Q: Did you have a good stretch …?
A: We had a nice jog-thru. You guys were in there having doughnuts or something and we were out here running up and down the field. But yeah, we did.
Q: What do you tell your guys at the end of the offseason program?
A: You tell them a lot of stuff. Most of it is private. The obvious is that they have one month, it’s not like a six-week break or whatever and, really, this whole thing based on the extra preseason game, there is a responsibility for the players to each other. Be in great shape, be able to change direction… none of these soft tissue deals where guys can’t practice. Our numbers are our numbers, they’re not going to change a whole lot. You like to think you come in with three teams so that you can do a good job with distribution of plays, particularly early on. But that’s where it is. That’s the majority of what we said.
Q: Overall, do you feel that you accomplished what you set out to accomplish during this camp?
A: Well, we had a lot of goals, a lot of things that were objectives in this camp. The integration of all the new people, whether it be draft choices or free agents that we brought in. I thought the veterans did a nice job of trying to integrate everybody into the team idea and I think we made some progress there. That was certainly one of them. Of course the offense and the offensive terminology and that type of stuff, so we’ve been hard at work on that, we’ve made progress. We’re not there, but we’re making progress.
Q: The extra preseason game shortens this time but are you feeling good about the idea of the extra practice time once you do get back?
A: It’s going to be a positive, no doubt. Yeah, we can use the work. The obvious is that we need to stay healthy in order to be able to take advantage of it.
Q: Are you able to send the players home with their playbooks during this break? It’s only four weeks.
A: Most of it’s on the iPads. We will give them some information, the quarterbacks will keep theirs, obviously, but most of the players turn it in. They may make a note or two. The hand-written notebooks go with them.
Q: You give the players a month, how much of that month do you take as a break?
A: I’ll be in and out. I’ll take my time – family vacation type thing like we do every year, I do that. Like I told the coaches, just leave everything like it is on your desk because you’ll be right back here.
Q: Do you take a week?
A: I’ll take more than that. By the end of the summer I will have taken time. I think that’s important. For me, a lot of times all I have to do is change the routine and I can get refreshed but you do need to get away.
Q: Was there also an emphasis today about staying out of trouble?
A: We always talk about being smart. The ‘NY’ never comes off. Be responsible. Don’t let someone who has nothing invested in your future make decisions for you, who you’re going to be with, where you’re going, how you conduct yourself. And of course conditioning work in the heat is an important thing and the realization, obviously, that alcohol and driving, just that alone, and the hydration process can be set back. You’ve got to be very smart this time of year with how you’re conducting yourself, what you’re doing. You can never lose sight of the prize.
Q: Is it helpful for guys to get together during this time.
A: Sure, oh yeah. To run together, to push each other. Sure they will.
Q: Do you expect that to happen?
A: In some cases, there’s no doubt it will happen.
Q: Can you talk about Ben McAdoo, having watched him on the field as an offensive coordinator these last few weeks and just the job he’s been doing and how he’s growing into that role?
A: He’s exactly what I thought when we hired him. He’s a hard worker, he’s driven, his priorities are what they should be, he works long and hard at his trade. I think he’s a good communicator, I think what we’ve got in the other coaches that we brought in, Danny (Langsdorf), the idea of everyone working together, Craig (Johnson), I think that’s been accomplished. I think everybody’s on the same page with regard to that. We’ve just got to make some progress.
Q: Do you have a different feel when you’re in a meeting with those guys? Is it a different vibe in that room and if so how?
A: Do I have a different feel? No, I don’t have a different feel, not at all. The different vibe only comes from the new players, how they fit, where they… some of those old seats…
Q: I’m talking more when you’re in the room with the coaches.
A: Oh no. No, not at all.
Q: When you say just to make some progress, just to be clear, you’re talking about on the field, the plays and execution and all of that stuff.
A: Yes, that’s what I’m talking about.
Q: The players who are nursing injuries and rehabbing and coming back, will that be treated any differently or will they get away for the month as well?
A: If they are going to be away, it’s already been set up that they rehab at a certain place. Guys like Beason are going to be here, Manningham’s going to be here. They’re not going too far. That’s all taken care of. There’s nobody that will go without the supervision that they need to make sure that they’re what they are like when they get back.
Q: Can you talk about your progress and your comfort level that you’re developing as a first-time offensive coordinator?
A: I’ll say this – 12 practices together versus the defense, we’ve made some progress. The players are working hard. They’re excited to be here, they’re dedicated. A lot of guys, we all understand that this is voluntary, most of it, we’re in our mandatory minicamp now but they made a commitment to the organization and we’re excited about that.
Q: When you become a coordinator is there a difference as far as when you can say things, how much say you have in things? Was it a big difference between Green Bay and here for you at all?
A: As a position coach you’re in a position of leadership and you’re really the head coach of your position. As a coordinator, the role grows. A coordinator position is a position of leadership and that’s how I look at it.
Q: How would you say the guys are picking things up so far?
A: They have a good feel for what we’re looking for at this point. To say that we have things mastered after 12 practices, by no stretch of the imagination do we have everything mastered but they understand the identity that we’re looking for moving forward and it will be exciting to get them back here and get some pads on.
Q: How similar and or different is, when you look out on the field and you look at some of the stuff that you’re running, how similar or different is it from what you were doing in Green Bay?
