RB SHANE VEREEN**
Q: What are your expectations as you guys hit the field for the first time today for training camp?
A: I think it's going to be a lot of excitement, finally getting back to football, getting back to real football, working towards a lot of goals, big season, and I think it's going to be a lot of excitement, a lot of guys flying around today.
Q: How differently do you think you'll be utilized here compared to how you were utilized in New England?
A: I guess we'll see. It's still a waiting game. I mean, we're still on the cusp of day one, first practice, so I guess the role is kind of going to play itself out. The more we get on the field, the more practice we get, the more repetitions, I think it'll kind of speak for itself, and the role will be cut out in some shape or form.
Q: Are there things that you would like to show people that you know you can do that you were not allowed to show previously?
A: If anything, I've always taken it upon myself to show that I can be a complete back. I take pride in that, I take pride in doing all things well that are asked of a running back, and just trying to advance my game from there, and just be a very solid, dependable back.
Q: How important do you think you can be with all the vertical threats this team has out the backfield catching the ball?
A: I think it can be very effective. I think we have a lot of weapons on this offense and the more we get going, the more we start trusting and learning each other, and just feeling comfortable with everyone on the field, I think the better we'll be.
Q: How does the playbook compare to New England in what's expected out of a running back?
A: Yeah, there are some similarities, a lot of similarities, and a couple differences. I think the biggest thing really though is just the terminology, it's completely different. I think both offenses kind of do very similar things.
Q: Is there more pressure on the offense to produce because there is a new defensive coordinator and the defense is learning a new system?
A: I don't know if we look at it like that. I think it's a team game, it's a team sport. The offense relies on defense and vice versa. We have as much trust as you can have in a defense. We know that they're going to go out there and work hard, and advance, and get better throughout this training camp, and so are we as an offense.
Q: How would you compare Tom Brady to Eli Manning? Are there are a lot of similarities between the two?
A: Yeah, I see the same pedigree. They both work extremely hard on and off the field. They're both masters of the game, the way they look at it, the way they teach it, and the way they carry themselves. They're both leaders. In that sense, they're very similar.
Q: How closely have you watched and how often do you get asked about what's going on with "Deflategate"?
A: I get asked about it a lot but I know just as much as everybody else. I'm a New York Giant now and that's where my focus has been. Going forward, that's where my focus will be. We'll see what happens with whatever goes on in New England, but I'm here now.
Q: What was your reaction to the league upholding the suspension against Brady?
A: That's the league's decision. It is what it is. Nobody really knew what was going to happen before, neither did I, and like I said, I'm here now. I'm happy to be a Giant and I'm just ready to move forward here.
Q: What are your impressions of the defense being installed as an offensive player?
A: I think there's going to be a lot of different things. I think it's going to be a very fluid defense in a sense that they're going to put a lot of people in different places, got to keep your eyes open, got to stay alert. I think it's going to be good for us to see that type of defense, and go against that type of defense every day, therefore when we get to the season and pre-season, we won't be seeing too many things that are brand new.
Q: Speak about T Justin Pugh saying he wanted "tough guys" out there on the field?
A: I mean tough guys upfront make me happy. We rely on them. I mean, that's where it all starts. It starts upfront and the tougher they are, the stronger they are, the better the backfield will be.
Q: What do you think your value to this team will be with so many running backs on the roster and a lot other offensive weapons? What do you bring to the table?
A: I bring some versatility. We're a very talented backfield, a lot of guys can do a lot of different things, and that's what makes us so talented, and so versatile, but I guess we'll see. We still have a long way to go. We're just getting started, so I'm excited to see how everything turns out.
Q: What was said to you that made you want to become a part of this place?
A: They didn't really have to say much. Historically, this one of the best, if not the best franchise, in football. Just to have the opportunity to come here, I mean it's kind of hard to say no.
Q: Does this team have the makings of a Super Bowl champion?
A: That's exactly what I was going to say, it's just day one. Day one, everybody has the capabilities to go all the way. It takes a lot of hard work and we're on a start. I think this team has the mindset of hard work, dedication, and what it takes. Hopefully we can go ahead and put that to fruition and show it on field.
Q: How does the motivation change after winning a Super Bowl Ring?
A: It only increases. To me, I'm more motivated now than I have been in my past four seasons because I know what it feels like and you want to have that feeling more and more.
