Head Coach Joe Judge:
Q. What could you envision Kenny Golladay bringing to your offense?
A: Look, like all of our players, we are trying to right now get these guys in playing shape, get them caught up on our schemes and systems. Like every team, we have made adjustments in the off-season to play to our strengths. When you add new players to the roster through free agency or the draft, you're going to try to build in different things that fit to their strengths. Obviously there's going to be an element of what he did so well in Detroit that we'll try to incorporate and let him play to his strengths, and then we'll try to find things that fit us that he hasn't done in the past and make sure we fit them in as we go. Right now, it's all about football movement, getting these guys in shape and training their bodies. That's the most important thing for us at this time as a team, and understanding the systems and the schemes. In terms of all of our players, I expect a high level of performance from every player and coach in this organization. That's what we all get paid for and that's what we work every day for.
Q. What is it that you saw he did well in Detroit that you can incorporate here?
A: Everyone saw on tape this guy has been a physical player for years. He's made a lot of tough catches, a lot of big plays with the ball in his hand running. He brings a physical toughness; that's something we saw on tape, and we plan on building into his strengths whatever we can do with our offense.
Q. What's Nate Solder been like?
A: He's been working hard for us. He took time to get his body back going, obviously with time away from the game, take time to re-acclimate and get back in playing shape. He's been doing a good job being in the building, working hard on the field. He's been great with the guys. He's obviously an older guy, brings a lot of experience and he's been a good voice in the room as the entire offensive line has had great communication with Rob (Sale), Ben (Wilkerson), Pat (Flaherty), Freddie (Kitchens) and all those guys been working together. I've been very pleased with how that entire unit of players and coaches have been working and the progress they're building towards right now.
Q. Are you a believer that a veteran player like Nate with a year off to get his body right can be more of a benefit than a younger player missing all that time would be a detriment?
A: I think it depends on the situation, depends on the player. I don't think you can make a blanket statement on any one vet or one young player. To me, everyone is on equal playing ground right now. The best players will play and we'll let training camp sort out the competition. Right now we'll focus on getting these guys moving, back into football movement. Everybody has had a length of time off. Every one of our players had approximately five months off before they came back, and obviously Nate didn't play last year, so he had a little more extended time. But in terms of everybody, no one has played football in a long time and we have to get everyone back going.
Q. I know it's early, OTAs and no pads and all that, but can you talk about what you're seeing from your rookie group?
A: I'm pleased with the way they work. With rookies, what you see a lot of time is you see a level of improvement week-by-week more so than the vets because they are so young. It's like watching a bunch of pups grow up. They come in, they drink from a fire hose in rookie minicamp; in terms of just getting on the same page, you have to remember these guys walk down the hallways and just try to remember everyone's face and names. So you start plugging it all together and moving fast going forward. These guys, it slows down for them every week, you know, the scheme, the systems, the terminology. You start seeing their bodies get in better shape. I think one thing with all the rookies right now and talking to a bunch of other teams, they are seeing the same thing. When you get these guys from the draft in the rookie minicamp, they have been so far removed from football training. It's that combine training, it's that personal trainer. Kind of let's go at your own pace. You have to get back into team football where you are moving at a high intensity and higher volume and you're moving in more team drills. That football movement we talk about, it's very important. In terms of the rookies, they have to get their legs back under them, but we see a lot of improvement every day from these guys and it's stacked week-by-week so far. I'm pleased with the attention to detail they are giving for us, and the way they are working with the rookie development program and I'm excited to get the pads on and see them go full speed.
Q. Evan Engram gets beat up quite a bit by a portion of the fan base, frustrated with drops and things like that. When you are dealing with Evan, do you have to -- with every player there's a physical and a mental, do you have to pump him up, gauge his confidence, things like that, a guy like Evan who is obviously talented but has had some ups and downs in his career?
A: Confidence comes from practice, execution. I'm telling you when you watch us practice and you watch No. 88 on the field, no one empties the tank like this guy. This guy goes hard every day. We have to tell him to tone it down more than pick up his pace based on what kind of phase, practice room, walk-through, jog through, provo pace, whatever you have at the time of year. Evan is always a guy that makes you say, hey, Evan tone it down a little bit. He works on the details, takes coaching well, he's mentally tough and a physically tough dude and takes care of his body, ready to stay on the field. I think the dependability factor for teammates when they know you're working your hardest every day and doing everything you can to help the team, then you know you've put everything into it and when something falls short on the field from any player, they can trust the guys to put in the work and preparation, and at that point we have to help the guy improve. But I'm very pleased with the way he works. He's a fun guy having in a program, he's a fun guy in the locker room, he's a leader on our team and he's a very productive player for us. I enjoy coaching him every single day.
