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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 22, 2014)

Jerry Reese at the NFL Combine – © USA TODAY Sports Images

General Manager Jerry Reese’s Pre-Draft Press Conference: New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese held his annual pre-draft press conference on Thursday in advance of the 2014 NFL Draft. The following is the transcript:

Q: What’s your overall view of the draft? What positions do you see as a strength and what do you see as maybe a weakness?

A: I don’t really look at drafts like that. I look at drafts as we’re trying to find seven good players for the Giants. We think there will be seven good players. I’m not sure if there’s great receivers or great running backs or great linemen, I just think there will be seven good players for us.

Q: Did you change anything this year with the extra time to prepare or was it business as usual?

A: It’s just business as usual I think. It gave us more time, in respect to free agency, the free agency period. We had a lot to do in free agency so we worked hard in free agency and after that, actually I liked the couple extra weeks to get ready for the draft.

Q: How has the work you’ve done in free agency affected your approach to the draft?

A: It really doesn’t have a lot of effect on it. The draft is what it is, it stands alone. We try to take the best players we can in the draft and really, in free agency you try to fill some holes, but in the draft you just try to pick the best players. That’s what we try to do.

Q: With the extra time, were you able to get out on the road a little bit more than usual?

A: I went to a few pro day workouts. You never get to go to as many as you want to go to but I went to a few, yeah.

Q: There’s a lot of talk that this is one of the strongest drafts overall in years. Do you think that’s true? Not specifically by position but in general?

A: Not really. I think all of the drafts have good players in them. You just have to be able to pick them.

Q: One of the things that John Mara said at the end of last year was that he thought that there were maybe too many risks in drafts in the past. 

A: You try to limit what risk you take but any time you pick a player, there’s a risk. There have been can’t-miss players and people have missed drastically with players. We try to get more right than we get wrong but nobody is batting 1.000 in picking personnel.

Q: Do you self-evaluate past drafts and say, ‘We have to do this differently,’ or…?

A: We always take it hard when guys don’t make it that we think are going to be good picks for us. It’s always harder for you but it happens. We claim it, we move on and try to pick better players as we move forward.

Q: Does your risk tolerance just naturally sort of go up as you go farther in the draft? Are you more likely to take a risk later than say a first-round pick?

A: Yeah, you try to pick the cleanest guy possible in your first few rounds but you get later in the draft, guys have some warts to them in some kind of way in respect to injuries or maybe some off-the-field issues. You feel like you can take a risk on some guys, some talented players with some risk in the latter part of the draft. You try to limit the risk with the first part of your draft.

Q: What are some players that fit into that category for you through the years? Would Ahmad Bradshaw be one?

A: Bradshaw, I think it was well documented some issues that he had. I think we took him in the seventh round. For us to take him, I think we took him in the seventh round, actually I think we took him in 7b. I’m not sure what it was but there were some off field, some checkered background stuff with him but at that point in the draft it was worth the risk for us.

Q: How do you assess the state of your offensive line right now going into this draft? It was a major issue obviously last year. 

A: We think we’ve upgraded in some places and obviously we’ll continue to look and see if there are more players available. We feel like we’ve upgraded some spots and got a little bit younger in some spots, too.

Q: Given the depth of this draft, do you anticipate there might be a little bit more movement, especially in the first and second round?
A: You never know in the draft. It’s always… it could be some movement, it could be no movement. You never know what’s going to happen, you just try to prepare for everything. But you never know what will happen.

Q: Does the 11th and 12th pick, those kinds of picks, hold a little more value to teams with the fifth-year option being sort of the cutoff right there?

A: You never know. You never know, I don’t know.

Q: You’ve said in the past that you try to marry your draft board and need. Having said that, how can you say that what you did in free agency does not at all affect what you’re going to do in the draft?

A: Again, the draft stands alone. You just try to pick the best players available in the draft. I don’t know how else I can say that to you. The draft stands alone. It’s not going to… what we did in free agency really doesn’t affect what we do in the draft. We just try to go in there and say, ‘Who’s the best player up there in the first row for us when it’s our time to pick?’ We try to pick that guy. We do like to get value and need, we like a combination of those things but it doesn’t have anything to do with free agency.

Q: You felt you’ve addressed some needs at some holes in free agency, correct?

A: We do.

Q: So does that give you more, freedom is not the right word, but that you could be even more pure in your intentions in the draft and just say, ‘This is the best guy, we’re taking him,’ and not, ‘Well, this is the best guy but we don’t have a real glaring need here.’

A: Yeah, best player available. The draft stands alone and we’ll try to pick that guy.

Q: You’re obviously more in-tune to McAdoo’s offense and what it’s going to be. Does he need a play-making tight end?

A: Everybody needs a play-making tight end. I think all offenses… you want a playmaker at every position if you can. I’m not sure what you’re asking me when you say that. I think every team wants a Pro Bowl-style tight end, they want a couple of Pro Bowl wide receivers, they want a Pro Bowl running back. Sure, you’d like a big, strapping tight end. Sure.

Q: Is this system reliant on it?

A: We have a couple young tight ends and it’s time for those guys to develop and play. Obviously we’ll continue to look as we move forward. We want to get good players at every position.

Q: Any level of concern with Eli and, looking ahead, do you see him as having a good number of years of elite play in him?

A: I think so. Obviously he’s coming off the ankle injury and he’s going to be out of spring ball but Eli is a smart guy. I think he’s driven to prove that last year was just an odd year for him. I think last year was an odd year for him. I believe he’ll bounce back and have a terrific season.

