Q: Is there any different feel being back, coming off of what you did last year, than there is for normal minicamps?
A: No, it’s a continuation in what we’ve been working on these past few months. We’re here, we’ve got everybody here, have some new guys who couldn’t be here earlier, so have them here, get a few days of work and hopefully finish strong. Review of everything and have these three days of good practices and finish on a strong note going into this little break before we come in for training camp.
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to David yet?
A: Yeah, I’ve talked to David. He’s one of my best friends and I’ve known him for a long time, so obviously I’m feeling for him. I’m sorry he’s has to go through this, but we’ll get through it. He’s here at practice and we put it behind us and keep moving forward.
Q: Chase was saying that he’s been such a model citizen and such a great representative of this organization for 10 years and doesn’t want this one incident to mar the way people view him.
A: Sure, Diehl’s one of the best guys and he’s done so much around the community, here in New Jersey, in New York, and he’s been a tremendous player. A true warrior. Never has complained about anything. Has played all sorts of different positions and just goes in there and battles. Again, one of my closest friends and I feel for him that he has to go through this. We can all learn from what he’s going through and just a reminder, you can’t flirt with drinking and driving.
Q: ….. to be back together as a group?
A: It’s always great. We’ve been together for a few months now, we’ve been working hard, so just try to have a great week of practice, these three days, and finish strong. For the veteran guys that continue to grow and learn the schemes and also get these young guys caught up to speed. And one more time to review everything. They’ve heard it once, hear it one more time, and then when we get back into training camp they’ll hear it for the third time and we’ll go from there. Understand our base plays and things that we do and how to be able to hopefully get out on the field and help us out and become a better team.
Q: Is there a different feel in the two times you’ve won a Super Bowl, when you get back together in the spring into the summer for work? Is there a different feel coming off that victory?
A: No, I don’t think so. The motivation and the mindset is we’ve got to get better. We got to become a better team, we got to become more consistent. You’re looking at plays from last year, concepts over and over again, and say we ran this concept 50 times. Let’s watch all 50 plays and let’s learn from it. How can we get better? Why’d you have so many incompletions? What were the factors? Was it because of a misread? Or the way someone was playing it? So, just continue to learn in that aspect and ask myself, receivers, offensive line, everybody looking at their own technique and seeing how we can improve to make sure we play at a higher level this year.
Q: What are you most curious about as this team tries to defend its championship?
A: It’s not so much curious, it’s just making sure. We’re going to need some guys to step up and we lost some guys, so we need some guys to raise their level of play and other guys who’ve been doing it. Also need some guys who are either new to the team or have been here just a number of years that haven’t been a big part of this team to raise their contributions and play at a higher level and fill some spots. Fill some roles. We have a number of guys who are competing for those jobs and we need to see which ones are going to step up and take initiative and show the commitment to becoming a better player.
Q: Just like last year you lost your primary tight end from the season before. How long did it take you last year before you felt really comfortable and in a groove with the tight ends that replaced Kevin Boss?
A: Obviously, with Jake and Travis last year, I had some guys that’d been around. Bear, he knows what he’s doing and knows the scheme, knows the offense, he’s played for us, so he’s doing well. We have some young guys, Martellus, some new guys, who are coming into the system, so they’re trying to get caught up. They’re learning from Bear, so you at least have a guy who’s been here a little bit and knows what’s going on. So it’s going well and Martellus has been banged up a little bit, so he hasn’t been out there a whole lot, so I think he’s going to go this minicamp. Have him out there, full speed, and getting caught up.
Q: Do you think the guys in this locker room realize that in order to get back to where you guys were that they have to raise the level? Do you think the guys know that the intensity level is going to be greater now?
A: I mean I hope so. I think that’s the message that Coach Coughlin has tried to tell the guys. We’ve got to get better. We can’t be satisfied with where we are right now. Last season ended well but you can’t just look at the end result and decide whether you’re pleased or unpleased. You have to look at everything in between, every game. All the plays and look hard at those things to see where you have to make improvements. We definitely have to make improvements. There’s a lot of areas where we have to get better and I think it’s still the mindset that we were 9-7 last year. That’s not good enough. We’ve got to become a stronger and better team and we were close to missing the playoffs last year and that’s not the mindset we want to go in. We want to go in being a strong team. More consistent and play at a higher level all year.
Q: Did any receivers step up in your eyes so far? Between the OTAs and ……?
A: There’s a number of guys who are playing well and that’s a good problem to have. We have guys who are doing some really good things and learning. And some young guys who you can see them getting a sense of what we’re trying to do, what we’re coaching and some guys that still have some learning to do, but you see their talent on certain plays. It’s a matter of making sure you’re getting the most out of your talent……, what your assignments are, and what you can do.
Q: Do you think you’ll change the way you use your backs with
A: We’ll have to see. We’ve still have got some big backs and Ahmad runs hard and Danny’s still a powerful running back. So, some of them are a little bit better out of the backfield, so getting them into the passing game should be a benefit for us, but I don’t think our scheme will change too much.
Q: When you mentioned that Diehl plays multiple positions, where do you expect to see him this year and are you comfortable with him on the right side? That’s something he hasn’t done in quite a while.
A: That’s always a good question. He’s been playing mostly on the right side, at right tackle, so that’s the plan for right now. So, hopefully that plan sticks and he should be strong there and play there. Hopefully William can get healthy and get back out there and play on the left side. Diehl’s one of those guys, wherever he turns up, he’s going to play at a high level, compete, and do everything the right way.
Q: How much better can you get? I mean you had a phenomenal year, last year.
A: I can cut down on the interceptions. Our third down conversions were low on passing situations, so those are some key areas where we have to get better as an offense. I’ve got to make better decisions and find a way to stay on the field and don’t turn the ball over.