Q: Beckham and Grimble weren’t out here today…
A: They were in treatment and went over to the doctor
Q: Is Beckham getting any tests done on his hamstring?
A: I’m sure he is, that’s what he went for.
Q: What have you seen from Johnathan Hankins this training camp?
A: Johnathan seems to be having a good camp. We like what we have seen so far.
Q: Have you thought about snap distribution at all for the Hall of Fame Game?
Q: Do you know if you started…
A: I’m not sure yet. I’m not going to say. First of all I have to figure who is going to…Final analysis is, we have two more practices to find who is going to play.
Q: Is Ben McAdoo going to be downstairs?
A: He’s downstairs.
Q: That’s not a trial for you guys?
Q: What do you look at when you’re trying to decide how many plays? Do you look at other teams who have played a fifth preseason game and what they have done in the past?
A: We have enough background to figure that out, I hope. There are five games and you approach it in different ways, whether you have four or five, but this is going to benefit us. We’re going to get some more opportunities in this offense.
Q: Are you more inclined to stay with the starters a little more since it is a new offense?
A: Not necessarily. Not right away. It will come to do that. They will get plenty of snaps.
Q: What does it mean to ‘trust your feet?’ That’s an expression we heard today from Langsdorf and Eli.
A: Our offense has a lot to do with their feet. They attribute a lot of what the quarterbacks are able to do with the timing, his feet, and having them in the right position and set properly. They work very hard, whether it’s a three-, five-, or seven-step drop. When the ball is supposed to come out and the depth of the routes and the quarterback’s ability to get his feet in the right position. That’s the very basis of this scheme is having your feet in position to make a play at the right time.
Q: That’s really breaking new ground for a guy who has been doing another thing for 10 years…..
A: It’s just a different approach to it and it’s something that this offense relies upon since Bill Walsh.
Q: Of all the tight ends, has one stood out to you above all others?
A: They have all worked hard and they do make plays. Today we had a couple nice plays made. Not one but I think they are making progress.
Q: Are you seeing the old type of power running game that you have been looking for?
A: A little better today, but a long way to go.
Q: How much has these two days in pads helped the development of the offense?
A: You have to put the pads on. You are not going to get it done with shorts and t-shirts. It’s a physical game and it has to be played upfront, it has to be technically sound, and you must be able to physically be in the position where you are making the blocks or you are defending. We have always put tremendous stock on what is up front with our offensive line and our defensive line as a measure of literally the strength of our team. We are glad to be in the pads and as each day passes, they are challenged to be more physical. We always talk about being smart because we don’t want anyone to do anything stupid that costs us a player, but the physical aspect of the game is something we have to definitely get back to.
Q: How accurate is it that the screen pass will be a bigger part of your offense?
A: There have been a lot of years where we have been very good at the screen game and the good thing, the way everything is being introduced, is it is in balance. It all comes in phases. You are seeing screens because there are screens perhaps once a day that are installed. You see them not necessarily being emphasized, but as a part of the overall package as we put these installs in.
Q: Do you think a 70% completion percentage in this offense is a legitimate goal?
A: I think that number has always been used by this offense as a standard. Not that it has been accomplished that many times in history, but it is a goal like any other goal. If someone was to achieve that percentage, we would be a pretty good offense.
Q: That’s a lot higher than your old offense, right?
A: Our old offense was probably 68%
Q: The offense looks like it kind of had its best practice yesterday, things were clicking. Can you tell it’s really starting to come together now?
A: Yeah, I thought we had a good practice yesterday. I think guys are just starting to understand the tempo of the offense, the timing of the routes, all of the adjustments, all of the plays we get into. It’s coming faster for the quarterbacks also so I think everything came around pretty well yesterday in just the understanding of what we’re trying to do. We have to keep working. I think we’re getting more of the install in but there’s still more plays, more concepts that have to be put in so as we learn those we have to do that and also can’t forget what we’ve learned already. We’ve still got some ways to go but I thought yesterday we had good… for the first padded practice we had pretty good speed for the whole practice.
Q: Things obviously are a lot different here this year. Do you have a sense yet whether they’re going to be better?
A: I hope so. I think our practices have been good. They’re not perfect, we’re still learning on the run on some things but I think just the mindset, the work ethic with people kind of buying into everything and spending extra time to try to learn this new offense has been good. I think things are where they should be right now. We could always get better but I feel we’re in a good spot. We just have to keep moving forward.
Q: The linemen and the fullbacks told me yesterday that they look forward to padded practices because there’s hitting and that’s what they want. As a quarterback, do padded practices make much of a difference to you?
A: No. For us, whether you put pads on for the quarterback, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference for us. I think the speed of the practice always speeds up a little bit when you have pads just because those defensive linemen, offensive linemen are going probably a little bit faster just because they know it’s more full speed and there’s a little bit more hitting going on. I think just the tempo of practice speeds up. I think sometimes those linemen like being in full pads in the sense where it is more full speed and you can get your hands on their pads a little bit, have a better surface in your pass protection and your run protection. I thought it was a good first practice yesterday.
