Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale
Martindale: How are we doing, ladies and gentlemen? Getting here towards the end of training camp. I think that we're getting closer to where we want to be to start the season off. The biggest thing I've talked to the defense about is finding a rhythm, and I think we're getting there. Although, it's sometimes difficult to see exactly where you'll be at because of nicks and bruises and everything else that goes with training camp. But I like where we're at, and we've just got to go out there and work at it again today.
Q: Is there a balance for you in practice, between installing and doing all of the blitz kind of things that you want to do and then giving the offense a break and letting them work as well?
A: Yeah, I think that we give the offense – I think that (Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka) Mike's done a great job with the offense and where they're at. We haven't game planned any pressures. We're just running our different pressures. But I think today would be a good day to watch it because we're going to do a lot more just front and coverage. It'll be boring to the guys that really love defense watching it. We need to do that to just work on our fundamentals and techniques. We do it once a year during training camp of the day you'll see today. So, we're excited about it. Should be a noisy practice. That's the biggest thing – the emphasis today is I want us communicating well. It'll be fun to watch.
Q: You don't call in sick on this day annually?
A: What's that?
Q: You don't call in sick on this day annually?
A: (Laughs) No. Believe it or not, I think sometimes all that the pressure stuff gets hyped up to – it's a snowball effect. I think that we have an attacking style defense, and I'm not going to apologize for that. But you also play front and coverages like we did.
Q: I think we all expected, I'm sure you did too, with (Cornerback) Adoree' Jackson on one side that the opponent is going to go after (Cornerback) Aaron Robinson. That seemed to be what the Patriots did. How did he bounce back from that?
A: I think with (Aaron Robinson) A-Rob, first of all, he's had a tremendous camp. You know, there were some 50/50 balls. The penalty, I mean you can't have a penalty down there in the red zone. You can't have lack of communication because that's just kryptonite to your red zone defense or your two-minute defense in any of those situations. But we preach and harp on that. There were some 50/50 balls that we won, and there's some 50/50 balls that we lost. Just playing out there on the island, you've just got to win more 50/50 balls. You know, I think that – I don't think it was just Aaron Robinson. They might've just wanted to see if that receiver could win. I mean I don't think it was personally on A-Rob. Now, (Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson) Rome's been working with his techniques. He's had a great week of practice. Because if you go out there, especially out there when you're out there on the island, you lose your technique and fundamentals, this league will find them. And that was a great experience for him in that situation being on the outside.
Q: Was there frustration, obviously I'm going to ask him when I have the opportunity, on the penalty? The taunting? Was that just frustration?
A: No. It's like I tell our players. (NFL Commissioner) Rodger Goodell is never going to call and say, 'Hey. Wink's mad about that call. Let's stop the game. Let's really look at that.' No. It's you've just got to play the next down. Just get the next call in. Play the next down because, you know, we don't make the rules. We just play by them.
Q: But if he gets off on that play he made, I would imagine you like the technique or what he did to make the play.
A: Oh yeah, the technique.
Q: But if he gets off the field without that, maybe he's feeling a little bit better about what's going on?
A: No doubt. No doubt. It's like anything, they want to tie the corners up with the pressure and everything else. When they talk about our system, and it's if we would have been in quarters coverage. If we would've been in the red zone cover 2. If we would've been in cover 3. It's all the same. It's going to be the same throw. So, what you have to decide and how we approach the game is like you come away with that game of, 'Well so-and-so didn't rush the passer well.' Whoever that might be. Or they're getting rid of the ball two point one. The (Patriots Quarterback Bailey Zappe) younger kid got rid of if faster than (Patriots Quarterback Brian) Hoyer. When you pressure a quarterback, you want to change the picture. I always say pressure breaks pipes. You want to make him think fast. You want to hit the quarterback or make him make a quick decision that he doesn't want to make. So, that's how we go about games in the best ways that we can attack the quarterback.
Q: For an opposing defense with regard to (Quarterback) Tyrod Taylor, what are some of the things that he brings to the table to make things difficult with his elusiveness and whatnot? I'm assuming you've gone up against him.
A: I've gone up against him, and I was with him in Baltimore. He's obviously a very talented guy. And I really respect how he's gone about his business in being, you know, with his career. He's a tough one. You can't just think – he's not just going to stand back there like a statue. So, you've got to work plaster coverage when a quarterback gets out of the pocket, and you've got to have some people ready to go try to chase him.
