Aug 252015
 
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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 25, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their last public training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

ROSTER MOVES…
On Monday, the Giants waived/injured safety Justin Currie (fractured tibia and ankle) and linebacker Tony Johnson (knee sprain). To fill these roster spots, the team signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Ashlee Palmer (Detroit Lions) and rookie free agent C.J. Conway (Montclair State).

Palmer was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Buffalo Bills after the 2009 NFL Draft. He has played both for the Bills (2009) and Detroit Lions (2010-14). In six seasons, Palmer has started 24 games. In 2014, he played in 16 regular-season game for the Lions, starting five, and accrued 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two pass defenses. Palmer is a good special teams player.

Conway was the New Jersey Athletic Conference’s (NJAC) Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, when he was also chosen to the American Football Coaches Association Division-III Team and First-Team USA Football. Conway led the NJAC in passes defended with 17 and was second with eight interceptions, as he also registered 51 tackles and forced two fumbles.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf), center Weston Richburg (knee), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), defensive end George Selvie (knee), linebacker Jon Beason (knee), linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion), and cornerback Chandler Fenner (hamstring) did not practice.

Wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck), safety Landon Collins (knee), safety Nat Berhe (calf), safety Cooper Taylor (toe) practiced on a limited basis. Collins did not appear to do much in practice however.

Wide receiver Julian Talley (toe) returned to practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Jeromy Miles and Brandon Meriweather were the first-team safeties.
  • Without Jon Beason, the starting middle linebacker was Jameel McClain.
  • Without Weston Richburg, Dallas Reynolds started at center with the first-team offense.
  • Geoff Schwartz continued to see first-team reps at both right guard and right tackle.
  • Wide receiver Preston Parker caught a touchdown pass.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Odell Beckham for a touchdown against cornerback Josh Gordy. (Video)
  • Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picked off a pass intended for wide receiver Rueben Randle from quarterback Eli Manning and return the interception for a touchdown. (Video)
  • Cornerback Josh Gordy picked off a pass from quarterback Ricky Stanzi.
  • According to Giants.com, the top three players from practice today were wide receiver Odell Beckham, wide receiver Preston Parker, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

GIANTS ON ESPN RADIO…
Audio clips of the the following Giants being interviewed on ESPN Radio are available at ESPN.com:

  • President/CEO John Mara (Audio)
  • General Manager Jerry Reese (Audio)
  • Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Audio)
  • QB Eli Manning (Audio)
  • WR Odell Beckham (Audio)
  • WR Victor Cruz (Audio)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (Audio)

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Tuesday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: How was Landon Collins able to keep engaged while he was on the sideline? Sometimes young players have difficulty with that.

A: He’s in every meeting, he’s in every plan, he’s interested. After what he’s missed on the field, he has an opportunity to listen to the coaches talk about it in the classroom. He’s up to date on everything that we’re doing.

Q: He was also kind of engaged with the players, running to the ball, things like that. How important was that to see? Just to not see him on the sideline in his own world.

A: Well, that’s his game. He’s got to be involved like that. To keep him as involved as we possibly can, even though he can’t take snaps—that’s the challenge. Of course with a young guy, who has a sense that he’s missing time, he should be more engaged.

Q: He’ll go full today?

A: He’ll go limited.

Q: What about some of the other guys?

A: What about them?

Q: Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle—do you expect them out here?

A: They say Rueben [Randle] will go tomorrow. And I don’t know when to say Victor [Cruz] will go.

Q: Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe?

A:  [Cooper] Taylor goes today, and Berhe’s  going today. Yeah, he’s going. They’re all limited. Anybody that’s been out, their classification when they first come back is limited.

Q: Any better idea on Jon Beason?

A: No. Nope.

Q: Are you concerned about Victor at all?

A: I’m concerned, yeah. Because obviously there were a couple of slotted opportunities there that didn’t take place, or one. Of course this would have been the second one, if he’s not ready to go. So, yeah, yeah, I am. But I would like to see him get out there, and be able to stay out there. That’s what our real intent is. As soon as that can be done, that’s possible, then that’s what will happen.

Q: Would you say he’s out for Saturday or it’s too early?

A: I’m not going to say anything like that. No, it’s day to day.

Q: It’s not the knee right?

A: No, it’s not the knee.

Q: You said originally that you thought it might be dehydration-related. Did it end up being more serious than maybe you thought?

A: No. I can’t classify it. I just know that he can’t go.

Q: Ashlee Palmer, what’d you like about him?

A: Worked out very well. And I do like the fact that he’s played without injury for quite some time. That could’ve been the reason right there.

Q: What do you like about the combination of Jay Bromley and Kenrick Ellis? They seem to be working well together.

A: Well, they’re big, solid guys inside. What I like is they enjoy playing and they seem to be able to hold the point in there pretty good. So we just need to keep those two getting better.

Q: What has Andre Williams shown you in year two, specifically, in how he has grown?

A: Well, he’s obviously second time around—he knows more about what he’s doing. He’s more comfortable doing it. He is a powerful runner, and when given the opportunity, he’s demonstrated.

Q: Do you notice a different level of patience with him?

A: That’s not necessarily the first word that would come to—but he did demonstrate it the other night.

Q: Johnathan Casillas’ neck, is that a serious thing or day to day?

A: You know, I don’t know what to make of that, because he came out and practiced. He was not supposed to have any contact. Evidently, he did get a little bit, and then he got sore again. They’re just not going to let him go until they feel like he can play and not receive any kind of injury.

Q: Steve Weatherford didn’t seem to have a great night the other night. How open is that competition?

A: Well, it is open. It should be looked at that way by everybody. I don’t care how many years in the league, when you come to camp, it’s competitive, and you’ve got lots of people trying for the same job. So we certainly would like to see it the way we hope to expect it on game day and during the regular season. So I’m hoping that improves.

Q: When you got a better look at the film, you saw Odell Beckham had five targets with no catches. Was that all just timing that you assume will come? Or was there anything you saw as to why he didn’t get to those balls?

A: To me, he had a chance for one ball that was thrown out in front of him. He had a drop. Again, to me, it’s timing, it’s rhythm, it’s all of those things. But that would be where I would start.

Q: I would assume you don’t worry about a guy like that with what he’s done.

A: I worry about everything. I’m worried about everything. You give opportunities and guys make plays and they don’t make plays. Then you analyze why they did or why they didn’t and present it. You’d like to see it the other way. There has to be a little bit of a sense of urgency right now. You’re a couple weeks away from lining up. So, I mean, I’d like to see things done well, done right. Obviously, whoever it is, doesn’t matter, Odell—it doesn’t make any difference. When it doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to go, and we’ve been at this for a couple of weeks, why doesn’t it go that way? So you have to look hard at that. And the one thing—it’s not an excuse—but again, when you see some of the younger guys doing some things and catching the ball and so on, advancing the ball, they’ve been out here. (Geremy) Davis has been on the field all this time, you know? The practice part of this thing has got to be understood and it’s got to be done right. It’s got to be done with a sense of urgency.

Q: Back to Victor, how do you view the importance of him getting into a preseason game?

A: Well, it’s great, but if it doesn’t happen, then it doesn’t happen. You know, Odell didn’t have a preseason game last year. So you want them to play, that’s what the plan was. If it doesn’t work out that way, then what’s the next thing? We can’t worry about something that, right now, is not within our control.

Q: Would you contemplate playing him in the fourth game if he couldn’t be ready for this game?

A: Well, I’m considering that the whole time. I’m saying, ‘When can we play him?’ Would I contemplate it? Sure. I mean, we just have to have X number of days together practicing before that’s going to happen, though. We’re not going to make a decision the night before the last preseason game to play him. It has to be something that builds up to it, so I know he’s ready to go. I wouldn’t put him out there without that.

Q: There was a report yesterday that Jason Pierre-Paul is planning a return.

A: I don’t know anything about that. I don’t know anything about that.

Q: He hasn’t told you?

A: He hasn’t told me.

Q: Getting any of your corners back? Chykie Brown?

A: No.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video clips of player media Q&As are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The last two training camp practices for the Giants this summer are on Wednesday and Thursday, but neither is open to the public.

Aug 182015
 
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Jimmy Staten, Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (October 20, 2012)

Jimmy Staten (#90) – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Claim DT Jimmy Staten Off of Waivers; Release DT Carlif Taylor: According to multiple press sources, the New York Giants have claimed defensive tackle Jimmy Staten off of waivers from the Seattle Seahawks. To make room for Staten, the Giants waived rookie free agent defensive tackle Carlif Taylor.

Staten was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Seahawks. He spent his rookie season on Seattle’s Practice Squad. Staten has decent size (6’3”, 311 pounds) with good strength. He is a better run defender than pass rusher. Staten is a raw, developmental type, but he is hard worker.

Injury Update on DE George Selvie and S Mykkele Thompson: According to NJ.com, the knee injury suffered by defensive end George Selvie in practice on Monday is thought to be a relatively minor knee strain.

Meanwhile, safety Mykkele Thompson, who suffered a season-ending torn Achilles’ tendon injury in the preseason game last Friday, tweeted he underwent successful surgery. Recovery from Achilles’ ruptures can be tricky and it remains to be seen if the injury is career-threatening.

Articles on Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo:

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on RB Andre Williams: How Giants’ Andre Williams is fixing his biggest weakness by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on TE Larry Donnell: Giants’ Larry Donnell: Game vs. Cincinnati Bengals was ‘best I’ve felt blocking since I’ve been here’ by James Kratch for NJ.com

Articles on New York Giants Defensive Ends:

Articles on S Brandon Meriweather:

Article on the 2015 New York Giants: Latest Giants 53-man roster prediction doesn’t include James Jones, Adrien Robinson by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Aug 172015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 17, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

ELI MANNING WANTS TO BE HIGHEST PAID PLAYER IN NFL?…
The NFL Network is reporting that quarterback Eli Manning wants to be the highest paid quarterback in the NFL. Manning is entering the final year of his current contract.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (neck/concussion), and safety Cooper Taylor (sore toe) did not practice.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) and safety Landon Collins (knee sprain) participated in walk-through drills. Safety Nat Berhe (calf strain) participated in some individual drills. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas (stiff neck) returned to practice.

Defensive end George Selvie left practice early with a knee injury. No word yet on the severity.

Safety Mykkele Thompson, who was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve on Sunday, underwent surgery today to repair his torn right Achilles’ tendon.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Geoff Schwartz continued to split time between right guard and right tackle.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Victor Cruz on a slant for a touchdown (Video) and then Odell Beckham in the corner of the end zone for another touchdown.
  • The first-team safeties were Jeromy Miles and Brandon Merriweather with Bennett Jackson playing in the slot corner position. Miles and Jackson also played first-team safety in 7-on-7 drills.
  • Linebacker Jonathan Casillas received some first-team reps in 7-on-7 drills.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham beat cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a “sick” out move.
  • Wide receiver Julian Talley also beat Rodgers-Cromartie on an out route.
  • Defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis “flattened” left guard guard Adam Gettis in red zone drills.
  • Bobby Hart saw second-team reps at right tackle and looked good. Brandon Mosley saw second-team reps at right guard.
  • Giants.com said the three standout players today were safety Jeromy Miles, wide receiver Odell Beckham, and linebacker Jon Beason.

GIANTS ON WFAN RADIO
The audio from the following interviews on WFAN Radio are available from CBS New York:

  • Team President/CEO John Mara (Audio)
  • General Manager Jerry Reese (Audio)
  • Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Audio)
  • Quarterback Eli Manning (Audio)
  • RB Shane Vereen (Audio)
  • WR Odell Beckham (Audio)
  • WR Victor Cruz (Audio)
  • LB Jon Beason (Audio)

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media in the early afternoon before the evening practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Coughlin: Good Afternoon. What can I do for you today? Who do you want to talk about — which one on the list do you want to talk about?

Q: Let’s talk about the new safety you signed?

A: Yeah — Brandon Meriweather, who we’ve played against before. He’s a very physical safety — comes down in the box very well. He’ll bring a degree of toughness to our secondary, to that position, so we welcome him.

Q: How much did you feel that you needed to get a veteran at that spot?

A: Well, it worked. It helped. It’ll help to have a veteran there — a guy that’s played and can share information with a lot of the young guys who are obviously trying to play but haven’t been there yet.

Q: He was not signed by anyone. How much does he [Meriweather] think — his legs and everything — how much does he think he has left?

A: Well, he [Meriweather] had a toe issue, which he had corrected. He’s 31 years old — he certainly doesn’t need to be put away to rest. He’s a young guy.

Q: He’s been on the other side of the NFL disciplinary system for a lot of hits that he can’t seem to have corrected…

A: Can’t seem to have corrected?

Q: Well, he’s been fined multiple times. I think he was suspended. What do you do with that? How do you coach that?

