Aug 062020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (August 6, 2020)

Daniel Jones – Courtesy of New York Giants

AUGUST 6, 2020 DANIEL JONES CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones addressed the media on Thursday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: I guess the most important question I have to ask today is do you plan to opt out?

A: No, I do not plan to opt out.

Q: You did a bunch of workouts with teammates during the offseason. What did you get out of those and how valuable were they?

A: I think they were valuable for us. Obviously, this year we did all our meetings and installs virtually through Zoom, which I thought went well and we did a good job of learning and picking up through that. Getting on the field together helped and we kind of worked on some things we had discussed in meetings in trying to get guys ready for this camp and make sure we were ready to roll.

Q: When you look at this offense, are you saying to yourself that you have seen all this before, or how much do you have to learn?

A: I think we’re all trying to learn and there are obviously some similar concepts and similar ideas, but it’s a new system and we are all learning it and putting it together. That is kind of what we’re focused on. Comparing it to last year, I’m not sure how much that helps in learning it. We’re taking it day by day and install by install and trying to learn it as quickly as we can and as well as we can.

Q: In terms of 2020, what are the goals? What are you trying to accomplish?

A: Right now, I think my focus is on this camp and trying to make sure I am as prepared as possible mentally. We have talked about a new system and a new offense to learn and pick up. So I think my focus right now is what we’re doing day to day here and trying to make sure we take the right steps forward and improving every single day. For me personally, I am doing a good job of picking up the offense and understanding what the coaches expect. Obviously want to improve on a lot of things from last year personally and as a team. In order to get there and to get there the right way, I think we want to focus on what we’re doing day to day in this camp.

Q: You have your five main targets back this year (Tate, Shepard, Slayton, Saquon, Engram). How has that continuity been beneficial to this point?

A: Just spending time with guys, and like we talked about, getting together in the offseason a little bit. Knowing how guys are going to get in and out of breaks is obvious and something you would expect, but that continuity helps. Also, just having a relationship with guys and me knowing how they learn and how they communicate as we all try to learn this system and try to work through it and make sure we’re on the same page. I think that continuity definitely helps with that process.

Q: Seeing photos and videos of you, it has been talked about how different you look. What was your training like and what was it about this offseason?

A: I feel good. I feel like I’m as strong as I’ve been. I feel like I’m in good shape. I was in Charlotte for most of the offseason and training there. I wanted to get stronger and wanted to gain some weight for what that does for every part of my game, standing in the pocket, running when I need to, and obviously throwing the ball as efficiently as I can using my strength, my lower body. Each piece of that was part of the goal of the offseason in my training.

Q: What are you weighing right now?

A: 229, 228.

Q: Is that up from what, 220?

A: Yeah, I was at 220.

Q: It has to be different for you walking in without Eli Manning here and you being the starter. What is the biggest difference for you walking in as the starter? And how would you describe your collaboration and relationship with Jason Garrett and what are his qualities as an offensive coordinator and a coach?

A: The biggest thing is not being a rookie and having relationships with people in the building and my teammates. Obviously we have a new staff and I’m certainly learning and going through that process like I did last year. There is a certain level of comfort in it being my second year and it’s been good. With Coach Garrett, I have enjoyed learning from him so far. He is extremely detailed in his thinking and what he expects on the field, and I think that is probably what has stood out the most. I look forward to working with him and continuing to learn this system.

Q: You kind of laughed off that first question about opting out, but I’m curious if that is something you gave any thought to it and how do you approach teammates who are considering it or who have chosen that option?

A: It’s important to realize that everyone has different circumstances, whether it be family related or personally or whatever it may be. I certainly don’t have those situations. I live by myself and I’m healthy, but everyone has got to consider their own personal situation and I certainly respect that and expect people to do that and do what’s best for them and certainly don’t hold that against them. Obviously Nate (Solder) made a decision to opt out and he’s got an extremely tough circumstance and he’s got to do what’s best for his family. All the respect in the world, all the support in the world to him.

Q: Are you surprised at how many players around the league have decided to opt out?

A: I don’t know. I’m not really sure I had an expectation. Like I said, you’ve got to look at everyone individually and personally and you have no way of knowing exactly what’s going on and why they made that decision. That’s up to them, so like I said, I certainly respect it and support it for all the people who made that decision.

Q: You and Darius Slayton came into the league at the same time. How would you describe your relationship with him and what is it like throwing to one of the faster guys on the team?

A: I’ve certainly enjoyed playing with Darius and working with Darius. He’s a guy that comes to work everyday and knows what to do and knows what’s expected of him from the coaches and does his best to do that. Obviously he’s a talented guy. Like you said, he can really get out and run. He has a big frame, he’s a big target. I’ve really enjoyed working with him and I know he’s excited going into this year and has attacked this offseason and this new system the right way, so I’m excited to continue working with him.

Q: How difficult an adjustment has it been getting used to the new protocols, especially as you are trying to become a leader of this team?

A: It has definitely been different, but I think our organization, the Giants, the medical staff, the operation people have done an unbelievable job of setting up the facility here at the stadium and making sure it is clear what they expect from us, wearing a mask and socially distancing and doing all those things. It’s different, but it’s not hard and it’s not getting in the way of us doing our work. As long as we’re conscientious about it, I think we haven’t had any problems with the policies and the procedures.

Q: Has anything been a bigger adjustment than others?

A: Not really. Just being here, just being in the stadium is different, but like I said, our organization has done a great job of setting it up and we’re lucky to have this space and do as much as we can do over here with all the space we have.

Q: As you look to the start of the season, how difficult do you envision it will be to go into that first game in a new system without having played a preseason game?

A: When you look at it, a lot of other teams have that situation. Obviously no one is playing a preseason. We’re all operating under the same rules, the same outline as far as practice and into the season. All we can do is prepare as well as we can in the time we have and make sure we’re getting the most out of every single day and those practices leading up to the first game. I think that’s our approach as a team and we’ll make sure we do that and prepare as well as possible.

Q: As a second-year quarterback going into a new system, does that put you at a little bit of a disadvantage as opposed to some veterans in the same system?

A: I don’t think so. I think it’s on me to learn the system as quick as I can and as effectively as I can. Use the time we have, use the practices we have to do that and come in prepared and ready to go.

AUGUST 6, 2020 DALVIN TOMLINSON CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson addressed the media on Thursday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: How ready can a defensive lineman be to play football with no offseason program?

A: We’ve been thinking about it with everything going on, but it’s something that you must mentally prepare for as well as try to as much as possible physically prepare for the practices for when we do get to practice with the pads on.

Q: What is your reaction to the number of optouts around the league and did you ever consider it?

A: I can’t react to them because I’ve been so locked into the playbook. I just have been trying to get the plays down with training camp going on and meetings. I’ve just been so locked in here just trying to improve and help everyone else improve. I really haven’t thought too much about opting out because I Just want to be with my teammates.

Q: Obviously this is a different offseason, a different training camp, how different does it feel to you?

A: It’s super different. Social distancing is the biggest thing to get used to, making sure you’re always six feet apart and things like that. It’s super different, different location, you’re used to being in the facility just right there with everyone and everything is super close. Things are a lot more spread out now.

Q: Obviously in the locker room you guys sit close to each other and there’s a lot of joking around. You guys really have to be conscious of that now?

A: Yeah, everyone is spread out and we’re yelling over to make sure everyone can hear you through the mask. You might lose your voice every now and again.

Q: We were just on with Blake (Martinez) and he talked about wanting to come in and be the quarterback of the defense, the guy everyone turns to when they need to know what’s going on. I know it’s really early in the process and you probably just met him in person. Have you seen him developing into that role for this defense?

A: Blake’s a great guy, a great teammate. I feel like as a linebacker, that’s what linebackers do. They coach the defense up and stuff like that. It’s super early and we have only been out here for a couple days now, I feel like our roles and things like that are going to develop a lot more in the coming weeks.

Q: What are the roadblocks that you see as you guys move through the season? Where might you guys slip up and have an outbreak that could end the season? How different is the defense you are running this year as opposed to last year? Coach Judge talks a lot about versatility? If you are going to be versatile, I’m assuming there are going to be some similarities to last year.

A: For the roadblock question, pretty much everyone just needs to follow the protocols and hopefully we can stay safe as possible, that’s the number one priority right now. The new defense, I’m just trying to pick up everything. I really haven’t been able to compare it to last year simply because it’s still pretty new for the most part. We’ve been able to walk through stuff and everything. Just trying to take it day by day and continue to improve on the things we are installing each day.

Q: What’s the biggest difference watching Dexter Lawrence now compared to where he was a year ago?

A: The biggest difference is you get used to the NFL, the meetings and things like that. I guess you get a little but more comfortable going into your second year. Everybody, as a rookie coming in, you are nervous because you are a rookie. Now he is a second-year player. He comes in with his work hat on every day ready to work. I love the energy he brings and just how excited he is to come to work and get better each day.

Q: You are going into your fourth year here. What are your expectations this year for yourself? How do you think this new defense is going to help you reach those?

A: I am super excited about the new defense. I want to be able to help in the run and pass game this year and just keep improving across the whole board. Help out and be disruptive in the middle as much as possible throughout the whole season.

Q: What do you like about the defense and how does it apply to you specifically?

A: I feel like I am super aggressive on the inside. The scheme is fun. It reminds me of the Alabama defense and the Alabama days and the techniques I used to use and stuff like that.

Q: You are not the oldest player on this team, but you are the longest tenured defensive player. What does that tell you about the business, about yourself, about the Giants? That you can be such a young guy and the elder statesman as far as time served with Giants on the defense?

A: Everybody knows it’s a business. You have to be able to understand that coming in. I just keep my head down and focus on getting better each and every day and keep working. That’s all you can do. I’m just blessed to be in the position I’m in and be in this chair talking to you guys. Come in each and every day and don’t take a day for granted.

Q: Do you ever look around and say where did all those guys go?

A: I guess you could say that sometimes. Not really, though, I have been so locked in on everything we are installing and stuff like that. Trying to get me and everyone around me better, just trying to improve everybody.

Q: You were here last time Coach Graham was here as the D-line coach. Are you seeing some carryover in what he taught when he was the defensive line coach versus what he is teaching now? How has he grown since he last here a defensive line coach?