Q: What do you make of the suggestions after the last game that you blitzed a lot for a preseason game?
A: We're on to Cincinnati. (Laughs)
Q: Is there an unwritten rule there though that you know of?
A: If it's unwritten, I don't know. We're on to Cincinnati. (Laughs)
Q: Is there a way to defend the underthrown pass because the Patriots had a little success with that?
A: The back shoulders are tough because if you saw – if you were out here this past week, you saw that was a thing that 'Rome was really working on with the corners. But sometimes it's just a good throw and a good catch, and you just say, 'Move on.' Like the one on (Gavin) Heslop, I mean that kid threw the ball for the receiver, he comes out to break, it surprised the receiver. Good throw. Good catch. Let's move on. Let's go play defense.
Q: We're probably not going to talk to you until when the season rolls around. So, next week you guys have that joint practice against the Jets. And you may end up seeing a quarterback that you're also familiar with, with (Joe) Flacco out there. I'm curious on your thoughts. One, what will you try to accomplish in the joint practice, but also seeing Flacco out there in a different uniform?
A: I think it's the same thing if it's a practice with your own team. Just continue to try to find your rhythm. Look to experiment with different matchups. As far as Joe, he's got the arm strength of the top tier quarterbacks. He can throw the football. But it will be fun seeing him, seeing (Jets Linebacker) C.J. (Mosley). I'm looking forward to that.
Q: I don't know what the percentage is, but it seems like you're in that nickel with two down linemen and the four linebackers the vast majority of the time. Is that what you would say your base defense is?
A: No. I mean it becomes your base defense because you play it more because other people play 10 personnel, which is four wides and 11 personnel, which is three wides and a tight end. You play that throughout the year at a higher percentage than your base defense. Then sometimes when you get into the preseason, you're sitting guys down. I'm told to, you never want to put a guy back in the game after you know, you said, 'He's had this many plays. Let's get him out.' And that's (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) and (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs work on those numbers that we hit. That was a lot of conversation that I had with Dabs during the New England game was, 'Okay, this guy, this guy, this guy – let's get him out.' Then that just means they're done with defense. Then they tell (Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey) T-Mac, 'Okay. I'm done on defense.' Then he might want to see them on something else out there.
Q: Is (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) almost in the same boat at (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) last year coming off the ACL. Are you kind of bringing him along slowly?
A: I wasn't here with Saquon coming off that, so I'm not sure I can answer that question fairly. I don't know with that. I know he's working hard to come back.
Q: We've talked about (Linebacker) Darrian Beavers, but we haven't talked much about the other rookie linebacker.
Q: Yeah, (Inside Linebacker) Micah McFadden. What are you seeing from him in his development?
A: I was really pleased with the whole linebacker room. I told (Inside Linebackers Coach John Egorugwu) Egs that. Egs did a nice job of getting those guys ready for that game, the way they tackled, the way the pressed the line of scrimmage. And they're starting the younger linebackers, which is the hardest thing to teach, is they're using their hands better. Once you get a linebacker who can use his hands, then you've got a linebacker. I think they're both coming along really well and right on schedule.
Q: (Outside Linebacker Azeez) Ojulari started practicing since we last talked to you. You have a smile on your face.
A: It's good to see him out there.
Q: What have you seen?
A: I think that it's, I'll tell you exactly what happened. (Outside Linebackers Coach) Drew (Wilkins) works on their footwork every day. It's their run footwork, which is the most important thing an outside or edge player has to have. He works on it every day. It's the first thing they do. I was just watching their feet like I'm looking at your guys' feet right now. I wasn't even looking up. And I was like, 'Man that guy has good feet.' I look up, and it's him. I'm like, 'Oh, that's right. He's practicing. It's good.' We're really excited about seeing him back. He's a playmaker. He's a good football player.
Q: Have you watched any tape of the playoff game that the Titans lost their last game to the Bengals? Have you scouted how they stopped them?
A: Yeah, but not in any depth that I'm ready to talk about with anything. I've watched it, yes, in preparation of doing that. But we haven't put anything together yet because also I watched when we played them the year prior. So, that's a good football team.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
Q: I'm sure you were mostly on the sidelines in Kansas City, maybe exclusively, what was it like getting up in the booth? How is that perspective different?
