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Quotes: Manning, Cruz, & JPP

Posted Sep 2, 2013

Giants.com brings you inside the locker room to hear from Coach Tom Coughlin, WR Victor Cruz, and DE Jason Pierre-Paul


Coach Tom Coughlin

Q: You have a pretty good group of guys coming back off the injured list today?

A: Yeah. It was good to see, obviously, Victor (Cruz) work. He felt good.

Q: Was he limited at all?
A: He took as many reps as was planned for him to take. Usually when they first come back, that word (“limited”) appears anyway. Limited, but it looked to me like he took probably half, maybe more.

Q: What’s the word with Cruz and JPP for Dallas?
A: We’ll see.

Q: JPP looks all right to you?
A: He practiced pretty well. We’ll see. They obviously have a ways to go there.

Q: Adrien Robinson was not out there today.
A: Yeah. He’s going to be a while.

Q: Is there a timeframe on Adrien Robinson?
A: I’m not giving you one. He’s got a sore foot, so we’ll see. Those things usually are very unpredictable anyways. Hopefully he’ll get back as fast as he can because he needs to.

Q: How about Henry Hynoski?
A: If there’s a will, there’s a way. I mean, this guy is all heart and he won’t miss a beat. As soon as they gave him the opportunity to get back out there, he was trying to jump in on every snap. He can come back from these things. It takes a while.

Q: What do you want to see from David Wilson? What does he need to do to be successful?
A: Keep getting better. He’s done a nice job of recognition. He’s done a good job of chipping and helping in pass protection and he’s got to continue to do that.

Q: Is there a different vibe today because it is game week?
A: You’re talking about the first game of the regular season and the first time you’ve had your 53 and your practice squad together, so there’s a nice feeling. It’s a good, exciting feeling because the season is about to begin.

Q: Are you going to need another safety?
A: We’ll see. The ideal thing would be to balance every spot, but that didn’t happen for us. We do have to compensate somehow, some way and we’ll try to do that as best we can, but you keep the best players.

Q: What’s the latest on Andre Brown?
A: I don’t know. We’ll see. I don’t know what I can tell you. The guy is hurt. He’s got a serious injury. What’s his status going to be? I can’t tell you that. How long? I don’t know. I really don’t. I can repeat what you hear out there, but I don’t know that’s the way it’s going to be. I know this: he has a great attitude about it and he really believes that he’ll come back faster than whatever number anybody puts on it. I’m rooting for him.

Q: Two days ago was one of the tough days in this business, is it tough to come off roster cut day and then to be full-energy and get everyone motivated on Monday?
A: No. I don’t think so. Thank goodness for Monday, to be honest with you.

Q: You mentioned JPP still has a ways to go.
A: He’s got to practice. That’s what that means. Practice every day. Put the uniform on. Play in the pads. See how he feels the next morning. Those are the things that he has to go through.

Q: Has he gotten past being sore the second day?
A: We’ll see. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Q: How did his conditioning look?
A: That’s one of the things we tried to work with today and I think his bursts were good. Now how many of them? I can’t tell you that, but in a short practice like that, it was well spirited and he matched up well and he did what I was worried he would do. There’s no pads on and he’s coming like he’s got them on. So that’s a good sign.

Q: What did you see out of Curtis Painter this summer? It looked like the stats favored David Carr.
A: What we saw was he did make, I thought, more of the throws down the field. He did have a couple of opportunities where he brought the team down the field, with the Jet game, the field goal. They were close. They were very close, but that’s the decision we made. I thought it was a very objective one. There were a bunch of parties involved in that. As you can imagine, pro personnel, Jerry Reese, myself, his position coach, his coordinator, so we hope we made the right call, and as I told David, ‘who knows?’ David has done a great job for us here over the years. He’s done a superb job as a scout team quarterback being able to really mimic whatever style we were going to play against and that has to be a consideration for us going forward now too between Ryan (Nassib) and Curtis. Those two guys are going to handle all of the quarterback positions and the way in which they differ. They’ll have to handle that throughout the year and hopefully they can do it as well as David has done it in the past.