A: It’s a combination of a couple systems. The Giants have been playing good offense here for a long time. Coming in here, it’s an honor to be here, I come from a system that’s different than what they’ve run in the past here and we’re trying to merge the two together and get the best of both worlds.
Q: You’ve got an interesting weapon in Trindon Holliday, a guy who really doesn’t have too much experience offensively. Are you trying to work him in at that role at all?
A: What type of role would that be?
Q: Just a playmaker, I guess.
A: We’ll take all the plays we can get from anybody out there but Trindon has a special skill set. He has some speed, he has some quickness, he’s done a nice job as a receiver in there also in the slot making plays and also doing things outside so he’s been a pleasant surprise.
Q: Are you starting to see the offense develop the type of personality that you’re looking for?
A: Right now we’re trying to get better every day. We’re making small strides. Our identity – we want to be sound, smart and tough and we want to be committed to discipline and poise. At this point in time we’re not there but we’re getting close.
Q: How has it been to work with Eli?
A: It’s been great. On the outside looking in I’ve always admired Eli. I’ve had some rough days versus Eli in the past but I admire him as a pro. He’s a smart player, I like the way he thinks about the game and I’m excited to see him grow.
Q: How much input does Eli have? You’re obviously still developing and tweaking that playbook, how much influence or say or preference is he able to give?
A: Eli and I will work hand-in-hand, as will the other coaches. We always want the input of the guy under the center. He’s going to be a big part of the things we do here.
Q: You talked about merging the old offense and this offense. How much understanding of what the offense was here did that involve for you? Did you have to watch a lot of what the players used to do before you came here?
A: Just a lot of input, we put a lot of time to gather the stuff, it’s been great. A lot of us haven’t worked together in the past but it’s a talented staff, a high character staff and we’ve spent a lot of time together before the players got here, it was a little bit of an extended offseason and that helped us as coaches. Certainly you want the players here as soon as you can get them here but we spent a lot of time together and tossed around ideas. We all like football, we all love football and enjoy talking about it and that helps and goes a long way.
Q: Henry Hynoski said he was extremely excited when you got hired because of the way you used John Kuhn there. Do you see a role for Hynoski in this offense and would it be similar to the one that John Kuhn had for you guys?
A: Henry and John (Conner) have both done a nice job. We mix, we’re in and out of personnel groups and those types of things at this point. You like to use the fullback. The way I was raised, a fullback’s a big part of the things you do. Henry and John have both done a nice job so far.
Q: Tom Coughlin makes no secret how he feels about turnovers and how much they affected last season here. In your offense and in your teachings, is there a way to minimize turnovers?
A: Well, first things first, this will be our offense. This is going to be the Giants’ offense, not my offense. Watching the film from last year, it’s no secret they didn’t protect the ball as well as they would have liked to. We’ve made strides already I believe this offseason in doing that. The fundamentals were a big part of it, decision-making is a big part of it. And yes, it can be fixed, and yes, it will be fixed.
Q: Early on what are your thoughts on the guys you have playing tight end right now? Has anybody separated themselves from the pack in your mind?
A: I think we have a nice group there. We have big men in the room, I like the way they think about the game, I like the way they’re moving around on the field. When we get the pads on that’s when we’ll really know where we are.
Q: Tom has a strong background as an offensive coach. How much does that help?
A: I said this the first time I was interviewed after we decided to take the job, was this is a class organization and one of the classiest organizations in professional sports. I had a chance to work for a Hall of Fame coach with a Super Bowl type MVP quarterback and locker room that has a ton of character and a coaching staff that has a ton of character. That’s something that we’re all going to lean on, we’re all going to lean on each other.
Q: I would imagine it’s been a pretty whirlwind last five months for you, how are you going to spend the time now until training camp?
A: It feels like week 23 but it’s been exciting, an exciting time. It’s been a very fast time, I’ll spend a little bit of time away from it, try to get some work. I have young kids that will take naps, get some work done. It will be good to see them though. But we’ll get away for a little bit.
Q: You talked about how the players are coming along with the new stuff. How about you personally? Do you feel like you’re developing as a coach in your new role and what kinds of things are you finding are challenging about that?
A: I’m not spending a bunch of time worrying about myself. I like to do what I can and lead by… leadership through service is probably the best way to go. Do what I can do to help the coaches and the players around me.
Q: Will you be the game day play-caller on offense?
Q: That is a new role for you, right?
Q: How do you prepare for that challenge?
A: I’ve been groomed for the position. It’s… the way we’ve handled it in the past, Mike (McCarthy) does a tremendous job calling plays in Green Bay and works with Aaron (Rodgers), works with the offensive coordinator, works with the quarterbacks coach and at the end of the day you set the plan and you go out, you stick with the plan and you have to be ready to make adjustments on the fly.
Q: Is there a way to get used to doing that though beforehand? Is there any sort of practice or preparation you can really do or it is to just have the knowledge base and you have to actually get in there to do it?
A: You have to prepare for everything you do to be successful in this business. Calling plays is no different but you have to put the time in. It’s the planning, it’s the planning with everybody on the staff, it’s the planning with the quarterback and just trying to be one step ahead of the game.
Q: Do you prefer to be on the field or in the box when you’re calling plays?
