How does your team look on the first day of the off season program?
We look big and fat right now. A lot of guys out of shape. We look good. A lot of guys are eager to get back and looking forward to working to be the number one team in the nation.
Is it good to have Osi back around?
Yeah! He is a clown. He is a high spirited guy, keeps everybody laughing and things like that. Obviously everybody knows what he does on the football field. Again, he is just a good person to be around, he makes the days go by a lot easier.
How are you feeling physically after what you went through at the end of last year?
I feel Grrrreat!
Can you be any more specific about what was bothering you last season?
It was more than two different things, I had some complications with the foot, with the knee, the shoulder, but that is football. I kind of just wore down a little bit at the end of the year and that is why I have to work out a little harder in this offseason program to make sure that does not happen next year.
Still no surgeries have taken place and nothing planned?
How would you describe your strength at this point?
I just got through squatting about 400 lbs., so I am feeling pretty good.
With the additions to the defensive line in free agency and Osi coming back, that should take a little bit of the pressure and wear and tear off of you, shouldn't it?
It should. I think that is basically what Jerry (Reese) wanted to do with those two pickups we got, to add depth to this d-line. Obviously it is good for our d-line because we were a pretty formidable group before these two signings and now I think it definitely puts us up there with the elite or close to the elite d-line in the country.
Did you learn anything about yourself from the start of last year and how difficult it was being in the full time role taking over for Michael Strahan?
Obviously, having an opportunity to play with Michael the years before he retired, it gave me insight as far as what it took to play a year with double teams and sometimes triple teams and he being the focal point and once Osi went down that kind of catapulted me into that role. I learned that it is tough. Sometimes things are not going to go your way but I think I grew a lot as a player. I learned a lot of things that I hopefully can use this year to make me a better player.
Were you surprised how the Giants went into the offseason to bolster the d-line?
It was a little surprising, obviously considering that our defensive line has been a pretty good unit for a long time, but I understand why it happened. I think it is a good move and hopefully it is something that will make this line stronger. If you look at it, when we were in the Super Bowl, the run, I don't think anybody can deny that was one of the reasons why we had that run was because of the dominant play of the d-line. We are trying to get back to that point and I think adding those two additions to our line definitely has us headed in that direction. Three additions if you add Osi.
Do you know those guys?
I do not. Me and Canty came out the same year, so I had some run- ins with him, but I was not playing against the guy.
Was it important that those guys showed up on the first day?
I think so, but I think it is important for everybody to show up. So I don't want to single them out. They still have a lot to learn, a new system, new guys. It is definitely good to come in the first day and get a face with the name and try to start the process of becoming a great teammate.
Have you been able to determine if a good offseason program equates into a good season?
Not really. There have been some years when I didn't go out and work as hard as I should and had a pretty good year. I think last year I didn't work as hard as I should have and had a pretty good year. There have also been years when I worked my butt off and came in and did nothing. So I think sometimes you have to get a little lucky, but obviously you have to put the work in to even have a shot. So for me personally, I am going to take my chances from here on out working my butt off and making sure I do all my just dues and be the best player I can be.
Last year did you work as hard?
My priority as far as last year was, having that long season, I wanted to take some time to rest and let my body heal, because we were playing in February. That could be a short break, so sometimes you don't allow yourself to rest up and get healed. I felt that I waited too long to get serious about working out.
Do you feel that you are the team to beat this year?
I always feel that way. Yes I do.
The players here and the coaching staff. The experience, we have been there and done it. We know what it takes to get there. No one can deny that the team we had last year was headed that way until we got some injuries here and there along with distractions. All of that happens for a reason. On paper I think the team to beat is definitely us.