A: He is a great guy who has grown a lot. You can just tell it’s a lot of pretty much the same techniques. I always catch him coming into the D-line room and talking to us all the time. We are his favorite group, I guess you could say, because he used to be a D-line coach. He’s always teaching us different techniques that remind me of the stuff he used to teach my rookie year. A lot of great stuff going on and we just keep improving on the techniques he’s teaching us.

Q: Does that make it easier for you transitioning to this new defense because there is some familiarity?

A: It does make it a little bit easier because the techniques are similar.

AUGUST 6, 2020 BLAKE MARTINEZ CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants linebacker Blake Martinez addressed the media on Thursday (see video at Giants.com and YouTube):

Q: Coach talked about using the spring to make sure there were no strangers once you guys finally do get on the field. How quickly have you come together in the last week or so? Do you feel like there is anything that’s missing from not having that spring?

A: Especially me being a new guy, I thought about the OTA’s portion, especially if you are a rookie or new a free agent, as that earning the respect portion. I think that’s a big miss. You can work out together and you get to see everybody’s work ethic, you get to see the guys doing extra. See the guys take control in certain tough situations, whether it’s conditioning, meetings, walk throughs and things like that. I think overall we did a great job as a team making sure we took advantage of what we were given. The zoom meetings, being able to add in video games at nighttime with guys, just chatting with guys after the meetings ended. Overall, walking in it was just having to see the guy’s face for the first time in person. Being like, oh sweet, that’s what you look like, it’s not just your face, I get your whole body now. That portion was different, but overall, it was cool to walk in and make it seem like we have been friends for the last six months.

Q: Being the guy who is going to be in the middle of the huddle making all the calls and checks. How do you simulate that? Without any preseason games, are there things you will do with your defense between now and September 14 to make sure you’re ready for when the lights go on?

A: For us, right now our big focus is everyone focusing on the fundamentals of doing what we need to do each day to grow as individuals. Overall, for me it’s just being able to allow those guys to understand that I’m going to be on top of everything from checks, making sure people are lined up in the right position, that I am that calming factor. For me, I take every single day to keep chipping at that. Whether it’s walk throughs, talking in meetings, guys start to recognize this guy knows what going on, this guy is going to allow me to not have any freak moments. If things are moving fast, he’s the guy that I can turn to and calm myself down.

Q: Who is the guy you look to, to calm you down if you start to get a little antsy?

A: That’s the reason I am here, to be that guy. For me, I pride myself on not being too flustered in any moments and being that rock for the defense. Especially obviously for me being the quote, unquote, quarterback on the defense. Being that guy that’s always calm, cool, and collected.

Q: From a player perspective, what roadblocks do you see that could potentially end the season?

A: I try to not look at the negative aspects. For me, I think Coach Judge has hit it on us and probably spoke to you guys about it. It’s just focusing on what we can control. Following every protocol that’s necessary. Doing everything, whether it’s showing up on time, doing our test every single day, walking in making sure we are wearing our masks, wearing the certain things to know we are distanced apart. Following certain protocols put on the ground, whatever is put in place in every aspect. Whether it’s on the field or in the meeting rooms. As long as everyone starts the day focusing on that and ends the day focusing on that, I think we are going to be in a good spot.

Q: You were in Arizona for the entirety of this pandemic and it got hit pretty hard by the virus. What has this stretch of months been like for you where you have been forced to stay at home and not be able to go play football like you would have wanted to? What do you make of all the guys that have been opting out?

A: For me, I was extremely blessed and lucky that my dad ended up building the facility that we had. I think I left that facility maybe four times. Once I realized Whole Foods delivered, I think I cut down to zero times. That was a blessing in disguise. Overall, my offseason was safe and controlled and I always made sure there wasn’t any more than maybe five people in there at a time with me at least. The opting out with everyone else, for me, everyone has their individual decision. I respect their decision, I’m not living their life, I’m living my own life. I made my own decision to obviously play.

Q: This last week here in camp, away from the facility, how have you structured your nights as opposed to training camps in the past?

A: Right now, we are here so late, and we have all the stuff. Our nutritionist Pratik (Patel) has been awesome, making sure we have all the meals. Before we leave, we have snack handed to us. Food wise, I’m good. Once I get home, I basically spend an hour doing a normal life out of football. Whether I’m watching a tv show with my wife or playing video games for thirty minutes or so. Just something where I can decompress. The other night my daughter woke up right as I got home, and I played with her for 30 minutes and it was awesome to see her.

Q: How much value do you think there is in the preseason? How much will you lose not having it this year?

A: Overall, an easy one is guys trying to make the team and having those live reps against another team and things like that. For me, I don’t know exactly what we are going to do to change it. Right now, we are still in phase one. Once it gets there, I’m projecting there will be some type of way to get a competitive aspect and get those reps that can match a preseason some way. I think that’s kind of the big thing for preseason. For me, looking at the preseason, like you said, this will be my fifth year in the league, and for me I should know how to tackle and do all these things. Overall, for practice it’s just working on those fundamentals. Whether it’s the fundamentals of the right feet, the right stance, the right approach to tackle and the perfect drops and things like that. Once you get on the football field, you know how to tackle and how to go play.

Q: In any other year of your career, you would have been in the same system, know the system cold and it just would have been dealing with this craziness. For someone like you who needs to know the whole defense and tell your defense everything, is this a special challenge for you? Whereas another guy who is going into a system who has been there three, four or five years, he can sit back and get ready at his own pace. You have to learn this all in a very unusual situation.

A: Definitely, that’s the challenge of this. Everything right now, challenges pop up every single day. The playbook aspect is just nailing down things and doing whatever is necessary. We have an hour break right now so instead spending the whole hour chatting, okay let’s spend 30 minutes watching film or going through certain installs and things like that. Talking to Pat (Graham) about certain checks and things, what he’s thinking. It’s just going to take that much more effort, just kind of chipping away like I said earlier to get where I need to be when the season gets going.

Q: How much easier is it for you, as the guy who going to make all the calls, that you played under Patrick Graham? You have that trust built in there. What is the dynamic like between you two? Does your past experience with Graham make this summer a little bit easier?

A: We have great relationship. We grew it my third year in Green Bay and it makes it a lot easier to walk into his office anytime. Any concerns I have, or certain questions I have, I can go straight to him and we chat just like anybody else. It’s made it a lot easier to get new updates on anything that he is changing throughout the day.

JOSIAH TAUAEFA COMES OFF OF RESERVE/COVID-19 LIST …
Linebacker Josiah Tauaefa was activated off of the Reserve/COVID-19 List on Wednesday, a day after he was placed on it. Players who are placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List either test positive for the virus or have come into contact with someone who did. The Giants originally signed Tauaefa as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. They then signed Tauaefa to the Practice Squad in September 2019 and the 53-man roster in October 2019. He played in 12 games with no starts as almost all of his playing time came on special teams.

The Giants currently have no other player on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.

Jun 012020
 
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B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp hopefully beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Keep in mind that some of the players discussed may be cut as the 2020 NFL draft class signs their rookie contracts.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Defensive Line

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW: As expected, the defensive line was the strongest unit on the New York defense in 2019. However, that was small consolation on a defense that finished 25th in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed. Once again, the Giants fielded one the League’s worst defenses. This has been a decade-long trend and probably the biggest reason why the team has become a doormat in recent years.

Quality run and pass defense relies on all three levels of the defense playing well together. So it is always unwise to judge each separate unit in a vacuum. Linebackers and defensive backs need to be in the right position and make the tackle in run defense. A good pass rush also depends on linebackers and defensive backs being able to cover backs, tight ends, and receivers. Long story short, the Giants defensive line did not receive much help from the back seven. This was exacerbated by a 3-4 scheme that puts the onus on the linebackers to be play-makers. The players also never seemed to fully embrace Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher’s system.

The Giants entered 2019 with what on paper looked to be a strong starting unit of RDE Dexter Lawrence (2019 1st-round pick), NT Dalvin Tomlinson (2017 2nd-round pick), and LDE B.J. Hill (2018 3rd-round picks). However, depth was very thin with only DE R.J. McIntosh (2018 5th-round pick) and Olsen Pierre (2019 free agent) in reserve. Oddly, two days after the Giants fell to 2-6, General Manager Dave Gettleman traded away two draft picks for soon-to-be-unrestricted free agent Leonard Williams, who had failed to live up to expectations with the Jets. A half-season rental was the type of move a team in the middle of a playoff fight would only be expected to make, not a team clearly needing every draft pick it could keep or acquire. Williams would soon take many of B.J. Hill’s snaps and Pierre Olsen was let go.

Overall, the Giants finished a disappointing 20th in run defense (allowing 113 yards per game) and 28th in pass defense (allowing 264 yards per game). The Giants generated only 36 sacks with only 11.5 coming from the defensive line. That said, Dexter Lawrence (38 tackles, 2.5 sacks) had a promising first season, being named to the All-Rookie Team. Dalvin Tomliinson (49 tackles, 3.5 sacks) became a more disruptive player as the season progressed. Leonard Williams (26 tackles, 0.5 sacks) started five of his eight games with the Giants. As advertised, he was a good run defender who only teased as a pass rusher. More was expected from B.J. Hill (36 tackles, 1 sack), who saw his playing time, tackles, and sacks fall from his promising 2018 rookie season. R.J. McIntosh only played in 10 percent of defensive snaps and finished with only 13 tackles, but did have two sacks in limited opportunities. 2019 7th-round Chris Slayton spent most of the year on the Practice Squad.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: This unit saw the least change during the offseason. Other than Olsen Pierre, who was waived last November, everyone returns. Gettleman doubled down on Leonard Williams, slapping a 1-year, $16 million Franchise Tag on him. The only newcomers are Austin Johnson (unrestricted free agent from Tennessee Titans) and Niko Lalos (undrafted rookie free agent).

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The new coaching staff is being very coy about the new defense, vaguely repeating that it will be “multiple.” When asked if the Giants will be a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, new Defensive Patrick Graham responds, “yes.” But even a cursory look at the depth chart strongly suggests that the Giants will remain a  predominately 3-4 base as the team currently has nine defensive linemen and 17 linebackers. Nevertheless, expect Graham to constantly change fronts based on opponent, game plan, and down-and-distance.