Q: Can that make a difference at all in terms of your timing routes with your receivers because they tell you that it’s different when they have full gear on?
A: I think for the most part it’s about the same. I’ve never seen a big difference, whether you have just shoulder pads on or you have pants on and the speed, I think the receivers’ speed and their timing should be pretty similar.
Q: Has the new quarterbacks coach presented a lot of new things to you? Different ideas, different ways to do things…?
A: Yes, there are some things that are different just in the philosophy of the offense and the footwork and some of the mechanics of things. There are some new things, they all make sense. Each day there are some things… you try to get better at something and you try to keep improving and not making the same mistakes. There are some things you’re doing well but you could be doing better. Each day there are new things that we can learn and we can look at, looking back at some old Green Bay stuff and just trying to get an idea from their timing of things. Yeah, there are some new ideas that I’m learning.
Q: Can you give me an example of what might be different? I would think footwork for you, once you learn it it’s so important that to re-learn it. I think would be difficult.
A: I think it’s more kind of the footwork-based on the route, whether you’re under center or in shotgun, just how it changes. Some of that is a little different. There’s more shotgun footwork and mechanics, kind of listening to your feet. We talk a lot about that and say, ‘Hey, you’re going to take this type of drop out of the gun and if it’s not open on that first step you’ve got to listen to your feet, get through your progression so when you have to scramble…’ some of those things are different, just taught differently than what we’ve done in the past. I like it, I think it makes sense and you can rely on it but it’s not only remembering the play and protection but also remembering what type of, do I take a step with my right foot first or my left foot, those things that are now becoming second nature.
Q: What is it like having Mario Manningham back? Are there differences? Is he the same guy?
A: I think he’s still kind of getting his speed back and getting his feel back. He didn’t practice at all during the spring so he’s only been back here for a few practices. You know he’s a guy who can make plays for you and he can… we have a good communication and just be on the same page with me. He’s still learning a new offense. He’s only been out there a few days so he’s still learning on the run as well.
Q: How about the dynamic of returning to a team you had already been to? Could you imagine doing that? It’s got to be unique.
A: I think Mario enjoyed being a New York Giant. Sometimes you leave and understand that you had a good thing going here. He left on great terms with the organization and had a great couple years here and went off and had some injuries in San Francisco but we’re glad to have him back and I think he’s glad to be back.
Q: There’s a lot of talk about the timing of the offense and playing faster. Do you have to adjust your internal clock to play quicker?
A: Well, you don’t want to play faster… when you’re playing the play when the ball is snapped you want to be in a good rhythm and have good timing. We are in that stretch trying to get that ball snapped quickly, trying to get up to the line of scrimmage quickly. He stresses that he’s going to call the play, get it in fast, we’ve got to get to that huddle and lined up and get things set. We’re either going to snap the ball fast or get into more cadence and use double counts and try to see what the defense is doing. Just trying to speed up the mechanics of the huddle of getting to the line of scrimmage.
Q: You’ve done… for almost 10 years…?
A: I think that’s good. I like getting up to the line of scrimmage fast. I think the faster you can get up to the line of scrimmage and get the offense set it should show what the defense is doing, what their plan is. If you have a great play on you, leave it running, if you have a play that has no chance for success, you can get into your other options. It gives me more time to decipher what to do and to get us in a good play where we’re not fighting the clock and rushed in that scenario.
Q: The other day you stumbled coming out of the… was that your feet falling on someone else’s?
A: Yeah, just the fullback position was coming in to block the linebacker and just kind of clipped my leg a little bit and kind of knocked… and my feet ended up kind of kicking over each other.
Q: So it has nothing to do with your footwork, it’s just a play that happens.
A: Yeah, sometimes it happens.
Q: The one thing I noticed yesterday is that you did a lot of check downs to the running backs and threw the ball to the running backs. That obviously hadn’t been the case the last couple years. Is that something that’s part of the new offense and you’re going to be looking to the seams and looking to the running backs more?
A: We just had a couple plays where they had us covered pretty good; they were dropping some guys deep so you have to take your check down. I think I hit Rashad on a few of them yesterday. I think he catches the ball really well out of the backfield and he’s a pretty natural receiver and does a good job of getting to a spot and catching the ball pretty naturally. I think that’s another weapon you have to bring to the offense. Get those check downs, hit those running backs, get them the ball and get them the ball quickly and let them make some plays.
Q: The general assumption is that this offense will be more quick, shorter passes and there are going to be less deep passes. How accurate do you think that is?
A: I don’t think that’s completely accurate. I think we’re still going to push the ball down the field. There are some opportunities to throw some short passes but it’s just the same. You’ve got to push the ball down the field and you’ve got to take some shots. I think it’s a combination of all of them.
Q: Is there sometimes a danger of getting the ball knocked out? When you get in the rhythm of one, two, three go and the defense knows that they can time it.
A: Yeah, if they’re rushing. If you throw them too quickly, too much they can kind of slow down the rush and try to time things and jump. That will be a good time to obviously drop back and throw it deep if they’re not going to rush hard and try to time that up. I think when you say it’s a West Coast offense I think that’s a kind of a quick passing game but I don’t think that’s necessarily totally accurate.
