Q: Your reaction to Antrel, the injury, that also he is saying today that he’ll do whatever it takes to get back on the field-
A: Oh, he’s one of those. I don’t know what he said (to you), but I know that even when he was out there on the field, he said ‘I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine,’ so he has an ankle injury and he’ll do everything he can to get back in. He doesn't like to miss anything and, quite frankly, if he can possibly avoid it, he misses nothing, which is a good attitude.
Q: So that sounds feasible for you to come back by Week One with that?
A: I hope he comes back next week. Why would I talk about Week One?
A: I don't know that. (We’ll) get the advise from the medical people and see. This would be the proper one, next week, however. How much he needs. He just got into more than one out of four reps.
Q: I guess you’ve got to see if he can play a certain amount of plays in a row-
A: That’s all I can tell you, is that when he practices enough to where the medical people think he can take a series or whatever, then we’ll take a series.
Q: Is that the same situation for
A: Yeah. I think Chris is starting to build up. Yesterday he had a few, two out of every four, we’ll say. Today it seemed like he did a little bit more. I’m told that with this it’s the next day…and how they build up their endurance. It’s more of an endurance thing right now.
Q: Yesterday Kevin Gilbride said that there’d be legitimate competition for the number two spot at quarterback. Is that because of something you’ve seen out of either of those guys?
A: Because of the way they’ve practiced and so on and so forth. You like it that way. You want it to be very competitive. So the opportunities will be there.
Q: What do you see from
A: He’s got great poise, he’s smart. He’s done a good job of understanding what we what. In a limited number of snaps he’s been relatively productive.
Q: How quickly has
A: He’s got a ways to go, but he’s in there fighting.
Q: I know it’s only Tuesday, but as you look to Sunday, could you have some guys you didn’t have last week, like Tuck or Nicks, out there?
A: Well, I would anticipate that, yeah. I don’t foresee any reason why they wouldn’t jump into the rotation now.
Q: You had a lot of different defensive looks today. Does that help to keep the offense on its heels?
A: It helps prepare everyone. The league is very sophisticated. Generally speaking, the defenses are a little bit ahead. So you get all these different things to work on and focus on and it helps from a mental standpoint. The more you can do it, the better off you are.
Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell
Q: How concerned are you about
A: Any time he goes down and he stays down, he’s not a player that stays down and doesn’t miss practice, so I was concerned.
Q: Are you less concerned today?
A: Well we don’t really know. So I’m always concerned when a player is down and we just have to keep waiting and you have to check with Tom on updates for injuries.
Q: Can you talk about
A: A sound football player, a smart football player. I’m happy that he’s with us. He’s very conscientious and physical.
Q: How difficult is it for a defensive coordinator not knowing from day to day how a guy’s ankle is going to feel?
A: It is a difficult process for us because it is a touch and go situation with an ankle. Because it is preseason and we’re in our training camp mode, we’ll do the best possible thing that we can to take care of him and make sure that he is healthy. But it’s going to depend on the player, and he responds well to injury or to bumps and bruises, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Q: How would you characterize Antrel Rolle’s value to this defense and what he gives you game in and game out?
A: He’s one of the building blocks. He’s a brick. He’s always there. He’s tough. He’s the motor that sails us. His presence is always valuable for us.
Q: How is Terrell Thomas coming along?
A: Yesterday, he received about 50 percent of the reps that we were wanting to give him. I thought he responded extremely well. There were two situations he was in man coverage and he did an outstanding job, in my opinion. He showed burst. He showed the ability to come out of a break when he was covering in man coverage. So we’re going to take it day by day with him. We’re going to bring him along as the trainers and as Terrell speaks to us about how he feels on a daily basis, but it was exciting to see him back in action.
Q: If things continue to go well with him, will you try to get him in the Colts game?
A: That’s a question for Tom.
Q: What about Ryan Mundy in terms of his knowledge of the defense?
A: He is very knowledgeable, as far as the defense is concerned. He does not have the experience and the background that Antrel has because he hasn’t been in the system as long, but he’s very conscientious and working with
Q: The secondary has been pretty consistent since the spring with
A: I hope not. That’s a tough question for me to answer right now because Antrel is our glue and he’s the guy that binds us together. We will always explore different things each week, each preseason game just going into the season to say this combination looks good versus these sets of wideouts versus this team and we’ll always explore and experiment during this time, but hopefully we can stay intact as much as we possibly can in practice and during some of the preseason games.
