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Quotes: Coach Brian Daboll, LB Austin Calitro, WR Richie James

Head Coach Brian Daboll

Daboll: How's everybody doing? Well, we had a late night last night. Got in pretty early in the morning. Just started getting rolling here. Had a meeting at one o'clock. The coaches are just getting in with the players right now and starting to review the tape. Long night, so we'll get after this tape and make the corrections. In terms of injuries and where we are with some of those guys, I have a medical meeting here right after this meeting; so, I don't have much to add from what I talked about last night, which was about 12 hours ago. So, with that, our guys played tough, physical, fast, which we were looking for. A lot of good situations to learn from and improve on, and that's going to be our focus this week.

Q: At offensive guard, what did you think of (Josh) Ezeudu's work last night and if (Guard) Shane (Lemieux) has to miss some time and (Guard) Jamil (Douglas) is out, do you think Josh has shown himself so far that he can handle that responsibility inside?

A: I'd say really with all the rookies, and this has usually been the case in my history coaching, is it takes them a little time to get warmed up. And I thought that that was the case with really all of our rookies. But I thought we saw a lot of good things from those guys as you went on. A lot of the things that I showed the team today, whether it be Ezeudu doing a good job with getting movement at the line of scrimmage or (Linebacker Micah) McFadden making some good instinctive plays, (Linebacker Darrian) Beavers, (Tight End Daniel) Bellinger on some back-side blocks, (Wide Receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson), really all the guys I thought as the game went on, they improved. Which you like to see that and they're going to need to take another step this week of having a good week of practice and going out there and playing again.

Q: You had 16 guys miss the game last night that you left home. You had another three hurt. We're talking about almost a fifth of your team now. How much of a concern is that? How hard is it to function for the coming week if those guys can't come back?

A: I think that's always something you talk about. You like to have as many guys out there as you can. Again, our ultimate goal is to get to Week 1 as healthy as we can with the right roster. Anyone that is healthy that's ready to go, we're going to play. And the guys that we don't think are quite ready or maybe need a little bit more time, we're going to help them get as good as they can so that we'll get the best version of themselves when they're ready to go. But injuries, you talk about injuries every week. There's constant roster management. Who's going where.? That's just part of the business.

Q: You mentioned Beavers. How did he look to you? What was he able to do? And what did you think of him calling the defense for a bit there it looked like?

A: I think he's an instinctive player. He's got good size and length. Much like Ezeudu, there were some really good plays he had and some plays that we need to correct and teach from so that next time, we're a little bit better at them. But he's a young man that loves football, that has good intelligence, that's tough, that's dependable. And he's a good young player to work with.

Q: (Cornerback) Aaron Robinson. It looked like he was having trouble staying up with guys from the first step off the line. Is that a technique thing he needs to sharpen? Obviously, he played mostly slot versus outside in the past. Is it that? What do you make of Aaron after you watch the tape?

A: There's some good things that he had I think and some things we can get better at. Again, really that's for all of us – starts with me and goes all the way down. But Aaron's had a good camp and it's a good competitive situation. Corners are going to get beat once in a while and it's how you respond the next play, the next game. And have a lot of confidence in A-Rob. He's had a good camp. Really all the positions, there's something that showed up that technique-wise we need to be better at and that starts in practice. Whether it's defending the deep ball, whether it's getting square on our blocks, or tackling or stacking defensive backs, throwing ball a little bit high, setting our feet – there's so many different things that come up. That's why this is a really good evaluation because you're playing real live football. Everybody is practicing, and you can't live tackle a quarterback or you can't live tackle a running back. And it would be a minus two-yard run, but in this case again it was a holding penalty. (Running Back) Gary Brightwell splits two defenders and runs for 15 yards. That's why these preseason games are so valuable.

Q: You mentioned Brightwell, I was going to ask about (Running back) Antonio (Williams) but, just overall the way your backup running backs ran the ball, what was your thought on that?

A: So, I think the running back room has good competition and I said that in the meeting today to those guys. It's a competitive room. They're tough, they're doing a good job with the system, they're a supportive group even though it's a competitive group, they run downhill with power, and they break tackles. There are certainly things that we can clean up, pass protection, physicalness without the ball, but it's been a good group to work with. Gary did a nice job on special teams and so did Antonio and so did (Running back Jashaun) Corbin. Hopefully, we'll get (Running back) Matt (Breida) as quickly as we can but it's a competitive group. (Running back) Saquon (Barkley) was good in those first couple carries. I thought he hit the ball downhill, didn't dance, and then (Running back) Sandro (Platzgummer) finished it off. Let's not forget about him.

Q: I have a couple on (Wide receiver) Kenny Golladay for you. First, what did you see on the third down play at the seven-yard line? It looked like (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) put the ball where he wanted to there. Just a larger Kenny Golladay question, when you look at like him, a tall guy, maybe doesn't get the most separation and you want to get the ball to him, do you look at him and say "I've got to figure out things in my offense or our offense that can help him?" Or at some point do you say "well he has to maybe do a little more."