Q: When you say out of spring ball, the plan is for him not to do anything but the…?

A: Well, he’ll be back when he gets back but we’re not going to rush him back. We want him for the summer. We know he’ll be back in the summer. That’s important for us, to have him back in the summer. If he can do something in the spring, we’ll be happy to see him out there but we’re not going to rush him back.

Q: The fact that McAdoo and the new offense… has anything about that changed the way you evaluate offensive players, not just in the draft but overall?

A: Not really.

Q: Those positions with stuff that he might do that’s different than his predecessor…?

A: We’re going to try to pick the best players, regardless of who the coordinator is, who the head coach is, who the D coordinator is. Let’s try to pick the best players.

Q: Last year no running backs went in the first round and there is some thought that one won’t go in the first round this year. Has that position been de-valued in the draft in any way? 

A: I’m not sure why… you said no running back was taken in the first round last year? And they’re projecting none to go in this draft? I’m not sure. I think you have to have a good running back in this league to play and win games. I’m not sure why they haven’t gone; maybe people believe that you can get a good running back later on in the draft. Maybe that’s why they’re not taking them as early as you’ve seen in the past.

Q: As you go into this draft what are your thoughts on if you’re going to have David Wilson available this year?

A: Well, obviously if we have him, that it gives us more depth at the position. We brought (Rashad) Jennings in and we had Michael Cox from last year who we’re hoping is developing, but David Wilson, he’s really kind of a bonus for us if we can get him back and we expect him. He’s on schedule to be back and we’re very hopeful that he will.

Q: Do you expect to know before the draft? Is it something that you’re hopeful maybe…?

A: It’s not going to affect the draft regardless if he’s back or not back. It’s not going to affect us and how we pick. If there’s a good running back at some point and we think he can help us, we’ll pick him.

Q: Historically this team has relied on the tight end quite a bit. Would you be comfortable moving forward with the guys you have on your roster right now?

A: Historically we’ve relied on our tight end?

Q: Well, they’ve had a prominent role. 

A: Really?

Q: I seem to remember the tight ends catching important passes. 

A: Yeah, well, we think we have some tight ends who can catch some important passes. Prominent role? We want all of our positions to be prominent roles. I’m not sure if we had, if our tight ends had prominent roles in the past. We want a competent tight end. We think we have a couple of young tight ends that have been here for a couple of years that we want to develop and we’ll continue to look as we move forward. Was the question would I move up in the draft for a tight end? Is that what you said?

Q: No. 

A: Ok, I’m sorry.

Q: Does what you look for in a tight end change? The position seems to be changing a little bit, guys that are spread out wide even more, in the slot. The rules kind of favor them in terms of being able to make contact with them. There seem to be bigger, more athletic guys at that position. 

A: Everyone wants big, fast tight ends who can block and catch balls. It’s the same thing all over the league. Everybody wants those guys. Sometimes you can get a smaller guy who, I guess they’ve coined them as H-back kind of guys and receiving tight ends. We’d like guys who are big and fast and can block and can catch at that position.

Q: Victor Cruz the other day, I realize he doesn’t sit in on your draft meetings, but he said the other say that you really need a big outside wide receiver here. When a prominent player expresses a feeling that this is what you need, does that have any influence on your thoughts at all?

A: Zero.

Q: Do you agree with him?

A: Everybody’s got an opinion, man.

Q: How tough is it when you have second and third-round picks in your system to marry that combination of wanting to groom them as quickly as possible for starting roles but the pressure to get them on the field and then also develop them. 

A: Your first… I’ve said this a lot of times to you guys. Your first three picks, you want to get some guys who can come in and contribute right away. You probably can get a couple starters out of your first three picks. After that, those middle rounds and latter rounds, most kids are… actually sometimes in the second round, first and second round, some of the kids you draft are developmental. But after the first couple of rounds, you get into those fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh rounds, most of the kids are developmental.

Q: Obviously where you pick, who’s going to be available, a lot of it could be decided by how many quarterbacks are taken before you. What’s your take on that? How many do you think possibly could be taken in that range from 1-11 and how much do you kind of gauge that in order to go forward and kind of guess who’s going to be available?

A: I have no idea what’s going on in other people’s draft rooms or draft boards right now. You have no clue. We have a chart up of what we think people’s needs are but that doesn’t mean that they’ll take the quarterbacks early. Who knows what will happen? There are some teams that look like they need some quarterbacks but, you know, are the quarterbacks good enough to take them that early in the draft? Who knows?

Q: When you’re out at other pro days, do you find yourself curious? Do you look at some of the quarterbacks in person? The ones who are there. 

A: Absolutely. When I go to pro days I look at everybody there. It’s not that I’m going to just see one person. We look at everybody when we go to the pro days.

Q: What do you gain when you go to a pro day and you see a guy performing who’s expected to go a lot higher than where you pick? What can you gain from evaluating that player? Is it something that, you know, three years down the line, two years down the line, you can go back to those notes that you took then or is it just keeping all options open?

A: It’s just a confirmation to go to the pro days and see guys perform and do different things you might not have seen them do at the combine. Sometimes you go to the pro days because a guy didn’t work at the combine, so you just try to go to confirm some things that you saw on the tape or you saw in a game or just confirm some of the things that your scouts saw.

Q: After supplementing your defensive secondary in free agency, now with Will Hill’s apparent situation, does that change that you might target a safety in the draft where you might have been unlikely to before?