A: He was pretty good on the tape I saw and having him with us, he is definitely versatile. We’re going to take advantage of his versatility. He’s very explosive. He’s much stronger than I initially thought he was and he is violent in his reactions and so that’s a good thing for us and it’s very pleasing.
Q: Can he be a fourth pass-rusher in the Nascar package?
A: No question.
Q: How has
A: I thought Marvin performed well this past Saturday. He’s progressed each week in practice. He’s had a full offseason with the OTAs, which he didn’t have in the past. I look for good things from him this Sunday in the football game. This will be a really good opportunity for him to showcase his quickness and his abilities. I think Pittsburgh is really a big massive offensive line. Indy, they’ll play more to the strengths of Marvin and so it will be exciting to see him in this game Sunday.
Q: What’s your take on the linebacker situation? Has anybody stepped up?
A: I think we’re working together as a linebacking corps very well. There is no standout. I think they worked together well as a group. I like the combinations that we use in practice and that we’ve used in the game and I hope we can continue to grow and build in that respect.
Q: When you look at the hypothetical depth chart when everyone is healthy and then you take into account the injuries of JPP and Antrel, how different is that unit from what you would ideally have?
A: When you take those two players out, you’re talking about two playmakers that any team in the National Football League would love to have. So that’s hard for me to assess when you don’t have those pieces, but I think as a unit we’re working hard and we’re striving to be a better unit and I like our approach and our attitude and I like the way our players are working and so we’ll keep making strides towards that goal.
Q: It’s August 13th. Between now and the season opener, how hopeful are you that those two will be back?
A: Very hopeful.
Q: What did you think of your run defense on Saturday?
A: There were some plays at the beginning of the game that I felt like we could have defended better. We didn’t defend them as well. I thought we were anxious at the point of attack. We reached on the first play and didn’t play that as well. I thought later on in the game we settled down. I thought we tackled better as the game went on. When we don’t take people to the ground here in practice, I was concerned about how our overall tackling would have been. I did not have a lot of missed tackles in the football game, so I was pleased with that. We tried to focus and we tried to hit what we saw and obviously we want to be better each week and so we’re a work in progress. No doubt about it.
Q: How are things shaping up at the middle linebacker spot with
A: Both players are outstanding players in my opinion, and both bring different things to the table for us. We’ll work both combinations. For instance, the first play of the ballgame on Saturday, Mark did a great job of taking the guard on. He was very physical in the football game. He ran through the guard that he could have made the tackle. Dan did an outstanding job in taking on blocks. He shedded some blocks well. He made some plays. He did well in coverage. So I like the combination of both those guys in our defense and I’m happy that we have both of those guys.
Q: How is the competition between
A: As I look at it, it’s a healthy competition. Damontre is a young man that loves to play football. He’s got a lot of football in him, but in the same sense, as a rookie, he’s making a lot of mistakes right now; things that can hurt us, but he plays so hard and he’s having so much fun and the exciting thing about your first preseason game and a rookie is just to watch their faces. They light up. They have a smile on their face. It’s a genuine love for what they’re doing and I respect what they’re doing out there. Damontre was having a ball. He was having a great time. He was playing hard. Adrian Tracy is much improved. I think he’s going to contribute to our football team. We’re going to be a better defense if he continues to get better and if that competition continues to thrive, we’ll be better at the ends and in our pass rush.
Q: Why are you switching your defensive ends from side to side?
A: Schematics. Looking at the offseason, I thought that this would be a good change for us, so just schematics.
Q: Is it not letting the offense know who is going to be there?
A: It’s schematics.
Q: Can you show some 3-4 looks this season?
A: We’ll be very multiple. Personnel wise, we have guys that fit a 4-3. We have guys that fit a lot of different defensive combinations and so I’m going to build a defense based on our personnel.
Q: Does Damontre’s ‘wow plays’ throw the balance against those rookie mistakes?
