JULY 26, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their second full-team summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.
INJURY REPORT – COREY COLEMAN TEARS ACL…
Wide receivers Corey Coleman (knee), Darius Slayton (hamstring), and Alex Wesley (PUP List – unknown) did not practice on Friday. Neither did tight end Evan Engram (“managing his workload”).
The Giants announced that Coleman tore his ACL in practice on Thursday. “Corey Coleman unfortunately hurt his knee yesterday, so we’ll just have to see where it goes for him,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I feel bad for the guy because he’s worked really hard… So most likely (he will be lost for the season)… He’ll go through the process. He’ll get second opinions and all that stuff… He was a guy that had a chance to be in there and compete to either start or have a role.”
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (fractured thumb) was limited in practice, not catching any passes. “(Shepard will) be back soon,” said Shurmur. “It’s the tip of his thumb. He’ll be out there running around today. I’m not concerned about that one at all… no surgery.”
Linebacker Markus Golden (cramps), cornerback Grant Haley (cramps), and wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin) left practice early.
Some snippets from various media sources:
George Asafo-Adjei and Chad Wheeler received some first-team reps at offensive tackle.
S Michael Thomas sacked QB Daniel Jones on a blitz.
QB Daniel Jones started 5-of-6 during 11-on-11 drills.
CB Ronald Zamort made a nice diving break-up of a pass from QB Alex Tanney.
CB Grant Haley made a leaping interception off a QB Kyle Lauletta pass tipped by CB Corey Ballentine, who also tipped away another pass from QB Alex Tanney.
LB Tae Davis saw a lot of reps with the first-team nickel defense, along with LB Alec Ogletree.
LB Ryan Connelly, WR Reggie White Jr., and S Sean Chandler received praise from Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey.
QB Daniel Jones threw a nice deep pass to WR Russell Shepard, who made a fingertip grab for a touchdown, beating CB Julian Love. Jones finished 11-of-13 with eight straight completions.
QB Eli Manning threw a nice deep sideline pass to WR Golden Tate over CB Julian Love.
LB Oshane Ximines “sacked” QB Daniel Jones off a rollout.
WR Brittan Golden scored a long touchdown, but was injured on the play and left the field after being knocked over by CB Antonio Hamilton.
WR Russell Shepard had an active day catching the football from QB Daniel Jones.
LB Lorenzo Carter flashed in run defense (setting the edge) and as a blitzer (with a “sack”).
Julian Love saw reps at nickel corner with both the first- and second-teams. He also played safety with the second-team defense.
GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN…
The transcript of Dave Gettleman’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.
HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Friday 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:
With the 6th and 17th picks in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected quarterback Daniel Jones (Duke University) and nose tackle Dexter Lawrence (Clemson University), respectively. The Giants also traded up into the first round, the 30th overall pick, and selected cornerback Deandre Baker (University of Georgia). In exchange, the Giants traded away 2nd (#37 overall), 4th (#132 overall), and 5th (#142 overall) round picks to the Seattle Seahawks.
QB DANIEL JONES SCOUTING REPORT: Jones is a junior entry and a 3-year starter at Duke. He was mentored by David Cutcliffe, who also coached Peyton and Eli Manning. Jones has classic quarterback size and is a good athlete who can hurt teams with his feet. He has decent but not great arm strength. Quick release. Jones is a fairly accurate quarterback who throws with good touch on the football. Jones is very competitive, smart, tough, and hard-working. He has a high football IQ and reads defenses well. His decision-making has been inconsistent at times.
SY’56’s Take on QB Daniel Jones: Fourth year junior entry. A three year starter and two time team captain. Despite playing with inferior talent both up front and at the skill positions nearly every week, Jones put together a productive career as both a passer and rusher. The prototypical quarterback when it comes to size and playing style showed glimpses over the past two years of what a first round QB should look like. His NFL-caliber mechanics from head to toe give him the look of a professional passer and him being coached by David Cutcliffe, the college coach of both Peyton and Eli Manning, only helps strengthen the notion of how ready he is. Jones pairs that with toughness and grit that doesn’t come around often. However, there were constant red flags in his tape that are hard to ignore. He didn’t see things well and his decisions were too inconsistent. There just seemed to be a lack of a true feel for the pocket, the defense, and angles. Jones checks a lot of boxes but there is a lot of gamble in the team that takes him even though he comes across as a “safe” bet to some.
*I wanted to like Jones more than this, I really did. I have a thing for tough quarterbacks and I do think he brought his teammates to another level. That’s a trend that can really make a kid break out in the NFL. While I do have a 1st round grade on him and I do think he can be in play at 17 because of the position he plays, I think NYG may need to steer clear here. Jones has enough arm strength, touch, and athletic ability. But there isn’t a quick mind here, he doesn’t see everything a top tier QB does whether it is coverage or pass rush based. After a long time scouting him, he is a pass for me.
NT DEXTER LAWRENCE SCOUTING REPORT: Lawrence is a junior entry and a 3-year starter at Clemson. Lawrence is a prototypical run-stuffing nose tackle with excellent size and strength. He often needs to be double-teamed. While Lawrence can generate a power rush, he lacks dynamic pass rush moves.
SY’56’s Take on NT Dexter Lawerence: Junior entry. A blue chip recruit that made an impact right away, winning the ACC Freshman of the Year Award in 2016. He then went on to earn two straight 1st Team All ACC placements even though his production wasn’t anything noteworthy. Lawrence can be a missing piece to a defense that struggles against the run. His mere presence demands attention from multiple bodies and he is no slouch when it comes to pursuing the ball. Even though he is almost always the biggest and most powerful player on the field, Lawrence needs to shore up techniques and be more consistent. He is not an every down player, but certainly one that can dominate in stretches.
*If there is one non-QB I think NYG may be looking at with their 17th pick, it’s Lawrence. He fits the bill with what Gettleman wants up front and the trade of Harrison left that NT role wide open. Lawrence was the piece that made that loaded Clemson front go. I can remember seeing him play as a true freshman and at that moment in time, I said he was ready for the NFL. There is a rare combination of size, speed, and power to go along with more awareness and intelligence than you may think. Big time potential here that can change a defense right away.
CB DEANDRE BAKER SCOUTING REPORT: Baker was a 3-year starter at Georgia. He is an average-sized corner with average overall athleticism. However, he plays with fine instincts, football smarts, and confidence. Baker plays bigger and more athletically than his numbers indicate. He can play both man and zone coverage with equal adeptness with fine awareness and reaction time. He is a physical and aggressive player both against the pass and the run.
SY’56’s Take on CB Deandre Baker: Baker was a three year starter for the Bulldogs that progressively improved as a prospect from the beginning of 2017. The two-time all SEC defender (1st Team in 2018) brings the kind of confidence and swagger that can take on the numerous challenges of playing cornerback in the NFL. He can be left alone on an island and stick with anyone on all levels of the route tree as well as make plays on the ball like a receiver. His issues can be correctable, mainly the technique-based and mental ones. The lack of power presence can be an issue at times but in a league where contact is allowed less and less in coverage, the corners that can get the job done via instincts, agility, and speed stand out a bit more.
*Another safe pick here that may have a limited upside, but at this position you just want reliable. That is Baker is a nutshell. I love the competitive spirit, the swagger he shows on the outside. Do I trust him against a Michael Thomas on an island? Probably not. But at the end of the day that isn’t the job of a #1 corner on most teams. He can fit in to any coverage scheme and any role, right away.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN AND HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR: (Video)
Gettleman: It’s a wonderful thing when need and value match. We are thrilled to get Daniel (Jones). He was up there with everybody else on our board in terms of value and he was just perfect for us. I really believe in this kid. I really believe he is going to be a really nice, quality quarterback for us, for our franchise. He understands what’s in front of him. We’ve spoken to Eli (Manning) and talked to him and Daniel is coming in here to learn. Learn how to be a pro, learn how to be a professional quarterback. He’s the right kid for us. He’s just the right guy, he has the right head. He’s a very mature kid. I have no doubt he is going to come in and do everything he can to prepare himself to follow Eli.
The second guy, we got me a hog mollie! Dexter Lawrence, he might have been the biggest player in the draft, I don’t know. He’s a quality run player and he’s more than just a two-down run player. This kid can push the pocket and he can have an impact on the pass rush. That’s why we took him at 17 and we are thrilled. He is a great kid. All three of these kids are great kids. We had Dexter in here and he can play the one, the three and the five. He’s versatile, he’s got hips, he can flip to rush the passer and we are thrilled to have him.
The last guy we traded up for we feel is the best cover corner in the draft, the kid from Georgia, Deandre Baker. We feel like we got three guys that are going to impact this franchise for a long time.
Shurmur: Yeah, I don’t have anything other to add than Jones, for us, he’s very accomplished, he’s very smart, he’s very talented and when we spoke to Eli, I told this to Eli a couple times already, it’s not his job to teach the next quarterback that comes in here. It’s his job to be the very best player he can be and then the quarterback that we bring in, it’s his job to be smart enough to learn from Eli. And I think that’s the scenario that we are presented with. So we are thrilled. Here’s a guy that has played a lot of football, but he’s still very young, he’s tough, he’s competitive and he really has all of the things we are looking for. Good decision making, he has a sense of timing, he is an accurate passer, he’s athletic and mobile, which is important in today’s game. So we are thrilled about him.
Dexter, I was with (Vikings DT) Linval Joseph, who all of you know, in Minnesota and he sort of reminded me of him. He’s sneaky with the pass rush, but he’s really good on first, second down and the run game stuff. Tremendous human being and he’s a big guy and I think you win with big people
And then Dave did it, he got Deandre Baker. He’s a cover corner. The thing that impressed me most on tape was how stinking competitive he is. He’s very confident and he’s very competitive and I think when he’s faced with a challenge of a good wide out, he’s going to accept the challenge. Again, as Dave mentioned, the fact that our board met with some of the needs and some of the things that we wanted to answer, we were fortunate enough to get those three players. So we are thrilled to have them and get them in here as quickly as we can and get them going.
Q: Was Daniel Jones your best player available at 6? Did you have a higher grade on him than Josh Allen?
Gettleman: First of all, it is legal for guys to have the same grade. So when we set up our horizontal, they were on the same line.
Q: At what point did you realize he was your guy?
Gettleman: For me, it’s been a while. It’s been a while, to be frank with you.
Q: What stuck out to you?
Gettleman: I loved him on film. I absolutely loved him. I loved everything about him. And then I went to the Senior Bowl and I watched him that week and I (had) decided to stay for the game. During the season, I had gone to see Dwayne (Haskins) at Ohio State, I had seen Kyler (Murray) and Will (Grier) play each other on that Friday night game (on) Thanksgiving weekend in West Virginia, so I had seen those two play each other. I saw Dwayne play in the Big (10) championship game in Indianapolis, so I’ve seen those three guys play and to me it’s really important to see quarterbacks play. Watching them on tape is one thing, seeing them in the environment is definitely, I think, very important. Saw Drew (Lock), Daniel, Jarrett Stidham, (Gardner) Minshew, (Trace) McSorley, all of these guys were at the Senior Bowl, so I decided to stay. I made up my mind that I was staying for the game and, frankly, he walked out there and I saw a professional quarterback after the three series that I watched, I saw a professional quarterback. I was in full bloom love.
Q: How much of your decision was Daniel Jones the quarterback on the field versus Daniel Jones, the person he is off the field?
Gettleman: That’s a nice piece. Obviously, (Duke Head Football Coach David) Cutcliffe, he’s a hell of a coach. He didn’t fall off a turnip truck yesterday. The kid has been well trained. The huge part of this, and I’ve said it before, a big part of this is his make-up. Every single kid that was taken in the first round has had very little adversity. So, we get into it and we talk about this when we have our meetings – and the scouts and the area guys will go out, the regional guys are out, (Director of College Scouting) Chris Pettit is out, and we talk about what kind of adversity has this kid ever had. That’s what you want to know, because what kind of adversity and how they’re going to react, which is huge – and very honestly, how they’re going to react to you guys. Not because you’re meanies, because some of you are nice, but really because of the volume – it’s the volume that’s different. Now, that’s a big part of it. That’s like a bonus here. This kid is really talented, a really talented football player, and the head makes him more better.
Q: Forgetting about the head for a second, what about his talent level did you like more than the other quarterback prospects?
Gettleman: I just thought his pocket presence and his poise were really important to me. I’ve been saying it for a long time: if you can’t consistently make plays from the pocket, you’re not going to make it in the NFL. You’ll be just another guy. You look at Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, they consistently make plays from the pocket. That’s what this kid can do, and he is not by any stretch of the imagination an average athlete. He’s a really good athlete. This kid can extend, make plays with his feet, buy time in the pocket. He’s got feel. He really has all the things you’re looking for.
Q: Does he remind you of Eli as a player? Or, how is he different?
Gettleman: That’s hard for me because very honestly, I didn’t scout Eli in college. I watched film of Eli. After we took him, I thought it would be a nice idea to watch some film. Back then, I was a pro (personnel) guy. Similar in that they both were playing, at that time, Eli at Ole Miss at that time, both playing in difficult conferences with maybe fewer players around them. Eli had a wide receiver that probably ran a 4.65 (40 yd. dash), and he had a little scat-back running back and an okay offensive line. Daniel had about the same thing.
Q: Do you think you could’ve gotten Jones at No. 17?
Gettleman: You never know.
Q: And you weren’t willing to risk it?
Gettleman: I was not willing to risk it.
Q: Is the goal for Eli to start 16 games next season and for Daniel to sit 16 games next season?
Gettleman: The goal is for Eli to be our quarterback, yes.
Shurmur: I told Eli when we visited, it’s your job to win games and keep this guy off the field.
