you?
A: It’s super different. Social distancing is the biggest thing to get used to, making sure you’re always six feet apart and things like that. It’s super different, different location, you’re used to being in the facility just right there with everyone and everything is super close. Things are a lot more spread out now.
Q: Obviously in the locker room you guys sit close to each other and there’s a lot of joking around. You guys really have to be conscious of that now?
A: Yeah, everyone is spread out and we’re yelling over to make sure everyone can hear you through the mask. You might lose your voice every now and again.
Q: We were just on with Blake (Martinez) and he talked about wanting to come in and be the quarterback of the defense, the guy everyone turns to when they need to know what’s going on. I know it’s really early in the process and you probably just met him in person. Have you seen him developing into that role for this defense?
A: Blake’s a great guy, a great teammate. I feel like as a linebacker, that’s what linebackers do. They coach the defense up and stuff like that. It’s super early and we have only been out here for a couple days now, I feel like our roles and things like that are going to develop a lot more in the coming weeks.
Q: What are the roadblocks that you see as you guys move through the season? Where might you guys slip up and have an outbreak that could end the season? How different is the defense you are running this year as opposed to last year? Coach Judge talks a lot about versatility? If you are going to be versatile, I’m assuming there are going to be some similarities to last year.
A: For the roadblock question, pretty much everyone just needs to follow the protocols and hopefully we can stay safe as possible, that’s the number one priority right now. The new defense, I’m just trying to pick up everything. I really haven’t been able to compare it to last year simply because it’s still pretty new for the most part. We’ve been able to walk through stuff and everything. Just trying to take it day by day and continue to improve on the things we are installing each day.
Q: What’s the biggest difference watching Dexter Lawrence now compared to where he was a year ago?
A: The biggest difference is you get used to the NFL, the meetings and things like that. I guess you get a little but more comfortable going into your second year. Everybody, as a rookie coming in, you are nervous because you are a rookie. Now he is a second-year player. He comes in with his work hat on every day ready to work. I love the energy he brings and just how excited he is to come to work and get better each day.
Q: You are going into your fourth year here. What are your expectations this year for yourself? How do you think this new defense is going to help you reach those?
A: I am super excited about the new defense. I want to be able to help in the run and pass game this year and just keep improving across the whole board. Help out and be disruptive in the middle as much as possible throughout the whole season.
Q: What do you like about the defense and how does it apply to you specifically?
A: I feel like I am super aggressive on the inside. The scheme is fun. It reminds me of the Alabama defense and the Alabama days and the techniques I used to use and stuff like that.
Q: You are not the oldest player on this team, but you are the longest tenured defensive player. What does that tell you about the business, about yourself, about the Giants? That you can be such a young guy and the elder statesman as far as time served with Giants on the defense?
A: Everybody knows it’s a business. You have to be able to understand that coming in. I just keep my head down and focus on getting better each and every day and keep working. That’s all you can do. I’m just blessed to be in the position I’m in and be in this chair talking to you guys. Come in each and every day and don’t take a day for granted.
Q: Do you ever look around and say where did all those guys go?
A: I guess you could say that sometimes. Not really, though, I have been so locked in on everything we are installing and stuff like that. Trying to get me and everyone around me better, just trying to improve everybody.
Q: You were here last time Coach Graham was here as the D-line coach. Are you seeing some carryover in what he taught when he was the defensive line coach versus what he is teaching now? How has he grown since he last here a defensive line coach?
A: He is a great guy who has grown a lot. You can just tell it’s a lot of pretty much the same techniques. I always catch him coming into the D-line room and talking to us all the time. We are his favorite group, I guess you could say, because he used to be a D-line coach. He’s always teaching us different techniques that remind me of the stuff he used to teach my rookie year. A lot of great stuff going on and we just keep improving on the techniques he’s teaching us.
Q: Does that make it easier for you transitioning to this new defense because there is some familiarity?
A: It does make it a little bit easier because the techniques are similar.
Q: Coach talked about using the spring to make sure there were no strangers once you guys finally do get on the field. How quickly have you come together in the last week or so? Do you feel like there is anything that’s missing from not having that spring?
