Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Week two of the OTAs. We practiced today, we are going to practice tomorrow. Do a phase two day on Thursday and then finish up on Friday. Another good day of work. We keep working on situations. You saw we did two-minute, which we are doing every day. I think the guys are making good progress. I’ll take your questions.
Q: How’s Corey Ballentine?
A: He was out there today. He is doing what he can do. Last week he did a little bit more of individual work and today he got his first reps in team work. I will have to go back in and watch, but he looked good moving around. He is getting better each day.
Q: What is your sense of the attitude and morale of the whole group?
A: We are working hard. They have a good focus and have all established their ‘whys’ and what they are trying to get done here in the offseason. I am pleased with the team building and the amount of work we are getting done within the rules that are provided to us. These can’t be very physical in terms of the pounding upfront, but there is a lot to be learned going through the situational stuff, which is good. This is really the time of year where wideouts and quarterbacks are throwing to one another. These are all the things that we can do. I feel good about that. From a defensive standpoint, all the communication that goes into it, making sure that we provide enough looks for them on offense, which we do so that they can communicate well. We are making progress. We have a long way to go, but in terms of morale, they are working hard, competing and having fun doing it.
Q: Janoris Jenkins wasn’t out there today. How valuable is it to see extended reps for the young guys on defense?
A: That is the advantage this time of year. You practice two and three groups. It is very important that guys get reps. This is that time of year where young players can, so it is good.
Q: Did you know Janoris wasn’t going to be here?
A: Yes, I talked to him. He had a graduation in the family.
Q: What have you seen from Chad Wheeler since you have added some people to his position?
A: Chad just has to approach his work and get better every day, like he has been. He just needs to get better with every rep he is presented with. I think he has done that. It is more pass protection and less hardcore run blocking. Linemen and guys in the front can’t do all the things they need to do until training camp, but we like his focus and his attention to detail. He is doing everything he can to get better.
Q: How would you assess the quarterbacks today, and having to deal with some rain?
A: I thought they threw the ball fine. A few balls might have gotten away from them. We played in the rain a lot last year. It is important. I thought they threw the ball really well today.
Q: What have you seen from Daniel Jones?
A: I think he is competing and getting better every day. He is like every player on the team. They are getting ready to play week one. If they are in there, great. If not, they will keep working and continuing to get better. I think Daniel’s approach, he is here all the time just like all the other quarterbacks. He is doing everything in his power to get right.
Q: Do you have benchmarks for him?
A: I think when he is in there, it needs to look like football. He needs to execute well, get completions, drive the ball down the field and make the proper run checks. All the things that are fundamental for a quarterback. Fine tune them and the details of each play. I see him getting better every day. I see a guy that is getting himself right.
Q: Do you see Eli’s impact on him?
A: I think it is a healthy quarterback room. There is a lot of conversation with regard to that. Yes, I see a good room and all the guys working well together and trying to help each other.
Q: What was Daniel Jones’ starting point? Was it where you expected?
A: Yes. He obviously has a great foundation for playing the position. We gave him a small group of plays the first day of rookie minicamp. Then, we gave him another group and another group. We kept piling on. I think he is doing a good job sorting through it and learning the details of the position. You never totally know where a player is when you get him. He was ready to compete when he got here. It was just a matter of him learning how we do it here.
Q: How much do you give the quarterbacks when you set up practice? Do you schedule the reps on a day by day or week by week basis to make sure everybody is getting the work they need?
A: It depends on the drills. When we have the drills, the different types of drills scheduled out. You noticed that Dan is getting some reps with the twos. We have a plan for that. It is scheduled out through the spring. Once we get to training camp, we will do the same thing there.
Q: How about the development with the safties?
A: They are doing a good job. You saw Antoine (Bethea) had an interception today. They communicate extremely well. They are very strong guys. Typically, one guy takes the lead on that, but they both can do it. When I watch, they are getting us in the right coverages and pressures. They are in the right spots and trying to play the techniques within the defenses that are called. That is the thing that you can work on this time of year defensively. All the communication. We are really pleased with where they are. It is only going to get better.
Q: What is it about Golden Tate’s skillset that allows him to accumulate so many yards after the catch?
A: You can see that he has the ability to break tackles. He is nifty. Obviously, before the ball is thrown and then once he catches it, he has a way of breaking tackles or making them miss. I can see that is going to be a part of his game already.
Q: Has Jabrill Peppers assumed a leadership role? He is vocal out there.
A: I think really good players thrust themselves into those roles just by the nature of being a good player. He is very vocal. Sometimes you don’t have to be very vocal and you can be a leader. You can look to him and see that he has that about him. He has a great presence. If you are around him on a day to day basis, you can see that he will quickly become one of the guys where you say, ‘OK, he’s got it.’ He loves playing football and has a lot of fun doing it and a lot of fun competing. I think that is part of his charm and what makes him special. He is so darn competitive. It shows up naturally.
Q: Have you seen ways in which Daniel has had an impact on Eli or vice versa?
A: That is hard to day. I think they have all gone out and had good days. Sometimes a throw here or a throw there may not indicate that they are having a good day, but they have both have had good days up until this point. I think they are both getting better.
Q: Are they similar?
A: There is a lot of similarity in their stature and how they handle themselves. Personality-wise, I would say in some ways they are similar as we get to know Daniel and his personality more. They are very calm in their approach. They are very fiery under the covers. I don’t think you want to misrepresent either one of them. They are both very fiery of making sure things are done properly. They demand it of themselves and the people around them.
Q: What are you doing with the guys that aren’t getting that many reps?
A: We are trying to get everyone reps. Unfortunately, some of the guys that are two’s and three’s don’t get as many as the ones, but everything they do is evaluated. We try and coach them in everything they do. The mental reps are very important. You have to learn that way. I feel like at least to this point, the guys are doing that.
RB Saquon Barkley
Q: Do you have an idea that this offense this year could be pretty good?
A: Yes, I think we show signs of it. Last year, we played at a high level, definitely in that second half. Now, no one is new to it. Aside from the rookies, for myself, Eli, Shep and Evan, all those guys, no one is new to it. We had a whole year of it last year and now we get a jumpstart. I feel like I am seeing the field a lot better and understanding the offense. I think we have a lot of talent and we showed flashes of it last year. When the opportunity comes, we are going to be ready.
Q: What is it that makes you think you can be better without Odell?
A: I would say just being familiar with the offense and having a whole year attached to it. Obviously, how can we be better without Odell? At the end of the day, it is a team game. It is going to take 11 men on offense to go out there and win games. There is going to be days where I am the guy that is having the day or Shep is going to have the day or Tate will have that day. We just have to find a way to get better every single day, grow with each other, improve with each other and when the opportunity comes, capitalize on it.
Q: How much does bringing in Zeitler and Remmers help you?
A: For me, the big things were that we never really had a solidified five on the line until the second half of the season. As a running back, it is just getting the feel. Running is like an art. I was talking to the line today. Whether it is an inside zone, outside, whatever kind of run it is, it is just a feel for each other. Understanding, how can I set them up and what kind of blocking do they like to do. Just adding those guys who are pros and have done it at a high level definitely helps, but to be able to have them here now and to be able to have them mesh and start it off early, it is definitely going to help when the season comes along.
Q: Can you go over 302 touches this year or is that too high?
A: I don’t think any number is too high for me personally. At the end of the day, I know I sound like a broken record, but you will hear this for as long as I am in the NFL, as long as I take care of my body, my body will take care of me. I will continue to have my team around me. Obviously, have a great strength staff here and a great training staff here. Have to be a pro outside the facility. Whether it is 350 touches, 400 touches or less touches next year. Whatever I have to do to have this team compete for a championship, I am going to do.
Q: Does it take a little getting used to with the new additions of the offensive line?
A: I wouldn’t say that. It is a little different, but you won’t really know until you are playing full speed. You can’t do all the runs that you want to do in shirts and helmets. You need shoulder pads for that. You have to get it down now, get used to it now and see what they like. Just talk and communicate. It is big in football, sports and life. Just being able to communicate, talk, watch film and go back the next day to try something new and see if they like it and if I like it. When the opportunity comes and we could put pads on and preseason, we should be able to mesh well and be ready to go.
Q: Now that there is a class under you, is there anything you are trying to do differently in the second year?
A: Not really anything different. Just being me. That is what it all comes down to. Be the guy that you were raised to be and the guy that you were raised by your parents to be. Have that same work ethic when you played hard at Penn State. That is what I try and do. I try and come out here, work and compete. Try and set the tone for the offense and the team as a whole. I did that at a high level as a rookie and I know I am one of the pieces, not only me but Eli, Will, all those guys are looking up to us and seeing how we work. I know I was doing the same thing when I came in. I was watching Shep, I was watching Evan and Jonathan Stewart. I know they are watching me and I am trying to set an example by coming in and doing things the right way and being the best I can be.
Q: Do you look at Le’Veon Bell being in New York as an extra challenge or added motivation?
A: I was a fan of him. I used to watch Le’Veon and when I got here, he was one of the first guys that I broke down his film. I don’t see it as extra motivation. At the end of the day, I am competing with myself and competing to be the best for my team. I really don’t care what any other back in the league does, I just care about what is happening here.
Q: Have you talked to him since he joined the Jets?
A: No, I haven’t. I only met him one time, it was a short greet. I have talked to him on social media a couple times. We definitely respect each other’s games. He sat out last year and that is not good for the league in general because he is such a tremendous player. You look forward to seeing a guy like that on Sunday. For him to be here and we are playing in the same stadium, I am excited. I am happy for him and that he found a spot. I am happy that he is able to show his talent. I wish nothing but the best for him.
Q: Do you have any advice for Daniel Jones being a first-year player in the organization?
A: He is doing really well. He has come out here and is getting more confident every day. That is the thing, just get confidence. You get so worked up because this is the NFL and it is so different, but it really isn’t. Obviously, the quarterback positon is different, but once he understands the playbook, you can see it already, he is a competitor. You can see the look in his eyes that he wants to get better every single day. My advice to him is that this is football. Just come in here and work. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, be 100 percent ready.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: How has it been going for you since rookie minicamp?
A: It’s been going well. It’s a daily process of learning and trying to improve every day. It’s going well, it’s been good to get with the team and try to learn as much as I can. I think it’s been a good start and I have certainly enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to, like I said, improving every day.
Q: Can things slow down for you now, even though you are not running with pads on, you are not running in game speed?
A: I think maybe to some extent. I’m still pretty early in the process and still learning a whole lot every day. I’m not sure I’m there yet, I don’t know when that happens. There is still a lot to learn, a lot to work on, and a lot to improve on. It’s been good so far.
Q: What have you been able to pick on just from watching Eli?
A: I think you can learn a lot from him on the field obviously, just from a scheme standpoint. Obviously, he has done it for a long time, he knows that stuff. To me a lot of it is in his routine and his daily preparation and how he prepares for practice, how he reviews practice and learns from practice. I think just that routine and just learning from that, being able to watch him every day to me has been the most helpful.
Q: What about that routine has impressed you?
A: It’s consistent, I think. He does the same thing. The way he’ll prepare with the script, the way he’ll go through all his assignments and the way he’ll will draw it out. After practice reviewing it, watching the film and just learning from it. I think all that stuff but just his routine is helpful.
Q: How would you describe your relationship with Eli thus far?
A: I think it’s been great. I think we’ve got a great room and a great group of guys in there. He’s been very helpful for me and I’ve certainly learned a lot. I think we’ve got a great relationship throughout the room with Alex (Tanney) and Kyle (Lauletta) as well, I think we’ve got a great room, a lot of guys helping each other so it’s0 been good.
Q: It’s early in the process, but do you feel like you are progressing?
A: I think so, I think I am. That’s the goal, to progress every day. I think I am. I’ve learned a lot and we are installing just about every day. The challenge is to progress every day and I think I have done that.
Q: What’s different about the routine you’re studying and observing from Eli?
A: Well you don’t have to go to class. I think the time is probably the biggest thing. You can be in the building all day and you can focus on what you need to focus on and the time constraint isn’t as restrictive. It’s just more, everything is a lot more. We are installing more and as a rookie its more, it takes time. It’s all been good and I feel like I’m learning a lot.
Q: Have you any awkwardness at all about being the starting quarterback here one day and replacing Eli?
A: “I really haven't, to be honest. I think it's been, like I said, we've got a good room, and a lot of really good guys.” We're certainly focused on every day here, making sure we're practicing at the highest level possible. That's the goal, and it's been good so far.”
Q: You mentioned that you've learned a lot. Is there one thing that stands out that's different from being the quarterback at Duke? Or, any difference in your preparation through OTAs?"
A: “Yeah, I think what you do with the script before practice, I think is something different. Really studying that and preparing for your reps. You really want to have an awareness of what everyone is doing. Just getting the script beforehand and understanding that, preparing for that I think is different. I didn't really do that a whole lot at Duke. Just kind of get out and run the play, but here, you're preparing for that, you're focusing your preparation based off the script.”
Q: When you first came in, was it what you expected? Was it the learning curve harder? Were your abilities and expectations below where you thought you were going to be?
A: “I think every day is different -- when you're putting in new plays, and you're getting a new look from the defense. That causes you to adjust and to kind of learn on the fly. I think coming in, I didn't have too specific expectations as to how it would play out. I think for the most part, we've done well as a young group, learning with the younger guys. Just trying to improve it every day. Trying to make it look a little better, execute a little bit sharper every day."
Q: Coach Shurmur said that he wants you to be ready by Week 1. How do you balance letting things develop organically versus pushing the envelope to get yourself ready?
A: “I think all of our jobs are to be ready Week 1, whatever the circumstances are. We're taking it one day at a time, in that we're trying to practice the best we can here in OTAs, and with the season in mind and trying to all prepare ourselves for that first game. Like I said, we're focused on what we're doing here, making sure tomorrow's practice is as sharp as it can be and through the summer. It's been good so far and I’m looking forward to finishing strong."
Safety Antoine Bethea
Q: How's the chemistry with you and (S) Jabrill Peppers forming?
A: So far so good. It's the offseason, training is all about OTAs, sitting in the film room, talking and dissecting different things. Obviously going out there on the field. Just playing with one another -- seeing how he sees things, and seeing how he plays. I think it's going to be a good connection between the two of us.
Q: What do you like most about (Defensive Coordinator) James Bettcher's scheme and what makes you such a good fit in that system?
A: Aggressive style of defense, aggressive style of play. It enables everybody on the field to make plays on defense, from the front to the back end. I can play back in the post, read the quarterback, and make plays.
Q: With a lot of young guys back there, do you feel like you're almost one of those coaches on the field and help provide that aggressiveness?
A: "Yeah, for sure. Being a veteran in this league, that's what your job entails. I've seen a lot. Coming in here doing the things I'm going to do, trying to bring these young guys along as fast as I can.
Q: How do you complement each other? (Peppers)
A: Peppers, he likes to play down in the box, get his hands on guys, he can cover. I can play on the back end, and do a multitude of things. I think we can play off of each other very well.
Q: You guys have experience playing both safety positions. Do you think that will help your symmetry playing with each other?
A: It helps a lot, even going in week-to-week playing against your opponent. A lot of times, you'll have a down safety and a back safety, but being that we've both played down and we've both played back, we can disguise our defense, help our defense, and confuse the opposing quarterback.
Q: Does this feel less like a new place for you because of your familiarity with Coach Bettcher and this defense?
A: Yeah, it doesn't feel new at all. I'm familiar with Bettch, the terminology. I think the biggest thing is just getting the continuity down with the guys on the defense, on the back end.
Q: Does this feel like the defense you played in while in Arizona?
A: Yeah, for sure. Again, we got some new guys out there, including myself. The continuity playing out there with each other is going to help, but I can definitely see some similarities in AZ.
Q: Do you think you can still play at that high level?
A: I'm not worried about that. If I didn't think I could play, I wouldn't be here. I'm not here to prove anyone wrong. I'm going to come out here and play the game like I've been playing for 13, 14 years.
Q: You said it doesn't feel new as far as the defense. What about just wearing different colors, different environment, different teammates, different city. How are you adjusting to that?
A: It's cool -- this is not my first rodeo. This is my fourth team. I've moved a couple of times. At the end of the day, you come to work and you do your job. You're a reporter for the Giants. If you go to another team, you'll report for that team. It's just what the job entails. Come in and be a pro.
Q: Do you think the young guys are playing faster than usual. Does it surprise you at the speed their playing at?
A: No, not at all. We got some smart young guys that came into the room. They're listening, their taking notes, staying after. You just got to take the meeting room to the field, and they've been doing that.
Q: How valuable are the safeties in Bettcher's defense that you're able to blitz and get after the quarterback so well?
A: That's just the style of defense that Bettch has. So, being able to have two safeties that can do that, it gives Bettch a multitude of calls that he can call. Obviously, opposing quarterbacks and opposing coordinators can't really dial in on certain people. Being able to have different people to do different things on the field on the defensive side of the ball, it helps a lot.
Q: After watching tape on the Giants and Bettcher's defense last year, did it look a lot like a James Bettcher defense? Or, was there not enough pressure getting to the quarterback?
A: I can't speak for Bettch, but playing in this system, you just have to know the feel of the defense. If you're not comfortable making certain calls, obviously you're not going to make those calls. I think the guys being their second year in the scheme, I think everybody is now comfortable. We'll see how the season goes.
Q: With you being the oldest veteran in the group, do you start up a group chat or other means of engaging and getting to know your position group? Or, are you going to let that develop organically?
A: Yeah, you've got to let that develop organically. We're here in OTA’s, we've put some good work in, but during the season we'll come up with some things.