Q: What’s the trust level? How long does it take when you get a new coach who is working specifically with your group after working with someone else for so long?
A: I think we’re getting along well. We’ve had some new quarterback coaches over the years and guys get promoted from within or new guys come in so it’s not like I’ve been with the same quarterback coach for the entire time. I think it’s fun. We get along well. He’s well informed on everything we’re trying to do. I have a lot of questions for him. He knows this offense well, he knows the mechanics of everything going on so I think we’re getting along well and getting a lot of work done.
Q: Does the fact that the whole team and you are coming off the season you had make it easier to buy what these guys sell?
A: I think you’re trying to learn it. I think each play you’re going to try to understand it before the play, as it’s being put in. You run it a few times and try to understand what you’re trying to get accomplished. Some plays make perfect sense, some plays I have questions about and kind of will get a feel from the coach also whether that’s one of his favorite plays or that’s one that’s installed but maybe not run a whole lot. You kind of ask those questions and get a feel for what… he knows what plays have been successful. He knows what plays have been run a lot and what plays have not so you try to get a decent feel for what his favorites are and what are not as popular.
Q: Usually is the answer what you thought or sometimes if the answer…?
A: Usually it’s kind of one… we’ve been on the same page for the most part. It’s just kind of one that’s maybe not run as much.
Q: With the new offense, talk about the importance of the screen pass and getting the backs involved in the pass game.
A: I think the screens are good just because it does slow down the pass rush. If those guys are just running up the field you have to get them up the field and get the ball out quickly, get those touches in the running backs’ hands. Those running backs, it’s not just how many times they carry the ball but if you can get them on some screen passes and get the ball in their hands quickly and let them be a runner and get those tough yards, that’s good stuff. We have to get the screen game going. It’s an easy way to get the ball out of your hands and get some big plays.
TE Coach Kevin M. Gilbride
Q: Can you compare where you guys were from the offseason to where you are now?
A: Well I think they’ve done a great job working hard as far as not just the schematics of our offense, but also the different techniques and alignments and where we ask them to get, in order to get them into the best opportunity possible to be successful. So they’ve done a nice job in their development in that area. There’s still a lot of work to do technique-wise, just from a finishing standpoint, from a getting the job done standpoint – that still needs to improve. But they’re working towards that and the more they’re out here and the more they’re working, at the end of practice battling and trying to make plays and trying to compete their butts off and finish blocks, the better off they’re going to be.
Q: Has anybody stood out to you from that group, somebody I guess who is separating himself from the rest because it’s a wide open position?
A: There have been guys that have made strides in different areas so right now we’re looking for the complete tight end who can do it all. But we also need guys who are role players, guys who can be specialists in certain areas, as far as if he’s best at executing a certain block, he’s going to the have the opportunity to make those plays in the game. If he’s best at a certain route, he’s going to have the opportunity to make those plays during the game. So I think you need both. You need to have the all-around tight and then you also have to have specialists, guys who are great at that particular role.
Q: Have you seen anybody that you think is that all-around tight end yet? Or do you think they all can do it?
A: I think, right now, they’ve all got a shot at doing it. But again, they’re all very good in certain areas and right now not as efficient and not as good in other areas. In order to become that all-around tight end, they need to continue to develop.
Q: Can you envision a scenario where maybe it’s just a couple specialists, like four specialists and each of them just does one thing particularly well, or do you absolutely need that all-around guy?
A: I think you can get it done with the specialist-type thing, but that’s not really what we’re looking for. What we’re really looking for is to develop a number of overall tight ends who can do it all and can contribute to our team because that’s what you need in order to be overly successful and be at the position itself to help the team win games.
Q: It’s been pretty obvious to us - from what we see - that you guys have made a concerted effort to split the reps and make sure every guy has a chance to be with the first team, run with Eli, the first line. Do you think that this is almost a progression now, where in maybe a week, two weeks from now, it might be better served or that’s the plan to be able to get some guys in there regularly with that personnel? Does that matter? Can you still evaluate? Is the evaluation still the same?
A: First and foremost, yes, we’ve definitely made a concerted effort to get everybody with the first team, to get everybody the same amount of reps, to give everybody the same opportunities to do the different things that we’re asking the tight ends to do. That’s been an effort to do that in order to evaluate. As of right now, until it separates and until we have that clear-cut favorite as far as who’s going to be the starter, who are going to be the role players, until that comes into light, no, I don’t think we need to specify and get this guy to go with the first team and this guy is only a third-teamer. I don’t think that. I think we continue to develop them and see who’s going to take the role or roles because you can use multiple tight ends many times in the offense.
Q: So at this point, you can get enough out of the evaluation doing it this way. Two, three weeks from now that you’ll feel comfortable enough to know what your guys can do heading into September 8th.
A: Well I’m not going to give any type of a timeline because I don’t know the timeline. All I know is that we need to continue to develop them. I am comfortable with evaluating. Every time they get on the field they know they’re being evaluated with everything that they do. So as far as the improvement that needs to be shown, the consistency that needs to be shown, when guys start to emerge, we’ll know it.
