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Quotes (7/22): Rolle, Cruz

Posted Jul 22, 2014

Giants meet the media following the first practice of 2014 Training Camp

S Antrel Rolle

Q: Because of the money that was spent in the offseason on the secondary there is a perception that this should be a more heavily emphasized secondary style defense. Do you think that’s the case?
A: It won’t be based off the money. I think it’s just about the caliber of guys that we have here. We have guys that are hungry and guys that want to compete. More importantly we have a couple guys that can push those other guys and that makes it much more better. We just want to go out there and compete.

Q: What is the pulse of the team on the first day?
A: It’s almost to a point where you have to hold yourself back. It’s just the first day of training camp. All of the guys are excited and were trying to get out there and see what we can put together. It’s going to be a very stressful week that we have here.

Q: Do you think you have the ingredients to be a quality team?
A: Absolutely. I think this is one of the most talented teams I have ever been on.

Q: Would you be disappointed if it was not a playoff season?
A: I’m not worried about that right now. I never set myself up for disappointment.

Q: Do you set tangible goals during the season?
A: Our goal right now is to play together as a team. Once we do that, everything else is going to take care of itself. Win or lose. It really doesn’t matter at this point. Our main focus right now at training camp is to practice smart and practice fast.

T Justin Pugh

Q: How does it feel going into training camp? Are you nervous, excited, anxious?
A: I think there’s definitely an anxious atmosphere. Guys are ready to get out there and get after it. I think for me, I’m a lot more calm than I was last year. I know what to expect. I know how we run things, what to expect from the meetings, how [Pat Flaherty] runs a practice, so I’m more calm.

Q: Is it hard not to put pressure on yourself? Your job is extremely important when you look at the quarterback and keeping the quarterback safe. Does that add to the anxiety going in?
A: I think it’s offensive linemen, that’s just the nature of the job. You’re protecting someone’s livelihood. I mean, if you’re a receiver and you drop a ball, no one is getting hurt over it. If you miss a block, you’re going to get a running back hit or a quarterback hit, so obviously there’s that pressure. But that’s what we signed up for.

Q: You guys took a little bit of a beating last year. You took some criticism about the way the line performed together. How did that fuel you in the offseason and how does that fuel you now?
A: I think it definitely puts that chip on your shoulder, where you want to come out and prove that you’re a lot better than maybe what you showed last year. I know we had a lot of injuries and we’re just excited to get out there and gel as a unit. There’s a lot of new faces in that room, so it’s going to be a big chance for us. Luckily, we have five games, so it’ll give us a lot of time to gel.

Q: How will things change for you without Chris Snee on your left side?
A: Chris was obviously a great player. I’m going to miss him in the locker room and on the field. So we just have to go out there and make sure we’re communicating and doing the right things, making sure Mosley and I are on the same page. He was out there a lot of the spring so we have a good feel for it. Obviously it changes when you don’t have a two-time Super Bowl guy out there, a Pro-Bowler, but we’ll make it work.

Q: Iss it a different feeling with three-fifths of the starting line turning over?
A: There’s a lot of new faces in that o-line. I was talking to some of the older guys yesterday, and I said “hey, it’s a little bit of a different feeling in that room.” There’s no real veteran presence. I mean Will Beatty is a six-year guy but you know, there’s no two-time winners anymore with Snee, Diehl and Boothe all gone. But someone has to step up, we have to play well. The team can’t stop when guys leave so it’s the ‘next guy up’ mentality, I think that’s how the Giants have always been and will continue to be that way.

Q: What’s it like having Jay Bromley and all the Syracuse guys on the D-line?
A: Syracuse is taking over! In the equipment room there’s a little Orange Nation sign so hopefully we’ll keep bringing in Syracuse guys as long as we keep playing well.

Q: Can you just talk about this being your second year and how a lot of things aren’t as new?
A: Well obviously the offense is new this year, but everyone being on the same page, learning at the same rate has definitely helped me out a lot. I was able to get in there and really start fresh in the spring, get a lot of good reps, getting five names, it’s something that I’m excited about. I think being familiar with the way things are run around here, how practices are handled, have made me a lot more comfortable out there on the field.

Q: You’re kind of getting thrown into the fire for the second straight year with so many guys.
A: I don’t think it was like last year when those guys had been running the same offense for ten years. We’re all kind of getting thrown into the fire, which is a good thing. I think our offense has been rejuvenated. We feel good out there and we’re ready to go. We have a lot to prove this year. From our start last year we have a lot of things we need to work on.