Personally, I will be curious to see if Dexter Lawrence stays at end or plays more at nose tackle. He has the ability to develop into a truly imposing force in the League. Can Dalvin Tomlinson build upon his strong second half of the 2019 season? Can B.J. Hill return to his more disruptive play as a rookie in 2018? Most importantly, is Leonard Williams worth the the two draft picks and $16 million?

As part of an integrated defense, this unit will ultimately be judged on whether the team can dramatically improve its run defense and pass rush.

ON THE BUBBLE: For a team entering training camp with a 90-man roster, this team remains awfully thin on the line with only nine players. Assuming Niko Lalos spends him time with the defensive line (they gave him a DL jersey number), he clearly is on the bubble. Austin Johnson and Chris Slayton could also be fighting for one roster spot. Barring injury, everyone else should make the team.

PREDICTIONS: Patrick Graham is a relatively unknown commodity. The 41-year old coach has only served as defensive coordinator for one season at any level, that being his 30th-ranked defense with the talent-deficient Dolphins in 2019. Miami also oddly let him out of his contract to join the Giants. One gets the sense that the defensive line will thrive or fail depending on Graham’s overall effectiveness as a coordinator and whether or not the back seven can improve its play. There is talent on the defensive line, but the coaches, linebackers, and defensive backs need to step it up. Keep in mind that Graham served as defensive line coach with the Patriots (2012-2013) and Giants (2016-2017).

It will also be interesting to see how the players respond to new Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer, aka “Coach Chaos.” Spencer has never coached at the NFL level but his relentless coaching style is vastly different from his predecessor with the Giants who was very low key (at least publicly). In addition, Outside Linebacker Coach/Senior Assistant Bret Bielema was the defensive line coach with the Patriots in 2019.

Do not expect any of the Giants’ current defensive linemen to become double-digit sack masters. None of them have that type of dynamic skill set. These are big, powerful linemen who can hold the point-of-attack, disrupt, and potentially control the line of scrimmage. But the best you can probably expect from each is 5-6 sacks in a season.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill, R.J. McIntosh, Austin Johnson

Johnson was an under-the-radar singing who really could help the depth situation. Can Chris Slayton show enough to stick?

May 132020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (October 10, 2019)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

MAY 13, 2020 DANIEL JONES CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones addressed the media by conference call on Wednesday. (Video is available from Giants.com)

Q: Going into your second year, you have to learn a new offense, you have a new offensive coordinator, a whole new system. What kind of challenge is that like? How are you getting it remotely? What is your relationship with Jason Garrett like? How different is this whole thing for you?
A: It’s definitely different. We’re doing the Zoom meetings like we are now, over the computer, so it’s definitely different than being in person. But I think it’s going well. We’re adjusting to the different circumstances. I think guys are really picking up the system, are able to learn and be like we would in person. We’re able to get together, ask questions, converse with each other and our coaches. I think it’s been going well. The only thing I have to compare to is last year. It’s different, but having the advantage of learning a system is helping me trying to find ways that are similar, ways that are different and using that to learn as much as I can.

Q: Is it going to be like apples and oranges or like apples and a different kind of apple you think this offseason?
A: I don’t know. I think there are definitely some similarities. When you look at any offense, there will be similarities, but also a lot of differences. I don’t know if it’ll be apples to apples, but a lot of ways I can find comparisons and ways I can speed up my learning through doing things similar as the past.

Q: Just some basic questions. Where are you? How are you throwing?
A: I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m staying at my parents’ house with my three siblings, so we’re all hanging out here, packed in. I’m throwing with a small group of guys, trying to stay consistent and do our best to do that. But at the same time, keep my arm in shape, staying in shape, trying to stay on top of all of that. Down here in Charlotte, we’re obviously doing our best to social distance, but in terms of using space outside, we’re still committed to doing that. I’ve been throwing with a couple of guys.

Q: Are these college players or just friends or what?
A: Yeah, some college players, some people who I used to throw with in high school who went on to play in college at different places, and a couple other guys.

Q: What are you working on in particular this offseason from a technique, fundamental standpoint? When you looked at the film of last year, what did you pinpoint as areas where you needed to get better, and how are you kind of attacking that specifically this offseason?
A: To me, I think the biggest thing is ball security, and particularly in the pocket, protecting the ball. That’s a fundamental skill that for the quarterback position, that’s something that’s crucial but also to me a fairly simple fix in that it’s a mindfulness, being intentional with securing the ball, having two hands on it. When you’re moving, when you’re having to adjust in the pocket, you’re maintaining that security. I’m trying to emphasize that, doing different drills and making sure that I’m always cognizant of that and being very intentional in that.

Q: Are you having guys try to swat the ball out of your hands? How do you simulate that in a practice, park-like setting?
A: I’ve been working with a quarterback coach here. He’s someone who has helped me with that and we’ve talked about it a lot. He’ll make sure I’m staying on top of that while, like you said, swatting at the ball and trying to simulate things that will happen in the game.

Q: Along the same lines, as a young quarterback, how much do you think an unorthodox offseason like this can impact your development? My second question is, what was your opinion of Joe Judge the first couple of months he was hired, not throwing his weight behind you as a franchise quarterback and just kind of saying everyone has to compete for each job?
A: This offseason is obviously different for everyone, including me being a guy who’s trying to learn football, who’s trying to make a step in my second year playing in the NFL. But everyone is dealing with these circumstances. Everyone is having to adjust. I’m no different from that. No one’s going to be giving breaks to people who are working remotely because everyone is working remotely and having to do it. I understand that. I don’t think it’ll be a disadvantage if we approach it like we have, if we approach it like the opportunity it is, to use the time as well as we possibly can. The question about Coach Judge, I think Coach Judge has a policy on that. He has a way he’s going to approach those situations, and I respect that. I respect his emphasis on everyone earning their roles. I certainly wouldn’t want it to be any other way. I want to earn my role as anyone else earns theirs.

Q: I know earlier in the offseason you had a chance to bring a couple of receivers with you to Charlotte. How valuable was that? How have you, because obviously building chemistry in the offseason is a big part of being a quarterback with the wide receivers. How have you been able to simulate that?
A: Yeah, that was valuable. We actually went to Duke, a couple of guys, and threw for a little bit there. That was valuable to get that time together. I was actually back up in Jersey for most of the offseason until this outbreak, so I was able to throw with guys who were around there. We’re all doing our best to stay in shape. These conversations, a lot of our meetings have to do with routes, trying to get on the same page, trying to see things the same and talk through a lot of that, talk through a lot of those finer points. I think we can still work on those things. Although we’re not able to get on the field, we can work to come to understandings about how we’re going to run certain things, when we’re going to look for certain routes and that sort of stuff. Yeah, that was a valuable time, for sure.

Q: How much of a responsibility do you feel that you have to take on a bigger leadership role now that you’re in your second year and you’ve been around these guys a little more?
A: Yeah, I definitely feel that responsibility. We have a lot of guys on our team who are leaders, who can step up and organize guys and get things going in the right direction.  But I feel that responsibility. That’s something I need to take seriously, and I certainly do.

Q: When Jason Garrett gets hired as offensive coordinator, there’s that feeling of ‘Ok, we don’t have the playbook yet.’ But I’m curious, did you dive right into Cowboys’ film as much as you could to try to see if, obviously, you can connect the dots. As Coach Judge told us last night, this offense that he’s bringing here now is going to have a lot of similarities to what they did in Dallas. I’m just curious, even before you got the playbook here, how much of your homework was on the Cowboys and studying what they did and trying to get a head start?
A: I certainly did that, diving into some of the Cowboys’ stuff and what they had done in the past. The rules make it tough to communicate a whole lot about that stuff, so there’s a little bit of patience involved in that and getting to the point where we could get the playbook and kind of understand some of the concepts and get some of the verbiage. I did my best to be prepared for when I could get my hands on that stuff.

Q: Knowing you and how you are, I’m curious, have you got the playbook as a whole yet? I know the coaches are kind of installing it piecemeal, but for you, do you have to pull back a little bit and not go too far ahead, or are you kind of going as far as you can and seeing how much you can soak in, even before it gets put into the meetings?
A: I’m trying to stay on top of it. With all of this stuff, it’s a lot of information. It’s a whole new system. I’m trying to work at the pace we’re asked to and understanding as much as I can thoroughly and fully before trying to jump ahead and it’s not taught completely. I think the coaches have done a really good job, like you said, separating it out and getting it to us piece by piece. I’m trying to do my best to stay on top of it and be prepared for the meetings we’re having.

Q: I know you said generally there are some similarities and differences. I’m curious if you can identify what some of the biggest differences are in this offense from what you ran last year?
A: The verbiage will be different. How they name concepts, and obviously, formations and motions are different. That’s probably the biggest thing. There will certainly be different concepts, there will be concepts that we’re going to read in different ways. But there will also be some similar concepts. You notice some similarities. You get plays that it seems like a lot of teams in the NFL run. There are similarities, but I think the differences are kind of in the verbiage and how we’re going to call certain things.

Q: I’m curious, in the draft they took Andrew Thomas number four, they took three linemen. They really committed to the offensive line. I’m wondering, what makes you the most excited and what do you think the biggest impact is going to be to the organization really committing to building up the line in front of you as a young quarterback?
A: I’m excited to get to work with those guys. Andrew and the rest of the guys we drafted, I’m excited to work with them. They’re coming in and I think they understand the responsibility they have. They have to earn their roles like everyone else does. I think they understand that and they’re taking that seriously. I’m excited to get to work. I’m excited to do what I can to help the team and work with them as we go forward.

Q: Having guys like Will (Hernandez) and Andrew and potentially even someone like Shane Lemieux and yourself, all drafted in the last three years. Do you allow yourself to think about, ‘Ok, these might be the guys that are protecting me for the most of my career and we can kind of grow and develop and gel together’?
A: Right now, we’re certainly focused on what we’re doing. We’re working towards this year, working towards the 2020 season. What that looks like right now are these Zoom meetings and working together. Coach has made a big point about getting to know our teammates, even though we’re not in the building and around each other every day, that we make a point to get to know guys. To reach out to guys and stay in touch. Those are the things we’re focused on right now. Those are the important things working towards this 2020 season.