A: I love ‘wow plays.’ He had a critical play in the ball game in a fourth down situation for us Saturday and he took an inside pass rush move and the quarterback escaped outside and he lost contain and we lost the integrity of the defense and so I appreciate what he was doing and I think that’s part of his learning process and so once he understands that I think that he will play within the framework, but he will still continue to give us the ‘wow plays’ because he has that type of ability.
Q: Are you sure he can help you this season?
A: I’m positive he can help us this season.
Q: What about
A: Very strong at the point of attack. I like him as an on the line of scrimmage linebacker. He’s shown really good leadership in our room and with the linebackers and he is working hard to return to form.
Q: Is the defense more versatile this year than you were a year ago?
A: I think we have some players that have some versatility at the different positions. We’re experimenting. We don’t actually know if we’re as versatile as we can be, so we’ll find out in some of these preseason games, but we’d like to think we’re more versatile.
Q: How has
A: I’m pleased that he is on the field each and every day practicing. For us last year, he wasn’t on the field in training camp. He gives us some versatility. He gives us some flexibility because of his coverage skills and so he’s a big part of our puzzle in helping our pass defense. I’m very pleased with what he’s doing on a daily basis and if he continues to improve for us we can be better as a pass defense.
Safety Antrel Rolle
Q: What happened with your ankle?
A: One-on-one drills, got tangled up with the tight end as I went for the pass. It was an unfortunate sprain, I came down on his foot. Actually, I got caught up with his foot before I actually jumped. My foot just kind of rolled up underneath, on both sides. Got me pretty good.
Q: What are they calling it? A grade one, grade two? Are they labeling it?
A: No, I just know that it’s a sprain. Like I said, it’s a pretty good sprain. I always said that if I can’t get up and I can’t walk off on my own, then it’s pretty bad. For right now, just from yesterday today, it feels 10 times better. Just rehabbing and doing all the treatments as necessary, just try to push my way back.
Q: When do you think you can get back?
A: As soon as possible. There’s no timeframe at the moment but as soon as possible. I’m a hard worker, on the field and off the field. I’m not a fan of injuries, I really hate to even speak about this, but it happens in this game. I’m just going to do the best I can, try to get out there before the preseason’s over with and take it one day at a time.
Q: Is there a possibility that you won’t be ready for the opener?
A: Oh no. No, I’m going to do whatever it takes to make sure. That’s not even a possibility. Treatment, two times a day, three times a day, four times a day. Whatever it takes, I’m going to do it.
Q: They didn’t tell you if it was a high ankle sprain?
A: It’s not a high ankle sprain, that’s for sure. I had a high ankle sprain before and there are no similarities at all. Thank God.
Q: Perry Fewell called you the glue of this defense, the building block, the mortar that holds the foundation together. To know your value to this team, will you have that in mind every time you’re rehabbing, every time you think about getting ready specifically for that Dallas game?
A: Absolutely. I hate missing even a practice, being out there with my teammates, with my brothers. This is very hard for me to accept but at the same time, I have to be smart about it. I’m going to push myself because that’s who I am, I push myself in everything I do. I’ll try to get out there with those guys as soon as possible.
Q: Did you think it was something worse initially?
A: To be honest with you, I really didn’t know what to expect. I’m not the kind of guy that likes to lay there on the field, no matter what the injury is. I tried to get up and walk off but I just couldn’t do it. Did I think it was worse? Possibly. Just because I heard a couple popping sounds in my ankle but I think it was just part of my ankle rolling and just cracking. Just thank God that it wasn’t something too severe, nothing that I can’t work through with just a little bit of time and hard work.
Q: Are you training the parts of your body that aren’t injured so you can be ready for the first week of the season?
A: Yeah, absolutely. I started that last night on my own. Pushups, leg raises, things of that nature. I may not be able to run but I can definitely do other things. I’m going to take that into consideration and do all of the things possible.
Q: You’re training two ways, rehabbing and training to get ready for the season at the same time.
A: Yeah, you have to train your mind also. Pay attention to leaders. First thing I did last night when I got home was I got my iPad and I watched the practice, just seeing how the guys looked, seeing how they dealt with practice. Just going through the calls, going through the formations, going through the reads, just being a veteran. It’s all part of learning, you’re never too old to learn, you’re never too young to learn, just learn consistently and do what I can.
Q: I heard you were in front of the DBs today talking?