Q: It’s a challenge almost.
Shurmur: Well, not necessarily. I don’t think you need to challenge him that way. I wouldn’t phrase it that way, but that’s the kind of things you talk about when you put quarterbacks together.
Q: When did you know Daniel was the right guy for this organization? Did you have a similar process as Dave?
Shurmur: Yeah, I went through the process. I probably spent more time even this year than last year on the quarterbacks – from watching them play, to interviewing them, all multiple times, to doing all the research on them, because I think it’s important to put these quarterbacks through the full process. We took a trip down to Duke and visited with Coach Cutcliffe, and he kind of connected some of the things, because there were some comparisons to Eli, and I’m not sure I would share them. How is he similar? How is he different? I knew by watching him play that he was tough. That’s very high on the spectrum for me, is toughness, and Daniel has that. As we went through it, when you watch guys throw – and there’s some very talented throwers, very talented, very accomplished quarterbacks in this year’s draft. It’s quick that you can fall in love with them at each exposure, but by the end of it, we really felt like he was our guy, and I felt the same as Dave.
Q: If I’m not mistaken, that was the week of the owners meetings, so you weren’t at his Pro Day, but were with him privately a couple days later. Do you get a different feel when you’re with a guy privately rather than at his Pro Day?
Shurmur: Yeah, but we had private meetings with all the quarterbacks. We had private meetings with them at the Senior Bowl. So, we had many exposures with all the quarterbacks in question, but yeah, I think when you’re with them privately, you get a feel for who they are. I think it’s really important to sort through how they’re wired above the neck. It’s so important for a quarterback. That’s why all these exposures are very important.
Q: Can you talk about where (CB) Deandre Baker is going to fit into the equation? You have (CB Janoris Jenkins) Jackrabbit, you have (CB) Sam Beal, who I believe you said if he was coming out this year, he’d have a second-round grade. Where do you anticipate he can fit in?
Gettleman: He’s going to walk on, he’s going to compete for a starting job.
Q: Is he a slot cornerback? Can he play the nickel?
Gettleman: He’s really an outside guy, but he can play inside. We see him as an outside guy.
Q: When you look at Daniel Jones’ production, his production is not there. Is that a product of him playing at Duke, or is there something about the numbers that says something about him?
Shurmur: For me, I think when you watch him play, you can’t just look at the raw numbers and say this guy can do it or can’t do it? There’s reasons why a ball is complete or incomplete. I really wouldn’t share with you why that is. I thought he was very productive, I thought he was competitive and gritty, and he helped his team win football games. It’s not a fair comparison sometimes, so you have to watch the player compete and work with what he has. I thought he did a heck of a job leading the Duke football team.
Q: When did you talk with Eli and what is his reaction?
Shurmur: I’ve spoken to Eli throughout this process.
Q: When did you tell him that you were going to draft Daniel?
Shurmur: As it was happening. I spoke to Daniel and Dave called Eli. All along, we’ve spoken to Eli about how we are evaluating quarterbacks in this year’s draft, and there is a decent chance there may be a new guy here. It doesn’t bother Eli.
Q: Dave what do you think his reaction was?
Gettleman: He was fine. I told him it’s your job, let’s go.
Q: If Eli thinks he can play multiple seasons, does this end that possibility here?
Gettleman: Absolutely not. Maybe we are going to the Green Bay model, where Rodgers sat for three years. Who knows? It’s one of the deals where it doesn’t make a difference what position it is, you can never have too many good players at one position.
Q: Are you saying you drafted a quarterback number 6 and he might sit for 3 years?
Gettleman: Who knows? I may go out there in my car and get hit. You don’t know. We drafted a quarterback that we believe is a franchise quarterback. We feel he’s a franchise quarterback.
Q: If Eli plays 3 more years, wouldn’t you take somebody at 6 to help Eli do that?
Gettleman: It’s the same question, ‘why didn’t you wait until 17?’ We don’t know. Life’s too short, you don’t know how this is going to work. It’s people drafting defensive tackles when they already have two stud starters, why are you doing that? It’s where value fits and meets the draft pick.
Q: Have you considered extending Eli so he is not a lame duck quarterback?
Gettleman: That’s a hypothetical.
Q: Were you as enamored as early with Daniel Jones as Dave was?
Shurmur: I tried to slow my roll with all the quarterbacks. My first exposure to all of them was their tape. With the way technology is you can watch every one of their throws or any of their actions. As I got to know them, I wanted to go slow on them. I wanted to be deliberate. John Mara and Dave Gettleman said they wanted a consensus on this. I wanted to give them an educated answer as to who I thought was going to be our guy. I was very deliberate about it because this was going to be a big draft pick. We drafted a guy that we think can start and be a starter for a very long time, and when he gets on the field, we will see.
Q: Just curious of how serious the discussions with Arizona were about trading for (Cardinals QB) Josh Rosen?
Gettleman: There was no discussion. I admitted I had reached out and told them if things happen, then we might have an interest. That’s it.
Q: Do you see Lawrence as a rotation with (DT B.J.) Hill and (DT Dalvin) Tomlinson? Or, do you see a guy that can play with all three of those guys across the defensive line?
Gettleman: We can play them all three across at the same time.
Q: When you traded (DT Damon Harrison) Snacks, you moved Tomlinson to the nose because you said that was the spot he was best-suited for…
Shurmur: That was the unintended consequence of that, but I would say this, when we play base defense, you have a five-technique, a three-technique and a one-technique, and we can certainly play all three of those guys. Then when we get into our even fronts, certainly there will a little bit of a rotation there, I think, which is good. Again, we can’t have too many good quarterbacks. You can’t have too many good corners, and when it comes to defensive linemen, you can’t have too many good front people. They’ve all got to compete. We’re really thrilled about him. If you haven’t been around him, this is a big human being. He moves well, he’s sneaky quick, and I think he’s going to be a really good addition to our front.
Q: He’s 345 pounds and has a screw in his foot. Did that play into the process at all?
Gettleman: Medically, he’s cleared.
Q: He’s only had four sacks in the past two years.
Gettleman: He was playing on a bad foot.
Q: So you attribute it to that?
Gettleman: Here’s what I want you to understand. This is where numbers don’t tell all the story. Defensive tackles can affect the pass rush if they get consistent inside push. How many times have you guys watched a game, and the ends come screaming off the corner, and the quarterback steps up, and there’s nobody there. You get inside pass rush, those ends come screaming off the corner, they’re going to affect it, and if the guy is getting push, the quarterback is going to step up and Dexter will give him a kiss.
Q: But who are the ends screaming off the corner?
Gettleman: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Oh and by the way, (LB) Lorenzo Carter had 5.5 sacks last year.
Q: But the Giants two most recent Super Bowl teams had around 50 sacks.
Gettleman: I was with them.
Q: But you know both of those teams really affected the quarterback.
Gettleman: Rome wasn’t built in a day, it wasn’t built in a day. This takes time.
Q: Daniel Jones was booed by Giants fans at MetLife Stadium tonight. What would you tell those fans who are angry and upset that you picked Daniel Jones?
Gettleman: In time, you’ll be very pleased.
MEDIA Q&A WITH QB DANIEL JONES:
Q: Is this beyond your wildest expectations to go to the Giants?
A: Yes, I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations going into tonight. I was just excited to be here, and however it worked out I was going to be thrilled. I’m certainly thrilled to be in New York and I can’t wait to get started.
Q: What do you think you did to impress the Giants?
A: I think I was confident in myself and showed the best version of myself throughout the process. The process is a long one where you are going to be tested in a number of ways. I think more than anything, I stayed confident in myself and stayed true to that.
Q: What is your relationship like with Eli Manning?
A: He’s been up at Duke a couple times to throw with his guys and workout so I have gotten to see him then. I have been down to the Manning (Passing Academy) camp a couple times, so I got to know him through those two things.
Q: I know you’ve been busy so far, have you heard from him tonight?
A: No sir.
Q: When did you know you were the Giants pick?
A: When they called me, 20 or 30 minutes ago.
Q: Did you have any inkling from your meetings with them that they liked you at (pick) six?
A: I thought they went well, and I certainly feel like I connected with them. I certainly liked them a whole lot, I wasn’t sure how it would work out. The draft is a tough thing to predict, I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations. I thought the meetings went well, I thought we connected and that certainly made me confident. Like I said I didn’t have any expectations or any idea what would happen.
Q: How do you feel about the possibility of sitting for a season behind Eli?
A: I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to learn for a young quarterback. He is a guy that’s had a whole lot of success in the NFL and there is a reason for that. I’m looking to understand that and do my best to learn as much as I can from him while he’s in New York.
Q: How do you feel being viewed as his successor?
A: I’m going to be myself and not try to be Eli or be anything but myself. I think staying confident in that and staying confident in who I am is what’s going to be key to that process.
Q: What was your interaction like with the head coach when you met him?
A: I thought it was great. I think we connected and he is certainly someone who I have a lot of respect for and he’s been a really good coach in the NFL for a long time. So getting to know him and being able to interact with him through this process was great and I thought it went well.
Q: For those of us who haven’t seen you, what do you do well?
A: I think physically, I can make every throw on the field. My accuracy is certainly I feel a strength of mine, and I think I have the athleticism to extend plays and play outside the pocket if I need to. So physically I think I can do both those things well.
Q: What can you get better at?
A: I think I can get better at times making that decision to lay the ball off or throw it away. Coach Cut (David Cutcliffe) at Duke said understanding when to stop competing, understanding when a play is over with. I think I can do better with that.
Q: How much did Coach Cutcliffe talk about the Manning brothers over the years?
A: Yeah, we certainly did watch a whole lot. It was cool going to Duke and being with Coach Cut and being able to hear those stories from when Eli and Peyton were in similar positions to me. Whether it was my first year there, second year, whenever it was just hearing those stories and being able to learn from some of those experiences was an awesome perspective for me and certainly a great situation.
Q: The Giants wanted a quarterback that has faced adversity before. What adversity have you faced?
A: If you look back at my recruitment, I came to Duke as a walk-on, a guy who wasn’t recruited very heavily and I think that was part of it. Not being immediately obvious that I would play college football somewhere or at the level I thought I could, but it worked out and Coach Cut gave me the opportunity to walk-on and I eventually earned a scholarship, but I had to overcome it and I’m glad it went the way it went and I wouldn’t do it any other way.
MEDIA Q&A WITH NT DEXTER LAWRENCE:
Q: What were your interactions like with the Giants? Did you have any sense that they liked you in the first round?
A: Yeah, just my first meeting. I felt that, especially the first time I met them. Every interaction with them was pretty good. I was just being myself, honestly. That was kind of my goal throughout this whole process. Making a team like me for who I was, and not being somebody that I’m not. I feel like with the Giants, we were vibing a little bit. I’m just happy right now.
Q: When most people think of you, they’re going to think of Snacks (Lions DT Damon Harrison). Are you playing like Snacks?
A: I feel like my game is very powerful, a smart player, non-quit effort kind of guy. That’s just my mindset every play, and how I want to attack every snap.
Q: What was your reaction to finding out you landed in New York and with the Giants?
A: I grew up a New York Giants fan. So, it’s a great moment. My goal is to come in day one and challenge the defensive line as being the greatest unit in the world kind of thing. That’s just kind of what my mindset is going to be and what is has been since I’ve been in high school. Let’s not settle, let’s go get it. Right now, I’m real happy to be a Giant.
Q: How’d you end up a Giants fan?
A: Growing up watching the D-line, (former Giants DE) Justin Tuck, and (former Giants DE) Michael Strahan, and (former Giants DT) Fred Robinson, (former Giants DE) Osi Umenyiora. Growing up just watching them kind of inspired me.
Q: You had six and a half sacks as a freshman and only four the next two years. What was the key as a freshman, and what happened the last two years?
A: As a freshman, nothing changed with anything. I feel like my sophomore year, I was battling an injury playing on one leg kind of deal. My junior season, I got my confidence back a lot more the second half of the season. The first half of the season, I was kind of timid on it a little bit, but I’ve gotten over that hump.
Q: Do you consider yourself a pass rusher?
A: I do consider myself a pass rusher. I just got to unlock it, that’s all. A lot of times, I didn’t set myself up for things. I know that’ll be the difference, and that’s a big focus of mine is to stop all the doubting.
Q: What was the leg injury?
A: I got a screw in my fifth metatarsal, but that had healed. The problem was they did a nerve block in the back of my leg and it irritated the nerves in my leg and I couldn’t do a toe raise or push-off with it or do anything with it for like a year and a month.
Q: When did you feel like your old self again?
A: I felt like my old self probably halfway through my last season. Like the first half I was a little timid and I wasn’t quite confident with it and then I just had to sit down and talk to myself and be like, ‘You know how you felt playing on one leg, you got both of them back, take advantage of it. Just go out there and use it to the best of your abilities.’
Q: How much did you have to answer to the suspension throughout the process?
A: Every meeting, everywhere I went, every media source. But it was something I had to deal with. It was unfortunate that happened to me. I was innocent, but God had a plan for me and I felt like that helped people learn who I truly was. It got people to know me, I got to express myself. I had the choice to go to the media, I didn’t have to, but I wanted to so that I make the narrative kind of deal and not let people put their little spin on things that they do. So I mean it was really unfortunate, but I had to change my role as a player and I had to become a coach and support my team and make sure their minds were right and just be there for them and just let them know that it’s good, I’m still here and just play like you’ve been playing the whole season.
Q: What can you tell us about Daniel Jones?
A: I like him a lot. Playing against him when we played Duke, I gained a lot of respect for him. He did not quit and he’s deceptively fast. His arm is really accurate, I feel like a lot of his balls were dropped so his stats weren’t really there watching film, but I think he’s really special.
