© USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK GIANTS OFFSEASON PROGRAM BEGINS…
The New York Giants offseason program began on Monday, April 9th, kicking off the 9-week “voluntary” program that by NFL rules is broken into three phases:
- Phase One (Two Weeks): Consists of activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
- Phase Two (Three Weeks): Consists of on-field workouts that may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
- Phase Three (Four Weeks): Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.
The team’s OTAs will be held on May 21-22, May 24, May 29-31, and June 4-7. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 12-14.
GIANTS RE-SIGN BRETT JONES…
New York Giants center/guard Brett Jones has signed his 1-year, $2.914 million restricted free agent tender. Jones took over the starting center spot for 12 games in 2017 after Weston Richburg was lost for the season.
Jones was originally drafted by the CFL Calgary Stampeders in 2013 and named the CFL’s “Most Outstanding Rookie” after that season. Jones was also named the CFL’s “Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman” in 2014. He signed by the Giants in February 2015 and placed on Injured Reserve in September 2015 after spraining the MCL in his knee on the preseason finale. In 2016, Jones was on the active roster for 14 regular-season games and made one start at left guard, but left the game very early with an injury.
ORLEANS DARKWA VISITS PATRIOTS…
New York Giants unrestricted free agent running back Orleans Darkwa is visiting the New England Patriots. The somewhat injury-prone Darkwa only missed one game in 2017 with a back issue and had his best season as a pro, starting 11 games and finishing with 171 carries for 751 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and five touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 116 yards. In his previous three seasons, Darkwa had started only two games carried the ball just 75 times for 287 yards and four touchdowns.
Darkwa was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants signed him off of Miami’s Practice Squad in November 2014.
PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Monday:
Opening Statement: We’re looking forward to having the guys back. I can only speak for us as coaches, it just gives us an opportunity to work with the players again and set a new direction heading into 2018. As you know, the first couple weeks here is basically strength training for the players, although we also will be able to meet with them. We are going to meet with them obviously as a team and then offensively, defensively, in terms of special teams and try to just kind of set a foundation and get going as we approach our first extra mini camp, which will be the three days leading up to the draft. It’s exciting to get back to work, it’s obviously great to see the players back in the building. I have my first team meeting with the players here at 9:15. We kind of schedule it where we have a lifting group, we sort of meet in the middle and then we have another lifting group, so at 9:15 will be my first time to address the team. I’m looking forward to it and I’ll try and answer some of your questions.
Q: You said before that the mini camp before the draft would be a showcase for Davis Webb. How are the reps going to work out between him and Eli Manning?
A: We’re working on that. Obviously Davis, with only two quarterbacks in the building, they’re obviously going to share the reps.
Q: What is the overall gist of the message you will send to the team when you address them this morning?
A: The idea is and, again, I’ll save it for when I talk to the team. But for the most part, we’re trying to get things started, take advantage of the extra time we have and we want to grow away from basically what happened a year ago, the 3-13 season. We want to grow away from that and try to grow into a team that’s competing to win a division, compete in the playoffs, and then hopefully hold up that fifth Lombardi trophy. That’s what we’re trying to do and just try to get better one day at a time, and I think it’s important for all the players to understand that getting better by themselves, it’s just as important for us to get better together, and I think that’s the beauty of being able to work together here.
Q: How important is it for all of the guys to be in the building for the entire offseason program?
A: We understand how this is structured here in the offseason, but it’s certainly important. In my mind, it’s important for everybody to be around so they can hear it, learn it and then do it together. This is the ultimate team game and we need to work together because it’s important that we are all on the same page as we move toward the fall.
Q: How important is it for Odell Beckham to be there for the duration of the program?
A: I think it’s all players. All players, it’s good and I think it’s important that they’re here working together.
Q: Have you seen Odell yet?
A: He is in the building. I have not seen him yet, but I know he’s in the building.
Q: Did you get a chance to talk to Odell after everything that came out of the meetings in Orlando and what was your message there?
