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.