Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: Afternoon. How's everybody doing? So, we had a good practice yesterday – and that led right into really a lot of evaluations last night. I'd say (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) and his staff were here pretty late last night; I know the coaches have done a lot of work with some of the guys that were released. I think it's out there we've claimed four players. So, that means we need to make some decisions relative to putting some guys on IR. Joe and his staff right not are in the process of taking care of all that stuff. In terms of practice squad and stuff like that, I'm going to go see Joe right after this. So, it's kind of a fluid deal right there.
Q: You don't have to cut guys before you put the other guys on IR?
A: You got to do a couple of little things rthere. But really, it's going to end up being the three IR guys. We're going to put three guys on IR.
Q: Those are (Guard) Shane (Lemieux), (Cornerback) Rodarius (Williams) and (Outside Linebacker) Elerson (Smith)?
A: It is. Yep.
Q: How tough of a blow is that for Shane? It's at least (four) games, right?
A: He's pretty resilient. Unfortunately, he's been through it once, but he's in good spirits. So, he'll work back. He's been already rehabbing, and he'll be back as soon as he can.
Q: Who starts in the opener at left guard?
A: We're worried about today's practice – getting better today.
Q: Is (Offensive Lineman Josh) Ezeudu ramping up? Is he getting close?
A: He's getting better. Yeah.
Q: Who are your left guards, though? Who's in that spot the next week or two?
A: Let's see until we finalize the roster to give you a better answer.
Q: One of the guys you claimed was the safety (Jason) Pinnock from the Jets. You obviously saw a little bit of him here. What'd you guys like about him?
A: He's good on teams. He had some good film out there. He's played in the deep part of the field. We practiced against them; we played against them. He has some redeeming qualities and traits that when the guys watched him in the scouting department and our coaches, thought it would be a good claim.
Q: Clearly the secondary and the depth of the secondary was something you guys thought you needed to address significantly here. You picked up three guys there. How concerning is that to you that you have to bring in three guys in those spots, get them ready in what, 10 days, 11 days?
A: Much like we talked about yesterday, too, that's the nature of being in the NFL and being a coach. Sometimes you get guys on a Wednesday or guys work out on a Tuesday that you got to get them ready to play, so we have a little bit more time here than you normally would have if you just pick somebody up or sign somebody on a Tuesday or Wednesday to get them ready to play. So, that's what we'll do.
Q: My point was this is so many guys in one position group.
A: They can handle it. Most of these guys are pros and can handle it. You just stay with them a little bit longer and meet and get them ready.
Q: What kind of a player was Pinnock to gameplan against last year?
A: I just think he has good traits that we're looking for: has good some speed, some size, can play in the kicking game. So, we'll get him here and see what he can do here in our system.
Q: With your three IR guys, is there a chance with all three that they could return this season? Or are any of those season enders?
A: No, I think there's a chance.
Q: (Jets Head Coach Robert) Saleh obviously was very high on him and didn't want to let him go, but they were obviously pretty full there. Do you ever talk to him in your joint practice about that?
A: About that particular player? No, I didn't.
Q: I know that's not really protocol, but you guys are pretty friendly.
A: No. I didn't. I just think our scouting department and the guys upstairs with Joe and (Assistant General Manager) Brandon (Brown) and all those guys, they unfortunately got some late-night food that I had to partake in a little bit, but they stayed a lot longer than I did. And they have met and done a great job with evaluating the players that are out there and done a lot of work on those guys and then given the coaches some guys to look at. So, it's been a good process for the first time that I've been though it.
Q: You had (Guard) Jack Anderson in Buffalo last year. What do you like about him? Was he a guard, center, both?
A: He played a little bit of both for us. Smart – you know he got claimed by Philadelphia. So, didn't want to lose him. I remember we didn't want to lose him, but he had an opportunity to go and get claimed and looking forward to working with him again. He can play inside – either spot – and he can play center too.
Q: This is pretty much for the most part – a couple of moves here or there – the roster you're going to have for Week 1. And this is your first year as head coach. What do you make of the totality of your roster at this point?
A: I'd say it's still kind of a fluid situation. There's always decisions that can be made, but the guys that we have out here, they've all earned a spot. And then you can only take 46 to a game, so we'll have to decide that next. But all the guys that we have here, we have confidence in that made the team.