Q: Did it make your cuts a lot more complicated having a third quarterback on the roster, which you haven’t done a lot of?
A: You constantly are looking at that number. You’re not going to have that extra guy. But my feeling is that at the quarterback position it’s very difficult for you to try to pair that off with any other spot. If you are in the position where the three quarterbacks are going to be a part of your team, you just go forward with it. There’s no lamenting that opportunity that we’ve had in other years or other teams have with two and the extra roster spot. When it comes to the quarterback spot, it’s a totally different evaluation.




QB Eli Manning

Q: Is it good to see Victor Cruz out there?
A: Yeah, definitely. It’s good to have all your weapons out there and one of your top receivers, so it’s good to get him back running around and I’m excited that he will be back for this opening game,

Q: After practice was over you were doing a lot of long throws, was it just something you wanted to work on today?
A: Yeah, after a few days off, just kind of stretching out the arm. It was a practice where you know the receivers are all, you don’t like to run your receivers on too many long routes during the season, you try to protect their legs but just making sure we hit those deep ones when we have opportunities.

Q: Did Victor look like the same old Victor to you?
A: Yeah, I have to watch the film. Got a few routes to him. I didn’t see anything, he looked sharp and looked like he had his full speed.

Q: Are you excited about Dallas?
A: Yeah. Sunday night, start the season vs. Dallas. You know, it’s hard not to be excited about it. Obviously they’re a very good team with a new defensive coordinator, new defensive scheme, but they still have a lot of good players so we have to go in there and play our best football and see what they’re going to do defensively. I’m sure they’re going to have a few wrinkles that they haven’t shown in preseason but we should be able to adapt to whatever they throw at us and be prepared and go out there and play well.

Q: They are now running the 4-3 and they are really preaching turnovers, they only had 16 turnovers a year ago. Montie Kiffin, Rod Marinelli, that’s all they’re talking about down there. What have you seen just watching the film?
A: Well, they’re still very talented on defense. You have DeMarcus Ware, you have Hatcher, you have two good corners. They’ve got talented players on their defense, their scheme will be very sound and let their athletes run. We’ve got to go back and look at some old film, some old Tampa stuff, some USC stuff, we have a lot of different film to look at. Obviously if you look at the preseason games, we kind of see what he’s done in the past so you have a little idea of what they’re going to do, what some of their blitzes and things might be. We know they’ll be talented so we have to go out there and execute.

Q: Can you talk about David Wilson a little bit and how his role is changing due to Brown’s injury? What does he need to do to be successful?
A: Well, just keep running the ball well and, you know, we’ve got to do a good job getting the ball in his hands and letting him be an athlete and make guys miss. He is explosive. He’s has a good preseason, doing everything from the pass scheme to blitz pickup to running the ball well so I think it’s been a great start for him and he’s got to continue to grow and know there are going to be good plays, there are going to be bad plays, both of them you have to put behind you, move on and play the next play and be ready for whatever’s thrown at him.

Q: Going into a season, do you feel you usually have a pretty good idea of how your team is going to do?
A: I think every year we are going in feeling good about our team. I think we are talented, it’s just going to be a matter of how we react to certain situations and that’s usually the difference between a successful year and not. Some of those close games, can you pull them out? You’re going to have those games where everything goes great and you want those but sometimes we’ll have a time where things aren’t going so well for a little bit or you get off to a slow start. Can you bounce back and find a way to win those games when you’re not playing your absolute best? That’s what we’ve got to see about this team, how strong we are and how we’re able to finish the fourth quarters of games and finish the season.

Q: Your core group of guys has been through a lot of ups and down, Super Bowls…
A: Yeah, you do. But you also have new guys and you have to see how they do. You hope that the leadership from those guys that have been through it all, that confidence to kind of never have any worry or doubt and always staying confident throughout a game, throughout a season, will carry over to all the teammates.