A: You're right, I was on the sideline for a few years in Kansas City. I was up in the booth, though, my first couple. It was cool, it was good to be back up there and you get a wide view angle of the entire game. You can see the picture a little bit differently.
Q: How was the operation and the experience of calling plays?
A: I thought it went smoothly. I thought the staff and players did a great job communicating. They were concise in what they saw. I think we made good adjustments throughout the game and went with the flow of the game. I thought our guys adjusted well.
Q: Were you pleasantly surprised by the running game? Or do you sit there and say the Patriots were using the second-team defense?
A: Yeah, we're focusing on us. I thought they did a nice job with it. There was definitely some production there and some good things from all the backs, really, and the o-line – they did a really good job in that game and that was definitely one of the highlights of the game.
Q: What are some of the skillsets you see out of (Quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor) Obviously every player, (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones), everybody has their own skillset. You've been around (Chiefs Quarterback) Patrick (Mahomes). Are there any times where you're trying to blend their skills into some of the things Patrick has done?
A: When you evaluate our offense, we're always trying to find out where the strengths of our players are and also evaluate what the weakness are of our players. You want to build on their strengths and limit as many times as they are in an unfavorable matchup or situation or play. We try and as a staff we do a good job of working a lot of – how can we put this person in the best possible spot to be successful? Whether it's adding a motion, adding a shift, putting them in a different alignment. We stress that a lot with the offense.
Q: Specific to Tyrod, what are some of the things you have learned from him in the time you've been here?
A: I love working with Tyrod. He puts in all the work. He's a true pro before practice, post-practice, in the meetings, and on the field. He does a great job communicating with Daniel, giving him some insight – he's a veteran guy so he's seen a lot and done a lot. He's got a great skillset – he's mobile, he can run around a little bit, he's a really smart guy and gets the o-line on the same page, and he understands what he wants to get done from a protection standpoint. I've been really happy with what Tyrod's been doing.
Q: We talk about how you took a lot of elements from Buffalo's offense, others from Kansas City's offense. How long have you found; do you think it will take for this to become the Giants' offense?
A: I think that's what we're working on right now. I think we're taking every day one day at a time. Working on what we are going to do with our players. Put them in the best spot. Again, continue to evaluate on how these guys fit within that offense, and then we got to be flexible as a staff to understand – alright, this might not be the best look or the best spot for this player, who is the best person for that spot? Who is the best person to put on this route or this concept or this run scheme? It's spread out throughout the entire offense.
Q: How long do you think that will take? I guess your only experience would be the Eagles' offense coming from Kansas City. How long does it take for a team to forge its own identity?
A: I don't think there's a timetable on that. I think we have to work through that. Every day, we are working on it. I think when we get to Week 1 down the road, that's when I think you want to be peaking as an offense, peaking as a team, and all that. Right now, we are taking it a day at a time. We're still working through with our players, being patient with them. Understand that we still have a lot of work to do. We did some good things in the preseason, but that's in the past. We have to learn from all that, we have to build on top of that as an offense. We're continuing to work every single day.
Q: We've seen a couple days where you've struggled to complete passes at practice over the last week or so. What do you think of the idea or the impression that the offense is struggling so far at camp?
A: I don't look at it like that. I think our guys are coming to work every day. We preach in the offense it's process, process, process, going through the process. There's going to be ups and downs in the practices, it's by design. We're putting them in situations to face adversity so that they can problem solve on the fly, so that they can work through issues and communicate on the field. That's all by design. I think when you go through a practice when you go through a training camp – it's going to be hard. We want them so that they can work through those things early on in camp, and work on it throughout the offseason and the spring so that way when the season comes around, those things are easier and it's easier to operate as an offense.
Q: If the quarterback is taking too many hits, from your standpoint how much do you want to, are you willing to change the scheme to address that? Or is it more player execution? We know this works but you have to execute it.
A: It's a combination of both. I think you have to have flexibility and change the launch point and put the quarterback in a spot where he's not sitting on a dot and guys are teeing off on him. We don't want to do that anywhere; we don't want to do that with our quarterbacks. We have to be multiple, have different launch points and have different ways to move the pocket, help the o-line, get some breather plays for the quarterback, get our guys the ball out of the quarterback's hands, put them in space, and let our playmakers go make plays in space. It's all kind of encompassing, that's what we work on a daily basis.
