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Quotes (9/1): Manning, Cruz, Beckham

Posted Aug 31, 2014

Full transcriptions from Monday's practice


QB Eli Manning


Q: So are you guys ready?
A: Yeah, you know it was good to have the weekend off, which was nice, and rest up and get our minds ready for this first week. We had a good practice today, just came in, a small introduction to Detroit. Didn’t watch any film on them, just came in and did a little practice. It was a hot one, get moving around, get back to work. We’ll have tomorrow off and then start game planning, watching some film and getting ready for Detroit.

Q: Is there a different mindset when you step on the field knowing now that you are into the week leading up to the real thing?
A: Well, I think today is a little different just because it’s just kind of coming to practice but yeah, it is definitely a little different tempo, a little different mindset. The regular season’s coming, we’ve got a real deal game coming around in a week and so we’ve got to get physically and mentally prepared to be at our best.

Q: Knowing last year that it was kind of doomed when you guys started out 0-6, does that make this kind of a must-win game?
A: Yeah, I think every game you treat as a must-win. You never go into a game saying, ‘Well, it’s okay if we lose this one because we’ve got so many more left.’ You go into every game expecting to win, expecting to go out there and play your best and having the game plan to go do it. You’ve got to practice and prepare as if every game is a must-win.

Q: From the outside, expectations for the offense are very low. How do you let outside opinions creep in?
A: Outside opinions have never affected our game or never had an influence on how we played, so we’ve just got to know what we do well, we’ve got to have a great week of preparation, get on the same page with coach McAdoo. Everybody understands what we have to do individually and what we have to do as a team to go win the game.

Q: Is that a motivation at all that you guys hear people that are essentially doubting you guys?
A: Yeah, I think you can always use that as motivation. We have to rely on each other. We have to have confidence in each other and know that we’re going to bust our tails and prepare and work and go out there and compete and find a way to win the game.

Q: What do you feel like you guys, as an offense, do well?
A: I think we’ve been running the ball well. I think we need to get better in the passing attack, finding completions, hitting some big plays down the field. But I think we’ve been doing that in practice, we made some strides, made some plays, so we just have to keep protecting the ball, playing smart. We’ve gotten into pretty good third down situations as of late, we’ve just got to convert them.

WR Victor Cruz

Q: When you come in knowing in one week from tonight it is the real deal, is there a different mindset?
A: Absolutely, you know that you’re going in and these games count now and it is a real opponent and you have to prepare and get yourself ready.

Q: What makes you optimistic about what this offense can do this season?
A: I have been practicing and I know exactly what [the offense] is capable of. I know all of the things that we have implemented and are beneficial to us and can benefit us on game day. I’m excited to put that to the test come game day Monday night.

Q: When you hear some of the worry that may be coming from outside the locker room, does it motivate you a little bit more to try and prove them wrong?
A: I guess. I am just worried about who we have in this locker room. I know that there is a bunch of talent that is in here and I know that we just have to take care of what we can control and what we can take care of out there on the field. That is apply the game plan to what we do and go out there and compete for every football and make sure we are getting first downs and scoring touchdowns.

Q: Exactly when does that switch go on now that the regular season has begun?
A: It is already on. It has to be to compete at the NFL level. I think once we get out there and get our game plan on Wednesday and understand what we have to do, that is when we can zero in on what we have to do and get ready to go.

Q: Understanding the 0-6 last year was unacceptable, you can get a win right out of the gate and make sure you don’t go winless for a month?
A: Absolutely, that is always the goal, to win, especially early on. I know this team has always had an up and down, kind of rocky start, first half of the season in the years that I have been here. We want to come out to a fast start and hopefully get this first win under the belt.

Q: Does the 0-6 last year make this a must-win type situation?
A: Every game is a must-win in this league, especially the first one. You want to go out there and start your season on the right foot and start the season on a positive note. The first one is definitely a must-win and all of them are. We want to go in with that mindset that this game is one we have to have and move forward from there.

Q: With a young guy like Odell [Beckham Jr.], who is struggling with the injury… Do you take it as a veteran to kind of reassure him to keep his spirits up?
A: I talk to him from time to time to see how he is doing and how he is holding up and making sure he is keeping a level head. I know how things can get when you are injured and not playing. I just try to keep his head level and keep him on the right path. He is a good kid. He understands it. He gets it. He has to take it one day at a time until he is better.