A: We haven’t spent a bunch of time talking about it but all early indications are that I’ll be down.
Q: You had a lot of close relationships in Green Bay with Mike and Aaron. How important is that for a coach and how quickly can you get that going here with Eli and the other guys?
A: Relationships… building relationships and having strong relationships is an important part of pro football. It’s difficult in year one to do that, you usually have to go through some things together and develop a strong relationship so that takes time.
Q: Once you were hired did you feel like you then had to sell yourself to someone like Eli who has won two Super Bowls? Or is that one of those things that just has to come over time?
A: We have a value system that we believe in. Humility is one of those values. Respect is another and dedication is a third. Eli is very humble. He is a guy that is very anxious and very excited to be a part of something. He didn’t have the year that he wanted to have last year so we didn’t talk about this but what I see is a guy who is a consummate pro and is excited to move on.
Q: Did you feel like you were bringing some kind of culture shock to the offensive side?
A: No. I feel good about where I’ve been and the direction we’re headed. Maybe some folks who have been here in the past feel that way but I’m not someone to go out there and shock the world. I think that football is a simple game and if you take care of the football, if you’re a fundamental team and you’re sound and you’re smart, then you have a chance to win on Sunday.
Q: What have you learned about Rashad Jennings and how you can use him?
A: Rashad Jennings – he’s someone I have a tremendous amount of respect for. He came in, he shows up and he’s ready to work every day. I think he has a nice skill set for the position. I think he’s a young man who is very focused in the way that he goes about his business and I look forward to seeing him grow this year.
Q: Rueben Randle.
A: Yeah, Rueben’s had a very productive offseason. He’s a smart player and he’s caught on to things pretty well. I’m excited for Rueben.
Q: And the screen game, what are your thoughts on that? What’s your philosophy on the screen game?
A: It’s to get some completions and win the down. Slow down the pass rush.
Q: You’ve got some new weapons in the secondary, obviously Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond. How excited are you?
A: Very much excited. There’s some new energy, different blood. Some different speeds and so far they have gelled very well together.
Q: Can you talked about the linebackers and how slowly you’ve been adding the new talent – last year Jon Beason; this year Jameel McClain, the development of Spencer Paysinger. Can you talk about how they’ve grown as a unit?
A: Obviously, Jon was a big part of us being able to turn around defensively last year because of his leadership, his communication skills. And then we found the same thing in Jameel McClain in that he has good leadership skills, very good communication. Jim Hermann will be able to tell you that in the meeting room those two guys are constantly talking to each other. On the field they’re doing a great job of communicating. They have, it’s almost like a group chat all the time because they are football people, talking football. So that’s refreshing. And Spencer has joined in, Devon has joined in. All of them as a group are working really well together and accomplishing what we need to accomplish from a communication standpoint.
Q: It sounds like you have a lot of leaders developing on your side of the ball. Between Jon, Jameel, Antrel and so on. Is that a good thing? Have you ever had a situation like that where you’ve had that many leaders?
A: I think it’s a very good thing. The ones that will truly emerge we’ll find out in the fall and I think that we have guy that are stepping up and assuming some responsibility. We’re waiting until the fall until we proclaim who the true leaders are but it is refreshing, yet.
Q: Is Beason’s uncertain status, does that make it difficult for you, your preparation?
A: No. We install, we go as we need to go and we go with the intent that Jon will be ready when he’s ready. Just him being in the meeting rooms, being there, hearing his voice is enough for us. We proceed as follows.
Q: If he’s not playing, who will call the plays?
A: Jameel McClain.
Q: Is his experience the reason why you sort of favor him in the middle.
A: He played there in Baltimore, he made the calls in Baltimore, he did that in Baltimore. And then when we acquired him we acquired him with the though that he and Jon could play beside each other and if something did happen to Jon that he would be a person of interest that could do in there and do that. Yeah, I would say your assessment is correct.
Q: You lost half of your starting defensive line to free agency, can you just talk about that process of rebuilding it? I know you’ve got Hankins who will probably step in for Linval. I’m not sure who you have in mind to step in for Justin but can you just talk about that process?
A: Coach Nunn has done a nice job in developing the squired guys such as Robert Ayres. We’re glad to have JPP back, he looks like he’s in really good form, he looks like he’s in a good frame of mind and Coach Nunn will speak more about that. Kiwi has been very solid for us but I’ve been extremely impressed with Johnathan Hankins. Markus Kuhn came back from the injury last year and played just a little b last year. I’ve been extremely impressed with both of those guys. They have, technique-wise, accomplished a lot in phase one, phase two and phase three of the offseason program and then just their knowledge of the game, I think they’ve done a really, really nice job. Obviously we have Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson coming back so, again, I think the inside portion of our defensive line is a strong positive for us. We will continue to develop the outside portion of it.
Q: We’ve talk to you in the past about having tools in the toolbox. You’ve kind of smiled that you’ve got guys… your depth and talent now at corner, do those tools allow you to do some different things this year that maybe you haven’t done in the past couple years?
A: I definitely think those tools allow us to do a lot more different things that we have done in the past. We will definitely find out in the fall camp that…I was very excited about what we were able to install, some of the things we were able to do, the information they retained and executed at a high level. So yeah, it will be fun. I think it will be a lot of fun.