A: Not really. If there’s a good safety up there… We’re not afraid to pick another safety if there’s a good safety on the board at some point when it’s time for us to pick. The Will Hill situation, there’s an appeal process and we’ll respect that process as it plays out. We’ll make some decisions after that after we see what the appeal process is.

Q: Does his future here depend on whether there’s a…?

A: All I can say about that is that we’ll respect the appeal process and we’ll make a decision after that.

Q: When you pick 12th, which you guys haven’t picked that high in a while, do you say to yourself, ‘Whoever we pick day one is a starter for us because of where we’re picking him.’ If he’s the 12th-best player in what everyone believes to be a pretty strong draft, he should be able to step in immediately. 

A: Again, you would like to think that the 12th pick would be a player that can come in and contribute right away but you have to earn your positions here. We don’t give guys positions. We don’t draft you in the first round and say, ‘OK, this is your position.’ You have to come in and earn your spot just like everybody. I think that’s how teams grow and get better and create competition. You pick a guy at 12, you expect him to come in and make some contributions right away.

Q: Some of your middle to late-round picks haven’t panned out in recent drafts. Have you examined that and have you maybe made any changes in how you guys are approaching it?

A: There are different reasons why guys don’t make it. Sometimes you just miss on guys, and we’ve done that. Sometimes there are injuries as to why guys don’t pan out and some of the guys have panned out. Again, it’s personnel and there’s nobody batting 1.000 in personnel. We sure want to do better that what we’ve done in the past, in the last few drafts, with the middle and late-round picks.

Q: Do you feel like the combine may have become too regimented over the years? Guys know all the drills now, they train for them specifically. Maybe it’s less of a natural way to see players. I know you trust a lot of tape but would you like to see maybe some more different drills and surprise drills at the combine?

A: When you go to a pro day some of those drills are different. There are pretty scripted, we call them gym drills, at the combine. Most guys can perform well on them because they’re practiced on them a lot. Still, some guys, regardless of how much they’ve practiced, they can’t do them that well. But it really all comes down to what guys do, how productive they are for their team and how they play for their team. That’s what’s most important for us. The combine is just part of the puzzle. What’s most important for us is how guys play for their team.

Q: In terms of this new calendar, what is going to happen when you pick these guys? Are they just going to come right in and be dropped into the offseason program?

A: Yeah, they’ve got to get in here right away and start working, start learning on how to be a pro and get going.

Q: How important is versatility to you when you look at a lineman? Does that really factor into the equation or is a guy that plays one spot just as valuable as a guy who can play different spots?

A: I think we like guys who are versatile, versatile players, if a guy can play guard and tackle. We’re not going to pass up a left tackle who we think is only a left tackle because he can’t play guard or center or different positions, but the more you can do in this league, the better off you are. You can save yourself a roster spot if you can get a guy that can swing from guard to tackle or from center to guard or something like that.

Q: What was your thinking on bringing in Josh Freeman? Are you unhappy or uncomfortable with the number two position at quarterback?

A: No. There’s competition at the number two spot. Obviously Eli has the ankle, we wanted to have more competition in the spring and we think Josh is a talented player and we wanted to create some competition. We like Nassib, he hasn’t really had a chance to do a lot for us so we’re going to take a real good look at him in the spring but we think he’s still a good player. He hasn’t had a chance to really play yet, so he’s going to get a lot of work this spring and obviously he’ll get a lot of work in the preseason, along with Curtis Painter, there’s competition, and Josh Freeman. Curtis just had the knee scope so we brought in another quarterback.

Q: Are you determined to keep Ryan Nassib to give him a shot in the spring or would you listen to trade offers for him?

A: We keep all of our options open.

Q: It’s going to be a different offense; different things are going to be asked of your quarterback. Does what you look for from your quarterback kind of change with what you guys are going to be doing?

A: We expect him to compete for the number two spot. I don’t think there’s any changes in respect to him. We expect him to compete for that number two spot.

Q: I’m sure over the years different coaches have taken different… in terms on lobbying for a guy they want. With McAdoo, who at least I don’t know at all, do you have a feel yet from draft day, draft weekend how aggressive he’ll be in saying, ‘This is the guy I need for my system, we need for our system.’

Q: All coaches want a guy. In the draft room, all coaches want a guy at their position. Defensive coordinators want defensive players, offensive coordinators want offensive players. But I think all of our coaches are team guys and whoever we pick, they’re all on board. It’s a team process.

Q: Forgive me for crossing the boundaries into specifics but with Zack Martin, do you see him as a guard or a tackle? 

A: I just see him as a good offensive lineman. That’s how I see him. I think he has some flexibility to play both but I just see him as a good offensive lineman.

Q: Can he play center, do you think?

A: I’m not sure. I don’t think he’s ever played that position for Notre Dame. It probably could be a possibility that he could play center, yeah.

Q: Do you think cornerbacks have a harder time transitioning from college to the NFL? Is there a reason why maybe it takes them a year or two longer?

A: I don’t know if it’s harder than any other position but the hardest positions, for me, in the National Football League… number one is quarterback and the number two is corner. Those two are the two hardest positions, I think, to play in the National Football League. It’s a tough position to play. Everybody else is running forward and you’re running backwards. That’s not easy.

Q: For a team that hypothetically could use an outside receiver and also a pass-catching tight end, could the kid out of North Carolina be that hybrid? I don’t want to make Jimmy Graham comparisons, but if he can be a threat, not the conventional tight end, a threat like that, would you evaluate him differently where you’re picking than you would say a tight end that didn’t bring those playmaking capabilities?