Q: We know last year you guys ended up having to shift the tight end to play a lot of fullback when you had injuries. I know it’s a different offense and everything, but do you have to stress to your guys now is that one of these roles that one of these five guys has to play?
A: Well within this offense, it is certainly one of those roles. We put the tight ends in the backfield often. So it’s a big, big part of what we do within this offense. Even more so than because of injuries; it’s part of our offense.
Q: Are you anxious to see how guys will perform in a game setting and actually see where the run game works?
A: I’m not anxious – I’m excited. I’m very excited about it and I’m really excited about these practices when we’re in our full pads, to have the opportunities to not only work their assignments and understand what they have to get done, but how they execute it, the aggression with which they execute it and the finish. That’s what we’re looking for.
Q: How would you characterize the tight end role in McAdoo’s offense? Obviously with the short, quick release and what they did in Green Bay, it seems it would be a major factor for you guys in terms of receiving. How would you put that in words?
A: I would put it as “jack of all trades.” With what we just talked about, with having them be in the backfield and playing a lot of that fullback role, splitting them out as the number one receiver, the number two, also an in-line tight end as far as the blocking and the pass receiving. It’s a jack of all trades and they have to master them all. So it’s an exciting, fun position within this offense, but we need to continue to develop in order to be ready to help our football team win games. That’s the most important thing.
Q: There has been kind of concern or criticism that you guys do not have an established starter that has a proven track record for you. What do you say to that with this group that you have here? Is that a concern of yours? I know you’re still trying to play it out here in training camp, but how would you characterize that?
A: I don’t really know the question.
Q: You don’t really have anybody that has a true, proven track record as a starting tight end in the league. You have a bunch of guys with a lot of talent, but who are unproven products. Is that a fair assessment?
A: Well I would say this: in order to become a proven tight end in the league, you have to start somewhere and that’s where a lot of our guys are. We also have two veterans who’ve played multiple roles throughout the league in different teams and different offenses who have done a great job in here as well. In order to become an established tight end, you have to come from somewhere and that’s where some of our younger guys are right now.
Q: I guess where I was going is that is it a concern that you don’t have that to just fallback on? You’re in a position now, how much of a concern or challenge is that?
A: It’s certainly a challenge and it’s very exciting. It’s exciting as a coach and it’s exciting for these young players to have the opportunity to develop into play-in, play-out tight ends, guys who will make an impact for their team.
Q: What do you see in Adrien [Robinson] so far?
A: Good and bad. It’s inconsistent and it needs to improve in that regard. He has flashes of great things and shows you what he can do if he can continue it and continue to develop. But he needs to continue to develop in order to help us.
Q: Last year, Larry Donnell got some experience in multiple roles. It was a different offense, but how does that experience help him in this offense in your opinion?
A: I think anytime you get experience playing in the course of a game and being in the limelight, so to speak, as far as the atmosphere, the intensity of it, going against a player with a different color jersey on, it’s great experience for you. So it does, it helps and there’s no doubt about it. But he is still a very young player in that regard as well. It’s not like he had a ton of reps through the course of the season last year so the development still needs to continue there as well for his poise, for his execution, in the course of the games.
Q: How close are you to being 100 percent health wise?
A: Every day I feel better. I am going out here and just trying to get back where I was.
Q: Tell me about the dynamic of coming back to the team you have so much familiarity with?
A: It is just coming out and being an “X” factor. I am going out there and trying to do what I have to do to put our team in the best position to win.
Q: Is it easier that you are not coming to a new team?
A: It is not easier because I still have to make the team, so I am just trying to get to know new guys that I didn’t know before I left and just be the best teammate I can be.
Q: How would you characterize your offseason with all the injury issues?
A: It was frustrating but injuries are a part of the game.
Q: As far as your game is concerned, what part about your game do you feel is coming back right now, quickly, and really smooth? And what parts do you still need to get the rust off?
A: Coming in and out of my breaks, knowing I have the injury, it is taking me a little bit of time, but every day, as I said, it is getting better and better. Coming out of my breaks, that is it, just want to come out of my breaks smooth and fluid like I was.
Q: Do you feel like you are close to where you were?
A: Yeah, I have to knock a couple cobwebs off, but I am getting there.
Q: Do you ever reminisce about the big catch in the Super Bowl?
A: No, not really. It seems so long ago, but it was only two-three years ago. We needed some plays in the Super Bowl. We are just trying to get there and get there the best way possible.
Q: Did the chemistry with Eli Manning instantly come back or has it been a work in progress to get back on the same page as him?
A: We are getting back on the same page, knowing we have a new offense, knowing that we have been away from each other for a couple years. It will take a little bit of time. We are working on it.
Q: At one point there was hope you would play in a couple preseason games, is that still in play right now?
A: Yes it is.
Q: 2 [games]?
A: I am not sure. However the training staff and coaches want me to play it out, then that is how I will play it out.
Q: But you do still expect to play some?
Q: How much have you been limited so far when it comes to being on the field and holding yourself back?