Q: Because there’s so much talk about all of the changes offensively scheme-wise, a new system, in theory you guys come back with a lot of the same schemes and philosophies as to what you want to do but I get the sense that maybe you guys are moving some things around at some point.
A: We came up with a lot of philosophies, some base philosophies. We’ll let you see the schemes in the fall.
Q: Just to clear up, it’s not as simple as, ‘Here comes Perry’s system and they’re going to run the same exact things that we’ve seen.’ Giving you different personnel packages, we may anticipate different things.
A: I like those new tools we’ve got.
Q: When you look at what the Seattle Seahawks did in the secondary, is there kind of a philosophical shift in the NFL, kind of building defenses from the back end instead of starting with the pass rush and going out?
A: When I look at Seattle I thought that the back end and the front end were pretty good. I thought they looked like the New York Giants in ’07, ’11. I thought they were a carbon copy of the New York Giants. I just think that they had good personnel and played good football and executed at a high level.
Q: How important it JPP to your defense?
A: I’m not telling you anything that you don’t know. JPP is an exceptional talent. When you have a person who has an exceptional talent on your football team you want him to play at the highest level he can possibly play at. How important is that? It’s important for him to be the best he can be, which allows us to do more things and allows our team to be really good. Obviously yes, we want him to stand out and be the person but JPP is a guy that, he thinks about team first, he works well within the team and the things that he does, we’d like for him just to return to JPP form.
Q: Devon Kennard seems to be gaining a decent amount of interest from you guys. What have you seen from him?
A: Very smart. For a young rookie I thought all of our young rookies came in very professional. Studied, communicated very well. We threw a lot at them, he was able to retain a lot of that information and go out on the field and execute and earn some of the trust of his fellow teammates and the trust of his coaches. When you have a young man that’s like that, and we have several young rookies like that, then you try to get them as many reps as you can… will determine how much you can play him but so far we really like what we see from a mental standpoint and a physical one.
Q: What did you see coming in? He played as a defensive end and as an outside linebacker for the last couple years. What did you see in him that told you that you could use him as a middle linebacker?
A: Understanding who the young man was and what he could being to the table and identified him as person, ‘Hey guys, we think this a guy that we can develop,’ and he can play a number of different positions but if you play him at one position then we’ll probably get the max out of him. I think our scouts were right in their assessment of the person.
Q: They talk about him really selling you guys when he came here, Devon. Was that sort of how it went down?
A: We had the opportunity to put him on the board and just talk football. Just talk football and see how much football, not New York Giant football he knew but how much football he knew and that was huge. Again, Coach Hermann will expand upon that.
Q: How far away is Damontre from being the player you need him to be in this defense?
A: I would really like to give you a set answer. I think preseason games will be the measuring stick. We all look pretty good when we’re running around in underwear, shorts but when you get hit in the mouth and that person reacts, that’s when you can measure and find out where you really are, especially when you get hit in the mouth by an opponent. We think he’s made a lot of progress from where he was a year ago. He has grown a lot and if he takes that next step in the next month on his own, progressing even more, then when he comes back in the fall we’ll have another measuring stick of where we need to go with him.
Q: I know you’ve had your own concerns but 12 practices, what have you seen from the Ben McAdoo offense? Are you impressed?
A: We love it. It’s definitely up-tempo. It’s multiple personnel groups and he tries to get the ball to all of the different weapons that he has an opportunity to get them to. It was always difficult to defend when we played against him and it’s still going to be difficult to defend, I think, once the players react and still think. So we’re very excited about it. We love it as a defensive staff.
Q: How similar is it to what he ran in Green Bay?
A: They have that philosophy but I think it’s going to be the New York Giant personality that will come out within the offense because Eli is different than the quarterback in Green Bay. Eli will put his own spin onto it and then they will mold it to what they want it to be. I tell you, I think they’re excited about it now and at times you can see that when it’s executed very well, when they execute, it’s sharp looking offense.
Q: You said you were excited about some of the young linebackers, what have you seen from Dan Fox?
A: I keep going back there – smart. A smart football player. I keep going back to professional, a professional type person that studies. I’m really pumped up to see when he gets hit in the mouth how he’ll respond. I think he’ll be good on special teams for us and just a solid player that you can develop and build on. He’s… I think this is some of the better rookie linebackers that we’ve brought in in the last four years that I’ve been here. That ’11 class was pretty good. I think this class is really stepping up to the plate to try to equal that or better.
Offensive Line Coach Pat Flaherty
Q: Basically Chris and William haven’t worked most of the spring. Has it been tough not having two prospective starters on the field this spring?
A: Yeah, it is different. They’re guys that have played but I surely understand that they’re rehabbing some injuries so we have to be patient with that. Hopefully they get back sooner than later.
Q: Do you look at Will Beatty as your left tackle now or do you look at it an open competition at this point?
A: The way that you have to approach things in this game is that when a player is rehabbing an injury you have to get your next guy ready. As a coach that’s all you can do. You trust the player that they’re going to get back as soon as they can, we have an outstanding medical staff as you well know, but as a coach I have to continue to get somebody ready to play because the game doesn’t stop. We’ve got to keep going.
Q: Would Charles Brown be that option or would you maybe…?