Q: Do you go into this season thinking ‘This is my team’? Part two, what kind of leader will you be?
A: I think going into this year, like I said earlier, I certainly feel the responsibility of being a leader. That’s something I take seriously. But it’s our team. I don’t know if it’s one guy’s team. It’s not coach’s team, it’s not my team, it’s not Saquon’s team or anyone else’s. It’s our team, and I understand that. Leadership wise, I’m going to do my best to, at first, take care of what I’m doing, take care of my responsibility, be prepared and playing at a high level. Hopefully that rubs off on guys, and try to do my best to help guys and work with guys as best I can. But I think at this point, what we’re doing right now, we need to stay on top of our information, make sure we’re doing our best to be prepared when we can get back up to New Jersey.

Q: I’m curious how life has changed for you right now? Last year at this time, right after the draft, I read a quote that some guy at an ice cream store didn’t even recognize you or something like that. How has life changed for you around Charlotte? Are you, for lack of a better term, are you famous now? When you go out to restaurants, do more people recognize you? You’re an NFL quarterback living with his parents and his siblings. Is it different or does it feel like it did when you were in college?
A: It feels pretty similar to how it did in college. I don’t get recognized much around here. Obviously, we’re not going out a whole lot or going to restaurants all that often. But when I am out, I’m not often recognized. It’s probably pretty similar to how it was last year or the year before when I was growing up here in Charlotte.

Q: Just from a draft standpoint, you mentioned the offensive linemen. You guys didn’t draft any running backs, any receivers. It’s pretty much you and the skilled players from last year. Do you guys feel that the offense has to be ahead of the defense while the defense integrates all of its new pieces? Does the offense feel a certain pressure I guess to lead the way?
A: I don’t think so. We’re certainly going to do our best to be prepared and to be ready to go when we get back up there. Something Coach has emphasized and made clear to us, it’s about the team. It’s about offense, defense, special teams and making sure we’re all complementing each other. We’re not concerned with one side of the ball leading the other, or like you said, out in front of the other for any reason. We’re going to make sure we’re working together. It’s about all three sides of the ball, being prepared and doing their job.

Q: I know Coach (Jerry) Schuplinski has been in your ear most of the time, but I was wondering if you could talk about the advantages of working with Coach Garrett, who is a former NFL quarterback, what he possibly brings to the equation and your learning process that maybe you didn’t have before?
A: Yeah, it’s been great working with Coach Schuplinski and Coach Garrett. I think both guys have a ton of experience working with quarterbacks, and like you said, Coach Garrett played in the NFL for a long time. That’s helpful experience, too. I’m trying to do my best to learn from them, pick up as much as I can and, like I said, stay on top of the information. It’s been going well so far, and I’ve enjoyed working with them.

Q: The second part of my question has to do with Cooper Rush, who played for Coach Garrett down in Dallas, he’s familiar with the system, the language and stuff. What has it been like having him in the room with you and how has that helped your learning process, maybe expediting it and grasping it?
A: He’s been great to have in the room so far. He’s been in the system for a number of years and understands it well. He’s able to answer a lot of our questions and, like you said, kind of speed up that learning process. We’ve enjoyed having him.

Q: You’ve had a little time to digest the playbook. I’m wondering when you look at it, why do you think maybe it fits your skillset or fits the skillset of the players you have around you? What is it that you think can be successful for you and this team in general with this playbook and this offense that you’re going to run?
A: I think the biggest thing is it’s been successful. It’s scored a lot of points and gained a lot of yards. When you compare it to, I’ve only played in the NFL for one year, so there’s a lot out there I haven’t done, there’s a lot out there I don’t know. Trying to fit a system a certain way because of me, I’m not sure that makes sense. But the system has been successful. When you look at it, guys have been successful in it. I think that’s the biggest thing. I feel like we have a lot of guys that can make plays. We have guys at every position that can make plays. You’ll see that in the system like you have in the past.

Q: Have you talked to any of those guys who have been in that system in the past? Maybe Tony Romo or people like that, that have been in the system?
A:  I have a little bit, not a ton, to be honest with you. But I’m sure I will as we kind of get going.

Q: Is that talking to Tony Romo or just people in general?
A: Yeah, Tony. I spoke with Tony briefly, but we didn’t get into the system a whole lot. I look forward to talking to some of those guys and hearing their perspective on it.

Q: Has it been different without Eli (Manning) being in there also?
A: Yeah, it’s been different because we’re on the computer. But yeah, Eli not being there is different. The team is a little different, but we’re adjusting and making it work, making the best of it. It’s been good.

Q: You just talked about Eli. Last week, he was on the radio and he said that he thought things were going to be a lot easier for you this year with him gone. That it was probably a bit awkward for you to take over the team with the guy you were replacing still being on the roster. When you look back, was it awkward at all? Do you think he’s right that it probably should be a little easier for you now that Eli’s gone?
A: I think looking back, it probably was a little bit awkward at certain times. But we did a good job working together. I know I enjoyed working with him and certainly learned a ton from him and appreciate everything he did during that year. I don’t know. It certainly will be different, like we’re saying. Different in the room. But I really enjoyed working with Eli last year. I thought it was a huge advantage for me to be able to learn from him and talk to him every day. It will be different, it will be an adjustment, but I’m looking forward to this year and this team we have.

Q: When you talk to the guys, either on Zoom or privately, is there a lot of discussion about what’s going on, updates, ‘I’m hearing this, what are you hearing? What’s it like in your community? When do you think we can get back?’ You know, there’s a lot of anxiety with a lot of people, when is it going to become normal?’ Obviously, you’re not in control of anything but is there an anxiety or a feeling of ‘When we get back, is it going to be safe?’ Do guys talk about safety and things like that?
A: Yeah, just like probably everyone across the country is right now wondering about those things, wondering about how it is in certain communities, how guys are feeling about it, how people’s families are doing with it and certainly being cognizant of what’s going on in New Jersey and New York. We’re talking about that like anyone else does. But I’m not sure anyone has a great idea about any of it or really knows, like you said, when we’ll get back up there. The only thing we can really do is focus on these OTAs, on these Zoom meetings, and do what we can to be prepared whenever the opportunity to get back up there comes.

MAY 13, 2020 SAQUON BARKLEY CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley addressed the media by conference call on Wednesday. (Video is available from Giants.com)

Q: Is it hard for you like the rest of us just not knowing when you’re going to be able to get back to a sense of normalcy? You talked to the quote unquote pundits and they don’t have a lot of high expectations for you guys this year. I’m curious what your expectations are for this team and what would constitute a successful season in your eyes?
A: Yeah, I mean it is a little stressful just like everyone else. You know, everyone’s ready to get back to wherever (inaudible) and whatever it’s going to be for us. But at the end of the day, it’s a serious matter that’s going on and need to make sure everyone’s safe and healthy. With expectations, you know, right now no one can see the forecast, no one can see what’s going to happen for the season this year. The only thing that we can do as a team is try to take advantage of this time that we have. Yes, it’s a little different and a little awkward because it’s on iPads and phones and doing Zoom meetings. But, still try to take advantage of that and prepare as best as we can so when we are able to get back to what we know as normal, we’re prepared.

Q: I would imagine you’ve never played in an empty stadium before. How will you prepare yourself for the eventuality of playing football possibly with no live fans or with half built stadiums? Of course, any big play you make is accompanied by a swell of energy and you probably wouldn’t have that. From a player’s perspective how would you handle that in a game?
A: Yeah, it would definitely be different– from playing in the NFL, playing around fans with the Giants, and then obviously in college at Penn State, which is an amazing place, amazing fans there too. But at the end of the day it kind of goes down to just playing ball. Kind of when you were a kid when no one’s watching, in the backyard, or for instance when we’re at practice. I know some practices we used to have fans there and have the media there, but most of the time no one is there. It’s just us going at it and getting better every single day. I guess that’s kind of the same approach I would take if that was the case.

Q: When you hear (Head Coach Joe) Judge talk about your offense and how it could look very similar to what the Cowboys have done the past few years, how excited are you to play in this new scheme when you see how (Ezekiel Elliott) Zeke was utilized? Having Dion Lewis in the running back room, what is that element added and what do you think having both of you guys in the backfield can provide for this offense?
A: I don’t think I just get excited because of how successful Ezekiel Elliott has been, just how successful Dallas has been in recent years. Obviously, kind of just meeting coaches and talking to coaches and getting to know them, I’m kind of just more excited for that. It’s a fresh start, it’s a new start. You learn a new system, kind of feel like a rookie again. Obviously you understand football a little bit more than you probably would coming from college into the NFL, but I’m really excited to just attack it and get ready for it when an opportunity presents itself. Yeah, having Dion, anytime you can have a veteran guy who’s done it at a high level and is going to continue to do it at a high level, it’s always beneficial to be able to learn from.

Q: Do you embrace the leadership role and do you see yourself as one of the key players in that regard with this team?
A: Yeah, I definitely embrace the leadership role. That’s something that I kind of tried to take on last year and still try to continue to learn and continue to grow and continue to be better in that area. Not just seeing myself as the key player, no, I don’t see myself as that because I know it’s going to take multiple key players to try to get everyone that we can to be on the right page, get the right mindset and buy into the message that Coach Judge and Coach Garrett and all those guys are telling us. When the opportunity does come, try to attack it at a high level and create our new standard.

Q: The second season of a quarterback’s development is obviously pretty big. This is a strange offseason where you’re not getting to spend much time in person with Daniel. What makes you confident that he can keep on improving becoming the quarterback that you’ve talked about you think he can be? How have you guys been able to try to build that chemistry in this weird situation?
A: (inaudible) his mentality, you know he’s a hard worker, he’s competitive. Even through these tough times he’s going to find a way, we’re all going to find a way and try to find a way to improve. Not just as individuals, but as a team.

Q: You like to work out and make sure you’re in the best shape possible. How is that possible now? What kind of adjustments are you making? Where are you working out? How are you staying in shape and ready for when you get on the field?
A: Yeah, definitely. I am very fortunate enough to have my own little facility, gym setup I guess you could say. I kind of always wanted to get my own little gym and then this kind of happened so it kind of I guess you could say planned out perfectly for me. So, I’m really not missing a beat. I’ve kind of got everything that I kind of need. Obviously, it’s just different not being there with your teammates. That’s just the stuff you miss the most and not being with your coaches. But just trying to attack it as best as I can and try to keep my body in tip top shape for when the opportunity does come I am more than ready.

