Check out the assistant coaches talking to the media
Tight Ends Coach Kevin M. Gilbride**
Q:What's it been like with Larry Donnell and how far he's come?
A:It's been good. The thing about Larry is he's a conscientious kid. He's so green with everything he does, he hasn't been playing the position for very long, but he works at it, he tries to get better and it's paid off in the passing game and he's getting better every week in the run game.
Q:Larry in the run game, it looks like he's still not consistent at that level. What does he need to do to elevate his performance there?
A:I think we all, as a group, as a tight end position, need to continue to improve in that area in conjunction with the offensive line. We all need to gel and continue to get better. He's an athletic guy. At times he lacks confidence in that area and that affects him. When he just comes off the ball and delivers a blow, he can do some good things. He's an explosive guy. I think the number one area he needs to improve on is his confidence in that area. He is improving, which is good. I don't know if it was his most consistent game blocking, this past game.
Q:It seems like he really tries to fight for those extra yards. Sometimes that's cost him. **
A:In what regard?
Q:With a couple fumbles, putting the ball at risk a couple times.
A:Right, and that's… the fumbles, that's an area where… I always want him to fight for every extra yard he can get, but that's going to hold true throughout with every position you go to. You always want guys fighting for that extra yard and that was the case the other day. That was a great play getting that football out by that defender. He had good ball security, the only thing that he could have done differently was have that fifth point that we talk about all the time, squeeze down on that ball, but that was it. That was a great play by the defender getting the football out. The second one he never got put away and that's his fault. That's one of those things where he needs to catch, and it's something we talk about all the time and we drill all the time – catch and tuck and make sure it's secure.
Q:Larry hadn't received too much attention in the beginning, now he's starting to get jams off the line. What can he do better, in your opinion, to fight those jams because it looks like they've been taking him out of the game a little bit?
A:Not much. He's doing a good job in that area and you're right, they've consciously tried to collision him off the line of scrimmage but he's done a nice job with his releases. I think one of the other areas that you might see is when we're actually chipping the defensive end before we get out onto our route. That's another thing that we need to do as an offense. You see it throughout the league, all of the tight ends are chipping on their way out on third and seven to 10, four to six at times, because you need that extra protection on those pass downs.
Q:Sometimes when they chip or if they get jammed they lose their balance a little bit, it delays the timing. Do you see that with him or is he getting better in that regard?
A:That's everywhere, so it's nothing new or specific to Larry. That's one of those things that he does need to improve on, but really where I want him to improve is actually colissioning the defensive ends more. I think that's something, we need to help our tackles in that area and he needs to improve in that area. He's a secondary element to the passing game in that regard, he needs to help protection first. As far as getting knocked off balance, I want him to deliver a better blow to that defender. That might knock him off balance even more but it doesn't matter. When we have one of those chips called, that's his focus, that's what he needs to make sure he's focusing on.
Q:I know you were with the receivers last year. Donnell to us almost seemed like he came out of nowhere. Did you see this ability in him?
A:I think we all did. You always have to remember, he's very green so his development has taken its course. He needed reps and he needed to have the opportunity. His development comes, again, through confidence. He always had the ability to do that, it was a matter of him being able to calm himself down and just play the game. That's an area that he's grown leaps and bounds in the passing game and is improving in the run game. He continues to need to progress in that area. Yes, I thought he always had it in him but there's a lot of guys you see that have the talent in them and we have to get it out of them and they have to get it out of themselves.
Q:With him, and I guess you saw it most in the Washington game, it almost seems like when he went one-on-one with the corner, he was almost able to bully the corner.
A:At times, at times he does. Again, those are areas… we're asking our tight ends to do so much from blocking from an inline position to split out as a number two receiver in those two tight end positions in the wings, playing out as the number one receiver, we're asking them to do a lot, so as a coach, you love it because you never stop coaching. You've always got technique and things to talk about so he can still improve in that area when he's detached as a number one receiver and being violent with his hand and moving the defender off of his spot. Those are things he's taken to and it's starting to show. It's fruitful for him.