Q: Did you have any sort of bet with (Christian) Wilkins and (Clelin) Ferrell?
A: No, I wouldn’t say we had a bet. We were just all excited for each other. It’s something that we all worked hard for. The reason why those guys came back was to prove who they really were and that’s what all of our goals were me, Austin (Bryant), Clelin and Christian, just go in to this next season and give it our all and play balls out, play like you got to prove yourself right and others wrong kind of deal.
Q: How impressive is it that you have three guys from the same school, on the same line drafted in the first round?
A: It’s great. When I saw that those guys were up I could not stop smiling. I teared up, I felt like I got drafted with them kind of deal. It’s just special that bond that we have and it’s something that will never be broken.
Q: Your first game you get to face Ezekiel Elliott, how do you feel about that?
A: That will be fun, that will be fun. He’s a great running back and I’m ready to compete and help the Giants win some games.
Q: What do you weigh now?
A: Right now, I am 344. My playing weight is going to go down. I’m trying to play between 342 and 335. I’m trying to get my body fat down, that’s really been a focus of mine. I know becoming a pro that’s your number one objective, taking care of your body and that is just my mindset with the right food and the right exercise and everything.
MEDIA Q&A WITH CB DEANDRE BAKER:
Q: When you are sitting there towards the end of round one, did you think your phone was not going to ring?
A: No, I just kept faith, I kept praying. I knew somebody was going to give me a chance. The Giants called and they made my day.
Q: Did you have an inkling that the Giants would be interested in you?
A: I met with them at the combine but that was my only meeting with them. I didn’t know they were going to draft me, I’m just happy right now.
Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?
A: A confident player who is always going to come work. A guy that teammates can always count on to be there on Sundays and any other day of the week. A player that my teammates can count on.
Q: Do you feel you were the best corner available in the draft?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Why is that?
A: Just by the production I put in, and the consistency throughout the years I played.
Q: You weren’t a guy that lit up the combine, how much do you think what you did on the field mattered to the Giants?
A: It mattered a lot. I didn’t have the top numbers at the combine, but nobody’s game film can match mine, nobody’s production can match mine. The Giants knew that, and they took me with the 30th pick.
Q: Do you remember the last touchdown you gave up?
A: It was 2016, the only touchdown I gave up in my career.
Q: What was it?
A: It was a back-shoulder fade from the 1-yard line against TCU in the bowl game.
Q: Does that say something about you, that you can go back and recall what happened on a play from 2 and a half years ago?
A: It just says that I’m up to date and I study the game. I watch the things I did wrong more than the things I did good.
Q: If there was a knock on you it was that you didn’t get enough interceptions?
A: It’s hard to get interceptions when you are not targeted much.
Q: Did you hear from Lorenzo Carter?
A: Not yet, I know Lorenzo Carter is probably trying to call me right now. I have a million calls at one time right now. I’m just waiting to call them when I finish everything.
Q: What is your relationship with him?
A: That’s my boy, ever since I stepped on campus at the University of Georgia. My first day on campus he took me under his wing. I played a couple years with him, that’s my boy.
Q: Have you looked the Giants cornerback depth chart yet?
A: I know a few people. Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins) and one more person, but I forgot his name. I know Jackrabbit definitely.
Q: Do you expect to come in here and start?
A: I just want to come in and work. Wherever I land at on the depth chart, I’m ready to work. Go out there and compete with the guys and hopefully get a chance to help my team.
Q: What was it like being in the green room?
A: It was a dream come true. I knew one team would call me before the first round was over with. When the Giants traded back up (into the first round), I kind of had a feeling.
Q: Are you mostly an outside guy or can you play the slot too?
A: I can play outside or slot. I can adapt to any situation. Wherever the team needs me to win that’s where I will go.
Q: Do you consider yourself a shutdown corner?
A: Of course.
Q: How do you define the term shutdown corner?
A: In college I covered the opposing team’s number one receiver that’s how I got the term shutdown corner. In the league I just want to come in and work with my team.
DAVE GETTLEMAN’S 2019 PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman held the team’s annual pre-draft press conference on Thursday. The following is the transcript from the event (video is also available courtesy of Giants.com):
Opening: Good afternoon. I would like to begin by thanking our Director of College Scouting Chris Pettit and the staff, Chris Mara, Kevin Abrams, Mark Koncz, Pat Shurmur and the coaches for all of their diligence in putting together this year’s draft board. I really can’t thank them enough. With the college draft a week away, we are coming to the second part of what I call the roster building season. Football is the ultimate team game. While it may be difficult for some to understand, building a roster is not just about collecting talent. It is not just about how fast, strong or talented a player is, but does he fit athletically, intellectually and culturally into what you are trying to accomplish, that is to win a Super Bowl.
Recently, there was an article in USA today written by Dan Wolken. I recommend that everyone read it. What he did was, he was discussing two of the premiere college basketball programs in Duke and Kentucky. The article was written after they had been eliminated from this year’s NCAA tournament. The final paragraph really put what I believe into a nutshell. And I quote: ‘As long as Krzyzewski and Calipari are still coaching, they are going to get their share of the best recruits every single year because of the pathway they have established to the NBA. Both programs have discovered in the tournament that elite recruiting and good roster construction don’t mean the same thing.’
As Lou Lamoriello most recently said, ‘players win games, teams win championships.’
The only major transaction I have not talked to you guys about since the last press conference was about Sterling and getting him extended. Obviously, we feel Sterling is a very important part of who we want to be moving forward. He earned this contract and we are thrilled to have had the ability to get him extended.
This is a pre-draft presser, so let’s talk about the draft. Let the games begin.
Q: You said this is a really strong draft. What about it makes you say that? A: Frankly, we have pretty much set the board. We are tweaking it a little bit here and a little bit there. The scouts went home. I sent them home for the holiday. It gives me a chance to do some work on my own, some additional work. The board is really basically set. I am looking at it and we have more players rated as first, second, third or fourth-round values that I have had in any draft. This is my eighth draft as a GM. In terms of the volume of players on the board, this is the thickest.
Q: Is selecting a quarterback a priority for you? A: The priority is to select the best players. Last year, we could not pass up on Saquon. He was the best player in the draft. You can’t do that. We have had this conversation before. Eli is closer to 40 than he is to 25. We can do that math. At the end of the day, we are going to take the best players.
Q: At number six, do you need a gold jacket guy or is that too far down? A: For me, you are riding on the edge. There are gold jacket guys that never got drafted. That stuff happens. It is still about value. Who is going to give you the most value at that spot? When you start reaching for the need, you get into trouble. You can never have too many good players at one position.
Q: Is it important to look at every pick you guys have, you have 12, that you need to get 12 starters or do you take the approach of looking at first round talent and seventh round talent? A: If we get 12 starters in this draft, I would have one hell of a time on Cape Cod. All kidding aside, having 12 picks is crazy. One of the things I have talked about is that you don’t want to draft a player that you are going to cut. Every guy you draft, there is a reason you are drafting him and a reason that he should make your club. First, second, third round draft picks at the very least, you are looking for a big rotational player. Everyone talks about the way the league is going down, 65-70 percent of the time you have your defensive sub package in. You can easily make the argument that your nickel is your starter. You can make that argument. Your third wide is your starter. That is what you are looking at. Guys that walk on the field and help you win now. Anything after that is a huge bonus. Earlier, David Diehl was a fifth round draft pick and a 10, 11-year starter. That is what you are looking for.
Q: You mentioned that you have a lot of value in rounds 1-4. Does that give you more flexibility if you want to move around? A: Absolutely. Obviously, every position is different. There are some positions that are thick throughout. Some positions, it gets thick late. Some positions, you are thick, nothing, thick. It varies. Obviously, when your turn is coming up, you have to give it a look, especially when you have a number of guys that you can look at with equal value at different positions.
Q: You’ve said before that a franchise QB has to be one that you love because it is such an important position. Does that also apply to the second first-round pick? There could be a guy that you like but the value is there. Could you see yourself not being in love with a guy but taking him with that second pick or is this too important of a position? A: With as heavy as this draft is, to answer that question, we are at 17 so I would be shocked, very surprised if there was someone there that I did not like.
Q: Could it be a guy that you are in love with? A: Absolutely.
Q: Are you talking about QB specifically? A: Who knows?
Q: At 17, you said you would be shocked if there was someone there that you didn’t like? A: A player, yes.
Q: Not a QB? A: It could be. It could be a corner, a wide receiver. It could be a sports writer.
Q: QB is so important that you don’t want to force it but if he is sitting there at 17, the value might be just too good. A: The value might be too good for what? If we have a QB rated in the first round, we love him.
Q: Is there a lot of ‘what ifs’? A guessing game? A: It is so crazy now. You read all the info and you have 85 mock drafts. There are about 20 guys that are in everyone’s first round. History tells you, you can bet the ranch that those guys are going to go. Times have changed. My very first draft, I was an intern with the Buffalo Bills. And Norm Pollum, who recently passed away, he has a legal pad and at that time there were 28 teams. He had 28 teams and 28 names. He turns around and gives it to me. He says take a look. I am looking at it and he says, that is the draft. He had 26 of them. That is when people didn’t have phones and there wasn’t a whole series of smokescreens and lies. And people just kibitzed. At the end of the day, you can’t count on teams taking this guy or that guy. You just have to relax. It is just a process. You relax and see what happens.
Q: Is there a better chance this year of marrying value with the position of need? A: Yes, because it is about volume.
Q: You said that if you have a QB with a first-round grade, it means that you love him. I am curious if there are traits that lead you to a guy like that? A: A lot of it is physical ability to play the game. One of the things that I really believe is, this is not taking a shot at anyone so don’t twist my words, please. Being a quarterback of a team in this type of market is a load. It is a mental load. You have to really vet out the background of these guys. Just like being the head coach of this team is a load, being a quarterback is a load, too. It is more than just looking at a guy’s physical talent. It is about his makeup. A lot of you guys were here Eli’s first year. He starts the last nine games of the year and there were a couple games early on, the Baltimore game, where he was what, 4 of 15? Something like that. He is there and then we are playing Dallas in the last game of the year. We are on the six-yard-line going in and we have no timeouts. There is 12 seconds left in the game and he has the cojones to audible to a draw. If we don’t score, we lose the game. You have to have a mental toughness about you to play the position here in New York. Or to play the position anywhere. That is a huge piece of it. It is important. If you don’t think it is, you need to re-think it.
Q: Getting the 17th and 95th picks were a big part of the return in the Odell trade. Any extra pressure knowing that those guys will be compared to him? A: No, not for me. I don’t mean to make light of it, but no. We are going to get good players with those picks.
Q: You have the 12 picks, two in the first round. You want to get every draft right. Does the draft pick at the top, you said you put extra value on them. Does that put extra importance in getting those right? A: There is pressure getting it right every year. Even last year, we had five picks. That is all we had. There is no less pressure or more pressure with 12 than there was with five. It does not make a difference what job you have. You have pressure and deadlines. There are people that look at you, I look at you and say, how do you do that? You have a 4:25 start. The game ends at 7:15. You better get your crap in in about 25 minutes but you don’t have time. By the way, the game just ended and you have to run down and get interviews. You guys have pressure. It is what you do. You just roll with it. That is what I do. I don’t feel that pressure.
Q: Is it valuable for these QBs that you evaluate to have handled adversity in the past to see how they have handled it? A: Exactly. It is a hell of a question. Back in the fall, I was talking to Pat (Shurmur) and we were having that conversation. He said, there are a lot of guys that never had adversity. You will have adversity up here. I don’t care how great a player you are. I could sit down over a year and you could give me any Pro Bowl player. I can make you a 25, 30 snap tape and you will look at it and say that you have to be kidding me, he is getting paid that kind of money. You have to be kidding me, he went to the Pro Bowl. Then, I will make the other 25-minute tape and you will say, oh my God. Everyone has adversity. Everyone. Who is mentally tough enough to say, OK, it happened once, it is not happening again. With a lot of these guys, it is a very legitimate question. You have to dig so deep to see where they have had adversity. It is painful but it is part of the evaluation.
Q: Do you need a defensive playmaker in this draft? A: You sat there and watched it. We went 4-4 the second half of the year and we had three games that if we make a stop, we are 7-1. Obviously, you can’t have too many playmakers. You talk about roster construction, I have always been a big believer that if you look at the great defenses, they have a lead dog in every level. A legitimate playmaker at every level of their defense. I said it at the postseason presser and I will say it again, we need some defensive playmakers.
Q: Do you have a lead dog on your defense right now at any level? A: Ogletree. Alec. Our two safeties that we brought in, Antoine and Jabrill. Antoine has been a lead dog. We are getting there.
Q: Upfront is where you think you need? A: Listen, we are thrilled with B.J. and we are thrilled with Dalvin. We have to keep adding to that mix. The young guys on the outside, Lorenzo made a lot of strides last year. We are getting there. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Q: If you had a QB rated in the first round, is there any reason why you would wait to the second pick to take him? A: Depends upon who is available. If you would have said that last year, I would have given you the same answer. You would have seen what happened. We will see.
Q: Is it important to have that battery going from defensive tackle to center to QB to RB where you want your lead dogs to be before you build outside? A: I don’t know. I don’t think football is any different from any of the three other major sports. Strength up the middle is critical. Your lead dog can be an outside linebacker or an outside pass rusher. What you want is talent. That is what you want.
Q: Is between 37 and 95 a place that will be hard for you to watch 60 players come off the board? A: Yes, it is. It won’t be fun.
Q: What position has impressed you the most in this draft? A: The wides (wide receivers) are real thick. The offensive tackles are thick. The secondary is thick. Corners and safeties. When I say thick, I am talking about up and down the draft. Rounds 1 through 7.