Q: Related to that, have you watched tape on the Titans defensive line and pass rush yet? Is anything you're doing planning for that game?
A: Yeah, we're really just focused on today, today's practice. We got a good red-zone, a couple of red-zone periods scheduled for today, some open field stuff. Churning to get ready for this preseason game. Some of our coaches have done some backend work early on but again, as we continue to work and develop, that time will come, and we will be prepared.
Q: In regard to (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay, it's been drilled in Daniel's head for years – don't throw into coverage, avoid turnovers. But Kenny, one of his strengths is contested catches, ripping the ball away, and jump balls. Do you almost have to treat one-on-one coverage against Kenny, does Daniel have to treat it like throw it into one-on-one coverage versus (Wide Receiver Kadarius) Toney or (Wide Receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson) might have more space around them?
A: I don't know if I would say that would be the mindset. I think you want to give our guys an opportunity, any of our playmakers. Kenny is one of those guys where if he's one on one, he has an opportunity to make a play. I think it's figuring out the confidence and making sure that we are putting the right people in the right spots again, going back to that. But yeah, you're right. You want our guys to be able to make plays in one-on-one situations. It's a one-on-one game. It's a player's game and I think those guys, tied in with the scheme and tied in with who we got in those spots, they got to be able to execute that.
Q: The other night, Sunday night, when you're up there obviously you are seeing things from a different perspective but you're also working with a limited amount of plays that you guys want to run that night. Is there a benefit that you guys, maybe we're not seeing, that you're making notes on the side that when you see how they attacked us this way, we can run this, this, and this? We're not going to send it in tonight but you're putting together that bag when you are game planning for real?
A: Yeah, I think as a coaching staff you kind of vet and put on the call sheet what we want to show, what we want to use on a week-to-week basis. You're trying to slowly evaluate who we have, what we can do, put plays on there that our guys are good at, and put plays on there that we need to work on or want to get a look at. There's a balance but I think our coaching staff has done a good job of piecing that together, making that nice and simple and concise for the players.
Q: With quarterbacks in training camp on each play, are you asking them to throw the ball no matter what or if it's not there, throw it away, or if it's there, only throw it to where our guy can catch it or what?
A: When we're practicing, from a mentality standpoint from the quarterback position, you're playing to practice like it's a game. You're trying to play it full speed. If a play breaks down, we're practicing and preaching, 'Hey, get in scramble mode.' Those are all the fundamental things that we preach so absolutely. We want the quarterback playing it like a game. We want the receivers, running backs, and o-line doing their jobs like a game so that the speed is consistent for the queue and that the speed is consistent for what we expect for that play.
Q: How do you think Daniel is doing?
A: Daniel is doing a great job. He's doing a great job. We're throwing a lot at him offensively; he's seen a lot defensively and that's all just going to help us. I'm really proud of where the staff has come from where we started to where we are now. I'm really proud of where the players are from where we started to where we are at. Again, we're still going through the process that I keep stressing with those guys. Continue to stay on that process, continue learning, continue throwing and we'll continue to get better.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: What do you think of (Running Back Jashaun) Corbin as a kick returner?
A: He's doing a nice job. We threw him in there last week just to kind of see what he can do. He's been taking practice reps. He's done a really nice job, so we'll just continue to let him work at it and we'll see what happens.
Q: When you send out special teams it seems like in the last game you are just gauging what a guy might do as opposed to 'these are the regular guys I'll have.'
A: Yeah, I mean right now we're in the evaluation process. We're trying to figure out who we have and what they can do so we are just letting them play. We're just throwing them out there in a very generic situation, nothing really game-plan wise, schematically. We're just trying to see who can run, hit and tackle. You hate to get to the first game, and you don't know what you have. Especially on your coverage unit. We're just trying to figure out who does what, who does what the best and we'll go from there.
Q: How is the depth chart set? Does (Head Coach Brian) Dabs (Daboll) tell you certain guys are kind of off limits or who you've got to work with?
A: Nobody is ever really off limits but obviously as a coordinator you've got to be smart in how you use guys. In the preseason there are certain guys you're going to pull back on and let's see what (Safety Yusuf) Corker can do, let's see what all the rest of these young guys can do. I think that's the best way to handle it.