A: I think as a coach you do that with every player that you have, not just with Kenny. Whether it's receivers, running backs, or tight ends, you try to figure out what they do well and try to use it to your advantage. Again, in these types of games, too, you're running some basic plays and you're trying to get as much of an evaluation of all the players as you can. We didn't really move much yesterday relative to motions or anything like that. It was fairly stationary and they played some man, played a little bit of zone, disguised some, blitzed some. So, it was good work for us on offense and I'd say the same thing on defense. They threatened the deep part of the field with some go-balls and tried a variety of runs. It's just a good evaluation tool for all of us. Whether it's Kenny or someone else, we're always trying to do what's best for the player.

Q: With that third down play though, were you happy with the way Daniel executed that play?

A: Yeah, I mean it always can be a little bit better and we can finish it a little bit better, but again that's the redzone. Making tight throws, tight catches, you'd like the accuracy to be exactly where you want it, he put it a little bit low, and we just failed to convert on that. That's part of the technique and the fundamentals that we'll work on.

Q: When you have a guy like (Wide receiver Kadarius) Toney, who had a problem staying on the field and the first preseason game he's not ready, is that a concern?

A: No. He worked really hard coming from the offseason to get to where he is right now. Things happen in practice, things happen in a game. If he was ready to go, he would be out there. We thought it would be in our best interest and in his best interest not to play this game relative to what he was going through, his injury, and hopefully these next few days will calm it down and we'll be ready to go again.

Q: I had a question about (Wide receiver) Darius Slayton. He's been running with the twos and the threes a lot through camp, and he was out there with the starters and then only played with the starters. Just curious as to why you used him that way last night?

A: Well, there were certain plays that I wanted to see him on. I think he's had the last three or four days where he's earned that opportunity. That's something that we talk about with our guys. Really draft status and how you got here, if you're competing and you're doing well in practice, our job is to give you opportunities. I thought that he earned those opportunities. We'll see where he's at. We just pulled him out there after the first five or six plays. He tightened up a little bit, so hopefully he'll be ready to go.

Q: (Defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) admitted the other day that he's really comfortable with the starters at corner, but the depth is a little unsettled. Did anybody flash to you last night? Any of those young guys look good to you?

A: I think they all competed. We played a lot of man-to-man coverage, so it was a good evaluation. Made some good plays and then we have to do a good job of finding the ball and locating it in the deep part of the field. I thought those guys competed, tackled fairly well, tight in coverage. We've got to keep working on making plays on the ball.

Q: Can you give us an update on any of the PUP guys? Are they closer like (Wide receiver Sterling Shepard) Shep, I know (Center) Nick (Gates) is probably a while away, but Shep and (Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) and those guys?

A: I think they are getting closer. In terms of a time frame, I can't give it to you right now, but they are getting closer. They're improving day to day and hopefully they'll be out there as soon as they can.

Linebacker Austin Calitro

Q: I'm sure when you want to make an impression on your new team and you make a turnover like that tipping the ball to yourself, that must be pretty exciting. Can you describe that play and what it might have meant for you?

A: I had the running back on that certain play, (Inside Linebacker) Cam (Brown) did a good job helping me disguise to get the front protecting the way we wanted the protection to go. I happened to get into the window and just did my job at the right time. (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) made a great call, it was fourth and short, so we knew it was some kind of quick routes, I kind of used my instincts there and tried to bat the ball. I think you guys saw the result.

Q: Is playing for Wink, in the short time you've been with him, is there a way to explain how aggressive and how much pressure he wants you to apply even in the first preseason game?

A: Yeah, I was in Cincinnati last year so, him being with the Ravens, we saw his scout team. We ran our scout team a couple of times, and there were times where I was like, 'this is pretty fun.' Now being here up close and in person, you can tell there's a method behind the madness. It's fun being a part of this defense when everyone does their jobs the right way.

Q: What did you think of the play calling last night? I ask this in the context that it seemed that (Patriots Head Coach) Bill Belichick was a little perturbed that you guys were blitzing too much. It looked like you were maybe throwing out a half or a quarter of what you'd normally do in a practice?

A: Again, Wink is placing us in the right spots to make plays. I think we kept it simple enough for everyone, especially the younger guys just to show off their style and what we can do. I think everyone just disabled their speed as a defense last night in the way we run to the ball, we harp on that, and I think we showed a good job of that last night.

Q: What do you like about Wink as a person and as a coach?

A: To be honest with you, he's one of the first coaches that I've had outside of (Former Seahawks Defensive Coordinator) Coach Norton in Seattle that really keeps it real. He tells you where you are, why you are where you are and what you can do to get better in the things you struggle at. As an undrafted guy myself, throughout the last six years it's been difficult, but for me to finally have a coach that tells you what he needs from you and how he sees you and just being upfront and honest is really a blessing and it really puts your mind at ease as well.

