A: I think he’s in a position to compete to be the guy. He has the talent, has the speed, has a few plays from a year ago underneath his belt. Everything we gauge is kind of like in college with spring ball, but once we put the pads on, we’ll see who is physical, who’s determined to make plays out there… I think he’s grown. He has a fairly good understanding of the offense right now. He’s definitely in position to be the guy, but I think just like what we’ve done in the past here, we’re going to be a rotation type team and what certain backs do best, we’ll play. I think he’s a playmaker. He’s definitely going to contribute and help us out. There are some goals that he has to accomplish for us. He’s definitely on a better track than he was a year ago in understanding our protections and doing those kinds of things. I think we’ll take advantage of his natural ability as much as we can, but everything will start with me as a coach. I’ve got to do a better job of coaching him and getting him ready to play, just like
Q: Do you see progress in Wilson’s pass protection?
A: I definitely see progress. I think he’s got a clear understanding as far as what our protections are, what is expected of him, but until you actually physically ask that individual to do that full speed and full gear, we’re not exactly doing that right now. But I think when we go to camp, he knows what his goals are right now and what he has to accomplish to be a complete running back and contribute on our team. I think we’ll get that out of him. He’ll be a much improved player from that situation this year.
Q: Is Andre Brown fully recovered from his broken leg?
A: I think definitely. Andre is healthy. Ronnie Barnes has done a great job with him right now. He’s motivated. It’s an opportunity for him. He’s been waiting a lifetime around here for that. We brought him in here because he can catch the ball, he can run, he can do a lot of things and be a complete running back here and he’s definitely a true every down kind of guy because he’s got size, speed and quickness. We saw some things out of him a year ago, which was great and it’s a great opportunity for him.
Q: How does the loss of
A: You hate losing a guy… Henry means an awful lot for us, but
Q: How does that change for the linebacker unit?
A: Down in there where you have guys we have people in place to play the positions. It gives us more depth at defensive end spot.
Q: Do you have a tentative idea where you are going to use everybody? It just seems like everybody is so new. Do you have any idea of what your tentative plans are as far as who is starting where?
A: As I was saying earlier, this is basically a new group of guys. And I think the biggest thing right now is we are going out and learning what to do and competing. To me, the competition is going to keep going and keep going and keep going – which is going to make us all better. My biggest thing this is develop a unit, that no matter who is in there, I’m the MIKE, I’m the MIKE. The expectations are for the MIKE position – not for the guy that is in there. To me that is what you have to do. So we are trying to develop a unit that can go out – regardless of who goes out and plays – we are going to be pretty good. Right now they have done a good job. Every single guy is doing a good job at their position.
Q: So it may depend on who you play? You guys are a situational team? Like (Mark) Herzlich may start at some position on some days because you are playing a certain team? Next week you are playing a different type of team?
A: I think that is a big part of the NFL game today. It is very situational. It is dictated a lot by the offense – what is the offense running? Who is going to be out there? What are our best matchups? Because the NFL is a game of matchups, who has the best matchups?
A: He is doing a good job. He has a great opportunity to get snaps. And he is competing for the job. He has matured over the last two years. To me, the biggest thing I have seen was his maturity level, because he is comfortable with the formation. Now he is going to go out and take the next step forward because he is anticipating the plays faster and faster. He’s not worried about “what do I do in this defense – what do I do in that defense?” It is, “Okay, I know what I am doing – now what is the offense going to do?” And he is anticipating. And all of those guys have done a much better job of that.
Q: You knew you were getting
A: Yeah, a little bit different. But Kiwi is off to a great start. We will be able, I think, to get him more focused on staying at defensive end. He is really doing a good job so far managing it. Moving him around a little bit, at both sides of defensive end. We really like where he is from the mental standpoint and the way he has approached it in the offseason. He looks solid right now.
Q: With the
A: Oh, yeah, no doubt. He is a guy that has been in there and has played a lot, had a lot of reps – quality reps. And he has come up big for us in the past. And with him and Justin in there and bringing along a couple of young guys, we will make the best of it.
Q: How much did you know about JPP’s situation?