Q. You can't watch TV these days without seeing somebody say, go get vaccinated. Without citing the HIPAA rules, do you envision by the start of the season most of your team will be vaccinated?
A: I honestly couldn't give you an answer to that and to be completely honest with you, when it comes to anything dealing with medical protocols, vaccinations, I'm not a medical professional. I let our training staff and doctors talk to the team in regards to that. I let them deal with those issues right there. Everyone has a choice to make, players. So that's their decision. I'm not getting involved in that. Let them deal directly with the medical professionals. I don't have enough expertise in that area to give someone direction one way or the other.
Q. Did you get vaccinated?
A: The answer is, yes, I did get vaccinated. I want to make something clear, that's not any kind of statement, alright, one way or the other. That's pure and simple. We were asked to get vaccinated by the league to be able to be part of the draft rooms, to be part of coming in our building and working. That's something that for myself I thought was important to do. So that's where I go on that point.
Q. Daniel has been back in the building and back on the field a couple weeks in OTAs. What have been areas where you've seen him improve and how much have you seen things slow down for him now that it's his second year in the system?
A: I think his overall understanding and command is really becoming where we want it to be and you saw that last year as he grew within it. You know, he didn't have the opportunity last year to have a spring, to have a true training camp to go out there. You know, going with the same terminology, alright, the same language this year, that slows it down a little bit for any player. In terms of being in the huddle, his command has really always been great. I think the biggest thing right now for any quarterback, including Daniel, is just getting on the same page with all the players and getting the timing down. This time of year, really, for those guys is crucial to be able to go out there and throw routes and get some timing. Everybody is a little bit different. For all of our quarterbacks, they have to get a feel for the specific guy they are throwing to and the routes and that route may look different with certain guys, what they do at the top of route, how their release may change and where they put the ball as a quarterback and where they can expect the ball. So they have to get a feel for each other and that just takes reps and time, and I'm proud of those guys working hard every day and putting that time in.
Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q. Talk about some of the things that he's [Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham] done different from past coordinators?
A: One thing I've always raved about Pat Graham is just how smart he is in terms of knowing our opponent and knowing his players. You know, we don't run the same defense every week. It's like we change our defensive coordinator to who we are playing, what type of schemes we are going to get that week, and he also does a good job of knowing his players and putting them in the right position, and I think that goes a long way.
Q. What's it like as a player, does it put more on you that you must be able to adapt to a totally different game plan week-in and week-out?
A: I think it's great as a player because like I said, he knows each player's skill set and tries to put them in the best position. So, you know, if I know I'm good at a certain thing, he's going to just make sure that I perfect what I am good at instead of like changing who I am. He knows players are going to get the job done different ways. You know, me and Dex [Dexter Lawrence II] probably will play the B-gap different ways but as long as we can control our B-gap and do the job, he's going to be okay with that. I think that goes a long way, like I said, because he's not creating robots out there. Sometimes on paper, it easy to see X's and O's but it goes further as a coach and player to know each other and each other's skill set and put us in the right position.
Q. You guys laid the groundwork last year, so what are your expectations? What are you trying to accomplish with this group now in year two?
A: Like you said, that was our first year together as a team, as a staff, as a whole organization, and you know, I feel like we finished the year pretty strong. That's last year and now we are coming into this year knowing each other a little bit more and we have a little bit more time together. I think we've just got to keep growing. It's kind of hard for me to look far into the future and far into the past, but I know it starts right now and it starts next week in minicamp. We've just got to keep getting better.
Q. We've heard about the recommendations from the NFLPA, not coming in, coming in, whether guys are going to be in off-season workouts. What was your thought process on the whole thing?
A: I'm not sure. I think at this level you kind of trust your teammates and everybody to be professionals, which is what we are, and whether guys were in the building or not, I kind of trust people to do what they are supposed to be doing and be ready to go when it's time to go. I'm sure guys are going to be ready to go next week in minicamp and guys are going to be ready to go in [training] camp and when the season starts and that's part of being professionals.
Q. How different does this spring feel? Do you still think of the pandemic? Do you think it's over? How do you react?
A: There's obviously still a little bit of protocols going on, but you know, I'm excited that the stadium is back open. I'm excited that I don't have to wear a mask as much, and I can breathe a little better. I'm just glad that things are -- it seems to be slowly getting back to normal as much as possible.
Tight End Evan Engram
Q. Evan, when you look back on last season for yourself, just how do you assess it?
A: Personally, the season last year, obviously last year, and self-assessment, there were a lot of things I feel like could I have done better. There were a lot of things did I well and there are things that I can build on. Definitely throwing last year away, there was a lot of things to learn from but I'm looking forward to this next season and improving every day out here in OTAs.