A: Well, the toughness part you want. The penalties and the issues, you don’t want. And he’s a young man who has expressed thanks in being here and having the opportunity, and I think he’ll take coaching. He’s competitive, he’s very competitive. And to a certain extent, obviously, we want that, but we don’t want what goes with it, obviously.

Q: Did you have to say something to him?

A: I will talk to him, yes. I will talk to him.

Q: How does he fit into the defensive system here?

A: How does he fit in?

Q: Yeah.

A: He’s a safety. And we’re looking for safeties, so there you go. When they blow the whistle, 11 are supposed to go out there, so that’s what we’re looking for.

Q: What has it meant for you to have had one quarterback [Eli Manning] your entire career here, and where do you see Eli as far as how much longer you think you two might be together?

A: Well, I think he’s better than — I think he’s prepared to be better than he’s ever been, to be honest with you. I thought last year his improvement was outstanding. His conditioning, his offseason work. Even right now, his recovery cycle work and flexibility is better than I’ve ever seen it. Again, he’s young, he’s obviously very driven, and he’s in a great frame of mind. (something bangs off the ground) That having been said, that’s an exclamation point.

Q: What do you — or I guess the medical staff at this point — need to see from Victor [Cruz] to get him into a preseason game?

A: Well, I think he’s showing it. We’ll pick when he goes, but he’s done everything. Yesterday he did everything — we didn’t even have a… he and Odell both had a full practice yesterday, and both did well and both are back ready to go today.

Q: Is that the plan again today? Not to be limited at all? Or do you have to back off a little bit after a full day like that?

A: He [Victor Cruz] is going to practice. That’s all I’m telling you. They’re [Cruz and Beckham Jr.] going to practice.

Q: Do you want to limit Victor to one preseason game?

A: Not necessarily. He has to do things gradually, and he’s doing them gradually. He’s getting to where he needs to be, and his mindset is outstanding. We brought him to the game [preseason opener at Cincinnati] for a reason. We put him into the workout in Cincinnati for a reason. He didn’t get a chance to play in the game, but he saw it. He was in it. He was involved. He was mentally involved, and he’s looking forward to going to the next step.

Q: We’re three weeks into camp now — where do you sort of gauge where your defense is at this point?

A: Well, obviously after last weekend, both offense, defense, and certain parts of special teams need to improve. And that’s what camp is for. So let’s take what we have on tape, let’s teach, and let’s go back out and correct some of the mistakes that we made.

Q: How did [Geoff] Schwartz come out yesterday after his first workout?

A: He’s practicing today.

Q: Is that a positive sign for him to go back-to-back [practices]?

A: Definitely. Definitely.

Q: Where do you see him on the line? Is he a guard or tackle?

A: Both. He’s played all those positions his whole career — both sides — so, wherever we need him. He’s smart enough, he understands it, he can play multiple positions.

Q: How’s [Marshall] Newhouse doing today?

A: He seems he’s going to be ready to go. We have to watch him, but he’s going to be ready to go.

Q: Is it an extra challenge when you have to add these new pieces in on the fly, during training camp? You know, the secondary…

A: Well obviously you can’t go back to day one. So it’s an issue for them — they have to catch up. But again, it’s the language. It’s the language — he’s [Brandon Meriweather] done it, he’s played all kinds of coverages — particularly in Washington. It’s just a matter of him understanding what the terminology represents and what his responsibilities are, and I’m sure he’ll be accelerated because of his number of years of service in the league.

Q: Would Geoff Schwartz — he obviously has a foot problem that he’s been dealing with — does that factor in for you as to how much you can use him at right tackle and how much more difficult maybe does that make it to put him out there?

A: I hope not. I hope not. I’m not thinking that way. I’m not thinking of any restriction. I’m thinking where he can best help us, and we’ll take it from there.

Q: Is it something you have to manage long-term with him? I know you kind of mentioned that before, that maybe you might have to do that.

A: Well, whatever happens, we’ll manage it. Whether he can go without anybody being concerned, whether he does have concerns and he gets a restricted amount — that’s all to be seen. But for now, after the time that he’s been away from the field, he’s ready to practice and we need him to practice to get going to see whether we can count on him.

Q: How long had Meriweather been on your radar, just as far as being an option?

A: There’s a list. Who’s available? Who isn’t? It happens everyday. Some come off, some come on. He’s been on that list since the non-signing in Washington, but he did have the toe issues, which anybody and everybody in the league, I’m sure, was monitoring. He hasn’t worked out that many places, to be honest with you, so the timing is just about right for our need.

Q: Is this the first time that you had him in to work out or did you have him in here beforehand?

A: First time.

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR STEVE SPAGNUOLO…
Steve Spagnuolo addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: What were your thoughts on the first preseason game?

A: I knew we were going to get general. Well, I’ll be honest, like I told the guys, I didn’t think we started out like we should have, that was a little disappointing—we talked about that the other day. Cincinnati came out and jumped us pretty quick, I thought got us on our heels a little bit. I think the guys felt that, too. Of course, in a preseason game, you’re taking some guys out, and it kind of gets out of whack a little bit. We did settle down a little bit. I thought the young guys did some good things. It was encouraging to see us play good in the red zone. Not encouraging to give up all of the long run plays, I think a lot of that can be fixed. There was a couple of pass plays where we challenged, our corners, we went into it saying, look, we’re going to stay very vanilla. We might do some things man-wise, it’ll challenge the corners on the outside. But that’s okay, we want to find out where we are. So some of that was planned, and it wasn’t a deep game plan to stop Cincinnati’s offense. We practiced against them for two days. All in all, I think we’ve got a long way to go, but I think the guys are willing to do the things they need to do to get there.

Q: When you have players talk about not playing fast and they wish they would have, why wouldn’t you?

A: You know what I attribute that to? And we talked about it. I think they were thinking too much because they wanted to be right, and it’s the first game, and there’s a lot of youth on our side of the ball. I think it was more that. Look, we focused a lot on that and we’re talking about it now. I’m hoping in this next go-around, that it will be think fast and just go. That’s what the defensive game is all about. I told them, don’t worry about making mistakes. Maybe I didn’t say that enough going into the game. If you’re a guy and you want to make the football team, and they’re always being corrected for an error, they want to be perfect. But we’re going to chase perfection, but we’re going to rely on relentless. That’s what we’re going to try to do.

Q: Is a guy like Trevin Wade kind of embodying that mentality right now? It seems like he’s always around the ball.

A: Yeah, I’m glad you brought Trevin [Wade] up, he’s done a nice job. When a guy steps up, he’s around the ball, he’s making plays—he made a big one at the end, I think you have to recognize that. At first I don’t think anybody really knew where he was, as a player. But it’s good to see him, I’d like to see more guys do that.

Q: What do you guys like about Brandon Meriweather?

A: You know, Brandon, I’ve seen from afar, obviously as an opponent. Very aggressive football player, experienced, has started in the NFL. From guys that played with him in college, because we’ve got some Miami guys here, obviously, the feedback from them was he was very vocal—I like that in a safety. I think Coach Coughlin and Jerry [Reese] like the same thing. Not afraid to make a mistake, bold—I think all those things are good attributes. We’ll have to find out where he is with all the other things, he hasn’t been in football for a little bit right now.

Q: How was the communication, especially among the first team defense, in getting everything lined up and what not?

A: Not too bad, could’ve been better. I think the first touchdown, I’m going to take the onus on that one. Again, we didn’t game plan against Cincinnati. Had we been game planning, we would have played that bunch route they had a little bit differently. In the way we were playing it, made it real challenging for our guys. So we certainly could have played that better, that wasn’t the players’ fault, it was just that particular play. We shouldn’t have let them down that close, but that particular play was really on the coaches, my fault.

Q: You’re more familiar with Jeromy Miles probably than anybody. What did you like about him to bring him here?

A: Well, Jeromy [Miles] has always been more of a special teams player, he was never really a pure starter in this league. But I felt he could at least provide depth, some veteran presence, and certainly special teams. We’ll see where it goes with regards to playing safety and how much. There was a comfort level there, when you know people, I knew what kind of effort you were going to get from Jeromy. I know he’s a pro, I know he works at it, I know he studies the game. I think that’s all been evident. And he’ll tell you he’d like to be playing a little bit better football than he did the other night.

Q: So he’s got a ways to go on defense?

A: Yeah, we all do. We all do, myself included.

Q: What do you see from your defensive end group? Does anybody stand out?

A: I think they’re all kind of clumped together. When I say that, I think we have some guys that will play relentless football. I was kind of impressed with some of the things that the guys did up front. Now, there are some tweaks and some mental errors that we have to get ironed out, and I think they’ll do that. A lot of those guys are ready, set, go—that’s not a bad quality in a defensive end, to do that. And Coach [Robert] Nunn is working technique with them. We’ve moved some guys around, I think you saw some of those defensive ends played inside the other night, which we like to do. We’ll continue to do that. We have to get into situations that will allow us to do that. But we’ll keep moving them around, I think all of them are doing about the same right now.

Q: What kind of leap has Kerry Wynn taken against the run, in particular?

A: Yeah, I didn’t know a lot about Kerry [Wynn] coming here. I’d seen him on film as I studied the Giants from last year. But he’s a solid football player, he knows what he’s doing. He made a couple of uncharacteristic mental errors in the game, and even in practice yesterday. But I trust Kerry because I know he knows what he’s doing. I think he’s getting better as a football player, as we start talking about technique and things he needs to do out there. I think he’s improved as we’ve gone on in training camp.

Q: Jon Beason almost sounded like a rookie the other day, saying he’s really trying to do the right thing and show you he knows the defense. Do you see it’s not quite there yet for him?

A: I think anytime it’s new language, new system—but look, I love Jon Beason. We do individual stuff, him and I get a lot. He’s a football player, he loves the game. When you’re passionate about football and want to do the right thing, that’s what comes out. I think he said to me, it might’ve been in the walk-through here. He was moving the trash cans around that we use and getting them perfect. I said, “You wanted to get those right?” He goes, “Yeah.” He goes, “I’m like that, I want it to be perfect.” He goes, “It’s a blessing and a curse.” And it is, we all know that. Sometimes you can try to be too perfect. But I love working with him. I watched him out here yesterday, and coming off a game, having a day off, and everybody being sore, it’s a little sluggish. I felt we were sluggish yesterday, but you watch Jon Beason, and he was flying around like a rookie. And good for him. I pointed that out in the meeting, and all the other guys need to follow suit. I love working with him.

Q: How much do you miss JPP?

A: Well, it’s hard for me to calculate that. I really haven’t worked with him. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed. Our prayers are with him for health. Until we can get him back here, we’ll just focus on the guys that we’ve got.

Q: You mentioned Meriweather with his aggressive play. Obviously he’s gotten in trouble in the past for being too aggressive. He’s also said that he doesn’t necessarily want to change his style. Is that a fine line for you to walk as a coach?

A: Very fine line for a coach, very fine line for a player in the league that we play in nowadays. But it’s all about target, and it’s a low target area, a strike zone. We’re talking from the chest down to the thigh. That’s what guys have to begin to do. I think that a lot of aggressive players in this league have adjusted to that, I think a lot of them are doing it. And we need to. So it’s preached, it’s talked about, and, again, we haven’t had him here but for a day. But that will be a focus, and I’m sure when you’re away from football for a little bit and you realize where that may have been one of the reasons—I don’t know if it is or not—I’m sure he’ll find a way to get it corrected.

Q: When you’re dealing with the issues in the secondary, how much can the ends help by getting pressure on the quarterback?

A: Yeah, all secondary players appreciate good defensive ends, we all know that from the past. We need that. It needs to all work together. I mean, look, you’ve got to cover them for a certain point, certain amount of time, so the defensive ends can get there. And defensive ends needs to get there quick enough so they’re not back there hanging out. It all works together, and hopefully with some things that we’ll do and some plays that we’ll have, and when we get all the guys where we want them, that’ll piece together and we’ll have something good.

Q: How concerned are you with Landon Collins’ knee and how it may kind of hold back his progression?

A: Yeah, the biggest concern is all the time he’s missing. I let Ronnie [Barnes] handle how long and when. He is staying in tune, he was standing by me most of yesterday as the calls went in. He gave me the feedback, he’s trying to stand behind there in the walkthroughs. That’s about all he can do right now, until he can get healthy. It’s just one of those things that sets you back. I don’t know where we are with game time and all of that, as far as these preseason games. But that’s valuable, valuable experience for any rookie, but especially a safety who we’re depending on to make calls and changes and adjustments, so it’ll be a challenge.

Q: There were obviously mistakes in the game, did you see the little things like hustle and physicality that make a defense?

A: Yeah, I did. I saw more of it in the practice against Cincinnati, to be honest with you. I don’t know if we—I’m not really sure in the game. I think if you were to ask every one of our guys to a man, we would’ve thought that we would have played more physical and faster. We’re all trying to put our finger on that, and I think everybody has to look in the mirror first. But that is the goal. I think you can make up for a lot of mistakes if you do that, we all know that. That’s the goal, that’s been a goal right from the beginning.

