Odell Beckham Jr.**
Q: How has your hamstring been holding up?
A: It's been good. No complaints with it.
Q: Can you talk about overall how in the second year of Ben McAdoo's offense how you are getting more and more acclimated in it?
A: Just knowing the playbook and making sure that you stay in it and finding all the little knits and notches and making sure everyone is on the same page.
Q: How do you look at the preseason opener for you guys as an offense? What didn't work and what do you need to focus on moving forward here?
A: You kind of just move forward from it. We watched the film today, learned from our mistakes and just come out today and practice and hopefully correct those things.
Q: Tom Coughlin said he wasn't very happy with the wide receivers in general. What kind of things was he talking about and stressed to you guys that you have to improve on?
A: We just need to play better, plain and simple. We need to come out and make sure that we know and do the correct assignments that we have.
Q: It is obviously preseason but you said, 'We need to play better.' Do you guys need to do more?
A: We definitely need to do more as a receiving group and as a team, as well. We didn't really play well, so you can't really hang your head on it. You just keep it moving and you learn from it.
Q: Anything particular that you are focusing on?
A: Just make sure we do things right, really, is the biggest thing and once you do that, you will improve on everything else.
Q: What do you think was missing the other night? Why do you think you guys didn't do more, specifically the receivers?
A: It just wasn't there, things weren't working, but like I said, there [are] plenty more games and plenty more practices to get stuff corrected.
Q: Obviously you weren't on the field for preseason games last year but as an offense, do you still look at it like, 'Hey we are significantly further along than we were at this point last year?'
A: I couldn't really tell you. I don't really remember much [from] preseason last year but I do remember a lot of plays coming from the wide receiver group. Especially the Corey Washington's and everybody else who got the opportunity to play in the preseason games last year. I just know we need to do better as a group.
Q: The confidence in this offense and the ability not to worry when things go wrong. How much of that stems from the quarterback?
A: I guess a lot of it. In a way, a lot of it does. You know you have a guy like Eli who has been to two Super Bowls, two-time MVP, he knows what he is doing, so you look to him as one of those guys who if he is unfazed, then we are all unfazed. If something is worrying him, he is probably going to come tell us about it and we'll get it corrected and move from there.
Q: I know you haven't played with another quarterback in your pro career but it sort of makes you feel better that [Eli Manning] is out there on your side, right?
A: Absolutely, I'm definitely blessed to be in the situation that I'm in, to be able to come in and have a quarterback who at the end of his career is going to have some pretty accomplished things that he has done, so to be able to come out and play with a guy like that from year one until whenever is definitely a big thing.
Q: How do you sort of view the receiving corps? As a receiver, how do you view the whole group and the competition that is going on?
A: It is a very tight competition with those guys and everybody can play, so we all push each other and we all want to see each other succeed, so with that being said, it's just coming out and just having focus and doing what you have to do and taking it from there. You can only control what you can control, so you take it as that and whatever happens, happens.
Q: What have you had to do to get the bad taste out of your mouth after that first game?
A: We have a 24-hour rule, so the window has passed. That game is over. You can't really think about it, you just move forward and learn from your mistakes.
Q: Is there anything specific that you want to see from the team and the offense in the next game?
A: I think sometimes we tend to forget that this is the game that you played as a little kid, that you loved as far as just coming out and being excited to play football. I think it hit us kind of late and really realizing that the season is around the corner and this may be the first preseason game but it is still a game, all in all, and these are opportunities for you to take and learn and grow from them, so just coming out fired up next week and just have a better game.
Q: You've gone against Landon [Collins] in college and now you've seen him in camp. Where have you seen him develop as a safety?
A: It's crazy because he was a guy who, he went to Alabama and I went to LSU, and even going into the draft I don't really give a lot of defensive backs props and stuff and I just said, 'This guy is a beast and it would be crazy if we drafted him.' I know I was definitely hoping [he would] be on my team and then we drafted him and now I get to sit here and watch him in person every single day, and he is going to be a guy who is going to be a phenomenal player. [Unfortunately] whatever happened to him happened, but just wishing him to stay strong and come back ready to play the way I know he is capable.