A: It all starts in practice. I’m not a fan of injuries, I’m not a fan of them now, even if it’s myself, but those guys are going to hold it down, I know that. All those guys are professionals and leaders. Yesterday at practice it seemed to me like they did a good job and you know they’re going to continue. When I get back we’re just going to continue to pick up hits.
LB Dan Connor
Q: What did you think of your first game action and how do you think it went?
A: I think it went well. Graded out well, was comfortable out there in the defense. You’re a little rusty getting out there the first game, but it’s nice to get to work out some of the kinks and make some plays. I think it went well and I have a lot of things to learn from.
Q: Knowing the history of linebackers here at the Giants, this is one area that’s got a lot of question marks. How do you feel about how things are going?
A: It’s a good group. The whole unit played well. A lot of guys can go in there and play at any time. It’s never a bad thing to have multiple guys that can start. With this unit, there are five or six guys that could go in there and start on a lot of different teams in the NFL. With the season, how long it is and what a grind it is, that’s a good thing. That’s something we’re going to need.
Q: The problems the Giants have had against the run, is it something you’re focusing on or coverage? What do you think your strengths are?
A: That’s a focus going in there, being able to stop the run and make the team one-dimensional. We focused on that for a few days, like any other year. But it’s probably a little bit more a point of emphasis since I’ve gotten here. We’ve got to be a physical defense. We’ve got to be able to stop the run and not let teams give you that slow death. That’s something we have to improve on and hopefully we can do that.
Q: Coming over from Dallas, do you see the rivalry from this side?
A: Yeah. I’m from Philly, too, so I’ve seen it from every single angle now and I’m not too well-liked back home. But it’s great. This is such a great place to play. All the people around this franchise are real class acts and I’m happy to be here.
Q: In terms of the competition between you and Mark, do you think it’s going to be a full preseason competition up to opening day until you really know what they’re going to decide, or do you want it to be decided before that?
A: No. I don’t even look at it too closely. I think we’re pretty interchangeable as linebackers. We both can do it. Who knows, we could be rotating through the season. Or he could do it and then I can do it later, or opposite. There are so many different options in the linebacker position. You get grinded out, you’re going to need guys to be able to spell you here and there through the game. It’s fun as a competition, with every single position. Especially the linebackers. There is a competition. The big thing our LB coach says is everybody be ready to play at any time. He’ll kind of keep you in the dark, as far as who’s going to go out in what situation. You have to expect the unexpected in order to be prepared.
Q: Consistency is a buzzword around camp. But as a group that hasn’t really played together in regular season, how do you guys achieve that?
A: Consistency is hard to achieve. Some of us just met everyone a couple months ago. We’re trying to gel as a unit. And to play consistent, you go out and do it over and over in practice. It’s not something that you do overnight. You have to prove it non-stop. Work hard through practices and then showing up game days. That’s the only way you’re going to be able prove to the media and the fans that you’re a consistent unit.
Q: When you first got here there was a lot of information thrown at you and you kind of had to learn it on the fly. Now that you’ve had a couple months to look at everything, watch film and slow everything down a little bit, do you feel more in tune with what’s being asked and that it’s now a better fit for you?
A: Yeah. The more you hear the terms and the verbiage that they use and you can associate it with what you’ve done in the past; the longer you’re around, the smoother it’ll be and the more comfortable you’ll be. With every day, you’re going to learn something new. You’re going to feel more comfortable in certain defenses and certain looks. That’s all it is. A lot of it just takes time and study. It’s a grind and it’s tedious, but that’s how you perform on the field. You stick around, you hang in the meetings and you stay focused and get comfortable with it that way.
Q: What more do you feel you have to show the coaches in order to justify earning a starting spot in this defense?
A: Anyone that wants to earn a starting spot has to go out and make plays on game day. You can work hard in practice, and that goes far. Coach Coughlin really respects that, but it’s what you do when the lights are on that’s going to win or lose you your job. That’s always what it comes down to with any team I’ve been on.
S Ryan Mundy
Q: What’s your comfort level with the defense right now since you may have to step in for a little bit with Antrel down?
A: It’s a work in progress. Every day I’m in here working hard, trying to better my understanding of the defense and it’s an exciting process. You know everyone has been very helpful from the coaches to the teammates and I think I have a pretty good grasp, but it’s not where I want to be yet.
