Transcriptions from Thursday's practice
Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
Opening Statement:The weather has been great. I mean, we're pretty fortunate here in November. I only say that because I enjoyed being out there today. It was nice. It was good to be coaching football and on the field and outside. Having said that, I'll just open it up and let you all fire away.
Q: Where does Eli Apple stand, was he benched and is he going to play?
A: Eli is back in the fold and depending on what package we're in, you'll see him out there. So, that's a good thing. That'll help us.
Q: Do you need him to be a starter at this point since you lost Janoris Jenkins?
A: We got a lot of guys - yeah. There's a lot of faces out there. I was going through the meeting – I think it was yesterday – I kept doing one of these, I thought I was in rookie mini-camp, you know, with learning the names. That's normally when we have a sheet of paper with everybody's face on it, but we got to work through that. There's been some moving pieces. I'm praying that Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins) is OK. I know yesterday he had the surgery and 'Double D' (Donte Deayon) had surgery. I don't know if you all know that, but I'm praying for all those guys. We're going to miss them. We're going to miss their presence, but the guys that are here are going to have to step in. Our guys that have been here that know what we're doing, some guys that are new are going to have to learn real quickly. You know, who knows what's going to happen in the game. We might get another shoulder, an ankle or something. Somebody's got to go in there. So, we fight through that like every other team does.
Q: Was Eli out because he missed practice time or has he been a disciplinary issue for you?
A: I know Ben (McAdoo) has addressed a lot of that and I think that's a head coach's subject, so I'm going to stand on Ben's remarks. I'm just glad that we got him back in the fold and we're just ready to go play a game.
Q: Did you ever think you would be here when Eli Manning was benched?
A: I never thought that way. Look it, goes without saying, I love Eli Manning and this is tough, but all I have is love for him and let the rest work itself out.
Q: Are you impressed with Eli Manning giving it his all on the scout team.
A: Yeah, I mean, Eli has always impressed me. I haven't had a chance to really see Eli since that particular announcement, but look it, just right here for Eli in my regards because we've been together through a lot of good things and I respect him a great deal. I really do. Anything about defense?
Q: You made a joke that it's like a rookie mini-camp in the meeting room. Do you know everybody?
A: Well, obviously, I know who they are. There are some guys I haven't seen a lot, but hopefully there are guys that we brought – the scouting department did a great job getting some guys in here and hopefully we can fit some pieces where we need. It's always hard when you talk about corners and being an inside guy and an outside guy and where they play. So, we're trying to figure that out a little bit. But, we've got guys right now. Hopefully if we keep everybody healthy, knock on wood, that have played a little bit for us. I mean, a little bit has been dictated by what (the Raiders) do, what they put out there. They are a team in the past that has had a lot of four wide receiver sets. I don't know what it will be like now, but we have to prepare for everything.
Q: What do you expect from LB B.J. Goodson at this point?
A: Well, interesting. You guys would probably know better than me how long it's been. It seems like an awfully long time since we've had B.J. An awfully long time since you go back to Dallas when he had 18 tackles. We really miss that. I think it's hard, you know, to think that somebody can step in, especially at the linebacker position, and play 70 plays. That's going to be tough. Just physically, it's hard. We found that out when Kelvin Sheppard had to go in, but we're going to try and keep him healthy and rotate some guys in there. It's good to have him back. Love the voice out there. He's running real well, keep our fingers crossed he stays healthy. He'll be OK.
Q: What can B.J. Goodson bring to you guys?
A: Yeah, you know, he runs real well. He's a sideline to sideline guy. We've seen that ever since we moved him to Mike linebacker. I thought he did a great job of that in the Dallas game with all the tackles he got. Then he got slowed down by the injury. I forget what it was after going into the Detroit game, but we lost him there. But, I think he runs real well. He's a physical guy. We need all that with this particular run game we're going to face.
Q: Is Marshawn Lynch still a dangerous running back?
A: Yeah. Mean runner. I went on YouTube. I don't know why I did this. I went on YouTube and I just – I don't even know how to do that real well, but there was a lot of Marshawn Lynch's videos. He scares me, you know, but I got a lot of respect for him as a football player. Loves playing ball. The way he runs. We've been talking about it all week. That's going to be target No. 1 because he's a good football player. We can't let them get the run game going. I mean, it always begins there and this is the same with this football team.