Linebackers Coach Jim Herrmann**
Q; What did you see from your group, what is your overview of them this summer?
A: The biggest thing that I was looking at when we went in the game, as a group, we were talking about block destruction. Getting off blocks and getting to the ball. There's quite a few plays in there where we did that. We can always improve. There were spaces in there where we can get better at, that was what I was looking for—block destruction, being where you're supposed to be, knocking guys back, getting off the ball and making some plays. A couple of the guys did a good job in there, and we're always looking to improve, but that was the biggest thing going into the game was, knock back and getting off and making plays.
Q; Looked like Unga had a good night for you guys. Can you talk about his development?
A: He did a great job, as a young player. I don't know how long exactly it's been since he's actually played in a game because he was hurt his senior year, didn't play last year. So it's been about a year and three quarters since he's played in a true game. I thought he did a great job of taking over the role as the Mike backer and making calls, he made a great call in there and got the guys lined up. Did a good job, and I like his development. I think he's doing a great job of—he got in on a few plays, made a hell of a play tipping the ball. I think he's going to get better and better as he goes.
Q; Do you have any idea of when you're going to get Jameel McClain back?
A: You have to ask the medical guys. I'm not a doctor, unfortunately.
Q; Unga seems like he's got some athleticism.
A: He does, he's got some range. He's a stocky young man, but he has range. He can move around in there, so that's what we saw on his college film prior to his injury coming out of college. That's why we brought him in, he showed some good stuff.
Q; How did Jon Beason look to you?
A: Good. I think Jon [Beason]—it's been awhile since he's played, too. He did a great job of commanding the defense and getting the calls out and getting himself in position to make plays. Made a couple plays, and I like what I saw in his limited snaps.
Q; What are your options at middle linebacker if Jameel isn't there behind Jon? Who would you move around if you needed to? Devon Kennard or JT Thomas or Mark Herzlich?
A: What we've always done, to me, every guy has their position and they all have alternate positions based on what we know about different guys. So there's a lot of different options you can go to. Normally you go into a game maybe five, maybe six backers on the 46 [game day roster.] So everybody is going to have to play dual roles. You just have to, each week that changes because of injuries. All the guys know how to go in there and do it. I feel confident that all those guys could take over that role. The guys that are alternates, they could do it.
Q; Is that an option for Devon, or would you rather keep him outside?
A: Yeah, but this past spring and even some of last year, we put him some at Mike. He has an ability, he does a great job of getting the calls out, and knowing where to play. He's a big backer, big man. He does a good job with that.
Q; How much has Kennard's pass rush improved?
A: I think it's better and better now that we're asking him to do some of that. The quandary that you come into is he's got to cover and do cover stuff, and then we want him to rush. You've just got to be able to balance that as a staff and decide when he can go down and do some rush stuff and when he can do the coverage stuff, because you can't do all just, so he's got to do both. He does a good job. He's played out there in college, so it's not like it's foreign to him. Very similar to Victor Butler, he's played out there, he's done that, so it's not foreign to him. Just have to keep getting their reps when they can.
Q; What do you see from JT? What are some of his strengths and some of the things that you're trying to work on?
A: I think both those new guys, J.T. [Thomas] and [Jonathon] Casillas, both have a lot of range, they can run, their speed, they're both tough guys. Just the ability to have a speed guy out there, it helps when we go to sub [package], if they have to cover down on a tight end. That's really what you see out of those type of guys, they can walk out on a guy and not feel uncomfortable. So that's what you get. Then, the fact that they can run. In this game you have to be able to run, and you're a backside pursuit guy—being able to run the ball down and do those types of things. Both those guys show that kind of stuff.
Q; You see Casillas in certain packages and JT as well, is that the way you're looking at it? You're going to try and fit these guys in based on their skill as much as possible?
A: Right now we're just trying to get our stuff in, our package in, and where they fit and that kind of stuff. As we narrow it down, it's going to about, 'Okay, who best fits where? How are we going to play this game? It is going to be a three-backer game, two-backer game? How are we going to play that?' A lot of that will depend on the opponent. So they give you a lot of flexibility because they can play either-or, so the flexibility is nice as a coach.
