*Transcriptions from Friday's practice: *
Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Q: With the injuries at linebacker, could Kelvin Sheppard step right into the lineup this week and pick up where he left off last year?
A: He's going to have an opportunity to play, yes.
Q: What have you seen from defensive end Olivier Vernon this week?
A: He practiced in a limited role. Did a little bit more this week than he did last week.
Q: Did Vernon look good in practice?
A: He's making some progress.
Q: How is linebacker Jonathan Casillas doing in practice?
A: He's making some progress, too. Tomorrow's a big day for us, it's launch day.
Q: The injury report is longer this year than last. Is there anything you can attribute that to?
A: One thing we always take a look at are soft tissue injuries, that's a big part of it. We feel we have a lot of control over that, whether it's the players hydrating, whether it's how we practice, the duration of practice, the off days, the on days, those types of things. The other stuff is just football.
Q: Where do you think the team is mentally and emotionally after the last two weeks?
A: I think they're excited to go play. Excited to go get back on the field. When you have a setback like we did last week and some fake news, I guess you could all it, like we had this week, some drama, I think it's good to go out and play the game you love to play.
Q: Why do you say fake news?
A: It's anonymous quotes.
Q: By saying fake news, do you doubt that the anonymous quotes are real?
A: No, I'm saying it's anonymous. No names behind it.
Q: But, anonymous is different than fake.
A: I'll let you define it for me, then. It's anonymous.
Q: If there are players in the locker room that feel that way, it is still an issue, right?
A: Not an issue. I'd like to help the players that have issues. It's not an issue for the team. We can handle it, we're strong. You saw how the players responded in the locker room yesterday, I thought they did a great job.
Q: You mean as far as what the players said publicly yesterday?
A: Publicly, yes.
Q: How much of a toll do you think the anonymous comments have taken on the team mentally?
A: I don't think it's taken a toll. I think, again, the way last week worked out, I think we're excited to go jump on a plane, go across the country and play in a ballgame.
*Q: Have you spoken to John Mara since last week's game? *
A: I'm going to keep my personal and private conversations personal and private.
*Q: Do you think this is an important game that could answer a lot of questions about the effort this team has shown? *
A: It's the only one we have this week. They're all big. We have an opportunity to play a team that is going to be hungry. They're going to be scrapping. They're going to see a one-win team get off the plane and we're going to have to go out there and give it everything we got.
Q: When you read those messages to the team, whether it is poems or stories, is that something that comes from you personally or is it stuff that you research?
A: I don't get an opportunity to read a ton like I'd liked to, but I have a chance to listen. As we all know, the commute in the Northeast can get interesting, but I have a chance to listen to a lot of things on my way to and from work and I get a lot of my ideas there.
Q: Who's your favorite to listen to?
A: My favorite book, some guys here know, is The Subtle Art of Not Giving A – and I'll let you fill in the blank - is one of my favorite books. Simple Rules, I thought, was pretty good. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters is a favorite of mine. There are a bunch of them. Outliers, I think, is pretty good. But I like to keep it fresh. Tools of Titans, I think, is a good one. There are a bunch of them.
*Q: What's in there now? *
A: The 5 Second Rule
Defensive End Olivier Vernon
*Q: How are you feeling? *
A: I'm feeling great man so we'll see how it goes on Sunday.
*Q: Do you expect to be out there? *
A: I'm taking it day-by-day. We got practice tomorrow so we'll see how that goes and look forward from there.
Q: What unique challenges do both C.J Beathard and Jimmy Garoppolo bring?
A: They both play quarterback so we know one thing, they're going to try to move the ball, they're going to try to make good throws. I think it's just disrupt them off the spot of the ball and make it uncomfortable for them.
Q: How difficult has it been to watch what's going on while being out due to injury?
A: You never want to be on the outside looking in when all of your brothers are out there playing. But it was out of my control, nothing I can do about it. All I could do is just get healthy and now I'm back.
*Q: After never missing a game up until this year, does it give you an appreciation to being on the field? *
A: Oh man, yeah. I was thinking the other day, some of the guys in the building, some of the former Giant players that have been in here and I could see from their point of view, their perspective that dang, if they could just play another game, you know what I mean? In my mind, I was like dang, is this how it feels to not play and it felt weird to me. I'm just glad and I'm fortunate that it wasn't worse than what it could have been. I'm just glad to be back and enjoy my time and enjoy my teammates.
