Coach CoughlinQ: Any updates on Marvin Austin?A: He's not "go" today again, I guess.
Q: How did that happen?A: Just normal strain. He'll be back soon, I hope. I hope he's here Wednesday.
Q: What's wrong with Lawrence Tynes?A: Just the non-kicking leg and I think they're being protective more than anything else.
Q: Is it not a surprise that Marvin Austin got hurt this early in camp since he hasn't played in a while?A: I really don't think there's any correlation. It's something that happened. I don't think it's going to keep him down for long. It's soft tissue and you've just got to keep going.
*Q: After you lose a guy like Barry Cofield, what's the level of concern with your young defensive tackles? *A: Well the level of concern is they're going to have to pick up the pace. They know what the numbers are and no matter what the rotation is, whether it's 4 and 3 or 3 and 4, they've all got to play and they've all got to contribute. You don't want them missing any time obviously but it's not only the time on the field but it's the time just being here, learning the Giant culture. All of those things are important.
Q: Are you looking for two guys to replace one at defensive tackle?A: Well Barry is an outstanding football player and we hope that these guys will be the same. I see flashes of that kind of ability and we just have to continue to develop.
Q: Sash was mixed in with the first team. What have you seen from him?A: He's done a nice job. He's been physical and he's been very quick to react. His angles have gotten better in the secondary. He's had a couple of interceptions, been on all our special teams. He's actually been a fullback on the punt team, which is a pretty good job for a young guy.
Q: The consistency that you had on the offensive line for so many years, is that really a luxury? Do most teams not experience something like that?A: Well that develops over time. When they get to know each other well and they communicate well. I look and see guys like Beatty who have been around here for long enough to be able to communicate with Diehl. Diehl has kind of taken him under his wing in terms of the communication process. The right side is the right side. Snee and McKenzie worked together for quite some time. We've got to get David Baas involved in probably being a little bit more vocal and he's trying to get comfortable and each day he practices more and more and I can see it coming. It'll be there. It'll develop.
Q: Have there been any issues with the center-quarterback exchange?A: I think right away we saw a couple but I think it had more to do with the perspiration than it was anything else.
Q: Your thoughts on David Carr so far?A: David's had a few snaps and worked some. A little bit rusty with our system but getting there. Starting to feel more comfortable each day.
Q: Was Kenny Phillips hurt or did Tyler Sash earn those reps with the first team?A: Kenny's fine. We just cut back his reps a little bit last night.
Q: With all of the injuries so far, is "opportunity" the right word for a lot of these guys here in camp?A: That's the way it has to be looked at. It is an opportunity. If you just play a position and something happens at that position, whether there's a player here or not, take full advantage of it. This is what it is. This is the NFL as we know it today. Players that make up their mind that this is what they want, make it a priority, willing to sacrifice, willing to pay the price, they can be a part of it.
Q: Is Andre Brown the same player you drafted?A: He's faster. To me, he looks faster. He looks faster. I think all his issues with his legs are past and he does look, to me, he looks more explosive.
Q: He got drafted in the fourth round right?A: He did. In the time he was away he got faster.
Q: Are any of the rules changes this year significant?A: Defenseless player. You better know what you're doing with a defenseless player. What you can hit, where, who is a defenseless player. The additions of, for example, the running back that's held up. One of the problems with all that is we didn't always get a whistle but we're supposed to get a whistle now. A whistle will stop a lot of that but there are certain situations that the players are unfortunately now, without a lot of football, this preseason is going to have to be a big learning experience, in my opinion, in that regard because there's semantics that go with the understanding of this and of course different parts of the anatomy involved too. I would say that that's going to take some adjustment.
Q: Justin Tuck told us this weekend that his mind misses the two-a-days but his body doesn't. Are there any advantages to this new schedule?A: Well I'll give you an advantage. The correction part of this thing is much greater than it's ever been before. You're always, in two a days, in a hurry to get to the next, in a hurry to get to the next and I don't think sometimes we do as good a job as we possibly could with the correction part of it. So there isn't any question and I've charted them and between the walk-throughs, the jog-throughs, the separates in practice; we're having, offensively, we're averaging about 104 snaps a day and defensively 118 so you're getting, for example on defense, almost twice as many reps as you're getting on the practice field. So if you really understand what I'm telling you, as I say to the players, if you understand that it's 3-to-1, 4-to-1, whatever you want to say with the number of reps, the mental part of it to the physical with this new CBA, then you understand and can apply yourself so you don't walk out to a jog-through with your mind a million miles away because it is your opportunity to learn, to understand. There's different ways to learn. A lot of guys are not great in the classroom but if you take them out and they can visualize it, they look at a tape, they go in the jog-throughs and they walk through it or jog through it, they see it, they learn it. So, I think there's the advantage.