Q:We haven't seen a lot of Adrien Robinson on the field but have you seen improvement from him?
A:Very much so. His approach has been great. He's really taken to coaching as well as far as… his footwork needed to improve in the past and it has, it really has. Now we're working on his blow delivery and as far as his pass catching technique, as far as shooting his hands rather than surrounding the football, and those are all areas that he's improved on. He's played more this year than he's played in the past. We have little packages for him here and there and the more he develops, the more he'll earn the right to be on the field. So far he's done that, he continues to have growth and needs to continue to progress.
Wide Receivers Coach Sean Ryan
Q:How much of a shock was it to your room to lose Victor Cruz?
A:Anytime you lose a captain, a leader, a guy like that, it's going to affect everybody in the room, there is no question about it. You kind of feel your way around and you ask guys to step up and take on the role. I think it is important to address it, I thought it was important for the room to be honest about it, kind of acknowledge the loss. Also, put the challenge forward to those guys that it is time to step up in a lot of different ways. It is time to step up in playmaking and production, but also in roles of leadership. I put a lot of it on Rueben Randle, I said, "You're the guy that has been around here and I expect you to step up and take that role." He has done it; he's done a good job with it.
Q:Randle is 23 years old still. How difficult is that? He might have been here a few years, but in terms of age, he is still a pretty young guy.
A:That is funny. That surprises me even a little bit because he has been around for a while. I guess I need to remember he is only 23, too. He carries it with a little bit of maturity. He doesn't seem 23 to me, I am sure it is challenging for him and it is like everything else, I think the room is good in terms of working together and having his back a little bit, and doing the right things. I think he is handling it pretty well, I have been impressed with it, I think he is really trying to step up in that leadership role, so I have been happy with that.
Q:How is the Odell Beckham doing? He has stepped in, he's got three touchdowns in as many games, is he on a full load or is he still catching up. **
A:No, he is on a full load. In terms of challenging Rueben Randle in terms of leadership after this happened with Victor Cruz, I said to Odell Beckham Jr, "Your rookie season is over now.You're not a rookie anymore; congratulations, you're a veteran." In all seriousness, there is going to be bumps in the road because of his youth and your try to figure everything out, and you fix it as you go, get the details right and that is really where we are right now. The talent is there, it's clear to see; now it is the details, the details have got to come, and they have got to come quick. There is no time to wait on the details; the details have got to be hammered out right now, already. He understands that, he understands what is on his plate, and what is expected of him, and he is a competitor. He is going to push himself, he's got that now. He's got that desire to get things right.
Q:How beneficial is it to be working with Eli, an 11-year veteran, a guy who has obviously knows football. It seems like that is a good fit for him, giving him an opportunity to do that.
A:Giving a guy the ability to be comfortable at what he is doing, is big. He is a sharp guy; he has had a lot of experience, not necessarily with this offense, but in the NFL. The different defenses he sees, the different coverages, the different adjustments that he is making. He has great experience with that for, like you said, 11 years. There is definitely a factor where you can get him to the line of scrimmage and have him be able to kind of survey the defense, make a decision, I think that is all very beneficial to him.
Q:How many play options does he have when he gets up there?
A:Depends on the look, situation. It's really depending on who we are playing, too. It can change weekly, sometimes there are a lot of things, sometimes there are very few.
Q:Is there always at least one run, one pass option, when he gets up there?
A:Depends, it is not always the same. It's kind of dictated on what we are seeing defensively.
Q:Strictly looking at the numbers, it would appear that the dramatic increase in the passing efficiency has come at the expense of the bigger play. How difficult is that to manage and to get back?
A:I think that there is always a need for big plays, explosive plays. I think that as we continue to evolve and get better, and continue to protect the quarterback and run the ball, all those things will come. I think that those things kind of play hand in hand. If you are running the ball well, you are going to have bigger plays as well, you are going to have big plays in play-action. If you are completing throws, you are going to open up some big runs, explosive runs. It is really hand in hand. I think that as we continue to protect him and play better and have balance, we will have those big plays.
