The 2020 NFL offseason has been far from normal. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teams across the league have been forced to close their training facilities and take their offseason programs virtual.
This offseason is even more crucial for the Giants following the arrival of an almost entirely new coaching staff, numerous free agent signings and a rookie class that includes 10 draft picks and many undrafted free agents.
Wide receiver Golden Tate sat down for an interview with former Giants offensive lineman David Diehl to discuss this unprecedented offseason. While the circumstances have not been ideal, the veteran receiver told Diehl the team has been making the most of the situation.
"We're just trying to make the best with what we have," Tate told Diehl on a video conference call. "We're able to get on Zoom meetings and spend time with each other that way, so we're just trying to make the most of it. We're in a unique situation with a new head coach, a new offensive coordinator, new draft picks and so on. We're trying to get to know each other the best we possibly can.
"Obviously, it's not the same as being face to face in the lunch room or on the field. But I think the coaches are doing a great job of creating ways for group games, different ways to get to know each other, get to know the city and things like that. We're just maximizing what we do have."
The Quest Diagnostics Training Center has been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy announced that professional sports teams that train and play in the state are cleared to return to practice and even competition "if their leagues choose to move in that direction."
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.
As a result, the Giants will begin a slow, systematic, limited reopening of their facility this week for some employees in football administration and on the business side. Non-injured players and coaches are still not permitted in the building.
Tate said the players are anxiously awaiting that day.
"We're all excited just to get back, whenever that may be," Tate said. "I know we're all trying to stay flexible with our travel plans because we're coming from all over the place. But I know a lot of us are on edge, just ready to get back. It's been awesome to hang with my family and be out in California, but it just doesn't feel right to be home in May and June. I'm used to being with the guys, getting ready to go. Hopefully we get the opportunity to go back and start building something great."
Tate is entering his 11th season in the NFL and his second with the Giants. Last year, the veteran caught 49 passes for 676 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games, averaging 13.8 yards per reception. Tate's highest-yardage game of the season came during the Week 6 Thursday night matchup with the New England Patriots when he caught six passes for 102 yards, including a 64-yard score. It was the first passing touchdown the Patriots' defense had allowed all year.
Tate is accustomed to performing on big stages. Nicknamed "Showtime," the veteran has stepped up when playing in the national spotlight throughout his career. In 14 Monday night games, Tate has caught 68 passes for 825 yards and eight touchdowns.
Two of the Giants' three nationally televised games in 2020 land on a Monday night, including the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While he is looking forward to performing on the national stage, Tate said he is more excited to just get back on the field and see what progress the Giants can make this season.
"We all know that Showtime loves primetime TV," the wide receiver said. "I'm just excited to get back out there and play some football. Like you said, it's my 11th season. I still feel really, really good. I love the direction we're going in as an organization. Since the day I walked into the building, I've always thought this was a grade A organization that does everything great. Now we just have to put it together on the field and give our fans something to cheer loud and proud for, and get back to what we know the Giants can be."