A: I know my knee is fixed, but it is just the confidence. It’s me sticking my foot in the ground and going. Every day it gets better and better.
Q: Is it something that you can go out there and not think about completely at this point?
A: I am working on it.
Q: What kind of options did you have after San Francisco? Was is a no-brainer? When you left here did you always think you might want to come back?
A: I really didn’t think about it. I just waited for my season to be over [in San Francisco] and just hit free agency and I find myself back here.
Q: How did it unfold? Did you guys reach out to them, or did they reach out to you?
A: I am back here and that is all that matters.
Q: How do you see Eli progressing?
A: He is progressing fine. It is a process every day. We all are learning a new offense. We are just trying to grasp it and get a hold of it, and take over it. We just want to do what we have to do to win. That is the only thing we have to do; is go out there and put ourselves in the best position to win.
Q: As a receiver what do you think this offense does for a quarterback?
A: He has a hold of the offense. If he sees something, then he can go out and pass the ball. If he sees something else, he can turn a pass into a run play or another play. There is a little bit of everything.
Q: Is there pressure on you to get out in training camp to prove you belong on the team?
A: There isn’t really any pressure. I am a professional athlete. I am not going to go out there and half do my job. There really isn’t any pressure in the back of my mind. Whether it is up to me or [the team] I am still going to prepare myself like I am trying to make the team.
Q: Where is your confidence right now and what do you have to do to prove to yourself that you are back?
A: Stick my foot in the ground and break down. I want to do the old stuff that I used to do. Get some strength. My strength is getting there. Every day I feel better and better. I want to try out new releases, this is training camp. That is when you learn from your mistakes and do what you have to do to better your skill level and put yourself in the best position.
Q: How close are you to really putting your foot in the ground right now?
A: I am close. Pretty close.
Q: What is it going to take to do that?
A: I want to go out there and not think about it.
Q: Do you think you really have to work hard to make this team? Or does your reputation speak for itself?
A: Yeah. I do not think about that. What happened is in the past. This is still a new team to me. New faces. New staff. New offense. I am going out there like I want to make this team, not like I already made the team or I got drafted here. I have something to prove also.
Q: When was the last time you had that mentality?
A: Leaving here when I was going out [to San Francisco].
Q: Even though you signed a two-year deal with [San Francisco]?
A: It didn’t matter.
Q: Any regrets about leaving here?
A: No. You can’t. That is wasted energy.
Q: How do you evaluate [Ryan Nassib’s] progress right now?
A: I think already in training camp he’s had some excellent throws, much better than the spring. Now there’s been some things he’s missed. He’s had a couple turnovers and some bad throws at times. But overall, I’m really pleased at how he’s been throwing the ball as a whole in training camp. It’s been pretty good.
Q: Can you sense that there are things even daily that he’s picking up within the offense and what would that be?
A: Well he’s getting more comfortable communication-wise mostly, making sure we’re on the same page with the receivers and the protection matches what we’re doing downfield. Those are the things that he’s gotten more comfortable with doing. He communicates well; he’s fast at it. If you watch our practices, he’s moving around quickly, he’s getting the calls made to the right guys under good time, so I like that part of it. He’s not wasting a bunch of time at the line of scrimmage and I think that’s due to how much he’s studied and prepared himself for training camp.
Q: How do you think about it because he’s not throwing to the same receivers Eli is, he’s not throwing against the same defenders, how do you …?
A: Well, yeah, it’s always the toughest part on the backup quarterback because they don’t get as many reps for one, and then they’re always interchanging their personnel. So they’re at a little bit of a disadvantage in terms of the timing with the receivers. That’s part of the deal. They’ve got to be able to adjust and adapt to that, making those changes, and they’ve got to be comfortable with everybody.
Q: Is that part of the inconsistency you think you’ve seen?
A: He doesn’t get as many reps as the ones, and like I said, there are guys changing in and out all the time. Some of the periods that we have, like the one-on-one periods with the receivers, it’s not as realistic for the quarterback. It’s good, it’s great work for the defensive backs and receivers, but in terms of the big picture with the quarterback, there’s no protection, there’s no real sense of timing or urgency there. It’s a little bit skewed. But in his team periods and his seven-on-seven, I think he’s shown an improved ability to throw the ball.
Q: Everyone has noticed how much quicker the offense is getting the ball and running plays. Is there a set time you want to get, or snaps, or is there a goal you want to get?
A: It really depends on the play. Sometimes there might be a play that adjusts a little bit more than another. Sometimes there might be a defensive look that takes a little bit more time to get either handled or corrected. So it’s a little bit hard to answer, although we do want to play with very good pace and tempo and try to put some pressure on the defense.
Q: What does “trust your feet” mean? That’s what Eli [Manning] mentioned a few times.
A: We want our footwork to match what’s going on downfield. If our footwork is correct and such that it’s telling you, “ok it’s time to throw the ball,” then we want to trust our feet and know that it’s time to get rid of it or it’s time to get out of there. So that’s part of it. We don’t want them standing back there and holding the ball, taking sacks. We want him to take his drop and make sure that his feet are telling him, “hey, it’s time to do something,” whether that’s take off or throw it away.
