Q: When you see your practice end on one play…
A: Yeah, well that’s not supposed to. I’m trying to do the drill, I’m trying to do the drill and get all we can out of it, but we’ll do it again.
Q: I mean you could have just lined up and done it again, right?
A: Yeah, but there’s two sides to that way. Two sides to that. What is the objective? The objective is to get the ball to a certain point for a field goal. They got it there, so now what am I going to do? Change the objective? Change the game? Change the rules? I don’t usually do that.
Q: Is that an indication of what
A: I hope so. Nice adjustment. When (Eli) threw it, he threw it obviously where the defender wasn’t, which made him really make a very...I thought it was a radical adjustment because of the wind and he made the catch there. It was good. Better yet though, he reacted the way he should react as he read the coverage.
Q: The tight end position has kind of been a revolving door the past couple years. Eli seems to always make it work. Can you talk about how Eli makes it work every year with a new tight end?
A: Well, first of all, there’s talent at the tight end position and he works and works and works on it. They have a tight end coach, Mike Pope, who works hard with those guys to teach them the concepts that are involved and eventually you start to get a handle on what we’re doing. Now we’ve had some people come and go and we’ve had some guys that have had to play. Within one year, we learn what’s going on and it’s no different here again. We do have two young guys. Two or more young guys that have been listening to this stuff for a while and you say, come on, let’s go. How many times do you have to hear this?
Q: You guys have been in pads several days now. Is there anything you are really pleased with and any things that you are really displeased with?
A: Well, we’re not where we need to be, that’s for sure. Each day we make a little bit more progress. I thought our hitting was a little better in the 9-on-7 today than it was the other day. I told the players that, so I think a blind man can tell if a 9-on-7 is right. We’re getting there, not quite there, but we’re getting there.
Q: How do you feel about the linebackers right now? I know it’s a little early, but do you feel like it’s a unit that is coming together?
A: We’ll see what happens in a game. We’ve had certain drills that have been really good and then all of a sudden a couple times the ball went through today, which is not only the linebackers. You’re so keyed into this idea of stopping the run that when the ball does go through there, it bothers me when it doesn’t and it bothers me when it does.
Q: It looks like you were mixing up the personnel a little bit at that position today, are you still looking for the right fit?
A: Well, it was a lot of third down. There were a lot of adjustments according to the personnel that is going on the field with third down. You’re going to get that.
A: Yeah, he felt a little better. Felt a little better. He came out and just really observed. Hopefully he will come along.
Q: How was last night at the Hall of Fame?
A: It was a very, very good experience from the standpoint that, you know when you listen to the honorees, those who have been inducted, their discussions are very much in recognition not only of their own ability, but all those who have contributed to their being in that spot. When you talk about that, you’re talking about someone who becomes more and more humble as he talks about this wonderful honor. That, to me, was huge because our game is the greatest game of all, but it takes eleven, okay. No one person, no one person does it all by himself. The more you understand that, the more you have the opportunity to understand when it comes time, when this tremendous honor comes to these players and coaches etc. who are inducted, they take the time to thank those along the way and in so doing they really do grasp the idea that you can’t possibly do it alone, you have to be able to- there are others that contribute along the way, you listen to the players and they talk about their coaches. They talk about people who have mentored them. You know, Larry Allen talked about being mentored by different offensive linemen. And you also understand the emotion, the tremendous emotion. When you listen to Cris Carter, or to Warren Sapp, towards the end of the evening there, they were really emotional. They were very much, very emotional about being able to be there and to receive this incredible honor, so I thought that was great. And then I thought with Bill Parcells’ talk, which was an outstanding talk, but what he did at the end when he talked about the locker room, that was a huge message there. Not only for athletics. For life, for the world that we live in. You know, you have all different kinds of guys from all different backgrounds, all different races and creeds, and they come together and the one thing that works is if everybody’s there for the same purpose, for the common good. I thought that was a very, very good statement. He went further when he talked about the dark side. You know when you had the pockets of people in that situation in the locker room that won’t let things progress because they’re constantly pointing the blame at somebody else rather than right back where it should be, so I thought it was a good experience.