Q: When (Running Back) Antonio Williams has the kind of hit that he had on that second half kickoff, is the process the proper way? Or do you see guys that run down there and try to make a hit?
A: No, that's part of the evaluation process. Antonio, he's shown it every day in practice, because we haven't physically been able to hit obviously in practice, you're not going to take anybody to the ground. But he shows the ability to maneuver and get through traffic and be able to accelerate to the ball and you saw him finish the other day. You like to see those things transfer from the team situations in practice into the game situations on the field. Right now, for him, it's definitely translating.
Q: You talked a lot last year about getting (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) into the return game. He hasn't done a lot this summer. Did that window close?
A: Well, he hasn't done a lot of anything right now. As soon as he gets back on the field, he'll be pushed right back into the mix. It's just a matter of him getting healed up and get to where he can just function as a football player.
Q: That kick return spot, we see (Wide Receiver) C.J. (Board) kind of at the top of the unofficial depth chart. For a young guy like Jashaun or anyone else to challenge for it, what are the top qualities you need to see out of a guy consistently?
A: Obviously, you want speed, dependability. You want a guy to be tough and be durable. That's a tough position. You take some shots as a kickoff returner. You want to have great vision and be fearless and all of those things but, just be productive. Guys that can make people miss in space and be physical, have agility and all of those things. Make their cuts at full speed and just make good decisions. All of those things kind of go into it, but we've got a few options back there. Those guys are doing a good job, they really are.
Q: On the punt return that C.J. let bounce, would you have liked to see him catch that or was that the right play based on how deep he was?
A: Yeah, he aligned himself way too deep – and that's my fault as a coach. We've got to make sure we set – he was almost 60 yards away from the ball and he knew it as soon as the ball was hit, he knew he was too far away from it. That was just a preseason, first game of the year mistake by a guy who has done it before.
Q: What did you think of (Punter) Jamie (Gillan)? Just as far as distance and how he did.
A: He did a hell of a job, he really did. He was player of the game. His first punt was 52 yards, 2 yards from the boundary. You couldn't walk down there and place it any better than that one. We've just got to make the play. (Safety Julian) J. Love's got to come down and take a shot. But Jamie, he did a heck of a job and he's getting better every day.
Q: You had a couple of kick returns that were probably a bit longer than you'd like. Do you get concerned about that this early? Or do you just look at that as information as far as who can do these jobs and who can't?
A: Well, you never want to give up anything. But it's the first game of the year and schematically we're not doing certain things on purpose because we want to see who can run and cover. There are some things that we can help ourselves out with in coverage and we will moving forward. There are some things that we needed to see. We'll continue to work on those things. Guys have got to show up and make plays when they get opportunities.
Q: It seems like gunner is wide open.
A: Yeah, wide open competition. We're trying to find out who's going to take it. C.J. was probably our only returner from last year. Then we've got guys like (Wide Receiver) Marcus (Kemp) and some of these other guys, it's wide open; (Cornerback Cor'Dale) Flott, all of those guys, (Cornerback Zyon) Gilbert. So, we'll find out. We'll see who takes the spot and who's going to make a play. We've got two games left, we'll see who can make them.
Q: (Kicker) Graham (Gano) had a really good practice a couple of days ago. Obviously, your comfort level is pretty high with him. Can you speak to the summer he's had and your comfort level with a veteran like that?
A: This is my fifth year with Graham, and I feel extremely comfortable with him. He knows himself, he knows what he needs to do to get himself prepared. Just adding Jamie into the mix of being able to bring him along, bring him up to speed in how Graham likes everything handled, and add him with (Long Snapper) Casey (Kreiter), it's been really good. The process has been good.
Q: Kicking game has always been very transient in the league. It seems now it's even more rare to have someone with the team more than a few years.
A: Graham got his lumps early in his career, but he's earned the right to do what he's doing. You're talking about being at 96 percent over the last four or five years in his career. He's earned that right. He's done a hell of a job for us, and we look forward to him making some big kicks for us.
Q: Did you get a chance to talk to (Patriots Offensive Assistant and Former Giants Head Coach) Joe Judge after the game?