Q: Is [Beckham] getting frustrated?
A: I don’t think so. At least he hasn’t shown me that. Internally, he has that right, but I don’t think he is getting frustrated yet.

WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Q: Tom Coughlin was quite adamant today, saying just to back off, let you get healthy and give you a chance. He said he had spoken to you, kind of got that message. Is that fair?
A: Absolutely. It was great to be able to just talk to him and kind of get a reassurance and just know that it’s one of those things that just takes time. Everybody’s okay with it, it’s obviously not something you would want to happen or to be out for an extended period of time, but it’s something we’ve got to deal with and just take it day-by-day.

Q: Did that conversation take place yesterday?
A: I think it was yesterday. I think we’ve talked a few times but to just be able to have the feeling of your coach and everybody else having your back, like I said, it’s aggravating to not be able to do anything but we’ve just got to deal with it, stay positive and keep moving forward every day.

Q: How did that conversation affect your approach to your recovery?
A: It’s more comforting to know that, ‘Make sure you get it right. Take your time. We don’t know how long that is, but just take your time and make sure that you get it 100 percent this time.’

Q: When we spoke to you initially, you kind of made it seem like this wasn’t going to be a big deal, you’ve dealt with stuff before. What’s different about this hamstring that’s kind of taken o long?
A: Just lingering. It’s not anything different that I could think of, it’s one of those ones that just, you keep re-aggravating it and you’re getting the effects of it now.

Q: Do you think maybe you tried to come back too early?
A: You never know. It’s one of those things I leave up to the trainers, but at the same time, being a competitor, you’re going to always try and get out there when you can. You want to be a part of the team, you want to make plays and stuff like that, so it’s just one of those things that you have to take your time with.

Q: Do you have a sense of when you might be released to resume practicing?
A: I have no idea. We don’t have any time(table), that’s something you have to ask Coach or the trainers really.

Q: Tom had said maybe even like another two or three weeks. If that were true, is that almost comforting in a way to know that you have that time to just, you don’t have to worry about it every day?
A: Right now I’m just taking it day-by-day. I don’t set a limit on myself or set any expectations. Just take it day-by-day and that’s it.

Q: When you do get back, you’ve seen how long it’s taken some of the other receivers to get in sync in this offense. How long do you think it’s going to take for you to get up to speed?
A: It just depends. I would love to be out on the field 100 percent and just feel comfortable again. Whenever I do that, just get on the same page, I don’t know exactly how long it will take but hopefully as fast as we can.

Q: When you were practicing for a little bit there and then you went back out again, what exactly happened there? Was it just another re-aggravation?
A: When was this? I don’t remember, to be honest.

Q: Are you frustrated at all?
A: Frustrated? No, not so much frustrated anymore. I’m frustrated that I can’t play but no so much frustrated as to what I’m dealing with. It’s just kind of one of those things where it happened and you have to embrace it and just know and understand that you have to do exactly what’s best for your body and at the same time, do what’s best for the team. Hurting yourself is really hurting the team, so I just try to stay positive and get better every single day.

Q: Coach has tried to deal with this as best as he possibly can, how much does that help you as a player in understanding where he’s coming from and that he does explain things to you in terms of how this is going in his mind?
A: It’s great to have the feeling of your coach having your back and having that talk with him and just having a comfortable feeling and just knowing and understanding that this is something that I have to deal with and when time permits, I will be back out there and ready to play.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin

Q: How is it to have Jon Beason back out there as a participant at practice? How did he look to you?
A: Looked okay. He moved around very well. Just to have him out there is a good thing.

Q: If he is not able to go full during the game, does his presence on the field even for a little while change things for you?
A: Well. I think it definitely will. His presence on the practice field is going to change things. That is going to change a lot of things.

Q: What kind of things does it change?
A: Well, it’s the upbeat, the love to play, fly around a million miles per hour, encouraging other people to do the same or better, and just how hard he plays. He shows great example in what he does, he loves the game, so it is great to have him back out there.

Q: Are you still expecting Brandon Mosely on Thursday?
A: We will see. It sounded good but we will see.