Q: When you talk about 104 and 118 how does that differ from last year?A: More of it's on the field. Much more on the field snaps.
Q: So they're the same numbers?A: No they're not the same numbers because you didn't get the same amount of jog-throughs. You were practicing. You were doing more with your classroom and your separates were about all you got. Occasionally we would convert a classroom session into a jog-through but in this case we've got the time to do that.
Q: Ayanga Okpokowuruk played in the arena league during the lockout. Do you a difference in him this year?A: I don't know how to compare that in terms of exactly what he would've experienced in the arena league although I do have an idea of how the game is played there. Athleticism, quickness, speed; all those things are critical. He'll just apply that to what's going on here.
Q: Other than that do you see improvements?A: We'll see. I've seen some good things and I've seen some things that have been ok.
Q: Saturday's game is fast approaching. Is this the most challenging situation you've had for a first preseason game based on the amount of time you had to prepare?A: Well it's, again, 11 practices and play a game, and you like to be able to play as many people as you can. Organizationally, we are probably not as far along as you would like to be. Some of this stuff they have to pick up on the fly. Hopefully, it's just an opportunity to go out and play, relax and play the game. We can get the maximum out of that in terms of seeing what the real football player's like not all tied up in, oh my gosh if step with this foot, that's what the problem is. Last year going into the first game we probably had 23 practices, or maybe 20 practices. This year we have 11.
WR Hakeem Nicks
Q: How impressed are you with the third wide receivers?A: Yes I have been impressed. I think guys are stepping up to the plate and competing and you know they are taking it one day at a time.
Q: Do you feel like a mentor?A: I don't look at it like that but I am here if they have any questions. I don't look at it as if I am looking down on any of them, we are our own man. I do think they are doing a good job at competing.
Q: How do you feel about Devin Thomas?A: There is a lot of talent and there is no secret, he can line up and go as well. He is doing a good job of competing too.
Q: How do you feel about his work ethic?A: As long as I have known him and been on the field with him, he is always going hard. In my eyes, he has been going hard.
Q: How much would it help if Steve Smith was back on this team?A: It would help because Steve was a major role in our offense and now I just look at it like, guys just have to step up and fill that void.
Q: How would you feel about having another veteran wide receiver?A: We have to control what we can control and guys just have to step up right now.
WR Victor Cruz
Q: How do you feel about being the third receiver?A: It feels good, especially coming from Gilbride. Whenever you hear him saying your name and in a good light, it is always good. I'm just trying to get in every day and I'm still working hard and still trying to get my plays down. I'm just trying to make an impact every time I step out on the field.
Q: Even though you were hurt last season, how much did it help you being around?A: It actually helped a lot especially with the type of offense that we run, it is very in-depth and you have to dig into your playbook. That year, it was kind of beneficial to me because I could just dig into that playbook and understand different routes and different positions, all the wide receiver positions on the field. I was able to get a good understanding of it, so last year was unfortunate about the injury but beneficial in other ways.
Q: How frustrating was it when you started to see other wide receivers getting hurt?A: It seemed like every week we were losing somebody. You always want to come back and be in a position where you can possibly help your team. It was unfortunate but it is a new year and we are ready.
Q: Are you living proof of what the preseason can do for somebody?A: I know the talks before were about limiting the preseason games and I know other guys from small schools were like, 'No, please don't' because that is where you can make a mark and show in live action against other guys and other teams, what you can do. Those preseason games were very important for me personally.
Q: How beneficial would it be to have Steve Smith back on the team?A: It would be great, especially last year because he helped me so much throughout my injury. He would talk to me and tell me to get into the playbook and just understand it. Make sure you know it because when your time comes, it is not a factor. Make sure it is not an issue. He was always talking to me and he was great. He was one of my mentors and I look up to the guy. Hopefully we can get him back and if not, I wish him the best with whatever he does in the future.
Q: Do you like the wide receivers that you have on the team?A: Yes, I like the core. Me, Duke, Darius Reynaud, we have come together since last year. We know our stuff and we are out there competing. If the core guys can get together and we know our stuff and we can build that trust and coach Gilbride can trust us and coach Coughlin can trust us, it will add depth and coach Gilbride won't have to worry as much.
C David BaasQ: There looked like there was some exchange problems?A: Yeah.