Q: When they got you, you were the insurance policy and it’s a good plan right now. Do you feel like you fit right in?
A: Well we’re not sure, well at least I’m not sure of the timetable of Antrel’s return, but this is a road that I’m very familiar with from my time at Pittsburgh, my five years there. I was a primary backup to Troy (Polamalu) and Ryan (Clark), so this is a role that I know how to function in and I know how to prepare for.
Q: Why did you pick the Giants? Was there a similarity there with-
A: This is one of the first class organizations in the NFL, very similar to the way that Pittsburgh does things, and when I came here on my visit I just had a great feeling. You know the people here are awesome, and from the outside looking in you can see the track record of the wins and the success that Coach Coughlin has had here, and it was exciting for me to be a part of that.
Q: I guess I was asking more about the need here, the scheme that they run. Was that attractive?
A: Yeah. Like I said, from the outside looking in, from a defensive perspective, you see three safeties on the field. You’re really not sure of what they’re running. All you see is three safeties on the field, and once I came here on my visit and met with Coach Merritt and Coach Fewell, I got a little bit of better understanding of that. It was exciting for me because they thought that I could fill that role, so you know we had a better discussion of that and here I am.
Q: What is the unknown like for you right now not knowing if Antrel might miss a practice or two, or for that matter a couple of weeks. Does that give you any trepidation at all, what runs through your mind?
A: Not at all. Because from day one, Coach Merritt came in the room and said ‘we all have to prepare as if we’re going to start the game’ and that really sets the tempo, sets the attitude for our room because you never know who could go down, or when they could go down, but you know our job as professional athletes is to be ready.
Q: You had a reputation as a guy who can hit. Is that how you see your role, do you see yourself as somebody who can play center field?
A: I do have a reputation for hitting people; you know my time in Pittsburgh I did whatever was asked of me. If Troy was out of the game, then I was playing strong safety. If Ryan Clark was out of the game, then I was playing free safety, and you know that’s just been my whole approach to be a professional, whatever I need to do to help the team out, I’m more than willing to do.
Q: The first time we really noticed you is when you hit
A: Yeah, yeah you don’t want to hit your teammates like that, but sometimes things like that happen. An unfortunate thing, but he’s doing better and we moved on.
Q: Have you ever been in a defense where they’ve asked you to know multiple positions like this? Coach Fewell has talked about flipping the responsibilities of the safeties to kind of keep the offense off-balance. Have you ever been in that kind of situation before?
A: Yup, like I said I just keep referencing back to my time at Pittsburgh. It was a very similar approach that we had to the game. You know you’ve got to keep the offense off-balance and you don’t want to just be static and line up to one particular side or the formation all the time so it’s best if you know both positions and both responsibilities in each and every defense because the more you can do, the better off we’ll be.
Q: Did they ever use three safeties?
A: Yeah we did, we did a few times. We had a package down there. Wasn’t used too often but we did have one.
Q: Could you talk about Antrel in the meeting room? We keep hearing about his leadership and how valued that is.
A: He’s a great person, great player in the meeting room, he’s very vocal. He asks the questions that need to be asked, even though he may know the answer. He gets it out there, he gets the discussion going for the younger guys in the room, or new guys like myself that aren’t familiar with the defense and still picking things up. Actually he was in the meeting today, so he’s not missing a beat, he’s still staying active and staying sharp mentally.
Q: Pretty impressed that he hasn’t missed a game here since he got here?
A: From the first day I met Antrel, I could tell what type of player he is and his passion and devotion to this game. And I heard about ‘Antrel doesn’t miss a practice, Antrel doesn’t miss games,’ so I know it’s killing him right now and he’s doing everything that he can to get back out there.
Q: You talked about Troy and Ryan. How much did they help you in Pittsburgh just as far as growth, and then coming here when you have the veterans, too. Does it make it easier just because you’ve been around guys-
A: That’s the once and a lifetime opportunity to have a chance to start your career and learn from arguably two of the best safeties in the game. Not only on the field but also how to be a professional off the field, so I really cherished my time there and took what I could from them. Everybody’s different, everybody has different skill sets, but I eventually learned how to incorporate some of the things that they do into my game.