Q:So has that been a natural development or slow development in terms of finding them, opposed to Eli Manning maybe saying, "Look we need more efficiency, let's concentrate on that first."
A:I think so. I think part of it, too, is making sure that we are not just going back there and chucking the ball down the field. It is kind of a misconception that you are going to be able to have a bunch of big plays by just closing your eyes and bombing it down the field. I think as we continue to perform better, as we continue to have those runs, I think some of that stuff will come.
Q:Before the game you had two passes over 20 yards in the air the whole season, Is that something you need to do a little bit more. He needs to trust the receivers can go win that one on one?
A:I think finding those one on one's, sometimes that is dictated by coverage. If we are getting a lot of soft coverage, throwing those balls deep into double coverage is going to be a bad idea. It also depends on how we are being played. Like I said, if we can hit some of those runs and draw some of that coverage down into the box, then some of those big plays will come.
Running Backs Coach Craig Johnson
A:… every back wants to go out and light it up and run for 200 yards and all that, but this is the NFL and defenses do a good job at this level. What he is going through, the process of right now, getting more carries and so on, is timing and rhythm with the offensive line. That's the bottom line. They block in a certain rhythm and a certain pace, he runs at a certain rhythm and a certain pace. Everybody's trying to mesh that together to make sure we have an effective running game.
Q:What about Andre Williams' patience?
A:I think for all young players, they have a tendency to really get in a hurry, but I think that he is getting more patient as he continues to go. I think it's a good thing that you can kind of roll back sometimes with the young players because you'd rather have them be over aggressive than not over aggressive. Again, it's the rhythm and the flow every play. Every back that I know of wants to get with the rhythm and the timing of the linemen. There is a certain learning curve there and that's what he's experiencing.
Q:Rashad Jennings had played in power offenses and he came here and there was more zone stuff. You saw in the preseason I think a couple times where he would go one way so it took him a little while to get used to it. Is Williams the same thing?
A:Williams had a lot of power offense and we do a lot more zone here. You just have to learn how the defenses, where their fits are going to be. Again, that's through film study and then find out when can he set a good pace to the hole and then hit it. That's the thing that you've got to find, how you do that is rep after rep after rep. One time I can go outside, one time I can go inside, one time I might need to set it up so I can help myself with the … The bottom line, it is a rhythm and a pace and a feel. How do you learn that? You have more reps. The more reps you get, the more you get your timing, the more your timing happens, the more you have a chance to make the big runs.
Q:How much of the running game the past two weeks has been the backs not having the holes and how much of it is the backs not working in unison with the line? **
A:I think that the bottom line is that when your production in the running game is not what you want, as a coach, the first thing I'm going to do is make sure that the running back is entering the hole at the right time, trying to help set up the lineman's blocks so he can get to the second and the third level. Whether it's him or whether it's Peyton Hillis, the bottom line is we're going to continue to strive to make sure the backs and the linemen are on the same page and make sure that we have the right timing so we can have an effective running game. That is a work in process. It will be, it was with Rashad when he came here and it is going to continue to stay a work in progress but we're going to continue to keep that going because I think that helps, obviously, our offense flow when that happens right.
Q:How has Andre been doing as far as you could see?
A:It looks to me that, in the big picture… I was asked before, he's done a good job with his pass protection, which I was concerned about because he wasn't asked to do that much in the past. He's done a better job of catching the ball. He is obviously a heavy load, you've seen him a couple times move guys out of the hole. He's done it recently. I think he's done a good job, but he's a work in progress and he's not the finished product yet. I'm really excited about his future and I think he's starting to learn and grow. He's getting in a rhythm as we continue to play.
Q:In the Dallas game, on the big run, the hole just opened up and he was through it in a split second.
A:I have a very strong conviction about him as a runner. I think time will tell and I think that will be proven over time that he's got a lot of tools.
Q:Until Rashad comes back, do you have to mix in Peyton more?
