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Best of Giants Media Hour (8/12)



Head Coach Tom Coughlin**

Q: Your thoughts on Day 2? You said you wanted to look at the film from last night..
A: Yeah. We did some good things and didn't do some other things very well. It's lots of people, lots of work, lots of situations to be in. It's been two good days and it gives us a lot of speed work in addition to the first preseason game, so that's a good thing.

Q: Did Victor Cruz wear you down wanting to get in there?
A: No. No, that was the decision that we made, or I made, coming out here that we would go ahead and look at practice the first day and decide how much. So we got him in there a couple snaps each segment with the exception at the end there. It's good for him to come out here and get on the field against somebody else.

Q: Your situation at safety, it's kind of in flux. Where do you see it right now?
A: Well we're hoping it's going to be as competitive as it can. We got a young guy that's playing in there a lot and he went out for a while today and then back in. It's something that we hope is going to solve itself right here, right in practice before regular season.

Q: Would that be Bennett Jackson you mean? The young guy you said went out.
A: No, Collins was out for a little bit too.

Q: What's the thing behind having Bennett do a lot of slot stuff? It seemed like he did that a lot today.
A: The thinking behind it is we are looking for someone to be the nickel and we are trying a number of people in there and he got his shot.

Q: With an inexperienced group back there, Jeromy Miles is one who has been around for a while. What does he bring?
A: That's why he's here. The veteran experience, he's been involved more, he knows the defense pretty much. So that we felt would add to (have) a player back there that knew it and understood it and played it would help some of these young guys.

Q: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been out there, he says he's battling some things. Do you see that?
A: Well, today he was. He had a little bit of a groin (injury). Played his way through that. Hopefully that's all it is, some short-term deal.

Q: Because you saw it last year?
A: Yeah. Oh yeah. We've seen a lot of that.

Q: Do you think Rueben will play Friday?
A: I don't know. I haven't any idea. I'm surprised he wasn't able to work here yesterday.

Q: Is Victor going to play in the game on Friday?
A: No.

Q: Is anybody else going to be out aside from guys…
A: Whatever the medical people tell me. Whatever. Otherwise, everybody will play.

Q: So there's nothing at this point that will prevent Odell from being out there?
A: No. Not at this point.

Q: How has Unga looked?
A: He made a nice play today. I saw a couple plays he made today, which was good. He's a guy that can contribute on special teams, he can run, he's a big guy, he's physical. Hopefully he'll grow into that type of role.

Q: How's he doing right now with controlling, making the pause?
A: I think that's an experience he's got to get better at.

Q: The usual routine? One or two series for the starters?
A: Yeah, that's usually what it is.

Q: What are you expecting from the rookies in the preseason?
A: Play hard. Play hard. Give great effort, let's see what you've got. Plenty of spots out there to be (taken). You've seen the guys that are competing for starting jobs. Hopefully all that is going to do is get better.

Q: Ereck Flowers came out well yesterday afterwards..
A: Seems to be okay today, too. Although that—there was a comeuppance here with that last two-minute drill where nobody is playing run at all and they just turned the front loose. So he saw all kinds of games. They've got a good front. Hopefully he'll learn a lot from that.

Q: Looked like Pugh and Richburg really did well against (Geno) Atkins too today?
A: He's a good player now. He's a good player. I know he made one real good play out here in this two-minute.


WR Victor Cruz**

Q: Did you lobby to go out there today?
A: No, coach had it in the plan for me to get a couple plays in at least while I was here, kind of two plays per period, and then cut me off around 7-on-7. It felt good, I was out there running around a little bit, everything felt kind of similar to what I had hoped, and I felt good in and out of breaks, getting open, and things like that. There was one communication error between Eli (Manning) and I but no biggie.

Q: How much trust do you have in the knee right now?
A: I have a lot of trust. Like I said, there's no pain, nothing hurts, it's just a matter of continuing to run routes, continue to get the familiarity back from what I remember, and things like that and keeping it going.

Q: Do you feel like you got over another mental hurdle?
A: Yeah, absolutely, coming out here, I kind of understood what we were doing. I knew we were going to take it easy in terms of what I was going to be doing individually, but I wanted to get a little bit against them. Get a little bit of a challenge, get a little bit of some head-to-head things against them, and I did that today and I felt good. It's tough to get into a rhythm when you only have two plays per period, it's hard to get warmed up for every period, but we made it happen.

Q: What was going on in your head on that first play back out there?
A: I just wanted to play, man. I was just kind of looking at the defense, it kind of just felt like the normal everyday thing, just another team in front of you. Nothing felt different it's just a matter of going out there and continuing to do.

