The Giants' assistant coaches spoke to the media during this bye week. Today, we're posing a selection of quotes from the offensive position coaches. Yesterday, we ran quotes from offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Tomorrow, we'll turn to the defensive position coaches.
**Tight Ends Coach Michael Pope
Q: How has Jake Ballard played?**Pope: "The surprise really has been his ability to contribute in the passing game and catching the ball. Somehow he just gets open and we watch him a little bit at how he runs at 15 yards and 10 yards and he is running with the receiver. He has been very good to work with and he is football smart because his dad was a coach. He has been around football all his life. He has just taken basketball skills and applied them. He has a good ways to grow and hopefully he will continue to get better. He has been so contributory to our offense because he has done such a good job running after the catch. A lot of tight ends catch five balls for 31 yards because they are catching all those short routes but that's where he has helped us some. He has been able to break a few tackles and dodge a couple people."
Q: Have you spoken to him about how much attention he is going to start getting from defenses?Pope: "Absolutely. We already started talking about some things and as you do start to become a problem for a defense then they will put you in their defensive plan. We have already talked about some ways to try to get ahead on that."
Q: Is he a reverse of what you had with Kevin Boss?Pope: "Almost exactly a reverse. We knew Kevin was very athletic and can run but we were concerned with how well he was able to block on the line of scrimmage. Jake is about 275 pounds and when you saw him at Ohio State, he was on the goal line and things like that. You never saw him run 30 yards down the field because they never did that with him. We brought him in as a blocker and a guy who has a real thick body. I called (former Ohio State Coach) Jim Tressel a few weeks ago and told him you would be proud of these guys because of what they have been able to do and he said he wasn't surprised. What they were doing offensively didn't put the tight end into the passing game. They would use them as blockers more and get them to the outside because they had a very mobile quarterback and they didn't want people coming off the edge and hitting him. He played his role there and hopefully he is going to develop a pretty nice role here that will help us and he is off to a decent start."
Q: How is the spread offense hurting tight ends?Pope: "It is eliminating them. You have to go find them because I don't know how much longer we can do that. There are very few of them. There were only two guys that we thought could help us in the past year's draft when they asked me to look at the tight ends. There were only two guys that I thought would be comfortable and we would be comfortable with them. You just have to know what you are looking for and sometimes you just get lucky and you hit on one. The thing that is impressive about (Ballard) is that he has a very high test score. He reminds me a lot of Jeremy Shockey in this aspect, when he comes off the field he can tell you what everyone was doing around him on the play. He has a really good feel of what is going on around him and Jeremy was the same way. He had the great football mentality because he has the passion for it. He has a real good passion for the game. He is a lot of fun to work with."
Quarterbacks Coach Mike SullivanQ: Is Eli taking fewer chances throwing the ball into dangerous spots?
Sullivan: "The three big areas that are constantly areas of emphasis that we discuss are in terms of leadership, accuracy, and decision making. We put those three together in how he's performed, particularly this most recent opponent, Buffalo. We were very, very pleased with his ability to make great decisions, be smart with the football, and be accurate. When he's had time to throw, I'll put his accuracy and his ability to spot the ball against anybody in this league and put it on a target."
Q: Is the fact that he has taken a lot more sacks this year indicative of his willingness to take a small loss instead of forcing it into a tight space?Sullivan: "I think you never like to see a sack, you never like to see an interception, you don't like to see an incompletion. But ultimately, there's the clock that's going off. If it's not there, you don't want to force it. There's a time and a place where maybe you want to try to push the envelope a bit or take a chance. He has great confidence in his ability - and he should - and the ability of his receivers and offensive line. I think when a no-win situation presents itself, it's best to go ahead and move on to the next play. I think he's done a great job with that."
Q: Is it also because of the fact that he doesn't have Steve Smith and Kevin Boss, that maybe he's not forcing the ball as much because of these younger guys?Sullivan: "We've had a new crew, a new group of receivers, and there's no question there was great dependence and reliance, as you say, on both Steve and Kevin. I think having had so many new faces, he's had to take a look at overall riding things out, if you will. And maybe there has been a couple of going to a certain receiver on a certain play. And now, the coverage might not dictate that so he has to go elsewhere. The good thing is that even though we've had limited opportunities because of the lack of OTA's and the lack of minicamp and so forth – a lot of the other young receivers have gotten a ton of opportunities. You look at some of our training camp practices, there are some of our young guys right there going with our first team, and so they got experience. I think he got some confidence in them early on and they're getting comfortable with him. So I think that's definitely helped him be more conscious of spreading it out, if you will."
Offensive Line Coach Pat FlahertyQ: Is there an adjustment period for David Baas?Flaherty: "We are in our sixth game now, so there is no more adjustment period for anybody."
Q: How different is it now coaching this line rather than before?Flaherty: "The type of players that we have, the challenges are all new. From a coaching standpoint for me, it has been refreshing. The types of players that we have in our room now are growing. They have a high level of energy. They have been really good at adjusting and it takes some time to be able to work with one another. Sometimes that takes two games or three games or eight games. You really don't know or at least I haven't figured out that yet. You just hope that every play gets better and better.
Q: How much did it help that David Baas had five years of experience before coming to the Giants?Flaherty: "He has played the NFL game and he has played at the offensive guard spot more than the center position, but he sure knows how to play. He has been well-coached and he is a great individual to coach because of his growth and the talent that he has for that position."