Q: How difficult is that, working with a guy who basically had one way to do footwork for ten years? Now you tell him, “oh you have to change this.”
A: Well I think part of it is having an understanding and being comfortable with where to go with the ball. He’s got a receiver in progression when we’re going to the first read in progression to the second to the third, his feet are telling him which time to move on. There’s some transition from what he’s done in the past, but everybody has some sense of timing in their offense. It’s just a matter of matching it philosophy-wise with what we’re doing.
Q: But it seems like he’s having to adjust more quickly with everything. The call is coming in quicker, he’s supposed to get to the line quicker, so his internal clock has to adjust, right?
A: Yeah, we’d like him to play faster and make quicker decisions and that’s part of it. We’re trying to put some pressure on him to speed up and by doing so we’ll get some more pressure on the defense and make them adjust to us.
Q: It puts pressure on the defense because they have the make a decision more quickly as well?
A: Yup, they have to play faster.
Q: Did you have any preconceived notions on coming into a new operation and coaching a two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback?
A: A little bit. You know, not knowing him and he’s played some very good football. I think he’s been a true professional that way, really eager to continue to learn and progress and kind of see what’s different and see what’s new. That’s made it very easy. He’s a worker. His preparation is excellent. He’s in here early, stays in late, and he’s always asking questions. So that part of it is easy. He’s really kind of a gym rat and he’s always around and interested and loves football. So that’s made that part of the transition very good.
A: He’ll have the ability to change and correct and adjust for sure.
Q: Anything that has surprised you about dealing with him so far? I’m sure you figured he’d be a professional and be willing, but anything that made you say, “hmm, I wouldn’t have thought that about him?”
A: He’s a better athlete than I thought. You know, sometimes you see a guy on TV or haven’t seen him play much live, and you don’t know exactly what kind of athlete he is, but as you’re around him more and more, he is a better athlete than I expected.
Q: In what way?
A: He moves better. He moves a lot better than I thought. Nowadays, you’re getting so much spread offense and quarterbacks. You get a guy who is running all over the place so you group Eli with a bunch of stiff guys, but that’s not really the case. He is a good athlete, especially in the pocket. We’re not going to run a quarterback draw with him but he moves around pretty well.
Q: I don’t know if he’s ever run a quarterback draw, even a sneak?
A: Oh he’ll probably say he has but I don’t know.
Q: What do you see about Ryan Nassib? Do you see his progress moving along really well?
A: I do. Someone just asked a question similar, but I thought just his throwing ability this training camp, he’s been more accurate. He’s gotten rid of the ball quicker. He’s showing a strong arm. He’s had a couple throws he’d like back, but I’ve been very pleased with how he’s prepared through the summer and come into camp in shape. He’s made some excellent plays: yesterday on the seam route to the tight end. That was a very impressive throw. So I’m pleased with how he’s come along.
Q: You talked about inconsistency from him [Ryan Nassib]. Is that typical from a young quarterback?
A: Yes, definitely. It’s getting familiar and comfortable with the personnel and the changes. All of that lead to inconsistency as well as not playing much. He’s not getting many reps but I think he’s made a lot of improvement since our spring offseason program. You’ve seen it in practice that he’s made some big time throws and good decisions at good speed.
Q: Is it tough to evaluate…if they aren’t getting completed?
A: Absolutely. The other thing that people don’t always see is how the defenses play the receiver. Sometimes that receiver is cut off or is too wide and the window the throw the deep ball is cut down. So it’s not always a quarterback throwing up a jump ball. It’s where we’re placing it and being safe with it. It has to do with the receiver releasing and getting on top of the defender.
Q: This offense is supposed to be a high completion percentage offense. What number seems about right?
A: We’d love to be there at 70%, it hasn’t been done very often. That’s the ultimate goal. But we want to raise his completion percentage for sure. I don’t know about the history, maybe because they took more shots downfield, but we’d love to shoot for 70. I think it’s been eight or nine times maybe. I think Brees maybe has done it a few times lately but that’s an impressive statistic if you look at the history of the league. That’s what we’re gunning for is 70%.
Q: Even in Eli’s [Manning], best years his number has been in the lower 60s because of the shots downfield…
A: You’d like him to be higher than that. I think that if you get quick completion throws in the offense, you can get some of that. But we also want to push the ball down the field and get some big chunks rather than dinking and dunking all day.
Q: Is that something that needs to be addressed in his [Eli Manning] career?
A: We haven’t gotten back on that much. We talked about what we’re looking for and trying to shoot for that 70%. We haven’t spoken much about the history of it but he’s well aware of who’s done it in the past, and what the system can get you in terms of completions. We’re focused on that, doing a really good job in taking care of the ball and hitting open receivers.
Q: Do you feel the combination of Eli [Manning] and the system can do that?
A: Yeah, absolutely.
Re: practicing for first time in full pads yesterday
A: We kind of had that renewed energy and it felt good to fly around. It felt good to be in full pads again because it gave a different feel.
Q: Are you at the point with this offense that everything has been installed and just have to be mastered?