Q: Are you going out and running in fields or in the neighborhood? Where are you exactly and what does this gym setup look like?
A: Well my gym is in New Jersey, it’s my basement. So you go in my house and go downstairs in the basement and I’ve got a nice little gym setup. But, just running, whether that’s running in my neighborhood, finding little fields that you can get on, obviously I know the rules and everything. That’s kind of the way I try to stay in tip top shape but also with my strength program. I’ve kind of got a similar setup to what we have, like if you could just put in your mind what we have in our weight room and just have it for an individual, that can go for like two to three or four people on one rack, I kind of have all of that stuff that is needed.

Q: What was your reaction when you first looked at the playbook and what makes you think it’s going to be a good fit for this team and for you in particular?
A: I mean the first reaction when I looked at it was like, “Here we go again.” We’ve got to dive in, like I said earlier, kind of feeling like a rookie, obviously understanding football a little more. The terminology, the play makes have some similarity to it, but the terminology is different. The reason why I believe that we are going to be successful and have the key pieces to do it, is because I know what we have in this team. I know the coaches that we have in the building, I know the way that we are attacking it right now. I think that’s going to be a key reason for us to hopefully have success in the future.

Q: What’s been your initial impression of Joe Judge? What have your interactions been with him so far?
A: It’s been great, it’s been great. He’s definitely, he’s very detailed, he’s setting the standard, I think that’s great. Any time he talks you pay attention and you listen. The only things I can say are only good things about him. I’m really excited and hopefully, hopefully sooner rather than later, we all can get together as a team.

Q: What are you looking to build on from last year and how much more challenging is it not being able to be on the field or go through drills to work on stuff going into this offseason?
A: What I’m trying to build on is just trying to improve every single day right now with these meetings and being that guy coming to these meetings locked in, making sure that I’m taking notes, paying attention to the details and anytime that I do get a chance to work on my little craft, whether I get on the field or not, focus on the things that are being taught in meetings and try to apply it to the field. Just try to stay focused and try to stay locked in so when it does come I’m ready.

Q: They’ve really committed to the offensive line, especially through the draft, they took Andrew Thomas in the first round, (Shane) Lemieux and (Matt) Peart. As a running back, how can that really help you when they make that kind of commitment to the guys in front of you to open up the running lanes?
A: Obviously as a running back you see offensive linemen getting drafted, you get excited. But, it wasn’t just about that. You trust the guys up front, you trust the guys up in the front office to make the right decisions and trust they are going to bring the guys in here that, whether the position is offensive lineman, running back, tight end, so on and so on, they are going to bring in guys that are ready to work and compete and try to get this team back to where we know that we can be. So, that’s what I’m just excited about.

Q: What have your first impressions been of your position coach, Burton Burns?
A: Burns, Coach Burns…he’s great, he’s great. Of the little time that we do get to have in the meetings, I can’t wait to spend more time not just only with Coach Burns but all of the guys on the team, the coaches, hopefully, like I said, it’s sooner rather than later. But, he’s great. He’s got a great history with running backs at Alabama. He’s very attention to detail, very focused on the little things, and not only him but Stephen Brown too, our running backs assistant. They’ve been doing a really great job of preparing us and getting us ready as best as we can for when the opportunity does come.

Q: What are the challenges of being a leader for a virtual team? You can’t get your hands on people, you can’t just saddle up the guys in the locker room, how do you be a leader in this environment?
A: The same way you would do probably in team meetings, or in the locker room. Obviously you’re not there face to face, but I think the key thing is the times where we’re all logging in and we get that little bit of time before we dive into our installs, try to make it as natural as it could possibly be. That’s something that it’s not like I’m focusing on, I’m just being myself. I’m being myself, (Sterling Shepard) Shep, all of those guys are being themselves and we’re chalking it up, whether we’re joking on each other, or we’re just checking in on each other. I think that’s the key important thing during these meetings right now and I think we’re doing a pretty good job so far.

Q: Coach said he keeps an eye on that and he’s kind of scouting people. Not necessarily analyzing and judging people, but he’s taking notes on how guys are interacting in these meetings. Are you doing the same for the coaches? You obviously aren’t there with them in person, you only get to spend two hours a day with them. Are you making judgements about the coaching staff in these meetings?
A: No, I’m just taking notes and trying to make sure that I’m ready for whenever this thing starts. Like I said, it’s obviously, at the end of the day it’s football. The terminology may be a little different, but I just want to make sure that I’m on my p’s and q’s when this thing starts. To be honest, I feel like, maybe some people agree with me, maybe some people don’t, you’re probably learning more during this time and with the meetings over Zoom, having more time at home. I think it’s going to be beneficial, not only for myself but for the new rookies that we have and all the guys. If we just keep that right mindset and take advantage of it, I think it’ll help.

Q: I hope you’re not judging us either if you’re not judging the coaches then.
A: No (laughter). I miss you guys actually.

Q: I’m sure last month you saw Christian McCaffrey got the big contract extension and everybody’s follow story after that was Saquon’s going to be the next big one. Has your mind at all jumped to that? Have you thought about at all what could be coming in a year or so? Just knowing that kind of negotiation is down the road, do you feel you still have something to prove?
A: Well, I always feel like I’ve got something to prove. That’s always been my mindset. Always going to try to be the best player and person that I can be, not only for myself but for my team. Yes, when Christian signed that big contract the first thing that came to my mind was I’m happy for him. I know Christian personally and talking to him throughout the season, throughout the years, whether the offseason or through the season. I worked out with him one time and you could just see his work ethic and how attention to detail he is. It was more happy for him, he deserves it. But for me, I’m a big believer of taking care of the little things first. That’s right now coming into the meetings and try to be the best leader, the best player I can from this, I don’t know what size of a box you would call it. I feel like if you take care of that the other things take care of themselves in the future.

Q: The flip side of that, Todd Gurley was cut. The Rams got rid of him really quickly. Was that shocking to you and was that a reminder of how quickly things can go away in the NFL?
A: Yeah, definitely shocking. I know TG pretty well. Obviously it sucks that he had to leave the Rams, but he’s got a fresh new start and hopefully he can remind the league of how dominant of a player he is. No, I don’t need Todd Gurley getting traded or cut or however it happened to remind me how the NFL is. That’s just the NFL that’s the business. That’s why you have to try to take advantage of it every single day you can.

Q: We asked you about the Cowboys offense and I know you have a previous relationship with Zeke. Have you reached out to him to talk about what it’s like to be in this type of offense? When Burton Burns was mentioned earlier, I know immediately it seemed like Alabama guys reached out to you on social media to tell you what kind of a coach you were getting. What was that response like?
A: Yeah, I definitely heard from a lot of guys on Bama. I know Mark (Ingram), Mark hit me up telling me I got a good one. He’s 100 percent right from everything that I’ve seen so far. It’s only going to improve and get better when we actually get together and work with each other. But with Zeke, no. I actually haven’t contacted Zeke yet. That’s something that I do plan on doing. I kind of want to dissect it and get the system down myself and then get to Zeke and see what he was doing here, what he was doing there because it’s kind of like with anything. Obviously there are some basic stuff that you learn and the big stuff that you’ve got to be able to do, but at the end of the day there’s some stuff that you’ve got to do as a football player and become great and use your creativity. I’ll definitely use him and try to learn from him to see what he was able to do.

Q: When this offseason was your ankle fully, 100 percent healthy? When was it, because I know it was this offseason? I’m just wondering, you’ve been productive your first two years when healthy obviously, but Zeke’s been in the league a little longer and he’s been uber productive in Jason Garrett’s offense. Will you watch some tape of him, or is there curiosity there on your part in terms of how productive you’ve been, can you be even more productive with Jason Garrett as your OC?
A: I mean yeah, when you watch film Zeke definitely stands out. He’s always stood out to me. I always say, I’m a fan of the game, I like watching running backs and learning from them. It’s cool to be able to go back and see some plays that I’ve watched before, now actually be on this side and actually understanding the play behind it, how it works for him. So, he’s been very productive. For me, I’ve just always believed and was always taught to believe in yourself. I feel like every year I’m going to try to improve and with the help of not just Jason Garrett’s offense but with my work ethic and my team that’s around me. Not only myself as an individual, I feel like we can be more productive on the offensive side of the ball and obviously all three phases of the game, playing complementary football. Then, with the ankle injury, the ankle felt good after the season let’s just say that. That’ll be the answer I’ve got for you.

MAY 13, 2020 DALVIN TOMLINSON CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson addressed the media by conference call on Wednesday. (Video is available from Giants.com)

Q: Are there any similarities between what you were running and what Patrick Graham is trying to install now?
A: There are similarities in pretty much every defense that we run. It’s a change compared to different defenses we have run in the past. I feel like it’s a great defense. I love the coach and I love the schematics we have put in so far.

Q: You played for Pat Graham when he was here. What were your impressions of him then? Back then, did you think he had defensive coordinator in his future?
A: Most definitely. He’s a great coach, super high energy. He coaches you to the fullest because he wants the full potential brought out of you. Back then, the way he coached the D-line, you could just tell he was going to be a D-coordinator soon.

Q: You are going into your fourth year and you are already going to be on your third head coach technically. What’s that like going through that much turnover? What’s your early impression of Joe Judge?
A: Coach Judge is a great guy. I remember when I was getting recruited by Alabama, that was when I met him for the first time. It’s just crazy how small the world is. He’s a great guy and so is the whole coaching staff. Every day you come in the locker room, just make sure you are ready to work every day. Bring your A game and make sure everyone around you is ready to work. That’s all you can do, come to work and do your best.

Q: Do you remember anything about when he recruited you? Do you remember anything about his personality?
A: He used to always joke about me playing kickoff in college.

Q: Where are you and what are you able to do as far as working out and staying in football shape? What concerns do you have about the idea of coming back to football in a couple months?
A: I’m currently in New Jersey. I pretty much have a gym in my garage, I guess you could say. I work out here at home just to stay safe. Safety is the number one concern with this pandemic going on right now. I feel like the NFL is going to make sure everything is safe for the players as well as the coaching staff and pretty much everyone in the building before they can return. Like I said, safety is the number one priority for everyone right now.

Q: When Leonard Williams came on board last year, the two of you seemed to form an instant chemistry. What was it about playing with him that made it work for you guys? How excited are you to have him back for this year?
A: I love Leonard, he is a great guy. I feel like we clicked off the field for the most part because we both love animated video games. We became instant best friends I guess you could say. I love playing beside him, he is a great guy, he brings great energy. Like you said, we have great chemistry. I’m looking forward to playing with him this upcoming season.

