Q: What's it like to be back?
A: It's good to be back. Good to be going. That's why we practiced today really. I wanted to get the message across about action, being on the field and getting it done out here. I'm never one to spare the meetings – we'll be involved in those heavily – but I wanted to get out on the field. The conditioning test was this morning and the guys did a good job with that. I had planned just a fundamental practice this afternoon just to get them out here and get them going. We had meetings starting at 12:30 before we came on the field at 3:20 and we'll get back to the meeting rooms right after dinner, but it's good to get out on the field and get started.
Q: How much of the way the season ended last year stays with you or do you put it behind you?
A: It stays with you pretty good. It kind of eats away at you. At this point in time it's a good thing because you remember.
Q: How loud is Perry Fewell when you're walking around from station to station?
A: I hear him screeching. I hear him.
Q: What kind of energy does he have?
A: A good energy. Great personality. Lively persona. Energy in the classroom, energy on the field. The players had spring with him so they had an opportunity to get to know a little bit about how he coaches and how he approaches things, his enthusiasm…
Q: You've got some guys adding on to the defense – two veteran safeties that came in and Bulluck. The fact that they're veterans, how easily or more quickly do you think they'll be able to acclimate to a whole new system?
A: I think they'll pick it up fast. The two safeties were here all spring, so they're pretty much embedded in how our approach is this season as of right now. I think Keith [Bulluck] will pick it up fast as well. He won't be on the field both practices but he will have an opportunity to pick it up and he'll get it back because he's had a number of years in the league.
Q: Do those guys add or change the personality of the defense?
A: Hopefully the combination of the guys that we have and the new players and the veteran aspect of it and what they bring in terms of the experiences they've had, I think hopefully that will all lend itself to one defensive personality and then, of course, one team.
Q: Who do you think could potentially step up to be a leader of this essentially new defense?
A: I think we have a lot of guys who are capable of that and I think that one that I would say, and that they know of, is that to lead means that your experiences over time, it doesn't happen one day and not the next day, and it happens under all circumstances. It's a pillar of strength, and it's the kind of individual who has the confidence to speak to his peers and be unafraid to challenge or to indicate that things are just not done properly and need to be done properly. I think that we have any number of guys who could lead and could be found to have that capacity. We just have to wait and see.
Q: What is the thing you're most unsure of about your team that you hope to find out here over the next couple of weeks?
A: I wouldn't put it that way. I think that we've had a spring together. The thing that we're going to have to do is to work our way through the dog-days of two-a-days and find out what we're all about when we are tired and when we're mentally and physically pushing it right up to the limit and then go through the experience of playing games together and once we get a handle on that we'll truly know what kind of team we have. Until that happens, and of course you're going to have to go through some things maybe, the season is a marathon, we're going to have to experience all of that together.
Q: Have you been talking with Kenny Phillips at all about how he's doing?
A: Yeah. He feels really good. But they're going to be cautious. I endorse that.
Q: Was it good to see him out there, though, especially knowing that we weren't even sure if he was ever going to be able to get back out here?
A: I never felt that way. Even last winter he had very good vibes about him last winter. He was doing a lot, he was not swelling up, and so forth, so I felt good about that.
Q: Have you ever coached a team that played hot potato like that?
A: I had a little league baseball team that did that.
Q: How does it feel with Coach Sean Ryan?
A: Put the camera on Ryan for the whole camp. He's had more publicity than (Albany mayor) Jerry Jennings up here for crying out loud. He's doing well.
Q: Have you heard anything on Keith Bulluck, how he responded out here or anything?
A: I'll have to wait. He doesn't feel like he has to respond after the workout, which is a good thing. He just went about his business and went inside with the other guys. I'll get a report tonight but I don't expect him to have anything – I hope – that I'm not pleased with.
Q: Keith Bulluck and Ahmad Bradshaw were just precautions sitting out the conditioning test this morning?
A: Well Bulluck is…I guess you'd call it a precaution…you've got a guy coming off a seven-month ACL so I don't think that you're going to right away the first thing you do is run him on a change direction test. And Bradshaw was a precaution although I watched the practice segment that he was involved in and he looked okay to me. It'd be nice if he could stay at a high level.
Q: Was Gartrell Johnson sick or was he sucking wind?
A: Rigor mortis. I mean, they worked. They ran well this morning. That's the disappointment right there. Now, his weight is down. We have an entire team where no one is overweight. All the big guys. I can't remember being with a team where all the big guys made it. They all made it. Kareem [McKenzie] looked really good. The real big guys looked good. Snee had a good run. The bigger guys…Canty looked good. I liked what I saw this morning.
Q: How many back and forth's did they do? I lost count…
A: Math is not your deal. They did five and then they had a three-minute break and then they did five more
Q: What are you hoping for in particular from all these new young guys that you have?
A: Compete. Push. Compete. See the big picture. Learn fast. No setbacks. Know how to handle this thing when it gets tough. You know, parading around in shorts looks great but…
Q: How much better will the competition make the defense?
A: A lot better. Some good people. The competition is going to make us a better football team and the idea about only being concerned about the competitiveness is one hurdle that allows the entire operation to improve and compete on a daily basis, knowing that they have to be at their best and the result of all of that is that we'll be a better team.
Q: What's the theory behind the station drills?
A: We did that in the spring. I like that. I always did that way back when. You focus on a segment, let's say it's tackling, and then one drill is an angle tackle, the other drill is a head on tackle, another drill is another form of tackle. It may be turnovers. One drill is a pressure the quarterback turnover, another drill is strip, so we rotate the players through the various segments of the drill so that you're able to accomplish one concept but with three different approaches to that concept.
Q: Some of the players said that they wanted to get back to playing Giants football. Do you feel like during training camp or in the spring that there was a need to re-establish anything that was lost last year?
A: Yep. Definitely. Stopping the run and running the ball. We definitely need to get back to that.
Q: What does it take to get back to that?
A: Right here. People doing their jobs and physically establishing the ability to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, which we've always talked about.
Q: I know injuries were a problem in that way last year. How much of it was injuries and how much of it was just not playing well?
A: The injury thing…unfortunately that's a part of our game. You have to overcome them. They are what they are. For you to be as good as you can be, your players have got to stay healthy. Depth helps. You pray that if there is going to be a nick that it's not serious but if you do have depth then you can overcome things.