A: There are good tight ends in the draft. We’re going to evaluate them all the same. If somebody’s up there for us to pick, if it’s a tight end, if it’s a receiver… we could use a good player at any position.

Q: You exercised the option on Prince? The fifth year?

A: We did.

Q: What was the thinking behind that?

A: We think he’s a good player so we exercised the option.

Q: At the center position you signed J.D. Walton and you lost a couple guys. Do you have enough right now or do you need to add another a guy, whether it be in the draft or another avenue?

A: We always want to have depth at every position. We’ll continue to look at depth at every position.

Q: Who do you consider here as other guys that can play the position? Behind Walton.

A: Dallas Reynolds is a center and there are some more guys. Snee could even play center if we wanted him to play there. He takes snaps in there in practice at times. We’ll continue to get depth at every position.

Q: The tackle from Michigan has had some issues off the field. Would he be discounted for that or do you just judge him without the…?

A: We’re going to keep all of our options open. We’ll respect all of the players in the draft.

Q: Obviously when you talk about red flags and character stuff there are various degrees of that. When you’re evaluating a player is it all just an individual case or do you have a line somewhere that a player, if he does this, you can’t consider him?

A: There are some lines. We try to keep all of our players on the board so we can see them. Back years ago, we used to take players off the board. We keep players on the board now so we can see them. If we have this player who’s having some issues in respect to whatever the situation might be over in our first row and we’re over in the seventh row and he’s still sitting there, we’ll go back to this guy and say, ‘Well, why can’t we take this guy? What’s the risk at this point? Why can’t we take this guy at this point?’

Q: There’s no player where you say, ‘There’s no way we would touch him.’

A: There are a few guys like that, yeah.

Q: Who’s the backup at left tackle behind Will Beatty? What’s the timetable there on when you think he will be ready to jump in?

A: We brought some offensive linemen in. The kid from New Orleans that we brought in, he played a lot of football there. Right now he’s probably the next option there behind Will. You could even move Pugh over there if you wanted to. Brewer is a kid that has talent to play out there if we had to play him out there. Again, we have work to do still on the offensive line. We brought some offensive linemen in but we’re still going to try to get players on the offensive line, the defensive line, linebacker. Every position can be upgraded more for us.

Q: How seriously are you thinking about moving Pugh over?

A: We’re just keeping all of our options open. Again, Pugh is one of those guys that can play all over your front. We like the flexibility he brings.

Q: In terms of where Chris Snee is, does the true evaluation to find out how much he can contribute have to take place later on in the spring and even in the summer once he gets out on the field or do you have a pretty good idea of what he’s going to be able to do for you guys?

A: You never know with a guy coming off injuries like he’s had in the last couple years. Chris could probably be the best judge of that of anybody. I think Chris will be honest with us and if he feels like he can’t do it, he’ll definitely let us know. But he’s feeling really good right now and hopefully he’ll continue to feel good and he’ll be back for another year to help us out.

Q: The draft is obviously a lot of work for quite a long time, is it fun for you and which parts of it might be the most fun or the most energizing part?

A: it’s always fun. It’s like game day. I’ve said this to you guys a few times – it’s game day for our scouts. Our scouts are the guys who really go out and do the legwork for us and find players. They’re on the road for around 200 days out of the year and it’s game day for them, to be able to go in there and do this work and find the players and help put our draft board up and get all the information that we need on the players. It’s fun to see them rewarded with players that they feel like are good players for us and we get a chance to win a championship. Again, I’ve said this to people a few days ago, they were asking me about scouts and scouting, you never see any of the scouts on the podium at the Super Bowl. You never see any scouts up there holding the trophy but they’re really kind of the lifeline of what we do. I have a lot of respect for our scouts and what they bring to the table for us.

Q: There is a lot of talk about Johnny Manziel, obviously, a big name in the draft. How unique of a guy, he plays differently than most quarterbacks’ style, how difficult is a guy like that to evaluate?

A: The landscape is changing a little bit in respect to those kinds of guys coming into the league. You see it all over the league more and more with the spread offense, it’s really pretty much all you see in college football these days. There are a few teams that still run traditional, pro-style offenses but most of them are the spread-read kind of offenses. You’re starting to see these guys come into the league. If you commit to that system, obviously you can win with it.

Q: How do you feel right now about your defensive line? A couple key contributors in Joseph and Tuck gone from last year. 

A: We have guys who need to step up. We brought in some defensive linemen in free agency, we have some guys from last year, Jenkins, we have Hankins from last year, we have Kuhn coming back from the knee injury so we have some defensive linemen, Jason Pierre-Paul is coming back from his injury. So we have guys that we like, Damontre Moore. Our defensive line, we want to upgrade everywhere. We’ll try to upgrade our defensive line as we move forward as well.

Q: How important is size and weight in there? Interior linemen, there’s a lot of talk about Aaron Donald, his production sort of pops out but at the same times he’s a little on the lighter side for the usual defensive tackle. How do you guys look at that in regards to weight and size? How important is that on the scale for you guys?

A: Well, it’s important but making plays is important as well. It’s a combination. We like guys who can make plays, we like big guys, we like fast guys, we like smart guys, we like tough guys. That’s what we like.

Video of the press conference is also available at Giants.com.

Bear Pascoe, New York Giants (October 28, 2012)

Bear Pascoe – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Bear Pascoe Signs with Atlanta Falcons: Unrestricted free agent tight end Bear Pascoe (New York Giants) has signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Terms of the deal are not yet known. The 28-year old Pascoe played five seasons with the Giants (2009-2013), playing in 66 regular-season games with 32 starts.  He caught 38 passes for 333 yards and one touchdown.