Q: Is there a plan of when you'll get into a preseason game?
A: I don't know. That's all up to the training staff.

Q: Would you like to get in one or two games?
A: I'd love at least one game, a couple snaps, whatever they feel is right. I want to get little bit of work and get tackled a few times, and see how it feels and stuff like that, but that's about it.

Q: Would one good run be enough for you?
A: I think so. I believe so.

Q: Is the only hurdle left playing in a game?
A: I think that's pretty much it, game speed, game activity, getting tackled, getting up and getting back to the huddle for the next play and things like that. Getting into a rhythm I think that's next.

Q: Did you think there would be any extracurricular stuff during these two days?
A: No. I know what type of character guys we have on our team and the Bengals run a great organization under Marvin Lewis, great team. We understood the character we have on both teams. We came into it understanding that we were going to play this game with respect and dignity. We were going to come out here and show them what the New York Giants football is all about and they did the same. They were great and nothing got chippie. It was competitive but nothing chippie.

Q: Did you hope that the ball was going to come your way in that one-on-one against (Darqueze) Dennard?
A: Yeah, it felt good man, especially since it was after the communication error I had with Eli, so I was kind of chomping at the bit to get another chance in there. I knew I had that route coming up so I wanted to make it my best one. It was a good route and I wish he didn't get rushed out so he had to go the other way, but I was happy with the route, and I was happy I came out unscathed.

Q: Were surprised about the Geno Smith situation?
A: It's a little surprising. Obviously being in a locker room you never expect something like that would happen but nothing surprises me in this day in age. It's unfortunate for Geno, it's unfortunate for the Jets staff and organization, but it's something you never want to see happen. It's something you never want to see go down in the locker room on any team let alone the in-state rivals. Hopefully he gets to recover healthy and quickly so he can get back out there and help his team.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Q: You've been in several defensive systems under several coordinators, what has it been like learning Spags defense? Is it easy, hard, how different?
A: It's kind of complicated because it takes a lot of communication. That's the number one thing on defense, is communicating. Communication tends to be hard, but you just got to come in and know your assignments and know what you're doing.

Q: When you're a veteran and you have inexperienced safeties trying to prove themselves—the coaches were telling you and Prince to stay back a little bit to see if those guys can communicate—is that a hard thing to do when you're a veteran and you know what's going on, but you have to wait and see?
A: Yeah, because I think that's the best way you learn is from your mistakes. I know it's been a lot asked to be put on their shoulders, but they've been handling it well. You bring in [Jeromy] Miles, a guy that has been around the league for a long time, that will help out with the young guys. I think he's been doing a good job with them. Basically, just going off them for right now.

Q: So you've been impressed with Miles even though he's only been here for a couple weeks?
A: Yes, sir. He's came from Baltimore so he knows the system, and he's helping out with these young guys and it's been going well.

Q: Is what you're asked to do in this defense different than what you were asked to do last year?
A: No, it's still the same thing. A lot more pressures, guys getting after it, but still outside covering guys.

Q: Did you get anything out of yesterday, being matched up with AJ Green?
A: It's always good to against somebody else, you get a different feel of other kinds of receivers and their receiving corps is definitely one of notice. Anytime you get to go against somebody else and not see your own guys, it lets you know where you are as a player and how far you've come along in OTAs.

Q: Seems like you've handled everything without any physical issues this summer?
A: I'm alright.

Q: I mean you're out there…?
A: Yeah, for the most part. I don't know.

Q: Not so much?
A: For the most part. You want to go out, but I'm limited right now. Even though you want to take time off and try to heal your body, your guys are out there fighting. You've got to be out there with them. I'll get through it.

Q: If Prince and you are both healthy, are you as good as any corner tandem in the league?
A: I don't know, man, I just play ball. I know one thing, we can play ball. As far as saying tandem or this and that, I don't know—it doesn't matter to me. I'm trying to play ball.

Q: Is there a different feel with Spags there. He's very aggressive, outspoken. What's your feel for him?
A: I can tell that he's going to be a guy that gets after that ball. On the back end, you've got to hold up. We've got to be more focused, disciplined, and have that shutdown mentality because you know he's going to go get it.

Q: He's not going to play it safe?
A: No, no, he's definitely not doing that. You know, sitting back, offenses are lined up and playing ball.

Q: So there's a lot of reward there, but also a lot of risk?
A: A lot of risk, especially at the corner position. One little thing, and it's six [points]. You definitely just have to be zoned in.