Q: How does what people in front of you do complicate things and change the dynamic of what you are going to do? A: We are going to sit there and see what is cooking at six. We will go from there.
Q: Have you had any conversations with the Cardinals? A: I am not going there.
Q: There are only five teams that pick ahead of you. A: Look at that, you have done the math.
Q: The guy you pick will be ranked higher or not that much lower at all because you don’t have to. You won’t force that for any position at all? A: No. You are up at six.
Q: If you don’t have a QB in the top six, you aren’t taking one with that pick, is that safe to say? A: I am just saying I won’t force a pick. You can’t draft for need. You will get screwed every time and make a mistake.
Q: So a QB is not its own special category? A: No, it is not.
Q: When you look at this draft, is there a chance you get to six and all of these top stud defensive players are gone? A: A chance that they are all gone? No.
Q: Do you see a spot this year where there is a drop off? A: It is a really good draft. I fully expect, if we don’t move, at six and 17, we are going to get a really good player. I am not going to panic. It is going to be a good player. I do not want to sound arrogant.
Q: Do you have your guy right now hoping he is there at six? A: We have to finish doing the board. We are still screwing around. I have an open mind.
Q: Any gold jacket guys in this draft? A: Yes. I don’t want to put a number on it. This is a draft that has been well ballyhooed by the volume of players and the depth. It is legit.
Q: What do you think about this QB class? A: It is good. Thick.
Q: Better than last year? A: I am not going there. Come on now.
Q: Ernie Accorsi always says that you draft QBs to win Super Bowls. Are there any QBs in this draft that you think are Super Bowl ready? A: There are a couple of really good quarterbacks in this draft, yes.
Q: What is the level of urgency to land a franchise QB right now? A: If you put a lot of pressure on it, you are going to make a mistake. I am not going to put a level on that. You let the draft come to you. We went into last season with Eli and thought he had plenty left. He proved that. We will just see how it goes.
Q: What about the level of urgency to get the KC model in place? A: I said ‘the KC model’, people have been doing that for years. This is just the most recent one. How about the Green Bay model with Rodgers and Farve? He sat two and a half, three years. That is what you would like to do. Eli is a pro’s pro and you guys know that. To allow a quarterback to learn at the feet of Eli, it would be a sweet deal. Kyle (Lauletta) is working on that right now. Don’t forget about Kyle. You would prefer that be the situation. You would hate to take a young kid and just throw him in there.
Q: As you continue to construct this team, do you feel that you can win now and in the future? A: We won two more games than the team did the year before. Then, you had all those games where we lost by a point, two points. We lost eight games by a touchdown or less. The NFL is tight. A few more players get you over the top and you win more.
Q: You have hit on small college guys before. What do you have to see on film to judge them? A: A million years ago, I am scouting at Kutztown State and I am looking at John Mobley. It is October and everyone since August was telling me to go to Kutztown, have you been there yet? I said, what do we have here, Superman? So I went and watched John play. The closest Division I school is Penn State. I had to ask the question and I tell the scouts this all the time, if I am watching John Mobley, can I picture him starting at Penn State. That is the litmus test. When scouts talk about DI, II, I-AA, will he start at a big DI program. They all go to big DI programs, so they should be able to answer.
Q: Will you move if there is urgency? A: Look at my history. I have traded up a bunch of times in Carolina. Last year, we had to sit. We only had the five picks. I was not going to take picks from this year’s draft to move up in last year’s draft. We are going to do what we need to. If the situation calls for it and there is guy there that we feel can really help us but he is a few picks in front and we are not confident or comfortable that he will fall to us, if we feel the need, we will make the move. I am not afraid to do that.
Q: First four rounds are loaded ,would you move some picks in the back and try and get into the first four? A: It is possible. You may. Anything is possible.
Q: Does that include moving picks from next year’s draft? A: Maybe.
Q: How does the dynamic change when you have two first round picks? A: I have never had that. It is fun. I am excited about it. It is weird. After you make that first pick, you can’t go get dinner. I am excited. You are going to draft two guys that you will have for five years, which is a big help with the cap now a days. I am looking forward to it.
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:
NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN BENNIE FOWLER, TONY LIPPETT, ZAK DEOSSIE…
The New York Giants have officially announced the re-signing of unrestricted free agents wide receiver Bennie Fowler, cornerback Tony Lippett, and long-snapper Zak DeOssie. It had earlier been reported that Lippett and DeOssie had already agreed to terms. Lippett signed a 1-year, $810,000 contract.
After signing late with the Giants in October 2018, Fowler surprisingly played in 10 games with five starts, finishing the year with 16 catches for 199 yards and one touchdown. The 6’1”, 212-pound Fowler originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Denver Broncos after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Broncos (2014-2017), Chicago Bears (2018), and New England Patriots (2018). Fowler has played in 55 regular-season games with 10 starts. He has 72 career catches for 897 yards and six touchdowns.
The Giants signed Lippett in to the 53-man roster in October 2018. He ended up playing in three games, with no starts, and was exposed in coverage. A former wide receiver, the 6’3”, 192-pound Lippett was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. In three years with the Dolphins, from 2015 to 2017, Lippett played in 25 regular-season games with 13 starts. He missed all of the 2017 season with with a torn Achilles’ tendon. The Dolphins cut Lippett before the 2018 season started.
DeOssie is one of the NFL’s most consistent long snappers, being voted to the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2010. DeOssie was drafted as a linebacker by the Giants in the 4th round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He is now strictly a special teams player. In his 12 NFL seasons, DeOssie has only missed four games (all in 2015 with a wrist injury). Aside from his long snapping duties, DeOssie also excels in punt coverage.
MORE DAVE GETTLEMAN MEDIA INTERVIEWS FROM MONDAY…
Aside from New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman’s media conference call on Monday, he also participated in the following media events on the same day:
CURTIS RILEY VISITS THE GREEN BAY PACKERS…
New York Giants unrestricted free agent free safety Curtis Riley visited the Green Bay Packers on Monday. The Giants signed Riley as an unrestricted free agent from the Tennessee Titans in March 2018. Riley surprisingly started all 16 games at free safety, finishing with 75 tackles, 5 pass defenses, and 4 interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown). However, he was often a liability against both the run and the pass.
The 6’0”, 190-pound Riley was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Titans as a cornerback after the 2015 NFL Draft. Riley spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve with an ankle injury. He played in four games in 2016 and seven games in 2017 with no starts.
DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESSES MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media by conference call on Monday.
Opening Statement: Thanks for joining me, good morning. Obviously, I’m doing the call do discuss the (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) trade, which was finalized over the weekend after Odell and (Giants S) Jabrill (Peppers) passed their physicals. Before we begin the Q&A portion of the call, I’d like to address a few things that have been out there, as well as explain why we decided this move was right for the New York Football Giants. As a point of information, the only call that I initiated regarding moving Odell was to Buffalo. As you folks may or may not know, I have a personal relationship with (Bills General Manager) Brandon (Beane), being the Buffalo GM, from our time spent together in Carolina. I placed the call after I had learned they had conversations on Antonio Brown. I good naturedly chided Brandon about not calling us, and that’s where it ended. So, that’s Buffalo. San Francisco — we had numerous conversations over time; myself and (49ers General Manager) John Lynch, the GM, and frankly we couldn’t come to an agreement, so that died on the vine. As far as Cleveland is concerned, talks were initiated by them and (Browns General Manager) John Dorsey. John knew we weren’t going to give Odell away. So frankly, his initial offer peaked our interest, and away we went. So, the initial call Tuesday morning, we finalized it, it was probably about 10 hours, and there was considerable back and forth.
So, the obvious question is ‘Why?’ That’s the question that everybody has. After much discussion, we just believe this was in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. I want everybody to know that this was purely a football business decision. There’s no intrigue, there’s no he said, she said, none of that stuff. So, let’s not waste time with those types of questions after the fact. Odell was a tremendous talent, making him a valuable asset. With football being the ultimate team game — you guys know I’ve said that a number of times — with football being the ultimate team game, we turn that fact into three assets at the very least.
Some have questioned why we signed Odell and then traded him. As I said publicly twice, we didn’t sign him to trade him, but obviously things change. Frankly, what changed is a team made an offer we couldn’t refuse. As it turns out, the fact that he was signed for five more years made him very attractive and enabled us to get legitimate value. You ask me about my mantra of not quitting on talent, and yes, I believe that fully, but quitting on talent is when you cut a player, or get marginal value in return, and we all know this did not happen here. Speaking of value, you ask me how we came to this. My barometer or litmus test was the franchise tag. So, just for the sake of discussion, or explanation, if we had not signed Odell back in August, and we had played the season out and we had put the franchise tag on him — if another team had signed him, and we didn’t match it, we would’ve gotten two first-round picks. So, that was my litmus test. Oh, and by the way, as a point of reference, it has only happened once in league history, that was in ’98 with Carolina signing (DT) Sean Gilbert off the franchise tag. Again, as our litmus test, it turns out we not only got two first-round picks, but we also got a third.
I completely understand why people are going to debate the merits of this deal, because draft picks are involved. This trade really won’t be able to be completely evaluated until we get further down the road. Finally, because of Odell’s talent and personality, this was a decision we did not enter into lightly. There were a number of factors to take into consideration, and I can assure you we thoroughly discussed them all. Let the games begin.
Q: You mentioned that this was just a football decision. Were the distractions from Odell a factor in your decision at all?
A: Obviously, there’s a lot of stuff that factors in, but at the end of the day, in order for us to move Odell, the other team was going to have to knock it out of the park. As I said, we were not actively shopping him. Calls were coming to us, and the only one I reached out to was, again, Buffalo, and I was just as much giving Brandon a hard time as anything else. For us to get Jabrill Peppers, who we think is going to be a very good safety in this league. He’s young, we’ve got him under contract for three years at very reasonable value. To get another one (first-round pick), this year is number 17, I think, and to get that kind of a value in this type of a draft, and to get a third-round pick completing our dance card for April, it was just too much to pass up. It was too much value for us. You look at everything, but at the end of the day, it’s really about football. We’ve got positions to address. This was about us having the ability to address multiple positions.
Q: You said things came together in Cleveland and you only made that one call to Buffalo. Why not shop around and see what other teams had to offer, to see if you could’ve gotten a better offer?
A: That’s a very fair question. When it comes to trading, the team that makes the call is playing from behind. You’re in a much better position of strength when teams call you. You’re in a much better position. Because I wasn’t doing that — we’re not trading Odell, understand what I’m saying? That’s really why it worked out the way it worked out. It (the trade) wasn’t something we had to do, and someone was going to have to knock it out of the park.
Q: Can you best articulate what the plan is, and how letting (S) Landon Collins go, trading (WR) Odell Beckham, trading (LB) Olivier Vernon, but bringing back (QB) Eli Manning factors into your plan, and what that plan is?
A: Really and truly, very honestly, it’s not my responsibility to tell you guys what I’m doing. Just like it’s not my responsibility to respond to every rumor that comes down the pike. That’s not my job. It’s not my responsibility. Trust me, we’ve got a plan. Over time, you’ve got to be patient. Everybody wants answers now in this instant-gratification society, instant-gratification world, and everybody wants answers now. Over time, you’ll see it. You’ve got to trust it.
Q: I know it’s not your responsibility to tell us your plan, but the fans do want to have a vision. They want to know where you guys are headed.
A: I appreciate that, okay. We have positions to address, and that plan is to address those positions, plain and simple, and we’ll do it with whatever means necessary. You may do it on a draft pick, you may do it on a waiver claim, you may do it in free agency, you may sign an unrestricted free agent, you may sign a street free agent, you may sign an NQO, a third-year player that doesn’t get a qualifying offer from his team, and you may make a trade. There’s a million ways to do it. We’re exploring and using all those options.
Q: Do you view yourself as rebuilding? Or, are you trying to win as you move along here?
A: We’re building. The object of this is to win as many games as possible every year. We’re building. We were 3-13 when I took over. We were 5-11 last year — 12 of those games were by a touchdown or less. We’re building. I don’t understand why that’s a question. Really and truly, you can win while you’re building. Down in Carolina, I walked into a different situation. The first year, we go 12-4. Then the next year, we had to build a little bit. We had a crazy year, go 7-8-1, but make the playoffs because the NFC South was struggling. We win a playoff game, lose a playoff game. Then the next year, we did everything but win the ultimate prize. You can win while you’re building. They’re not separate pieces.
Q: You mentioned at the combine that you wanted to have ‘X’ amount of dollars for the draft, ‘X’ amount of dollars for free agency. Having $33 million in dead money towards the salary cap, how much was that a factor in your decisions?
A: Really and truly, nobody wants to have that kind of dead money, but again, it’s the long-term vision that we have in the building, and what we’re going to do. Sometimes, you’ve got to do those things. There was a team this year with something like $60 million in dead money. That was the route they chose. We talked about it. (Giants Vice President of Football Operations and Assistant General Manager) Kevin Abrams does a great job of looking at it and saying — hey, you’ve got to take a look at this, this is the way it works, this is what we’re looking at in dead money, this is what we’re looking at in cap space. Again, none of these decisions are made in a silo, none of them. Everything is interconnected. So to answer your question, we knew it, and we just decided this was the way we’re going to go.
Q: What do you say to those who say you did not get enough in return for Odell?
A: First of all, what I say is what’s reasonable, what’s the best you are going to do? Someone sits out there and says you should have gotten four first round picks, you and I know that’s not going to happen. To me, it’s what I said earlier, it’s the litmus test of the franchise tag value. Franchise tag value is two first round picks. We got two ones and a three, one of them being a player. I think really and truly you are not going to be able to know the value. You are not going to be able to give a Roman Coliseum thumb up or thumb down on this trade for a little bit. We have to see how Jabrill develops, and we have to see who this number one is, who this number three is. You guys will obviously follow Odell’s career and we will go from there. In two or three years, you guys will have your opinions like you do now.