Q: They're missing Michael Crabtree this week. With Derek Carr, how dangerous does that make the Raiders' offense?
A: You know, really all of their wide outs are really fast speed guys and when you put the tape on, they don't always get it there. They have a number of times. They'll take shots at them, but there's guys running downfield that are open with some speed. That concerns us. We talk a lot about that. We can't allow that explosive deep play. But, I got a lot of respect for all of their wide outs because of the speed that they possess. I think they're a really fast offensive team. I think they were purposefully built that way and I know they'll miss Crabtree because he's a really good football player, but I think they have other guys in there that can do a nice job, too.
Q: It seems like Landon Collins has returned to form a bit.
A: I'm glad you brought that up. I just think he feels healthier. I asked him the other day. I think you all know that he's been battling that high ankle sprain from way back and didn't miss anything. He takes a lot of pride in that. That's how those Alabama guys are. They just fight through it and now I think he's finally running the way he wants. I know he feels that way, so keep our fingers crossed he can stay like that.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
Q: Talk about this week in terms of what has happened with Eli Manning.
A: Well, Tuesday obviously was a very difficult day. Eleven years – worked closely with Eli (Manning) as a member of this coaching staff, as a receiver coach, quarterback coach, the coordinator and then these past few weeks being able to call the plays for him and so many experiences that we shared together. The highest of highs – a couple Super Bowl trophies. The lowest of lows, you know, I think you could certainly say this season has had its fair share of those. And everything in between and the thing is, through it all, he has been the ultimate professional. He personifies class and humility, toughness, competitiveness. I just have great respect for Eli Manning as both a player and as a man and over that long period of time, we developed quite a bond – a strong bond – and there's nothing that can take that away or break that bond.
Q: What was the decision-making process like for you? Did Ben McAdoo talk about this decision with you beforehand or did you find out with the rest of the team?
A: You know, I think Mr. (John) Mara and Ben have spoken at great length as far as the whole process of the decision and how it took place and when it took place and there's really nothing that I can add. You have to go back and check on their comments.
Q: What did you tell Ben McAdoo that you thought when he told you?
A: As I mentioned, that whole process has been discussed. At this point, it's more a matter of what are my responsibilities and the responsibility being that there is a group of players, there's a quarterback that needs direction and we've had so many struggles this season. It's been very, very difficult, so I think it's really trying to zero in on trying to find a way that we can get this thing headed in the right direction. It's been frustrating, obviously, for everybody. So, that's where the focus is and trying to get this unit ready for a game in Oakland.
Q: Has Davis Webb had any offensive rep work so far this season and moving forward how is that going to change.
A: In terms of what David has done offensively, you go back in obviously the preseason and training camp and him being involved in that aspect of it. As the regular season has gone on, he's been primarily in the scout team role and as far as what happens in the future, again, that will remain to be seen. Our situations as they come about, you know, they'll be presented to you guys obviously by either Coach (Ben) McAdoo or Jerry (Reese), whoever comes out and we'll go from there.
Q: Has anything changed with Davis Webb at this point or is he still a third string scout team guy?
A: As far as, again, who is on the depth chart. You got to know that, man, I can't talk about the depth chart. I can't talk about who plays. I want to help you out as much as I can, but that's how I'll have to do it.
Q: I mean, there's been no change in Davis Webb's prep this week. Is that correct?
A: In terms of you're asking me whether he's getting reps as far as playing with the Giant offense. You know, I'd love to help you out but I got to be careful about what I say, what I don't say and how much is said and all that good stuff. I can just tell you that he has continued to work with the other quarterbacks. He's been doing what – he's been out at practice. But, I can't say anything as far as how much he's playing with the offense or how much he's on the scout team. He's been out at practice and he's doing all the things we're asking him to do.
Q: How has Geno Smith reacted this week to his increased responsibilities?
A: Geno has worked hard all year and done the things that you want someone who is the No. 2 quarterback to do in terms of preparation and really zeroing in on doing all the things necessary that if given limited reps – if he does get the opportunity, he'll make the most of it. He's obviously excited about the opportunity, you know, it's a chance for him to show what he can do and he's looking forward to what happens on Sunday.