A: We’re installing a little bit more but the meat and potatoes of it is installed. So it’s a matter of honing that in and taking that from there. We’re excited about what we have.
Q: We’ve seen fewer downfield passes. Do you like the challenge of going “mano y mano” with the shorter passes and beating the opponent in open space?
A: I do, that’s my specialty. I love going deep and making the big play. But I love getting the ball in my hands and turning a short gain into a big gain. That’s my M.O. and I like it so far for sure.
Q: What about the chemistry with the other receivers? Last year, they able to tee off and shut you down. Now you have other guys coming along and picking up the slack.
A: Yes, I’m seeing that. Guys like Rueben [Randle] and Jerrel [Jernigan] are ready to go. They’re making some plays and taking the heat off of me. I’m excited for those guys because it’s their time. They know it’s their time and they’re really stepping up to the plate and making some big strides.
Q: You spoke about being a mentor to some of those guys. How has that been for you?
A: It’s been good. I kind of just do it naturally. I don’t try to overdo it or be a huge mentor by pulling them to the side. I do it through natural conversation which is always a good way to do it. They’ve been responding well. They’re good people, we hang out all of the time and it’s good to see them responding well to it.
Q: Who was your biggest mentor coming into the league?
A: My biggest mentor was Hakeem Nicks because he was here one more year although I was older. Also Justin Tuck, he stayed in my ear, making sure I was doing the right things and made sure I kept my head on straight.
Q: It’s interesting that a DE was a mentor to a WR, position-wise.
A: It’s because our lockers were always close together. We always spoke and had banter. He kept me on my P’s and Q’s.
Q: Everyone says that you’re the guy to look up to when it comes to social media. How do you interact with the fans and promote your brand also?
A: I just talk to them. The best part about social media is that you can talk to them whenever you want. You can hold a Q&A whenever you want. It’s your opportunity to hold court and manipulate your social media handle whenever you want to. I always try to have conversations, answer questions, or have natural feedback with your fans. It’s always fun.
Q: Any stories that come to mind regarding social media?
A: Not really. I’m always answering questions. Even if it’s ridiculous questions, I always like to have fun when I’m answering as well. Some people asked me, “What I would be doing if I wasn’t playing football?” and I told them a karate instructor.
Q: Also talk about how you promote your clothing line on social media?
A: A bulk of our promotion is done on social media with pictures, sales, and e-blasts. It’s very beneficial for us on the business end because it’s low cost as far as marketing. We put out tweets and Instagram posts to direct traffic for our sight. It has done good things for us.
Q: Teams think that padded practices bring up the intensity, speed, and energy of the practice. How much have you noticed that and beneficial?
A: I have noticed it and I think it’s beneficial. You want to get, especially from a coaching standpoint, how the players look, play, and react in pads. Even though we have to stay up and there’s no tackling, I think we reacted well. Offensively we were making a lot of plays and moving the ball well.
Q: It seems that this is one of the more physical secondaries that the Giants have had. Is it better challenge for you and does it make you a better player?
A: Absolutely. Those guys are getting hands-on and being very physical. In year’s past, we only had one or two guys that were that way. But this year it’s the whole secondary. I think the entire secondary are able to press and get their hands on. It’s a challenge but our receivers have been stepping up to the plate. It’s going to be difficult for other offenses to go against them.
Q: Does it give you more to think about? For example, [Walter] Thurmond in the slot and we know his reputation. Are you playing more mind games with yourself in practice?
A: A little bit. I just understand what release I need to get and work on my skills as well and work on things I need to work on. Sometimes I win and sometimes he wins. It’s all a part of the learning process between him and I, with the entire defense and offense. I learn from it and he learns from it and both get better each and every day.
Q: How much does it help to have a proven receiver like Mario [Manningham] back again?
A: It’s good. Especially since he was a guy that was a here when I first came it. He’s someone that I look at as a little nostalgic and kind of has that energy back again. Especially in the locker room sharing stories with some of the younger guys. It’s definitely been very beneficial for us.
Q: You said that you like to get the ball in your hands as quick as possible. After a few training camp practices, do you feel that that’s the case that you’ll be able to do your magic downfield?
A: I think so. We’ve been able to, in practice alone, hit me on some intermediate routes and have the space to do some things and get myself going. I think that’s going to be good for us. I think having those shorter passes to get the ball in my hands will be good for myself and Eli [Manning] to build our confidence to get ourselves going week in and week out.
Q: After having a number of practices, what’s your feeling of the offense compared to where it was last year?
A: I feel good. Obviously last year was different because I was familiar with it and the only one I’ve known since I’ve been here. With this one, understanding it and getting it, it feels more fluent and more like a high potent offense that everyone’s been talking about. It’s starting to feel that way. I think yesterday was indicative of that. The way we were moving around and we’re feeling more comfortable with the offense. I feel it’s going to get better from here on out.
Q: How would rate the progress from minicamp to training camp and through the first week of camp?
A: It’s been a world of a difference. In training camp, you have more time with the playbook, meeting rooms, and you’re able to apply that on the field. I think it’s a huge jump from minicamp and OTAs to now. OTAs was just a snapshot of what we were going to do and training camp we’re really locked in and doing well.
