CONFERENCE CALL WITH RUNNING BACK DION LEWIS…
The following is the transcript from today’s media conference call with running back Dion Lewis, who the New York Giants signed on March 23rd:
Q: Take us through why you chose to sign with the Giants?
A: I think it was a perfect and unique opportunity. There was a lot of factors. Joe Judge being there and me having a relationship with him with my three years in New England. I grew up a Giants fan, so it was always a dream of mine to play for them. When I got the opportunity with the circumstances, I couldn’t pass it up. I’m looking forward to working with Coach Joe Judge, playing for my hometown team and getting to work with Saquon as well. There was a lot of positive factors.
Q: You mentioned being able to reunite with Joe Judge. What about his presence drew you here? Have they talked to you at all about kick returns, punt returns or what they expect from you other than just being the backup running back?
A: No. Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do it. Obviously, I have a lot of experience returning kicks for Joe Judge. I’m pretty sure that may come up. I’m open to doing whatever they need me to do to help this team win. That’s my approach right now and I’m going to do whatever it takes.
Q: What can you tell us about playing with Joe Judge? We don’t really know his coaching style yet, what was your experience with him like?
A: He brings a lot of energy. He is very detail orientated. He is going to be prepared and he is going to know exactly what he wants you to do and how he wants you to do it. I know he is going to make sure everybody is on the same page. He is going to throw some jabs at you in meetings. The meetings are going to be lively. I remember him having a lot of good jokes. He’s a great guy and I can’t wait to get to work for him.
Q: What did you learn the last few years about the role of being the second running back behind a guy who rarely comes off the field?
A: I learned a lot. Just learning how to be a good team player and doing what I can to encourage the guy in front of me. Watching the game, when they come off if they need to ask me a question about anything, I am always very honest. You watch the game from a different perspective, but at the same time you always have to be ready. You have to be alert, you have to be in shape. You never know when your number is going to be called. It’s a unique situation and I have been dealing with it the past two years with Derrick (Henry). It definitely helped me come here and do whatever I can to help this group.
Q: Do you think you can help make Saquon better?
A: I think we can help make each other better. With all the running backs I’ve played with, I’ve learned things from (them) and they have learned things from me. Me being a little older guy, I have some experience with some things. He’s a great player, there’s not much he can’t do. I’m looking forward to working with him, competing with him, learning from him and just doing that relationship with him. Build a great relationship with him so we can make the room better and hopefully make the team better.
Q: What do you envision your role being behind Saquon?
A: I haven’t really thought about it. I’m just going to approach it like I always approach it. Go to work every day and work hard. Show the coaches what I can do and let them figure it out. Let them figure out a role (for me). With a player like Saquon, you want him on the field as much as possible. He is one of the better backs in this league and I understand that. I’m just going to work hard, do whatever the coaches ask me to do, compete every day and try to figure it out that way instead of going in there with hopes or what I think is going to happen. I’m just going to do what I’ve always done, go in there compete, work hard, build relationships in the running back room and take it from there.
Q: You talked about growing up a Giants fan. Who were your guys? Who was your team? You grew up in Albany, so did you go up to training camp and see them?
A: Yeah, I grew up in Albany, New York. I was a frequent visitor to training camp up in Albany. It was a great experience growing up being able to go watch those guys practice during training camp at a young age. I go back to the Tiki Barber days, Kurt Warner, Amani Toomer, Ike Hilliard, guys like that. It’s definitely a good situation to be in.
Q: Daniel Jones is going to be the youngest quarterback you have ever played with. Have you talked to him yet? What challenges and opportunities come with playing with a young quarterback?
A: I haven’t spoken to him. He did a great job last year. He is a very athletic quarterback. As a veteran running back, my job is to make it easy on him, build a relationship with him. If I’m called on to protect him on third down, just make sure we are on the same page with the protections and things like that. I’m pretty sure he works very hard, I’ve heard a lot of good things about him. I’m excited to get to work.
Q: What about reuniting with Nate Solder?
A: Nate’s my guy. He is such a great person and a great player. I miss seeing Nate on that left side. It is going to be great to play with him again. He comes to work every day, he is a true pro and a great guy. I love Nate.
Q: You mentioned a couple times being an older guy. You didn’t get as much work as maybe you expected last year. How much do you think you have left? Saquon missed time last year with injuries and obviously you know you are always one play away. If needed, how much do you think you can provide?
A: My body feels pretty well. I didn’t take too much of a pounding last year. My body is relatively fresh. Whatever they need me to do. I keep myself in great shape, I pride myself on taking care of my body. I feel like I still can play, I can do the things I am accustomed to doing, I still can make guys miss. Whatever they need me to do, if my number is called, I’ll be ready. Whatever they need me to do or how much they need me to do it. I’ll be open to whatever they want me to do.