Q: You had a Super Bowl team a couple years ago, you didn’t run the ball very well and the defense kind of picked it up late. When you look around this team now, do you see a little bit more balance? It looks like you’ve got the ability to run a little bit more.
A: Yeah, we should be able to run the ball well. The offensive line is healthy and we feel good about our receivers as well. Hopefully it’s just a matter of whatever we need to do. If a team’s taking away the pass, we’ve got to run the ball. If they’re loading up the box, we’ve got to throw it. We’re not scared to do either one, it’s just whatever the defense is giving you, you’ve got to throw it or run it well. Whatever they’re giving up.

Q: Whenever I ask anybody around here how this team is going to be, the answer usually always gets to “we have the quarterback, so we’ll be OK.” Do you ever feel that pressure at this stage of your career or are you beyond that?
A: I know I’ve got to play well ifhis offense is going to move the ball and, from throwing the ball to making good decisions, scoring touchdowns. I’m excited about that. That’s what you want as a quarterback. You want the ball to be in your hands and whether you’re winning or losing games, to have it be on how you perform.

Q: What about the atmosphere of AT&T Stadium seems to bring out the best in you guys?
A: We’ve had a couple good games down there but each year you’ve got to go in and have a great week of practice and preparation and just execute on game day. Hopefully we have the opportunities to hit some big plays and the timing, the play calling, all works out where we have an opportunity to hit some open guys and we can take advantage of it.

Q: Does it matter who you open up against? It’s Dallas this year but the Giants tend to have notable first games? Do you wish you played somebody what wasn’t…
A: No, I think it’s good to have that first game against our rival, a division game. It’s a big game on a lot of counts. Not just because it’s the first one but because it’s in the division and it’s Dallas and we know them well. I think it’s good to kick off the season with a big game.

Q: It wouldn’t be easier to sort of ease into the season?
A: In the NFL I don’t think there are any easy games. Everybody’s good and you’ve got to expect to go in and play your best to have a chance to win.




WR Victor Cruz

Q: So how did you feel getting out there after a couple of weeks off?
A: It felt good.  It felt weird because the last time I was out there, there was the training camp crowd and the people were there.  Now it’s just quiet.  Just us hearing ourselves talk.  It was good, it felt good to get out there, get some routes in and stuff like that.  It was good.

Q: I assume you’re all good for Sunday?
A: Yeah, as of right now, if everything continues to feel good in the morning and doesn’t swell up on me or anything crazy, I’ll be good to go.  

Q: Has that been the case, have you been able to wake up in the morning and not have the swelling?
A: Yeah, it’s been going down gradually.  Every morning I do the wooden floor test to kind of put pressure on it.  Everyday has gotten better and better.  I’m happy about that.

Q: From the time when you first hurt it, are you actually ahead of schedule or kind of think you’re where you should be?
A: I’m a little ahead.  They were predicting a couple more weeks, but I was diligent in the treatment room and at home, doing the things I needed to do.  Icing it and getting ready and things like that.  I’m pretty much ahead of schedule and I’m happy about that.  

Q: Is there anything you need to do to convince yourself that you’re going to be able to go on Sunday, in terms of cuts or anything like that?
A: I did that today.  Going out there and running some routes.  My main concern was those hard breaking routes, curls and really digging my foot into the ground.  I ran a couple of those and it didn’t feel bad at all and it felt good to get out of them.  Made a curl catch and got a little bit of a burst out of it, so it felt good.  

Q: Do you have to do that inside the field house, because it’s a different surface?
A: Yeah, different surface and I was scared we were going to be in the field house today, but we ended up being outside luckily.  Hopefully we won’t have to go into the field house this week.  It gives me another week of soft grass and gradually building up to the indoors.  We’ll have to play indoors on Sunday so we’ll see how it goes.  

Q: At some point would you want to try it in the field house, since it’s a similar turf?
A: Potentially.  Maybe run a couple of routes on it and maybe on Friday, towards the end of the week, just to get myself mentally right to play in there and get my footwork down on that surface.  