Q: When Chris became a leader of the offensive line, it was pretty clear that that was .... This time it seems it’s a little bit less clear about who the leader will be. Do you guys feel like you need to do it by committee or will somebody step up?
A: I think as the Giants have always been a team where 5 guys step up and play. I think if you look at that 2008 offensive line, where a lot of the guys – you know, the David Diehls, the Shaun O’Haras, all those guys were there. Obviously Snee. I think you really don’t want to have one guy. If you can have five guys all be a leader, that’s a great thing. As an offensive line, we have a lot to do this camp, and gel. There’s guys that are leaders on the field, guys that’s that are leaders in the locker room. That’s what it’s all about.

Q: Is this a more exciting offense to play in than what you’ve been used to?
A: I think last year there were just moments where you got kind of frustrated that we weren’t playing that well in the beginning. I think that in any offense there’s exciting components of it. I like the attacking style of offense we had when I played at Syracuse. Keep the defense on their toes. That’s something that I enjoy and I think all the offensive guys definitely enjoy that.

Q: Do you think this offense, relying on a lot of new faces and changes, has the components?
A: Definitely. Me personally, and a lot of guys in that room, had the privilege to learn from three great players that left last year. In one way or another we had Snee retiring, Diehl retiring, and Boothe leaving to go to Oakland. We learned a lot from those guys and Will Beatty has been around. He’s won a Super Bowl. So we go out there and we play, we fight. Coach Flaherty is one of the guys people don’t mention enough. He’s someone in that offensive line room that definitely keeps us going and makes sure we remember where we came from, because the Giants have a proud tradition of offensive line play and we’re going to continue to do that.

Q: Do you accept the challenge that people are saying a lot of questions about this offensive line? Do you almost use that as motivation?
A: Yeah, I think there were a lot of questions last year. There’s always going to be questions about it. The only way to stop those questions is to go out there and play. I think that we’re going to do that and we’re going to play well and we’re going to change a lot of people’s opinions. That’s fun. I’d rather have it be this way than the other way, everyone having those high expectations. We’re going to go out there and we have the expectations for ourselves and we know what we can do, so it’s time to go do it.

Q: You’re not that far removed. What do you say to some of the rookies that are just starting?
A: You earn your respect by the way you play on the field. I think keeping your head down in the locker room, you don’t need to be a flashy guy, you don’t need to be talking too much. Just go out there and show us why you were chosen when you were chosen, and do it that way. I think doing the right things off the field, making sure you’re on time, you’re not a distraction, and listen to the veterans. Luckily, I had a great group of guys and I’m going to try to carry on that tradition that they built.

WR Victor Cruz

Q: What would you tell the new and young guys on the team about the Giants way?
A: It is all about performance and it is all about humility. It is all about how you prepare and how you carry yourself and go about your business. Being a Giant is all about going about your business the right way, and going about it in a humble way, not being boastful about it and just going out there and doing what you have to do to succeed each and every day. Especially as a young guy, you have to go through the wars and battle, study the playbook, making mistakes and being better as a teammate.

Q: Is the new offense difficult to pick up in regards to the new language and having to pick things up and the offense not going as fast as you would like it to go?
A: It is a little difficult. Just solely in terms of learning the new terminology, like you said, and learning it on the fly and doing it on the field as you hear it. That is the toughest part is hearing the play, processing it and be able to run it at a quick pace. Other than that, it is a challenge for me and I know it is a challenge for the receiving corps to continue to go out and get these plays down and try to be the best players we can be while learning the new offense and competing at a high level. So it’s a challenge for us.

Q: Coming off of last year, do you see it as something that is a welcome change?
A: I think so. It is not like we have much of a choice. It was one of those things where we had to conform to it and be able to roll with the punches and buy into the new system and do what we have to do.

Q: How comfortable do you feel in the new [offensive] system so far?
A: On a scale of 1-10, I probably feel around an 8. I feel good about the offense right now, I feel good about how I feel, and pretty much the stuff from mini-camp has carried over and I feel good about. Hearing the terminology, even during the month I was off, I took a look at it and got to look at some things so I feel good.

Q: Do you think getting the ball in your hands more quickly can help you as a receiver?
A: Yeah I would love that. Any receiver would love to get the ball as early as possible so they can see what is coming and make them miss. Especially a guy like myself that loves to do things after I catch the ball. If I can catch the ball in some space, that is always a positive so I am definitely looking forward to it. This season should be a good one.

Q: Do you consider your strength when you have the ball in your hands?
A: Absolutely, I like to have the ball in my hands, whether it is a three-yard route or 30-yard route. I want the ball in my hands so I can make big time moves and make people miss, and get in that end zone, which is one of the things I feel like I do best.

Q: What are your thoughts on Odell [Beckham Jr.]?
A: Odell is good, he’s a good player. He has good physical abilities and he’s fast. He’s quick and he can help us in the return game as well as a receiver. It is just a matter of him understanding that learning curve and being someone we can be held accountable for what he does out on the field. He is a good player so far and it is just day one, so it will take a little bit to get him his range and stuff like that. It should be good to see him mature as the year goes on.