A: Especially me being a new guy, I thought about the OTA’s portion, especially if you are a rookie or new a free agent, as that earning the respect portion. I think that’s a big miss. You can work out together and you get to see everybody’s work ethic, you get to see the guys doing extra. See the guys take control in certain tough situations, whether it’s conditioning, meetings, walk throughs and things like that. I think overall we did a great job as a team making sure we took advantage of what we were given. The zoom meetings, being able to add in video games at nighttime with guys, just chatting with guys after the meetings ended. Overall, walking in it was just having to see the guy’s face for the first time in person. Being like, oh sweet, that’s what you look like, it’s not just your face, I get your whole body now. That portion was different, but overall, it was cool to walk in and make it seem like we have been friends for the last six months.
Q: Being the guy who is going to be in the middle of the huddle making all the calls and checks. How do you simulate that? Without any preseason games, are there things you will do with your defense between now and September 14 to make sure you’re ready for when the lights go on?
A: For us, right now our big focus is everyone focusing on the fundamentals of doing what we need to do each day to grow as individuals. Overall, for me it’s just being able to allow those guys to understand that I’m going to be on top of everything from checks, making sure people are lined up in the right position, that I am that calming factor. For me, I take every single day to keep chipping at that. Whether it’s walk throughs, talking in meetings, guys start to recognize this guy knows what going on, this guy is going to allow me to not have any freak moments. If things are moving fast, he’s the guy that I can turn to and calm myself down.
Q: Who is the guy you look to, to calm you down if you start to get a little antsy?
A: That’s the reason I am here, to be that guy. For me, I pride myself on not being too flustered in any moments and being that rock for the defense. Especially obviously for me being the quote, unquote, quarterback on the defense. Being that guy that’s always calm, cool, and collected.
Q: From a player perspective, what roadblocks do you see that could potentially end the season?
A: I try to not look at the negative aspects. For me, I think Coach Judge has hit it on us and probably spoke to you guys about it. It’s just focusing on what we can control. Following every protocol that’s necessary. Doing everything, whether it’s showing up on time, doing our test every single day, walking in making sure we are wearing our masks, wearing the certain things to know we are distanced apart. Following certain protocols put on the ground, whatever is put in place in every aspect. Whether it’s on the field or in the meeting rooms. As long as everyone starts the day focusing on that and ends the day focusing on that, I think we are going to be in a good spot.
Q: You were in Arizona for the entirety of this pandemic and it got hit pretty hard by the virus. What has this stretch of months been like for you where you have been forced to stay at home and not be able to go play football like you would have wanted to? What do you make of all the guys that have been opting out?
A: For me, I was extremely blessed and lucky that my dad ended up building the facility that we had. I think I left that facility maybe four times. Once I realized Whole Foods delivered, I think I cut down to zero times. That was a blessing in disguise. Overall, my offseason was safe and controlled and I always made sure there wasn’t any more than maybe five people in there at a time with me at least. The opting out with everyone else, for me, everyone has their individual decision. I respect their decision, I’m not living their life, I’m living my own life. I made my own decision to obviously play.
Q: This last week here in camp, away from the facility, how have you structured your nights as opposed to training camps in the past?
A: Right now, we are here so late, and we have all the stuff. Our nutritionist Pratik (Patel) has been awesome, making sure we have all the meals. Before we leave, we have snack handed to us. Food wise, I’m good. Once I get home, I basically spend an hour doing a normal life out of football. Whether I’m watching a tv show with my wife or playing video games for thirty minutes or so. Just something where I can decompress. The other night my daughter woke up right as I got home, and I played with her for 30 minutes and it was awesome to see her.
Q: How much value do you think there is in the preseason? How much will you lose not having it this year?
A: Overall, an easy one is guys trying to make the team and having those live reps against another team and things like that. For me, I don’t know exactly what we are going to do to change it. Right now, we are still in phase one. Once it gets there, I’m projecting there will be some type of way to get a competitive aspect and get those reps that can match a preseason some way. I think that’s kind of the big thing for preseason. For me, looking at the preseason, like you said, this will be my fifth year in the league, and for me I should know how to tackle and do all these things. Overall, for practice it’s just working on those fundamentals. Whether it’s the fundamentals of the right feet, the right stance, the right approach to tackle and the perfect drops and things like that. Once you get on the football field, you know how to tackle and how to go play.