Q: Did you have any discussions about Eli and his bonus, is there a thought of extending him beyond 2019?
A: Yes, we talked about it. We just said we are going to keep moving. Today is the day he gets his bonus and we are just going to keep moving.
Q: On Landon Collins, it was clear you guys were not willing to go to that price point. Why not trade him at the deadline?
A: First of all, the rumor that we were offered a first round draft pick isn’t even remotely close to being accurate. Did we have teams call in on Landon, yes. At that point in time, it wasn’t what I thought he was worth. At that point in time, we were really struggling, and what message are we sending by trading him. I didn’t think the value was there, and it’s about value, so that’s why we didn’t do it.
Q: How does making the roster older in certain spots (Bethea, Tate, Zeitler) jive with your building theory?
A: It’s about accumulating really good football players, who are also really good folks. The culture is important, I have said it a million times, you guys know that. The bottom line is with the way the game has evolved, 65 percent of the time you are in sub. You need a guy in the back end that can get everybody lined up and make all the adjustment calls. If you don’t have that, you can’t function. I’ve watched Antoine (Bethea) for years, you talk about a great sixth round pick. He is an adult, he’s a professional football player. He knows what he is doing, he can still play. I have this crazy idea that age doesn’t bother me. I better because my age doesn’t bother me. At the end of the day, it’s about a good football player. Antoine Bethea is still a hell of a football player, so is Kevin Zeitler, those guys can flat play. Plus, we have 12 draft picks, we are going to be really young. It’s about building a team, it’s not about individual players in silos.
Q: Are you concerned with the pressure being put on Peppers?
A: Jabrill is a hell of a kid. He is very bright, he’s young. We talked about it. At the end of the day, he is coming here to play football. He is going to have Antoine helping him out. Jabrill is very bright in terms of his intelligence. I told Antoine, in time. Jabrill should be able to make the calls back there. He doesn’t feel that pressure, he is thrilled to be coming home. He is very close to his mom, he is going to live in Bergen County, I think. I don’t think he feels that pressure. He is just excited to be a Giant. It’s the team he grew up cheering for, this kid’s coming home. I don’t think he feels that pressure, and we certainly aren’t going to put that pressure on him. There is no reason for there to be that kind of pressure on him. He is coming here to be a safety, play football and help the New York Giants win games. It’ss that simple.
Q: Last year when you brought Saquon in, you guys said you didn’t worry about putting expectations on him because you thought he could live up to it and that was from ownership on down. You have laid out expectations for Peppers coming here, you said you wouldn’t have dealt Odell in that deal without Peppers, so in a sense, you are putting those expectations on him, no?
A: I’m not putting them on him. He was an important piece of the trade. I didn’t trade Odell straight up for Jabrill Peppers. Jabrill was an important piece to that trade. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I believe in his ability. We watched film, we evaluated and we did him coming out. I was in Carolina at the time, he came in for a private visit down there, so I had personally spent time with him. He’s part of the trade and he’s an important part of the trade. He’s coming here to be a safety for the New York Football Giants.
Q: I know you talked a lot about acquiring players and having holes that you need to fill. Just curious how you justify that with bringing Eli back this year against the savings? The $13 million in cap space that it would create if he’s not on the roster. Just trying to figure out how those two ideas can coexist?
A: At the end of the day, when you blow the whistle, 11 guys have to go out there. I’ve done that study and on offense you have to have a quarterback run out there. I said it in Indianapolis and I’ll say it again, you turn around and take a look at what happened last year once we got that o-line fixed, better, we’re going to continue working on that and look at what we did the second half of the year on offense. This narrative that Eli is overpaid and can’t play is a crock, I’m telling you. At the end of the day, you guys have to say, ‘Gettleman is out of his mind’ or ‘he knows what he’s talking about when he evaluates players.’ That’s really what it is, that’s really where it’s at and I’m okay if you disagree with me, that’s fine. What I’m telling you is if you turn around and take a look at what he’s making right now, and look around the league and see what quarterbacks are making, if you were in my shoes, you would say, you know what, there is really not — the way he finished the season and what he’s making — there really wasn’t a decision to make.
NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN CODY LATIMER…
The New York Giants have re-signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver Cody Latimer. The Giants signed Cody Latimer as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos in March 2018 and placed him on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury in October 2018. The Giants activated him from IR in December. Latimer ended up playing in six games with two starts, catching just 11 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. However, he really flashed in the regular-season finale with two spectacular, one-handed catches.
The 6’2”, 215-pound Latimer was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Broncos. In four seasons with the Broncos, Latimer played in 45 regular-season games with three starts. He’s a big receiver who will fight for the football. Latimer is a good gunner on special teams and has experience returning kickoffs.
JABRILL PEPPERS AND KEVIN ZEITLER ADDRESS THE MEDIA…
Safety Jabrill Peppers and offensive guard Kevin Zeitler, who were both acquired by trade last week from the Cleveland Browns, addressed the media by conference call on Monday. Their transcripts are available in The Corner Forum:
DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESSES MEDIA AT NFL COMBINE…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana on Wednesday. (VIDEO)
Opening Remarks: Wow. How are you guys doing? How y’all doing? I used to do that down in Carolina, they didn’t believe for one moment that I was from there. Welcome to the Underwear Olympics. It’s good to see everybody. We’re in the roster building season part, there’s no offseason anymore, in case you weren’t aware of it. We’re in the roster-building season, we don’t play until September, I’ve checked the schedule, and so there’s going to be a lot of time to make a lot of decisions so I just want everybody to understand that. Just as a reminder, I’m not going to discuss negotiations, I’m not going to discuss timelines. As far as I’m concerned, that’s very personal between the club and the player, so don’t ask. Don’t waste your time. I’ll say this, it’s a repeat of what I said at my postseason presser – we didn’t sign (WR) Odell (Beckham) to trade him, ok? So I know that’s all over the place, so understand that and that’s all I need to say about that.
Then the other thing, I was here listening to the questions you guys were asking (Head Coach) Pat (Shurmur) and a lot of times we focus on numbers – how big a guy is, how fast a guy is, how strong a guy is, what’s his vertical jump, how tall is he, what’s his hand size, what’s his arm length – there’s all these, just a myriad of numbers, analytics’ delight of numbers. One of the things that we really focus on is instincts. Instincts are very important. You guys were asking Pat the question about the quarterbacks. You can write a laundry list of things you’re looking for and it’s not like you’re breaking new ground, it’s not like you’re splitting atoms, but one of the things that I focus on and my staff and we talk about all the time is instinct. Does he have a feel for the game? Is he a step ahead of everybody else? Instincts and play smarts allow you to play bigger, stronger, faster. That’s a fact of life. If you are a film watcher, when you watch it, try to focus on that – is this guy, does he seem to have it? I spent some time with an Aussie rules pro personnel guy a bunch of years ago and in Australia they say, when I was explaining what I was talking about instincts, he said, ‘So you’re saying to me, do they have the ‘chip’?’ That’s what they call it down there. So, to answer your question about tall quarterbacks, short quarterbacks, rollie-pollie defensive linemen, a lot of it is instincts and play smarts. With all that being said, let the games begin.
Q: Do you feel as though what you just mentioned exemplifies a player like Sam Mills, a player who doesn’t fit all the measurements but finds a way to make the play every time?
A: You do. Obviously, and I’ve said it before, it’s a big man’s game. You can talk about it all you want, the game’s changing and everybody’s going crazy about all the stuff the college guys are doing. Bottom line is it’s a big man’s game. So, if you don’t have size, if you’re missing a PQ – a physical quality, so to speak – you have to have what I call a compensating factor and the compensating factor a lot of times is instinct. Sam Mills was 5’9 – may he rest in peace – was 5’9 in high heel sneakers. He could find the ball. The other day I was watching (Panthers LB) Luke (Kuechly), I was watching Carolina defensive film and I was watching Luke, and I was saying to myself, it’s like he’s in the huddle. It’s amazing. That doesn’t just apply to a defensive player, it applies to every position on the field.
Q: You heard earlier that Pat said Eli (Manning) is back for 2019. You were a little vague on that at the end-of-season press conference. What led you guys to decide that?
A: Well, it’s a never-ending process. We haven’t even hit free agency yet, so like I told you, I had my conversation with Eli back right after the season ended and we are where we are. Like Pat said, there’s a million different models, there’s a million different ways to do this and you could cite a number of models where they had a veteran guy and they drafted a young guy, and at some point in time, the torch got passed and away everybody went, and it was a happy away everybody went. So, there’s still a lot of time to make these decisions.
Q: Is it safe to say you’re not looking for a veteran to (replace Eli)?
A: I can’t say anything like that. I can’t do it. You don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know.
Q: So you haven’t committed to Eli?
A: I just told you. We’re evaluating everything and we’ve just got to keep moving forward.
Q: How much does not having a third-round draft pick play into (your evaluation)?
A: It’s really funny. For what it’s worth, we really feel strongly that if (CB) Sam (Beal) were in this draft, he’d be a second-round pick. We feel pretty strongly about that. So while it’s aggravating that we don’t have a third, if Sam steps up and is doing really well with his rehab thing, surgery went well, and so if he’s the guy we believe he is, then we won’t be mad.
Q: Not asking about negotiations, long-term with (S) Landon (Collins), you have a deadline next week, so says the NFL. Will you tag him regardless of negotiations just to make sure you have him for 2019?
A: We’re still evaluating.
Q: How important is it to have him back?
A: Like Pat says, you always want good players on your team. Here’s what everybody has to understand – you’ve got 53 players on your club and you’ve got a salary cap. You don’t have 53 silos. Decisions like this can’t be made in a vacuum. You can’t do it. So, it’s a process.
Q: You talked about your film study with Eli. I’m curious about what you saw when you looked back that maybe you didn’t see live, and if that’s driving you toward your decision process?
A: The short answer is yes. You want a little more than that? (Laughter) The short answer is yes. Really and truly, like Pat said, we came in and it was a whir, and we evaluated the team as best we could, made decisions, move forward, and feel strongly we made some good strides. At the end of the day, we saw what Eli was capable of once we gave him help. He still can make big-league throws, he can still make the NFL throws, and it’s, I say it all the time, it’s the ultimate team game. It is, because 10 guys do everything perfect and an offensive lineman falls down, the guy gets whacked. So to answer your question, we looked at Eli and we feel good about him.
Q: Philosophically, though, and Pat talked a lot about this earlier when everybody’s playing at a high level and playing better around him, but is that feasible in today’s NFL where you need the quarterback to have everything perfect rather than a quarterback who can make the people around him better?
A: I didn’t say he needed everything to be perfect. What quarterback doesn’t?
Q: Brady? (Inaudible) Mahomes?
A: Well, you’re talking about a 38-year-old guy against a 21-year-old pup. Here’s what I’m going to say, and I’ve really been thinking about this. I got a headache, that’s why I hurt myself, I think. I’ve really been thinking about this: The narrative around Eli for the past four years, five years, since I was gone, was really negative. The narrative’s been negative. There’s an old saying, ‘tell a lie enough, you believe it.’ The narrative is so negative that when you take that position, most people struggle getting off that spot, most people struggle saying, ‘I’m going to look at this with fresh eyes.’ So for example, when you evaluate pro players, every year’s a new year. When you evaluate him, it’s a new year. Yes, before he was at this level, but that doesn’t mean when you look at him that he’s automatically at this level or at this level. You’ve got to take everything for what it’s worth at that time and I think that the narrative has been negative, and I don’t think it’s been fair.
Q: The narrative has been negative because the results have been negative.
A: Part of it, it’s going to go hand in hand. We live in a blame society, that’s what we live in. I got in a car accident and it’s his fault. No, maybe you ran the stop sign. Everybody’s pointing fingers, no one wants to take responsibility. It’s part of it. Like I said, it’s the ultimate team game. You don’t win it yourself, you don’t lose it by yourself.
Q: With all that being said, at the end of the season you were pretty clear about knowing your situation at quarterback, your 38-year-old quarterback.
A: Yes, we do.
Q: Is the perception that you’re sticking with Eli and, for all intents and purposes, kicking the can down the road to not have to make another decision at quarterback fair?
A: No, it really isn’t. It really isn’t. Free agency hasn’t played out, the draft hasn’t played out. I don’t think it’s fair. Listen, I have this crazy idea that my responsibility is that every decision we make is in the best interest of the New York Giants. I think I said this before, (Panthers Head Coach) Ron Rivera used to kid me, he used to say, ‘Wait until you have to cut one of your draft picks’, because when I first got to Carolina I didn’t know any of those guys so I had to make moves and you do what you have to do. When the time came, I picked and chose who we paid money to. I’m going to do the same thing here. These decisions are not made with my heart, they’re made with my head and with the experience I have. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been around a few Super Bowl teams. I know what it takes to build one, I know what it should look like, and at the end of the day, no, I don’t think it’s fair.
Q: So, conceivably, you could see Eli Manning back on your roster for this year, and another quarterback — whether it’s a veteran or a rookie — challenge him at that spot or for the future?
A: Yes. You can’t be afraid to draft over a player. You’re in the draft, you’ve gone through free agency, you’ve got all your stuff going, and you’re sitting there and you’ve got a good player at a position and a young kid comes up at that spot staring you in the face. You can’t be afraid to draft him just because you’ve already got one. The more competition you can create, the better your team will be. And you have to create competition at every position. You have to, because if you don’t, unfortunately human nature sometimes takes over and the guy gets a little lazy and he thinks is anointed, and all that other stuff. Does that make sense?