A:I have done that a lot. As you've seen, Peyton's played more, he's been the veteran. I think that's helped a lot. I think that's helped so Andre does not get into a 35-carry situation yet. You have to try to find time to balance that out. We put Peyton in some situations, does that mean Andre's not good in that situation? No. I just want to make sure that he gets his reps. Right now we've tried to make sure it's not just, again, all Andre and no Peyton. That way we kind of have a little bit of a balance there so Andre doesn't feel like he's got to go out and win the entire game by himself.
Q:Why do you think he struggled the last couple weeks as the feature back here?
A:I think that as a young player, he's trying to find his niche and find his tempo. Obviously we've played against some defenses that have played very well. He's just got to see it and feel it and get a feel of the game. That's the bottom line for him. He's had a couple runs that have kind of gotten out and made some plays but he just needs to continue to get his reps and see if he can get himself into a rhythm. As a young player, he's trying to find his way.
Q:Does he have to be more patient? It seems like Rashad is a lot more patient?
A:I really think that's more of his style. He's more of a north-south, downhill runner. That's what he's done so when he gets with a lineman, of course he's going to have his tempo and rhythm with them… again, I think it's experience. He's going to find out how hard he can hit a hole, how he can set up his blocks and obviously he's going to do it the way he runs. I think as he continues with more rhythm, more tempo, I think all of that stuff will come together.
Q:Is there a difference in the blocking from when Rashad went out?
A:Not really. I don't think we have specific plays for Andre compared to Rashad. The bottom line that comes down for Andre is that as he goes through and does his, as he attacks the hole, he's just got to kind of make sure he sees where everybody's going to fit and then see if he can hit it 100 miles an hour or eight miles an hour, whatever it may be to hit that. That's a rhythm and flow. Every back that I've known ever has gone through that, so he's trying to find his niche and his timing with the guys and I'm sure it's going to come.
Offensive Line Coach Pat Flaherty
Q: How do you think the line responded to the challenges of the injuries right at the beginning [of the season]?
A: I think we responded the way we expected them to respond. They took it by the horn and ran with it. With the injuries, we always, in this organization, talk about everybody that is active or under contract is always ready to go at any time.
Q: A lot of people saw Weston [Richburg] in the long-term as a center… Has he looked natural to you at left guard?
A: He is learning every day. It really is a play by play with a young player, particularly a rookie. He has the proper demeanor that we look for in a New York Giant offensive lineman. I expect him to get better each and every day.
Q: Was this what you expected out of [John] Jerry?
A: Since the end of training camp, he has really executed his assignments and techniques better. I think he can continue to get better. Is he in the full flow coming off the injury in the spring? Probably not, but he is getting close.
Q: The yards-per-carry before contact with [Rashad] Jennings is 2.5 yards and with [Andre] Williams [that number] it is 1.3 yards… Does that indicate your group has had a couple bad weeks in terms of the run blocking? **
A: Yes, if that is a stat. The running game is a combination of the offensive line, the tight end, the fullback and the running back. There is no question that we need to be better executing the schemes that are called. A lot of it has to do with the particular front that we are facing. More so than anything, it is on the offensive line that we have better holes to get our running backs through.
Q: The 2.5 yards for Jennings is a very high number… That indicates you guys were dictating the action… The last couple of week,s do you put it on the quality of the opposition with the way they have attacked you [for the decrease]?
A: No I don't put it on the opposition that much. It has something to do with it. It is more on our technique and fundamentals of the offensive line. That is where it starts and probably stops when it comes to the running game. We have to take ownership of that and we do in the sense that we need to run the ball better. The runs are being called as they were this past week in Dallas and we have to execute better. Some of it is the fundamentals and the technique and some of it is assignments. Part of it is how the running back fits into the scheme. Most of it is the offensive line.
Q: With the fundamentals and technique, is that something that can be fixed on the fly during the season?
A: Sure, and it has to be fixed and it starts with me. I have to do a better job in getting our guys to understand the concepts. We should be at this point of the year. We are not going backwards. We are moving forward. That is what we are doing. That is where I came from. That is where I am going back to. [We] are going to study each and every play to see how we can make it better.