Q: In any other year of your career, you would have been in the same system, know the system cold and it just would have been dealing with this craziness. For someone like you who needs to know the whole defense and tell your defense everything, is this a special challenge for you? Whereas another guy who is going into a system who has been there three, four or five years, he can sit back and get ready at his own pace. You have to learn this all in a very unusual situation.
A: Definitely, that’s the challenge of this. Everything right now, challenges pop up every single day. The playbook aspect is just nailing down things and doing whatever is necessary. We have an hour break right now so instead spending the whole hour chatting, okay let’s spend 30 minutes watching film or going through certain installs and things like that. Talking to Pat (Graham) about certain checks and things, what he’s thinking. It’s just going to take that much more effort, just kind of chipping away like I said earlier to get where I need to be when the season gets going.
Q: How much easier is it for you, as the guy who going to make all the calls, that you played under Patrick Graham? You have that trust built in there. What is the dynamic like between you two? Does your past experience with Graham make this summer a little bit easier?
A: We have great relationship. We grew it my third year in Green Bay and it makes it a lot easier to walk into his office anytime. Any concerns I have, or certain questions I have, I can go straight to him and we chat just like anybody else. It’s made it a lot easier to get new updates on anything that he is changing throughout the day.
JOSIAH TAUAEFA COMES OFF OF RESERVE/COVID-19 LIST …
Linebacker Josiah Tauaefa was activated off of the Reserve/COVID-19 List on Wednesday, a day after he was placed on it. Players who are placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List either test positive for the virus or have come into contact with someone who did. The Giants originally signed Tauaefa as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. They then signed Tauaefa to the Practice Squad in September 2019 and the 53-man roster in October 2019. He played in 12 games with no starts as almost all of his playing time came on special teams.
The Giants currently have no other player on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.
SAM BEAL OPTS OUT OF 2020 NFL SEASON…
New York Giants cornerback Sam Beal has decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season due to the ongoing COVID-19 issue. Under the agreement reached last week between the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), players can choose not to play in the upcoming season without penalty. The opt-out is irrevocable.
Beal has had a rough start to his pro career. The Giants selected Beal in the 3rd round of the Supplemental Draft in July 2018. He missed all of his rookie season when he was placed on Injured Reserve in July 2018 with a shoulder injury that required surgery. The Giants placed Beal on Injured Reserve again in September 2019 with hamstring and groin injuries, but added him to the 53-man roster in early November. Beal missed the last game with another shoulder issue. In all, Beal played in six games with three starts, receiving 26 percent of defensive snaps, and accruing 26 tackles and one pass defense.
Beal is the third Giant to opt-out of the season, following left tackle Nate Solder and wide receiver Da’Mari Scott.
Q: You signed Nick Gates to some pretty big money over the weekend. Will Nick Gates be working at both tackle spots? What’s the plan with him?
A: One of the strengths of Nick has been his flexibility. He’s a guy that can factor into any of the five positions on the offensive line. The priority now is to give him a chance to compete for a starting position at any one of those five spots. As coaches, we have to do a good job of mapping out how we are going to allocate his snaps and his reps on the field between primarily center and tackle and give him a fair shot at both. We are going to work him day by day based on the priority for him. It will start shaking out once the pads come on.
Q: Nick has never played center, so what about his skillset lends itself to that position?
A: He’s a guy that has good athletic ability, he’s got length. He’s definitely a smart player that we want to make sure we give him the opportunity to get inside and operate in that signal caller mode and play center. For him and Shane both, neither one of them has played center, so training is part of it right now. (Offensive line coach Marc) Colombo has to dedicate a little bit of extra time to those guys to make sure he is giving them some basics and building on what they know about the position.
Q: Speaking of basics, have you seen him snap the football yet?
A: We have. Between the walkthroughs we’ve had the last few nights, footballs are allowed to be on the field, obviously at a controlled tempo. Some basic drills we can operate and watch the QB-center exchanges. We’ve watched them all snap balls, and work with the quarterbacks. Of course, at this point, we are all sitting out there in our underwear, the real test comes when the pads come on.