Q: We talked to Coach Judge about the Zoom calls. Your position is one of them where a lot of you guys know each other, you already have that bond. What do you think that chemistry does to help you guys moving forward?
A: I feel like it helps out a lot because most of us know each other already. I feel like we get to interact more with the other positions as well as the offense. You can put names to faces for the new guys on the team. It helps us bond a lot better so when we get back nobody is a stranger.

Q: What’s your impressions of Coach Spencer?
A: Super high energy guy. He always has energy no matter what time of the day it is. I’m looking forward to doing some of his drills when we get back to practice.

Q: What do you think about the moves that were made in the offseason, especially on defense? They drafted another Alabama guy. Is there anything you like about the virtual offseason program?
A: I feel like the virtual offseason program helps out simply because we can’t go in the building. It helps everybody put a name with a face. You get to bond with people in a different way I guess you could say. I always love to have an Alabama guy here, that Roll Tide culture in our blood. With the moves in the offseason, whoever they bring in, I am going to welcome them as a teammate, and we are going to get to work every day. I’m going to push them to be as best as they can be as well as myself.

Q: I know you have no control of free agency, but Coach Judge said he had been in contact with Markus (Golden) about possibly coming back. I was wondering, have you talked to Markus? If he doesn’t come back, how do you replace 10 sacks?
A: I haven’t talked to Markus in the last couple of weeks, I haven’t been up to date with him lately. I honestly don’t know how to answer that question. All I can say is Markus is a great guy, I hope the best for him, and I love that guy. Whatever the team and coach decide, that’s up to them. Whatever happens, happens. We all have to just wait and see.

Q: It’s your contract year. Obviously, that’s a big motivator for guys. Do you expect that to have any impact with you? What can you tell us about any negotiations your agent has had with the Giants.
A: Pretty much we have been taking every day one day at a time because of the pandemic. I’m not really focused on the contract because all I can do is try to get better and be as much prepared as I can for when we get back to training camp and get back to the facility as early as possible. I have been focusing on getting better and improving with my teammates as much as possible, that’s my biggest goal right now.

Q: With all the Zoom meetings, Coach Judge has talked about you guys bonding. Has there been anything that has happened during these meetings that’s odd or strange? Is there anything about your teammates that you learned through this virtual environment that you didn’t know?
A: I don’t think there has been anything strange. Everybody has been bonding in the meetings, I guess you could say, getting to know each other. Some of us FaceTime each other. A lot of us play video games together in a group. We all have been on Call of Duty lately, bonding with that. There hasn’t been anything strange, I guess you could say.

Q: Who is the best Call of Duty player?
A: Right now, I would have to put myself in the top three. I haven’t played with Blake Martinez yet, but I’m looking forward to it. He might be number one.

Q: The defensive line for the most part was left intact. You added Austin Johnson and a few undrafted free agents. What does that mean to you? What does that say to you that they are going to be relying on you to help with the pass rush and have it start up front with you guys?
A: As a front, we want to help across the board, no matter what part of the game it is. We’re all trying to build our brotherhood even stronger than it was before. Just continuing to improve as a unit so we can feed off each other.

Q: Does the familiarity with each other help give you guys an advantage in that you know how each other thinks? Even though you are all learning a new system, does it give you an advantage?
A: I feel like it gives us an advantage in learning the system more easily because we know how each other learns things and picks up things on a day to day basis.

Q: Do you think this defense has something to prove this year? How do you think this defense will respond overall?
A: We’ll have to see when we get pads on. I love the defense and I’m super excited to play in it and run some of the plays we’ve installed. With the players we have on the team, I feel like it can get very exciting.

Q: You talked about Coach Judge joking about putting you on the kickoff team. That’s sounds like something he might not be joking about? Has that come up at all and is that something you would be up for?
A: It hasn’t come up at all. I can tell you now that was a whole different type of body type back then when I was coming out of high school compared to now. I highly doubt I will be on kickoff, but if he wants to put me on it, I’ll be more than happy to do it.

Nov 252019
 
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Jabrill Peppers, New York Giants (September 29, 2019)

Jabrill Peppers – © USA TODAY Sports

JABRILL PEPPERS FRACTURES BACK; CONCUSSION FOR GOLDEN TATE…
The New York Giants announced on Monday that safety Jabrill Peppers suffered a transverse process fracture in his back in the game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The team also announced that wide receiver Golden Tate suffered a concussion on his 4th-and-18 touchdown reception.

“I don’t consider (Peppers’ injury a season-ender),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I guess he can return, it’s kind of relative to pain tolerance. So, I would say no.”

MONDAY PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Monday to discuss the team’s 19-14 loss to the Chicago Bears:

Q: We saw the injury update on Jabrill (Peppers). Do you expect that to be a season-ender?
A: I don’t. My understanding, his too, in terms of the evaluation of it, as I knew yesterday he had a sore back. I guess he can return, it’s kind of relative to pain tolerance. So, I would say no.

Q:  He’ll be able to practice and play if he can tough through it?
A: Well, I mean today obviously we’re less than a day removed from the game, so he’s sore today. We don’t practice until Wednesday, so we’ll just have to see what the week brings.

Q: What do you think is going on with Saquon (Barkley) in the running game? I think the number is 88 yards on his last 44 carries over three games. If it’s not his ankle, why do you think we’re seeing a different Saquon production-wise than last year?
A: Again, I think some of it, we’re talking about a game where we did not run the ball very well. I thought we ran the ball better yesterday than we certainly did against the Jets. When you’re trying to establish the running game against a defense that is pretty much known for the way they pass rush, you’ve got to try to maximize the amount of yards you get on each run. I think that’s sort of it. Everything comes back to, (when) you clip them all out and watch them like we do— one thing here, one thing there.

Q: Not to focus more on Saquon, but how uncharacteristic was that drop and how did he handle it on the sideline? The pass that could have been a big gain.
A: Yeah, that is uncharacteristic of any player. I thought it was a good throw. We had a chance to, obviously, that would’ve been a third down conversion. That would’ve been an explosive play. (Chicago Bears Linebacker) Roquan Smith was trying to cover him, he was a little behind him. He would’ve been in the position there to make the safety miss for a big gain, maybe a touchdown. Those are the things that obviously are rare, but when they happen, and it’s obviously also magnified because it was a third down. But you just keep playing. I think he did have an impact on the game beyond that.

Q: What did you like, or did you like, the rotation with (DeAndre) Baker and (Sam) Beal and how did that work out for you?
A: As I mentioned last night, some of those changes in the secondary were intentional coming off the bye. I thought Sam had some good plays and I liked the fact that he was healthy and able to be in the game playing corner. We get to see some of what we really liked about him. He had some good reps. He certainly, they caught the deep in-ball on him and it ended up being a penalty, but I thought he battled and for the most part was pretty effective.

Q: How do you think Baker handled it? Sometimes players don’t take it well when their reps are cut like that.
A: Yeah, you don’t see much response from DeAndre in those types of situations. When he’s out there playing, he’s playing, and when he’s standing there, he’s watching attentively.

Q: Is Russell Shepard close to maybe coming back?
A: Potentially. He’s in the designated to return kind of setting, so we’ll just have to see at some point here.

Q: Would that be an option with Golden (Tate) obviously dealing with his concussion?
A: Potentially. That’s one option. I think we may have to consider, if we do something, with regard to the return game being that Jabrill and Golden are both returners. So, let’s just see.

Q: Is there going to be any movement in the sense of bringing in another kicker to pick up the intensity on Aldrick (Rosas) or are you just going to go with him?
A: We’ll talk about that as we go. I’m sure if we do bring any kickers in, it’ll be made public. Certainly, it’s unacceptable to miss the kicks like we did. But I think it’s important that the guys that are here continue to improve. In all areas, become more consistent with what they do. I think that’s the focus with Aldrick at this point.

Q: I’ll ask kind of a big picture question. With seven weeks of losses, in the absence of wins, what do you point to for the fans or to anybody in the building for progress, for signs of progress? How do you say, ‘we’re making progress’?
A: I’ve answered this question. I see the young players improving. I see us competing in games, we’re just falling a little bit short. Most of the games, unfortunately, are within a score for most of the game, or we’re ahead and somehow, we just can’t find a way quite at the end. But I do think that there’s improvement behind the scenes. It seems like each week we add another young player to the mix of guys. Then they go out and do some good things, and then they do some things that remind you that they’re young. That’s part of it. But there’s no excuses for any of it. We need to do what we need to do to win the game.

Q: A lot of times when you talk to coaches, they say the best and most productive way to teach and grow is when you win. Correcting mistakes and things like that. Without the winning now, is it more difficult for you and the coaching staff to kind of get some shots to improve and learn because there’s really not a lot of success that they can take out of it?
A: I think when you look at it, you’re always looking for ways to improve in everything you do. You try to tweak and change things within the way you do things. Our guys practice extremely hard. There’s good attention to detail. Some of these guys are doing it this year for the first time at this level. The challenge then is to make it happen on Sunday. There was a lot of really good things that happened yesterday in the game, especially against a team that was a playoff team a year ago. Defensively, we did a lot of good things. We still gave up some big plays and there are areas that we need to improve. We had some critical errors that affected us. But we had a couple of turnovers and got a stop at the end that gave us the ball with a chance to go down and score. Offensively, they’re a tough team to throw against. We knew that, but I thought we created opportunities for ourselves, and some of them we didn’t take advantage of. But you have to put that all together and do it in a way where you win a football game. That’s obviously the challenge.

Q: On the offensive line, just considering how many veterans are there, where are they? It seemed like they got off to a faster start and they’ve regressed a little bit. Do you feel that way about the offensive line?
A: No, I don’t think I see regression. We did start out, as a unit, pretty well together. Then we had some injuries in the last couple of weeks. That set things back a little bit. I think they’re fighting as a group. It really is no different for that position group as any other position group. A lot of good things and just some critical errors that affect the outcome of the game.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Monday’s media conference calls with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Wednesday.

Nov 182019
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (November 4, 2019)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

NOVEMBER 18, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
While the Giants were not required to issue an official injury report on Monday, tight end Evan Engram (foot) and left tackle Nate Solder (personal matter) did not practice.

Tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion) was limited to individual drills.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion – non-contact jersey), center Jon Halapio (hamstring), right tackle Mike Remmers (back), and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (concussion – non-contact jersey) were on the field during the portion of practice open to the media.

Head Coach Pat Shurmur was asked if any of the players with concussions have come out of the concussion protocol. “They’re still going through it, so we’ll see what the week brings,” Shurmur responded. “But we’re encouraged that they’ll make it through.”

Regarding Engram, Shurmur said, “He’s out of the boot and he’s trying to get back going again.”

Engram does think he may be able to play this weekend. “It’s definitely possible, I feel good,” said Engram. “We’ll see where we’re at (in the) middle to the end of this week.”

GIANTS RE-SIGN EVAN BROWN TO PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants re-signed center/guard Evan Brown to the Practice Squad last Tuesday after cutting him from the 53-man roster last Monday. Brown had been added to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad on November 9th. The Giants originally signed Brown as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Monday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.

Nov 122019
 
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Scott Simonson, New York Giants (December 23, 2018)

Scott Simonson – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN SCOTT SIMONSON…
The New York Giants have re-signed tight end Scott Simonson. The Giants placed Simonson on Injured Reserve in August 2019 with an ankle injury and cut him from Injured Reserve in September.

Simonson had his best season in 2018 after being signed by the Giants in June 2018. Simonson played in all 16 games with four starts, finishing with nine catches for 86 yards and one touchdown.

The 6’5”, 255-pound Simonson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2014 NFL Draft. The Raiders waived him in June 2015 and he was then signed by the Carolina Panthers. He spent all of 2017 on Injured Reserve with a back injury. Simonson has played in 34 regular-season games with five starts. He had one catch in his NFL career before 2018.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The Giants have signed tight end Garrett Dickerson, wide receiver Alex Bachman, and long-snapper Colin Holba to the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants also terminated the Practice Squad contracts of wide receiver Reggie White, Jr. and defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun.

The Giants originally signed undrafted rookie free agent Dickerson in June 2018. He spent a couple of stints on the team’s Practice Squad and 53-man roster in 2018 and made the 53-man roster this year, but the Giants waived him in October. Dickerson has played in seven regular-season games for the Giants, but he does not have a catch.

The 23-year old, 6’0”, 190-pound Bachman was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Los Angeles Rams after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Rams cut him before the season started.

The 25-year old, 6’4”, 255-pound Holba was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has spent time with the Steelers (2017), Jacksonville Jaguars (2017), and San Francisco 49ers (2018-2019). Holba has played in 13 regular-season games, including two with the 49ers in 2019.

The Giants originally signed White and Akinmoladun as undrafted rookie free agents after the 2019 NFL Draft.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants are off during the bye week and return to team activities on November 18th.

Aug 052019
 
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Deandre Baker, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Deandre Baker – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 5, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their tenth full-team summer training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have waived offensive guard Austin Droogsma and re-signed offensive tackle Malcom Bunche.

The Giants signed Droogsma after he impressed at the 2019 rookie mini-camp. The 6’4”, 345-pound Droogsma was a star shot-putter at Florida State. He has not played football since high school in 2012.

The 27-year old, 6’6”, 319-pound Bunche was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2015 NFL Draft. Bunche has spent time with the Eagles (2015), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2017), and Jacksonville Jaguars (2017). The Giants signed Bunche after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2018 rookie mini-camp, but cut before the season started. He has not played in a regular-season game.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (unknown), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Monday.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) and cornerback Grant Haley (shoulder) participated with non-contact jerseys.

Defensive end B.J. Hill was excused from practice due to the birth of his child. Safety Michael Thomas and long snapper Zak DeOssie were excused in order to participate in NFLPA duties.

Offensive tackle Brian Mihalik (burner) left practice early.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The quarterbacks completed 14 of their first 16 pass attempts, primarily focused on the short passing game.
  • CB Deandre Baker broke up a long pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Golden Tate.
  • LB Ryan Connelly was unblocked o a blitz up the middle and “sacked” the quarterback; LB Alec Ogletree also got to the quarterback with an inside spin move.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a “perfect” deep pass to WR Cody Latimer over CB Janoris Jenkins.
  • CB Janoris Jenkins broke up two passes.
  • At one point in practice, Corey Ballentine and Deandre Barker were the first-team corners with Janoris Jenkins playing in the slot.
  • CB Corey Ballentine broke up a pass intended for WR Sterling Shepard.
  • QB Alex Tanney connected with WR Alex Wesley, who ran a good route and beat CB Grant Haley.
  • LB Kareem Martin got past LT Nate Solder on a blitz and forced QB Eli Manning to spike the ball into the ground.
  • In red zone drills, tight coverage from CB Corey Ballentine caused an incomplete pass from QB Daniel Jones to WR Bennie Fowler. But then Jones threw a touchdown pass to WR T.J. Jones against Ballentine.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, CB Grant Haley knocked away a QB Alex Tanney pass intended for WR Da’Mari Scott in the end zone.
  • QB Daniel Jones had a good day, completing 10-of-16 passes with three of those going to WR Bennie Fowler.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Monday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

Jul 012019
 
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B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Defensive Line

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: After a quarter of a century of playing the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants shifted back to a 3-4 defense in 2018 under new Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher. While not the old 2-gap defense of the 1980s, the new defense did place more of the pass-rush onus on the outside linebackers than defensive ends. It was anticipated that the big, strong, tackle-like trio of nose tackle Damon Harrison and ends Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill would dominate the line of scrimmage. While the defensive line was arguably the strongest unit on a disappointing defense, much more was expected. Former All-Pro Harrison was surprisingly traded away in late October after a dreadful 1-6 start. The Giants publicly claimed this was done to move Tomlinson and Hill to more natural positions, but there was also speculation, fueled by senior official comments of bad team chemistry, that the Giants considered Harrison a locker room cancer.

Tomlinson began the year playing the 3-technique position (9 starts) before being moved to the 1-technique spot (7 starts) after Harrison was traded. He finished the season with 59 tackles and no sacks. The rookie Hill played in all 16 regular-season games with 12 starts, finishing the season with 48 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two pass defenses. Hill was shifted from the five-technique position to the three-technique after the team traded away Harrison. Others to receive significant playing time included Josh Mauro, Kerry Wynn, and Mario Edwards. 5th-rounder R.J. McIntosh missed most of the season with an undisclosed medical condition.

In the end, the numbers were not good. Team defense “improved” from 31st in 2017 to 24th in 2018. The Giants were 20th in run defense in 2018, allowing over 118 yards per game and 4.3 yards per rush, which were very similar to their 2017 numbers. Of course, much of the blame for this disappointing result must also rest with the linebackers and defensive backs, who were often out of position and missed too many tackles. Pathetically, the defensive line was only credited with 10 sacks.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants did not show much interest in re-signing any of their free agent defensive ends and Josh Mauro (Raiders), Kerry Wynn (Bengals), and Mario Edwards (Saints) all left in free agency. The Giants did re-sign nose tackle John Jenkins, who hardly played in 2018.

The Giants signed Olsen Pierre from the Cardinals, Jake Ceresna from the CFL, and street free agent Alex Jenkins. The team drafted Dexter Lawrence in the 1st round and Chris Slayton in the 7th round. Rookie free agent Freedom Akinmoladun was signed after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The New York Giants have invested significant draft resources to rebuild their defensive line, including 2019 1st-round pick Dexter Lawrence, 2017 2nd-round pick Dalvin Tomlinson, and 2018 3rd-round pick B.J. Hill. These three are expected to form the strength of the team’s defense, stuffing the run, generating some interior pass rush, and enabling quicker defenders to get after the quarterback. It’s not exactly clear who will play where, and even the coaches have suggested it will change from game-to-game. It’s fair to say that more has been expected of Tomlinson and it will be important for him to step it up this year. Hill is coming off of a solid rookie season and it will be interesting to see if he can build upon his 5.5 sack rookie performance. The 340-pound Lawrence could develop into a Haloti Ngata-like difference-maker. The book on him is that he is strictly a run defender, but there are those who insist he is more than that.

Entering camp, the Giants are a bit thin at the position with just 10 players. It was a bit surprising that the Giants let all of their reserve ends walk in free agency. Because of that, there is pressure on R.J. McIntosh to develop quickly in what will essentially be his rookie season. Olsen Pierre could also have a bigger role than many fans anticipate. Other than the starters, the only nose-tackle-type linemen on the roster are rookie Chris Slayton and journeyman John Jenkins, who was virtually ignored in free agency, only re-signing in May.

ON THE BUBBLE: There are only 10 defensive lineman on the roster. The Giants will carry at least six. The obvious players on the bubble are Jake Ceresna, Alex Jenkins, Freedom Akinmoladun, and John Jenkins.

FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on the defensive line this Spring: “There is no contact, so it is really hard to fully evaluate both lines until we start banging around a little bit. We like the way they are moving around. There are some youthful guys that are in there and doing a good job. They are picking up the system really well. We are pleased with what we are seeing.”

Shurmur on R.J. McIntosh: “He is caught up. He is doing well. With defensive linemen, we will see more once we can get in more hitting situations. He is moving around well and has gotten much stronger since he has gotten here. He fits well in the defense and looks like he is getting himself right for training camp.”

Shurmur on Dexter Lawrence: “I think he gets it… The first thing that jumps out about Dexter is he’s a pretty big man. He’s got a feel for things. He’s a guy that can play the run and rush the passer. We’re looking forward to getting him going. When you pick a guy from Clemson, and he’s played on the biggest stage there is in college football. The other thing that struck me is this isn’t going to be too big for him.”

Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher on the defensive line: “They are working extremely hard and doing everything they are asked to do. Very aware of things they need to improve on.”

Bettcher on the players being more interchangeable up front: “I think you have to be the way the league is now. I think there is enough motions, adjustments and offensive guys are good enough now. For the most part, they are not going to let a nose just sit there and play nose the whole game. They are going to make him slide and extend the play on guards and edges of guards. They are going to motion and do enough to have to be interchangeable enough to defend what we see from an offensive standpoint. Number two, I think they all have enough position flex to do that. We want guys to have the flexibility to play up and down the line. A really good NFL defensive line room has a great rotation. The four, five and six hole spots, whoever those guys are, gaining reps, 15 snaps, 12 snaps, 20 snaps depending on the game, those are important snaps just like the other snaps… It will be competing each week to see who gets the most snaps, who will be the starter in different packages. I love that part about it.”