Q: I know you got plenty of time between now and Sept. 11. What is (Wide Receiver) Kadarius' (Toney) situation right now?
A: Improving. Yeah. He's improving.
Q: Do you have any question about him for Week 1 at all?
A: I'm just taking it day-by-day. I thought yesterday he came out and practiced and had a pretty good practice. I think he's getting better. Hopefully, we'll be ready to go.
Q: And he's doing everything in practice? Not limited at all?
A: Yeah. We've kind of ramped him up as we went the last few weeks and given him more and more reps. So, hopefully he'll be ready.
Q: Does the three guys going on IR mean you only have to cut one? Or do you have to cut four right now to make room for the four?
A: No. I mean there's other things that go along with it, but it'll be those three guys and then Joe right now just actually gave me a call right before I got out here. I'm going to go up there and see him or call him right after this.
Q: How much has your familiarity with Joe helped you though the training camp process, through these last few days? What's the advantage – do you think – that you did know each other?
A: Well, the familiarity and we've worked together before. We have a good relationship. I'd say we have a good working relationship, too. I know what he's expecting on our end. He kind of knows what to expect from the coaching staff. I'd say there's a lot of good give and take. We're in constant communication. We try to leave no stone unturned, and that way I think as an organization, it's pretty smooth relative to how we structure practice, how we look at free agents, what we did in the draft – I mean, all the stuff that we've done up to this point. It's good collaboration and I'd say good organization.
Q: Was any of the stuff you talked about not knowing you'd be in this position when you were in Buffalo? Not players obviously, but just situations. Did any of those things arise that you said, 'Hey we used to talk about this when we weren't in these positions'?
A: We're not there yet. Each day, something else pops up and we try to handle it the best way that we can. And I think there's really good give and take. A lot of mutual respect. I think he does a fantastic job of leading the scouting department and the support staff. And him and I, again, we have really good conversations about everything. It doesn't mean necessarily that you always have to agree, but there's really good communication on both of our ends, I think.
Q: Have you had any big disagreements?
Q: Are you expecting to have (Safety) Dane Belton on the field Week 1? He looked good yesterday.
A: Hopeful. Hopeful.
Q: How do you view practice squad? Is that where you want to develop guys, or is that where you want the next-guy-up at a position? How do you balance that?
A: That's a good question. I think a little bit of both. You always want guys that you can if you need them – or if something happens or somebody gets sick – that you can put right on (the active roster), and they're ready to go. But you're also trying to develop your team for the long run, too. So, do what you need to do now, but have good young players that you can work with and develop and have skillsets that you covet. That's a constant thing. You'll see probably a bunch of workouts most Tuesdays here to see who can upgrade us or switch a guy in, switch a guy out. But the way it's set up now, it's good to have both.
Q: I know you don't have a full list of your practice squad before you talk to Joe and figure out everything. But do you expect that you might have some guys from the practice squad out at practice today?
A: That is the plan, yeah. Now who that is right now, I mean there's a list that I saw. We've had a lot of conversations with some of the guys that we released and some guys we've pinpointed here. But I'll go talk to Joe and see. So, I kind of pushed practice back a little bit, too. So, all these timeframes of when things are coming out and when we can get guys on the field so we can have more guys out at practice.
Q: How's (Outside Linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux)? How's Kayvon doing, and is he getting closer to getting on the field? And Azeez?
A: Yeah, day-to-day. Both of those guys – I'd say him and (Outside Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) are rehabbing and doing a good job and getting better each day.
Q: Are they doing any running at this point?
A: Whatever their rehab is. I mean, I talk to (Senior Vice President, Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie (Barnes) about (it). They're getting better. I know that.
Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q: What's up with your arm?
A: It got a little tweaked during camp. That's the reason why I missed a few of those preseason games. I'm going to be fine. I'm practicing now. I've been getting in and out a few practices here and there, feeling it out and it feels ready to go.
Q: It's not one of those deals that's going to need surgery after this?
A: No, not at all.
Q: Is that the same injury you had last year?
A: No, it's a different one.
Q: You'll wear that all year you think?
A: I'm not sure. I'm going to just play it day by day. 17 weeks is a long time to look ahead. It's been progressively getting better each day and each week. Right now, this is where I'm at and it feels strong. I'm able to go and do everything that we're required to do as a D-lineman, in full pads and all that stuff. I think I'm not going to miss any games or anything like that because of it.