Q: What does it mean to have Markus Golden back in the fold? You have a lot of young pass rushers, what does it mean to have him in the building to help those young guys?
A: I’m excited Markus is in the building with us. Obviously, this is the first time I have worked with him on a personal note. His reputation throughout the league is a very solid one. He was someone we wanted to have on the team, we are lucky it worked out the way it is. At this point right now, like all the other players, we are giving him a chance to acclimate and catch up with our systems and just get going and competing full speed.
Q: The last time we talked to you, you had a 90 man on the roster. It sounded like you were going to go that way. Is there a specific reason why you guys chose to go to 80?
A: Long story short, I think it was best for us to be able to evaluate everybody as a whole as they go through the progression. Ultimately, I wished we could have gone with 90 the entire way through like a traditional camp. That’s not the rules that are in place right now. (The 90 man roster) presents some logistical issues for you both facilities wise, how you can map out coordinating different players working with each other. We wanted to make sure we gave everyone a chance to get out there on the field and really take a look at them at work. After a duration of time, we felt it was in the team’s best interest to move to 80.
Q: When you do full walkthroughs, how much of it is the full team out there? Is it 22 guys, or do you supplement it by position? Give a sense of what those walkthroughs are looking like this early in camp?
A: They are really a slower version of practice. We start off in individual and we just group them with their position coaches. We want to work obviously at a much slower pace, a more controlled pace with the fundamentals that we’re teaching to give them a chance to walkthrough at a slow pace. They get to go on the field the next day during our conditioning and agility periods and operate those drills at full speed. We get to teach them and they get to carry them out. We build some group time where we combine multiple position groups and get them work. Quarterbacks with receivers, maybe tight ends with tackles to talk about different block combinations. A great deal of this is being run on air (inaudible). They are lined up across from trash cans or maybe coaches posed as players to give a sense of a formation they can line up and make checks to. We do have a limited amount of team reps at the end just to get 22 on the field at the same time. Really the biggest emphasis on that is communication. We can’t go at full tempo. We don’t want to expose our players to injury or something they are not ready for. It’s a teaching phase that we’re in right now. Building the communication and the identification of being on the field and working with your teammates, we think it’s valuable to put all 22 together. It doesn’t look, tempo wise, like anything you would expect practice to look like. It really is a controlled walkthrough tempo to get guys moving and familiar with our schemes and systems and how practice will flow once we go full speed.
Q: Given the roles some of these guys played last year, the addition of Kyler Fackrell, the addition of Carter Coughlin and some of the guys you drafted, do you anticipate expanding their roles? Do you anticipate focusing on one, two or three guys to build that core of the pass rush?
A: Even though we have a lot of guys in the same position group, they all have a different skill sets. So along with that, we have different packages we can build in based on who the opponent is that week. We talk a lot about doing more on the field. They have a skill set in rushing the passer, but they are not exclusively a pass rusher. These are guys that are going to play in the kicking game. These are guys that are going to factor into different run stopping units, different packages we put on to match the offense’s personnel. Building depth at significant positions is something we have to do. There’s going to be several of these guys that as we go we will see how it factors out at the outside backer position. Maybe some of those guys will get shifted to the inside and we’ll see how they fare at the inside position as well to build our depth on the roster. At this point we are going to give them a chance to get their feet wet at the outside backer position. We are not limited to what we can do. We want to make sure we find out what every player can do well. Then we will put them on the field in a position to execute.
Q: What are looking for Daniel Jones to improve upon this season? Where have you focused on him working both in the spring and the summer?