ELI MANNING* *Q: These have to be the most explosive weapons you've had, on paper at least, that you've had entering a training camp? **
A: Yeah, as far as I can think of. I think we have some talented guys on offense, talented receivers, talented running backs, guys that are very multiple at running back; catch the ball out of the backfield, move them around, good group of tight ends, the receivers. Yeah, I think there are a lot of weapons. We just need everybody to play up to their ability, I've got to do a good job and we've got to put it on the field and make it work.
Q: What does Shane Vereen bring to the mix?
A: I think Shane brings that versatile running back. Catches the ball well in the backfield, runs good routes, you can create mismatches with him, runs the ball well. I think we've got to keep figuring out how he's going to fit in the offense, what he can do, what's the best way to utilize his abilities.
Q: From what you saw from Odell Beckham Jr. last year, are you a little anxious or excited to see what he can do for an encore?
A: I'm just excited to get him back on the field and continue to work with him and see how we can grow, how he can grow within the offense, how he can get better and just get more advanced within the offense. Just see how—it's not just about him, it's about all the receivers. All the receivers growing, myself growing within the offense and being able to put guys in different positions, move them around, create different matchups, different looks and get the best out of all of them.
Q: We've always said you've never had Victor Cruz and Odell on the field at the same time—I guess there was a brief period—now it looks like it's coming to reality. Is that going to be exciting?
A: It's good. I think having Victor and Odell and Rueben (Randle) and Larry (Donnell) and Shane (Vereen) and Rashad (Jennings), it's about having all of them and all of them playing at a high level. Seeing what the defense will do, their adjustments and how they'll try to dart them off. It's great to have weapons, it's great to have talent and hopefully we can keep them all out there, keep them all healthy and get the best from them.
Q: It seems almost impossible for a defense to guard them all.
A: They'll figure out a way. There is always a system and there's a matter of the offensive line, being able to run the ball, offensive line playing well, myself throwing the ball accurately, making good decisions, good down and distances. There's a lot involved with it but I'm just excited to get out there on the field with all of them and get to work.
Q: Where do things stand with your contract?
A: You'd have to ask the Giants or ask my agent. That's not my concern. I don't get too involved with that stuff.
Q: John Mara said that he thought that the deal eventually will get worked out between you and the Giants. They thought that your future was going to be here and a deal will get done eventually, is that how you feel?
A: I hope so. Right now my concern is getting on this practice field for our first practice. I'm excited about that and just let the business side of it just work itself out.
Q: Russell Wilson agreed to a deal, do you keep tabs on that stuff? Or do you at least look at it and see what other guys are getting?
A: No. No, I'm not into the comparison about how much money you're making. That's not my concern.
Q: Yesterday Justin Pugh spoke about being nastier up front, do you see that now in the offensive line. Do you see them developing that attitude?
A: I hope so. I like big, mean, nasty offensive linemen. If that's the way you could grow them, that's the way you grow them. I think this group has a little of that in them. You have those offensive linemen that are tough and that hang together, are smart, and play well together—those are the best bunch. It's not how good each one of them [offensive lineman] is, it's how good they are with all five of them working together, and having that toughness about them.
Q: Is this offense better for you than you thought it would be?
A: I guess last year I didn't know much about the offense. You hear 'West Coast,' I never had been in a West Coast offense. I didn't really know exactly what that meant. But I've enjoyed it, I've enjoyed this past year. Getting to this learn this offense. Each and every day, trying to get more advanced with it—reminder and growing within it. You know, pushing the guys and pushing myself to learn it, get more familiar with it, and get perfect with it. That's the goal. I like it, I like where we're going. I like the way that the offense works and the way it hits my head on how I see things and my feet—it all makes sense to me. I feel …
Q: Your defense is learning a new system. Do you sit there and say we have to help them out or would that be a mistake to think that way?
A: From my point of view, we've got a job to do and that's to control the ball, score a lot of points, and score more than the other team. It usually kind of works itself out. Sometimes you can score 10 points and win a game, you don't want to live in that world, but our goal is to get that 27-30 points a game. It's not based because of the defense, that's just what we expect in ourselves. We feel we have a talented group that can put points on the board, and we gotta go do it.
Q: Last year your quarterback coach put forward that 70 percent completion benchmark. Have you and Mike Sullivan talked about any benchmarks or targets for this year?
A: Yeah, I think 70 [percent completion percentage] is kind of the goal. I think for the season we—I think it's on paper at 67 percent. I think 70—something in that area, we want a lot of completions. Be able to find completions, high percentage throws. We'll try to push the ball down the field and get our shots. We want guys to get open, get open quickly, and let me get the ball in their hands.
