Giants offensive assistant coaches discuss the team's progress at OTA practice:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants' position coaches spoke publicly today for the first time since the beginning of the team's offseason conditioning program and organized team activities. Here is a sampling of what the offensive coaches had to say:
Quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti:
Q: On his impressions of rookie third-round draft choice Davis Webb:
"Davis is doing a really nice job. Most quarterbacks, in this league, all do a great job in their preparation, they're professionals. Davis is just falling in line with the rest of the guys."
Q: On his impressions of Geno Smith:
"Very positive. Tremendous work ethic, tremendous passion for the game, smart. … He's done a great job acclimating himself to the New York Giants. He's done a great job rehabbing (from a torn ACL suffered last year) he's done a great job learning the fundamentals. He's done a great job communicating in the classroom and on the field. Every day we're teaching and learning and Geno has done a great job."
Q: On what he sees from another backup contender, Josh Johnson:
"You could see last season that Josh is a pro. Josh has been in the league. What do I mean by that; he knows how to prepare, he knows how to study, he does a great job in the classroom, he does a great job in the locker room. On the field, he does what he's asked to do, and does it well. The nice thing to see Josh go through the offseason program now, because he wasn't here the last offseason. The offseason, like (Ben) McAdoo communicates, is building our fundamentals, building our communication in the classroom then on the field with our teammates. Always teaching and learning. So, Josh has been able to start from jump street in the offseason and it's been great to see."
Running backs coach Craig Johnson:
Q: Do you think Paul Perkins is ready to be the team's No. 1 running back?
"I thought he was ready at the end of last year when we put him in. I thought he stepped up to the plate and had a good end to the season. I would like him to grow and continue to improve. You always like to see improvement between the first and second year. I think that he'll do that and is going to be ready for that challenge. I'm really looking forward to seeing how he's going to take over that role and what is going to happen from there.
"What he's shown is that in our system, you need three phases. You have to be able to run the ball. He was an effective runner last year. You have to be able to catch the ball. He did a good job in that and you have to be able to block people. I thought that he probably improved the most in that situation [blocking]. Guys were testing him out to get to the quarterback and he held up very good in protection. He is continuing to do that. If you could do that, it allows you to be a possible back on all three downs."
Q: Is Shane Vereen your most versatile back?
"I think it's hard to argue with that point. He's done a really good job overall. He has not only a lot of things you look for in a back but he's also had the experience of having a lot of success. I think he can do a lot of things. Obviously, his versatility is one of his highlights so we're going to continue to try and use that."
Q: Why hasn't Orleans Darkwa been able to consistently get on the field the last two years?
"I think the biggest thing is that every time you've watched him on the field he's been a productive player. He hasn't been able to stay healthy enough to stay on the field. When he's been able to do that, he's been a productive player. Obviously, availability has been an issue. He's going to work towards that. Right now, when he's been available he's been a good player. Hopefully he will continue to keep that up."
Q: What is (fourth-round draft choice) Wayne Gallman's skillset?
"Coming from college, he was a very productive runner. Stats don't lie. So far, what I've seen in practice is that he has been effectively able to run the ball in the runs he's been given. The pass protection, he's coming along in. He's certainly made a big improvement in the last week or so. He's been able to catch the ball effectively. Again, as a young back, he's trying to figure it all out. The game is a little too fast for him, like they are for every back right now when they're young. The game starts to slow down and he's starting to get it. I've seen a couple bursts. I think he will continue to get it in the future."
Wide receivers coach Adam Henry:
Q: What has Brandon Marshall brought to your room?
"Experience. He is soaking in the offense every day. He is getting more familiar with it and more comfortable. He has been really good and a really good professional. Just helping the guys with little things for us, just pulling them to the side and helping them on different techniques and things like that. He has been really good in the meetings."
Q: What does a guy like Odell Beckham, Jr. miss by not being here?
"I coach who is here. You know the thing is that when he is here we have great work. But you know I coach who is here."
Q: When he does return, do you expect him to be in his usual top condition and ready to go?
"He should, he should. I expect him to do that, but when he is here we will coach him up and get him going."
Q: What have you seen from Sterling Shepard and do you think he might line up more often on the outside this year?
"It just depends. The thing is we just have to create matchups and him playing outside a little bit more could be in the cards. It's just certain things and right now he has been working hard and he has been out there, and he looks really good right now."
Tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride:
Q: Is this as deep a tight ends group as you've had?
"I think so as far as the different skillsets they bring to the table. We're still trying to figure out who they are. The development that Jerell (Adams) has had, the development that Will Tye has had. Who they were last year isn't necessarily who they're going to be this year. That's the exciting thing because there is a lot of competition. We'll see how they progress."
Q: Can (first-round draft choice) Evan Engram block?
"He can. It's important to him. He's very functional in that area."
Q: How many places can he line up?
"Very similar to most of our tight ends. They have to be flexible lining up everywhere on the field. He's going to be asked to do all those things. We are trying to figure that out as far as how everyone is progressing – the tight ends we have in the building. As we figure all that out and what they can execute what helps our team win, that's what they'll execute during the game week."
Q: What does (free agent acquisition) Rhett Ellison bring to the table:
"Everything that we've seen from him previously and the work that we've seen in phase two, he brings a lot to the table. He's a veteran guy that has played a lot of football. He's very bright and he works his butt of as far as the understanding of the playbook. He can catch more than he's shown from a statistic standpoint. He has good routes and is a good run blocker as everyone knows."
Offensive line coach Mike Solari:
On the offseason work of third-year tackles Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart:
"They both were around, working out in the weight room. They were committed. Also, Bobby and Ereck were here together to develop some competition and camaraderie. So, it's really good, you could see the difference in the sense of their condition and where they are right now at this point."
Q: On not being able to get a full read on them until the pads go on in training camp:
"That is exactly right, because of the intensity and so forth. But at this point, in the sense of the stress on the aiming points, the footwork, and hand placements, you could develop that aspect. But when the pads come on, the intensity picks up tremendously. Now, can you carry over that technique, literally from walk-through, OTAs and since they are limited to what you could do competitively, to when you put the pads on now, you could develop and really hone in on your skills."
Q: How do you break Flowers' bad habits?
"Just like everything else, you work different drills, you work techniques, and you just keep honing in until you could make it where you don't have to think about it and its part of your toolkit. The thing is, what we're excited about, and Ereck is excited about, so is Bobby and not just those two men, everybody. They are committed. (Strength and conditioning coach) Aaron Wellman did a beautiful job in the sense of where they need to improve on. Physically working in the weight room, conditioning aspect, you could tell the difference. I believe you could tell the difference, in the terms of their body types and where they're at physically at this time of the season. It's still early, so that's really encouraging."
Q: What has D.J. Fluker shown you since he's gotten here?
"Big Man. D.J. is a pro, he comes to work every day and he gives everything he has. He's done a nice job in the classroom, learning and developing and we're excited about having him when the pads come on. … We like him at guard. He's got experience at tackle, as we all know from Alabama, when he initially came into the league but his strengths are at guard. There will be a point, where we do want to rep him a little bit at tackle, just for versatility, so if he is not the starter, he is able to go to tackle in need. But guard is his strength and guard is where we like him."