Running Backs Coach Craig Johnson**
Q: How much does Shane Vereen give you maybe a different dimension in regards to the backfield?
A: I think Shane brings a lot to the table. He's a veteran, he knows what he's doing, he's smart, he's tough, he can make a lot of plays both in the run game and the pass game. I think he brings a lot to the table from his experience and we can use him in a lot ways. We can use him on early downs, we can use him on third down, and so far he's really acclimated to our system.
Q: With three talented running backs, how hard is it to get them all snaps and be able to even out playing time?
A: That's a work in progress. We're still trying to get through all that in the preseason and find out just how we're going to get that done. It probably won't be arrived at until we get ready to play our first game, but what we're trying to do right now is put every guy in situations and find out what their strengths and weaknesses are in each situation and then when we get closer to game time, we're going to try and figure out close to a rotation and try to make sure everybody gets their touches so they can help us win.
Q: It's good to have this depth compared to last year, right?
A: There's no coach that I know of who doesn't want competition at their position. So yes, I think they all bring a lot to the table.
Q: Does Rashad Jennings look any different to you? Is there anything he did in the offseason that you look at him and say he's taken his game up a notch at all?
A: I would probably say this about Rashad, he is one of the hardest workers I know. He trains religiously. I would say, like myself, both of us are second year in the offense. I think from that alone, he works hard for the game both on and off the field and that is where I think he is probably going to make his greatest improvements. It's just being more comfortable in our system in his second year.
Q: What do you think about Andre Williams' progression so far?
A: I think Andre did a really good job. He was our leading rusher as a rookie last year. I thought he started off kind of slow. He started understanding the game, understanding his pace and timing to get into the hole, he found out that in the NFL, holes close really quickly, but I think he's done a really good job. He has tirelessly worked on the stuff he needed to work on. We all knew that when he came out of college he did not have a catch his last year and I can't tell you how many hours he spent on catching the football. He knew that was something he had to get better at, he's done that and he is walking around with the confidence of a guy that's played (and) knows that he can get it done on this field and he's continued to do that.
Q: What were your takeaways from the preseason game of your unit?
A: I would say because we did not win the game, I'm never happy. I would say that our guys, I thought, were okay. I don't think they really stood out. They didn't not lose the game, but they didn't help win it. I told them all they need to pick it up as a unit. I think we can do a better job. One thing I will certainly single out is I thought Orleans Darkwa really had a good game in every phase. He did a good job running the ball, which everybody can see those stats, but he also did a really good job in his pass protection and his passing game routes where he was supposed to be. As I told him, that's the kind of play I want to see out of all of them this year. Orleans was good last week, but as I told him, I don't want to see one-week wonders, I want to see him continue to improve.
Q: Talking about how you want them to pick it up, it seems to be the underlying theme of the entire game. What did they need to do that you didn't see them do on the field?
A: Well, I'd like to see them, if there's something there, make more of it. If there's nothing there, still have a positive play so we'll stay on track on down and distance. So make sure we can get ourselves in the 2nd and 6 and 3rd and 2 and so on and so forth. So all a back can do is when his number is called to make the right read if it's a run or the right protection or the right catch. I just think that we were playing at a higher level in practice and I'd just like to see that get carried over to the game.
Q: What is it about Orleans that sort of stood out to you about his game the other day?
A: I thought he really showed good speed to the hole, but I think even more so, I think he did a great job of setting up his blocks. And if you really go back and watch the film and verified that, that he was really in good timing with his line, and he knew how to get right to the hole and explode it through the hole and he had really good finishes. He did a really good job—all backs want to do is finish forward and get the extra yardage. That helps add up, it helps put that 3rd and 6, maybe a 3rd and 3 or 3rd and 2. I thought he really did a good job with that.
Q: You mentioned the work Andre's done on improving as a receiver. Has it worked?