A: I think the biggest thing he can work on right now is just being out there with the team. Calling a play in the huddle, breaking the huddle, getting to the line, identifying the defensive front, making any checks at the line of scrimmage and then executing a cadence that everyone can work off of. Things that may seem so small are the fundamentals he has to start every successful play with. The biggest thing he can do is just to be in a groove with the team and hear his voice. Along Colt, Cooper and Alex, it’s very important for everyone to hear our quarterbacks’ cadences. They are all unique in their own way. We have to make sure they get used to hearing the play called in the huddle and get used to hearing the cadence at the line of scrimmage. This time right here, the most exposure our players are getting as far as working at a whole tempo with each other is in our on-field conditioning periods. We are allowed to use footballs in some of those periods, as far as agilities it allows you to run some routes on air. Building in the timing with his teammates is good. Remember, it’s a new year for everybody. It’s a new year for Daniel and the receivers. The have to get some chemistry established and built whether they were together last year or a new guy on the roster, that’s important for everyone to understand. We are starting completely over right now, and we have to start from ground zero. I’d say with the quarterback, there is never just one thing. All of our players are looking for total improvement as a player. With a quarterback, it’s all a mental game. It’s really the grasping and the understanding. If it was somebody’s second year in the offense, you would want to see their command of the offense on the field. For Daniel, we have to be fair. It’s a new offense, a new system we have schemed for him. He’s had a limited amount of walkthroughs of actually being on the field to do this. At this point, I am just looking to see his progress day by day and not looking to compare him to where he was last year.
Q: Is the process of him calling plays different than last year?
A: I don’t think it’s terribly different. Obviously, there’s a unique communication set. He has Jason (Garrett) calling plays in his ear now, then he has to call a huddle, he has 10 guys looking at him and they have to hear it a different way. The difference in the language always ties into how you can say it and present it to the team. You want to say it in certain rhythm so they get used to hearing everything from the personnel, to the formation, to the protection, the play call and then what the cadence is going to be before they break the huddle. While that sounds very simple, this year will be a little different but imagine doing it in front of 85,000 people screaming in your ear as you’re doing it. It’s important for the other 10 guys in the huddle to understand how he presents the play and how he breaks up the phrases so it all works and runs together. It’s important in a huddle that everyone understands not every word speaks to me. You have to decipher and pick which direct words speak to you on each play and tells you what your assignment is. It’s important that he develops that cadence in the huddle of how he presents those plays. In terms of how he did it last year, I wasn’t here. I would say the generalities of receiving a play and giving a play, that’s obviously right there something he has experience with.
Q: Now that you have had some time to look at your defensive line and edge rushers. How do you feel about this group’s ability to get home with four pass rushers? Is this a situation where you might have to get creative with blitzes? How big of an emphasis do you put on sacks versus getting pressure and flushing the quarterback out of the pocket?
A: I think I am going to work backwards on an answer in terms of sacks versus pressure on quarterbacks. I think pressure is the number one thing you have to think about in terms of applying pressure on your opponent, forcing the quarterback into a bad situation. Would you love to get a sack every time? Absolutely. There’s a reason in the National Football League the all-time record isn’t 50 per year, they are tough to come by. The ultimate thing is making the quarterback operate faster than they want to and making decisions quicker than they absolutely want to. In terms of are we going to have four rushers, are we going to have multiple rushers. We are never going to cap ourselves with creativity. That’s something that Pat (Graham) and his staff are looking at. Every opponent is unique and different. To a man every one of our defensive linemen have come in here physically at a position to train. There’s a difference between being in shape and training. Being in shape, all of us can go to a 24-hour Fitness and get on a treadmill and think we’re all in shape. To train your body to go out on a field for 60 minutes and play that high volume and high intensity, you have to start out your body in a certain amount of shape. As I saw the defensive linemen walking in, even though it was the first time meeting them in person, you see tape on these guys, you have seen a number of pictures, you know what their body used to look like. When they walked in, it was evident all of them had worked to put themselves into the shape where they can start training for football. I’m very pleased with the urgency and I am very pleased with how they are working together right now. How they are working together game by game will decide whether it’s four or multiple guys. That will change by situation as well.
Q: What made Chandler Catanzaro the right kicker out of retirement. I’m sure you saw there was some speculation you would go with someone you know like Gostkowski or Nick Folk. When the ramp up period is over and practices start, do you expect Leonard Williams to be out there?