Q: When you went out on the field today were you wondering if you were going to be ok?  When you make these cuts, were you wondering how’s it going to respond?
A: No, I’m just kind of out there being myself.  I can’t think about it too much.  I have to go out there and run routes the way I would run them in a game.  That’s how I approached it and it ended up well.  Nothing happened.  Nothing dramatic happened when I was out there, so it felt good.  I was positive.  

Q: Nothing dramatic is good?
A: Absolutely.




DE Jason Pierre-Paul

Q: How do you feel today?
A: How do I feel? Oh – a little bit sore. No, I’m just playing with you. I feel great. I feel good, (but) we’re not there. Ran off tired. I was completely tired. I wasn’t like I expected to be my first day out there, but I feel great.

Q: That’s the conditioning part of it?
A: Oh yeah. The conditioning part, I’ve got to push myself to do that and that’s what I’m going to do. If that means getting extra reps out there, my reps on the football field, running behind the D-line or whatever, that’s what I’m going to do.

Q: How confident are you that you’ll give it a shot this upcoming weekend?
A: I don’t know. Like I said, I’m going against one of the best players in the league, (Will) Beatty; he gets me good. It all depends if I can take on a double team, if I’m ready for that. It’s only been the first day so we’ll see how it goes. We have a whole week ahead of us.

Q: Do you suppose this will be the kind of thing that you will know by Friday’s practice? Or do you think you’ll know before you board the plane for Dallas?
A: Probably before I board the plane, if I’ll give it a shot or not. Either way I’m going to be traveling with the team. Right now, like I said, we’ve got a whole week to prepare for this game and I’ll see how it feels.

Q: What’s been the hardest part of the recovery process?
A: Just coming off back surgery, period. I wish that on nobody in the league. Just coming off back surgery, period, is a lot. It takes time, it’s something that you can’t rush into. And it’s for your health. Right now I’m doing the smart thing and just taking it day by day. So when I come back, I’ll be fully ready to play.

Q: But when you come back, you probably won’t be fully ready to play a full game.
A: I’ll be fully ready to play.

Q: A whole game? Because here, you can rotate in.
A: Yeah, we have our rotations but I’ll be ready to play. It’s a lot on the coaches, too, on how they want to play me. Hopefully I’m not tired. When I come back I’ll be ready to play a whole game. In rotation or whatever you want to call it. I’m not going to be tapping my helmet. I’ll take a knee on the field or something, that’s basically it.


QB Curtis Painter

Excited about the opportunity, ready to get going and help out to win wherever I can.

Q: You’re now one of three quarterbacks to back up both Mannings. What’s that like? It’s kind of an exclusive club.
A: Well, it’s a good opportunity for me. They’re two great quarterbacks. It’s a good opportunity for me to learn from them, pick up on whatever information they have and just kind of sit in the meeting rooms with them. It’s, like I said, it’s certainly a good opportunity for me just to go and get better and hopefully help them out in whatever way I can.

Q: I know you’ve been asked this quite a bit since you got over here but what do you see, similarity wise, between the two of them?
A: I think the biggest thing is their work ethic. They are guys that come in here, they give 100 percent every day, no matter if it’s the first day of the offseason or the first week of the regular season. They’re going to come in, put in hard work, study film, they’re going to do everything they can to get better. Just their work ethic, it’s one that’s hard to match.

Q: Coach Coughlin said that when it came down to it, it was tight between you and David. What did you see from David this year as you guys went through the preseason?
A: He’s a great player. He’s a guy that’s been around a long time who knows a lot about football and is a true professional, helped me out a ton with this offense and with teams that we face. I can’t say enough about the help that he provided me. David’s a great guy and, again, he helped me out a ton.

Q: Did you feel like since he had been here for a while, that he might have an edge going into the competition?
A: I didn’t really think about it like that. I would just come in here and try to get better each game, each practice, didn’t really worry about making the team as far as competing and that kind of thing. We had and still have a very good quarterback room where we communicate a lot, we help each other out a lot, so there never really was a feel of competing against each other. That wasn’t really on my mind. The coaches and letting all that playing out how it will, I was just trying to get better day to day.