Q: Just Day One stuff or was there another reason?A: Most of it is communication stuff, more so, my part. Just getting used to different calls and trusting and all of that different stuff. That's the part of practice that you have to do. That way you build that trust. The guys are really helping me along and it's getting better and better every day.
Q: Did you feel like the outsider coming in?A: Of course. That just speaks to the character of the guys in the room, what good guys they are. They had great guys there for a long time. I know it's the crappy part of the business, but they've done a really good job to try and accept me and bring me along, just given me everything I need to help the offensive line succeed and help this team succeed.
Q: Is it good having David Diehl and Chris Snee on both sides of you?A: Absolutely. Like I said, they're helping me out. But it's getting better every day and getting a little more easier. Just keep practicing and it will be fine.
RB Andre Brown
Q: How do you feel right now?A: I feel good. I feel healthy. I am just going out here and I am working hard. I am just getting better every day.
Q: How is it different from last year?A: Last year I was just getting out from surgery so I felt like all I could do was run straight ahead. I couldn't make cuts like I wanted to and I am a natural jump cutter. I like to jump in and out of things but I didn't feel that pop. During this lockout I trained really hard and it ended up being really beneficial for me because I ended up getting stronger and faster.
Q: Do you feel at home here?A: Yes, I know most of the guys and I am comfortable around them. They drafted me, I like the coaching staff, I like everybody in the facility and this is where I am comfortable. I think that is also allowing me to run the way that I am because I am happy where I am and I am comfortable.
Q: How surprised are you that you are back in New York?A: I am really surprised. Once Washington released me, I started sending out job resumes. I worked hard over the lockout and I thought Washington was going to give me a shot. I felt like I had to go to plan B and use my degree.
Q: What kind of jobs did you have?A: Over the lockout, I worked at some marketing firms and advertising. I did some PR with a triple A baseball team in Raleigh, the Mudcats. Just stuff like that, just to stay busy. I managed my money well but I was still trying to save most of that money so I got a job too.
Q: What kind of work did you do?A: I was not full time, I worked a couple weekends.
Q: Did you write press releases?A: No not press releases, they had me doing intern work. I was doing most of the information and getting all the stats.
WR Devin Thomas
Q: Do you blame yourself for the way things worked out over the last year or so?
A: I don't really point the blame at anybody but myself. I know what I'm capable of doing and so far I haven't been able to reach those goals so I can only look at myself in the mirror and see what I can do better. With a coach like Coach Coughlin who gave me the opportunity here to contribute, I'm just trying to do everything I can.
Q: Mike Shanahan had questioned your work ethic. Do you think he had a point or do you think he was overly harsh?
A: I only can take it for what it's worth. That's what he said and I still hear his voice in the back of my head talking about the kind of work ethic I need for the off-season. I took it for that and just worked hard. The time has come that I get my chance to showcase my skills.
Q: Did you work pretty hard this off-season to make sure it wouldn't happen again?
A: I feel like I always work hard, but the extra hunger and thirst knowing that I've been released and I'm not with my original team and having to rebound and regain that composure, knowing what kind of player I am—a lot of people have been writing me off. It's funny, but it makes me smile because that's all I can do is be happy. I can't allow that to make me sad or make me mad about anything.
Q: Hearing his voice is a motivating thing, or does it make you angry?
A: It's a motivation tactic. Honestly, I feel like our relationship was one we had a lot of communication with. The way things ended kind of caught me off-guard. I definitely hold that for motivation.
Q: Do you think you'll have a chance to play on Saturday?
A: I'm assuming so. I'm shooting to get back this week. It's all really going to be on the coaches and how confident they feel in me being out there, but I'm just going to bust my tail to get out there.
Q: You were a second-round pick so you have talent, but you haven't been able to get on the field as much as you would like. Do you feel that you have some surprises to show people in how good you can be in this league?
A: Of course. I feel like I still haven't reached my potential. A lot of things I can do haven't been seen on film. I'm still eager to make it happen.
DT Marvin Austin
Q: Taking a break for a couple of days?A: Not taking a break, just trying to stay healthy.
Q: Is it your hip flexor?A: Yeah, my hip flexor.
Q: Was there a specific play you hurt it on or just sore?A: Cramping up out there and then came off the ball and it tightened up a little bit on me. They wanted me to fix it, make sure everything was ok with it.
Q: What kind of timetable are you hearing?A: It should be pretty soon. Should be pretty soon. Not trying to stretch too much. Really soon.
Q: Was it last night or the night before that it tightened up?A: It was the last night I was on the field.