Q: Do you think either you or
A: No, not really. Like I said, we’re both going to contribute. The depth chart is a political thing, something that they have to put out there so the fans and other teams will know. You know, like I said, it’s mostly for the media.
Q: Do you have a better idea after a week of camp of how this is going to work with you and whoever else they have in the backfield.
A: Regardless of who’s in there, we’ve just got to all prepare, mentally and physically in camp. Going into those games and showing the coaches what we can do and what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown over the year. Then roles will be put in place more, I say permanent but not permanent, but more based on the offense as far as what we know we’ve got to do.
Q: This is the second week of training camp, what changes each week? Are there certain agendas, things that you concentrate on differently as the weeks go on? Or is it just still the same stuff?
A: A lot of coaches say focus on one thing and make sure you go out there and focus on that one thing and get better at it each day. You might go out there one day and say, “I’m going to make sure I know how to run this route. It’s there on film, I didn’t run it as good and I want to make sure today I go out and look better on film.” So, you know, just focus on one thing and make sure you get better at that. Some people are talented enough but they’ll focus on multiple things, go out and get better on all of them but you definitely want to go out there and pick something that you definitely want to come in after practice and say, ”I got better at that today.”
Q: What did you think of the pads the other day?
A: Yeah, it’s cool. Until I got to the NFL we wore pads every day, even in the season. It doesn’t bother me either way, we just practice with high intensity either way and, like I said, get better.
Q: I know you came into the season with high expectations, where are they now in terms of -- are they higher?
A: It’s still the same. What I said before, I want to come in and, like I said, I have the chance to be the starting tailback for the New York Giants, the Super Bowl is here this year so my main focus this season is going in, wherever and whenever I can contribute and, whenever I’m on the field, I definitely want to have an affect on the game, in a positive way so we can win as many games as possible and make that run for the Super Bowl.
Q: You said you still want to be on kickoff returns, they’ve had a few guys back there trying to field the kicks, what do you think competition is for that job? Is someone starting to challenge you for it? Are you anxious to see?
A: Like I said, I don’t know, I haven’t really been paying attention as far as competition at the position. I know a lot of people want that position and it’s an honor to be back there and I definitely enjoyed it last year and I definitely want to be a part of it and have success at it again.
Q: Are you looking forward to the preseason games? That’s when you’re really going to know where you stack up. Especially in terms of protection, right?
A: I’m just looking forward to contact, full speed contact. Me, as a running back out here in practice, you get tagged up and you think to yourself, “he wouldn’t have made that tackle.” Even if we did it ten times over again. You just have to live with it that you got tagged but in a game you can actually break a tackle and get yards after contact so I’m definitely looking forward to contact again.
Q: Do you give the defense a hard time when they do that? Do you talk to them and tell them?
A: They admit it sometimes, they admit it.
Q: I know the plays are still the same, the expectations are still the same but you and Andre are different than obviously, say the yesteryears of you and Ahmad or Ahmad and Brandon. Can you just talk about what you think you guys bring to that running game that maybe wasn’t there before?
A: We always had a pretty decent running back in the backfield and if not a decent one, a great one. So, a lot of credit goes to coach Ingram and that position. He’s the coach of that position and he’s doing a great job working with us and he plays a big role and a lot of people don’t know it. He makes sure we understand what we’re doing when we’re on the field, and that’s why we’ve had the success in the running game, in the running back area like we have.
Q: What’s one thing that he’s worked on with you from a technique standpoint that you’ve seen a difference in?
A: He’s increased my level of play at running back a lot since I’ve been here. From the first day I stepped in he just gets me to focus on the details and keep elevating my game and making sure I do everything right. The main thing he always said was, “be a professional. Every day in practice try to be as professional as you can and execute.”
Q: When you say details, you mean pad level, you mean stepping with your right foot instead of your left foot. Things like that?
A: Everything, yeah.