Q: Does that hamper your captain responsibilities?
A: No, I don't think so. I think it improves it actually because I'm showing that I'm out here doing it with it.
Q: What did you think of being voted captain?
A: I think it's an honor. I've had the privilege to be a captain on every team I've been on. High School, college, when I was with the (New York) Jets, and now this is my first-time becoming captain with the Giants. It means a lot, being not a drafted guy here and have been able to work myself up as a team player and a guy that people respect wearing blue.
Q: I can't imagine there have been a lot of captains on both the Jets and the Giants throughout history.
A: Oh yeah, I didn't even think about that. It's definitely an honor. It's even more of an honor that it's not chosen by the coaches, and it's voted on by the players. It means more when it comes from your peers than your superiors.
Q: What kind of impact has (Outside Linebacker) Jihad Ward had since he's been here? He's been a super loud guy from day one. Maybe sometimes it can be like, 'this guy's obnoxious,' but how does he walk that line? What kind of impact does he have?
A: I think the best part about it is he is true to himself. He's always going to be like that, and you know what you're going to get with him. Sometimes we do laugh because he is a little obnoxious, a lot, but at the end of the day we all appreciate it on defense. You know he's going to have that energy. Like if I'm having a slow morning or something like that and we stretch right next to each other, I know he's going to be talking in my ear and getting me going. I think he's definitely a guy that at this point people know him and he brings a lot of fire and juice to the team.
Q: (Outside Linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux) and (Outside Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari), obviously we don't know, but they might miss the first game or the first little bit of the season. What gives you confidence that the pass rush can still perform at a high level without them if that ends up being the case?
A: What gives me confidence is just seeing everybody throughout camp, throughout OTA's, you know (Outside Linebacker Oshane Ximines) X-Man and (Outside Linebacker Tomon) Fox and a lot of those guys that are going to stand in place for those guys for however much time they miss. I don't know how much time they're going to miss but whoever's in there, I'm going to have confidence that they know what they're doing and they're going to execute their job. I think me and (Defensive Lineman Dexter) Dex (Lawrence) are going to be able to do a good job helping lead whoever is up there rushing.
Q: Your pass rush numbers were down last year, sacks and PFF numbers too. Why do you think that was and do you think this defense will result in upticks in those areas?
A: It's hard to pinpoint one thing that goes into sack numbers or pass rushing numbers. Sometimes if you're in the second half and you're down by a few scores, you know the team's going to run the ball. You're not going to have many opportunities in the second half if you're down. If there's no third and long situations, there's a lot that I can probably look at from last year and see why. Overall, I'm confident that (Defensive Line) Coach Dre (Patterson) has taught me a lot this year and I'm confident with (Defensive Coordinator) Coach Wink's (Martindale) defensive scheme and I'm confident in myself that I'm going to execute it. I think those numbers are going to go up.
Defensive Lineman Dexter Lawrence
Q: What was your reaction to captaincy?
A: It's been what, four years? It's an honor that I've earned the respect among my peers, my teammates. It's just a huge honor to be a representation of the team and voice for the players.
Q: What have you learned about the defense this summer that maybe you didn't know beforehand? Just being on the field and being able to actually execute.
A: I love the way we fight. Even if the offense is having a little better day than us, we finish strong. It's always promising. We are always holding each other accountable, communicating – over communicating at times – which is great. We are just showing good characteristics as a whole of being one and being a unit.
Q: What about scheme-wise from (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) and what you are expected to do that maybe surprised you?
A: I'm not too surprised. He's been straight up, straight forward with me. I love the aggressive mindset he's building within the defense and within the players individually. He doesn't change, he's just going to shoot you straightforward. This is what we are going to do, and this is how we are going to do it and we all buy into it.
Q: Where do you feel like the pass rush is right now without (Outside Linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux) or (Outside Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari)?
A: I feel pretty confident in the next two guys that step up behind them. Rushing is, you're rushing as a whole unit. It's not just the ends - it's the front, it's the tackles, it's the DBs, the linebackers. It's all of us buying into a rush plan. We've got to put pressure, they've got to cover, things like that.
Q: Does a blitz-heavy scheme help when players go down because you know you are going to be sending five or six guys regularly anyway?
A: Blitzing, not blitzing, blitzing is going to work regardless of whoever is in there, I don't think that has to do with specific players. It's all about scheming (and) scheming up the offense.