Q: Where is your group? What do you like? Where are they a week into this thing?
A: I like what we did yesterday, I really did. I thought we as a group competed better than what we have thus far this training camp. It’s an old adage with me, that once we put pads on, that’s when we start finding out about what type of group we have. First couple of practices in pads, we weren’t ourselves. We have to develop a personality. Today was the first step for us as an offensive line group to develop that personality that we need. To run the ball better, to protect better, do all the things that are necessary to have a good offense.
Q: Coach was saying that if the temperature amps up, it gets the big guys to work up a sweat, is that a good thing?
A: Yeah, they do, and you know what, there’s a fine line between mental toughness and taking care of your body when you’re out there. We as a good training staff in particular… It’s up to the player when they come to practice to be hydrated. It’s up to all of us, coaches and the trainers, to keep them hydrated as much as we can during the training camp. It’s a little bit different from the old days when I wore a uniform. We might’ve got an ounce of water when the practice went on. We keep them hydrated. They’re going to experience some things they’re going to have to adjust to just like you’re going to experience down in Jacksonville in the first preseason game.
Q: Is it nice to have Will Beatty back on the field after battling injuries through OTA’s and mini-camp?
A: Yeah, it is. He’s done a nice job. Right now, he’s working through the pain in his back, but he doesn’t show many signs of it. I know time to time he’ll go and get re-checked just to make sure everything is ok, but William has missed so much time as I mentioned to him the other day, ‘When was the last time you had pads on?’ The first day he put pads on was November of 2011. So they felt a little bit different for him, but worked through it. He’s really progressing very well, I just hope, as we all that the back holds up well for him, to work through it.
Q: Coach, how vital is he to the offensive line?
A: Well, everybody is vital to the offensive line’s success because you need as many guys, particularly with the experience that you’ve had in the past. William certainly fits a very good piece of the puzzle because he can play left tackle athletically and that allows us to keep David Diehl at right tackle and work the younger groups into the backup roles as we’ve seen.
Q: I know one big goal of your group this year is to improve blocking in terms of the running game, what can you do in camp now that you have pads on to teach them to start making those strides?
A: Well, it’s an attitude, and that’s where it starts. It’s an attitude that we’re going to run the football, and we’re going to knock the defenders out of the gap. We have a very good defensive line as you all know, but we’re going to play against some very good defensive lines. So it’s going to be an attitude, our technique needs to be better than theirs. We need to have the passion and the effort to finish the box, and the coordination with the tight ends and the running backs. That’s as much as anything in the running game. There’s nobody better that directs the running game than Eli Manning. He can get us in and out of the good plays. It’s up to us. Very rarely it’s going to be a perfect play. We have to make whatever play is called. We have to execute and get a crack for our running backs to get up in there. That’s our job as an offensive line.
Q: Do you sense better continuity right now than you did last year at this time?
A: I do, and the reason I do is because we’ve had more work with the group. In particular, David Baas came to us and he’s playing such a key position as center. He comes in and really had to learn the offense last year, and had to learn who the guys on the offensive line were. He knew them by name, but he probably didn’t know anybody more than that. He played tremendous through the playoffs. Thus far, in particular, along with David Diehl, Chris Snee, and Kevin Boothe are really taking off where they left off in the Super Bowl, so I’m really pleased to see that. We are pleased to see that as a coaching staff. We still have a lot of work to do. The continuity at this point is much better than at this point last year.
Q: This is Kevin Boothe’s first camp coming in as the starter, how has he handled that? Has anything changed?
A: No, he’s started enough games in his career that it’s no shock. What I’m pleased with Kevin is that he’s taken the bull by the horn. Once you develop into a starter, you kind of go through and say, ‘I’m not going to lose this starting job.’ Whatever happens as a player, you don’t want to lose that spot. So that keeps the edge on you. That keeps the intensity; that keeps the sense of urgency. He really has a sense of urgency in doing it.
Q: You see that from him?
A: I sure do. He’s a guy that obviously has taken awhile to work into that starting role with the New York Giants. He does not take it for granted.
Q: You’ve had him for a while now?
Q: Is this the track you imagined for him, or was he a little slow developing?
A: No, Kevin was not slow in developing. What he was was a versatile backup for us from the previous years that he’s been with us. Because of retirement, injuries, etc., and his level of play has picked up remarkably. He’s earned that starting position.