Quotes (5/3): Rookie minicamp begins

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR 

Alright, first day of the minicamp, it was actually really good. We have 23 of our guys that we either drafted or brought in as free agents. The rest of those guys are tryout guys. It was a pretty competitive day. We saw a lot of good things from a lot of the guys that we drafted. They competed well. This is the first day for some of them of hopefully a long career. There were certainly mistakes, but you clean those up as you go. It is fun to be back out on the field, I think I can speak for all the coaches, it is good to get the young players going. As you know, we will work them through this weekend, they will go away and come back and join the team next Monday. I think the advantage of them doing it this weekend is that they’ll have another week to learn the stuff before they get back here with the vets. With that, I will take your questions.

Q: How’d you think Daniel Jones looked?

A: I thought he did a good job. It is a lot for a quarterback coming into an NFL system. I thought he did a good job today.

Q: What is your first impression of him as a worker?

A: Time will tell. This is a very accomplished, talented and smart young man that gets it. He worked extremely hard yesterday and today.

Q: Do you start with the basics with him? Square one?

A: Yes, it is square one for all of us, all of the players, especially the quarterback. You are really directing everyone from the snap count to the huddle call and so on. I was telling the quarterbacks that it is sort of a lost art these days to take a snap under center and then call a play in the huddle. Believe it or not, for some of them, that is a new experience. Most teams, (in) college run no huddle. It is operations where they are just looking at cards and basically just say the snap counts. That is part of what you go through when you evaluate and choose a quarterback. Their ability to do that at this level.

Q: Did any of the guys particularly impress you? Maybe guys that you did not expect?

A: I think they all pretty much performed pretty well. There were mistakes and dropped balls. All things you see the first day of a practice. They all competed hard and were smart about how they did it. They were competitive. We will go in there and watch the tape. Typically, it is like when you go to the Senior Bowl, you don’t want to really evaluate the quarterbacks on the first day because they are getting used to the receivers. The second day things start to smooth out a bit.

Q: UDFA (Eric) Dungey is listed as a QB/TE. What is it about his skillset that has him listed in that capacity?

A: He is a very accomplished quarterback and made a lot of plays with his feet. He made some good throws out there as well. He is one of those guys we had our eyes on at the draft. We will see. I think he is a good football player. Usually there is a place on the field for good football players. We will see what happens.

Q: What did you think of (WR Darius) Slayton’s first day?

A: He was running good routes. He had a few drops early but by the end of it he made a couple of nice contested catches. That is why you practice. There is a lot to get used to. New routes, new plays, new places to line up. That is why you practice.

Q: Was there any thought of Sam Beal coming in to get some work?

A: He actually could not. By the way his year played out, he was ineligible to come out for this. I don’t know the exact wording on it you would have to check with (Assistant GM Kevin) Abrams. We were trying to get him out here but based on his year, he was not able to compete.

Q: What are your thoughts on what happened to Corey Ballentine?

A: I am really disappointed that he was the victim of a crime. He is a great young man. We got to know him really well through the draft process. My son trained with him at EXOS, so I had some knowledge of what a great man he is. It is very unfortunate that he was a victim of a crime. That could happen to any of us. We are here for him. He is going through the vigils and the funerals, the things that he has to go through. We are here to support him as he comes back to us. We are just here for him. Thoughts and prayers go his way.

Q: How is he doing physically?

A: We have not seen him yet. He got shot in the (glute) so I don’t know.

Q: The expectation is that he will be able to fully heal?

A: Yes, that is what they are saying, but it might take a little bit of time.

Q: Do you expect that he will be here next Monday?

A: We are hopeful. Again, this is a unique situation. We want him to get full closure on his end. We are sensitive to that. This is a real life situation. We want to make sure he gets full closure. It is May. We play in September. We want to make sure he gets done on that end what he needs to and gets the help that he needs.

Q: What are some things you like about Daniel (Jones)?

A: He is a guy that can execute well from the pocket but he also has a good set of legs so we can move around. Boots, snakes, things we did with Eli. Mobility is important in today’s game. Whether you use him as a runner or, typically if you are going to have a long drive and you are going to score a touchdown, the quarterback needs to do something with his legs in that drive. Moving the pocket, scrambling. Sometimes moving in the pocket and throwing it away or scrambling and making a play. Scramble and slide. A QB and his ability to move his legs is very important.

Q: Is there any position you’re looking to fill that you may not have addressed in the draft?

A: We did draft a tackle, as you know, and then we have another free agent that we signed, but we’re just looking at all positions. When you have a 90-man roster, to find a really good football player in these tryout settings -- stranger things have happened. I think when you look at rosters, there’s a whole heck of a lot of guys that are on teams that are free agents. Actually, more free agents than guys we actually were picked in the fifth, sixth, and seventh round. These types of events are very, very important. You can find a guy that can help you win games.

Q: Obviously, a lot of expectations are on the shoulders of Daniel Jones. Did you have to talk to him in regards to being his own man as opposed to trying to be the next Eli Manning?

A: When we went through the process, we were very certain that he would be his own man. That’s why we picked him, and we were very certain that he can handle the scrutiny that comes with being the quarterback of the New York Football Giants. It’s a lot of attention. There’s a lot of passion for what we do, and especially for the guy that plays that position, and we’re very certain that he can handle it.

Q: Was there something specific about him that made you certain that he can handle it?

A: It’s just his mindset. He’s very accomplished, he’s very smart, he gets it, and he understands what comes with being the quarterback here. If you’re in this game long enough, you’re in the arena, you get cheered and you get booed, and he’s smart enough to know how to handle that type of stuff, and do what he can to help us win football games. That’s part of it.

