Skip to main content
New York Giants Website

Giants News | New York Giants –


5.14 Safeties Coach David Merritt

Q:  In rookie camp , how did Sha'reff Rashad do?

A: He did well.  Coming in here the kid was known to have a high test score and he proved that and more.  He was able to make all of the coverage calls and adjustments.  Not only make them but did it with conviction.  And just sitting in the meeting room and just telling the kids to make sure you understand – call out your responsibilities – run and pass, so on and so forth.  Even when he wasn't on the field he was calling out everybody else's run pass.  This kid is very bright, athletic.  We had an opportunity to take him there late in the draft and we decided to go with the corners which we didn't know if Sha'reff was going to be available for us in free agency.  And I had to go back and pull my old college recruiting technique on him.  And he came here to the Giants and we're very, very happy.  The kid has good size.  He has good range.  He made a play up the sideline playing …… and intercepted the ball and obviously he has playmaking ability on deep passes.  One of the things I told him – I sat down with him Saturday before he left and I said, "I just wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and I want to share with me and tell me a little bit about yourself.  You are going to get enough football that we can go over but let's learn each other a little bit first so you can know where I'm coming from and I can know where you are coming from."  The kid's dad is in Navy, I guess.  I don't know his title exactly but he comes from a military background, which was nice to hear.  I said, "Well, the same here.  My mom just wasn't in the military but it was very strict."  But I was very happy to hear that.  Travonti Johnson spoke highly about the young man before he even came in here.  He said, "Coach, he is extremely bright."  And like I said, I was excited to see that.

Q:  You only have five safeties.

A:  Actually we have six right now.  Steve Cargile is maybe one that you are missing.  We have Travonti and Steve, we have C.C. Brown, we have Michael Johnson and Kenny Phillips and then Sha'reff.

Q:  Johnson?

A:  Yeah, he will be a safety this year.  He was a corner and he will be a safety.  He worked with us at safety last fall so we have six right now going into camp.

Q:  What do you like about C.C.?

A:  C.C. is hard to read right now.  He is very quiet.  Of course comparing him to Michael Johnson, so you have one that is jumping around all over like a little puppy and then you have C.C.,  who is like the Labrador retriever who sits over in the corner.  But C.C. is quiet and what I like about him is that he is very serious about his work.  He comes in here, he gets up, and he is in the 7:30 lift group.  He wants to me meet with me all of the time.  And of course I wish I had more time to meet with him, but he is here for a starting position.  The kid has good size and he played a lot of snaps in Houston.  And we sat down and we talked about that --- I remember the day that I took him out for dinner in the city.  We went to Del Frisco's and I said, "It's not uncommon to see stars walking around here."  And the kid didn't even budge.  It was just like, "Okay, coach, I'm really not here for that."  But I said, "Have you been in New York City."  "No, first time here."  So right then and there I was like, this kid has no interest in the city so, yes, I like that.  But the next thing you know the Rock walks in and so his eyes open up and it put him to the test a little bit.  "You are a little excited about stars."  But anyway, I like the fact that he has a nice laid back demeanor about himself.  And he is going to be a good addition.

Q:  Is he here to compete for a starting position?

A:  Oh, no doubt. And I have already let Kenny Phillips and Michael Johnson know that, first of all, you all are starters, everyone is penciled in right now.  There is no one that is in ink.  And so you are talking right now about C.C., who started four years in Houston and by no means is he coming here to sign a one-year deal to sit on the bench in his mind.  So I like the competition.  I think we will have more competition this year than we have had in the past, more athleticism that is going to be coming from the back end.  Just adding C.C. Brown as well as Sha'reff, T.J. and Steve, who is another big kid from Denver; I like what we have here.  We are going to show up in training camp.

Q:  One thing James Butler seemed to do is get everybody lined up like the quarterback of the secondary.  Who is going to do that now?

A:  Right now you are talking – we have Michael Johnson and Kenny Phillips right now who are penciled in as the guys who want to go in as starters coming into this spring.  And between the two guys Michael is more vocal, without a doubt.  But Kenny Phillips has definitely surprised me this offseason as we have gone out and gone through walk thru.  This young man is out there yelling out the calls loudly, which he never did last year.  And I don't know if it was the just the fact of being a rookie, or whatever it may be, but he already is starting to make calls more vocally and so I'm very impressed with that and hopefully that is going to continue.  But right now Michael Johnson is going to control the coverages, which he did his rookie year when we went down to Philly with he and Craig Dahl as two rookie safeties and went down there and beat those guys in Philly.  And Mike is more than capable of making all of the calls, as well as Kenny.  One of the things that I do with the safeties in the spring – of course already know me by now – is that I play right and left safeties.  So as far as strong/free right now, I don't have all of that figured out.  These guys play right and left safeties and they have calls they have to make on their particular side of the ball.  And so I feel comfortable with Michael and Kenny making the call.

Q:  Phillips – when he got here, I'm sure you said, "Okay, this is the kind of learning curve that I want to see by the end of the season."  Did he meet that; did he exceed it?

A:  That is a good question.  Kenny, as far as a safety, I think he is right there on task as being the player that we want him to be in the future.  And not to speak negatively about what he did with the other teams, other than what he has done with……safety, but I don't think he met our expectations when it came to special teams.  And that is just being honest.  I think he could have done a little more and I think this year he will do a little more.  Although you have an opportunity to possibly become a starter this year, you still are not exempt from special teams.  But as far as the rookie safety …. I think he probably had one or two starts.  He did okay. He did okay.  Now he has a long way to go.  The kid is 218 pounds right now.  He is a well built young man who is working hard here. But as far as meeting my expectations for him, no, I would love to see him make the Pro Bowl, just as I would love to see all of my guys make the Pro Bowl.  But he had a solid rookie season.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content