Q: What’s your impression of Damontre Moore?

A: I love Damontre. I love guys that like to have fun, I really do. Look, he pulled me aside in the walkthrough—because we had put one or two little wrinkles in, and he wanted to make sure he had it exactly right—this is what I’m hearing and this is what I’m doing. So he’s passionate, he wants to do well. We’re looking for him to do good things. We’ll fit him in there where we can, and fit him in the right spots.

Q: What had Landon shown you before he got hurt?

A: I’ll tell you what, he was progressing like you would hope when you take a guy as high as we did and with the expectation that he would fit in there. I’m normally—I’d prefer not to slot rookie’s right in there as starters—you make them earn it. But, it was obvious here that Landon is ahead of the game, playing at Alabama, I think, helps. He had come leaps and bounds in the verbal part of it, the mental part of it, handling the volume. I think some of the guys were starting to get confidence in him. It still has a ways to go, and then when you lose this amount of time, I think that sets him back a little bit. So he’s going to have to come back in and play catch up. Hopefully he can do that, and get everybody back on the same page.

Q: Had he kind of emerged as the voice of that safety group?

A: Yes and no. I think there’s a couple of safeties back there doing it, and certainly Jon Beason, in the middle, has a big part in that.

Q: How much will a guy like Brandon Meriweather help to develop the other safeties?

A: Well, I don’t know that yet. I’m not sure I know him well enough to know if he’s that kind of guy. Some veterans come in and look, they just worry about what they’re doing. And certainly he’s here trying to keep a job or get a job. I don’t know where that will go just yet. I’ve got to learn a little bit more about him.

Q: He’s been in the league a while, but you didn’t know him at all?

A: No, other than talking to him at the Combine, way back when. I know it seems like forever ago, when he came out. He’s played a lot of football, and that’s a good thing.

Q: How do you see using Devon Kennard?

A: Devon Kennard, in a lot of places right now. He’s a good football player. He looks like they’re supposed to look. He’s versatile in that he can play off the ball as a linebacker, in my opinion. He plays up on the line as what we call a SAM linebacker. And sometimes, we put him down there to rush. That means we’ve got a pretty good football player. So keep him healthy, don’t overload him. And yet he wants more and more. So I think those are all good qualities.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video clips of player media Q&As are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday. The next training camp practice will be held on Wednesday. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only three remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Jul 302015
 
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James Jones, Oakland Raiders (December 21, 2014)

James Jones – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Agree to Terms with James Jones as Players Report to Training Camp: All New York Giants players under contract reported to summer training camp on Thursday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. As expected, the only no-show was defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered serious hand and arm injuries from a July 4th fireworks accident and who has yet to sign his 1-year Franchise tender.

According to press reports, the Giants have agreed to terms on a 1-year deal with unrestricted free agent wide receiver James Jones. The 31-year old Jones has played eight seasons in the NFL, seven with the Green Bay Packers (2007-2013) and one with the Oakland Raiders (2014). He has 383 career regular-season receptions for 4,971 yards and 43 touchdowns. Last season, Jones caught 73 passes for 666 yards and six touchdowns.

The first training camp practice will be held on Friday from 2:30-4:30PM. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only nine training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Friday, July 31: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Saturday, August 1: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Sunday, August 2: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Monday, August 3: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Thursday, August 6: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM

Giants Place Two Players on PUP List: The Giants have placed offensive tackle Will Beatty (recovering from torn pectoral muscle) and wide receiver Ben Edwards (hamstring) on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

July 30, 2015 Giants President/CEO John Mara Press Conference: Giants President/CEO John Mara addressed the media on Thursday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: Obviously Jason Pierre-Paul is not here, and I would imagine you’re not too thrilled with the circumstances. Can you just give us your feelings on that?

A: I’m disappointed he’s not here. I think this would be the best place for him to be for a number of different reasons. He would have the opportunity to learn the defense, but more importantly, we have the best training staff in the league here. We have access to some of the best doctors in the world, and I think it would be in his best interest to be here for those reasons. As I said the other day, it’s unfortunate he’s not here. I don’t think he’s receiving the best advice. That’s sad as far as I am concerned.

Q: Do you know exactly what his condition is. Have you been allowed to examine him?

A: None of our people have been able to see him or examine him, so we have no idea what type of condition he is in. All we know is what some of his people have told us, but until we see him for ourselves, that doesn’t give us any comfort.

Q: Have you been told that he has an amputated finger?

A: We have been told exactly what you have been told. We don’t know anything more than you know.

Q: The people who you are talking about, is that the agent?

A: I assume that’s the people he is listening to, but I am not sure.

Q: I mean the people that have been in communication with the organization.

A: Yes, that’s correct.

Q: Has anybody spoken to him, or has the conversation all been exchanged via text message?

A: I believe Ronnie (Barnes) spoke with him on the phone. I have exchanged text messages with him. I know Robert Nunn has exchanged texts with him. I don’t know if he has spoken to him personally or not. Tom [Coughlin] (sent) texts, Jerry [Reese], but it has predominantly been text messages.

Q: John, do you have any idea when he will show up here?

A: None.

Q: How unusual is this?

A: It is pretty unusual. I think, again, I have a lot confidence in our medical staff and our training staff here. I just don’t know why you wouldn’t take advantage of that.

Q: Could he or his camp play his way into you rescinding the tender? By play, I mean not communicating.

A: I don’t think we are going to do anything until we actually see what type of condition he is in.

Q: What makes you believe that he could be worth 15 million dollars for this season considering the physical damage that has been done?

A: He has obviously played at a very high level in the past. He is a rare athlete. Again, until we see him, and see the damage, we are just not going to know that.

Q: John, have you ever been in this situation before. Does this feel different for even you?

A: I can’t recall being in a similar situation.

Q: Do you think it would color your impressions of dealing with him going forward in negotiations?

A: I don’t think so. Listen, he is a great kid, and we love having him around here. He fits in very well, he’s very cooperative. I just don’t know what is going on here. Again, I can only surmise that he is not receiving very good advice.

Q: How do go about planning with so much uncertainty? Do you just have to assume that he is not going to be a part of this team?

A: I think we have to plan on moving ahead without him at this point. Until we see him and make some sort of determination on the condition he is in, I don’t see how we can count on him, certainly not for the opening of the season.

Q: I guess when we looked into how this could possibly play out, apparently at some point you can negotiate the terms of a franchise tag and agree not to put him on NFI [Non-Football Injury]. Has there been any approach by them. Have they said “can we talk” or anything?

A: No. We have no idea what their intention is at this point.

Q: Well, I assume you would be open to–

A: We would be open to discussing anything, but we first need to see him.

Q: Have you guys done any research on this kind of injury, and how do you prepare? You guys obviously have to do what you can to get ready when he comes.

A: You say ‘this kind of injury.’ we don’t how extensive the damage is—that’s the problem. I don’t know how many fingers he has. We know what we have read and what we have been told, but until we actually see the extent of the damage, it is hard to make any type of prediction as to what type of condition he is going to be in.

Q: Have they told you why you can’t get in there to see him?

A: Not as far as I know.

Q: It has got to be all financial, right? He doesn’t have a contract. There has got to be some negotiations going on here. He is a guy without a contract right now.

A: I don’t know, there have been no negotiations with us since this happened, so I don’t know what their thinking is.

Q: Was there an offer on the table beforehand? Is that no longer available to him at this point?

A: We had made an offer to him some time ago, which we never really got a response to. Obviously, that is not on the table right now. Nothing is on the table until we see him.

Q: There is some suggestion that he would be worried about signing the tender and then being put on NFI and being docked pay. Would you be willing to say “show up, and we will pay you”?

A: All of that is negotiable, depending on what the condition of his hand is.

Q: Do you hope that they [Pierre-Paul’s representatives] are hearing what you are saying here since you do not seem to have any other avenue of communication?

A: Yes. Those are the reasons that I am here, other than the fact that I have missed all you so much.

Q: How much does the timing of this hurt you? It was in July. The fact that free agency, there are not those guys out there. How much does it limit what your options are here?

A: It was 14.8 million dollars or whatever it is. It could have arguably been used elsewhere. But listen, our priority and our hope is still that he is going to be able to play, and we will spend that money on him. That is our first wish.

Q: Has it been exclusively Jerry Reese talking to the agent?

A: I believe so. Kevin Abrams may have spoken to him at some point, I’m not sure. It has been mostly Jerry.

Q: Would ownership ever get involved? Would you ever reach out?

A: Possibly, at some point, but I have not done that yet. Jerry has been carrying the message for us.

Q: Have you done that in the past yourself in any other contract situations?

A: Probably on a few occasions, yes.

Q: Have you had any personal contact with Jason?

A: I exchanged texts with him, I would say, within a few days after the accident. I just asked him how he was doing, is there anything we can do for you? He responded almost immediately and said that he is going to be fine. I think the term he used was that it is just a little bump in the road and I will be back as good as ever. He even put a smiley face on there.

Q: Have you expressed your disappointment to him that he hasn’t been here?

A: I have not personally expressed that to him. Our first concern is for his well-being. Is he getting the right amount of medical care and proper therapy? I know he will get that here. I assume he is getting it down there, but I don’t know that for sure.

Q: There has been a lot of talk about the commissioner’s ruling on [Tom] Brady, and that it was upheld. What are your thoughts on the whole thing?

A: I am saddened that it has come to this. We went the two weeks going into the Super Bowl, all we talked about was Deflategate. Now coming into training camp, it is all we are talking about. The commissioner had a very difficult job to do here. At the end of the day, I think he made a decision based on the evidence and the facts that were put before him and without regard to the profile of the player or his personal relationship with the owner. That is what he is paid to do. He did his job here, and you can argue about whether it was fair or unfair, but he had to make a very tough decision under very difficult circumstances and he did it. That is what he is paid to do.

Q: Do you support the commissioner in this?

A: Yes. I have been around him enough to know that his intention is always to try and do the right thing. I don’t always agree with the decisions that he makes, but I know that he tries to do the right thing. I know this was a very unpleasant situation for him here. You are dealing with the best player in the league, you are dealing with an owner who has been as good as any other owner in the league and somebody that he has a close personal relationship with. He had to make a tough decision.Q: And the fact that this player is suing the league has got to be difficult for all the owners.

A: Well, it is. It is just going to drag this thing out into the fall, and that is not good for anybody.

Q: Were you as taken aback as the public was over that particular phrase “I was wrong to put my faith in the league”?

A: I have nothing but the utmost respect for Robert Kraft. I understand he is very emotional about this, and he feels very strongly about it. He is trying to protect his player, and I get that. As I said, I am saddened that it has come to this.

Q: Is it concerning that almost every decision the commissioner has made in the last year has been challenged in federal court?

A: It is. I don’t recall it ever being that way in prior years, but it seems like we’ve come to that now, but so be it.

Q: Have the expectations for this team been altered with injuries to two starters?

A: We’ve lost two starters and we’re not in training camp yet and I don’t remember being in that situation before. I do think we have enough talent here to have a team that can be in the playoffs and we can contend for a championship. That’s what I still believe and that’s what my expectations are.

Q: Do you still believe this is a “win or else” season?

A: You can make that statement every year, this is the NFL. People have expectations, our fans have expectations, and I have expectations. We’ve been out of the playoffs three years in a row, and it’s time to put stop to it.

Q: Has your level of optimism changed in regards to an extension for QB Eli Manning?

A: I think we’ll get it done at some point in time. We’re just going through the usual things that you go through. The agent asks for the moon, we make a reasonable offer, and at some point he’ll come to his senses and we’ll reach an agreement. There’s nothing unusual about this.

Q: Is there any concern from your perspective about getting a Manning deal done before the season starts?

A: I think ideally we would like to have that done, but if it doesn’t, I don’t think that’s going to affect our relationship with him or the fact that we will eventually get it done.

Q: Does it make a difference if the Manning deal doesn’t get done before the season ends?

A: We’d like to have it done before the season is over, but if it doesn’t happen, then I ‘m still confident it’ll get done at some point. We want him to be here and finish his career as a Giant. I’m sure he wants the same thing.

Q: Can you characterize your level of hope for WR Odell Beckham and WR Victor Cruz being healthy?

A: That obviously is an exciting prospect and something we haven’t been able to witness really to a great degree. Victor looks good and I’m hoping that he adds something to this offense and Beckham, the sky’s the limit for him.

Q: Several of your players live in south Florida. With them reporting today, have you been made aware of any having contact with Pierre-Paul?

A: Not to my knowledge.

Q: Do you have any worries about the maturity of Beckham?

A: I think he’s going to be fine. In fact, I understand that he addressed all of our (training camp operations) interns today, so that was a very positive step on his part. He and Victor both did, and I think he’s going to be fine. He’s had a lot of success very early on, so sometimes that does give you cause for concern, but I think he’s smart enough and mature enough to handle it.