Q: How satisfying is it?
A: I’m certainly happy to be here. I don’t know if you’d call it satisfying. But yeah, I’m excited about the opportunity and hopefully I’ll continue to get better and help this team win.

Q: I guess I’m asking you because of what you’ve been through for the past couple of years. Maybe satisfied is a bad word.
A: Yeah, again, I’m excited to be here and get the opportunity . Making the team was obviously the primary goal and from here forward it’s to help this team win. I’m certainly excited about my role.


FB Henry Hynoski

A: I’m doing good. I practiced full today, I’m feeling good. If you want to know about Sunday, I can’t give you an answer now. That’s going to be decided later in the week, I’m assuming, by medical staff and doctors. I practiced full, no issues, felt good.

Q: Do you feel like you have put yourself in the position where you’re where you need to be to make them consider it?
A: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I feel good, I feel good out there, haven’t had any issues or setbacks. It’s just a matter of getting the go-ahead or not and we’ll see what happens at the end of this week. Every day I progress but I think I have to progress just a little bit more to give them that go-ahead.

Q: Do you know what you need to show them? Has it been laid out to you?
A: Just everything a fullback needs to show, playing, explosion, driving feet on contact, that type of thing. And, unfortunately, I haven’t gotten too many chances to hit yet because I just came off PUP when camp was pretty much over and I had one day where I was able to hit and everything went good with that, felt really good and comfortable with that. Now I just feel great. Physically healthy and I’m getting in shape. You can train and run all you want, it’s still not football shape. But I feel like that’s coming back really quick and it’s all coming in and everything’s falling in place.

Q: A player doesn’t want to put himself on the field if he doesn’t think he can protect himself and do it so it sounds like you feel like you’re getting to the point where you feel like you can.
A: Yeah, I’m getting to the point where I feel comfortable. When you’re on the field you can’t think about that stuff. Everything just has to come second nature. I don’t want to think about an injury or that type of thing. Honestly, when I’m practicing, I’m not thinking about it. It’s not even in my thought process. We just have to collaborate with the trainers and the doctors and, ultimately, make the right decision. But it’s going to be up to them and it’s going to be their call.

Q: Are you sore at all? How have you been responding?
A: I’ve been responding great. I feel good, I have no issues, no complaints whatsoever, no setbacks. Every day is progress. I feel like I’m making that progress every day.

Q: You also have a few more days.
A: Yeah, it certainly helps. It’s not like they’re going to decide today or tomorrow. It’s going to be seeing how I progress the rest of the week in practice. It’s only Monday, we have until Saturday.




Q: Is it good to see Victor Cruz out there?
A: Yeah, definitely. It’s good to have all your weapons out there and one of your top receivers, so it’s good to get him back running around and I’m excited that he will be back for this opening game,

Q: After practice was over you were doing a lot of long throws, was it just something you wanted to work on today?
A: Yeah, after a few days off, just kind of stretching out the arm. It was a practice where you know the receivers are all, you don’t like to run your receivers on too many long routes during the season, you try to protect their legs but just making sure we hit those deep ones when we have opportunities.

Q: Did Victor look like the same old Victor to you?
A: Yeah, I have to watch the film. Got a few routes to him. I didn’t see anything, he looked sharp and looked like he had his full speed.

Q: Are you excited about Dallas?
A: Yeah. Sunday night, start the season vs. Dallas. You know, it’s hard not to be excited about it. Obviously they’re a very good team with a new defensive coordinator, new defensive scheme, but they still have a lot of good players so we have to go in there and play our best football and see what they’re going to do defensively. I’m sure they’re going to have a few wrinkles that they haven’t shown in preseason but we should be able to adapt to whatever they throw at us and be prepared and go out there and play well.