Q: What does Jon Beason have to prove to you to be able to be ready this week?
A: He is just going to practice. He will have “X’ amount of snaps to practice and if he comes through this practice week having handled that, then we can expect to play him whatever amount of time we decide to do it. He stays out there, works hard, doesn’t have any setback, and I think that’s the proof right there. The medical people are very confident because of the way he’s prepared himself to this point.

Q: Does that mean you will start him?
A: Just go right along with what I said. I don’t have any more to say about it. We’ll see exactly where we are at the end of the week.

Q: Do you know if there is any chance of Odell Beckham Jr. practicing at all?
A: I doubt that very much.

Q: Do you get a sense that there is progress there?
A: Let’s just let this kid get better. Everybody settle down and let the kid get better. I mean, I went to him and said, “Let’s not have any more setbacks.” Whatever it takes to get over this, let’s do this. Let’s encourage him, let’s not let him feel like he is an outsider, let’s get on with it. But, I mean, to talk about him every day. I will let you know when he is ready to do something, I will let you know.

Q: Why did you feel the need to say that?
A: Because it is every day it is the same question over and over. He is not ready to play. He may be a couple, three weeks away, so we are not going to talk about him. We have a game to play. Can we talk about the guys playing in the game, instead of people that are on the injury report. Thank you for bearing with me on that one.

Q: What leads you to believe Monday night your offense can perform at higher rate than it did during the preseason games?
A: Because I have confidence we’re doing the right thing. Definitely, we have areas to improve in. I think we will improve, I think we will get better as time goes on. I think that the mastery of errors that have been made, if people can just retain the corrections and go ahead and give examples of that under certain circumstances on the field, that forces the adjustments and I think we will make progress.

Q: Your interior of the offensive line, three players that are new to the organization. How do you assess what is going to happen during the game?
A: Well, you’ve got an outstanding defensive front to go against and you’ve got guys that, from various times, had opportunities to be next to each other and sometimes they haven’t. I thought John Jerry, the other night with 50-something snaps, did well. So I think that advanced him, and the rookie has played center and guard all along. Are they in for some new experiences? You bet they are, but hopefully they can communicate their way through it.

Q: is Brandon Mosley any closer?
A: I would say that he is much better than he was before the start of the weekend, or whatever day this is, and if he continues to make that kind of progress, perhaps he will be able to practice later in the week.

Q: How challenged are you by the set of circumstances you face going into this season as compared to some others?
A: There are always challenges, there is always maneuverability. Very rarely is it set exactly to where you want it to be, so in that regard, I don’t know if it is any different. It is always that aspect to it and what we have to do is get this group together as best as we possibly can and move forward.

Q: How different is your week preparation-wise for a Monday game coming off the way the weekend went? Do you have them in here on Wednesday?
A: They will be in on Wednesday. Just a brief introduction and a jog through and that’s it. And Thursday is a Wednesday.

Q: Did you go over Detroit Lions stuff today?
A: No. Weight room, training room, and right on the field.

Q: With the way preseason went with the outside take on your offense. have you and Eli Manning had any different level of conversation. Or have you sought him out at all as it gets down to this point?
A: Just push him to continue to work at it and improve and get to know the people he is working with the best he possibly can. The big thing happening in the preseason, which is not shocking, but the reason we won a couple games is because we didn’t beat ourselves. If you look at the numbers, you can see that. So that is something we can hang our hat on, regardless of what the statistics are.

Q: Have you settled on a tight end?
A: No.

LB Jon Beason

Q: How are you feeling?
A: I feel pretty good. Just happy to be back out there. Working for one common goal with my teammates. Doing what I love. It feels good to get my feet wet again.

Q: After missing the entire preseason, is it realistic that you can go out there and play?
A: Yeah, I think so. Obviously you want to gauge where I am mentally and physically. What my role is going to be, how big or small. You don’t know, but I am taking advantage of the reps they are giving me. I am trying to prove why I need to be out there.

Q: Do you have an idea of where you are mentally and physically?
A: I feel good. A year removed in the system. I prepare, in terms of watching film, pre-snap stuff. I feel like I have a good grasp of the defense. It is just going out there and getting those reps. Those are completely invaluable. Those, you have to have. There is always going to be some type of curve there based on missing those dress rehearsals and that is why we have them. That is why we have the camps, OTA’s and all of that stuff. We just don’t show up and play.