Q: Did he address the interns?

A: That’s what I understand. He talked with our (camp operations) interns.

Q: Is there a level of anticipation for you to see Cruz?

A: Sure, I mean you never know for sure until he gets out on the field, and he’s running full speed, and there’s a little bit of contact involved. So yeah, there’s always going to be that but I know he’s very confident in our medical team, he’s very confident about them,  so I think he’s going to be back good as ever.

Q: How much have past injuries played a part into you looking at medical advancements and have you done any research?

A: I’ve certainly voiced my concern about the fact that we led the league in injuries the last two years. Nobody likes that around here and we’ve made some adjustments to the off-season program. We’ve got these GPS trackers now.  We’re trying to pay as much attention to that as possible, Tom has made certain adjustments to his schedule, and we’ve made some adjustments to the weight room and what they’re doing in there. Hopefully all that will pay off, but we’ll have to see.

Q: Does Coach Coughlin still embrace the old school way of coaching and not sports science?

A: I don’t really think that’s true. I think he’ll be able to tell you more specifically than I can. We have made changes. Tom does see we need to do that. I think in a perfect world for him, we’d be back to two-a-days and all sorts of contact, and everything, but that was a different world back then. We’re not in that world anymore. I believe he has embraced that and does see that we need to make changes going forward, because he’s not happy about the fact that we had so many injuries the last two years.

Q: Do you view your recent changes with sports science as catching up to the competition because some teams may have gone to it earlier?

A: I don’t know how much earlier, maybe a few teams may have done that. One thing about Tom is that he is more flexible than he’s given credit for. When he see’s something that’s out there that’s working, he wants to investigate it. Again, nobody is happy about the number of injuries that we’ve had, and we’re trying to do something to stop it. I think some of it has been bad luck with the broken bones and things. I don’t know what you do to prevent that, but sometimes injuries are going to happen in this sport. Some of the soft tissue injuries that I think that maybe are a little more avoidable, we’ve taken some steps to address that. We’ll see if they work or not.

Q: If you could boil your message down to one thing to Jason Pierre-Paul, what would it be?

A: Come home. We miss you.

July 30, 2015 Head Coach Tom Coughlin Press Conference: Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Thursday (video is available at Giants.com):

Coughlin: Welcome to camp. Some of you don’t look in as good of shape as you should be. We’ll take care of that as we go along.

Q: No fines, I hope?

A: There will be. Shortly.

Q: Assume all your guys did alright in the conditioning test?

A: Their body weights were good and this test, which was simply to make sure that they had been doing what they were supposed to be doing. They looked fine.

Q: Was everybody here other than Jason Pierre-Paul?

A: Yes.

Q: Looks like you changed up the conditioning drill this year.

A: We did.

Q: Was that part of the studies that they did?

A: That and a little bit more teeth into the drill. Little more emphasis on the conditioning part of it coming back.

Q: John Mara stated that the message he wants to send to Jason Pierre-Paul is ‘come home. We miss you.’ Do you echo his statement?

A: That’s been the message all along, really. It’s hard to believe that he couldn’t get here and take care of an awful lot of issues rather than what they’re doing. But, again, I’ve not spoken with him and very few people here have.

Q: Have you texted JPP?

A: I did. Right away, I did.

Q: Have you texted JPP recently?

A: Right away, I did.

Q: Could you right away and recently, also?

A: But I didn’t do it recently, I did it right away.

Q: Is there still no response?

A: No, there is no response.

Q: Has any of this—the injury or the aftermath—soured your relationship with JPP or will he be welcomed back if he ever does choose to return?

A: Well, I hope he chooses to return. Hey, we’re all concerned about the young man, first and foremost, but it is difficult to extend this concern when we feel like he should be here. But as far as souring, that’s not going to sour anything. I am concerned about him as a young man and anxious to know exactly what he’s dealing with, and then we will know what we’re dealing with.

Q: Other than Will Beatty, do you have anyone else going on PUP?

A: I think (Ben) Edwards, the young receiver, will have to go on.

Q: Victor Cruz does not?

A: No.

Q: What kind of green light does Cruz have tomorrow?

A: I’m sure we will have to limit and build him up, but he’ll be out there.

Q: How about Odell Beckham Jr. in the same respect?

A: Same idea. Yep.

Q: What is your level of expectation for his team this year?

A: I expect them to work hard. I expect them to compete like heck. Hopefully, we will remain intact and be able to put on the field the team that we have assembled right now, and then if we can get everybody to buy into the team concept, and we can progress along those lines. I feel good about today, but we take it one day at a time.

Q: Will Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz be (limited) for all of training camp or do you need to see where they are and gauge before you have a plan?

A: I hope they can practice all the time. I’m sure there may be some time when they have to have some recognition in terms of number of snaps, but that’s probably going to be the way it goes anyways. We’ll monitor all the players under the existing system that we have and try to get a gauge on exactly where they should be for each style of practice that we present.

Q: Walter Thurmond commented that, ‘Tom Coughlin may not be as into sport science.’ What is your reaction to that?

A: I have no comment.

Q: Have you made any changes this year?

A: Sure, we have.

Q: Anything in particular?

A: You’ll see.

Q: Is the recovery stretch still something that we will see or the intermissions?

A: Sure. Recovery stretch, you’ll see.

Q: Were those changes hard to make given that you only have them on the field for a certain amount of minutes a day?

A: No. Again, coming from where I’m coming from, it’s not a question anymore about what we used to do. It has to be what’s best for the current times, and this seems the way to go.

Q: You brought in Jake Long recently for a second visit. What was your impression and where do you stand on that?

A: Well, he is obviously a player coming off of a very serious injury. He’s made progress and that’s where it stands

Q: Do you feel like you still need to make a move there?

A: We’re going to check every player that is available that may, in any way, help our team. Will be evaluated and, if so, brought in and given a physical and worked out. For every player that comes along that we think can help us, that would be the case.

Q: Marshall Newhouse played right tackle in the spring. Do you expect to see that here and moving forward?

A: Well, sure. To start out, for sure. Then see how the progress goes on his part and the other linemen that we have assembled.

July 30, 2015 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at BigBlueInteractive.com or Giants.com:

Jul 282015
 
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John Mara, New York Giants (November 30, 2014)

John Mara comments on Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

In an interview with The New York Post on Tuesday, New York Giants President and CEO John Mara spoke about Jason Pierre-Paul for the first time since the defensive end severely injured his right hand and arm in a July 4th fireworks accident. There is still no concrete information on the true extent of Pierre-Paul’s injuries which are believed to include a right index finger amputation (including knuckle), fractured right thumb (requiring pins), skin grafts to his lower right arm, and possibly additional finger and hand fractures.

“I think I may have used some language that I wouldn’t like my grandchildren to hear me use,’’ Mara said of his reaction to hearing the news about the accident. “I could not believe, that here we haven’t even gone to training camp yet and we’ve lost two starters — (offensive tackle Will Beatty) in the weight room and one to a fireworks accident. So it was more of a state of disbelief that I was in. I’ve been around a long time, seen a lot of things…but this one was a shock.”

Mara told The Post that he has “no idea” when Pierre-Paul will report to training camp. Players under contract are required to report to camp on Thursday, but Pierre-Paul has yet to sign his 1-year Franchise tender.

Pierre-Paul and his representatives did not allow team officials to visit with Pierre-Paul immediately after the accident when Pierre-Paul was in the hospital. And the Giants remain in the dark about his true condition.

“I don’t think JPP is receiving very good advice right now,’’ said Mara. “The fact that (team officials) went down (to the hospital in Miami) and hung around for two days and were not allowed to see him was very disappointing to me…He has told people that he’s fine and he’s going to be ready to play, but until we see the hand, we’re just not sure.”

“He texted me back right away (when I texted him after the accident), said he was going to be fine, that it’s just a little bump in the road and that he’ll be back as good as ever,’’ Mara said. “I know (General Manager) Jerry (Reese) has texted him and I know he’s had some communication with Robert Nunn, his defensive line coach, and I think (Senior Vice President of Medical Services) Ronnie (Barnes) spoke to him recently.”

The deadline for Pierre-Paul to sign a long-term deal with the team this year has passed. He still has a 1-year, $14.813 million tender offer on the table from the Giants.

“We obviously are going to have to see him first and determine whether or not he’s capable of playing this year before we take one step further,’’ said Mara. “We’d like him to come in and report, and at the very least, learn the new defense that Steve Spagnuolo is putting in. And to have some of the best doctors in the world, who are located within a few miles of this place, take a look at him and see if there’s anything further that can be done to help him.”

Mar 192015
 
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John Mara, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

John Mara Talks About Giants Offseason: New York Giants President/CEO John Mara spoke to the press on Thursday at a ribbon cutting ceremony in Manhattan. Mara was mainly asked about the team’s free agent activity.

“There were obviously some star players out there but for the most part I thought it was a mediocre free-agent class and I think a lot of guys got paid more money than maybe they would have in other years because there was a lot of cap room out there,” said Mara. “I think the guys who we got will help us, but we still have a long way to go.”

Thus far, the Giants have signed running back Shane Vereen and linebacker Jonathan Casillas from the Patriots, wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris from the Cowboys, linebacker T.J. Thomas from the Jaguars, defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis from the Jets, and offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse from the Bengals. The team has also re-signed running back Chris Ogbonnaya, fullback Henry Hynoski, tight end Daniel Fells, guard John Jerry, linebacker Mark Herzlich, and cornerback Chykie Brown.

“We added some depth, which I thought we needed,” said Mara. “There weren’t any big, splashy signings but I thought we helped ourselves. We’ve still got some holes to fill, but so far, so good with what we’ve done.

“You can’t (spend a lot in free agency) every year and, quite frankly, when you do stuff like that more often than not it doesn’t work out. This game still comes down to drafting well, re-signing your own guys and then filling in in free agency. Every once in a while you might have a year where you have to spend big but, in my opinion and in our opinion, this was not the year to do that.”

Mara said the Giants did aggressively pursue the top safety on the market, Devin McCourty, who re-signed with the Patriots. He also said they had some interest in defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh but he was too expensive.

“I’m not completely comfortable yet because we were 6-10, and you can’t be completely comfortable when you’re coming off 6-10,” Mara said. “I think I said after the season, if we can just get half of the guys back healthy and have a good draft, I think we’ll have a very competitive team. We need to draft like we’ve done the last two years, and get some guys that are really gonna help us, and then we need to keep some guys healthy too. We haven’t been able to do that for a couple of years.”

Mara said that a contract extension for quarterback Eli Manning, who has one year left on his current deal, is not in the works but “obviously something will be done at some point.” He noted Manning’s high cap number, which is almost $20 million.

Mara was also asked about the health status of wide receiver Victor Cruz, who tore the patella tendon in his right knee in October 2014.

“So far, so good, according to Victor and according to our medical people,” said Mara. “He’s working really hard and he has a lot of pride and we expect him back at 100 percent.”

Mara was asked if the team might consider drafting a wide receiver in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. “I certainly don’t think that’s our primary need,” Mara responded. But is also said he would not be against it if the value was there.

Mara was asked about safety Antrel Rolle, who signed with Chicago Bears. Mara said that Rolle was one of “personal favorites.” He also said, “I told him he will always be a Giant.” Mara said he also hopes that current unrestricted free agent defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who played with the Giants from 2003-12, will retire as a Giant some day.

Notes and Quotes: According to NJ.com, unrestricted free agent defensive end George Selvie will meet with the Giants on Friday instead of Thursday as previously reported due to a flight delay. Selvie is also receiving interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tight end Daniel Fells on returning to the Giants: “I’m excited. There’s no place I’d rather be. It’s a world-class organization with a great coaching staff. And I believe in the guys in that locker room. Coming back here was always in the forefront of my mind.”

Jan 142015
 
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Jerry Reese, John Mara, New York Giants (July 27, 2013)

Jerry Reese and John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants President/CEO John Mara, General Manager Jerry Reese, and Head Coach Tom Coughlin were all interviewed on Wednesday afternoon on WFAN Radio. The audio from those interviews is available at CBS New York. Mara was also interview on ESPN Radio.

Some key points raised included:

Mara:

  • He is aware that the teams the Giants beat were not very good teams. He is under no illusions about how much work needs to be done.
  • Giants did not stick with Tom Coughlin because of what he did in the past but because they felt he was the best option moving forward.
  • Maintaining the same offensive system under Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo was a consideration for keeping Coughlin, but not the overriding concern.
  • It is OK if the coordinators have longer contracts than Coughlin.
  • Coughlin will make the decision on hiring the new defensive coordinator.
  • The team has struggled because of injuries and a bad couple of drafts. The 2013 and 2014 drafts were better.
  • Giants need to upgrade offensive and defensive lines as well as linebacker and safety.