A: He’s going to be one of the options. That’s why we signed him in the offseason, for that reason and that’s why he signed with the New York Giants because he knew there was going to be an opportunity. He, as well as the rest of the offensive line, are still learning the new system so there are some growing pains there but we hope in training camp that each day is going to be a better day for all of those guys.
Q: In the past you’ve had a pure center and then kind of a swing guy that backs up but this year J.D. Walton, pure center and Weston Richburg, pure center. As an offensive line coach what does it do for you to have two guys that you know are playing that position and you have that type of depth?
A: Well it really doesn’t change a lot from that standpoint. I think the center position is as important as a left tackle, as a right guard, as a left guard, as a right tackle. What we’re going to ask our center to do in the months coming forward is to help us more with the directing of the offense and take some of that off of the quarterback with our system. Does that change a lot? I’ve always been the type of coach where everyone in our room should know the offense. If you are a center you have to know what the guard does, if you’re a guard you have to know what the tackle does and then when you really get good and know the offense you know what the running back does so we’ve always approached it that way, that’s the way I teach so we move forward in that fashion.
Q: How have JD and Weston taken to the offense?
A: They’re getting better every day. They really are. They, a lot of those guys in that room besides JD and Weston, they’re really taking the bull by the horn and challenging themselves to learn the offense. I’ve been pleased from that standpoint and the learning part that’s going on each and every day.
Q: How are you adjusting to all of the new faces in the room?
A: How am I? That’s a great question, that really is. Change is going to happen, we all know that. I like it, I really do. I mean, do I miss, you always miss people that you’ve been around for a lot of years, sure. But we all understand in most businesses that there is going to be change on sometimes a daily basis, most of the time on a yearly basis and that’s the profession that we’re in right now. So it’s a challenge because we have a mixture of youth and some veterans that come in from other teams that have to learn a whole new offense, as myself. Any time you have that type of… when you’re a competitor as you are as a player and a coach you kind of grab a hold of that and it’s fun. It is.
Q: Although he’s not healthy now where do you see John Jerry fitting in?
A: We signed John in the offseason and, again, I say that we signed him and he signed with us for the opportunity to be a starter for the New York Giants. What do I see in him? I see to plug him right in and see how quickly he can make up the time that he lost in the past couple weeks. Any time, I think one of the great questions is: ‘How is so and so improving because he’s been injured?’ Well, you really only improve in football by doing football activities. That’s how you improve in terms of technique and fundamentals.
Q: So you view him as a starter or a starter-capable guy?
A: Yeah, until I see more of everybody I couldn’t tell you right now the starting lineup. It’s too early. I know that, I say this over and I firmly believe in it, I don’t know how much you can tell when you’re in gym shorts when it comes to the offensive line. They have to put pads on, they have to put their eyes on a landmark, put their pads on people and they have to be able to block. We’re only going to see that when we put pads on. You don’t just have to do it one day, you have to be consistent in what you’re doing. Have a few of those guys done that in the past? Absolutely coming from other teams. I watch the film they did a heck of a job and I’m excited about that but until you see it in our system time will tell.
Q: Do you think having five preseason games will be more beneficial to your position than anybody else on this team?
A: Yeah, it’s going to help. A lot of the things, the guys that have missed time have to make up that time in training camp and in the preseason. The guys that have benefitted from being behind a person that had missed time got a lot of reps this spring, a lot of reps. I’m a firm believer that if a guy can’t go and you get extra reps you better take advantage of those extra reps to help you become better.
Q: One of the guys getting those reps is Brandon Mosley.
A: I see improvement on a daily basis, I really do. He’s, as we sometimes forget, Brandon is really in his second year. His first year he was on IR. He was with us in training camp and then he had his foot operated on and he was put on injury reserve so he missed a year of football activity. Last year was really his first year and he was progressing very well and then when he had the opportunity to really take the bull by the horn again Detroit he went against a good football player and was rally battling pretty good and then he broke his hand and it started all over for him again. The one thing this spring showed for him and showed for us is that you’ve got a lot of reps and he didn’t miss any time. That’s a good step in the right direction for him.
Q: Are you expecting John Jerry….?
A: I am, I’m expecting to have John and am excited to have John. When that will be, the medical staff could answer that.
Q: Do you think you’ll have him for training camp?
A: I’m hoping to have him for training camp. Again, the answer to that question as a position coach, I get that information from the medical staff. But I sure hope so, yeah.
Q: Weston Richburg you have been moving between center and guard.
A: You know the main reason? And you guys have been around me, people say, ‘Well, you flip this guy back and forth.’ I don’t like them standing around. How are they going to do good standing beside me, right? You’ve got to get in there in play, especially when you’re young. You have a lot of energy, you’re young just like everybody before me. You’ve got a lot of energy to do that so use your energy. It’s only going to make you better. He’s learning the position, not only at center, he’s learning at guard and he’s progressing.
Q: And Walton, what are your thoughts on him?
A: JD is doing well. He’s going to learn the offense as well as the other guys up there but he’s been practicing and approaching this day-to-day with a great attitude.
Q: And he’s healthy?
A: It looks to me that he’s healthy. I keep my fingers crossed that he’s going to continue that way because we sure need him to be.
Q: Have you been pleased with Eli and how he’s been doing in the spring?