Q: [Justin] Pugh said after the Philadelphia game that he apologized to some teammates because he was so upset with the way he played… What is the response you have seen in practice [from Pugh] and what have you said to him?
A: He has responded better in practice and I was looking for that response before the Philadelphia game. We weren't getting it out of him or a few of those guys. Sometimes, unfortunately, you need a wake-up call. I don't expect another game like that out of Justin, nor do I anyone else.
Q: What makes you so confident in that?
A: What makes me confident is I have to do a better job coaching. I have to demand more from them in practice. We will carry it over into the game. I am a big believer; you guys know you have heard me say it before that you have to practice. You have to practice to be the best you can and that is full speed. You get enough reps in practice to be able to carry it over to each game.
Q: How much of the Will Beatty you are seeing this year is the guy he was before the [broken leg]?
A: He can play better. We can all play better. I don't think as an offensive line, as a group, we are anywhere near where we need to be or where we will be.
Q: [Coach Coughlin] said yesterday that if this team is going to make a run, it has to run the ball… Are you feeling that pressure?
A: Pressure? If we were 7-0, I'd still have the same amount of pressure on myself. There is a sense of urgency that we have to be better. It is correctable. We have some mental errors in the run game. We have had some physical breakdowns. We have had some technique breakdowns. We have to eliminate those. The one thing that keeps us on track and we must eliminate is the penalties. We must eliminate the penalties because that is putting us behind the eight-ball and it gives the defense the upper hand. We have to stay on schedule.
Q: Obviously one thing people are looking at down the road is [Geoff] Schwartz being able to play… Do you have a sense of when it might be and how you are going to adjust to having him back?
A: No, I really don't have a sense of when it is going to be. I know he is going to start practicing when we get back from the bye week. It will probably be evaluated day in and day out, mostly by the trainers. Whatever Ronnie Barnes and his staff dictate that he is able to do, we will work him as hard as we can.
Q: You are a guy that has always [said] the best five will play… Is that the theory when he gets back?
A: Yes, you want to play the best five. You do. When someone is coming off an injury, do you count on them? In a sense you do, but you have to continue to move forward with what you have until that person is healthy again.
Q: When you look at your line it sounds like you are not satisfied and that they can play better… Where are they? 75 percent of what you would like?
A: I don't know what the percentage is. I evaluate it play by play. I see some real good things out of the offensive line, and then I see some things that are head-scratchers. We have to eliminate the head-scratchers. We have to be able to be more consistent, not only in the run game, but also in our pass protection.
Q: Are the head-scratchers the mental errors and things like that?
A: Part of it is that. It has a lot to do with the physical breakdowns, the penalties, the concentration, the focus and being on the same page. We are well into the season with this group that we have to eliminate [those mistakes]. We don't have to cut them down, we have to eliminate them.
Quarterbacks Coach Danny Langsdorf
Q: What has contributed to Eli Manning's increased efficiency?
A: Probably in his footwork. I think he is playing at high level and I think improved footwork has really helped out. He is obviously worked hard at that part of it, and that is a little bit different than what he was used to with the other system. We teach it a little bit differently. I think that is probably the biggest area in how fast he has been playing is his footwork.
Q: Some people may be surprised that a guy with his resume has to re-learn things and been a willing learner.
A: Yeah, he has really put a lot of time into learning the system. The thing about what we are doing offensively is so much of it is tied into the footwork. That really is telling him where to go with the ball and the timing which he needs to get it to a receiver. That has been a big part of it, not that he is learning a lot of new concepts. Football, there is not a lot of new things in football these days anyway. The way we read, the progression of the way he is reading the play. There are a lot of different factors, we just teach it a little different maybe than how he had it in the past. He has spent a ton of time, really done a great job preparing and working at learning and getting comfortable in the offense.
Q: What do you like about Eli Manning's stats, and what can you look at and say, "this should be up a little bit, this is good, this is not great, the raw numbers?"