Q: Is it exciting that you get to utilize so many different players out there?
A: Absolutely. Especially with this offense, it doesn’t matter where you line up because everyone has the opportunity to get the football and see what they can do with it if they get it in their hands. It’s good to see these guys out here working hard, understanding the playbook, and executing.
Q: What’s it like to have Mario [Manningham] back here? Is it intriguing for a guy to come back to where he used to be?
A: It’s always good to see guys come back. Especially in my short five years here, it’s always good to see guys that go to other teams come back. It’s that good nostalgic feeling to have them back and Mario’s a guy that was here since I’ve been here. Just to have the stories, his energy, and the things that he does is good to have here.
Q: Do you feel like he’s still got the same thing he had before he left, regardless of the two injured seasons in San Francisco?
A: I think so. I think he’s getting through some of that mentally, regarding the injury. He still has all of the tools and able to make those plays he has in the past. It’s just the matter of letting him loose and go play.
Q: How eager are you to get to that first preseason game and see how that offense works against someone else’s defense?
A: I’m pretty eager. I’m already tired of seeing Walter Thurmond line up across from me. I’m eager to see how it stacks up against other defenses that hadn’t seen us. It should be pretty good.
Q: Can you tell if Eli [Manning] has put last year’s problems behind him?
A: He’s not even thinking about that. We’re locked in on the field and in the meeting rooms. He’s looking to get better and looking to make little nuances to the offense that he’s comfortable with. That’s all that matters.
Q: When guys come back and they seem so appreciative of coming back, do players who haven’t been on other teams use that to appreciate being here more?
A: 1000 percent. You want to end your career where you started but you have to be realistic in your profession and understand what profession you play. This league is built on “what have you done for me lately,” and how you can continue that production. Sometimes it doesn’t happen or sometimes you get shifted around. When guys come back, you hear stories about how a team didn’t have something or the love and people, it wasn’t the same. Every organization is different. When they come back, they really love it and appreciate it. It shows you what type of organization it is and how grateful we are to be here.
Q: What is it like having WR Mario Manningham back? Do you feel he still has what he had before he left?
A: Mario is a veteran leader. We all know about his playmaking abilities. Having him here is just an addition to one of the assets we need to make a run for us.
Q: Can you imagine leaving a team and then coming back to the same place?
A: I think you hit it on the head. It is definitely a business. Sometimes you have to go where the opportunity best presents itself. That was the case in Mario’s situation, and he is back home where he belongs here with the Giants where he started his career. Hopefully it is where he will end it. Hopefully he brings the same playmaking abilities he had before, if not even more. We are looking forward to having him here.
Q: What was it like to put the full pads on for the first time yesterday?
A: It was bittersweet. You are going up against your own guys, so you can’t really go full throttle the way you want to go, as opposed to this upcoming Sunday. I think we got a good glimpse of what we needed. Guys were out there competing. We compete each and every single down. We win some and we lose some. For the most part I think it was a productive practice. It can always get better each and every day. I think today with our second round going out in the pads, we will have a more crisp and efficient practice.
Q: What is it like when you see a rookie like Kennard go out there and make a play like that?
A: Well just imagine, he didn’t even run through him. He actually laid off a little bit. I am excited to see that guy in pads. You always have young guys who you look forward and pin-point to see what they will do when the pads come on. I am anxious to see Nat [Berhe] in pads, and I am anxious to see Kennard in pads. I think both of those guys will be some pretty good run stoppers.
Q: Is the pace you have to play on defense against the offense noticeable to you?
A: Yeah it is definitely quicker. It is going to be a huge benefit to our offense. Right now with things coming along together for them, obviously they are not where they want to be, and no one here is, but it is coming together pretty smooth. I think Eli looks great. The receivers are going out there and competing. You have a lot of receivers going out there competing. You see Victor Cruz out there diving for balls. When you see things like that you can always lift a hand and say that is good. You are making good progress.
Q: What does it do to the defense when you have to play faster to get up with the offense?
A: It is a challenge for the defense. At the same time, it is a good challenge. It allows you to buckle in and focus on your assignment and technique. I think it is a plus for the offense, and it is also a plus for the defense because we all know we go up against fast, no-huddle offenses during the season.
Q: How much different is this offense to defend?
A: Going up against our offense we are just going out there and playing our ……. technique and our assignment. We are not really game planning for these guys. For them it is more efficient in a way of getting the ball out. Hit the open man. Get him in space and let him do his thing. I think it is going to be a huge plus for our offense running this system.
Q: How have you seen Nat Berhe progress?
A: He is still learning. There is still a long way to go. Not just for Nat, but for a lot of the younger guys and veteran guys such as myself. There is a certain groove you have to get into once you get into training camp. Nat, I like his feet, he has very good foot work. He is very confident in his play and for a young guy it is going to take him a little bit of time to learn our system. Our system is not the easiest to learn defensively. Once you grasp one concept, then you grasp another, and it turns into a domino effect. I think Nat can be a very promising safety for us right now