Q: Eli Manning did some work with the scout team. How did that come about and was that jarring?
A: Well, again, the thing is that I just mentioned about Eli. Having spent a great deal of time with him, that is, as I've mentioned, someone that's – he's the ultimate professional. He's the ultimate team player and while certainly not something -- as he shared with everybody -- a decision that he was thrilled with, you know, he's going to do everything he can to help the team and he's preparing himself as best he can as though if he gets an opportunity, he'll be ready to go and keeping himself sharp and so his attitude has been one of being a good teammate and wanting to do everything he can to help the offense, help the other quarterbacks, help everybody get ready as best he can.
Q: Did you have to tweak the game plan when Geno Smith became the starter?
A: Yeah, you know, there's a framework, a system of what we do, what we try to do and it would be foolish to not take into account some of the preferences or some of the particular skills that maybe a certain player has. We always have the quarterbacks involved. We have a framework and within that framework, there may be things that they like a little bit better than other things and the things that he brings to the table, we want to make sure we try to feature that. As with whoever the quarterback is, they're going to have suggestions and input and then we put it all together and try to put our best foot forward. So, in terms of any drastic changes, no. We don't foresee any of those.
Q: What do you think Geno Smith brings to the table?
A: The big thing in terms of Geno when you look at it from a specific standpoint, you know, he has arm talent. He has a very live arm and he's got mobility to extend some plays. But, the key thing I would just want to say is that regardless of who the quarterback is, we got to do a great job finishing drives. We got to be able to, as has been said time and again, you're tired of asking about it. Certainly, we're tired of answering it and I know our fans and players – everybody is tired of having to deal with the fact that we're not scoring more points. So, that means having the conversions on third down. We're doing some good things running the ball, but we just have to find ways to continue to get more snaps. So, regardless of who's out there. He brings those skills to the table as you asked, but regardless of who the quarterback is or what particular skills they are – if we're stubbing our toe on third down, if we're having foolish penalties, if we're not completing passes, that's going to be not good for anybody and that's not what we want. So, look forward to Sunday.
Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn
Q: How big have the past two games been for kicker Aldrick Rosas?
A: Good. Kansas City [game] was tough – wind, another thing that he's going to have to be able to handle playing out here. So, he handled it. [The field goals] were a little bit shorter range, but he did a nice job with those. So, it should help him build his confidence going forward.
Q: Do you have to talk to Rosas about playing in the Bay area again this weekend, after he admitted family may have been on his mind during the San Francisco game?
A: I think always he's got to focus on just staying within himself and not trying to do too much, trying to get too hyped up. Sometimes that's probably the issue, so trying to keep him calm would probably be good advice.
Q: Since there have been instances this season where a team's kicker has gotten injured during a game, do you prepare for that?
A: Well, with everybody, we talk about keeping the head out of it. It happened to [long snapper] Zak [DeOssie] a couple of weeks ago and that guy got knocked out, got fined and he didn't play last week. So, we talk with all the special teams guys about really keeping your head out of it so you can stay in the game and, most importantly, stay healthy. So, it's no different for the kickers and the punters. When they have to tackle, they've got to use their shoulder.
Q: If Rosas or punter Brad Wing have to leave the game, does the other take over both responsibilities?
Q: How much work do they put into that?
A: Not a whole bunch. You really try to manage the number of kicks they have, so you don't want to add something. So, you do it every now and again.
Q: So, when a team loses their kicker they're sometimes forced to go for two after touchdowns, like Philadelphia did a couple weeks ago, because there's no fallback position, right?
A: Yeah, I mean, you hope to have one. I think Philly was using their linebacker, [Kamu] Grugier-Hill, 54. The safety from Dallas came in, [Jeff] Heath, and kicked off pretty well a month ago when he had to. It's a tough situation to be in, whether you lose a snapper, a kicker or a punter. You don't have the second team guy usually on the roster.
Q: If wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was healthy, would he be the emergency answer?
A: Yeah, he's a kicker, yeah. He'd probably kill me if I didn't let him kick [laughs]. But he can't spin it before and kick it, he'd have to wait for it to be held.
Q: What have you thought about wide receiver Kalif Raymond as returner?