Q: So two nights ago, inside?A: Yeah. We had the pads on.
Q: Are you going to go today?A: I think we'll give it another day off. Go back and talk to the doctors. If I have enough strength in it, they'll probably let me go today. Got to see. Talk to the doctors and see what they want me to do.
Q: Given how long it's been since you were on the field, did you figure there would be little nagging things at first as your body gets used to it?A: I didn't think so. But I haven't played in a while, just getting used to it again. Just making sure I take care of my body and stuff like that to the best of my abilities. But I didn't think that anything would happen. I feel really good right now.
Q: Have you experienced a hip flexor injury before?A: No. Just given my position (Defensive Tackle), you use your hips a lot. Freak accident.
Q: Not something that there's a previous condition with?A: No.
Q: I would imagine if you missed time, it could hurt your chances of playing in the first game. How anxious are you to play in that first game?A: I'm very anxious to play in the first game. That's why they drafted me. I'm ready to go out there and play and perform and I love to play the game. If I don't get the reps, of course, that will hurt me, but I'm trying to take as many mental reps as I can.
Q: You're familiar with the state where the game is going to be (North Carolina)?A: Yeah, very.
Q: A lot of people going to be there?A: I don't have very many people coming to the game, but I'm sure there's going to be a lot of people out there. [Carolina] have the number one pick (Cam Newton). I'm sure there's going to be a pretty decent crowd.
Q: When their fans are looking at the program, I'd imagine they will recognize you?A: They probably will.
Q: You've had a week of practice. What things did you expect, what was unexpected?A: I noticed that the game is a little quicker. You have to be a lot more focused. The technique – they've been preaching technique, technique, technique. Just making sure I have proper technique, using my proper technique. Every play, you have to play like it's your last. That's even in practice.
Q: How has the signing of Rocky Bernard and Gabe Watson affected your reps?A: [The coaches] give all of us a pretty decent amount of reps. I've never really thought about it like I'm not getting enough reps or anything like that. I just try to learn from those guys, some of the things because they've played in the league for a little while. Just go out and perform to the best of my ability.
Q: Justin Tuck has spoken pretty highly of you.A: I've talked to Justin [Tuck] on numerous occasions. Talk to him all of the time. Try to get as much knowledge as I can from him and all of the other older guys. I'm embarking on this journey as a professional.
LB Coach Jim Herrmann
Q: Mathias Kiwanuka …A: Yup. We re-signed him and he's going to play linebacker this year. Right now he's playing the same position. He's got some adjusting to do because he's been away. But, when he came here right at first he played some. It's a position where there's different things to look at. He's adjusting well as he goes. Good studier, good kid, smart. Every day he learns more and more and more about the position. I think the biggest thing right now is just the coverage part of the aspect and different things that that guy's required to do. That's what we're working on most right now, that part of the game. He's such a physical guy. That's what I love about him. He brings a physical part to the game. Against the run, he'll be a hard guy to move out of the hole.
Q: So he's not a joker as Jerry likes to say? He won't be switching from line to linebacker, he's officially a linebacker?
A: Yes. In our base package he's a linebacker. When we go to third down, all bets are off. We try to put the best people on the field to get pressure, to cover. It's a different game to me. First and second downs are a completely different game than third. It's like a whole different playbook. When we go to third down, he has multiple positions on third down plays and our third down package.
Q: What does that do to Sintim?
A: Clint has actually had a great camp so far. I really like where he's at. He's done a great job. He looks faster. He's leaner. He's done a great job out here. Anytime you can't go into a season with three legit guys and someone gets hurt and you're putting a non-legit guy in. So, he's competing for a job as a starter wherever it is. Really, to me, they're all interchangeable. They should all be able to play all the positions.
Q: So the decision with Kiwi was made when you signed him and not a reaction to anything with Clint?
A: No because we think he can help us. We played him here a little bit last year, at the beginning of the year, if you remember. He played off the ball and did some good stuff for us. We feel like he'll help us in terms of the linebackers.
Q: Why do you think he's more valuable there than he is at end? What is he able to do? What is his skill set?
A: Kiwi has great range. If you ever watch him, he could be on the numbers on one side and get to the numbers on the other in a heartbeat. To me, that's what you look for as a linebacker coach. You look. You run to the ball and he can run all day long. Plus, he's athletic enough that he can move in and out and get around people. So, he's going to help us. He's a good defensive end too, don't get me wrong. But, we would like for him to play linebacker.