A: Yeah I have. He’s been much... well he’s been healthy and has been able to practice, which was a surprise a little bit. We weren’t sure exactly when we were going to get him so having him out there has been a big plus for us. I think he’s done an excellent job of studying and being prepared for each practice each day. He’s picked up the offense in a short amount of time, he’s done a great job with adjustments. I think all-in-all we’re very pleased with where we’re at, especially with him.
Q: Have you tried to work with him specifically on fine-tuning any of his techniques or anything like that?
A: We’ve spent a lot of time fundamentally throughout the spring, both footwork and everything from ball fakes, ball handling to throwing accurately to dropping back. There’s a little bit different of footwork that we’re using, some of the routes that he’s used to, and we’re timing it up with the receivers so there’s a little bit of fundamental work but he’s a veteran guy and a pro that’s had success for a long time so we’re not doing anything, drastic changes, but just trying to fine tune and tweak a few things.
Q: What are your thoughts on Nassib so far? What have you seen from him?
A: Really smart. I think he’s done a great job, especially in our no-huddle periods of just being able to get guys lined up, whether we’re in a two-minute situation or whatever situation we’ve been in he’s done a great job of just getting us in a correct formation, getting us lined up. He’s just got to keep working on executing, whether it’s a throw or timing with the receivers, he’s just got to continue to work with those guys but he’s been very good to this point in terms of studying and learning.
Q: It seems that he can move a little bit. Is that a part of his game that you’ve seen as well?
A: Yeah, he’s taken off a few times when we’ve had either a broken play or a breakdown in protection and made some plays with his feet. That’s an element of the game that he has and he’s used it. I think if you’ve seen practices he’s gotten out on the perimeter a few times and has looked pretty good.
Q: With Eli being the quarterback he is with the resume he has but also coming off the year he’s coming off of, do you ever feel… does he want tough love? Does he want you to give it to him straight to improve?
A: You know, he’s taken it upon himself that he needs to have a great season coming up. He knows, I think he’s had, with the amount of success he’s had in the past, I think he knows the challenges of last year, the turnovers and things. He’s been very motivated to improve and you can see that just with his daily preparation. He’s in early, he stays late, he’s studying. I know he was on his way to a function and he was studying in the car. He’s taken it very seriously, he’s taken the offensive changes very seriously in terms of studying and being ready each day. I think there’s no question that he’s motivated to improve from last year.
Q: I’m sure it doesn’t work for a coach at your level to walk on eggshells around a player but did you have to kind of feel out a relationship with him at all?
A: I think there is definitely a trust factor that you’ve got to gain. I wasn’t here to bring up a bunch of stuff in the past, we’ve got enough changes philosophy-wise offensively, that’s where we really put all of our attention going forward. I didn’t have to bring that up or harp on last year at all, he knows that he’s got to cut down the interceptions. Those things kind of go without saying. I didn’t have to spend a lot of time with that stuff. We really focused this spring on kind of moving forward and how can we improve and just try to work on getting better each day.
Q: What about Curtis Painter?
A: He doesn’t get very many reps, that’s the hard part with him. He doesn’t get as many chances out there but fundamentally he’s really improved. I think he’s a very accurate thrower, that’s his strength. He had a little bit of a knee early on so he didn’t get as many reps in the individual periods that we had at the beginning of the offseason program. He’s gotten more work lately. He’s a veteran guy too that’s been a backup and kind of knows what that entails. He’s done a great job preparing himself and with the limited amount of reps he gets he’s been pretty sharp. He stayed sharp through the spring.
Q: You talked about making sure everybody is getting the reps. At one point I think you had five on the roster. Were you a little worried about that?
A: Having the guys at the time, we had some questions about where people were health-wise so we were carrying a little bit more but as we got healthier we got that down. That certainly, it’s hard to rep five guys for sure. Three is a good number. You’d like to be able to develop that fourth if you have enough spots. Without the extra spot, having three is some pretty good work and you know everybody gets… the starter and the backup get the majority of the snaps but the third guy gets a few reps here and there.
Running Backs Coach Craig Johnson
Q: Can you talk about the group chat that you have with the guys? How helpful has that been?
A: Yeah, that’s been pretty good. My guys are great. The chemistry in my room is as good as I’ve had in 30 years of coaching. I talked to them, they are all over it. We talk back and forth and we talk about… you’re a little fast in this protection, you need to do a better job with this than you are with pass catching. ‘Got you coach, got you. Oh really, Coach?’ So it’s been great, I really like that.
Q: Do you get to know the guys on a personal level through that?
Q: What do you think Andre Williams does in the backfield, particular within the scheme?
A: A big fit. He’s a big, strong physical runner. He led the nation in rushing last year in college football. He is strong, he’s a very explosive runner. I hear that from the defense, they say, ‘Man, that guy has really got it going.’ I’m really excited to see what he’s all about and you can tell, he runs hard and you can tell. But as I have told him, that’s all great. When the pads come on then you’ll get the change to separate a little bit. Am I concerned about how he is going to do? Not at all. But I still have to see it for all of the young players before I get real excited by the young guy.
Q: Andre hasn’t caught the ball much in college. What can you do to kind of… it looks like he’s catching the ball out there with his body and stuff. What can you do to work with him and what does he need to do to…?