Q: Have you ever got to that situation where you look at Eli and think that because he hasn’t had any competition, or do you think bringing in competition might actually bring his game to the level that you’re expecting?
A: Absolutely, it’s very possible that that’s going to happen.
Q: Is adjusting Eli’s $23.2 million cap something you’d consider?
A: You have to look at everything, I’m not going to lie. I’m not saying I’m going to do anything (laughter). I’m just saying it’s my job. It’s my job to take everything into consideration.
Q: On Odell’s: (Inaudible)
A: You guys got to write about something, I guess. Speculate all you want. I’ve already made my statement on that.
Q: Do you expect Olivier Vernon to be on the team this year?
A: Again, we’re in the evaluation process. I hope I’m with the team this year.
Q: Why were you comfortable trading Eli Apple?
A: Why was I comfortable trading Eli? Because of the value we got in return. We thought it was in the best interest of the New York Football Giants.
Q: Did you pay attention to him after (he was traded to the Saints)?
A: You have to. Again, shame on me if I don’t check my hole card. So, yes I did.
Q: Being around a few Super Bowl teams, you haven’t drafted a franchise quarterback-
A: Me personally? No. I’ve been spoiled as hell.
Q: So you have been spoiled?
A: Are you kidding me? (Jim) Kelly, (John) Elway, (Eli) Manning, Cam Newton — not bad, huh?
Q: On what you’ll do now and if you’re confident he’ll be the right guy to have a major impact on the Giants in the next few years:
A: It’s really funny. I have one of the best consiglieres of all time. I talk to Ernie (Accorsi) all the time and what Ernie did for the Giants, it would be a dream for me to do the same thing. Does that answer your question?
Q: Inaudible – On scouting (Justin Herbert) and his decision to go back to college: How do you try to weigh this year’s (draft class) versus next year’s?
A: It’s an interesting question. I think at the end of the day, you can’t say to yourself, ‘I’m going to get him next year.’ You evaluate the Q’s, and you take the guy when you believe he’s the guy and it’s at the right spot. You can’t worry about the future because now someone else is going to say, well, in two years there are a couple college quarterbacks that are coming out that are really amazing. Who knows? I look at the NBA, and everybody says, ‘you’ve got to tank. We’re going to tank and we’re going to get this great player.’ What NBA team has tanked and it’s worked because they think they’re going to get (a player)? (Response: the Sixers) When they win a championship, we can have a discussion, but until that happens, it hasn’t worked. So at the end of the day, if the right guy is there at the right time who we think is the right guy, we’ll pull the plug.
Q: But in assessing this year’s class of quarterbacks-
A: Which is just at the very beginning of the process. You’ve got Indy, you’ve got the workouts, we’ve got private visits, we’ve got interviews. You can’t line them up now, and if anyone has them lined up now, God bless them. They’re smarter than me.
Q: You mentioned doing what Ernie did would be a dream for you. We know you won’t reach for a quarterback but you already gave up future draft picks, traded up so to speak, even though you have Eli. Would you be comfortable making that bold move if you have the guy you want?
A: No guts, no glory, kid.
PAT SHURMUR ADDRESSES MEDIA AT NFL COMBINE…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana on Wednesday. (VIDEO)
Q: On the return of Eli Manning:
A: I fully expect him and again, you’re going to ask me about particular players, Dave will tell you – you’ll speak to him later – I’m a body collector. I want to keep all the players we had and add a lot of new ones. I really feel that way about Eli.
Q: On your involvement in the evaluation process:
A: I’m intimately involved in it, both the free agents and then obviously the draft players. It’s very collaborative, we all want to hear what everybody has to think about every player and every situation. We talk about it frequently with ownership and we just try to make the best decision, and if it’s a matter of this player is no longer going to be here, let’s get a guy that’s better. That’s what we’re trying to do.
Q: You talk about being a body collector, and obviously there’s a couple quarterbacks that could be on the board at (the sixth pick). What do you look for in a young quarterback and what do you value out of a rookie quarterback?
A: I think they’ve got to have the traits you’re looking for to play the position. Times have changed, quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes. Then you obviously have to watch them play. They need to be productive, they need to make good decisions, they’ve got to know how to throw the ball accurately, throw the ball on time, they’ve got to lead their teams to victories, and they’ve got to do all the things necessary to play the position. That’s what we look at. We evaluate all the quarterbacks every year regardless of whether it’s perceived we might be looking for one.
Q: On your evaluation of the Vanderbilt quarterback (son, Kyle Shurmur):
A: The Vanderbilt quarterback – well, I’m extremely proud of him. He’s made great decisions. He did an excellent job in high school giving himself the opportunity to go to a place like Vanderbilt, graduated in three and a half years, helped them win games. He’s a good player.
Q: There was a quote you said last year about preferring taller guys. That’s made headlines the last couple of weeks. How does that fit in with (Kyler Murray)?
A: I think you’re digging into something. Obviously the player has to be productive, and as I just mentioned, quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes. Russell Wilson won a Super Bowl. I think you’ve got to look at the total player, look at his productivity, and you’ve got to look at whether he fits and then we as coaches will use their skillsets to the best of their ability to try to get the most out of him and help you win games.
Q: On what are you going to be looking for from Kyler:
A: We’re going to try to get to know him and watch him compete, try to find out who he is as a person and a player. Some of the quarterbacks we got a jumpstart on because of the Senior Bowl, but Kyler is a young player that I haven’t met yet. It’ll start with, ‘Hey, how ya doin’?’
Q: Does the baseball alternative scare you with Kyler?
A: No. That’s going to run parallel with our decision making of whether we like him or not.
Q: On how important it is to get the next quarterback in line with Eli coming back at 38 years old and on the last year of his contract:
A: We’re always trying to and, again, there’s all these narratives and the next franchise quarterback, replace this guy and do all this, and we’re trying to make our team better. We certainly, it’s no mystery Eli’s closer to 40 than he is 20. That’s no mystery and certainly we’re going to do the very best we can to get the best players, especially the one that’s playing quarterback.
Q: How do you scout the AAF guys?
A: We’ll watch the games. I haven’t had an opportunity to see much, I’ve kind of been following it and I’ve got some good friends that are involved in that league. It’s a league where guys are getting an opportunity to develop, especially at the quarterback position and some of the skill player positions. I don’t know much about the games yet, I haven’t had a chance to watch many of them or really any of them, I’ve just seen segments of games. Yeah, we’ll evaluate it and it’ll give us an opportunity to see these guys develop.
Q: In relation to Kyler Murray: How small is too small of a quarterback?
A: I don’t know what’s too small. Russell Wilson’s 5’10, we haven’t seen Kyler be measured yet, but when you watch him on tape he’s an outstanding player. For a sub-6’0” player, he only had five balls batted down. That’s why I say you’ve got to look at the player and how he competed, how he helped his team win games, how he moved his feet – you’ve got to look at all of it and then factor it in and decide if that player’s for you.
Q: On your position on changes to instant replay:
A: I don’t know. I feel like this is a human game, played by humans, officiated by humans. We’ve done a lot to help get things right and I think there’ll be conversations about making sure that that continues to happen and try to find ways. I don’t know how the language would read to expand it, but I think what’s interesting about all of it is if something’s wrong, we all want to find a way to make it right. I think that’s initially what replay was all about. We’ve got a lot of very smart people, much smarter than me, trying to figure out what’s the best thing. The good thing is we talk constantly about trying to make changes and improvements, and I’m sure we’ll do something.
Q: More on evaluating quarterbacks (inaudible):
A: You look at the core traits, and that’s why I say this, that once you’ve seen that they’re a really good player, you’ve got to determine whether they’re a very good decision maker. That crosses over into all areas of their life, because we all know what we’re looking for from the face of our franchise. And when the game is over, they ask a lot of people what happened, but every week, they ask the head coach and the quarterback what they think. That player is thrust into a position of leadership and being the face of the franchise, so decision making is important, accuracy, timing, all of those things, and I think we’re looking for all that.
Q: On once you get Kyler Murray’s measurables (inaudible):
A: No, we’re going to look at the player and decide whether he’s the guy that we want to be with the Giants.
Q: What’s your initial assessment of the overall quarterback class?
A: I’ve watched, there’s a lot of really good players playing quarterback this year that we’re evaluating. Nice try, I’m not going to sit here and evaluate them for you.
Q: Strong class? Stronger than last year?
A: I don’t know. There were a lot of good quarterbacks and I think there’s a lot in this year’s draft as well.
Q: Are there any important thresholds for quarterbacks?
A: Some of the numbers are important. We’re obviously looking for things that are elite in a player and, again, they come in all shapes and sizes.
Q: Have you talked to (S) Landon (Collins) in the last week?
A: Yeah, I’ve spoken to Landon throughout. He’s been in the building rehabbing and working out, but I haven’t since the report. I think it was reported with way more drama than what actually happened, but yeah.
Q: Do you expect him to be on the team next year?
A: As I mentioned earlier, I want all our players back, but beyond that, it’s free agency. This is the wrong time for me to be commenting on any of that.
Q: Are you aware if there have been active negotiations with Landon Collins?
A: I am aware that he’s a free agent and I’m aware of the fact that there have been conversations.
Q: On comparing last year at this time to this year:
A: Yeah, you bring up a good point. I stood up here last year and Dave, too, was very new. Dave was with the organization for many years and then was away for a few, so we were very new in the process listening to what those that were at the Giants were telling us about the players, but we have a much better view in our eyes of what our team is all about. We took over a 3-13 team, I think we made strides this year. We certainly are not good enough in really any area, we know though specifically those areas that we need to get better and I think that’s what that first year can do for you.
Q: To clarify, you said there have been conversations (about Landon Collins), do you know if you guys have extended an official offer on a multi-year deal?
A: I wouldn’t ’t talk about that. This is the business time of year. I know that there’s been conversations. Now, what those conversations are, I would never tell you.
Q: When you’re looking at prospects, is it the consistency of their unique traits that make them a full prospect, or just a good college player?
A: At all positions, yeah, there is. There’s things we’re looking for, and really as a coach, we go back to – we watch the tape, we watch them do what they do. There’s a lot of players where you turn the tape off and you say, ‘Darn, that guy is a really good football player.’ Then you go and look and maybe his measurables aren’t to what the standards might be, but you still love the player and you want to work with them. Then there’s other guys who have the elite measurables and you go watch the tape and you go, ‘Eh, he’s ok.’ That’s where it becomes a little bit subjective and that’s why getting to know the player, getting to know whether he’s going to be a good teammate, if he appreciates what it means to have relationships with coaches, that’s why all this is important because we get to know the player a little bit more intimately.
Q: There was a lot of talk last year on how instrumental you were in getting Odell Beckham to buy in even when he didn’t have his contract. A year into this, where does your relationship stand with Odell?
A: I think it’s good, I really do. I’ve communicated with him frequently in the last few weeks. It’s unfortunate he wasn’t able to finish the season, but it’s good, it’s solid. He’s like many of our other players, he’s off living, I think, in California now, but he travels quite a bit. He does a great job of staying in shape and look forward to having him back.
Q: Are you considering trading Odell?
A: I wouldn’t talk about that, but I’m looking forward to having him back here in April and moving forward with the rest of the guys.
Q: On whether or not you think there’s a difference between a quarterback that has it or not versus something that can’t be taught in quarterbacks:
A: There is. I think you can say, ‘OK, this guy has got it.’ I’ll go back to what I was saying about measurables, some of these guys have really good measurables or put up really good numbers but might not have as good a feel for the position as some other guys. That’s why this is really an important process. You’ve got some small college guys that played well and then you have guys who played on the big stage that have done a good job, but some of their success is based on the fact that they were playing with great players. That’s what’s really interesting about this is trying to predict and then pick the one that’s going to have success.
Q: On evaluating the potential development of a player:
A: I think it’s a little bit subjective, but you look at the young man and you just kind of look at him and say, ‘OK, this guy’s got potential to grow and get better’. I think at this stage, all the players do to some degree, but some certainly have more room to grow than others.
Q: On picking a new quarterback to learn from Eli Manning:
A: The decision to pick that player has got to be independent of that, but I think that’s going to be a great thing to happen to a player if that happens. I’ve spoken frequently about what I think of Eli and how he handles himself and how he prepares, and really everything he does behind the scenes, and I think a young player would greatly benefit from that. We all want to learn from somebody that’s done it – players, coaches – and he’s done it at a very high level and so being in a room with him I think would only help that player.
Q: You said your goal is to win as many games as possible. You also said that Eli is closer to 40 than he is 20. How do you balance a potential quarterback versus a guy you can plug and play?
A: I think the plug and play vs. the guy that – you’re still looking to play the best guy. I’ve been in situations where Sam Bradford started the first game. I was in another situation where Donovan McNabb didn’t start until Week 8. In fact, Doug Pederson was the starter. You’ve seen in Kansas City where (Patrick) Mahomes really didn’t play the first year, so there’s a lot of different models for that, speaking specifically to the quarterback.
Q: In relation to changes to the offensive line:
A: Oh yeah, we’re trying to get better in all positions and running parallel with that is all the things that everybody has questions about.
Q: How big is mobility while looking at a quarterback?
A: I really value a guy that can move around because it doesn’t mean he’s a runner, it just means he has a way to clean his feet in the pocket or scramble when necessary. Typically, if you’re going to have long drives and do it on a consistent basis, somewhere in that drive the quarterback has to do something with his feet to keep a drive alive or get a first down. Even guys that are not considered mobile, it might be subtle movement in the pocket. That mobility, I think, is very important. I think it’s essential really for a quarterback to have great success.
GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESSES MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media on Wednesday to discuss the state of his team after completing a 5-11 season (the video is also available at Giants.com):
Opening Remarks: Happy New Year! It’s good to see everybody. I hope Santa made a visit, or you had some good potato latkes. It’s good to see everybody. I just wanted to open with a couple thoughts to get us going.
We’re headed in the right direction, I really believe that. We’ve had a year, we’ve done a lot of different types of things. Obviously we’ve done a pretty extensive overhaul with the roster. We consistently talked about culture and building a winning culture. Again, it’s a team that had to learn how to win again. So I feel really good about the foundation that we’ve started to lay. I’m not happy with 5-11, nobody is, but I feel good about where we’re headed. There’s eight franchises right now looking for head coaches and the common theme coming out of them was they needed to get in the right direction. Well, I feel very strongly and very good about it – and it’s easy for me to say it to you people that we are headed in the right direction.
As far as the team’s concerned, I’ve told you guys this and I mean it: there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t ask myself the question, have me and the personnel people given Pat (Shurmur) and the coaches enough players to win with? I ask that question of myself all the time because roster building is a 12-month deal. The season doesn’t begin, ‘this is the 53 and this is the 10 guys on the practice squad, and away we go.’ You have to constantly evaluate what you’re doing, so like I said, roster building is a 12-month season and I’m very conscious of that. Like I said, we had a significant overhaul this year. By the end. I think we had on the varsity, we had like 13 guys that had an NY on their lid last year. That’s it. That’s a pretty extensive overhaul. Not every move’s going to work out, oh by the way, as we’ve seen. The other part of it is, I believe in that definition of insanity – keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. It’s true, so you’ve also seen that we make a decision and if it’s not working, we will make a change. Again, we still have roster work to do, I’m not going to deny that for a moment.
Then the last thing I want to talk about before I take your questions, just to get it out there just so you guys understand, (QB) Eli (Manning) and I had a very extensive conversation on Monday. No holds barred, he took me in the low post and won, but the bottom line is it was a very honest and up front conversation. I’ll keep what was said private between he and I, but in terms of any question you’re going to ask me today, just so you understand – we will do what is in the best interest of the New York Football Giants. That’s the way we’ve operated since I walked in the door, and that’s the way we will continue to operate. What we’re trying to do here is build sustained success and that takes some brutal honesty and it takes some tough decisions. Then finally, just as a quick reminder, don’t ask me about contracts, don’t ask me about negotiations, don’t ask about any of that stuff because I’m just not going to respond. Ok? Alright, let the games begin.
Q: How do you evaluate the quarterback position when you look at a 1-7 start to the season and then four wins over the second half of the year, three of which were against backup quarterbacks? Eli seemed to play better, but the pressure was essentially off at that point after the 1-7. So how do you weigh those?
A: First of all, I don’t want to hear about ‘backup quarterbacks’, ‘we played backup quarterbacks’. We went 4-4 in the second half. Here’s what I would say to you, when you’re bringing in and installing a new offense, you’re looking at four to six weeks before everybody’s really on the same page, and it’s really the outlier, it’s six. It’s going to be the outside of six. We were having O-line issues, weren’t we in that first half? We made changes and I think that’s part of it, that you’ve got a comfort factor in terms of you’re on the same page, the offense is on the same page, and you’ve also got a comfort factor in that the O-line, putting Chad (Wheeler) out there, claiming Jamon (Brown). Jamon came in out of the bye, that’s when we got him. So doing those kinds of things, that settled everything down, the combination of those two, and I think that’s the reason that the offense started to click. I almost fell down when they told me we scored more points than anybody else in the division, which kind of blew my mind. They swore to us, so I hope I’m not lying to you. The distance that the offense came from Week 1 to Week 16, you think of the points – the backup quarterback that we played against, for example, (vs. Chicago), he didn’t play defense, and the other backup, Washington – those guys weren’t on the defense, they were on the offense, so you’re asking me an offensive question. At the end of the day, between the fact that they were able to get comfortable with each other and we settled the offensive line down, we scored points. I saw a graphic, I think we averaged 27-28 points a game the last half of the year, something like that.
Q: Are you committed to having Eli back next year?
A: Here’s what I’m committed to do. I’m committed to making the best decision in the interest of the New York Football Giants. That’s what I’m committed to do. We’re in the evaluation process. I know that you guys want answers now, but very frankly, I didn’t come in yesterday. I’ve got to do what I do, which is get in my office and watch film. We’re going to meet this week with the coaches and get their evaluation. We’ll meet next week with pro personnel and get their evaluations and get their feelings on everything. That’s our schedule, and I will be watching film for the next who knows how long until my eyes bleed. That’s what I do. So, my commitment is to make this team the best team it can be and if that happens to have Eli playing quarterback, it does.
Q: Why do you feel good about the foundation? Why do you feel good about this team?
A: I’ll tell you this, and I know that I’ve said this before when we had our little fireside chats during the season and you guys looked at me like I was a little off, I feel good because, number one, winning in the NFL is not easy. It’s hard. Winning a game in the NFL is hard. If anybody tells you any different, they’ve never played, they don’t know the game. It’s very difficult. To go 1-7 for the first half of the year and to lose a number of close games, I think we tied for the league lead with 12 games decided by a touchdown or less, and it would’ve been 13 if the Saints didn’t score that late touchdown. To lose games like that, be 1-7 and to have the types of practices we were having where there was focus, there was energy, things were getting accomplished and the proof was in the pudding by what we did in the last eight games. That’s what encourages me, that’s why I think the foundation is right. You didn’t have any of the crap going on in the locker room that happened last year. There is nobody in this room that can argue with me on one point: this team did not quit. It was competitive as hell. That’s the start.
Q: You said you almost fell down when somebody told you that you led the division in points. Did you almost fall down when someone told you that you gave up the most points, too?
Q: That was evident to you?
A: Well, that’s why you’re 5-11.
Q: Is that the main reason you think you’re 5-11?
A: We’ve got to continue to improve. It’s not easy to win games when you don’t have playmakers. We need to improve the defense, guys. Just like I looked you right in the eye last year and told you we’ve got to fix this O-line, we’ve got to get better on the defensive side.
Q: You inherited two big contracts with Olivier Vernon and Janoris Jenkins. How would you evaluate those two, the way they played this year and moving forward?
A: I haven’t. This is what I’m going to do the next two weeks. My personal feeling is the biggest mistakes are made when you’re emotional. When the season ends, you’re emotional and you’re mentally cooked. So until I start watching the film, which is going to start today, I really can’t answer that question. It’s not fair.
Q: When you look at the moves you made last offseason, do you think you misjudged how close this team was to being competitive?
A: I didn’t misjudge it at all. That’s been asked before and I’ve thought about that. I had no illusions of what we were. None. You tell me why you think I misjudged it.
Q: If you know you’re going to be in a rebuilding process, you bring back Eli, you don’t draft a quarterback, you trade, give up a draft pick for (LB Alec) Ogletree, you bring in older veteran free agents, those types of things.
A: You’ve got to start somewhere. But by the end of the year, we had one of the youngest teams in the league. Listen, nobody likes losing. Nobody. Anybody in here like losing, you want to raise your hands? Nobody likes to lose. So what you have to do when you come in is you evaluate what you have and you say to yourself, remember, I’ve told you guys – I’m on that tight rope, and me in a tutu on a tightrope ain’t pretty. It’s the tight rope of you want to win now, you want to get those wins now because you’ve got a coaching staff whose fannies are on the line every Sunday, and you want to set the team up, the franchise up, for sustained success. We sat back, we made the decisions we made last year, and here we are. There’s some good stuff and there’s some stuff we’ve got to fix.
Q: You talk about not wanting to make judgments about players without looking at film. Last year at this time, though, you were very committed to Eli Manning. You said what you saw late in the season wasn’t a mirage. I’m just curious, is there a chance there will be a another starting quarterback next season for the Giants?
A: Listen, there’s a chance you and I are going to get hit by a bus. We’re going to do what’s in the best interest, we’re going to look at film, we’re going to evaluate everything. Everything’s on the table for us. Everything is on the table for us. Okay?
Q: When you look back at the evaluation process that led you to Jonathan Stewart and Patrick Omameh, do you have to do some self-scouting and go into this offseason differently?
A: We’ll go into this season because we have different issues. One of the biggest issues we had last year that we had to fix was what? The locker room. And both Jonathan Stewart and Patrick Omameh are true professionals, and they were brought here for a specific purpose, they were brought here for other reasons than their play. Just understand that. We feel like we’ve turned that corner, especially with this rookie class. (RB) Saquon (Barkley) is unique. I stood up here and you watched me drool all over myself in the pre-draft. It was ugly, wasn’t it? Things happen. I should’ve worn a bib from Joe’s Stone Crab. My point is, he’s unique and he’s special. So is (G) Will Hernandez, and (DL) B.J. (Hill), and (LB) Lorenzo (Carter), and (DL) RJ (McIntosh) is still growing up physically, (QB) Kyle (Lauletta) is in a different spot because of the quarterback position. But this is all part of the process. We’ll continue to vet guys out, we’re only going to bring quality people in here that hate to lose. That will stay the same. Obviously, we’re different than we were 12 months ago, we’re in a different place, so we’ll approach things somewhat differently.
Q: Last year when you evaluated Eli Manning, you hadn’t seen him play throughout the season, so you had to rely on the film. You’ve seen him take every snap this season, you see him in practices. Why do you need to go back to the film to form an opinion on what you just saw over the last four or five months?
A: I always want to be right. You always want to have your hole card and that’s me, that’s just my nature. I’m a film junkie, and there are things that I remember that happened that, oh, my gosh – that’s me. Understand this, and I think I’ve said this to you guys before: I am very intentional about how I operate. Very intentional. Methodical. Some people call me an Alta cocker (old man), whatever you want to say, but that’s just the way I am. I’ve been that way my whole career in the NFL. Very methodical about film watching and thinking about things in making decisions. I’m very intentional, that’s why I say yes, I watched every snap, but I want to watch the film and I want to have time to breathe.
Q: When you go back and you do this evaluation, obviously you’ve got guys like Eli Manning who have been playing 15 years, you’ve got some other guys who have been playing a couple years. When you do your evaluation and base it on everything, are you looking ahead or are you looking back at the entire body of work in terms of what they’ve done in the past, injury history and all that stuff?
A: Obviously, it’s different. When you’re looking at older players, you’re looking early, middle and late, did they fade? When you’re looking at younger guys, you’re looking for early, middle and late, did they improve? That’s what you’re looking for. It is a little different, I remember – I’m really going to date myself – back in 2000 when we brought in those three offensive lineman, Lomas Brown, Glenn Parker and Dusty (Ziegler). The big question for me on Lomas was what was he playing like in December because Lomas was long and lean. He wasn’t a power player, he was an athletic tackle, so I wanted to see is Lomas the same player in December that he was in September? When you’ve got older guys, you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to see if they fade or not. That’s why I will look and look and look and look until I have the puffs of white smoke coming out of my ears or my head or whatever.
Q: Pat Shurmur to us has been very supportive of Eli, saying he thinks he’s got years left, leadership, experience, makes the throws, all that stuff and pointed out that the last eight games, this offense scored a lot of points with Eli. How much will you take that into your evaluation of Eli that the head coach seemingly wants this guy back?
A: It’s part of it. This is not a dictatorship. I really am a big believer in collaboration. I’m not a dictator, I’m not. These are conversations that you’re going to have with Pat, that’s why I say we’re going to hear the coaches and what they have to say, we’re going to talk to the pro guys and what do they have to say, and then I’ll get my work done and we’ll get together and formulate a plan. Obviously it’s part of it. Pat’s had a lot of success with quarterbacks, so I’m certainly going to listen.
Q: When you and Eli had that conversation Monday, did the two of you come to conclusions, or did you leave it as the fluid situation that you’re portraying it to us?
A: We left it at that. We had a great conversation. He’s a mensch (a person of integrity and honor).
Q: I know you want to watch the film, but you when you watch this team every Sunday, what is your evaluation of your offense with and without Odell? What difference is that?
A: He didn’t play the last four games, right? Listen, the bottom line is you want him on the field. I have this crazy idea that he’s a great player, so let’s get him on the field. Unfortunately, he got the leg whip and those calves (quads) can be funny things, they really can. The offense did what it did with him and it did what it did without him.
Q: You guys obviously made a huge financial commitment to Odell Beckham just a few months ago. Are you committed to him being here in 2019 or are you open to trade ideas or anything as well?
A: We didn’t sign him to trade him, if that’s what you’re asking me.
Q: So he’ll be here?
A: You heard what I said.
Q: A year ago, you stood there and left very little doubt that you were committed to Eli. You were very strong about that, Pat was (too) a couple weeks later at his press conference. Today you’re saying you’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the Giants. Does that indicate a change in your feeling and commitment to Eli?
A: No, it isn’t. It’s funny, last year that was the question. That was the question, but if you think about it, the guy was running for his life last year. This year, we calmed it down. Once we got rolling, once everybody got comfortable with the offense, if you’re going to look at stats, it wasn’t too shabby what (Eli) did. Obviously, we want to win more games, and we’ve got to continue to improve the roster.
Q: How did he look to you in December?
A: In December? We scored 36, we scored 35, 27, scored 40. How does that look? He still can make the NFL throws. You know what I’m saying? He’s still got it.
Q: What would be the ideal scenario at quarterback going into next season? Would it be Eli and a first-round pick? Eli and you bring in another young player? Eli and a veteran free agent or just turning the page?
A: I can’t answer that question because I don’t know what the field is right now. I don’t know what the field is.
Q: How important is it for you to address the quarterback of the future of this team this offseason? Is that a priority?