Q: They are now running the 4-3 and they are really preaching turnovers, they only had 16 turnovers a year ago. Montie Kiffin, Rod Marinelli, that’s all they’re talking about down there. What have you seen just watching the film?
A: Well, they’re still very talented on defense. You have DeMarcus Ware, you have Hatcher, you have two good corners. They’ve got talented players on their defense, their scheme will be very sound and let their athletes run. We’ve got to go back and look at some old film, some old Tampa stuff, some USC stuff, we have a lot of different film to look at. Obviously if you look at the preseason games, we kind of see what he’s done in the past so you have a little idea of what they’re going to do, what some of their blitzes and things might be. We know they’ll be talented so we have to go out there and execute.

Q: Can you talk about David Wilson a little bit and how his role is changing due to Brown’s injury? What does he need to do to be successful?
A: Well, just keep running the ball well and, you know, we’ve got to do a good job getting the ball in his hands and letting him be an athlete and make guys miss. He is explosive. He’s has a good preseason, doing everything from the pass scheme to blitz pickup to running the ball well so I think it’s been a great start for him and he’s got to continue to grow and know there are going to be good plays, there are going to be bad plays, both of them you have to put behind you, move on and play the next play and be ready for whatever’s thrown at him.

Q: Going into a season, do you feel you usually have a pretty good idea of how your team is going to do?
A: I think every year we are going in feeling good about our team. I think we are talented, it’s just going to be a matter of how we react to certain situations and that’s usually the difference between a successful year and not. Some of those close games, can you pull them out? You’re going to have those games where everything goes great and you want those but sometimes we’ll have a time where things aren’t going so well for a little bit or you get off to a slow start. Can you bounce back and find a way to win those games when you’re not playing your absolute best? That’s what we’ve got to see about this team, how strong we are and how we’re able to finish the fourth quarters of games and finish the season.

Q: Your core group of guys has been through a lot of ups and down, Super Bowls…
A: Yeah, you do. But you also have new guys and you have to see how they do. You hope that the leadership from those guys that have been through it all, that confidence to kind of never have any worry or doubt and always staying confident throughout a game, throughout a season, will carry over to all the teammates.

Q: You had a Super Bowl team a couple years ago, you didn’t run the ball very well and the defense kind of picked it up late. When you look around this team now, do you see a little bit more balance? It looks like you’ve got the ability to run a little bit more.
A: Yeah, we should be able to run the ball well. The offensive line is healthy and we feel good about our receivers as well. Hopefully it’s just a matter of whatever we need to do. If a team’s taking away the pass, we’ve got to run the ball. If they’re loading up the box, we’ve got to throw it. We’re not scared to do either one, it’s just whatever the defense is giving you, you’ve got to throw it or run it well. Whatever they’re giving up.

Q: Whenever I ask anybody around here how this team is going to be, the answer usually always gets to “we have the quarterback, so we’ll be OK.” Do you ever feel that pressure at this stage of your career or are you beyond that?
A: I know I’ve got to play well ifhis offense is going to move the ball and, from throwing the ball to making good decisions, scoring touchdowns. I’m excited about that. That’s what you want as a quarterback. You want the ball to be in your hands and whether you’re winning or losing games, to have it be on how you perform.

Q: What about the atmosphere of AT&T Stadium seems to bring out the best in you guys?
A: We’ve had a couple good games down there but each year you’ve got to go in and have a great week of practice and preparation and just execute on game day. Hopefully we have the opportunities to hit some big plays and the timing, the play calling, all works out where we have an opportunity to hit some open guys and we can take advantage of it.

Q: Does it matter who you open up against? It’s Dallas this year but the Giants tend to have notable first games? Do you wish you played somebody what wasn’t…
A: No, I think it’s good to have that first game against our rival, a division game. It’s a big game on a lot of counts. Not just because it’s the first one but because it’s in the division and it’s Dallas and we know them well. I think it’s good to kick off the season with a big game.

Q: It wouldn’t be easier to sort of ease into the season?
A: In the NFL I don’t think there are any easy games. Everybody’s good and you’ve got to expect to go in and play your best to have a chance to win.