Q: Do you like all that on you?
A: Yeah, at the end of the day, it just comes down to competing. When you know you've got some guys that can get after that ball on our front four, it makes you feel a little bit better about yourself. You know the ball has to come out quick, so it does put pressure on you. We're ready for it.

Q: Because if they don't get there, they've committed a lot to get there?
A: Yes, sir.

Q: Do you think even more so, when and if JPP comes back, you'll have more people?
A: He's an add on. Just looking at us going against those guys yesterday, they definitely got off the ball real good, and in his face a lot. With that being said, you add a guy like JPP, it could get scary.

Q: Injury-wise, you fought through a lot physically last year. Did you learn anything about your game last year that you didn't know? Change things, tweak things to compensate?
A: Not really. I still try to play the way that I play. It did slow me down in some areas, but I learned that I don't always have to use my speed and just being more patient and technical. From that standpoint, yeah.

Q: Do you still find yourself at times, it's been a while now, looking back for 26 Antrel Rolle and you knew he would be there. Now it's young guys, is it part of the transition?
A: Not so much. Me and him talk a lot through communication, but I do understand this game. It's tough for him to be gone, but we've got some guys that stepped in. It's always that next man up mentality.

Q: He seems to be doing well?
A: Yes, sir. He's happy over there from what we're texting, it seems like.

Q: I'm sure you text a lot of non-football also?
A: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Mostly that.

Q: Now that he's a father…?
A: Right. It's definitely been good. I'm impressed with the guys that we have right now.

Q: Is that just saying that, or are you really impressed with them?
A: I really am. When you think about it, which one of our safeties right now played in a real game—NFL game? I mean, none of them, for real. So to come out here and for us to go out against a team that I think has a good offense, we're right on track.

Q: Collins is a second round pick, what are you seeing in him?
A: A guy that's hungry, always asking questions, always trying to learn. When you're young and you make mistakes, you tend to get on yourself, but you don't see that with him. It's like he gets in, get it corrected, and don't make it again.

Q: How about Bennett Jackson, a guy that used to be a corner?
A: Yeah, that surprised me. To move from corner to safety and pick up all the terminology and run fits and things of that nature, and still come out and play nickel a little bit—that says a lot about him. So he's definitely been doing a good job.

George Selvie

Q: You've been in several systems, how does Spags compare as far as getting his teaching and points of emphasis across?
A: He's really good, he knows what he wants. He's going to tell you, he's one of those people. Just listening to him and playing in his defense—you're going to know what he wants and he's going to tell you.

Q: Compared to the other systems, do you like his? Is it fun, is it easy to pick up, does it provide freedom for linemen?
A: Actually, I've been in this system before. Spags drafted me in St. Louis. I remember it. I've just got to remind myself on stuff. I think it's a great system, you've got a lot of pressures coming, you've got defensive linemen out there—everybody is moving around. So, it's going to be a fast moving defense.

Q: It's touted as physical and getting after the ball, is that what it is?
A: That's exactly what it is. That's what a 4-3 [defense] is, it's an attack defense, so that's what you want to do.

Q: Have you been able to, with your experience, help some of the younger guys or guys who aren't as familiar with it?
A: Everybody is learning right now, everybody has got to get used to it and everybody has to know what you've got to do on the defense. Of course, if someone asks a question—if I know the answer, I'm going to help them out with it.

Q: How did you like the joint practice yesterday?
A: I think it was very good. I think it was good to have competition out there, and see some different guys, not going against the same guys and get that feel for it.

Q: As a veteran, I doubt you get jitters for the first preseason game. What do you like to get out of the first game?
A: The first preseason game, I just want to get out there and move around, make some plays, get some production out there. Just getting back used to it, the game is going to be fast—way faster than practice. So, you just have to get used to that game feel.

Q: Do you remember your first preseason game?
A: I do remember my first preseason game. I was nervous as hell. I went out there and made some plays. That first preseason game helped put me on Spags' [defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] team. It was pretty good.

Q: Remember who it was against?
A: I don't remember who it was against.