Reese:

  • The Giants considered WR Odell Beckham a top 10 pick. They also liked OG Zack Martin. Anytime the choice is between a dynamic play maker and a guard, the team will choose a play maker. The Giants did have WR Sammy Watkins rated over Beckham, but had Beckham ahead of OT Taylor Lewan.
  • He thinks Weston Richburg, who played left guard in 2014, will be a terrific center and considers that his natural position.
  • Where Justin Pugh plays in 2015 depends on what offseason moves the Giants make.
  • DT Johnathan Hankins played extremely well and DE Damontre Moore made things happen when he played.
  • Having OG Geoff Schwartz, who  missed most of the season with injuries, will help the offensive line.
  • The Giants need to protect QB Eli Manning better, but the new offense does help him get rid of the ball quicker.
  • WR Victor Cruz is on schedule to be back in 2015 after suffering a serious knee injury, but the Giants can not count on him returning.
  • Because of the attention Beckham receives, the #2 receiver should be “feasting” in terms of on-field performance.
  • The Giants did not do a good enough job of closing out games in 2014.

Coughlin:

  • Change was necessary on defense. The defense gave up too many big plays. He does not believe the new defensive scheme will be radically different.
  • The new offensive system was right for the Giants at this particular time. Manning improved his play at quarterback.
  • The Giants need to do a better job of stopping the run and running the football.
  • Believes the Giants are not that far way on the offensive line, but do need more help.
  • Believes Weston Richburg will make a big leap forward in 2015.
  • The Giants keep researching the injury situation. The team did cut down on soft tissue injuries in 2014, but the non-soft tissue injuries hit them hard.
  • The fans have been great to him. He feels badly for the last two years and wants a product on the field that the fans can rally around.

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Giants’ Victor Cruz ‘excited’ about Odell Beckham Jr.’s Pro Bowl nod, updates rehab progress by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Dec 312014
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (December 7, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Odell Beckham Named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham has been named the “NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month” for his performance during the month of December 2014. In December, Beckham caught 43 passes for 606 yards and seven touchdowns.

Injury Update on S Nat Berhe: Safety Nat Berhe left the season-finale against the Philadelphia Eagles with a knee injury. Behre told The Bergen Record on Monday that the MRI showed merely a sprain and no ligament damage.

Articles on New York Giants President/CEO John Mara:

Articles on Head Coach Tom Coughlin:

Article on New York Giants Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross: Giants’ Marc Ross on radar again as possible general manager candidate after Odell Beckham selection by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on Former Giants Quarterback Coach Danny Langsdorf: Danny Langsdorf explains decision to leave Giants for Nebraska offensive coordinator job by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on the 2014 New York Giants:

Article on the Upcoming New York Giants Offseason: Jerry Reese says Giants won’t spend ‘a huge amount’ this offseason by Tom Rock of Newsday

Dec 302014
 
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John Mara, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants President/CEO John Mara (Video)

Thanks for coming by today. Obviously I am very disappointed about this past season. Sick about it, as a matter of fact. Certainly not what I expected or what any of us expected. 6-10 is an embarrassment. With that being said, I do think there is some reason for optimism going forward. We had some young players really develop who we are excited about. We have had two pretty strong drafts in a row that we feel good about. We were still 6-10, so obviously we have a lot of work to do.

[Chairman & Executive Vice President] Steve Tisch and I still feel very strongly about Tom Coughlin as our head coach. That is why, as many of you have already reported, we have asked him back for next season. We still believe in him. I believe the players still feel very strongly about him and the one thing that struck me during the season, even as bad as things got during that seven-game losing streak, they still played hard for him. There was no lack of effort there. They were still very attentive during practice and on the sidelines and their effort never waned, even though the results were not what we had hoped for.

I think that one of the things that really hurt us this year, in addition to the injuries, which I will get to in a second, is we obviously have a couple draft classes here that have been largely unproductive for us. When you combine that with the number of injuries we had, particularly with certain key positions, that is a deadly combination in the National Football League. I am very frustrated about the number of injuries that we have had. It has been two years in a row now that we have led the league in putting players on [injured reserve] and number of games lost by starters. We spent so much time last offseason addressing that and talking about how we are going to fix that going forward. We made adjustments to what was being done in the weight room. We had the GPS tracking system. For some reason, here we are again leading the league in that category. We cut down the number of soft-tissue injuries and then, all of a sudden, we get all these broken bones and torn tendons and torn biceps. I just don’t have an answer for that right now. Obviously we will spend a lot of time on it this offseason, talking about that and looking at ways that we can improve upon that.

I still believe, very strongly, in Jerry Reese and our organization. We have a lot of quality people working here. We have had two very strong drafts in a row. We need to have another one. I think with that and with another year under this new offense, we have a chance to be a good team next year. Obviously, that is a tough sell right now when you go 7-9 and 6-10, but I still have a very strong belief in this staff and in this organization. I think we are going to be a good team next year, but we need another strong draft. We need to make certain improvements on both sides of the ball, which we will address this offseason and then we will move forward.

It has been a very difficult year for our fans. It has been even more of a difficult year for me because I do not stomach this very well, as some of you may have noticed. It is going to be a long offseason. I do think there is reason for optimism. I think we will be a much better team next season, but we are going to have to prove that. Just talking about it is not very convincing right now, when you are coming off the season (at) 6-10. As I have said before, we still believe in this coach, this staff and in our organization. We are ready to move into this offseason and put the type of team back on the field that our fans deserve. So if you don’t have any questions…

Re: anticipating any changes on the coaching staff?

A: That is a discussion we are going to have going forward, but that will be Tom’s decision.

Q: Last year, you talked about fixing the offense… Is the defense something in your mind that has to get straightened out?

A: In my opinion, yes. That will be a discussion that we will have. Our defense did not play well this year. There is no secret about that when you finish 28th or 29th or wherever we finished. They had opportunities in a lot of games this year to make a key stop at the end of the game, and they didn’t do it. There is no question that has to be a focus going into next season. You look at the number of players that we got hurt here. We had three or four corners hurt. We were playing in a lot of those games with guys we had signed off the street, which is not the ideal situation. Again, that is no excuse for going 6-10 and, believe me, I am not under any illusions about where we are right now. I am aware of what teams we have beaten over the last two years and what teams we have lost to. We have a lot of work to do.

Q: In the past, you have been reluctant to let a coach go into a lame duck season… What will you do with Tom and his contract?

A: I have to talk about that with him. I am not so sure that will be the situation anymore. I need to talk to him about that first. We haven’t had that discussion yet. He is going to be back.

Q: The decision to bring Tom back, how much of that was based on the fact that a man has won two Super Bowls deserves the benefit of the doubt that other coaches don’t earn?

A: There is no question that was a big part of the decision. More importantly than that, I still believe we can win with him. If I didn’t believe that, then it wouldn’t have mattered how many Super Bowls he won in the past. It would be senseless to go forward with him. I look at how hard the players played for him and how attentive they still are. I look at his energy level and how much he still wants to win and how driven he is. That is what convinced Steve and myself to move forward with him. We have some talent deficiencies at certain positions. There is no question about that and that needs to be addressed and we will address that going forward.

Q: What was your evaluation of [Offensive Coordinator] Ben McAdoo this season?

A: I thought he did a nice job for us. We had kind of a slow start where we didn’t really move the ball very well. I thought towards the end of the season our offense started to come alive and I am excited about that going forward, but we still have some work to do there. No question that they made improvements this season. The quarterback certainly played better, especially towards the second half of the season.

Q: At the end of the Jacksonville game, I don’t know if you consider that a low point, but could you walk us through what you were thinking in terms of Tom and if it reached a point where it was a lot closer to him not being back?

A: To be honest with you, when I am sitting on the bus after the Jacksonville game, I wanted to fire everybody, from the people in the equipment room through upstairs because that was a low point for me. We had that three-game streak there – San Francisco, the Dallas loss was a gut-wrenching one for me, and Jacksonville was an embarrassment. That is why I learned a long time ago that you don’t make those judgments during the season. You try not to make stupid comments during the season or give votes of confidence or anything like that. I was just happy that none of you approached me in the locker room after the game because I may have said something that I would have regretted for a long time after that. That was a low point for me, but again, I learned a long time ago that you have to wait until the end of the season and look at the whole picture in a more rational frame of mind before you make decisions. That is what we try to do.

Q: When you talked about Ben before and the progress he made, how much did that play in the decision to keep Tom because of the fact that you didn’t want to mess up what seemed to be growing with Eli [Manning] and the offense?

A: That’s a factor, but I can’t say that was the main factor. I still believe in Tom. I still believe in him as our leader going forward. Steve, I know, feels the same way and that was most important factor.

Q: What were you looking for after the Jacksonville game?

A: I wanted to see us win, number one. I am sitting on the bus after the Jacksonville game wondering if we were ever going to win a game again. I wanted to see how the players would respond to that because that certainly was a low point for this franchise for many, many years. They responded pretty well to it. They still had a lot of fight in them, as did Tom. I was pleased with how they responded. I am aware of who we played. I saw the intensity in practice and the intensity on the field and the fact that they stayed together. That was a big thing for me, too. You didn’t see throughout the season, as bad as it got, you didn’t see anonymous quotes coming out of the locker room complaining about the coaching staff. They stayed together pretty well all season. They did that last season, too, and I think a lot of that comes from the head coach.

Q: Can you clear up something that got misreported or misinterpreted… When Ben McAdoo came here, did you have any discussion with him about him being a coach-in-waiting?

A: Absolutely not. I laugh when some of you write some of that stuff. A year ago, I didn’t know Ben McAdoo from Bob McAdoo. Some of you have written that we brought him in here and anointed him as the next head coach. The first time I met him was after Tom had hired him and I went down and introduced myself and welcomed him here. Tom interviewed a number of candidates last year for the offensive coordinator position, but the final decision was always going to be his. I think he made a good choice.

Q: Aside from the obvious emergence of Odell Beckham Jr., what are the reasons for optimism that you saw this season?

A: It is not just Odell. This last draft class, I thought, was pretty productive this season. I think [Weston] Richburg is going to be a good player. Andre Williams showed some great promise. Devon Kennard. I think [Jay] Bromley is going to be a good player and I am probably leaving guys out. The [2013] draft class is going to be a very productive class for us, too. We’ve got some good, solid, younger players to build off of right now, and if we can have another strong draft and just get back half of the [unrestricted free-agents] that got hurt this year and make it through a season, I think we have something to build on. If we get all of them back, then we really have something to build on, but this is the NFL. People are going to get hurt. Why it happens to us in such extraordinary numbers, I don’t know. I am just hoping that we are due to have a change in luck in that area, and hopefully that will happen next year.

Q: What did it mean to you to watch what Beckham became over the course of the season?

A: It was exciting to me. The energy and passion that he brought to our team was pretty startling. I was very frustrated for a while. He missed all of training camp and then he is missing the first four games of the season and we haven’t even seen him on the field. I have no idea what we have. Then, all of sudden, he starts making plays and it was pretty exciting. For me, you would have to go back to 1981 before we were that excited about a rookie coming in and what he could possibly mean to this franchise. I hesitate to say that because I do not want to put that much pressure on him, but he certainly has brought a lot to this organization.

Q: You mentioned the talent deficiencies… Were the draft classes from the last couple of years what sold you on Jerry’s plan to build a good future?

A: Jerry has been here a long time and I have watched him run our draft for many years. I always had that belief in him, but certainly there were a couple drafts in there, 2011 and 2012, where we didn’t quite get the production that we want out of it. We needed to do well in 2013 and 2014. I think we did. We need to do it again, obviously, because when you are 6-10, you obviously have a lot of holes to fill.

Q: In retrospect, how do you view last offseason where you spent a lot of money and the success of that?

A: It is hard for me to give you a rational answer on that because they all got hurt. Those guys are some good players, but they all ended up getting hurt. Even Rashad Jennings, who I think is a very good back and was hurt for a good part of the year. It is hard to pass a final judgment on that just yet. As I said, if we can just get half of them back healthy next year, I think we will be a much better team.

Q: Last year, you said the offense was broken…

A: I know and I have come to regret that because that is all you ever write. I am trying not to come up with any headline-grabbing remarks.

Q: How would you describe the state of your defense right now?

A: We need to improve the defense. They did not play well. We were ranked where we were ranked. When you give up the number of game-winning drives that they gave up, we obviously have a lot of improvement to make there.

Q: It is up to Tom to make any coaching changes… Will you discuss it with him?

A: We will discuss that with him. I will give him my opinion, but it has always been the case in this organization that the head coach makes the final call on assistant coaches and whether he needs to make any changes, contrary to popular belief. I am glad you brought that up. Tom was not forced to part ways with Kevin Gilbride last year. That was a discussion that Tom and Kevin had. The first discussion that Jerry and I had with Tom after the season, we walked into Jerry’s office and Tom came in and said to us that Kevin was going to be retiring. Before we said anything to him. This notion that we forced him to fire Kevin Gilbride is absolutely not true.