A: Let me tell you something: if you make something a priority, you will make a mistake. It’s got to be within the flow of what you’re doing. You can’t force it, especially at quarterback. That’s why the guys in Carolina looked at me like I was out of my mind, you guys looked at me (like I was out of my mind). You get in the draft, you’re taking the best player — you’re not taking, ‘ I need a ___, so I’m taking a ___’. No. You do that, you’re going to make a mistake, you’re going to screw it up.
Q: The Giants have had one winning season in their last six. What is your message to Giants fans right now?
A: The message is what I’ve said to you before: we’re going in the right direction, we had a lot of competitive games and we’re getting better, and we’re going to continue to fix this.
Q: What is Kyle’s (Lauletta) future here? Are you still as high on him as you were (when you drafted him)?
A: We drafted him in the fourth round, he did some nice things in training camp. He did something silly in Hoboken or Fort Lee or wherever the hell it was (Weehawken). He’s developing, he’s like anybody else. I’m going to be a little bit of a jerk here maybe to some of you, how many of you guys wrote Pulitzer winning articles your first year as reporters? You understand what I’m saying? He’s a kid. I’m a kid, you’re kids, we make mistakes. None of us are perfect. Hopefully we learn, so to answer your question, Kyle’s a work in progress, just like me.
Q: When you traded Snacks (Damon Harrison), I believe one of the reasons you said was so the young guys could get some valuable playing time. How would assess what they did with that?
A: When we traded Snacks, part of the issue when Snacks was here was he played the one, we had Dalvin (Tomlinson) playing the three, and B.J. (Hill) playing the five techniques. Well, Dalvin’s a one technique and B.J.’s a three, so I’m very pleased with the change, to answer your question. 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.
Q: On the decision to keep Eli Manning: Will that decision, though, involve money? Can he have the talent to play here, but if he makes too much money, he can’t be here?
A: I’m not going to go down that road with you. Obviously part of the salary cap is, players are not in vacuums when it comes to that salary cap. Nobody’s in a vacuum. You don’t say, okay, I’m going to sign this guy, I’ve got to sign this guy – no, wait a minute, you’ve got to look at your cap situation. But I’m not going to go there. Not going there.
Q: Eli’s father (Archie Manning) told ESPN that if Eli wants to come back that you guys need to win, that he can’t go through another season like this. Can you guarantee to Eli that you will have a winning team for him to want to continue to play here?
A: Really and truly, can anybody guarantee anything like that? Really? All you Yankee fans thought you were going to win 162 games this year (laughter). I knew better. All kidding aside, you can’t guarantee that. There’s no way. I wouldn’t guarantee that to anybody.
Q: Do you understand his point?
A: No, because Archie didn’t tell me.
Q: How do you respond to the ongoing idea that you should’ve taken a quarterback, regardless of how great Saquon was his rookie season?
A: I respond to it by saying, again, you’ve got to take the best player available. If you start reaching, you’re going to get into trouble. I’ll say it again: us taking Saquon was not a referendum on the quarterbacks, it was a referendum on Saquon – on the player he is, and on the person he is. If I was in that situation 100 times, I’d draft him 100 times.
Q: You have (Nate) Solder, you have (Will) Hernandez. Do you feel like the other three guys could be your starting line next year? Is it a big emphasis this offseason?
A: Here’s what I would say – first of all, don’t forget (C Jon Halapio) Pio, don’t forget Jon. He went down, unfortunately, in the second game. He was playing the best of anybody. So, don’t forget about Pio. I am always going to keep working on those lines, on those groups. You cannot have enough hog mollies, you can’t, because people get hurt. You can’t have enough. People looked at me in ’13, we took a defensive tackle in the first round, a defensive tackle in the second round, and I had people say, and maybe they’re right, ‘Gettleman has no idea what he’s doing’. I’m always going to do that.
Q: Why is this offseason different from year one for you? What is different about this process?
A: I think what’s different is we’ve got a better understanding of what Pat and his coaching staff are looking for, because you’re looking for scheme fits. Last year was not easy, because we’re moving to that 3-4 look – that type of 3-4 that Jimmy (Bettcher) wants to play. There’s different style players on it, and you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. That’s part of it. We have a better understanding of what the coaches are looking for and it makes it big. When I went to Carolina, it was a 4-3. We had played a 4-3 year after year. So for me, it wasn’t a big deal. The offense was not a big deal. It’s really the defense that’s different.
Q: So it is fair to say the challenges last year were on the defensive side of the ball?
A: Exactly, and you can only trade out so many guys. When you blow the whistle, 11 guys got to go out there — at least you want 11 out there.
Q: Did you see anything to make you waver, in your mind, that Pat Shurmur is the right guy for this moving forward?
A: Not at all. If anything, it reinforced my feeling about him a year ago when we went through the interview process. It was the steadiness, it was the message. We’re 1-7 and we have two practices during the bye week, I just was kind of amazed. Again, you guys may gloss it over, but I don’t know that you can really appreciate it. You’re (the media) there, and then you’re gone. You watch them stretch – what are you guys there, 15 minutes? Then you’re gone. To stand there for the next hour and 40 minutes, I wish you could’ve seen it. Just the way Pat and the coaches kept everyone on task, going in the right direction, understanding that, to a certain degree, maybe we were the little engine that could. We kept pushing that thing up the hill. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the right guy.
Q: Why did you feel the need to have a straight-forward conversation with Eli?
A: I have this crazy idea that I’m always going to be honest and straight-forward, and sometimes that gets me in trouble, but we won’t go there. Eli came in and he wanted to talk. I just have this crazy idea that if a guy asks me questions, I’m going to be honest with him. It wasn’t like he was called to the principal’s office. He came to see me.
Q: Why did you call him a “mensch?”
A: Because he is – the way he carries himself, who he is as a person, the way he respects the game. You know men in your life who are not mensches. You know what a mensch is. There’s no deviousness, there’s no duplicitousness, none of that stuff. He’s a mensch. Someday, I hope to be a mensch.
Q: Do you look at this as a rebuild? Is it a multi-year process you’re in to get back to being a Super Bowl contender?
A: I just hate the word rebuild. You just keep going, you just keep building. It’s really what we’re doing here. We’re doing our best to accumulate the talent that fits our schemes, and that understands how to play the game, and hates to flippin’ lose. That’s what it’s really all about, and we’re going to continue to do this and get it right. We’re going to fix it.
The New York Giants have officially signed the following players to reserve/futures contracts:
RB Robert Martin*
WR Brittan Golden
OT Jylan Ware*
OT Victor Salako*
DE Jake Ceresna
DE Myles Humphrey*
LB Jonathan Anderson
CB Ronald Zamort*
LS Taybor Pepper
*Martin, Ware, Salako, Humphrey, and Zamort were on the team’s Practice Squad.
The Giants signed Martin to the Practice Squad in September 2018. The Giants originally signed the 5’11”, 207-pound Martin as an undrafted rookie free agent after he impressed at the May 2018 rookie mini-camp as a tryout player. Martin also flashed for the team during the preseason.
The 30-year old, 5’11, 186-pound Golden was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chicago Bears after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Bears (2012 and 2013), Jacksonville Jaguars (2012), and Arizona Cardinals (2013-2017). Golden played in 44 regular-season games with the Cardinals with one start. He has 18 career receptions for 293 yards and one touchdown. Golden also has experience returning kickoffs and punts.
The Giants signed Ware to the Practice Squad in October 2018. The 6’7”, 317-pound Ware was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders waived him before the 2018 regular season started. He has played in one regular-season game with no starts.
The Giants claimed Salako off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns in August 2018 and then signed him to the Practice Squad in September. The 6’5”, 316-pound Salako was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent time on the Practice Squads of both the Eagles and Browns in 2017.
The 24-year old, 6’6”, 295-pound Ceresna spent the past two years in the Canadian Football League (CFL) after a brief stint with the New York Jets in 2016.
The Giants signed Humphrey to the Practice Squad in October 2018. 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.
The 27-year old, 6’1”, 237-pound Anderson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chicago Bears after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Bears (2015-2017) and Arizona Cardinals (2018). Anderson played in 31 regular-season games with the Bears with three starts. He has 53 career tackles.
The Giants signed Zamort to the Practice Squad in October 2018. The 5’10”, 174-pound Zamort originally signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has not played in a regular-season game.
The 24-year old, 6’4”, 245-pound Pepper went undrafted in 2016. He signed with the Green Bay Packers in 2017, playing in four games, before being placed on Injured Reserve with a broken foot.
JULY 27, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their second full-team summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.
INJURY REPORT – GIANTS CONFIRM SAM BEAL DONE FOR THE SEASON…
Not practicing on Friday were defensive tackle Damon Harrison (“being eased into camp”), defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), cornerback Sam Beal (shoulder), and tight end Garrett Dickerson (hamstring).
“We knew about the shoulder, there was no mystery there,” said General Manager Dave Gettleman. “We knew about the shoulder, it’s like drafting anybody that’s got an injury, we knew about the shoulder. We had MRI’s that Arizona had taken, he comes here, re-injures it, does what he does, and you know, it is what it is. Best case scenario, he’s on the field and we’re not talking about this. Really and truly, we felt we’re getting next year’s third round pick this year. So now with the shoulder, we get it fixed – it’s about a five month procedure – and he’s ready to go in the spring. So, it is what it is. Anybody can get hurt…Yeah, he’s got to have surgery.”
“We had a plan for (Harrison) coming in, so we’re going to stick with that and I think you’ll see him out there this weekend,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I think this is typical of how he’s approached other training camps. We just have to be smart about the amount of work. Again, guys are all along that spectrum of experience and the key is to get them the work they need and get them to the first game, so that’s why.”
Some snippets from various media sources:
The starting safeties today were Landon Collins and Curtis Riley. The second-team safeties were Andrew Adams and Michael Thomas. Darian Thompson worked with the third team.
Cornerback Grant Haley intercepted an underthrown deep sideline pass from Eli Manning intended for wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Haley then almost intercepted a pass from quarterback Kyle Lauletta.
Safety Curtis Riley nicely broke up a sideline pass intended for tight end Rhett Ellison.
Tight end Evan Engram, wide receiver Travis Rudolph, and running back Wayne Gallman all dropped passes.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. made a great catch on what looked to be an overthrown deep ball from quarterback Eli Manning.
Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong blew up a screen pass intended for running backs Jalen Simmons.
Quarterback Davis Webb threw a nice seam pass to tight end Jerell Adams. Webb then threw another completion to wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo, who made a full-extension catch in traffic.
Quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Sterling Shepard connected on two good gains.
Safety Landon Collins picked off an errant pass from quarterback Eli Manning intended for wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
Quarterback Davis Webb threw a very nice touch pass to wide receiver Kalif Raymond.
Cornerback Donte Deayon broke up a quarterback Davis Webb pass along the sideline.
Linebacker Connor Barwin flashed on a few plays, penetrating into the backfield; linebacker Avery Moss also flashed off of the edge.
Safety Orion Stewart picked off a pass from quarterback Alex Tanney.
GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN…
The transcript of Dave Gettleman’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.
HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Friday 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:
DAVE GETTLEMAN DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman has been diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of cancer that starts in lymphatic cells that are part of the body’s immune system.
“Recently, I underwent an annual physical, during which it was discovered I have lymphoma,” said Gettleman in a prepared statement. “Over the past week, I have undergone more testing to determine the course of treatment, which is scheduled to start in the very near future. The doctor’s outlook for the treatment and the prognosis is positive, and so am I.
“I will continue to work as much as the treatment process will allow, and as they know, when I am not in the office, I will be in constant communication with (Head Coach) Pat (Shurmur), (Assistant General Manager) Kevin (Abrams) and the rest of our staff.
“I am thankful to John Mara and Steve Tisch and our organization for their support and encouragement, and to Ronnie Barnes for his guidance and assistance. And, of course, to my wife Joanne and our children for their love and support.
“And I want to thank you in advance for respecting my privacy and that of my family as we work our way through this. I look forward to being back at full strength and devoting all my energy to helping make this 2018 New York Giants team the best it can be.”
NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN PUNTER TAYLOR SYMMANK…
The New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent punter Taylor Symmank. The 25-year old, 6’2”, 195-pound Symmank was not drafted in 2016. The Minnesota Vikings signed him in January 2017 and waived him in early September of that year. Symmank punted nine times during the 2017 preseason, averaging 42.9 yards per punt.
NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE #8…
The Giants held their eighth voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practices on Tuesday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.
The practice was not open to the media, but Giants.com provided the following summaries of the action:
NEW YORK GIANTS WAIVE FIVE PLAYERS…
The New York Giants have officially waived the following players:
RB Terrell Watson
WR Canaan Severin
OG Damien Mama
S Ryan Murphy
P Austin Rehkow
The Giants signed Watson to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018. Watson originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with Bengals (2015), Cleveland Browns (2016), Denver Broncos (2016), Philadelphia Eagles (2016), and Pittsburgh Steelers (2017).
The Giants signed Severin in August 2017 after he was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers, waived him before the season started in September, and then re-signed him to the Practice Squad in late December. Severin was originally signed by the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Giants signed Mama off of the Practice Squad of the Kansas City Chiefs in December 2017. He did not play in a regular-season game. Mama was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chiefs after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Chiefs waived him in their final round of cuts in early September and then signed him to the Practice Squad.
Murphy was signed to the Practice Squad in September and the 53-man roster in December 2017. He played in the last three games of the season as a back-up and was credited with just one tackle. Murphy was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks waived him in their final round of cuts in September 2015. He spent time on the Practice Squad of the Denver Broncos in both 2015 and 2016. The Giants signed Murphy to the Practice Squad in late December 2016.
The Giants signed Rehkow to a reserve/futures contract in January 2018. Rehkow was signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Bills waived him in August that year.