A: When I watch him, I can just tell you I got a chance to watch him in the Combine and I would say he's a much changed player from the player I saw in the Combine coming out from Boston College to the player I see today. I think one of the greatest examples happened was the swing pass that he caught. It's a very difficult catch in that he did not see the ball thrown, so when he turned around the ball was on him and as a back, that's a tough situation. I would probably say in Boston College coming here, that would probably be a dropped pass. I think he's worked really hard on his hands, he's going to continue to work at that and he was able to execute the catch, which allowed him to catch the ball and run. As the backs know, I don't care how they get the yardage, whether it's in the pass catching game or the run game, I want anything they can do to help us win.
Q: We see him after practice on the Juggs machine, but something like you're talking about, that's a game situation. How does he simulate that and get better at that?
A: We try to put him in situations like that all the time in practice. I know he does a lot of work with catching tennis balls, he's got a little thing he does that with someone in the training room and we have some drills that we do in the pregame. As I told him in our meeting today, we practice that exact scenario on the practice field. We do it as one of our pregame warmups and basically it's a blind and draw ball drill and so the backs have got to turn around and locate the ball as it's in the air, which is exactly what he had to do. So we were fortunate that sometimes you like as a coach when your drill carries over to the field. In that example it did.
Q: Did you throw the ball to him in that drill or is it a machine?
A: No, I actually throw the ball. I was a quarterback in my other days, but it's only about a four or five-yard distance because I know my limitations.
A: Need myself to be resilient, and just to show like every other situation has.
Q: Do you have a time frame as to when you are going to be back?
A: I'm going to practice today, so I'm full tilt until a coach pulls me back. So I'm ready.
Q: Was it tough for you to stay behind when everyone went to Cincinnati?
A: Absolutely, that was my toughest part. I know my teammates are mad at me, calling them, calling coaches and finding out what's going on at Cincy. How's everything going? That's the toughest part for me, but getting a chance to be here and get myself better and even more shape, doing some rehab, focusing on a little more of the football plays. But it was really tough to be here, it was really tough to watch it on TV, to be honest.
Q: Is that weird, to watch your team play on television like that?
A: It is, it is. The person that hates me the most is my fiancé. I don't want to say my girlfriend, my fiancé hates me the most because I'm like, 'What the …' I'm an animated guy, so me screaming at the TV for a preseason guy, she didn't love that too much.
Q: When you were out here last week and you got dinged, I guess it was a stinger. Because of all you've been through, do you at first think 'Oh no, this is the worst that it could be?' Or do you just have confidence that you'll be back for the next play?
A: Yeah, that's me, I'll be back. The funniest thing is, most of them didn't even know what was going on because I was smiling the whole time. I was just like, 'Ahh, I'll be back. And I'm just laughing it off the whole time, and they were like, 'Just sit there, just sit there.' I'm like, 'I'll be alright, don't worry about me.' So it's always one of those things that, I'm used to going through so much, something small to me is probably something big to someone else. I'm just looking at it like, oh well, I'll be back, I'll be alright.
Q: Did they run you through a lot of tests? Tom Coughlin said because of your history, they had to be extra careful.
A: Yeah, I had my fair share of tests. That's not in any comparison to what I went through before. What I went through before, I saw about 13, 14 doctors. Anything short of 13, I was going to be excited with. So I was good, man. They did all of their due diligence to make sure I was right, but it was clear from looking at the MRI that this wasn't the same scenario, this was just a mild incident.
Q: Because of what happened with David Wilson, did anybody say to you if it happens again, you might want to rethink going forward?
A: It was always something that was mentioned before, even before this incident that happened. But different situations are different things. It's not fair for me to compare mine to David's or to anybody else's or even to the incident that I had before, because this was completely different. That option is always out there, it's something that's always in the air when you go through an injury like this, but I'm built different. I die hard, like John McClain.
Q: You led this team in tackles last year, and it looked like coming into camp you were fighting for a job.
A: Like I said, it's life. It's life, man. Nothing is ever picking roses for me. Always got to go in and fight and prove day in and day out who I am and what I represent. This year is no different. From the injury or from my position on the team, it's no different. That's just this league, regardless. However you did last year, that's last year. This is this year, and now I've got to prove again why I belong.
Q: Just to clarify, they're going to let you practice or you're trying to talk them into it?
A: They're going to let me practice today.