Q: Do you have any preference in terms of what you would want to see?

A: I will express that to Tom first, and again he will make the final call. You don’t tell a head coach that has been around as long as he has and has had the success that he has and who has the respect around the league that he has to make certain position changes. He knows better than we do.

Q: What kind of confidence do you have in your franchise quarterback and what do you see for the future?

A: He certainly had a much better year this year. I think he can still get better with another year under this new offense and we need to give him a little bit of help, particularly on the offensive line, I believe. I still think we can win a championship with Eli. There were some games where he didn’t play as well, but by in large, his body of work over the course of the season, I thought, was pretty good. He gives us some reason for optimism next year.

Q: How much do you think about the head coach positon long-term and is it hard to balance that against the year-to-year…?

A: I think about that all the time. Listen, I am certainly aware of who is out there, but right now, I think Tom gives us the best chance to win going forward. How long that is going to last for, I don’t know. He is going to be our coach next year.

Q: You might let [Coach Coughlin] coach under a one-year [contract] or you might not?

A: That has been our policy in the past, but that is not set in stone. I will talk to him about that.

Q: Has he expressed to you how much longer he does want to coach or is he taking it year-by-year?

A: He has not expressed to me a certain time period. I just know that he wants to coach next year. Knowing him as I do, I would have to assume that he wants to coach longer than that, too. We really haven’t had that discussion.

Q: If Tom decides to keep his staff in tact the way it is now, how do you as an owner justify that when you went 6-10 and had a strong finish at the end to get to that point?

A: I don’t know that I need to justify that to anybody. Tom is a Super Bowl-winning, potential Hall of Fame head coach. It shouldn’t be up to me to tell him that he needs to change position coaches or coordinators. I think he is more qualified to make that judgment than I am. He knows that his legacy is kind of on the line here now. He doesn’t want to have three losing seasons in a row. If he thinks he needs to make a change and he thinks there is somebody better out there, then he will go do it.

Q: I am talking more as a whole though. You had the losing season and you didn’t make any significant changes to the organization at all.

A: You are assuming that we are not going to make any changes, and I don’t know whether we are or not. If we don’t, then we will go forward with the staff that we have and try to provide them with some better players.

Q: When you look at the defensive shortcomings, do you have a sense of how much of it was personnel, injuries or coaching?

A: That is hard to say. That is really hard to say. We lost some of our best defensive players during the course of the year. There is no question about that. Some guys may be getting a little older that need to be replaced. We certainly need to put some better players out there. I am not going to say our schemes were unsound or anything. It looked to me like we were prepared to play every week. I think if you ask the players that, they felt like they were prepared to play every week, but the results weren’t there for a number of different reasons. We are going to have to have that discussion going forward.

Q: In a situation like this, do you individually sit down with [Defensive Coordinator] Perry [Fewell]?

A: No, I would sit with Tom and Jerry Reese.

Q: Do you have a sense of how you want to proceed with Jason Pierre-Paul as far as his contract?

A: We would certainly like him back, but it would have to be at the right price, something that makes sense for us. He certainly had a great finish to the season and showed the type of player that he can be and that he will be going forward. I would be very surprised if he was not a Giant next year.

Q: What about Antrel Rolle?

A: We would like to have him back, but again, at the right price. I could say that about anybody. We would like them all back at the right price. What that is, depends on the circumstances.

Q: You have talked about the fan base being disappointed, but what about the boss? What does your mom say about all this?

A: She is not very happy with me right now, believe me. She suffers through this probably even more so than I do. I am on notice as well.

Q: After the Jacksonville game, did she want you fired?

A: Not just after the Jacksonville game.

Q: With JPP, would you consider using the franchise tag?

A: That is certainly one of our options and we really haven’t fully discussed that yet. I have no idea what his agent is going to do. Actually, I do I have a pretty good idea of what his agent is going to be asking for and whether we want to do that or franchise him is something we will have to fully discuss.

Q: Is there anything in the works with Eli’s contract?

A: He has another year left and I assume we will have a discussion with his agent at some point. Again, it would have to be at the right price for us.

Q: But you would like for him to extend?

A: Yeah, we would like him to retire as a Giant. That is where he should be. We still think we can win a championship with him and he is still playing at a high level. Of course, we would like to keep him.

Q: Would you describe next year as a win-or-else proposition for a lot of people in this franchise?

A: I do not think that is an unfair statement.


Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Video)

The first comment I’ll make is about our final team meeting (yesterday), which we met with our team and all our IR guys and all the coaches, etc. The first thing we did was analyze the Philadelphia game and there were various things that I pointed out. Obviously, you’re not going to win very many football games when you get a punt blocked and get an interception and they say, ‘wait a minute it’s a penalty and we’re going to give the other guy the ball on the whatever yard line’ and then you throw a pass and get it in the end zone and get called for holding. There were some errors there, things that have to obviously be cleaned up before you go forward. There was good excitement, good progress and we felt good about going into the game. Unfortunately, we didn’t win it.

The second thing we did was we went over the rules of the CBA and the dead period, the next few months here in terms of making the players understand what they can and cannot do and what we as coaches can and cannot do, which was very important because they have to understand the amount of football we can talk is very limited by the CBA. And then the importance of the systematic progress of the weight program as handed to the players as they leave here. The importance being that we stressed to them that there is a process by which you go through, but you must get started on this. We, as a team, in my opinion, we need to be a stronger football team and I felt that we needed to obviously start much prior to the nine weeks we’re allowed for our offseason program in this day and age. So we emphasized the strength program and the approach to it and how the calendar will affect their ability to get back to work and taking the first two or three weeks and making sure their body is healthy and then beginning in a light process and moving on into where they should be before they report. So we did cover that.

And then I spoke to them about the fact that I was proud of the way they hung together. There couldn’t have been any more adversity than we faced during the course of those seven weeks, but they stayed together, they supported one another, they fought for each other and I was proud of that and I mentioned that to them. I thought they demonstrated maturity and professionalism in doing that. And then I mentioned discontent. Discontent is the first necessity of progress. We must be determined to come back even stronger from this situation we find ourselves in and do not be accepting. Don’t be accepting of where we are because this certainly isn’t where we want to be.

I know you have no questions for me, just having followed the owner, so thanks very much Pat for this lineup the way it is.

Q: What more can you do to get a handle on the injury situation?

A: We’re going to practice at dark, so then we can get a few more reps in… It’s a good question. We depend an awful lot on the strength program and obviously that’s been reduced. The player really, really has to prepare a lot more on his own. We’ve done the science. We’re going to continue to do it. Our medical staff is the best in the league, in our opinion. We have the GPS system. We listen closely to the expert in that area and we do monitor a player accordingly. As John [Mara] mentioned, we have cut down on our soft tissue injuries. However, there are bones and there are tendons and muscles and knees that didn’t listen to the GPS program, so we’ll continue to do our work in that area.

Q: Do you make any changes in the strength program?

A: We certainly did, a lot of changes. But still at this coming time of the year there are segments here where you can get into the very heavy weights progressively moving towards the season when you do back off, but the strength development part of it would be in the offseason.

Q: Can you talk about being back next year?

A: I never considered not being back. As I said the other day, it’s business as usual for us. We’re into the massive evaluation process where everything is being evaluated from top to bottom and we’ll continue that. That will take us quite a while, to be honest with you, as we move through going back over everything, with the coaching staff obviously being a part of that.

Q: John Mara told us that on the bus back after the Jacksonville game that he wanted to fire everybody.

A: Well, we stopped the bus on that bridge and we were all going to jump in the water anyway. Quite frankly and honestly, everyone wants to talk about the defense. What did the defense have to do with losing that one? The ball was on the ground, they pick it up and run it into the end zone twice. You all thought I was making jest after the game when I said we could have knelt down in the second half and won it. We could have knelt down in the second half and won it instead of handing the ball to them and letting them run in the end zone. They ran it in from midfield and they ran it in when the ball rolled in the end zone after the sack fumble. You’ve got to understand that while we’re going to be very critical of everything, don’t forget that there are four major areas that our defense is in the top 10. Can you imagine being fourth in the league on third down? We are. Turnovers, red area, red zone… All year long we were in the top four or five in the red zone. Sacks, and so on and so forth. You have critical areas of defensive football. Quite frankly, the numbers in those areas are outstanding. Now the other numbers are not and I agree. I have a problem with that. But I think you’ve got to balance things off when you start talking about… Don’t throw it all into one bucket because it doesn’t belong there. How did get all the way back in sacks? We went forever without any sacks. We’re fourth. How do you do that? How do you get all that done? How about turnovers? We’re tied for 10th in turnovers. How did that happen? We talked about it all year long. When are we going to get some? We’re tied for 10th. You’ve got to take it all into consideration.

Q: Given all of that, can you say whether Perry Fewell will be back as your defensive coordinator?

A: I’m evaluating everything. That’s what I say.

Q: How much do the injuries factor into it?

A: It’s never an excuse, okay? It’s not an excuse. But it is a fact and the facts have to be dealt with.

Q: Do you believe the components are here to turn this around quickly?

A: I believe we’re going to be a better football team next year. What does turnaround mean? Winning season? I certainly hope so. Why am I here? I’m here because I want to win. What do you think I’m doing? Sitting up in the office with my feet up? The competitive spirit… You’re in this to win. You’re in this to try to beat the other guy. You’ve got to win in your division. You’ve got to beat Philadelphia and you’ve got to beat Dallas now. We win three games in a row and there’s some bounce again in people’s feet. I’m excited about getting in there and talking to our team in a little different version than I have to talk to them after losing seven games. We’re here to win. That’s what this thing is about – the competitiveness of winning. I’m as sick and disappointed as anybody in the last few years, but you know what? How are you going to do anything about it other than fight and swing and get back out there and try harder? What else are you going to do? Are you going to go crawl in a corner? No, I’m not going to do that.

Q: How do you view the job Perry Fewell did with the defense this season?

A: Perry had his hands full. There’s no doubt about it. Our staff did, when you want to look at the facts. But regardless of that, first and goal against San Francisco with the score 16-10. That’s a pretty good football team being held to 10 points. I understand the last drive against Dallas. That’s happened a couple of years in a row. We have some issues, no doubt. And you’d like to be able to think we can solve them, but you can look at the other things, too.

Q: You seem going out of your way to defend Perry?

A: I’m trying to introduce balance. That’s all. If you’re going to look at the bad… and I see it, too. How about the first four plays the other day? We spent a week working on stopping that stuff and they ran the bootleg like we’ve never seen it before. I saw that, too.

Q: Can some of those defensive problems be helped by a stronger offensive line?

A: By an offensive line that can run the ball and keep the other team on the sideline? Sure. It all fits. There’s no better example than Dallas this year. Everybody has had great stats because they’re running the football.

Q: Where do you put the emphasis on upgrading personnel?

A: That hasn’t been thoroughly talked about, but when I say we’d like… We’ve got to be able to run the ball and defend the run. How about defending the run? Do you think we’d be better if our (defensive) line was better defending the run? Probably. You do have to do a few things that you would like to have a little bit longer opportunity, whether it be training camp with more than one practice a day to get all of this stuff in. But yeah, that’s one area. I’d like to run the ball better and I’d like to defend the run better. That would be a pretty good start. If you stop the run and you do attack the quarterback and you do have a team that really didn’t do much for a while and then all of a sudden finishes fourth in sacks, you might have a chance to defend the pass a little better. It’s happened before.

Q: It seems at times the defense was a little frustrated with how things were going. Do you feel they responded well to Perry all year long?

A: Yes, I do.

Q: What are your thoughts on special teams?

A: The area where you’re dissatisfied there is we didn’t cover punts very well and I think there are couple of reasons for that and our return game was just a little better than average. But if you look at the body of work, we improved in every statistic, in every area from 2013 to 2014 and, of course, you can’t go without saying our kicker had an outstanding year. He kicked a 53-yard field goal at the end of December in MetLife Stadium. Okay, it was 50 degrees and it’s normally 15, but it still happened and the guy did do a good job with all of those things. We had the outstanding kicks, a variety that we’re prepared for, who knows when you’re going to need it. I called it historical. Let’s kickoff from the plus-35. When have you ever done that? I’ve never seen that one and we recovered that ball and we had the other one against San Francisco with just the little middle kick that [Mark] Herzlich pulled the ball out. We tried to get the hideout play in the other day. When you’re pushing the buttons, let’s try to score this way. I’m not down on the way things are coached and the variety of things that are ready to go. We thought we had a bunch of returners here and all of a sudden, we started losing them. Preston Parker, who had some problems with ball security, ends up being the guy and he’s a tough son of a gun, but he had to take that duty pretty much over himself. Over the course of the year, I think with Odell [Beckham Jr.] in the punt return area and you saw Rueben [Randle] back there… Rueben was there a year ago, a guy that when you think you’re in a game, that’s a fair catch game. Rueben is going to catch every ball and is going to give you great ball security. I think we could anticipate being better in the punt return area in another year. Our kickoff coverage team was outstanding. We’ve been very good at that. There are always ups and downs and certainly we’d like to have better field position. We talk about field position all the time and turnovers from our special teams outfit. We got one in St. Louis that put us up 10-0 and that was a nice way to start. We certainly would have liked more.