Q: If a defense has a weak spot, how much do you expect the offense to just keep attacking that and how much is on the rest of you guys to pick that up? How do you guys cover that up?

A: In the past teams I've been on, there are certain things you can do in a scheme, especially front wise that helps. For the most part, where we are right now as a team, as a defense, I don't think we have any weak spots, and I think everyone is playing very fast. Especially in this defense, if you're playing fast, you make plays and I think you guys saw that last night.

Q: You mentioned the Bengals, you play them on Sunday – how much are you looking forward to that game although it's just a preseason game?

A: I'm looking forward to it, I built a good relationship with a lot of those guys. The bond we had from last year, I was actually there in 2020 before they traded me to Denver, and it was kind of full circle that I got to go back last year and be a part of that run because I saw what they were building before (Bengals Quarterback) Joe (Burrow) got hurt. To come back and feel the vibe and the team vibes, the locker room was closer than it was when I left. To have everyone healthy and to go on that run was fun, it'll be nice to say hi to a couple of the guys before the game and say hi to the coaches that I made a connection with, but when the ball snaps it's time to go.

Q: That was a pretty dramatic turnaround from 2020 to 2021 for that team, probably the kind of turnaround that your current team is trying to execute. What did you see as the keys to that last year, and do you see any foundational pieces that may hint that it could happen here

A: The first thing that I noticed when I walked in my first week here was how close the locker room was, and I think first and foremost if you have a culture and a close locker room if everything else goes bad that's something you can fall back on. Something they had in Cincinnati is they had a bunch of young talented players and we have that here too. Speaking of the coaches, I think everyone is pretty much in-sync coach-wise, and front office-wise, and (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs does a great job telling everyone what he expects, and he holds that to us. That's the start of a great team in my opinion. I wasn't there for the entire turnaround, but like I said, when I went back you can tell they didn't skip a beat. (Bengals Head Coach) Zac Taylor still had his expectations, and Dabs is the same kind of guy – he has his expectations and you've got to meet them.

Wide Receiver Richie James

Q: I guess it's a pretty good sign that you're having a good summer when you make a catch like that one off of (Wide Receiver) Collin (Johnson) and you're able to kind of come down with that ball. Can you kind of take us through that play – the one that got tipped in the air and found you.

A: It was just one of those plays where the quarterback had trust in Collin, and he threw the ball to Collin. Stuff happens on the football field all the time, and I was just there to save the day.

Q: What did you think? Did you think he was going to catch it, and then you saw the ball in the air?

A: I mean we talk. The ball is in the air, it's your ball and nobody else's ball.

Q: Did they kind of let you know beforehand that other guys were going to do the returns last night and you were going to stick to playing offense and receiver?

A: Kind of. It was just one of those things where the depth chart was the depth chart, and you just follow that depth chart. If they want to throw me back there, I would've been cool with it, too.

Q: You played in preseason games before, you played in regular season games. Do you think the Giants coaching staff knows what you can do yet, or are they still evaluating? Do you think they're looking to see what you can do or they kind of know at this point?

A: I think it's both. I haven't played football in a year. It's one of those things where they want to see if I can still do what I've done before. But it's also one of those things where we're in the league where it's, 'What can you do for me now?'

Q: You guys in camp have shown a lot of motion, a lot of movement and things like that. Much less of that last night. What fraction of it was last night do you think that would be in the real season?

A: I can't tell you that. I can't even tell you.

Q: It was less, right? You guys were much more stationary last night than you have been in practice certainly.

A: Yeah, for sure.

Q: Last night's vanilla, you're doing it for a certain reason. All the motion, do you see that it's going to really have an effect on the opposing defense?

A: I'm pretty sure, it's part of the offense for sure. I wouldn't doubt that.

Q: Other than you knowing what's man or zone, what can that do to mess up a defense do you think?

A: The man/zone reads for sure, obviously, you said that. But sometimes defenses, they get confused on who they put to guard. So, it definitely messes up the timing for the defense.

Q: Can you just take us through your touchdown catch from (Quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor)?

A: Yeah, it was one of those situations where it was just get open, play ball and that's exactly what I did.

Q: When you say it was a situation, 'Get open, play ball,' what does that mean? Like you could run any route you wanted, or what does that mean? What does that mean when you say one of those situations where it's just like, 'Just freelance there.'

A: Get open within your route, if that makes sense. Like you have the freedom within your route to get open.

Q: Like run a drag but you can run it a bunch of different ways?

A: Yeah, or something like that. It's one of those kinds of situations.

Q: You said before it's kind of a, 'What can you do for me now?' situation with you and the Giants. What can you do for them now? What do you bring to this team?

A: What I showed. I don't know what else to say about that one. Just my play. I just try to play hard and play team ball. I just want to win.

View photos from the preseason opener between the Giants and Patriots at Gillette Stadium.


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