Robert Ayers**

Q: You've been in different systems with different coordinators, how does it look learning Spags system? You enjoy the system, is it complicated, easy, what are your thoughts?
A: I like it a lot. I like it because it's very diverse and you can attack the offense in a lot of different ways in this defense. I think he allows players to maximize their knowledge of the game. You take a guy like Jon Beason, who's played thousands of snaps in this league, and he's really good at anticipating what other offenses are trying to do. He gives him the tools to go out there and check things and correct things, and put us in good situations. For a guy like him, that's great to have. A guy like me, who has a certain skillset, or a guy like Damontre [Moore], or Owa [Odighizuwa], Cullen [Jenkins]—he tries to put his players in position to make plays. As a guy that wants to make a lot of plays, you can't ask for anything more. He gives us a leash, and if we do our job, he extends the leash. If you don't do your job and you're not handling what he's teaching you—if you're not making the right checks or doing your job or doing the right things—he pulls that leash in. That's all you could ask for, just a coach that's willing to trust you, trust your knowledge of the game, trust your hard work, and put us in the position to maximize our abilities. You can't ask for any more than that.

Q: When you say maximize, does he give you guys up front a lot of freedom?
A: Freedom within the scheme. If Beason sees something, he can give us a stunt or can check, try to get guys in front. All the linebackers are doing a good job of trying to get us in the best position to be successful for that down and distance. It's not really a cookie cutter defense. So that's a good thing. I like it.

Q: Spags is known as having an aggressive defense, do you see that?
A: Definitely. He's an aggressive man. He wants us attacking, he wants us being relentless and getting after the ball—trying to cause turnovers. He wants us to do damage on the way to the ball carrier, he wants us to cause havoc, and to really inflict a lot of pain. I like it.

Q: How about Spags personally, is he good at teaching and explaining the defense?
A: He definitely does, I think he's a good teacher. He tells you what he wants and tells you why and he tells you how this works with that and tries to give everyone an understanding of what he's trying to accomplish with certain defenses. He has a lot of counter punches. He's not one of those coaches that he's just throwing haymakers. He has the haymakers, but if you're the aggressor, he can counter with this, he can respond with that. He has checks, he has a lot of curveballs and a lot of different things, a lot of different ways he can counter you with. Typical things that offenses try to do manipulate your defense, he has counters for that, too. He has a great understanding of, if you do this, we can do that. We're going to have the last say. We're not always going to give the offense the last say. So I'm liking it. It's a challenge for us to learn it, and he does a good job of simplifying it. I'm excited about it. I'm excited about this unit, I'm excited about this staff. I think we can do a lot of good things.

Q: How do you think your unit did yesterday against a tough Bengals offensive line?
A: They're really tough. They've got one of the better left tackles in [Andrew] Whitworth. They got a lot of youth, and they did a lot of good things running the ball last year with some good running backs. They throw the ball well, a franchise quarterback. I think, overall, we held our own. We competed, and we challenged them, and they challenged us. We got after it. We kept it clean, there wasn't any chippiness. We worked. I was real proud of my guys, I was very proud of the young guys, I was very, very proud of Damontre. I was very proud of Jay Bromley and Carlif [Taylor], and Owa. Those guys were really impressive, in my opinion. I was proud of the stuff that they took. They came to work and they got better, it's good to see. It's a good sign for this unit. We got a long ways to go, but I'm excited about it.

Q: How promising was it that so many guys were getting pressure yesterday?
A: It was really good, it was great. It's very inspring to see guys picking up the way they did. Look at a guy like Owa, whose clockwork almost—he's understanding the defense. Once he fine tunes his technique and understands the game and understands how to attack offenses and what they're trying to do to him with formations and things like that, dude is going to be a monster. Damontre Moore, he's brought his A game. He's listening, he's learning, he's improving. Jay Bromley is doing really good. So, I think it's good to see those guys really getting after it and gaining that confidence through hard work and through understanding the defense and their technique and listening to Coach Nunn, who did a good job of teaching us. It's a very good feeling to see everybody getting better and working hard.

Q: How does that experience help you specifically get ready for your first live contact game that will be in a couple days?
A: It kind of helps us understand how they're going to attack us. For all throughout camp, all we've went against is our offense and what they do. By like day five against our offense, I kind of know what's coming. I know if somebody motions or splits or this, that, and the other—I know what's coming. You can kind of get stuck in that zone of thinking the same thing, so when the game comes, you're kind of caught off guard. I think yesterday gave us the opportunity to see something different from what we're used to seeing and to get us out of our comfort zone. When we go out there Friday, it won't be the first time seeing the power scheme or their two tight end sets with their mash plays or their … plays or their counter plays or whatever they like to do. I think that that was good for us, and now we can kind of get a reality check for us to see, that's not what life is like, as far as this is whatever everybody runs. We get to see something different so now we get time to get coached up by coaches. We get a chance to go back and look at the film and correct it today, and do better today. Then, tomorrow go over some more, and Friday I think we'll be fresh and it will be good on our own minds, and we'll be ready to go.

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