Q: Would you prefer to have an extension in your contract?

A: A 10-year extension? Yes. I would like to have that. I don’t think he’s going to speak to me about that one.

Q: What goes into the decision making process when you’re evaluating coordinators and your coaches?

A: I think that you can tell many times when the way in which the process takes place is not being handled the way it should be, the fundamental part of it. You’re talking about a guy… Perry is a very good football coach. He’s been doing this a long time. He’s had his ups and downs. He’s had his ups and downs right here with this franchise. We’ve gone from here to here. A year ago we were eighth. Same guy, same coaches – eighth in the league. This year we’re 29th. But he’s a good football coach and if I felt that it wasn’t being properly introduced, taught etc…. But I haven’t finished.

Q: Would you have any problem coaching in the last year of your deal? Is that anything that would be an issue?

A: Walter Alston, maybe. Some of you guys don’t even know who he is. Twenty-one one-year deals, not bad. Motorcycle rider. Hell of a manager. What else you want to know? Managed in Brooklyn. Couldn’t hit the ball very well.

Q: Going back to what you said about needing to run the ball better and stopping the run, do you have the ingredients now to accomplish that?

A: Well, we need a little help, there’s no doubt. We have a draft, we have an offseason. Hopefully, we can add to it. Got some young defensive linemen. Got some young offensive linemen. Got to get better in some spots. Got to be stronger.

Q: How do you look at Jason Pierre-Paul and Antrel Rolle and their free agency? Would you want them both back?

A: I heard what John said and we’d like both players back. I know that there are issues. There are cap issues, always.

Q: You mentioned the Cowboys earlier. Is that sort of a model for rebuilding an offensive line? Is that what you’re looking for?

A: My point was the balance. They rush the ball, rush the ball. They do a heck of a job. The quarterback is well-protected. But not forcing anything because he’s pretty sure next time you hand it to that guy [DeMarco Murray], you’re going to get at least five. That helps, that helps.

Q: What do you think about Eli learning the offense this year?

A: I thought he progressed well. I thought early on, we didn’t have the numbers that we wanted to. We weren’t doing as well as we would have liked to. We stayed with it. We hammered our way through a lot of that. Eli got better and better in the offense. I’ve said before that this is exactly the way…if he can sit down and write how he would like to be in charge of an offense, this is it. Because he pretty much has control of everything, and by not huddling, he tells pretty much everybody what to do. And he’s good at it. Our protections were fine. When we had pressure coming, he adjusted the protection and he would slide away from the unblocked rusher and delivered the ball in the direction that it needed to be delivered in. I think from the second half on, the offense showed itself a little better. Still inconsistent with the run. One week we would run it well, the next week we wouldn’t. That’s an issue, but still I think there’s no question about the improvement from last year to this year just in Eli’s numbers alone. So I think he enjoys this system. I think he looks forward to taking this offense further, improving. We had a bunch of yards, but we still don’t feel like we’re getting enough points.

Q: John Mara called you a borderline Hall of Fame coach, but you know you’re legacy is on the line with what still happens here. Do you agree?

A: I don’t know. I’m not going there. I don’t think about that kind of stuff. My legacy. Year to year, how I’m viewed as a coach? Yeah that bugs me. It bothers me for sure. I don’t want to be associated with losing. That’s not why I came here, that’s not why I’m here. We’ve done a pretty good job with the exception of these last couple of years where we dipped. I didn’t expect to be 6-10 this year. We expected to be back on top. I didn’t know what the final numbers would be, but that’s what the expectation was. I don’t like that “borderline” stuff. What do you mean?

Q: I apologize. The word was “potential.” Is that better?

A: Not really.

Q: Do you want to get inducted now?

A: Can you do it?

Q: It has been two straight losing seasons. What does it mean to you that ownership just stood up here and said “we still believe in Tom?”

A: Well, I’m greatly appreciative of the support that I have received from ownership. Like I said, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the alternative. So I’m not trying to be a smart aleck or whatever, but when I say business as usual, that’s what we’re trying to do. Do I feel the support? Yes, I do and I’m greatly appreciative of that. Quite frankly, that’s the only reason I’m here is because Mr. Mara and Mr. Tisch still believe this is the best way to go.

Q: Do you view next year as a make or break year? That’s sort of what John said.

A: Every year is. Every year. Don’t put words in my mouth, and I’m not going to say that in those terms. Why would you do it for any other reason? You’re supposed to win. So win.

Q: Do you have an idea in your head how much longer you would like to keep coaching?

A: Probably 10-12 more years.

Q: There have been some flashpoints throughout your tenure here. 2006, maybe you’re not coming back, then you win the Super Bowl the next year. Even in ’11, 7-7 and you…you kind of had that losing streak. We don’t know what’s going to happen and you come out of it. You ever think there is something in your makeup or in the way you coach that lets you get to that point but makes you come out of it?

A: You’re trying to be nice now with ‘flashpoints.’ Nice choice of words, thank you. I’ve sort of been asked that before and I don’t have a great answer for that except that I’m standing on the edge of the cliff.

Q: What does it look like?

A: It’s not adrenaline. What’s the cliff look like? I usually look the other way.

Q: You never make it about you. You say that all the time. But after winning the two titles, how much of your desire to continue coaching is driven by just wanting to see Eli win his third one, wanting to see Victor win his second, and want to see some other guys win their first?

A: That’s the goal every year. The goal is to get to the winner’s circle every year. That’s why you do it, you really do. You know what, I take every team at the beginning of the season and that’s the goal. What other goal is there? Once you say that, win the world championship and win the Super Bowl, you have to talk to them about how you get there. Obviously, you can’t get there if you can’t function within your own division. But that’s the goal, that’s what drives you.

Q: When the question was how much longer you wanted to coach, you said 10 or 12 more years.

A: That’s not real, I’m just being facetious. Probably eight or nine.

Q: I was going to ask if that was a serious question but since you took care of that. Do you have an answer, do you know?

A: No, I don’t have an answer. Because there’s so many factors involved. Which factor do you want to get involved in? Judy’s health, my health, etc. All of those things are factors. But I’m not very good at golf. I’m not very good at a lot of stuff.

Q: Danny [Langsdorf] is probably leaving. What did he say to you? What does that do for you guys as a team and what do you say to him on his [first year here]?

A: He is leaving. It’s his choice. You don’t expect someone to be here for a year, but that’s his decision. Wish him well. Let’s go.

Q: Are you bringing someone in from the outside? Is Sean [Ryan] going back to coach the quarterback position?

A: I don’t know. I’ll think about that. Sean did a very good job this year. Very good job. And he is a very good football coach. Matter of fact, he had a lot to do with third down. We were 43 percent on third down. I need to look around and get a sense for where we are.


General Manager Jerry Reese (Video)

Good Morning. Six and 10, obviously we are all disappointed. Like always, our goal is to come in the season, have a winning season, get into the tournament. Haven’t done that in the last few years, that is not our standard. We want to apologize for that, number one, to our fans, who, no matter what, they come out and really give us their best. We want to apologize for that. Moving forward, I want to try and accentuate what the positive things are because there are plenty of people who can talk about what the negative things are. What disappoints me the most before I try to get to the positive things are that, during the season, we had plenty of chances to win some games. We were in a lot of games and we didn’t close games out. That was the most disappointing thing for me. People like to throw the injury thing in there. Everybody has injuries, that is a part of the league.

We had chances to close games out as an offense, as a defense, even on special teams. We didn’t close some games out, so that was disappointing. It is a learned behavior that I think when you have a chance to close teams out, you can step on their neck, you have to do that. If you don’t, it’s hard to win in this league. You can go back and look at our schedule and look at the second half of some games, we were ahead, or close, or leading in some games, and we didn’t close games out. Again, we had all three phases of the game, we could’ve closed some games out and we didn’t do that. The positive things are, I do think we are going in the right direction. I heard John Mara, I heard Tom Coughlin, I don’t want to try to repeat everything they said, but I do think we are going in the right direction. I think we can have a really good football team going into next year. The draft class, I know there has been some personnel issues, and I am responsible for that. I take full responsibility for all of the personnel issues. We did have a few things that happened to set us back some…on our roster. Again, in spite of all of that, we had plenty of opportunities to win games, and we didn’t close teams out, we had an opportunity to do that. You have to do that in this league.

Q: Any regrets about drafting Odell Beckham Jr.?

A: No, he’s got a chance to be a good little player.

Q: How good can he be?
A: He is good. The best thing about him is he’s got a gifted skill set. His number one trait that sets him apart from a lot people with a superior skill set like he has, he is what we call a ‘dog’ around here. He’s got that ‘dog’ mentality, his passion, and as you can see, you almost have to calm him down a little bit with how he plays. He is a gifted young football player, he has the chance to be a really good player for us for a long time, we hope.

Q: Why do you believe next year could be different?

A: The reason I think that is because we were so close so many times during this season. Again, I say this every single year. When we win Super Bowls, or when we are 6-10, it is a really close margin between winning teams, teams that are in the playoffs, and teams that are not in the playoffs. It is a learned mentality, I think, a learned behavior that you have to close games out. We were so close so many times, our offense could’ve closed some games out, the defense could’ve closed some games out, special teams could’ve closed some games out. We have been really close. Again, teams that are not in the playoffs, it is not a big difference in those teams and those that are playing in the playoffs. The ball can bounce a certain way; I have said this plenty of times, the ball can bounce a certain way, you can get a call go your way, or a call not go your way. All of those things come into play, but at the end of the day, you have to good personnel, you have to have good coaches, you’ve got to have a little bit of luck. I say that every single year, and we had a little bad luck. We are still trying to research why can’t we stay more healthy during the year and we will continue to sift through that and see how can correct that even more.

Q: When you look at the record this year, even though it was a little worse than it was last year, do you still feel that you need to make wholesale changes, or is it a matter of just tweaking things moving forward?

A: Well, not wholesale changes. Last year we had to turn the roster over and we are not going to go out and spend a huge amount like we did this past offseason in free agency. (Last year) the roster was getting a little older, so we did have to turn the roster around. There are some new faces. Offensively, I thought we would jell a little bit quicker than we did. We saw flashes later in the season of what we think the offense can be. Defensively, we had some new faces, we lost some players on defense. I do think that if we can get players back, we can have another good draft, we will definitely do some things in free agency, but we are always going to try to upgrade our roster at every position, every year.

Q: How do you look at the confidence that you and Tom Coughlin received from ownership?

A: I am grateful to be here, regardless. From being a young scout, I’ve been here for 20 years, from being a young scout to being where I am now. I am always grateful for this organization, they took a chance on me, and I can never repay them, and I am always going to give them my best, you can count on that.

Q: You spoke about being close in games, some bad breaks, and the injuries, but you have had two losing seasons in a row.

A: You can make stats say what you want to say. You can say, well, we had a bunch of winning seasons before we even had a losing season. You can say that if you want to. You can say we won a couple of Super Bowls in the last few years. You can make stats say whatever you want to say. Do we want to be here right where we are right now? Absolutely not. We are going to try everything under our power to make a difference going into next season. I know the people upstairs, I know they work their behinds off, I know our coaches work their behinds off, I know our personnel people work their behinds off, and we are going to continue to try to make a difference going into next year. I don’t think we are that far away because I do think we have a nice mix of young players along with some veteran players that we can get to where we want to go.

RE: On improving next season.

A: We are trying to upgrade at every position on the team. Offense, defense, special teams, we are trying to upgrade everywhere.

Q: How much discussions have you had with Jason Pierre- Paul and his agent?

A: I sat down with all of the unrestricted free agents yesterday and that is the only conversation I have had. I haven’t talked to Jason Pierre-Paul’s agent yet at all.

Q: Why did you decide not to try and negotiate something before the season was over?

A: It wasn’t the right time for us to do that.

Q: What do you think of Jason Pierre-Paul ‘s season this year?

A: I think at the beginning of the season he wasn’t playing like he played at the end of the season. The second half of the season, he came on really strong and played like we thought he should play. The guy has some ability to be a game changer. We didn’t see enough of that in the first half of the season.

Q: How important was it for him to stay healthy for a whole season after the last two years?
A: It is a combination of all of those things. He has had some injury problems and we’ve seen the guy be a dynamic player, and he still is a young player. We know that ability is there. What we have to do is sit down and have a conversation with his agent. I know you guys talked to John Mara and Tom Coughlin about these things already, but it has to make sense for us, it has to make sense for him, like any free agent.

Q: Will you consider restructuring Eli Manning’s contract?

A: We will keep all of our options open.