Q: Russell Wilson set a deadline for his contract, why wouldn't you do that?
A: I hadn't thought of it.
Q: Going back to the offensive line for a minute, Justin [Pugh] mentioned the 2008 line that was probably one of the best ones in your career. Are you starting to see similarities in how they're clicking like that 2008 line?
A: Well, I think it's a close group of guys, which I think is important. I think that offensive line we had those years in '07, '08, it was the same guys for a number of years, which you don't see a whole lot. We kind of have some guys who have been in the system for a few years now, been around, but you do see the closeness. They get along well, they work well together, they compete at practice, they like being challenged, they take it seriously. So, from that aspect, they've got a little toughness to them. There can be some similarities.
Q: What can Odell do for an encore?
A: Just do his job. That's all we can expect him to do. Go out there, have the routes that he's supposed to run and run them well. Hopefully we get him completions. He doesn't have to try to do anything more than what his responsibilities are.
Q: On the idea of staying humble and staying hungry in 2007, talk to me about the hungry side, about how much you guys want it?
A: Yeah, I think it's just the whole team coming in together with that same attitude. That's when you get the great teams. It's everybody buying in, everybody understanding that they got a job to do, and we gotta go do it. You have to have great leaders, but it's not just one leader, it's kind of everybody in charge of a group. Kind of one thought that everyone believes in. I think that's the goal. We want to get back to winning games and making playoffs and giving ourselves opportunities to win championships, and doing that this year. We haven't had one practice yet, though, so it's all determined on these practices and how much work we put in starting today, and these next few weeks. See if we can stay hungry after three weeks of training camp and still have that same attitude out at practice and that same determination. **
WR ODELL BECKHAM JR.**
Q: How much of a luxury was it for you, last year, to play with a quarterback like Eli [Manning]?
A: I mean, he is the kind of guy who has been through it, been through the up and downs. Super Bowl MVP twice. He just knows what it takes. To be able to watch a guy like that every single day and him be a leader, and a guy who I have known for a little bit of time now, it's just great, it's just like we click. We kind of understand each other, and I understand from watching him what it takes to be that.
Q: What are your goals this year?
A: The same thing everybody else's goal would be—to win a Super Bowl. I think at the end of the day, that's the first thing you think about, is being there and being the last team to hoist up that [Lombardi] trophy.
Q: Can you just give us a sense of where you are physically. Was that a bad hamstring pull or anything in the spring?
A: I'm just ready to get out and practice. It has been a long time since we've been able to hit the field, and I'm excited.
Q: Are you full-go?
A: We'll see today, I guess.
Q: With the defense undergoing a change, is it up to the offense to carry them a little bit?
A: No, it takes offense, defense and special teams. Of course, me being an offensive player, you want to put up however many points a game, and be able to help the defense out the best that we can. We all have our jobs, we all have our roles. We know that the defense has to do their job, offense has to do their job, special teams has to do their job, etc. We all lean on each other.
Q: You've been pretty open about the idea of playing with Eli from the moment you were drafted. Do you watch him off the field and learn as much as you do on the field?
A: He's a ghost. You know, I only see him when we're around here. I know he's got a family and he has to take care of all that. A guy like that, you just watch and you watch what he does. You watch what he does in the meetings, you watch how he takes notes. You watch how he takes his notes then brings them to the field—not literally bring them to the field, but brings them to the field and he uses that every single day. Whether he or anybody else knows it or not, I'm always watching. I'm always trying to learn something new from these older guys.
Q: Are there any other wide receivers—is there a guy, past or present, you watch to try and emulate?
A: I've watched film on pretty much anybody you could think of, the Jerry Rices, the Randy Mosses, Cris Carter, even present day guys. Even guys on our team. I just watch and I observe because I like to see what people did to be successful. Make notes off of that and incorporate it into my own game and my own style of play. I am a watcher, I'm watching everybody.
Q: How important is it to get a full camp in after missing so much time last year?
A: It's very important just as far as being there and going through this stuff with your teammates. Like I said before, I had never missed any practice, never missed any games. It's always been frustrating having to sit out and sit there and watch people practice. With this being football, being what you love to do and have to sit back and take the backseat, I would definitely rather be out there and barely be able to walk off the field than have to stand there and watch every single rep.
Q: Did you have to do anything special to keep those hamstrings healthy, or are you doing anything different in this last month or so?
A: Same thing I've always been doing, just rehab, rehab, rehab. Training the muscles, training your body, and pushing it to an extent to see where it's at. So, I'm excited to get back out here and looking forward to practice.