A: There's been good decisions catching the ball. We haven't shown much production. That one [against Washington] was kind of a questionable decision, a lot of traffic in front of him, he made the catch and then the second one, he probably had some room to operate, so he probably wants that one back, wants to return that one, the punt return. So, he's working at it and trying to get better. He's really into it.
Q: A lot of new faces on defense means a lot of new faces on special teams, right?
A: Yeah, it's been a constant change, and we're kind of used to it. You get the new guys in, you get them acclimated and they play. That's the thing, is they may or may not play on offense or defense, but they're going to play on special teams. So, you just try and cram it into them and hopefully – the only thing that really changes from team to team is the verbiage. So, everyone's schemes are pretty similar. [Linebacker] Ray-Ray Armstrong has done a good job coming in, he's got some experience in the league, he's bounced around a little bit. Yeah, so [him and linebacker Akeem Ayers] kind of jump right in and get going. So, we've had to work with that and that's nothing unusual.
Q: Is the bottom line with special teams, 'stay in your lane'?
A: Somewhat, yeah. But, they've got to know what the lane is and how to stay in it and how we want them to stay in it and how – say we're talking about kickoff coverage, how we want to cover a kickoff because there's some different types of ways to do it. So, you try and educate them as best you can, as quick as you can and get them up to speed.
Q: How much input do you have on trick plays on special teams?
A: Well, we work on them every practice. You try to have something available for punts and field goals and kickoffs. Whether they get called or not, that's usually the head coach's decision. Sometimes it's a better look than not, but you at least try to have them up and available. Some weeks they're better, some weeks they're not. So, I think everyone, league wide, is the same way.
Q: How weird was it is to see Eli Manning not be the starting quarterback?
A: It's weird, it's tough. I mean, you kind of feel like we haven't done enough to get him the field positon, you know? You kind of feel responsible. So, it's hard. He's a great leader and has done everything since I've been here, so he's really helped me out. So, it's tough.
Defensive Tackle Damon Harrison
Q: Does it feel personal when you do something you devote your life to and then it doesn't work out on Sunday?
A: Yeah. I always take it personally. It's my job. It's what I love to do. I'm an ultimate competitor. Losses hurt everybody I'm sure. It's all we have right now.
Q: Does this defense play with a sense of pride that there is still a lot to show despite the record?
A: Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. You just look around at the collection of guys we have. We lost a lot of guys, but we still have some guys that are playing for a lot.
Q: When you see Marshawn Lynch on film, does he look as good as he has?
A: Yeah. He's still running hard, strong. Saw him run over a defensive tackle the other day that caused quite the stir in the defensive line room, so it'll be a big challenge for us.
Q: Does his cutting ability make him a little more dangerous?
A: Yeah because he's coming downhill fast right now with an attitude, you combine that the ability to cut the way that he does. I mean, it just adds a different level of I don't know what's the word.
A: There you go. We'll go with danger. We'll take danger. Yeah.
Q: What was your reaction to the quarterback change?
A: I mean, obviously you feel for Eli (Manning). Eli has done a lot for this franchise. Great teammate. Even better guy. I know he wants to win and my heart goes out to him and you just got to trust what the coaching staff, you know, what their plan is, their vision is. I feel for him.
Q: You were there for a lot of the things that Geno Smith has dealt with throughout his career. What's it like for you to see him get this opportunity?
A: It's bittersweet because like you said, I know Geno. Geno is one of my good friends and I'm excited for him to get an opportunity. It's just unfortunate that it came at the expense of Eli, but, you know, I'm excited to see Geno as well.
Q: Can you talk about the thing on Twitter with Carl Banks and if you spoke to him at all?
A: It's on my Twitter, man. It's out there. You can read it. Take from it what you will.
Q: Did you feel like you had to stand up for the team in that moment on Twitter?
A: Take from it what you will, brother.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
*Q: With their top two receivers out this week, how much of a threat is Oakland's pass offense? *
A: They still got a threat. I think everybody on their team is a 4.5, 4.4 guy. You still got Cordarrelle Patterson that gives them good minutes. The quarterback is smart with the ball, you still have your tight end in Jared Cook and you still have your run threats so it's a difference, but it's not much of a difference. I think you get the same game plan as far as them throwing the ball down the field vertically.