A: There were times he communicated that with me – that he was having some issues. We got to the offseason and tried to manage it. It wasn’t working so we still had time to do the surgery and hopefully have him back as soon as we can. Certainly, if it is up to me, we won’t push him early. But we would certainly like to have back as soon as we can and move on from there.
Q: Is Kiwi more of a reaction to not having….
A: It is a combination. Yeah, a little bit when Osi (Umenyiora) left. We felt like in the middle of the season, towards the end, that Kiwi wasn’t really comfortable with what we were asking him to do. And so we felt that he would be more comfortable at defensive end. We were able to tell him that early and he has come in here and he is really off to a good start with what we can do in the OTAs and throughout minicamp next week. So he looks solid.
Q: So you came into the spring planning to work him at end?
A: Yes. I had a great conversation with him in the offseason.
Q: What kind of playmaker can he be at end fulltime?
A: Even going all of the way back when he had his injury in 2010, he was off to a great start there. He was really doing a good job and had four or five sacks there before he had the neck issue. And then when he came back we had a logjam there with Osi and Justin (Tuck) and JPP. And so we moved him around a lot. And he came up big down the stretch there when we made the Super Bowl run. Kiwi came up big in San Francisco; and against Atlanta; the roles we asked him to play. But I think it is going to help him and help us to have him in one position, especially with JPP being out – him and Tuck. Like I said, we have a couple of young guys coming on. And I think we have a pretty healthy situation.
Q: How much can you expect from the young guys like (Damontre) Moore and (Adrian) Tracy and those guys?
A: It is a great opportunity for them. Damontre has come in and has shown flash in some good things. He has a long way to go – a lot to learn in a short time. With the new rules you are limited to how much you can do with these guys. And so he really is off to a good start. He has a lot to learn in a short period of time. I’m really pleased with the way
Q: Can any of those tackles that you signed be outside at all? Or are they pretty much inside guys?
A: Cullen (Jenkins) has played out there. When I was at Green Bay with Cullen we used him inside and outside. And I would feel comfortable to move him around a little bit in emergency situations. But as far as Linval (Joseph) and those guys, that is really not their deal. It is not their cup of tea to go out there outside.
Q: What about (Hankins)?
A: He is off to a good start.
Q: Can you move him outside?
A: I would be able to answer that fairly until we get to pads and when live bullets are being fired. Anybody can go out there right now. With his feet we got after it with the OTA rules. But that may be a possibility but that is going to kind of be determined after we get in full pads and get into some live situations.
Q: Last year the run defense was not good. This year you have some of the biggest guys I have even seen. That is not by accident, is it?
A: No, we have to improve. We have to get better. We have to play better against the run. And right at the end of the year – Atlanta and Baltimore – we had our struggles.
Tight Ends Coach Michael Pope
A: Adrien Robinson appears to have gone into the Land of the Believers and yes he has been making some good progress. He is understanding assignment-wise – just in our most recent meeting. But the plays are still not the lines on the page that we give them for instruction. So he is doing a lot of the assignment things correctly. Now we have to get him to adjust to the way the defense is playing on each particular play and to make the best decisions based on how the defense is playing. But he is running well and he has his weight down some. The quarterback is starting to find him. He is hard to miss – he is the tallest tree in the forest out there. So he is a good target. But we are more than mildly pleased with the progress that he has made from an assignment standpoint.
Q: With Bear (Pascoe) playing at fullback now, it would seem there is an opportunity there…
A: It is a great opportunity for him. We are very sad about Henry Hynoski. It is just an accident, but Bear has played a good bit of fullback for us. Actually he played about 160 snaps at fullback last season. So he is aware of the assignments. There are still some finite things that he can get better at there. But it gives us a great deal of flexibility because when Hynoski is in the game they pretty well know that there are some limitations as to where he will line up. He is pretty much a backfield player. When we can put Bear in with one of these other guys, now we can do a lot more things as far as open formations – a little more difficult for the defense to predict where they can’t just key on one of the those guys and say the ball is going there. So that helps us. It helps us a little bit more …..
Q: Bear had said that this is probably where he is most versatile.
A: There is a good bit of size and there is some speed. And if these memory pills will kick in, hopefully he will be able to learn those assignments and be able to go and play these multiple positions. Because it is a great advantage for us, offensively, and creates some problems for the defense when we can take these guys who normally play in by the tackle – play them out in space a little bit more. So that presents some problems for the defense.