Q: As a natural defensive end it seems like most of the movement's going straight ahead or slightly to the right side or to the left. Here you have a lot more lateral movement. Is that a concern at all?
Q: He's already been able to show?A: Yes.
Q: How are the young kids? What have you seen out of Herzlich? You're laughing. Why are you smiling?
A: I like my young group. They're a great group of kids, they really are. Greg Jones from Michigan State. I'm obviously from Michigan. He's done a great job. You can tell he played at a high level in college. He has great instincts to the ball. He picks things up fast. He's going to be fine. He's a good, young player. Jacquain Williams, to me, he's the kind of guy you look for. He played D-end in college. You put him on two feet in pro football. He's one of those guys that can go from sideline to sideline. He can catch quick, he can cover and he's learning the game. If I just say okay go cover that guy, the guy will be covered now. _ the assignment part of it—who am I covering, who am I not covering. He's doing a good job of it. He's learning on the move. Herzlich I love, because he's one of those kids who--something in his life, obviously his sickness--has really driven his focus to succeed and he's going to succeed. That's just the way he is. Pretty much he was on his death bed and now he's playing in the NFL camp with the New York Giants. That's a great story. Then you've got Spencer Paysinger who, to me, is one of those young guys who you know you're really like in college. He played in that system and spread and all that stuff, but he's gained a few pounds since he's been here and he can move, too. He's kind of quick, too. I like that group here. It's good a mesh, they like each other and it's been a good group.
Re: Players moving back to linebacker or up to linebacker
A: Can you remember Adrian Tracy? Adrian made a huge move from a year ago when he got his injury and he's got into the playbook, and he's getting a much better understanding of playing linebacker, because he was a D-end in college. Kenny Ingram actually came the other way—he was a safety. Kenny provides you the type of guy that can cover like a safety and he's put on a little weight, too.
Q: Coach just told us that last year, you had about twenty practices before the first game, this year you have eleven. When you're coaching, are you teaching a lot more? Do you feel that it's more challenging this year?
A: There is much more meeting time, which is good, because you need that. You need to go over assignments, you need to show them what's wrong, you need a walk-through and you need good practices. So, really, this has been very good. We don't get the physical reps that we would if you we were in a two-a-day, one-a-day, two-a-day. I think the veteran guys are ok, because they've done it before. It's the younger guys who are my concern. They have to go out and play NFL football at a fast pace. Their learning curve is going to be real faster in about seven days.
Q: Kiwi is a big linebacker. Is there a plan to get bigger at that position, or is that just something that happens?
A: I just think it's the body types that are there. If you want to win and you want to go to the Super Bowl in the NFL, you better have a defense that can stop the run and force their hand or control of the ball. That's what I believe. If you can't stop the run, you have no chance. So if you're playing in there with linebackers 215, 220, 215, you're going to wear down. Eventually at the end of the game in the fourth quarter, they're going to be running the ball 5 yards, 6 yards, 7 yards and you can't stop them. You can't get them to third down. So, you have to stop the run. You have to be built in a way where you can do that.
Q: A lot of teams go the opposite way with 220 pound linebackers and they're all over the place.
A: Well, it's really hard now because in college ball, there are no 230, 240 pound linebackers because it's all spread out all over the field. What has happened is the migration is from the secondary, to linebackers, you see all DB's—they're playing linebacker in college football and that's hard. You have to take D linemen and pay that guy to be a linebacker and that kind of thing. It's a process that you have to go through to get them where you want them.
Q: What do you see from Jonathan Goff this year that you didn't see last year?
A: I think he really worked hard on his movement skills, quickness, agility. You can see it out here. He's made several big plays when maybe a year ago he might have just gotten there. Now, he's there. That's the flash that you want. I think every year that I've been with Jon, he's gotten better and better and better, and this year is the same. He's gotten better. He feels comfortable. He's a leader out there. That's what I like.
Q: Where do you feel Herzlich lines up?
A: I've got him playing a couple positions. He's a highly intelligent kid, so the concern is just trying to find his niche right now. Probably in the middle, probably at SAM.
Q: So he can do both?
Q: And I saw before Paysinger got hurt, it seemed like you guys were taking a look at him.A: He's a good player, a very good player. I like him a lot.
Q: On passing downs you could probably take Jones out and maybe …A: Part of that is just trying to get everybody reps. You only go three teams and I've got 11 linebackers. That means there's two extra. So you've got to mix them around.
Q: Are cuts going to be tough for you?
A: The cuts are always hard. You spend so much time with the guys; they're like your sons.
Q: Will a lot of it have to do with special teams, too?