A: I am going to give him the opportunity day by day. He’s working with our trainers, he is doing everything he possibly can to get on the field as fast as possible. We know he is doing all the right things. I’m not a doctor, when they tell me he is cleared to go, we’ll go ahead and activate him. In terms of Chandler, he is in here to compete for a job like everybody else. I have some experience in the league with Chandler, I have gone against him. It’s a small league, there are 32 kickers per week on rosters, you know who is out there. He has had some very good seasons, he’s had some very good seasons in this stadium. Chandler is someone who I have known about for a long time going back to when he came out of Clemson. We’re excited to have him here. He has an opportunity to go on the field and demonstrate what he his capable of doing. In terms of retirement, that was something that once he decided he wanted to make a comeback, we were notified he was off the retirement list. He was somebody we had talked about and we thought he was a good fit to get going.
Q: You were in New England and that is a place known for being one step ahead. How important is it for you and the team to be one step ahead?
A: Obviously we all have a past place, every coach, every player. It’s important that we learn from other places in anything we have done. (Inaudible). It’s only about the New York Giants right now. In terms of being one step ahead, I think everyone in this league is looking for that competitive advantage of being one step ahead. We are always trying to make moves for our team to try to look ahead in terms of situations and scenarios that may arise. We are always thinking about our total team depth. We are thinking about our 53, our practice squad and beyond that. This year has more flexibility than in the past, so it really almost expands your roster right there. It’s important for us to evaluate our players correctly and then know who is on the street or on other rosters and evaluate them correctly. If they become available in some way, shape or form, we can make the right decisions. In terms of how we use players, to be honest with you, I think the whole thing with being a step ahead is just from the beginning identifying what they do well and giving them an opportunity to play in multiple spots. When the time comes and they have to use different skill sets, they are ready to go. That’s how we want to train our players in the beginning, make sure they have exposure to all our different positions that they fit into. Scheme the calls so they can operate faster when the time arises.
Q: Do you try to parlay that into the front office? That they need to be really sharp?
A: Since I have been here, we have great synergy in the building. We have a very good working relationship across all aspects. Personnel, coaching, support staff, we are making sure we are all on the same message going forward. We talk on a daily basis about personnel. We talk on a daily basis about what’s going on in the rest of the league, whether it’s the waiver wire or maybe different calls that have come our way. It’s a natural part of the NFL. There’s a lot of talk of personnel, especially this time of the year. We have a great working relationship. I’m very pleased with how it’s going. We have the same vision for how we want to take this team and how we want to make it up, how we want to build it. We are at a point right now where we want to focus on training the guys we have on the roster. What that includes in being a part of the National Football League is we have to be aware of what’s going on outside your roster at all times.
Q: Peter King wrote the other day that the Saints are sequestering their full staff and players. It’s not mandatory for the staff but they are encouraging it. Did you guys talk about that idea? Having people not go home to their families for camp or are you prepared to pivot to that if that’s what the league goes to?
A: I read the same articles about the pseudo bubbles some teams are trying to create. To be honest with you, if it’s not completely isolated like the NBA and NHL, then it’s not a bubble. It’s really just a way of having training camp and trying to stay isolated. If it was a non-covid year, we would be trying to keep the team as isolated as best we can just to keep the focus on what we are doing and build that training camp atmosphere that we haven’t had. I’m not mandating any coaches stay in the team hotel. Obviously by the league rules, no player is mandated to stay in the team hotel. Our players either opted in or opted out of the hotel stay. The ones that are in the hotel have a curfew. We have expressed to the ones on the outside that they have to make the right decisions when they are on the outside in terms of how they structure their nights. I’d say the biggest message I have for everybody, whether it’s the coaches, the support staff, the players, it’s not about being in a bubble. It’s about making the right decisions when you are away from the building to make sure we don’t bring something into the building.