Q: Very often you get players who you really have to work with to get them up to speed – the pro passing game. I would imagine that is not the case the (Brandon) Myers.
A: These guys are more gifted – the whole group of them are, really. Robinson and – there was a good basketball player and he tells me he is a good basketball player. But he has inbounding skills. He can go up and hit the higher balls. And of course Myers has a good bit of that. He had a good chemistry out at the Raiders. He had a lot of catches there last year. So yeah, you can see he has those kinds of athletic skills. With no pads on you can still see why he was a good person for us to try to replace (Marcellus) Bennett with.
Q: It is not often that there is a guy sitting out there with 79 catches.
Q: He is a naturally gifted pass catcher?
A: He is a good receiver. I think at the Raiders he was more of an intermediate receiver. And now our passing game does allow the tight end to get more vertically down the field – flag routes – double seam routes – post routes – that kind of thing. And he appears to have the skills to get those balls. He has a little bit of a jet that can accelerate and go get a ball that is a little deeper. You may not think he is going to reach it, but he has that little bit. So we are very interested to see him in pads.
A: When I first looked at him I had visions of Jake Ballard. Just because he was a good blocker on the goal line. They seldom ever threw him the ball. But when the ball was snapped he had kind of that tough-guy mentality – old school. But he really had a motor and he would come up. And often times because those ….job mixes now are so spread out you have to find them on the goal line or short yardage or something like that. So we looked and looked and looked. And he just looked like that kind of a person. He is not going to be an all-world receiver way down the field, but as far as being explosive and flexible, and he has pretty good football savvy. There was a little concern about a back injury. We got that looked at and there doesn’t appear to be a problem. So we are kind of excited to see him. He was here; he left and then came back. So he has only really been here a couple of practices. But I think there is something to work with there.
Q: He left; was he signed?
A: No, he came here and didn’t pass the physical. So they just had to do more research on him. As a free agent sometimes they are a little bit anxious about signing guys that maybe don’t pass their physical. But he went back and got clearance from the doctors. So we will be anxious to see. Those kinds of guys – often times maybe they don’t have the speed that you might be looking for to be a marquee player. But they are necessary on your team. The other thing, he can rifle the deep snap. So maybe we work with him. He might have some future there. They are all in these shorts – I call them pajamas – out here. You really can’t tell an awful lot.
Q: Just about everybody you talked about….
A: Yeah. That is how the games are played. So it is a good group to work with. There are some names that people won’t be very familiar with, but hopefully…
Wide Receivers Coach Kevin M. Gilbride
Q: With Victor and Hakeem not at OTAs, what has it meant for the other guys?
A: It’s been great for those guys. Those guys have now had an opportunity to continue to work on the skills, work on learning our offense in general and the detail with which we run our routes and that’s really important for those young guys. Everybody knows through the course of the season there are injuries. When we have injuries what we’ve done a great job here with the receiving corps is having the next guy step up and do a great job taking over for the guy that was injured. So for these guys to get all the work out here it’s been great for them.
Q: How does it affect everybody that Hakeem has chosen not to be here?
A: Anyone who’s not in the OTAs right now that’s going to set them back to an extent, which means they’re going to have to play catch up when they get back here. So we’d love to have everyone here, but the fact that they’re not is allowing these other guys to really get in there and get the reps and work on those things that we need to improve on as a wide receiver corps.
Q: Should it be easy for Victor and Hakeem to get back to the speed of things?
A: I don’t think anything is easy. I think it all takes work and timing and development of your individual skills, of your grasp of the offense and the detail. I don’t think it’s easy, but I think those two, Victor and Hakeem, have the ability and the mental capacity to step in and basically play catch up like we talked about and get caught up pretty quickly.
Q: Does it have a different feel to you without Victor and Hakeem and their ability to get deep?
A: No. We’ve hit a ton of deep balls. It’s actually been a pleasant surprise across the board with the receiving corps from the guys who were running with the first group to the second to the third group. We’ve hit a ton of touchdown passes down the field.