Because of this move, we have updated the New York Giants Free Agent Losses (with scouting report) and New York Giants 2014 Free Agency Scorecard sections of the website.

Mar 242014
 
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Eli Manning and Steve Tisch, New York Giants (October 21, 2013)

Eli Manning and Steve Tisch – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Steve Tisch Comments on the State of the New York Giants: New York Giants Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch spoke to media on Monday at the NFL owners meetings in Florida. Some tidbits from Tisch:

  • On the team’s approach to the offseason: “When something is a little broken, you have an opportunity to fix it. Everybody at the top levels of ownership, coaching staff and our GM realized we have to go for it. This is an opportunity. Let’s take advantage of it and refocus. Do some restructuring, make changes, some of the changes aren’t always going to be popular, but I think we have created a tremendous sense of excitement and anticipating what this team will be and how well they will perform this season.”
  • On free agency: “I think the way Jerry Reese has performed during free agency is he’s always looking for value. I think he has a great eye for matching free agents, their talent, and the needs of the New York Giants. I think this season has been an unusually strong example of that because of the amount of players we’ve brought in at this point.”
  • On Head Coach Tom Coughlin: “(With) a lot of new faces and a lot of new players and a new locker room, I think Tom Coughlin is the guy to get some rookies and some of our new players to really understand how the New York Giants perform as a team, how he wants his locker room to operate, and I think he is the best guy to accept this challenge.”
  • On what still needs to be done: “With the draft coming up in May, it’s going to be the next wave of how to build the Giants to become even stronger this season and going forward.”
  • On the departure of so many important players from the Super Bowl teams: “It’s the nature of the business. It’s the way business is run and things change, you have to move on, you can’t look back, you have to look forward. I think this is the season we’re certainly doing that.”
  • On DE Justin Tuck, who signed with the Oakland Raiders: “It’s not goodbye, I think, and this is me, I think it’s see you soon. You can’t separate New York from Justin Tuck and I don’t think Justin Tuck will separate Justin Tuck from New York…He will definitely come back to the New York-New Jersey area and I think continue to be involved in football. He’s a great guy. His contributions on and off the field are wonderful. The memories he has of his years at the Giants and that John Mara and I have and all the fans have, all the coaches have, are of an exceptional, exceptional player and human being.”

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Giants depth chart: Rashad Jennings can be the power back Tom Coughlin wants by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Line: Offensive line: Have Giants done enough? by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

New York Giants and 2014 Compensatory Picks: Projecting the Giants’ compensatory picks by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on Former Giants Defensive End Justin Tuck: Justin Tuck thanks fans in newspaper ad by Giants.com

Giants.com Inside the Film Room: Video breakdowns of the following Giants players are available at Giants.com:

  • Wide Receiver Victor Cruz (Video)
  • Tight End Bear Pascoe (Video)
Jan 242014
 
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David Diehl, New York Giants (February 5, 2012)

David Diehl – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Tom Coughlin Wants to Coach Past 2014: In a taped ESPN Radio interview that is set to air on Sunday, Head Coach Tom Coughlin was asked if he still felt he could coach “well beyond” the 2014 NFL season.

“I certainly do, and I’m blessed with good health and good energy and a routine that I think puts me in the maximum opportunity to stay healthy,” responded Coughlin. “The other issue, of course, is (my wife) Judy. If Judy’s healthy, and so on and so forth, and we both feel good about continuing…then no doubt will we feel that way.”

The 67-year old Coughlin has one year remaining on his current contract. Giants President/CEO John Mara said recently, “(Coughlin is) going to be our coach here next year and hopefully for longer than that, but we haven’t sat down to even talk about that yet.”

“I haven’t sat down with John,” said Coughin, “and I do know by virtue of a couple of things that he’s said that he’s trying to pick the best time. And he knows full well that we’re in a full-court press in terms of making sure that our staff is ready to go.”

David Diehl Retires: Offensive lineman David Diehl, who has been with the team since he was drafted in the 5th round of the 2003 NFL Draft, officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday. Diehl played in 11 seasons with the Giants. Diehl’s daughter Addison was on hand when Diehl informed the team.

“She wants me to play forever,” said Diehl. “It’s not very easy for my daughter to talk about me retiring and not playing football. The Giants are just as much family to her as they are to me. She’s been going to the games and at seven years old, she understands everything. She understands the game and the players and how important it is to play in the NFL. For her, my stepping away from something she loves as much as I do is not an easy thing.”

“I love football,” Diehl said. “I love being in the game, I love watching film, I love doing all of that and I’m going to miss that aspect of it. But I know I’m ready to start the new and next chapter of my life. I’m ready to not only be a bigger part of my daughter’s life, but I’m ready to spread my knowledge and help other people with the game and continue to do stuff throughout our community and charity work and be involved with the New York Giants in any way possible. I’ve accomplished everything I could possibly dream of as a football player. If in 2003, anyone would have said that Dave Diehl, a fifth-round draft pick out of Illinois, would win two Super Bowls, play in the Pro Bowl and win every single Giant award possible, people would have said you’re crazy. I have a lot to be proud of.”

During his career with the Giants, Diehl started at every offensive line position except center. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2009. Most importantly, he was the starting left tackle on two Super Bowl teams.