A: I think… I talked to him about blocking and I talked to him about running the ball. It’s just the process, you want to be a well-rounded guy as a back. In modern football, that’s how you get to stay on the field a lot so we do drills after practice, we do drills sometimes when he just has time with me so we’re always going to try to work. But for a young player there’s always, always room for improvement. I’m going to work with him on ball-catching but I’m also going to work on his knowledge of the defense and I’m also going to work on him on his running lanes because you don’t just focus on one spot too much. Just trying to make sure he’s a well-rounded player.
Q: You had a coaching career that kind of started in this area. What’s it like to be back? How much has everything changes since the last time you were here?
A: I wasn’t playing in this stadium before. It was the old stadium when I was back here before with Rutgers University way back in the mid 80’s. I know they love their football. It’s a great atmosphere. If you love football in the NFL this is a place that you love to work at. It’s been everything I’ve asked for so far and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going happen when we can finally have some Giants fans cheering for me instead of doing the other.
Q: It’s been a while since you’ve coached running backs. Is it different going from position to position?
A: I think it’s a great challenge for me, probably like for a lot of the coaches when you go from one position to another but I think if you’re a good coach you’ll coach. When I last coached running backs extensively was when I was here at Rutgers. However, in 2010 I coached the running backs in Tennessee. So I had a good running back there, he did a good job. I think, bottom line is, you learn the stuff that you need to know, you find the little details and the intricacies of the position. The thing I’m fortunate with after coaching another position is II always saw the whole field, I know where they fit so I can kind of… I don’t have to go to the quarterback and say, ‘I want them…’ I got you, they don’t need to talk because I understand where he’s supposed to be.
Q: Could you talk about the dynamics, a lot of new coaches here on the offensive side of the ball, and the process? What has it been like to help develop this offense and make it your own?
A: That’s a great question. I think all of us have our little ideas about what we want to do and Ben has been great as a coordinator. He asks our opinion. He doesn’t say, ‘This is my offense,’ it’s ‘This is our offense.’ So he asks for a lot of our opinions as far as, ‘What do you think about this scheme? How do we want to run the outside more than the inside? What about this package?’ He’s done a good job of that so all of us feel like we have ownership in it and I think anytime you have that in any business you always feel comfortable because they’re asking you so since you’re giving input you better make sure the product is pretty good. I think we’re all working at that and I think for all of the coaches here with the new terminology, it’s a great challenge. I don’t think any of the players would say that it’s the same old stuff. We have definitely had a good playbook thrown at us and we really have embraced that challenge.
Q: When you’re able to reach your guys is it like the learning never stops?
A: I would say right now the way that we are going with the offense that the learning does not stop. The more we get the more Ben is pushing. ‘I want more, I want more.’ And that’s a great challenge, that’s a great challenge for me as a coach that we’re going to see if we can teach as much as we can and execute on as many different levels. What we’re trying to do is prepare for the whole season and so I think that it’s been certainly a challenge for us as a coach, you don’t go home at 5 o’clock and shut off, I can tell you that right now but I like that and it’s kind of re-energized myself as a coach and as a person.
Q: There is a very common philosophy – if you don’t pass protect, you don’t get on the field. That’s been certainly the philosophy here in the past. How strongly do you subscribe to that for your running backs?
A: If you were to see the first quote that Ben was talking about as he was going through talking the importance of the running backs, the first thing he said is, ‘I want to know how they can pass protect.’ And that’s still true. Right now the NFL is kind of revolutionized and it’s going much more towards a passing game. That’s why, as we talked about, you want to be multi-dimensional and be able to run, pass protect, catch and block and I think it’s critical so it’s not only knowing how to block, it’s knowing who to block. That’s part of the deal and that’s what we’re working on right now – to make sure we’re on the right guy and then once we get to that right guy then we can keep him off our quarterback. That’s a big key.
Q: You don’t have Adrian Peterson here who will carry the ball 30 times a game. How friendly is this offense to have a running back by committee? Because it looks to me like you have guys with different skill sets and it is a good running back core by committee. How does that work into this offense?
A: I think those decisions are probably still going to be made later on. I do know this – I think my job of being a coach is bringing out the strength in every player that I have and how much this player is going to play versus that player, I don’t know but I do know we have a deep group that does bring something a little bit different to the table, as you mentioned. I think that’s great but most of our guys have pretty good size, which I think is pretty good. Now you may not have the challenges in the pass protection as you might have for some other guys because at least they have enough size to hold up long enough to get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands.
Q: How curious were you when the whole process was going on to find a new offensive coordinator and the idea of who would come in, what system would come in and, obviously, playing the position you are…
A: It was huge. A lot of coordinators don’t even use a fullback so I was sweating it out there for a little bit just waiting to see who we hired. When I heard we hired Coach McAdoo, I was like, ‘Oh, we’re good.’ Fullbacks are good, the way they utilize Kuhn out in Green Bay. It’s been exciting so far, I really like what he brought to the table with the offense. It seems like everybody is starting to come together now, starting to grasp the offense good, everything’s being unified so everyone is kind of excited about that and we’re excited to pick up in training camp where we left off.
Q: How different is what you’re being asked to do now compared to what you did before as fullbacks?