Q: How has Will Beatty played?Flaherty: "I think that every time he plays, there is going to be a learning experience. He is playing against different people and one week it may be a fast guy and the next week the guy may have more power. Another week, a guy may just be a 10-year veteran. He just needs to see things over and over. He sees things on tape going into the games but he has to live them playing in the games. It is something that is going to be new. The thing I want from William is for him to understand how well he can play and not so much who he is playing against. It is what he does, his technique and his fundamentals. His technique and fundamentals will get better, but we will focus on what he can do and not what other people can do."
**Running Backs Coach Jerald Ingram
Q: Do you have to talk to Ahmad Bradshaw about sticking to the original intent of the play?**Ingram: "Yes. I think that's something that we've always worked on with him, because he's always been very impatient, hard, tough-nosed, he likes to hammer. He likes to get up there as fast and as hard as you can. He doesn't like those two- and three-yard runs. He's always trying to find more or always trying to get in space. That's something he's working on. Sometimes that's just certain plays. It's not all of the plays. It's certain plays he runs real well. He's very patient. There are some plays he just has to be more patient and not get frustrated that it's not coming. I think he was a little better last week. He's still working on it. I think he gets the message now, that he has to work with it and when it happens, it happens. When you're playing against teams that are playing eight- and nine-man fronts, it's tough sledding. That means they're trying to defend something that you do well, that other things open up, such as the pass game, the play action pass and other avenues. If they're playing safeties that far up on the line of scrimmage, closer than the linebackers, that means something else is open. You just have to hang in there until we get those people out of there. Every attitude run you have means something to the team. Just move the chains."
Q: Has Da'Rel Scot progressed as you had hoped?Ingram: "He hasn't been put in that situation. That's what hurts a young guy who hasn't had a lot of that in the offseason because of this kind of year. You're now trying to adapt and see what he can do well. He's still your third and fourth kind of guy. Like I said, Ahmad Bradshaw has been there when we had Derrick Ward and Brandon (Jacobs). You couldn't get him out on the field, but Ahmad had already been in the Super Bowl. When you're a third or fourth, who knows who you are? You're only going to get one or two shots, just like Ahmad. It's a growing stage you go through. You're going to play and die with the guys who know how to do what they do every down. You're not going to go out there and experiment and create a bad situation and take your best, experienced players off the field. And put a young guy who you don't know what you'll get. So we really don't know, but we're trying to learn more about him. We're trying to put him in situations to see what he can do as a receiver, how can we utilize his speed? Yeah, you'd like to throw him out there and just say, 'Run to the sideline.' Well we can't get half the people to run to the sideline. Defense gets paid too. They're not letting you. They're just not letting you. The fastest guy in the NFL, they bottle him up most weeks. It's just the way defenses are playing people right now."
Wide Receivers Coach Sean RyanQ: Are you enjoying the Victor Cruz show so far?Ryan: "I enjoy any show where it ends in touchdowns, so yeah, I'm enjoying it."
Q: It seems like the ball goes up a lot and you kind of see a little guy, especially in double coverage sometimes, you think there's no way he's going to come down with it. Somehow he does, whether it's a tip or whether it's a nice play.Ryan: "Certain guys have a knack for being able to go and get the ball and they find themselves around the ball a lot and he's got some of that. There's no question. I think you could see a little of that day one when he walked in this place, that this guy might have a knack for making some plays and getting to the ball. He's built on it. He's got a ways to go. He's got a lot to clean up. There are still those mistakes that you have to get rid of and we're striving to do it. He is too. He's by far not a finished product, but he's working to get there."
Q: How do you explain why so many people missed on him?Ryan: "I think you explain it by these are human beings doing it. There are a lot of factors that go into it. I didn't see him coming out of high school, so I don't know why so many Division I schools missed on him, but maybe he exploded when he was in college. Maybe he put on 15 pounds and became more explosive and physical. I'm not sure about that. You see potential, but we were fortunate to have him in a spot where he was able to take reps in rookie minicamp. We got to see him live and in-person take these (snaps) and that's where it really showed up."
Q: How has he evolved in the slot?Ryan: "I think we've tried to put him in there as much as we can and get him as many reps. We still do that in terms of practice time and rep after rep, he has developed. He's got a better feel for it. I'll give Eli a good amount of credit on that too in terms of training him. What I mean by training him is constantly talking to (Cruz) about what he sees and what he would want here, how he's seeing it and what reaction he expects. (Manning) can train guys by stopping them with the ball, where you want them. 'This is where I'm throwing the ball, this is what's happening in this picture.' Eli's constantly doing that, constantly talking to (the receivers). He does a great with that. He should take a lot of credit for that."
Q: Did the second quarter against the Cowboys last season show you what Ramses Barden is capable of doing?Ryan: "I think it scratches the surface of what he is capable of doing. One of his greatest tools is he is a smart player. What that gives you is the availability to move him around. He can play all four spots. Move him around. He's done a good job of staying attentive in meetings and doing all of that even when he hasn't played. I expect him to be mentally, right off the bat, be in a good place."
Q: Will he pick up where he left off?Ryan: "I think that's definitely possible. He hasn't played since last November, so there's going to be some rust there. But in terms of where he is mentally, I would expect him to pick up where he left off."
Q: He seemed at that point to have good chemistry with Eli. Will that start from scratch when he returns?Ryan: "No, I don't think so. Chemistry with a quarterback is the quarterback can trust you to be at the right place at the right time. I think when you're a smart player the quarterback knows that. I think that's where that comes from. I would expect more of the same."
Q: I assume that's a good problem to have – juggling the three receivers (Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Cruz)?Ryan: "Absolutely. It's a challenge on game day, but where it gets real interesting and makes your job more exciting is when you're helping to develop a game plan. You're trying to find different formations, put guys where their strengths are going to show up. When you have different guys with different strengths it becomes pretty exciting to think about the possibilities and what you can do with them."
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