Diehl only missed 12 games in 11 seasons. He played in 164 regular-season games, tying Phil Simms for 12th on the franchise’s all-time list. “To be able to sit here and say I tied Phil Simms for 12th all-time on the list, I mean that’s crazy,” Diehl said. He started 160 of those 164 games, plus all 11 postseason games in which he played. In the regular season, Diehl started 65 games at left tackle, 42 at left guard, 26 at right tackle, and 27 at right guard. In the postseason, Diehl has 10 starts at left tackle, and one at left guard.

“When I think of David Diehl what comes to mind is his indomitable spirit,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He got the most out of his God-given ability and that’s the best way that you can judge any individual. He took the talent that he had and he used it to the extreme, to the utmost of his ability. What more can you ask of the guy? And he gave great effort. He always gave great effort, there was no doubt about that. You knew exactly what you were getting.”

“He played so many different positions along the offensive line and never complained and never made an excuse,” QB Eli Manning said. “He was a guy who practiced in training camp and was prepared to play right tackle and then all of a sudden in the middle of the season, it’s, ‘Hey, now you have to go play left tackle.’ He just went over there and did it. He never made an excuse and he’s never looked for a reason not to. He just did his job and did it well for a long time. He protected me for a long time. He’s one of my great buddies and just a true warrior. A guy you wanted out there. He would play injured and he wanted to be out there for every practice, for every play in every game. Just a great teammate, a guy with that type of attitude is the kind of attitude you want all your teammates to have. He was just a true professional.”

Diehl was the only Giants player whose arrival predated that of Coughlin and Manning. With his retirement, the longest-tenured Giants are guard Chris Snee and Manning.

“You play for 10 years, you’re going to have some great relationships and make some great friends,” Manning said. “Unfortunately, you’re going to see some great friends retire. Obviously, you’re happy for them that they have had a great career and they can end it on their own terms, like David’s doing. It’s sad to have a friend that you’re used to seeing every day, to no longer have that presence in the locker room. He will be missed. But I think for the other linemen and other teammates who have been fortunate to be around him, he’s set a great example of how to be a professional, how to go about your business and be a true competitor. I think his presence will be felt. He’s made an impact on a lot of the players on the Giants.”

“I’m just very, very blessed and happy to have had the teammates and the guys around here and the coaches and the organization and to be able to do it for 11 years in one place – that’s unheard of,” Diehl said. “You never hear that any more. I’m a New York Giant through and through.”

“Whatever you wanted him to do, he did,” Coughlin said. “The weight room, practice, meetings, jibber and jab at guys that weren’t doing what they should be doing. He was the huddle guy, he helped get things going. You always knew where he was coming from. He was a tremendous competitor and a guy you always wanted on your team, because he was so positive and so up front and he agreed with everything you did as a coach.”

“At one point, it’s going to be bittersweet,” Diehl said. “At one point, I’m going to miss the camaraderie, being around the guys, being in the locker room, sharing stories of the summer. Most importantly, grinding and working for the season. That’s where you start setting the groundwork after OTAs and mini-camp. Training camp is when you’re getting ready for the season, for what we’re here for and that’s to win championships. So I’m going to miss being around the guys. It’s tough, physically, as an offensive lineman to play as long as I have. I’m not going to miss the cold tubs and the physical part and all of that stuff, but I’m definitely going to miss being around here and being part of it. I’ve been here for so long, it’s been such a routine and such a part of my life, so it’s going to be an adjustment not being a part of it, sweating in 100 degree weather and doing all of that stuff with these guys.

“Guys like Kareem (McKenzie) and Shaun (O’Hara) and Rich (Seubert) would laugh and say once they were done, ‘I’m going to come with a lawn chair’ and watch practice. They never come back and watch mini-camp and sit out there in the heat. They don’t want to watch training camp, they don’t want to see that stuff. It’s definitely going to be interesting and going to be different for me. But I’m going to be here, I’m still going to be involved with the team in any way possible with different things in the charity work that I’m always involved in. I’m never not going to be a Giant, I’m never not going to be in this area. It’s just for the first time in my career it’s not going to be as a player.”

For more on Diehl’s retirement, see David Diehl reflects on life in football at Giants.com. Also from Giants.com, the following videos/graphics are available:

  • David Diehl reflects on career (Video)
  • Players & Coaches: David Diehl Shoutouts (Video)
  • David Diehl’s Career Highlights (Video)
  • David Diehl Career Infographic (Graphic)

Article on Quarterback Curtis Painter: Giants free agents: Any chance backup QB Curtis Painter returns? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on Fullback Henry Hynoski: Healthy again, Hynoski looks forward to future by Chuck Souders of NewsItem.com

Article on Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks: Hakeem Nicks: The NFL’s perception of the Giants’ free-agent wide receiver by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on Tight Bear Pascoe: Giants free agents: Bear Pascoe does it all for Big Blue by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

Jul 152013
 
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Bear Pascoe, New York Giants (October 28, 2012)

Bear Pascoe – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Offseason Breakdown: New York Giants Tight Ends

If a tight end can’t block, he won’t play for the New York Giants. It’s that simple. In the Giants’ system, blocking is as critical, if not more important, than pass receiving. The traditional down tight end (hand in the dirt, lined up next to the offensive tackle) is often called upon to block not only linebackers, but defensive ends as well. The problem is that quality two-way tight ends are hard to find. With the proliferation of spread offenses in college, the two-way tight end is disappearing at many schools. There are 32 NFL teams and a very limited supply of quality prospects coming out in the NFL Draft. One-dimensional, pass-receiving, H-Back types (motion tight ends who often do not line up in a down position) are more plentiful, but the Giants’ offense does not tend to feature these types of players.