Q: How good is this linebacking crew without you and how good can it be with you?
A: I think collectively, we have great personalities. I think we have guys that can do a little bit of everything. We have guys that can rush. We have guys that are great in pass coverage. Guys with a lot of experience and guys who can play multiple positions. That is important because guys get nicked and obviously you don’t want to get a bead on, ‘well, this guy always does this and this guy does that.’ I feel great about our corps. I feel we can be really special this year.

Q: Do you see a difference this year in [the linebackers] watching film and during practice?
A: I wouldn’t say we were searching, but experience is tough. There are so many things you can get in terms of meeting rooms and practice and even preseason. Live bullets is everything. As you go, you learn. Having a more veteran guy this year, every guy in our room this year has playing experience with the exception of the rookies. Even still, you have some first team reps for [Devon] Kennard, who is going to help us out tremendously. He prepares like a vet anyway. We feel good about that.

Q: The biggest thing you missed during training camp and preseason was hitting… How much of an impact is that on your game?
A: That is the hardest part. You can’t practice tackling. It takes a toll on your body. It’s not like you can go out and work on my tackling. You can run routes and catch the ball and stuff like that and work on your footwork. You can’t practice tackling. That’s why using the preseason is not the best product in terms of blocking and tackling. It’s kind of sloppy because guys are trying to get back into it. I really have to focus on my technique and being fast and keeping my feet underneath me, make sure I can make a sound tackle as opposed to be really aggressive and trying to take a guy’s head off. I am smart enough to know that, and I have been doing it for a long time, but like I said, that is going to come with playing in the game.

Q: When you sit on sideline for most of camp… How anxious does it make you to get back out there?
A: For me, I always appreciate the grind. I think the hard work, the tough days and the hot days of putting in that work, you expect the result. That is what I miss the most being on the sideline. It is hard to lead. To me, a leader is a guy who is consistent. You can’t lead if you are not in the fire with guys. How can I tell you what to do when I am over here hanging out, drinking Gatorade with a hat on? I am just happy that I can be back out there with the guys and working for our goal together.

Q: At the end of this week, where do you feel you want to be in wanting to show the coaches that you can go out there and handle a full load despite having not done it?
A: I think that they trust that I am going to be there. Obviously there are going to be smart. It is like anything. You always have to prove yourself. I don’t care if you are Eli [Manning] in your tenth or eleventh year or you are a rookie. You have to go out and prove yourself every single day and I think my teammates respect the way I go about my business, and I think the coaches do, too. Nevertheless, I still have to go out there and do it. By the end of the week, I think they will feel pretty confident that I can go out and contribute on whatever level they deem okay.

Q: Were you a [full participant] today at practice?
A: Yeah, I fully participated today and I felt good. Guys told me I looked really fast out there. Obviously, I should, with fresh legs. It was hot, but you just keep going. The will has to be greater than the pain. You have to fight through it, knowing that every rep is a rep getting closer to playing.

Q: Can you still have an impact Monday night even if you are not a full-time player?
A: I think so. When you want to go out, you want to play at the highest level. You want to give the maximum effort on every single play. You give everything you can and if you can’t go, then [you have to say], ‘Hey coach, I have to get out of the game.’ I feel great about the guys we have in our room, the rotation that we can have. Knowing I have that in my back pocket, I just want to give everything, but if I can’t, then get me out of there. I feel good about where I should be on [September 8].

DE Jason Pierre-Paul

Q: Jon Beason, his return… he brings effort and I guess adds some energy as well to the defense?
A: Of course. We need him, everybody knows that we need him. All of the guys were hyped up today, he was out there. He’s off the PUP list and he’s ready to go; he’s fired up.

Q: I know today was a little bit of a light practice and you really focus on Detroit later in the week, but knowing that one week from tonight is the opening game, is there a different mindset now knowing that this is real?
A: Yeah, of course. We all know that it’s for real now. We’ve got our 53, every game counts from here on out. Let’s start strong and finish strong and do what we can.

Q: When Jon joined last year, do you remember how that transformed the defense a little bit?
A: Yep, I do. We were 0-6 and we started winning when we had him at middle linebacker. You see it, that’s how you we need him. He’s a big part of our defense. Without a middle linebacker, we have nothing. I’m just glad he’s back out there. I know he wouldn’t have gotten out there unless he’s ready, so that’s a plus for us.