Again, I said this last time, it’s not my right to go out and get something to eat and I might put myself in an atmosphere where I might bring something back to the team and it costs them an opportunity. That’s not my right, I’m not entitled to do that. We have to all understand that our decisions impact each other. We are all in training camp, there’s 32 teams right now, everyone is working to the same goal. No one within this building is entitled to cut short our team’s pursuit of that goal by making a selfish decision away from this building. The NFL has released some guidelines for players in terms of where they can go. As coaches, we have to be smart about that. There are other teams out there that have hotels. We have a hotel, too, we have multiple floors on the hotel rented out for our players and coaches should they choose to stay there. We have people on this team, players and coaches that have wives and children. Everyone is going home to see their wives and children. I want to see mine as much as I can. The reality is, there are sacrifices we are going to have to make this year. We have to be determined individually. If that means I have to spend less time or make sure I don’t surround myself with other loved ones who aren’t going by the same guidelines that I am operating on a daily basis, then that’s a sacrifice we have to make. That’s not easy. Let’s be realistic, you have guys on oil tankers, you have soldiers overseas making a lot less money who don’t see their families either at times. I’m not suggesting people don’t see their families, I am suggesting that everybody on a team and away from the team has to make decisions responsibly to account for the sacrifice of being a part of the National Football League this year. That’s just the reality and we have to all understand that. The challenge is going to be real.
Q: What are you seeing from your team as far as morale, as far as energy, in terms of attitude at this point?
A: I see a lot of energy in coming in and improving on a daily basis and that’s increased from Day 1. It’s day by day. We’ve got to stack them together, I say that every day. I see that with our guys every meeting, every walkthrough, every session. That’s all I can ask for from them right now. There’s an urgency to improve, there’s an urgency to learn. We have a lot of guys reaching out to coaches on their own for help. We have players in meeting rooms doing extra. You can see the things you want to go ahead and breathe into your culture coming together already. That’s important and that has to sustain over the test of time. A few days together doesn’t solve all our problems. As far as a starting point, I am very pleased with where we are going. We just have to be diligent with the day by day process of coming in with good energy, being attentive, and making sure we learn and then can execute at an improving level on a daily basis.
- New York Giants coach Joe Judge enters the ultimate honeymoon season by Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com
NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN MARKUS GOLDEN…
The New York Giants have officially re-signed free agent linebacker Markus Golden. The NFL Network is reporting that the deal is a 1-year, $5.1 million contract.
Back in late April, the New York Giants placed the seldom-used “May 5” tender on Golden, who had been an unrestricted free agent. Unless Golden signed with another team by July 22, the tender would enable the Giants to maintain exclusive signing rights until the 10th week of the 2020 NFL season. That deadline passed without Golden signing.
The Giants signed Golden as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2019. Golden had a strong debut season with the Giants in 2019, starting all 16 games, playing 83 percent of all defensive snaps, accruing a career-high 72 tackles, and team-high 10 sacks.
The 6’3”, 260-pound Golden was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. Golden’s break-out season was in 2016 at linebacker when he accrued 51 tackles and 12.5 sacks. He missed 12 games in 2017 with an ACL injury. While he returned in 2018, he missed five games and saw his production slip to 30 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
ALEX TANNEY PASSES PHYSICAL…
Quarterback Alex Tanney has passed his physical and has been activated off of the Reserve/Non-Football Illness List. He was placed on that list on July 28.
The Giants signed Tanney in May 2018 after after he was cut by the Tennessee Titans. The 6’4”, 220-pound Tanney was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2012 NFL Draft. The well-traveled journeyman has spent time with the Chiefs (2012), Dallas Cowboys (2013), Cleveland Browns (2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014), Titans (2014), Buffalo Bills (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2015), and Titans again (2015–2018).
He surprisingly won the back-up quarterback job to Eli Manning in 2018, but was moved to third-string in 2019, being active for only one game. Tanney has only played in two regular-season games, coming off the bench for the Titans in 2015 and the Giants in 2019. He did not play well during the 2019 preseason, completing only 52.2 percent of his passes with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
JOSIAH TAUAEFA PLACED ON RESERVE/COVID-19 LIST …
Linebacker Josiah Tauaefa was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, which means he either tested positive for the virus or came into contact with someone who did. The Giants originally signed Tauaefa as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. They then signed Tauaefa to the Practice Squad in September 2019 and the 53-man roster in October 2019. He played in 12 games with no starts as almost all of his playing time came on special teams.
Meanwhile, the first and only other Giant who was on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, wide receiver David Sills, has been cleared and has returned to the team. The 6’3”, 211-pound Sills was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Buffalo Bills after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants signed Sills to the Practice Squad in September 2019 after he was cut by the Bills. The Giants then signed him to the 53-man roster in mid-December. He did not play in a game however.