A: I did. I actually talked to him before the game and it was good to catch up with Joe, Joe's a good man. But it was good to catch up with him. Hadn't seen him since he left.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: Danny, you and (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) seemed to have a pretty good connection today, talk about the practice.
A: Yeah, I thought he made some plays today. I thought we spread the ball around well, and obviously, he had the deep shot, and he made a nice adjustment on, a big play there. I think he's had a good camp, and you know we'll keep working with him.
Q: Do you think this was his best practice?
A: I think it was maybe one of them, but as I said, I think he's done a good job throughout camp and has had some really strong days.
Q: Did it feel good for you to kind of air it out like that?
A: Yeah, it did. Going against our defense a lot, they see a lot of the same plays and same routes. So, you're throwing a little change up and keeping them on their toes. But I thought Kenny did a great job on that play and made a big-time play for us.
Q: How do you view your own camp so far?
A: I think like anyone I've had good days and bad days, and a lot to continue to work on throughout it, but I feel like I've made progress and learned a lot in this system and will continue to do so. Continue to improve and that's always the goal.
Q: Coaches keep saying in that regard, process, process, process. What do you make of that when you're having one of those rough days, is it easy for you to just say this is a part of the process, or how do you take that in?
A: I think that's part of playing any position, especially Quarterback. You're dealing with it when it's not always easy, and you're having to come back and play well, learn from the situation, and like I said, make a change and continue to improve. That's a big part of the position, that's a big part of playing football. I think it's about learning and not repeating mistakes.
Q: Daniel, as you've gotten to know (Quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor), what have you learned about him this summer, and how do you feel like he can complement you in the quarterback room and on the team?
A: I've learned a lot from him. He's been in the league for a long time and played a lot of football. He's an experienced guy, he's got a routine that he sticks to, and he's really consistent with that. Just hearing his experience and hearing how he looks at certain situations, how he looks at certain plays. His outlook on things has been helpful, so I've really enjoyed working with him.
Q: Have you also noticed the way he smells? (Running Back) Saquan (Barkley) says he smells really good.
A: Yeah, he normally does. He's not lying.
Q: You're a bit of a seasoned pro in terms of learning new systems, unfortunately for you. At what point do you think this is going to stop being (Buffalo) Bills system, (Kansas City) Chiefs system, and become the Giants system?
A: Well, I think it is. I think that's already happened and happening. I think that's a constant process though. I don't think that ever stops. You're growing in that and learning what we do best, learning what our guys can do and want to do I think is a big thing, and continuing to work through that. So, I don't think that every stop, I think it is our system, I think we've made a lot of those changes, we've learned a lot through camp, and we'll continue to do so.
Q: Have you guys dialed back? I know in the offseason you're watching a lot of Bills, and a lot of Kansas City film, at this point are you pretty much watching your own now?
A: Yeah, I think at this point we've run pretty much everything in the system, so we have those clips to look back on to watch and study mostly. So, yeah were mostly watching our stuff.
Q: Daniel, how much ability do you have to go to (Offensive Coordinator) Mike (Kafka) and (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs and say, "I like that" or "I really don't like this?"
A: I think that's something that they've stressed to me throughout this whole process and I'm very comfortable doing that. There's an open dialogue and we're constantly studying that, talking about it, having those discussions, and sometimes it takes running things on the practice field, multiple looks at it against certain coverages. That kind of helps you figure out what it is, what you don't like, and what you do like. We're going through that, and that's a constant process of running the plays, studying them, talking about them, seeing if we can tweak something here or there or what suits us best. But yes, that's been a good process.
Q: I know it was only two series I guess up in Foxborough, but first time for you here at least that I can recall that the play caller was upstairs right in the booth? What was that like for you being down there walking the sideline, knowing that Mike was up top and not down on the sideline?
A: Yeah, it was good. I thought it was really smooth. We communicated through the game and obviously he's communicating with the coaches on the sideline and everyone's talking. So, I thought it went well, and operation I thought we were good in and out of the huddle and lining up running plays and executing, so I thought it went pretty well.
Q: When Mike is up top was (Quarterbacks Coach) Shea (Tierney) kind of the point guy on the sideline for you, is that how it was being relayed?
A: Yeah, quarterbacks we get together with Shea. Dabs would be over there a lot too, so yeah kind of all of those guys.