The good news is the Giants have 71-year old Mike Pope, arguably the best tight ends coach in the NFL. He’s been with the Giants seemingly forever (1984-1991, 2000-present) under head coaches Bill Parcells, Ray Handley, Jim Fassel, and Tom Coughlin. Pope has a history of developing players with good size and just enough athletic ability into solid, two-way tight ends.

The tight end position has been a bit of turnstile for the Giants since Jeremy Shockey (2002-2007) was traded to the Saints in July 2008. Since then, the primary tight end on the Giants has changed from Kevin Boss (2008-2010) to Jake Ballard (2011) to Martellus Bennett (2012) and now to Brandon Myers (2013).

Including Myers, there are six tight ends on the Giants’ current training camp roster. Historically, the team tends to keep three tight ends on the 53-man roster.

Brandon Myers: Myers was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent from the Oakland Raiders in March 2013. He was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Raiders. Myers had a breakout season for the Raiders in 2012, catching 79 passes for 806 yards and four touchdowns. His 16 regular-season starts in 2012 were more than all of the starts he had combined his first three years in the NFL. His 79 catches also dwarfed the 32 he had from 2009-2011.

Myers lacks the size that the Giants usually look for in their primary tight end. He’s only listed at 6’3’’, 256 pounds. The Giants usually like their tight ends an inch or two taller and 15-20 pounds heavier. He’s also not very fast or quick for the position – the Raiders used him more as a short- to intermediate-receiver. But Myers seems to be a smart, heady player with just enough athleticism, a feel for getting open, and good hands. His blocking was reportedly subpar in Oakland last year. A painful shoulder injury (sprained AC joint) could have been a factor. Still his lack of size and strength is worrisome in the blocking department.

“We think he’ll be a great piece to our offense and I think (Eli Manning) will have a relationship with him really quickly,” said General Manager Jerry Reese.

“He is a good receiver,” said Pope. “I think at the Raiders he was more of an intermediate receiver. And now our passing game does allow the tight end to get more vertically down the field – flag routes – double seam routes – post routes – that kind of thing. And he appears to have the skills to get those balls. He has a little bit of a jet that can accelerate and go get a ball that is a little deeper. You may not think he is going to reach it, but he has that little bit. So we are very interested to see him in pads.”

“I’m with a great organization, a proven team with a proven quarterback, in an offense that if you’re a tight end and you can get open, you’ll get a lot of opportunities to catch the ball,” said Myers.

“Obviously, my blocking (in Oakland) wasn’t up to par,” said Myers. “But we kind of went over some things, (Pope’s) technique that he could teach me to help me out, so I think it will be a good fit.”

Coughlin doesn’t appear concerned about his blocking. “He’s a well-rounded tight end,” said Coughlin. “He’s a blocker in the running game as well. We’re looking forward to that.”

Bear Pascoe: The Giants picked up Pascoe in 2009 after the 49ers cut him as a rookie. Pascoe is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of player whose strength is his overall versatility. Pascoe plays tight end, H-Back, and even some fullback for the Giants. In fact, he filled in at fullback for the bulk of the 2010 season when Madison Hedgecock was placed on Injured Reserve. And Pascoe may have to do so again in 2013 with Henry Hynoski’s knee injury casting doubt on his availability.

Pascoe does not really stand out as a blocker or receiver, and needs to improve his productivity and consistency in both areas. But Pascoe is big (6’5”, 283 pounds), solid, and dependable. Pascoe finished the 2012 with only four catches for 35 yards and one touchdown. In four seasons with the Giants, he has 26 catches for 252 yards and one score.

“We’re very confident that Bear, no matter what role we place him in, he does an outstanding job,” said Coughlin. “Bear has had opportunities to play in that slot, B tight end, Y tight end, and he’s always done a nice job.”

“This is kind of what I do. This is my role,” Pascoe said. “The more I can do, the better it is for the team. It’s one of the reason I’ve been here for five years, is I have versatility.”

“(Pascoe) has had to do that for us whenever the fullback has been hurt,” said Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride. “It hasn’t been Henry (Hynoski) but it was Madison Hedgecock before. And so he has done a great job with that. It is not an easy thing. He is not a natural fullback but he is one of those guys that just whatever you ask him to do, he goes out and does it with as much courage and determination as anybody. As a result of that he plays above – sometimes – what your expectations might be. We asked him to do a very difficult role – he does it very well.”

Pope thinks having Pascoe playing fullback may make the Giants’ offense less predictable. “Bear has played a good bit of fullback for us,” said Pope. “Actually he played about 160 snaps at fullback last season. So he is aware of the assignments. There are still some finite things that he can get better at there. But it gives us a great deal of flexibility because when Hynoski is in the game they pretty well know that there are some limitations as to where he will line up. He is pretty much a backfield player. When we can put Bear in with one of these other guys, now we can do a lot more things as far as open formations – a little more difficult for the defense to predict where they can’t just key on one of the those guys and say the ball is going there. So that helps us.”

Adrien Robinson: 2012 was mainly a redshirt year for Adrien Robinson, who the Giants drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Robinson made the 53-man roster, but was only activated for two games. He did not catch a single pass. Robinson combines good size with excellent athleticism. He has very good speed and agility for a big tight end. However, he is a very raw player who will need a lot of coaching up. He was not targeted much in college (only 29 receptions in four years), but he displayed an ability to get down the field, adjust to the football, and make the difficult catch. Robinson has the physical ability to be a good blocker.