A: I think the turnovers are the biggest. Making sure we are taking care of the ball is a statistic that needs to be low.
Q: For him?
A: Just to help our team. I am talking about interceptions, that is a big stat. Making sure he is taking care of the ball, making sure he makes decisions with where to go with it and I think we always want to score more, we want to have more touchdowns, but that can also be running the ball, so that is not a huge part of it. Finding completions is big, continuing to spread the ball around, and just keep the chains moving, that has been a big part of his success.
Q: He's got five interceptions already. **
A: Anytime you have them, you've got to look at what caused them and what caused the situation. At the end of the year, they are still apart of the stat line, so you want to have as few as possible. There are different factors really in every play.
Q: What do you like about it when you look down that line?
A: I think his quarterback rating is up and that is truly a reflection of the offense. It is a reflection of making plays in the passing game, and protection, making a touchdown grab, or a spectacular catch. There are a lot of factors that go into that rating. As long as it is up, I think our offense is playing well.
Q: Do you have to find a middle ground in the passing game? Can it be too conservative with the ball? You want him to be able to use his talents, too.
A: That is a fine line, for sure. I wouldn't accuse him of being too conservative, but we certainly want him taking care of the ball. That is a big part of if you say, "oh, he should have thrown it in there in a tight window," if you are going to be careless with the ball, maybe. I think that taking care of it will override anything that looks too careless. I think that is a big part of his decision-making, is knowing whether it is a risky throw, or it is a calculated risk. Whether it is something he can make, and only give the receiver a chance to catch the ball. As opposed to the possibility of a tipped ball, or an interception.
Q: As Odell Beckham Jr. works himself in, will there be more down field opportunities for him?
A: If we can get him matched up with a particular defender, or in some one on one situation, that is a valuable thing for us. He does have it, he is explosive, he runs good routes. In the short time that he has played for us, he has been exciting. So continuing to find ways to get him the ball, and Eli Manning looking for him in a particular play is a good thing. I think he is just giving us some excitement on offense, another weapon to use.
Q: Coming from the college game, obviously he is a rookie. He practiced almost not at all.
A: To me I think he has done a great job just picking up with a few game reps that he has had. He has played great. Now, he's got a lot of room to improve, a very high ceiling, there are a lot of good things to come from him. For him to come in and make the plays that he has made already is impressive. He has not had a lot of game reps with the Giants. There is a lot of room for him to grow and a lot of different ways to continue to get him the ball.
Q: Do you and Eli Manning trust him?
A: Yeah, I think there is definitely an opportunity to become more comfortable with a receiver as time goes on, but I think he is very excited in what he has shown already.
Q: As Odell Beckham Jr. was getting closer to finally getting on the field, did Eli make an effort to work extra with him to make sure you guys sped up that learning curve?
A: He has always been engaged in learning and very into meetings. It is not like he has been away. The biggest difference with Eli Manning was getting the timing down. Being comfortable, having that rapport with him in terms of running routes and where he is going to be, and how he is going to place the ball. That is what we were lacking a little bit, but in terms of learning and preparing, Odell Beckham Jr. has done a great job of being engaged in meetings and understanding what we are doing and continuing to learn. That is where he is ready to go.
Q: From Eli Manning's perspective, have you seen that he has made that effort, and that's clicking, and this is maybe the reason why Odell Beckham Jr. is having the success that he has had so far?
A: I think Eli Manning being more comfortable with what we are doing with his fundamentals has allowed him to be focused on timing up with Odell Beckham Jr. He hasn't had to worry about himself and all of the different receivers. Since he has been able to be more comfortable with what he is doing and kind of applying it to Odell Beckham Jr., I think just having him back in there and at practice was big for us.
Q: So if Eli Manning back in training camp had to work with Odell, maybe it would have hurt his progress a little bit if you threw that on his plate as well?
A: I think anytime you have different receivers in there you are always battling the timing issue and being comfortable with a guy. As they play more and more together, there is definitely a comfort level with each guy and that comes with playing together. As they have gotten more work together, that will just continue to get better and better.