Q: Daniel, I remember when you got hurt last year you finished the game, and it wasn't until the next morning where you felt the pain. Anything after this game pain-wise, neck-wise, everything ok the next day?
A: Yeah, It was all good, didn't have any kind of issues at all so it was good.
Q: Did you wind up having any kind of procedure or surgery on that?
A: No, I didn't. I didn't at all. I had a non-football related procedure done on my neck. It was completely unrelated. I feel good, necks great.
Q: He hasn't been practicing recently, (Running Back) Matt Breida is a new guy in the running back room. What is your impression of him and what he can bring to the table?
A: I think he's done a great job, he knows the system well, he's a smart player and electric with the ball in his hands. You know you see his speed and burst, and just a really good football player, so he's been helpful for us.
Q: When did you have your procedure on your neck?
A: That was early in the winter.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: It seemed like a pretty good practice for the offense today. How is the offense coming along?
A: Coming along pretty well. Everyday grinding, competing with the defense. The defense – we have a great defense over there. Some great players. So, iron sharpens iron, and we're taking it one day at a time and continuing to grow.
Q: Why aren't you doing much out there?
A: You know, I'm just going with my reps. The Giants do a really good job of watching the workload, and it's kind of what it is. We've been grinding there. We've been grinding, and I'm just taking it day-by-day.
Q: You're healthy?
Q: Seeing special teams spending a lot of time working on pass-pro. How big of a focus is that for you, and what do you need to do to improve that area?
A: Pass-pro is a big focus for me, just continuing to get more confident, continue to just get more technically sound with the technique and dropping my hips, punching not catching. K Faulk (Kevin Faulk, Bill Walsh Coaching intern) is doing a really good job with me in that time. And just everything not just that: catching the ball, balance, with so many team reps and short individual time, you don't really get that much work on yourself as a running back. So, we take that time to, and LY too, we take that time to just anything, whether it's pass-pro, catching, running back drills, just getting the hands active, getting the feet active, whatever it can be to help make me a better player. We use that time for that.
Q: At what point do you think, or maybe it's started already, you'll start to sort of taper back a little bit, and you'll start to focus on September 11th?
A: You mean like personally or like?
Q: No. Just your workload and things like that?
A: I think we're kind of just taking it day-by-day, going with the flow. I'm just trying to do a really good job of listening to the coaches, listening to the training staff and come here and try to compete and get better every single day. My moto this year is whatever the coaches want me to do, I just go out there and try to compete and do it to the best of my ability.
Q: How much did you know (Running Back) Matt Breida before he got here? I know he has not been practicing lately, but what is your impression of what he can bring as a complement to you?
A: I never got to meet Matt before, but obviously just being a fan of the game, one thing I knew about Matt is that he's pretty fast. He's really fast to be honest. So, I would love to test my speed against him – give him a race. I think he might have got me in long distance, but anywhere from 60 and below, I think I can take him on that. But he's been a great teammate. He's been in the system before, so he's kind of been the vet in the room – someone I can go lean onto when I have questions about whether it's technique or footwork or 'Okay, on this play, where are your eyes at?' So, it's great to have someone in the room like that with not only myself but with (Running Back Antonio Williams) Tone coming in, being in the system, he's been great too. All the running backs been doing a great job competing. We have a very competitive room. So, I'm excited for all those guys every time they get out there and make some plays.
Q: In what ways do you feel different this year, whether physically or mentally?
A: The way I feel different is I can just go out there and practice. I can go out there and work on my craft. Last year, it was kind of more of a battle of get to Sunday. That's a big difference. I couldn't do camp and then during the week once I started feeling good again, I had a thing where I stepped on someone's foot against Dallas, and you got to grind, you got to grind and try to get to Sunday. Now, I can come out and work on my craft and get better every single day. That's the biggest difference. And practice makes perfect. I'm a big believer in that. You'll never be perfect. My game will never be perfect, but that's what I'm going to shoot for and the only way you can do that is by practicing and getting reps in.
Q: Coach Daboll talked about being really happy with you getting north and south when you've been running, has that been a conscious effort for you to get north and south and get the ball up-field?