Secondary/Safeties Coach David Merritt
Q: What transition is
A: I think Terrell is correct when it comes to playing the low position because he’s played the nickel so he’s been in and out of those linebacker positions. But when it comes to playing in the center field, when it comes to playing in the half field or quarter technique, that’s a totally different story as we’ve seen
Q: You seem to have a lot of depth in the safety position. Do you think it’s a good group?
A: It is. The fact that we have all the guys that are coming as far as when you talk about Terrell Thomas. You have
Q: What do you like about Cooper Taylor?
A: I like his size. I like his mental… Cooper is a very intelligent young man. Right now we have him playing the will position as well as a safety and so I really like his size and his mental capacity, but he is a rookie. He’s messing up just like normal rookies would do and so he’s running around, but he has a lot on his plate. But I really like his size. 6-4, running a 4.4 40… I mean that’s pretty good. God didn’t bless me with that type of size, even as a linebacker.
Offensive Line Coach Pat Flaherty
Q: How has
A: Fine. He’s working extremely hard. He comes to work everyday. He’s still finding some things out about the NFL, which he will continue to do for a long time. But he’s conscientious, he gives good effort. He’s guy that wants to learn football, wants to learn the techniques of the NFL as much as anyone.
Q: Are the veterans making him bring in deliveries?
A: I don’t pay much attention to that. That’s up to those guys. He knows this. He knows his job and what he has to do in terms of on the field and also off the field in that room. So if they have to remind him, then I don’t think they’ll be very kind in reminding him about those things.
Q: Do you expect
A: I’m not concerned about it. I think they’re going to be ready. They’re out there. They’re doing what they can do on the field right now. In the classroom they’re doing everything they need to do. They’re focused. They’ve seen all of the cutups. They’ve actually done extra work in the classroom when they couldn’t be on the field. I anticipate them being ready for training camp.
Q: How much progress has
A: James has an opportunity here in the OTAs to get a lot of reps. He’s getting the most reps of anybody because we have him at right guard and then swing him back to right tackle because
Q: How many open spots are there that guys are competing for starting jobs right now?
A: There’s a lot of open spots. You have William Beatty back at left tackle and
Q: What’s the key to getting the Giants back to a dominant power running game?
A: We have to get everybody working together. We have to look to the tight end to be able to block different types of concepts. In the run game, we have to get the backs to mesh with the offensive line and we have to get the offensive line to come off the ball and sustain the blocks. If we’re able to do that, we’ll be better in 2013 than we were in 2012.
Q: Do you see a lot of progress from
A: They are progressing in the OTAs and each day they progress, but they’re still behind because… Matt was able to get some work in on the practice squad last year and Brandon missed the whole training camp with surgery and everything. So he’s really more or less still a rookie. But I see some good things out of both of those guys. As we do with most people on the offensive line… being able to be versatile and play multiple positions… We have Matt working at center and both guards and Brandon working at tackle and guard. Right now it’s hard on them, difficult because they have to be able to play both positions but they’re settling in with techniques getting a little bit better and they seem like they’re learning the offense very well.
Secondary/Cornerbacks Coach Peter Giunta
Q: How has it been having
A: It’s great. He picked up where he left off. He looked really focused. His quickness is better than it was when he left. Being away for a while… It showed him how much he missed this place and missed the guys he was with and the way we run the operation here at the Giants. It’s been a breath of fresh air having him back because he really appreciates what we have here and some of the guys take it for granted, but he hasn’t and it comes across to the other guys. Hey, this is important. You guys don’t know how lucky you have it here.
A: Definitely. Finishing the way we did, everybody has a real sense of urgency this year to get back to playing the kind of football we did at the end of the 2011 season in that six-game stretch and playing that kind of defense. In his defense, he breaks his hand and it set him back a little bit not being able to use his hands up in press coverage. He struggled in the end when we didn’t have a lot of continuity back there. He did have a tough year for himself.
Q: Are you counting on Terrell Thomas?
A: He’s making progress. Terrell is making good progress, so we’re counting on those five guys plus
Q: Can you expect anything out of Terrell at this point?
A: Yes. I think we will. We’re going to do what the offense did with Domenik Hixon, try to bring him along slowly. Give him a certain number of reps each practice to get him from the practices to the first preseason game. We’re going to try and manage him well and just give him a very limited role to start.
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