Because Robinson’s college has trimesters, he missed Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices his rookie season. “I think going through OTAs this year, seeing how slowly the coaches install the plays and understanding how everything feeds off each other, I realize that I did miss a lot last year by coming in so late and trying to jumpstart everything,” Robinson said. “I’ve been here since the (offseason) program started, and it’s a new year. I’m just trying to work my way up.”

“I think the biggest improvement I’ve made is in my understanding of the offense and knowing the plays, my assignments, where to line up, and how to read the defenses,” said Robinson. “Last year, I didn’t get many game reps, so I had to watch a lot, which helped, but it’s not the same as lining up on the field.”

“The biggest thing I want to show the coaches is that I fully understand the offense,” said Robinson. “I understand everything that’s going on, and I want to earn their trust. Once they are confident that you know what you’re doing, you’ll get on the field.”

“Adrien Robinson appears to have gone into the Land of the Believers and yes he has been making some good progress,” said Pope. “He is understanding assignment-wise. But the plays are still not the lines on the page that we give them for instruction. So he is doing a lot of the assignment things correctly. Now we have to get him to adjust to the way the defense is playing on each particular play and to make the best decisions based on how the defense is playing. But he is running well and he has his weight down some. The quarterback is starting to find him. He is hard to miss – he is the tallest tree in the forest out there. So he is a good target. But we are more than mildly pleased with the progress that he has made from an assignment standpoint.”

“Adrien was in that group of guys who came in, didn’t really know much about working with an offensive tackle on a double team block or how do you read coverages, what happens if they blitz here, what do I do?” said Pope in June. “It has taken him some time to learn and feel a little more comfortable. His speed and athletic skills did not surface as quickly as we hoped because he was thinking his way through every single play which slowed him down. Now he’s developing some confidence and he knows a little bit more about what he is doing. These last three or four weeks have been the very best weeks of his Giant career.”

“Wish we could have gotten him in some games more last year, but it just didn’t work out for us to get him in some games,” said Reese. “But we really think – the guy is 280 pounds, he ran a 4.57 (40-yard dash) at his Pro Day, and we think he can really develop into a terrific blocker. In practice, he flashed some things that were really like some ‘Wow’ things in practice. So we’re expecting him to make a jump this season and get in and get going and give us some contributions as our big blocking tight end. And he can catch the ball really nice. So we expect to bring him along, and hopefully he’ll contribute for us.”

Larry Donnell: Donnell went undrafted and unsigned in 2011. The Giants signed him as a street free agent in March 2012 and Donnell spent 2012 on the Giants’ Practice Squad. Donnell has excellent size (6’6”, 270 pounds) and is a good athlete. However, he is raw and needs a lot of coaching. Unfortunately, Donnell missed most of the spring work with a right foot or ankle injury that forced him to wear a walking boot.

Jamie Childers: The Giants signed Jamie Childers to a Reserve/Future contract in January 2013. Childers was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2012 NFL Draft. The Rams waived him in August. Childers needs a lot of technique work not only because of his small school background but because he played both quarterback and tight end in college. Lacking bulk (6’5”, 250 pounds), Childers is built more like an H-Back than true tight end. He’s athletic and has good hands. He probably will never be more than a finesse blocker. According to press reports, Childers did flash as a receiver in spring workouts.

Chase Clement: Clement was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2013 NFL Draft. In college, Clement converted to tight from defensive end. He has good size (6’6”, 262 pounds) and strength and could develop as a blocking-type tight end with better technique. He was not used much as a receiver in college with only 14 career receptions in four seasons. Clement isn’t overly fast.

“When I first looked at (Clement) I had visions of Jake Ballard,” said Pope. “Just because he was a good blocker on the goal line. (LSU) seldom ever threw him the ball. But when the ball was snapped he had kind of that tough-guy mentality – old school. But he really had a motor…He is not going to be an all-world receiver way down the field as far as being explosive and flexible, but he has pretty good football savvy…I think there is something to work with there.”

Summary: Brandon Myers is clearly the #1 guy heading into training camp and will likely be the Giants’ primary tight end, though due to his size, it would be easy to see the Giants using him some at H-Back too. Myers could be the type of receiver who Manning quickly develops chemistry with. But Myers needs to block better than he did last year in Oakland. Pascoe is a limited athlete and his attention will be split between fullback, H-Back, and tight end. The real question is how fast can Adrien Robinson develop? He has the size to be a good blocker and the athletic abiity to be a good receiver. Can he put it all together, and if so, how quickly? Don’t completely discount Donnell (two-way tools), Childers (receiver), and Clement (blocker) either, but their best shot is probably the Practice Squad unless someone gets hurt.

Jul 142013
 
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Article on S Antrel Rolle: Antrel Rolle Reinvigorated by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on S Stevie Brown: Giants Safety Stevie Brown Preps for a Big Season in 2013 by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Quotes: CB Terrell Thomas on WR Victor Cruz: “He’s explosive. He’s very powerful and strong – a lot of people don’t understand that. He’s very compact, and I think it helps him. He has a great Pro Bowl quarterback that gives him the option to do whatever he wants, so it makes it challenging. So you’ve really got to be on your toes guarding him.”

Thomas Cruz and WR Hakeem Nicks: “They’re both hard to guard. They’re both different. Hakeem is more strong, smooth, very confident, long arms, strong hands, real aggressive. Victor is the opposite. He’s in the slot. He has more of a two-way go, very explosive out of his breaks, and really that option route is what kills you because he can go in or out. And in the slot, you really have no help in that nickel, so he does a great job in there.”