*Q: What do you think about the reports this week that coach is losing the players? *
A: Honestly, I feel like all of the guys are in high spirits right now. Everybody is behind Coach McAdoo. So, everything that you guys hear or whatever comes out, I have no comment on that one.
Q: Was the issue addressed yesterday? Did the players talk about it at all?
A: No, I mean if somebody wanted to come forth and say who said anything, come forth and say it. If not, it doesn't really mean anything to us.
Q: Will a win help take care of some of these feelings?
A: A win helps take care of a lot of things. It's been a while since we've had a win, so it would be nice to get a little win and try to get on a roll.
Running Backs Coach Craig Johnson
Q: What has been the key for RB Orleans Darkwa when it comes to his success?
A: I think that obviously the first thing is that he's had a lot of opportunities. The second, when he has had those opportunities, he's produced and he's been able to stack it. He's been consistent. He's played well back-to-back-to-back-to-back. So, I just think sometimes everybody gets different opportunities. He's got his opportunities and he's made the most of it.
Q: Is it nice to see him capitalize on those opportunities?
A: I'm very happy for the guy. He epitomizes what it is to be a New York Giant. He's had to fight his way. He's been given nothing. He's earned his way on this team. He's earned his way to get the time he's done and he has, again, had a lot of success and he's stacked it. So, he's going to continue to get a chance to do that.
Q: What is his style has led to his success?
A: I think a lot of it really is that he is a very strong north-south runner. He doesn't try to dance too much in the hole. Every back's got their style, but his style is definitely more vertical and he has a tendency to fall forward a lot and he's got good speed for a big back.
Q: How has Wayne Gallman recovered this week from a tough fumble on Sunday?
A: Like defensive backs, you have to recover. You have to get over that. As a young player, we're going to go through that. We're going to practice our ball fundamentals every week. We know how critical that is because it is key to the game. However, when you're on the field, you got to play and you can't worry about turning over the ball. So, you have to trust your fundamentals and as a player – all the players came up to him, told him to get over it. He's got to be able to do that. That's what's going to lead him to becoming the player I hope he can become.
Q: Do you see that in his makeup that he can get over it pretty quick?
A: I think so. It really helps him I think coming from such a strong college background. He's used to being in the spotlight and having a lot of attention on him and he has shown me that he's mentally strong enough to get through it. That's part of playing football. Regardless of position, but specifically if you ever have a turnover and that play is causing you problems play after play, then you're not going to become the kind of player you want to become.
*Q: Do you look at (Wayne) Gallman's fumble as an isolated incident? How did you guys assess that? *
A: What I told him when he came off the field is there is no excuse ever in my mind for a back ever to turn the ball over. I just refuse to accept that. With that being said, when it happens, you can't change the past, but you can go forward. So what I'll tell him is you know what, don't dwell on it, move on, trust yourself, trust your fundamentals, but understand that ball security is a really critical element. But when you're on the field, you got to play. I don't want any player being timid and being scared about playing with a football. They got to make sure they protect it and go on and help us win.
Q: What's the line between you can't have fumbles, but you don't want to have a kid lose confidence in himself?
A: Well, I think they all have to understand that there are repercussions because, again, ball security is really critical for our position and all positions. As a young player, I'm going to try not to break his confidence because if you're doing that, all you're dwelling on is the negative instead of all of the positive things he's brought to the table and he's done a lot of good things like I thought he would and I expect even better things in the future.
Q: How do you think Paul Perkins can work his way back into the running back rotation?
A: Paul Perkins, early in the season, I think he can tell you, he wasn't the Paul Perkins that we all know. He started off slow, wasn't where he wanted to be. He sat out for a while, got himself a little healthier and all I can tell you is, out on the practice field right now, Paul Perkins looks like Paul Perkins. This is the guy I know. But he understands we've got a talented backfield and I know this, with running backs, you will always have your opportunity. So, he will get his opportunity, it's just the way things play out. When that happens, I expect him to play at the level that he was at last year, even if not better.
Q: Were you able to put a finger on what was missing from Perkins earlier in the season?
A: No, because obviously if I could put my finger on it, I'd fix it. But, no, I can't say what it was, but I know this much: he averaged over four yards a carry the year before. He wasn't at that pace this year, for whatever reason, I don't know that reason. But I know this, this past week, he looks like Paul Perkins.
Q: Has Perkins been more decisive on the practice field?
A: This week, definitely. He's playing at the speed that I expect him to play at.