A: Yeah, I’ve communicated with him and certainly that communication is between me and him.
Q: You said that you talked to him about all things non-football related. Did you ask him if there were drugs in the video?
A: Again, that’s private between Odell and myself, but we talked about the video.
Q: Were you worried about how all of the trade rumors might affect Odell?
A: I’m not worried about it. I really believe that Odell is a professional and he wants to be great. He understands the importance of the offseason and he’s a competitive guy and, again, we had already started communicating before all that information kind of got out there and was talked about a great deal. He’s a professional and I’m glad he’s here today.
Q: Do you have any idea where Odell is physically?
A: With the players back in town, certainly we are going to assess where they all are in terms of physically and medically, and I’ll have more information as we approach the end of the week.
Q: What have been your impressions of the potential offers for Odell Beckham in the trade market?
A: Yeah, that’s the business. I’m the coach, so I’m just going to worry about trying to get each and every player and each and every coach as good as they can be, and I’ll focus on that part of it.
Q: How anxious are you to finally be able to talk football with the guys and specifically talking with Odell about your vision of what he can do in your offense?
A: It’s exciting, and obviously being this is the first opportunity to visit with the players, we just start to formulate our systems and our plans and really our vision for what we want our players to do. I would say this, this is what we as coaches look forward to. I can see as I look out my window here that the grass is starting to green up and the players are around and this is just naturally the time of year where we get back to work. It’s an exciting time for coaches and players, and we’re just looking forward to getting it started.
Q: What are some of the biggest changes that the players will notice when they arrive and see the Pat Shurmur Giants here in the building for the first time?
A: That’s probably a better question for them. I certainly have learned in the last couple of months how things were done in the past and there are some changes that I’ll let them discuss those with you. But, I think what’s important is — listen, this is a game that we all love to play, most great players love the training aspect of the game and getting better and being a little bit uncomfortable and working through that, and I think that’s part of where we’re at. I think anybody, when there is a new coach and a new general manager and some new players, there are some changes that they expect to see, but I think that is probably a better question for them as they move forward. I just think it’s very important that we’re very professional, we communicate well together and then there is going to be a transfer of information. I think we as coaches need to listen to the players, but also teach what we want them to know and then let them tell us what they’re seeing so that we know how we have to teach it further. That’s what we’re looking forward to, is the communication and then watch these guys develop also physically as they go through the weight lifting and the running.
Q: What has Odell told you about his attendance going forward after today?
A: Yeah again, I know he’s in the building. We haven’t had a chance to speak. I’ll speak to him a little bit more later, probably this afternoon. But we haven’t discussed that.
Q: Do you view Odell showing up today as a commitment by him showing that he wants to be a Giant long term? And in addition, would you like to see management use this as an opportunity to get a contract done with him soon, so that it doesn’t remain a distraction?
A: I’m not overthinking this. This is the first day of work, this is the first opportunity for all of us to be here together and I think it’s important that Odell is here and I’m looking forward to him getting one day better by being here and I’m looking forward to him inspiring some of his teammates to get better because he’s here and he’s a terrific player and I think we can all learn from one another. Quite frankly, I’m looking forward to the players challenging me to grow, so that we can grow towards some of the things that we were talking about earlier.
Q: You have a couple of former players that are on your coaching staff. What will they bring to the table in terms of relating with the players?
A: Well, we all have playing backgrounds. Obviously guys that have played in the NFL that are now career coaches, I think they bring some credibility to the room that the players can really, I guess, hang on to a little bit. The important thing though for an ex-player is they have to decide, they have to cross that bridge between player and coach, and I’m very fortunate that I have some guys here that are now really developed into career coaches, so I’m looking forward to really them working with our players. I think obviously if you coach this game and you’ve developed some credibility as a coach, certainly some of it comes from your days as a player and then it obviously continues your days as you coach through the profession. It’s important and staffs tend to be diverse. We all have different backgrounds and I think it’s important to put together a staff of guys that all come from different places.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Monday’s media conference calls with the following players are available in The Corner Forum: