Check out the best photos from the first day of the Giants' OTA practices
Head Coach Tom Coughlin**
Q: What does the Will Beatty news from last week do to your offensive line?
A: Obviously it is a loss for our team in terms of the quality of player being available for us, but we just have to move on. Our plans are to continue to try to figure out how this line is going to fall out, who is going to be where. We will probably try some different combinations to get there. Hopefully, it has to happen…if a team is going to make a move, perhaps somebody that we didn't really count on originally, because of the number of reps they are going to get, will benefit from that.
Q: What do you think of Ereck Flowers at left tackle?
A: I thought he was heck of a football player or he wouldn't be here. Outstanding feet, nifty for a big man. Yes, all the above.
Q: Many people said in time he might be a left tackle, but not right now… Your thoughts about that?
A: I don't subscribe to that – what people, what they say – he is our kid. He is an outstanding young player. He is going to do nothing but get better. Sure, there are going to be things that happen to him that haven't happened before. We knew there were a couple of things we need to clarify and work on him, but he will work.
Q: Re: Robert Ayers Jr. leaving practice?
A: He hurt his ankle and his knee. We don't know too much about it, except it seems like the ankle right now. I wouldn't say anything….
Q: Three of the last four years you have had a serious injury in the spring practice period. Have you adjusted anything for that? **
A: When you take the field, just like when you walk across the street, you don't expect anything to happen. It is under control. There are no pads on. It was the first play and he, for some reason, went low and got pushed down into the ground. How he did that, I am not exactly sure. This is a time when if you really understand what phase three is, which they have been told there is not any live contact and they have to play with their hands and their feet. I am disappointed in that, but I am hoping what it turns out to be is not serious.
Q: What about weight room injuries? Are those things that are just going to happen some times?
A: He (Beatty) was trying to get better. What he was trying to do was get strong, which I think our team has to do and I have said that. He was working with 'x' amount of weight. I am not going to tell you what it was, and he was in the middle of his second rep when this unfortunate thing happened. Why did it happen? Who knows, but it is most unfortunate.
Q: Did you look into the Beatty injury the same way you have studied other injuries?
A: Yeah, we can do that. We have talked about that and made some adjustments.
Q: How would you characterize [Justin] Pugh at guard, an experiment or something permanent?
A: I think it is an attempt to take advantage of a very versatile, gifted athlete. I guess 'experiment' would be a word you could say because he hasn't played there. We moved him there with the full intent that he would be able to play there. Do we have to take another look? Perhaps.
Q: Was Pugh moved to guard prior to Will Beatty's injury?
A: Yeah, sure. He was out there and he was playing it.
Q: What do you say to the notion that the only thing holding back your offense from being explosive is the play of the offensive line?
A: Having said that, I don't think that would be the case. 28 sacks – if that is the case, then we will coach them up and they will play and they will play well. I really believe that. There are a lot of pieces that you well know. There is nothing to be assumed about anything. A lot of things have to happen to get right back where or above where we played last year. It wasn't good enough.
Q: Is there something with Devon Kennard?
A: A little bit of an ankle.
Q: What about Nat Berhe?
A: He was out here a week ago and he had a knot in his calf that came about after his work, so [medical] is just holding him.
Q: Has anyone communicated with [Jason Pierre-Paul]?
Q: Do you anticipate him for the mandatory minicamp?
A: I do.
Q: How about Victor Cruz?
A: He has progressed. He is beyond the straight-ahead stuff. He has started to maneuver and cut. He has come along well.
Q: Are you hopeful JPP will be here or has he communicated that he will be?
A: The question that was asked of me was do I expect him to be here and I said, 'Yes.' It is not hopeful. It is I expect him to be here. Could it be that he won't be here? That could happen, sure.
Q: What is the goal on the defensive side here in terms of what you are trying to do with installing the new defense?
A: The goal is to – what new terminology there is, what new identifications, whatever aspect of the defense that may be something that we have done before, but that name may have been changed. We introduced all of these things to [the players] to allow for [defensive coordinator] Steve [Spagnuolo] to get to work with all these players and have good impact in how we use them. It is a good period of time for Steve to get to know our players and for our players to be introduced to the terminology that we will use this year.
Q: Do you see any similarities from last year when you put in a new offense in terms of having to install a new defensive system?
A: You have to start somewhere and we are introducing as much as we can in the spring. In the fall we will continue to come back with a microscope this time and add whatever we think we need to go out and defend.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Losing Will Beatty:
A: "Whenever you lose your left tackle, it's disappointing. Hopefully, he'll have a speedy recovery. We have other guys who can step in and be comfortable where they're playing. We'll get through it. We'll get the rookie going and get him a lot of practice."
Q: Can you simulate game speed in OTA practices?
A: "I think you can still simulate the real speed. There are different rules. You can't have certain techniques by the defense; you can't play press. So you don't get all those things. But it's still good to be out there, having a defense and having a rush and feeling the pocket for me. It's easy to drop back there with no defense and complete balls all day. You have a pass rush and you have guys in your face, so you have to find windows and find lanes and make smart decisions. That's important. It's a good thing to work on these next few weeks."
Q: He wasn't out there with you per se, but Victor Cruz being out there and running routes, how good was that to see?
A: "It's good to see his progress these last moths. Seeing him out there cutting, running routes, doing drills is always good. Hopefully, he'll continue to get stronger and stronger so he can be back for the start of the season."
Q: Is it an adjustment for you to work with what is basically an entirely new line? **
A: "Obviously, having a new center can be an adjustment. But (Weston) Richburg was here last year and I got snaps with him last year, so that hasn't been a big deal. Anytime you have a rookie at left tackle, it can be an adjustment. The good thing for him is we're going to throw everything at him early on and he's going to hear everything. We're going to challenge him. He'll make some mistakes, but he's getting live reps from day one with the first group. He's hearing every call and check and (seeing) everything that might happen. The more he can hear it, the more we challenge him and the more you throw at him, the better off we'll be once the season starts."
Q: Last year you had J.D. Walton snapping. He was a little shorter. Do you have to adjust to different centers?
A: "Sometimes they can snap the ball a little different. But Weston has been pretty smooth and we've been pretty good with our snaps so far."
Q: Is this a good time for Geoff Schwartz to hit the reset button on his career as a Giant?
A: "I know last year was frustrating for him. Glad to have him back. He's a great leader, veteran guy, knows what he's doing. So to have him back in the mix and hopefully have him this whole season would be nice."
Q: How important is it to have this whole offseason to grasp Ben (McAdoo's) system?
A: "It was big. It was important having this last month – watching the film, talking a lot about the mechanics, the footwork, being able to go outside with him and working on a lot of drill work. A lot of it is stuff I wasn't able to do last year. I was coming off the ankle surgery, I had a new offense – of lot of things going through the mind, trying to figure out concepts. This year, I understand the concepts. I'm still working on it, but I'm concentrating on the footwork and the mechanics and the timing of everything. It was great to have that this year and kind of get back to the basics of everything. I feel comfortable, I feel real good right now."
Q: How is the new position (guard)?
A: I like it. Like I said when we did some interviews before, wherever I have to play is where I am going to play. Right now I am at left guard and I love it.
Q: How has the transition been?
A: It is different. Obviously it is a totally different position. I am on the other side of the ball. I feel comfortable being in a left-handed stance. I played left tackle all through college. You just have a guy that is right on you. It is a lot closer. Everything happens a lot quicker. I am leaning on John Jerry and Geoff Schwartz to really help me out because they have that experience in that position.
Q: When was the last time you ever lined up in a guard spot?
A: I was an 18-year-old in high school. I played in at the Senior Bowl, too. I had played guard. I played it at Syracuse a little bit, but to start a game – I haven't started a game at guard since high school.
Q: Is it a different mindset from being an inside guy to being an outside guy? **
A: Sure. [Guards] are responsible for the depth of the pocket and tackles are responsible for the width. Keeping guys out of Eli's face is part of it. I love it. There are spots where I get to go help out a tackle, which I know what it is like to be out there on an island. My left tackle is going to love playing next to me.
Q: What do you love about playing guard?
A: Having the ability to get free shots on guys, going up to the linebackers, I can utilize my ability to pull. I am embracing it. I am going to be the best left guard that I can be and help produce for this team. We have to run the ball and we have to be stout.
Q: Throwing [Ereck Flowers] right in at left tackle leaves you next to him, which means you have to do a lot to help him out, too?
A: Yeah. I think that is what it is all about. I got thrown into the fire. We didn't draft him at nine to sit there and watch when someone goes down. He is going to step up. He is a great kid. I am looking forward to working with him and getting on the same page.
Q: Do you think long-term this could be a more natural position for you?
A: I think no matter where I was going to be at I was going to play well this year. I am playing left guard and I am going to play well this year. That is my goal.