A: No, to be honest. That's just part of my game. As a running back, understanding the scheme. Understanding what I have to do. This is probably the last time I'm going to speak on this, I know people want to say, 'dancing and this in the third, he don't get north and south,' but I'm not just going to run into any of my lineman back. That's not how I play the game. That's not how I've been playing since I was eight years old. I've been playing this position for a very long time, and by no means am I the perfect running back, and I still got so much work to do. But I know that's been the conversation or been a thought or been a thing out there that's said about me it, 'He don't know what he's doing. He's just dancing back there.' I'm really kind of fed up with people who never played a position and try to speak on how I run a position. We call them all pros with clickers in their hand. Running back is a tough position, but it's easy to be there and watch football and watch on tv, or even watch on watch film and stop the clicker and say, 'Oh, he should've made that cut.' There's a lot of things that go into making that cut. There's a lot of things like your shoulders being square. There's a lot of things that have an impact on your vision. So, but the coaches have to make a point of emphasis a running style that we have as a team and a mentality that we have as a team. And like I said, I'm going to do whatever coach wants me to do. And that's been my focus, trying to be the best running back I can for this team.
Q: Daboll is the one that said that after the game. So that's part of them coaching you not to do that? Not to dance.
A: No. So, like when he says, 'Get north and south,' he's talking about like the physicality, me trusting myself, me getting downhill. But like when people try to make it the north and south, like they're trying to – like not coach in particular – but people are trying to use that as an example of saying that I'm back there like I'm dancing. Like dancing is stuff that you do in high school football – in little league football where you run this way. You run that way. That's not my thought process. If I'm making a run, if I'm making a run back in the day, and someone breaks free and is in my face, I'm not just going to run right at him. I'm going to try to get back to the line of scrimmage. That's part of my craft and that's part of my game. But like I said with coach, that's kind of an emphasis meaning like, 'Alright, we want to get more physical. We want to get more downhill.' But, not saying like, 'Oh. You're not hitting north and south.' Does that make sense?
Q: Is this first time in a while you've felt like the guy who came out of Penn State and could do anything he wanted on the field?
A: Yeah, I kind of have that confidence back that anytime I touch the ball that I can take it to the house. Whether it's blocked up, catch the defense lacking, I feel like I can do that. And that comes with just with practice. Practice makes perfect. Get the reps in. Sharpen yourself. You know, work on your craft.
Q: What have you learned about (Quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor), and what can bring to the table for you guys?
A: Tyrod, the one thing I learned about Tyrod, this might sound so weird, but he smells good, man. I don't know. I tell him all the time, like we joke around, and say he's the smoothest man in football. But like, no matter what, like, before practice, after practice, before workout, after workout, he doesn't tell me his secret. He won't let me know what he's putting on. But he's a smooth cat. Obviously, he's a competitor. He's a veteran. He's a great quarterback. I feel like that's some one that (Quarterback Daniel Jones) DJ can lean on, too. And he's been a great teammate ever since he's been here.
Q: He's had a lot of weird stuff happen in his career with the punctured, you know the injury, with the punctured lung*thing and all that stuff. Have you followed his career at all and seen some of the trials and tribulations he's gone through?*
A: I'm a little familiar with it. I don't know too much about it. I do remember the story about that. I know he had a hamstring before, and I think it was when he was in Houston. But he's just one of those guys who comes in every single day – comes to work. He's a great competitor. And he's a smooth cat. So, that's what it is.
Q: We hear a lot about Daniel. There's a lot of noise about Daniel that goes around about whether he can be your franchise guys or not. You as his teammate, what do you see that tells you, you know, what are you seeing out there even now that tells you, 'Hey this can still be the guy,'?
A: He makes plays. I've seen it over and over again throughout his career and in practice, especially in this market, we love to focus on some of the negative plays that've happened. But that's anywhere, to be honest. But at the end of the day, I know what we're going to get from Daniel. I know the type of attitude we're going to get, the work ethic that we're going to get and the leadership that we're going to get. And he comes to work every single day, and that's all you can ask him. When you see that, there's nothing you can do but respect the guy. And that's why for me personally, I'm always going to ride for him and I'm going to do the best I can to try to make his job easier. And I feel like if I'm healthy and I can go out there and produce at a high level, that can make his life a little easier. And if he's playing at a high level and I'm playing at a high level, we all are grooving and playing collectively on offense and all three faces of the ball, we can accomplish anything we want to accomplish this year.