*Q: With Janoris (Jenkins) out, is it you and Eli (Apple) on the outside? *
A: No, I just go where I fit at man. I start inside.
Q: Did you think you would be here with the Giants and Eli Manning wouldn't be the starting quarterback?
Q: Does that take you back?
A: I mean that's out of my control man. I only focus on what I can control.
Q: Have you learned to expect the unexpected this season?
A: Definitely, definitely. The way this season has been going man, with all the downs and downs. I can't even call it ups and downs, it's just been a whole lot of downs. A lot of injuries, a lot of role changes. Nothing can surprise me at this point.
*Q: Does Jack Rabbit (Janoris Jenkins) fall into that category too? *
A: Losing him? Yeah, that's definitely a major down. The things that he can do, we definitely need him. So that's definitely another blow.
Q: How do you put into words how this season has gone?
A: I couldn't even tell you to be honest. It's not good. It's been a whole lot of downs than there has been ups. The main thing is, you just got to keep fighting, you know what I mean?
Q: When you look around on defense, is it hard to figure out who everybody is with all of the new players?
A: No. That's the crazy part, you see new faces. You generally don't see that many new faces like that. The season is long and there are guys coming in, but they're coming in from everywhere so all you can do is just worry about yourself at this point man as far as just going out there and trying to finish.
*Q: Do you introduce yourself to them? *
A: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. You got to do that because they're your teammates, you know what I mean? You just got to go out there with the mindset of just finishing.
*Q: You could get a roster wristband to wear. *
A: No, no, no. That'll change every week too so it don't matter man. It's been a tough one. It's tough. We're still tough. We'll see how it pans out.
Q: With Janoris Jenkins out, do you think Eli Apple can jump in and feel the void?
A: Easy, no question. You can't replace a Janoris Jenkins. No, you can't do that, but you can definitely go out there and do some of the things he does. Just go out there and be a ball hawk and make a difference.
Q: What kind of words of encouragement have you had for Donte Deayon?
A: I told him the quicker that he could get back to show people that he still can do it, that will be the best thing. Guys that are undersized tend to get overlooked especially when you have an injury you know, that's never a good thing. So I tell him man, just come back bigger and stronger. We know he's going to be ready because that's just his mindset.
*Q: You've had some high seasons and some low seasons. I could imagine this is near the bottom. *
A: Yes, this is definitely one of the lower seasons. Only winning two games so far. All you can do is just keep going and see how it pans out week 17.
*Q: Does that make you assess how much longer you want to do this? *
A: No, no, no, no, no, no. Not at all. I'm not worried about that part. I'll let that part fall where it falls.
Defensive End Olivier Vernon
Q: What is it like to bring down Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch?
A: It's been actually a long time [since facing Lynch] and it really wasn't that much, it was my rookie year, so I can't even count that. He's still one of the top running backs in the league and you can see it on tape. He's powerful and he's one of those guys that's going to make homerun run and we've just got to do our best to contain him.
Q: For a player that has as many highlights as Lynch does, as a defensive player do you ever think that you do not want to be a part of those highlights?
A: You never want to be on anybody's highlight. But the thing is, he's just a great back that sometimes, it's not by choice, you might just end up on there. But it's just the type of player that he is and we're just going to try to do our best. Do our best to contain him and stop the run and affect the quarterback.
Q: What was your reaction to President Donald Trump tweeting about you kneeling during the National Anthem on Thanksgiving?
A: I didn't really pay attention to it. So, I don't have an answer for that.
Q: Nobody brought the tweet to your attention?
A: Yeah, but I really have nothing to say, really.
Q: With so many new players on defense, have you had to take a step up as a veteran leader on this team?
A: You know what, I just play my role. I've never been one for many words, all I do is go out there and play, that's it.
Q: Did you ask the new players to wear nametags?
A: You know, it's crazy. When it happens, I was just thinking about it to myself that the defense looks so different and unfortunately with guys getting hurt and everything like that. But we're all professionals and the guys that come in, they learn the playbook and they go out there and play, it's their job. So, everybody's got to do what they've got to do.
Q: What was your reaction to the team's change at quarterback?
A: That's above my pay grade right there. So, honestly, I'm standing behind Geno