Q: Did you see Eli [Manning] getting the ball out quicker at mini-camp?
A: I did. As he got more comfortable, he looked better. He looked like he wanted to get the ball out of his hands. He looked sharper. He looked more confident as the days went on. It felt good to see him that way. It felt good for all of us to be on the same page and that was one of those things that lacked before. That pop. That energy that you are used to seeing from the entire offense, not just Eli. We had that at mini-camp, so hopefully it will continue.

Q: For years everyone knew Eli knew everything about the offense... Is he that star student yet in this new offense? Or are you all trying to learn this together?
A: He is getting there. You can see that there are little things where Coach [Ben] McAdoo is asking questions, he is the first one to answer and I’m a close second right behind him. He is definitely answering all the questions. You can tell he has a good grasp of it so far. You really learn it when you go through and you run plays and call them in the huddle. As you continue to mature in the process, that is when you get the bearings on the offense when you are out here on the field. It should get better as we go on but he has a good grasp on it.

Q: What do you make of the durability of Eli Manning?
A: It is tremendous. I hope I can bounce back after playing ten years in the league and bounce back like that. It is amazing to see him. It is more the personal confidence he has in himself and his ability to not let the team down or to not want to let the team down. Coming back and throwing the ball around when he had just came off an injury and he was feeling good, maybe at 80-90 percent, but he still wants to be out here with us and throw the football around and get on the same page as us. Especially since we are learning a new offense so it is definitely good to see him, and it says a lot about him.

Q: Do you feel a sense of nervousness, as Eli mentioned yesterday, coming to camp this
A: I’m a little nervous. Anytime you come into camp there are always butterflies. I get excited to come out here. I get excited to see [the media] beautiful faces. The media is always great to me and great to this organization. It is always great to come back, but I get nervous. We are human beings as well and we will learn the new offense, so it is just a matter of us getting out on the field and getting comfortable with it.

Q: What is the potential of this offense to you?
A: If it is anything like we see it on film of where Coach McAdoo has been in the past, then if we can instill some of that in our offense with our personnel, it can be a very high-powered offense. We all have to buy in and understand the playbook and it starts here in camp.

Q: How much of putting the new offense in place has helped the younger guys and the veteran guys feel like a real team in terms of chemistry and communication?
A: It helps a lot because we are all learning at the end of the day. We are all coming together. We all have to get this thing together at the same time. It naturally brings the younger guys in and we are a family, especially in the receiver room, we talk all the time. We hang out. We talk about everything under the sun. That helps in the chemistry between all of us in terms of building this to where we want it to be. It is just a stepping stone right now, but I think the younger guys are buying in. They are understanding what is being asked of them and they are learning each and every day. It is only going to make our team better.

WR Odell Beckham

Q: Last time we saw you, your hamstring was at 85%, where does it stand now?
A: I really don’t know the percentage but it is feeling a lot better and I am looking forward to getting out here and practicing today.

Q: Is it exciting to bring that energy to the team since you are one of the young guys?
A: Absolutely. I just try to come out here every single day and give it my best effort and put as much energy in it as I can to provide a little spark for the older guys.

Q: What do you think you can show everybody?
A: That’s what I am looking to see right now. I am waiting to get out here. I have got more adjusted to the playbook and just looking forward to feeling at home and getting settled in my house. It feels more comfortable being here and just looking forward to todays practice.

Q: How much did you work with Eli at the passing academy?
A: We went over a lot of the plays and signals. There was a bunch of other guys and quarterbacks there. We got as many reps in as we can. It being his camp he kind of skipped the line a few times and ran a couple extra routes. It was fun being able to be back home and work out with him.

Q: Playing with Victor Cruz, what is that going to be like?
A: It’s pretty surreal. I always talked about how he was one of the guys that I watched closely last year and now being on his team and seeing him in person, it’s a lot more exciting for me.

Q: What kind of expectations do you have for your first training camp?
A: It’s always setting your goals and your bar high. Really just coming in and doing whatever coach needs me to do is what I am going to end up doing. Being a young guy, you always want to get in and show them what you got. I am just looking forward to the opportunity.

Q: Is the hamstring something you have to keep an eye on?
A: It’s more just preventative treatment. It’s not something you want to stick around and linger because it’s not easy to overcome a hamstring. Kind of in the back of your mind, you always have that there but you try not to focus on it as much and go as hard as you can.

Q: What are you impressions on how this offense can operate?
A: Once it gets settled in and everybody learns what we need to do, I believe it will be a pretty dynamic offense and we have a great quarterback, receivers, and running backs as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what it comes to at the end of camp.