Q. When you say there are things you can improve, in this case you can identify that you're focused on this offseason?
A: Really everything from ball security, from blocking techniques from routes, getting in and out of breaks, really everything that goes in doing my job every single day I put an emphasis on to improve.
Q. How much is the whole vaccination issue something you guys talk about as players and what have you sensed is the approach that most players are taking on it inside the locker room?
A: There really hasn't been a lot of conversation. Definitely there's not many medical experts in our locker room. There's some in the training room. So, we don't really talk about it that much. Everybody kind of is in their own lane with that. Everything is kind of their business and the vaccine obviously you want to get as much information as possible but not a lot of conversation going on about that. Really just focusing on getting better each and every day out here.
Q. Obviously this is a contract year for you. You know that obviously. What is sort of your mindset in that regard? This is a big year for potentially a life-changing opportunity for you to make enormous money next year. How much of a motivating factor is that?
A: Honestly my motivation is in the moment right now. All that stuff is in the future. I have no control over that. I have control of what I do today on the field, what I do in these meetings to end the day, and as long as I work hard every single day, improve and do my job for my team, all that stuff will take care of itself.
Q. How are you feeling physically? Obviously last year you were able to move past some of those injury things that had been frustrating for you. What do you credit that to, being able to stay healthy and how are you doing that?
A: You know, I give a lot of credit to a lot of things. Our training staff has been with me from day one through all the training, through all the injuries, and definitely Judge's approach to every day work. Last year was probably the hardest I've ever worked on the field during the season and through training camp, and I think when you work hard every single day, you push your limit, you build like calluses on your body, and you're able to be more durable. You're able to withstand a lot more. Give credit to myself and discipline, taking care of myself but also trainers and the work that Judge implements for us every single day.
Q. Are you in even better shape possibly than I've ever seen you in? I've never thought of you in any way, shape or form being out of shape but these couple of OTAs I've been fortunate enough to attend, you just look like you're in as good of shape as I've seen, and you can feel free to tell me if I'm off base there but I feel like I know what I'm seeing there?
A: No, I appreciate that, I took that as a compliment. Definitely I've been grinding with my team back home. My trainers in Atlanta, we have been going hard and they put me through so much and they had such a great plan for me with speed and agility, through weight training, football work. I just really give a lot of credit to them. They kind of invest a lot in me down at Pinnacle in Atlanta and I give them credit for how I look right now. Definitely after OTAs, anxious to get down there and get another month in before camp. I appreciate that, though.
C Nick Gates
Q. I would like to ask you a non-technical question. How has your life changed in personal terms, being a player of your size means dedicating yourself 100 percent to football. How do you handle this with your private life?
A: That's a good question. I probably -- football is my life, so I don't really have a private life really outside of football. Football is kind of who I am and as long as I'm playing for the Giants or any team, that's going to be my whole life.
Q. Your first impressions of [Offensive Line] Coach [Rob] Sale?
A: He's awesome, he's a good teacher and good coach and good person. I can't wait to keep working with him and keep learning and picking his brain and seeing what he can teach us throughout the year.
Q. You've had a lot of experience with different coaches. You've probably had four in the last year and a half or so. What's that been like having so many different voices leading your room?
A: It is what is it. In college I went through I think it was what, two or three o-line coaches. So, I'm used to coaches coming in and out. You've just got to build a relationship with them and trust them. [Head Coach Joe] Judge hired them for a reason, so if he trusts them, I'm going to trust them.
Q. You guys didn't get to go through an off-season program last year. How much of an advantage is that as a group to be able to do some off-season work together?
A: It's huge, especially as young of a team as we are right now. I think it great for us to get in the building and be able to -- quarterbacks throw routes to wide receivers for timing and the o-line getting in here and working technique and having a new o-line coach and learning what he likes, different plays and his technique that he likes.
Q. You have a lot of coaches working with you guys. Is there ever any confusion about who to go to with a certain question?
A: Definitely not. All four of them are all on the same page, and if one doesn't know the question, he's going to ask the next guy and vice versa. As long as they are all on the same page, it's not that difficult at all. They are all great guys and I love working with each one of them.
Q. What's it like having Nate [Solder] back? You were teammates when you were much younger. Having Solder back with the group, what does he bring?
A: He's a veteran, been in the league 10 years now, and he just brings that knowledge of being in the league for so long. I think it helps the group, especially as a young offensive line, I think it helps us tremendously.
Q. Last year you had your first year in the offense. How much new stuff are you working on already and wrinkles are there to what you guys basically had as your base offense last year?
A: Pretty much the same as it was last year with JG [Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett]. Other than that, learning the new techniques and what Rob likes on specific plays and what he likes to do in different situations and different fronts and things like that.
View the best photos from Friday's OTA practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.