A: Honestly, being a fullback is being a fullback. The first thing you have to do is lead block, number one. Then you have to catch passes and the third thing you have to do is run the ball. Here you might be asked to do all three things more than we’ve been asked to do in the past. It was mainly lead blocking in the past but now it’s going to be more towards that even distribution. There is certainly going to be opportunities for the fullback to get the ball, but we can’t forget the number one thing is to lead block, especially isos, outside zones, lead plays, that type of thing.
Q: Internally what’s the biggest difference between the offense you were used to and now? Is there a personality difference do you think?
A: Right now a lot of what we’re working on is a fast-paced type of deal. You see that every day in practice, it’s kind of like a no-huddle that we start out with. That’s kind of the emphasis right now. It’s really high energy, everything we do, we want to be quick in and out of the huddle, get up and run the play, come back and do it again. There’s not a lot of wasted time, not a lot of wasted movement. It’s a very high energy, intense type of offense. The way Coach McAdoo coaches it, that’s kind of the way his personality is – 100 miles per hour right ahead, very driven, excited about what he does. He fits nicely.
Q: Was that the first impression you guys had when you got to meet with him?
A: First of all, he’s a great guy. He’s a heck of a nice guy but just his intensity for the game, his love for the game, his passion for the game. That’s what, seeing that in him, that carries over to us, being excited, just how driven he is, how excited he is. It transfers over to us on the field. There’s a lot of energy, a lot of excitement. Players are really enjoying it.
Q: This offense made the fullback in Green Bay a cult hero. Do you look forward to that?
A: I am, yeah. There is certainly a decent fullback role in this offense. When I heard that they hired Coach McAdoo when that whole thing was going on I was excited because you don’t know if you’re going to get an offense that doesn’t use a fullback. We know he does and there are going to be opportunities for us to run, block and catch, all three things. I think that’s what makes a fullback special in the NFL, if you can do all three of those things.
RB David Wilson
Q: When you leave here you obviously know that in the next month you’re going to get some news you’ve been waiting for. What’s your mindset going away from here?
A: Just regular. Just staying healthy and staying in the playbook and staying focused. Learning my assignments so when I come in for training camp it’s second nature. It’s not going to be second nature, it’s only a couple weeks, it’s a new playbook but the more comfortable you get with it, the faster you can play out there and the better you can run.
Q: Do you leave here with any doubt that when you come back you will be cleared?
A: Is that a neck question?
Q: It’s a clearance question.
A: No, I don’t want to answer that. We already know the situation, I’ve talked about it enough. I’m looking to get cleared on the 21st.
Q: You’ve had a chance to look at this offense now for a couple weeks, how well would it fit you if you were to get out there?
A: That would be ideal.
Q: What makes this offense good for you?
A: I just like the schemes personally. I like the options I have and the way I can use my athletic ability. I think I really could play a role in this offense.
Q: Does it get you in space any more?
A: Space and also no decisions, it’s kind of me finding the hole and finding the crease. Also I have the ability to be able to, the running backs have the ability to be able to create flow in the defenses and certain plays and get out there and be athletes.
Q: There seems to be a lot of short passes in this offense. Is that something that suits you well?
A: We’ll find out.
Q: Is it something you think you’ll enjoy?
Q: With the new offense, do you feel like you’re going to have to adjust how you’re going to spend this down time before camp as far as studying to pick up more of it, make sure that when you come in you can literally hit the ground running?
A: Yeah, I’ve been getting a lot of mental reps and I think that helps more than anything because getting out there and just doing it and getting it wrong and getting it corrected… I think I learn better when I’m watching and I have a visual in front of me. I see guys running, I see their mistakes and I see what they do right. I feel like I could tweak things that they do excellent and I think I need to pick up. I’ve been very observant in practice and am asking a lot of questions.
Q: Has there been any significant changes with anything regarding technique or anything you would have to do differently for this offense as opposed to the past offense?
A: No, not at all.
FB John Conner
Q: You’ve been in a lot of different offenses; you’ve dealt with offensive coordinators in different spots. What’s your take on Coach McAdoo and his presence in the room when he’s got all of you guys together?
A: He has a really good presence. He expects the best out of us every day, to go out there and give it 100% because he’s going to give us his all every day. That’s what he wants out of us.
Q: Is it much of a change? You were here last year, you know what it was like to have an offense that… there is a lot of familiarity. Do you sense a different vibe in the room when the offense gets together when a different OC is calling the shots?
A: A little bit. He has his roles that he wants to get across and his whole demeanor. It’s a little bit, it’s not much different but you can notice a little bit.
Q: What are the differences?
A: It’s just two different personalities, I guess. That’s all I could really see. Coach GIlbride, he had a great perspective on things, and I think McAdoo has the same thing, just different personalities.
Q: Were you as curious as everyone else when the hire was made? Did you watch Packers film?
A: Yeah, a little bit. I noticed they had a lot of single-back stuff and their fullback did play a little bit. Some games he played more than others, so it’s kind of like just seeing how it’s going to go in training camp right now.
Q: You were the emergency running back last year in a few situations and you played running back, do you feel like that’s going to help at all?
A: Absolutely. In this offense, offense or defense, it’s the more you can do. If that’s special teams, anything. Whatever you can do, that’s going to help anybody in this system.