Q: Do you have any problem with him playing out the last year of his deal?

A: We will keep all of our options open.

Q: Do you anticipate any changes on your staff and have you received any requests from other teams to talk to anyone for other jobs around the league?

A: No, I haven’t had anybody call about our staff, no. Everything is evaluated at the end of the year, personnel staff, everything is evaluated.

Q: How much longer can Eli Manning play at a high level, do you think?

A: I don’t know. Who knows? Eli Manning is not a baby, I don’t think he is an old man, but he is not a baby anymore. I do think he can still play at a high level. For how long? Who knows how long?

Q: Technically, Tom Coughlin is in charge of his staff. You are in charge of yours. When does it get a little blurry? If you really want somebody in the draft, and Tom Coughlin really wants somebody else. Do you pull rank?

A: No, what we try to do in our draft room, and all of our decisions around here, we try to come together as a staff. We want everybody to be on board and sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. We talk about it and the final decisions we make, we live with it. We don’t look back and we just live with it. It is our decision, it is not my decision, it is not Tom Coughlin’s decision, it is our decision.

Q: Has there been a time when you say “this is our pick and I don’t care who wants anybody else?”

A: No, we try not to do that. I don’t think it is like that around here. Everybody has an opinion, personnel, our coaches  write reports. Of course, our personnel staff, myself, we come to a consensus on who we like and it is rarely a situation where somebody gets on the floor and we are going to pick this guy and that’s it.

Q: When John Mara stood up there last year, he talked about making changes in the draft and taking less risk on guys. Have you made adjustments and did you see that this year?

A: In personnel, it is like I just said. We always talk about taking risks, and we talk about personnel. Everybody is involved, and sometimes we take risks, we know we are taking risks on some guys. We took a risk on Mario Manningham and he turned out to be a pretty good player for us. We took a risk on Ahmad Bradshaw. Sometimes, it is just a part of personnel. You don’t bat 1.000 in personnel. You want to get more right than you get wrong. When you pick late in the draft, we picked late a couple times in the draft, that is why call it “row” (instead of round). I have said this to you guys before, I am not trying to make any excuses why some personnel didn’t work out. It is just part of personnel. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t. We call them ‘rows’ because the 32 guys in the first row, they are all not first round picks, so if you are picking 32, most likely those guys down at 32, some guys you would like to have in the second, third round. It is a privilege to pick down there. It is a lot easier to pick 12 and above than it is when you are picking at 32.

Q: Have you taken less risks now in the last couple of years?

A: The less risks, I am not sure what you are saying when say, “take less risks.” All players are risks. Sometimes it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and you get it out there on Sunday, it is not a duck. It is all a risk.

Q: It seems like last year you made it a point of emphasis to draft team captains and that paid off for you this year. Is that something you anticipate, you might consider?

A: We are not cavalier here; we try to whatever is best for this organization. We try to pick the best players available, and whatever it takes. if it takes a conscious effort of taking captains or taking whatever, we are willing to do that. We just want to get this team back in good position to be a playoff team, win our division, be a playoff team, and win Super Bowls. That is really what our goal is and never changes.

Q: Do you have an idea if you are going to have enough room to bring back Jason Pierre-Paul, Antrel Rolle and Eli Manning?

A: We will do what we have to do. The evaluation process is ongoing right now. We will do what we have to do and everybody will be evaluated and we will make it work.

Q: Is using the Franchise Tag on Jason Pierre-Paul something you will consider?

A: We will keep all of our options open.

Q: Do you express your opinion to Tom Coughlin about the coaching staff?

A: I have my opinion. Tom Coughlin and I talk every Monday. As you all know, we talk every Monday and we don’t sugar coat talk, we talk about the good, we talk about the bad, we talk about the ugly. I think that is why we have a great relationship because we don’t try to BS each other in our Monday conversations. We talk about what really happened and I think is a great conversation and I give my opinion about everything.

Q: Are comfortable with the fact he has the final call?

A: Am I comfortable? Yeah, of course, I am comfortable. John Mara said this, when a coach has been as successful as Tom Coughlin and has been in the National Football League as long as he has been in the National Football League, he should have the right to pick his coaches. He should have the right to do that. He has been able to do that. I give him my opinion on what I think, I believe John Mara gives his opinion, Steve Tisch gives his opinion on what he thinks, but the head coach with the caliber head coach Tom Coughlin has been and still is, he has the right to pick his coaches.

Q: Why is Tom Coughlin still the right man to coach this team?

A: Again, John Mara said it and we talked about it, he knows how to coach. He is a teacher, you have to coach the players and you have to coach the person when you are coaching in the National Football League. Tom Coughlin knows how to do that. John Mara said it as clearly as you can say it, during the bad time of the season, the players kept playing, they played all the way through. You can tell quickly if a team is not going to play for a coach, you can tell, and that never happened.

Q: How much will fixing the offensive and defensive lines be a priority this off season?

A: Everything is a priority. We are going to try to upgrade every component.

Q: How do you look at Victor Cruz, especially for next season? Do you think the injury will take a while? Or do you expect to have the old Victor back?

A: It is a significant injury that he has. You never know how he is going to come back from that. We are hoping that he is definitely going to come back and be the Victor Cruz that we know. You never know with the significant injury he had. We are hopeful that he will come back and be the Victor Cruz that we like, but you never know.

Q: Do you approach it like you did David Wilson, where you were prepared in case he didn’t make it back?

A: (You do that with) any guy that has a significant injury. That was a significant injury, just like David Wilson had a significant injury. You’ve got to prepare as if, “what if Victor Cruz doesn’t come back?” That is always in the back of your head. If you are a personnel guy, or a General Manager, that is always in the back of your head. What if this guy doesn’t come back and be the player that we think he is?

Q: There was probably some discussion of selecting an offensive lineman in the first round last year. What was it about Odell Beckham that you put him over the top in terms of being the choice?

A: I think I said this back during the draft. In this league, you have to have weapons. I said we think this guy is a weapon. That was pretty apparent. In the SEC, you see this guy line up and you saw those good players in the SEC, they back up when this guy lines up to their side of the field. We thought he was a game-changing kind of weapon and it is hard to pass those guys up. He was the highest guy on the board when we picked.

Q: Do you look at next season being a win-or-else season?

A: Every year. Tom Coughlin said the same thing. When you win Super Bowls, it is what have you done for me lately? You have to continue to win, it is hard to do it in this business because the league is built on a cycle. If you win, you are penalized for winning, so you have to fall back and pick last in the draft, you lose some coaches. That is how the cycle goes, but our job is to beat the system. That is what we pride ourselves on, beating the system, staying on top, staying relevant.  I heard someone ask Tom about every four years, you should start to be able to build your team back up after you have had some down time. We should be at a point where our team is being built back up because we are going to have a top 10 pick this season, last year we had a top 12 pick. You get better players, it’s a little bit easier to pick up front in the draft than it is to pick in the back of the draft, but you would much rather be picking in the back of the draft, obviously.

Q: Your favorite phrase has been “best available.” When you’re drafting higher, does that become less significant because they’re all great athletes?

A: We’re always conscious of where we think our need is. But we always try to pick the best player available. If you can get a combination of your need and what the value is, it’s an easy pick for you.

Q:… it’s either a need or a best available?

A: Maybe some people though we try to pick the best player available on our board.

Q: When you’re 6-10 and you compare it to the Super Bowl rosters, do you see a dramatic difference in talent, preparation, or play? And if so, is there a specific part of the team?

A: I’m not sure what you’re asking me. I think you’re saying is the personnel on a 6-10 team close to the 2011 team or the 2007 team? I don’t think there’s a huge difference. Our two championship teams, I don’t think that was the best personnel we had. Our two championship teams, if that means anything, I don’t think that was the best personnel we had.

Q: Other than Victor Cruz, is there anyone that’s on injured reserve that you’re concerned about moving forward?

A: Well, all the guys on IR, we’re concerned about. Geoff Schwartz, Jon Beason, I can go on. There’s so many, I can’t think of them off the top of my head right now. We had a bunch of corners to go down. Prince…

Q: Anybody you think might not be ready to start OTAs or training camp?

A: We’re hopeful for all of the players. We’ll have a medical meeting here in the next day; actually, today we’re having a medical meeting to see what the status is on all of our players. We’re hopeful. I heard John say “half the guys back.” But injuries are just part of it, guys. That’s no excuse. Again, we had plenty of opportunities during the season in spite of all the injuries. We had plenty of opportunities to close teams out. With our offense, to close some teams out. With our defense, to close some teams out. Even with our special teams. Josh (Brown) had a tremendous year, but he still missed a field goal in Jacksonville. If he makes the field goal, we win that game. Our second Dallas game, we’re inside the 30 right there and we miss a pass and it’s intercepted and goes the other way. Our defense during the Dallas games, all you have to do is pick up a stop right there, we’re going to win. It’s a learned behavior, that’s what bugs me the most about our season last year. We had some chances to close some teams out and we didn’t do it. I think that’s something we’ll talk about in this offseason. We had a chance to close teams out because we were there in spite of all the injuries and attrition that happened to roster. We were there. That can be attributed to our coaching staff and our players. They’re fighting and trying to put themselves in position to win games. We had some opportunities to do that and we just didn’t do it.

Q: What do you think is lacking that the learned behavior hasn’t been acquired?

A: This is part of it. When you turn your roster over, you have a lot of new faces on your roster. Some teams that we had under Coach Coughlin had been here for some years and we had a pretty tight roster. We didn’t have to make a lot of changes. We get a new group of guys, they have to learn that. They have to learn how to play together and have that mentality with each other. Somebody’s got to rise up right here, right now, on defense: “We have to make this stop right here.” I don’t know if we had enough players to do that. Offensively, on special teams: “I’m going to make a play right here on special teams. A big play right here.” I think it’s a thing that grows when players are together longer and most of these players on the roster will be back next year. I think it’s something we have to learn and grow as a team.

Q: When you assess the roster, personnel-wise, obviously you want to upgrade in every spot. Are there any spots you look at and say, “You know what, we’re good there,” where you don’t have to worry about that?

A: You’re an injury away from not being good anywhere. That’s why I say we try to continue to upgrade every chance we get at every position possible.

Q: Does that make the challenge of rebuilding even more difficult?

A: Obviously, if we think we have some issues on the offensive line, but we’re not going ignore our offensive line, then ignore our running back position or our safety position, or our defensive line position, or our tight end position. That’s why, as a personnel person, you try to upgrade in as many places as you can, as often as you can. Injuries happen, attrition happens and you want your roster to be as deep as possible.

Q: What is the importance of continuity, when you talked about guys learning to play together? Are you more inclined to keep the core of this group together heading into next year, especially getting some of the guys back from injury, to see what they can do and what they can actually be?

A: I think it’s going to be a good core of guys here, regardless, coming back. There’ll be some changes, like always. There are always changes every year and there will be some this time. We definitely want to keep a good core of players because you can’t turn your roster over every single year. You have to try to keep a core of guys that you can build around.

Q: There were a bunch of guys maybe at the end of the roster last year, that were draft picks that didn’t really play much. How long do you hold out hope those guys will work out? Is there fine line there?

A: We try to give guys a chance to fail. If you give them a chance to fail and they fail, that’s fine, we made a mistake. But you have to give guys a chance to fail first before you push them out the door.

Dec 302014
 
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Danny Langsdorf, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Danny Langsdorf – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Quarterbacks Coach Danny Langsdorf is leaving the team in order to become the offensive coordinator at the University of Nebraska. Langsdorf joined the Giants’ coaching staff in January 2014 when Sean Ryan was demoted to wide receivers coach. Langdorf had been the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Oregon State University from 2005-2013.

Under Langdorf’s tutelage, quarterback Eli Manning had one of the best seasons in his career. Manning finished the season with 4,410 yards (second-highest total in franchise history), 30 touchdowns (one shy of his career-high in 2011), and 14 interceptions (13 fewer than he threw in 2013). Manning’s completion percentage (63.1) was a career-high. His passer rating of 92.1 was the second-highest of highest of his career (93.1 in 2009).

For a complete listing of the current Giants coaching staff, see the New York Giants Coaching Staff section of the website.

QB Eli Manning on WFAN Radio: The audio of Monday’s WFAN Radio interview with QB Eli Manning is available at CBS New York.

Article on New York Giants President/CEO John Mara: NY Giants must tell Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese: win now or else by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Articles on the 2014 New York Giants:

Articles on Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell:

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on RB Andre Williams: Giants’ Andre Williams tries not to get psyched out as receiver by Kevin Kernan of The New York Post

Article on WR Odell Beckham: The ‘biggest’ challenge now awaiting Odell Beckham by Kevin Kernan of The New York Post

Article on OT Justin Pugh: Giants’ Justin Pugh insists he’s a better player … and a tackle, not a guard! by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Sights and Sounds from Giants-Eagles Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-Eagles game is available at Giants.com.