Bettcher on Dexter Lawrence: “One of the biggest humans that I have ever seen, moves as quick as he can move. A 330-pound guy that is going to come in and compete, help us be the type of run defense that we want to be. Also, don’t forget the guy ran about five flat at 345 pounds. That does not happen very often. A lot of people got to see him move at rookie mini-camp. We are excited to have him.”

Defensive Line Coach Gary Emanuel on Dexter Lawrence: “We think Dexter will develop into a three down player… His ability to stop the run excites everybody. For a guy that size to move as well as he does, you have to get excited about that.”

Emanuel on Chris Slayton: “Chris is a great young man and we think Chris has a great upside… He’s an inside guy who brings some versatility. He can play the nose position, he can play the 3-technique and he’s an interior defensive line player. I don’t think we’ll see him much on the edge but he has a great capacity to improve out there in the interior.”

PREDICTIONS: On paper, this should be a really good group. They are young, big, strong, and athletic for their size. They look like what you want a 3-4 defensive line to look like. But the proof is in the pudding and the team needs to improve what has been a subpar run defense. When Lawrence was drafted, I thought he would immediately be the starting nose tackle, but he appears to have spent perhaps even more time starting at end this Spring. That would suggest that the coaches are truly impressed with his movement skills for a big man. If he can push the pocket on a consistent basis, and if B.J. Hill continues to evolve as a pass rusher, this unit could surprise attacking the quarterback. Two wild cards are Dalvin Tomlinson and R.J. McIntosh. Tomlinson should be making more impact plays; he is capable of breaking out. Fans saw very little of McIntosh last year. He’s built more like a pass rusher than the starting three and could become an important role player. Don’t be surprised to see Olsen Pierre get significant playing time as a reserve.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Dexter Lawrence, B.J. Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, R.J. McIntosh, Olsen Pierre, and Chris Slayton.

Jun 052019
 
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C.J. Conrad, New York Giants (June 5, 2019)

C.J. Conrad – © USA TODAY Sports

JUNE 5, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The second day of the New York Giants 3-day mandatory mini-camp was held on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Quarterback/tight end Eric Dungey (back), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (wrist), wide receiver Brittan Golden (unknown), wide receiver Alex Wesley (unknown), tight end Evan Engram (“soreness”), left tackle Nate Solder (recovering from ankle surgery), right tackle Mike Remmers (recovering from back surgery), defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (unknown), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), cornerback Sam Beal (personal matter), safety Jabrill Peppers (tooth extraction), safety Sean Chandler (unknown), and safety Jake Carlock (unknown) did not practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The Giants continue to alternate first-team centers. Today was Spencer Pulley, a day after Jon Halapio was with the first unit.
  • Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter were the first-team outside linebackers. Linebacker Oshane Ximines also saw some first-team reps and did a nice job in underneath coverage on one play against wide receiver Golden Tate.
  • The starting corners were once again Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker, with Grant Haley playing slot corner.
  • Kamrin Moore was the first-team strong safety with Antoine Bethea at free safety.
  • Cornerback Corey Ballentine saw reps with the second-team defense.
  • At one point, quarterback Eli Manning was 10-for-10 in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, but cooled off some after that. He started off the day with a nice deep post pass to wide receiver Corey Coleman.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, quarterback Eli Manning found tight end Rhett Ellison deep against safety Kamrin Moore.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw touchdowns to wide receiver Golden Tate, wide receiver Bennie Fowler, and tight end Rhett Ellison in red-zone drills.
  • Tight end C.J. Conrad stood out in red-zone drills with a pair of touchdown receptions from quarterback Daniel Jones. Conrad also made a one-handed catch near the sidelines.
  • Quarterbacks Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta also threw touchdowns in red-zone drills.
  • Cornerback Grant Haley “sacked” quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Quarterback Daniel Jones threw a perfect deep pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton despite blanket coverage by cornerback Tony Lippett. Jones followed that up with a nice “dart” to tight end Scott Simonson. Jones also hit wide receiver Bennie Fowler deep down the left sideline.
  • Wide receiver Darius Slayton had a strong day and has been getting separation on deep routes. He caught a touchdown pass on a fade route
  • Safety Michael Thomas was active and stripped wide receiver Reggie White, Jr. of the ball after a reception.

THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES…

Feb 222019
 
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B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants (November 25, 2018)

B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports

After 24 years of playing in the 4-3 defense, the New York Giants shifted back to a 3-4 defense that emphasized the pass rush coming from the outside linebackers rather than the defensive ends. It was anticipated that the big, strong, tackle-like trio of nose tackle Damon Harrison and ends Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill would dominate the line of scrimmage. While the defensive line was arguably the strongest unit on a disappointing defense, more was expected. Harrison was surprisingly traded away in late October after a dreadful 1-6 start. The Giants publicly claimed this was done to move Tomlinson and Hill to more natural positions, but there was also speculation, fueled by senior official comments of bad team chemistry, that the Giants considered Harrison a locker room cancer.

Team defense “improved” from 31st in 2017 to 24th in 2018. The Giants were 20th in run defense in 2018, allowing over 118 yards per game and 4.3 yards per rush, which were very similar to their 2017 numbers. Of course, much of the blame for this disappointing result must also rest with the linebackers and defensive backs, who were often out of position and missed too many tackles.

In January, Dave Gettleman chalked up 2018 as a valuable learning experience for the young linemen.

When we traded Snacks, part of the issue when Snacks was here was he played the one (technique), we had Dalvin playing the three (technique), and B.J. playing the five technique. Well, Dalvin’s a one technique and B.J.’s a three, so I’m very pleased with the change… B.J. came a long way. Pass rush is critical, as I’ve stated it a million times as we all know. B.J. had, I think, five and a half sacks, so he made some progress inside. Dalvin did what he does at the one, so for us, it worked out and those young guys are getting snaps. That’s the only way they’re going to get better. There’s a theory out there that young guys, once they get to 5,000 snaps, that’s when they’re really ready to rock and roll and that includes practice and game snaps and all that. I don’t know if I subscribe to it, but I’m just throwing it out there.

Overall, the run defense was not as good as expected. And while there were flashes here and there, particularly from Hill, there were no consistent pass rushers in this group.

THE NEW BUILDING BLOCKS

Dalvin Tomlinson began the year playing the 3-technique position (9 starts) in the team’s 3-4 scheme before being moved to the 1-technique spot (7 starts) after nose tackle Damon Harrison was traded. He finished the season with 59 tackles and no sacks. The Giants drafted Tomlinson in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Tomlinson started every game as a rookie and finished the season with 50 tackles and one sack. Tomlinson is an average-sized tackle who is very strong and tough. He is a good run defender who flashes the ability to disrupt plays in the backfield, but to-date, he has not proven to be much of a pass rusher (only one sack in two seasons).

The Giants drafted B.J. Hill in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He played in all 16 regular-season games with 12 starts, finishing the season with 48 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two pass defenses. Though listed as a 3-4 defensive end, the 6’3”, 303-pound Hill was shifted from the five-technique position to the three-technique after the team traded away nose tackle Damon Harrison. Hill has good quickness for his size, plays with leverage, and flashes the ability to disrupt. He needs to become a more consistent run defender.

SOLID ROTATIONAL PLAYERS

The Giants signed Josh Mauro as an unrestricted free agent from the Arizona Cardinals in March 2018 after he was cut by the Cardinals. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 NFL season by the NFL for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Mauro played in the 12 remaining games, with four starts, finishing with 28 tackles and one sack. The 6’6”, 290-pound, English-born Mauro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2014 NFL Draft. He did not make the team, but was signed by the Cardinals after he was cut. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Mauro played in 47 regular-season games with 26 starts. Mauro is a hard-working run player who does not get much heat on the quarterback (only three career sacks).

In his fifth season with the Giants, Kerry Wynn started five of the 14 games that he played in, finishing with 39 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 pass defenses, and 2 forced fumbles. Wynn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has played in 63 regular-season games, with 15 starts. Wynn has a nice combination of size, strength, and overall athletic ability. Wynn is a better run defender than pass rusher as he lacks dynamic quickness on the outside pass rush (just 4.5 career sacks). He is able to play defensive tackle in pass-rush situations. Wynn flashed more in 2018 than he has in previous regular seasons.

The Giants claimed Mario Edwards off of waivers from the Oakland Raiders in September 2018. He served as a primary back-up, playing in 15 games with no starts, and finishing the year with 14 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. The 6’3”, 280-pound Edwards was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Raiders. He missed most of 2016 with a hip injury. In three years with the Raiders, Edwards played in 30 regular-season games with 24 starts. While a disappointment in Oakland, Edwards is a good athlete who flashes against both the run and the pass.

The Giants selected R.J. McIntosh in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. However, an unpublicized medical condition prevented him from practicing with the team all summer and the Giants placed him on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness List in September 2018. He was activated to the 53-man roster in early November and ended up playing in six games with no starts, accruing just five tackles. McIntosh combines good size and overall athleticism.

YET TO MAKE A MARK

The Giants signed John Jenkins in September 2018 after he was cut by the Chicago Bears. He was active for seven games, but was not credited with any tackles. The 6’3”, 327-pound Jenkins was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He has spent time with the Saints (2013-2016), Seattle Seahawks (2016), and Bears (2017-2018). From 2013 to 2015, Jenkins played in 42 regular-season games with 21 starts. However, in 2016 and 2017, Jenkins played in just 17 regular-season games with two starts. He was inactive for eight games in 2017. With only 1.5 career sacks, Jenkins is strictly a run-defending nose tackle-type.

The Giants signed Myles Humphrey to the Practice Squad in October 2018. Listed as a defensive end, the 6’3”, 238-pound Humphrey originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent most of September on the Ravens’ Practice Squad.

Kristjan Sokoli was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2018 after tearing an ACL in one of his knees in the preseason opener. The Giants Sokoli signed to the Practice Squad in late December 2017. Sokoli was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. The 6’5”, 300-pound Sokoli has spent time with the Seahawks (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2016), and New Orleans Saints (2017). The Albanian-born player has played both on the offensive and defensive lines.