Q: When did you feel 100 percent?
A: You could ask anybody, I don't know the last time anybody has ever felt 100 percent. Playing football since you were 12 years old, going through college, I don't remember the last time I was ever 100 percent or anybody else.
Q: When were you unrestricted with your training and able to do everything you can and wanted to do?
A: I don't even know. I think that's really up to the training room. I haven't decided if—I mean I don't put the restrictions on. That's not really my job. That's not really my field.
Q: How explosive can this offense be?
A: Like I said, I'm just excited to have Vic [Victor Cruz] coming back, Reuben [Randle], who I just know that it's going to be one of those years for him. Me playing alongside with him at LSU, I already know everything that he has. I think other teams tend to overlook him and that's not going to be the case this year. I'm extremely excited for what we have coming up and the guys that we have, and how everything looks. It looks like it's going to be a great year.
Q: Is it more comfortable, if that's the right word, to not be a rookie anymore, and as training camp opens, you know what this is all about?
A: No, I've still got four more games. Hopefully I can get Rookie of the Week the first week or something like that. So, I don't know. Eli tells me I'm a rookie all the time still, so you just have to take that and keep going every single day. Try and inspire somebody.
Q: You know because of what you did last year the expectation level for you is incredibly high. Do you like that everybody is kind of wondering what can you possibly do for an encore?
A: It's whatever, man. It's be where your feet at is something that we learned—something that we're learning today. Right now, I'm here so this is what I'm doing. When I step on the field, that's what I'm doing. When I get in the tubs, that's what I'm doing. It's day by day. I'm not looking to September, or whenever it is. It's day by day and taking it one step at a time.
Q: Do you wonder at all, how can I top this, on and off the field? It was kind of an incredible year for you.
A: Just go out and do the same things that you did last year. You pray and hope for the same results, and that's where you leave it at, you know.
Q: Do you find that that is a good thing that Eli refers to you as a rookie. Does that keep you hungrier, does that keep you on edge to kind of prove yourself every day?
A: No, I don't need the extra-- I don't need them to call me rookie to be motivated. I'm a pretty self-motivated person and I find things that tend to motivate me even more along the way. But, it's always nice to have [Eli] clowning around and messing with you, and it's all love. Whenever he jokes with you, it's just all out of love and that's what we do with each other.
Q: In the last year what have you learned about the New York media environment and kind of making the adjustments. How do you approach the media on and off the field?
A: Nah, just trying to stay out of trouble for the most part. Just stay focused on what you came here to do, which is play football. At the end of the day, that is the job—to play football. That's always going to be the main focus. Other than that, yeah, this is part of the job and it's what we're required to do. You come here and whatever you ask, I'm going to answer to the best of my ability and as genuinely as I can possible.
Q: But you enjoy this, don't you?
A: Always. I love you guys.
DT CULLEN JENKINS
Q: How are you feeling?
A: I am feeling good right now. I am definitely ready. I have been trying to change up my work a little bit [in] the offseason and back in the winter so I feel like I'm ready to go.
Q: What was your reaction when you heard about Jason Pierre-Paul?
A: Just concerned, hoping he is all right.
Q: Have you spoken to him at all?
A: I have talked to him, little quick conversations.
Q: Does it sound like he is doing ok?
A: I mean I didn't ask him too much. The biggest concern was asking him how he was doing. He sounded in good spirits.
Q: Are you confident he will get back out there this year?
A: That is something that I can't speculate on what his situation is. I'm not fully aware of what is going on, so as teammates we are hopeful that he will be back here with us at some point.
Q: He was obviously a huge piece of the defensive line. What is your confidence in the defensive line and pass rush without him?
A: We have a lot of very capable players on the defensive line. JPP is obviously the name on this defensive line. He is a star or that type of player that is really hard to replace. As a team, we just [have] to approach this camp like we would approach it even if he [were] here. Our emphasis has to be on getting better, each player individually, and doing whatever we can do to help this team.
Q: Do you anticipate getting more time at defensive end?
A: I'm not sure. It depends; I go back and forth wherever I am needed most and wherever they put me, I'll play.
Q: You were there in the spring right?
Q: Have you sort of taken that role over?
A: I'm sure they will work me back and forth to make sure I'm getting reps at both [defensive end and defensive tackle].
Q: Do you have a preference at all?
A: Yeah, I have a preference, but I'm not going to tell you.
Giants players meet the media before Training Camp practice