Q: How involved were you with evaluating (QB/TE) Eric Dungey and the other free agent quarterbacks available?

A: A few of the guys, but he was a key guy, a guy that we targeted. Obviously, I know all the players, whether we draft them or bring them in as free agents. Obviously, I know the drafted players to a greater degree, but there’s a few guys a year that I’ll call after camp.

Q: He’s listed as a tight end also. He’s not played tight end. Will you work him in the tight end room as well? How will you split his work on the field this week?

A: We’ll just see. I think we wanted to bring him in and look at him as a quarterback, which he played, and then just see how this grows. The one good thing about when you train a player as a quarterback, they learn what everybody else is doing. The details of the other positions, they just need to get it on the field. Heck, this is day one. He’s only been out there for two hours. So, we’ll just see how this goes.

Q: What jumped out to you about (DT) Dexter Lawrence today?

A: Again, I think he gets it too. The first thing that jumps out about Dexter is he’s a pretty big man. He’s got a feel for things. He’s a guy that can play the run and rush the passer. We’re looking forward to getting him going. When you pick a guy from Clemson, and he’s played on the biggest stage there is in college football. The other thing that struck me is this isn’t going to be too big for him. We’re looking forward to getting him going.

Q: In reference to Corey Ballentine’s incident, the way that some of things have been framed and talked about regarding his incident, did that bother you?

A: I’m certainly aware of some of the stuff, I guess. We know most, if not, all the details. That’s really not for me to comment on.

QB Daniel Jones

Re:  Thoughts on being drafted by the Giants…

A: I was thrilled. This is a huge opportunity for someone like me. This was the place I wanted to be. To get the call, it was thrilling and I am happy to be here.

Q: Early impression of being here?

A: It has been good. I got in last night. First full day here has been great. Just trying to get a feel for everyone. Building some chemistry with the guys. Just being around the building is great.

Q: What do you want to accomplish this weekend?

A: I think it is just getting comfortable in the building around everyone, new teammates and guys that have come in this year. Just getting comfortable, building chemistry and getting a sense of the offense. Showing them that I can handle information and execute it on the field. All of those things.

Q: First impressions when you looked at the playbook?

A: I think there is certainly a lot to it. That is an adjustment from the college level. An NFL playbook is generally a little thicker. It is a lot of good stuff. Coach Shurmur has been a whole lot of places and the way he has explained it to me is that he has taken pieces from everywhere he has been and has put together his own stuff. To me, that is the best of all the worlds.

Q: Did anything jump out similar to what you did at Duke?

A: There are some similarities here and there. Some concepts that are similar. As far as the verbiage, the play calls, they are different. They will be different anywhere you go. I am looking forward to it. I think we had a good start this morning so far. I am looking forward to the rest of the day.

Q: What has the day been like so far?

A: We had meetings this morning. Our first install. We just had a walkthrough on the field. We will meet and then practice again later today.

Q: Since being drafted, what have your interactions with Eli been like?

A: I spoke to him on the phone on Friday. That was it. He congratulated me and told me he was excited to be teammates. I certainly share that same feeling. I am looking forward to spending time with him and learning from him. It is a huge opportunity to be around a guy like that.

Q: What do you think the biggest thing is as a QB that you can learn from Eli Manning?

A: I think a lot of it is in his routine. Anyone that has played that long and had that much success, he certainly has a routine and there is a reason he has had that success. To me, I think it is just watching him everyday and learning what he does everyday. How he carries himself and how he prepares every week. Being able to watch that and learn from that is an awesome opportunity.

Q: How do you make sure that that relationship does not sour?

A: I think we both want the same thing. We want the Giants to win football games. That is the goal here. I am certainly going to let that be known. However that happens and whatever the plan is, I am here to do that. I understand my role is to learn from him. I am going to make sure I am improving myself everyday. At the end of the day, we want to win games. That is the goal and I think it will be good.

Q: Are you aware of the debate about the Giants taking you at six?

A: It would be hard to be completely unaware of a lot of that stuff and the way it works. I don’t focus on it. There is a lot to focus on and a lot to learn right now. Being here, learning the offense and trying to pick up a bunch of stuff. I am not sure I can really afford to focus on a lot of that stuff.

Q: Are you a patient guy by nature? You have been owning the huddle for a long time and now you may have to wait. Is that going to be hard for you?

A: I don’t think so. There is patience to it, but I am also learning. There is a lot to do. It is not like I am just sitting and watching. There is a lot to do. It is an active process in learning the playbook and understanding what it is to be a New York Giant. I think I am patient and I am looking forward to it, but there is certainly a lot of work to do.

Q: Do you try and win the job or do you accept that you will have to sit?

A: I think the first thing that I have thought is to understand how awesome it is to have a guy like Eli. Keeping that in mind and making sure that every day I am learning from him. Also, focusing on improving myself, which is a big part of that process as well. It is a huge opportunity to learn and I am certainly mindful of that. I am looking forward to learning.

Q: Would you have wanted to play right away and do you think you can?

A: I wanted to be in New York. I think through the process this is the place I wanted to be. I think I connected with the staff and really enjoyed my time with them. I haven’t thought about that a whole lot. I wanted to be here, so I was thrilled.

Q: A big part of the job will be like this, standing in front of the media. What makes you ready for that?

A: I think it is largely a personality thing. If you can be calm and steady in your demeanor, I think you can handle this. This is certainly part of the job and I am excited for this.

Q: Is this the first time in your life you think you have been like a lightning rod in terms of attention?

A: Yes, I think anyone that comes into New York, you can see that there is more attention than they have had previously. It is all part of it. It is my job to make people believe in me and I understand that. There is a lot of work to do and I am excited to do that.

Q: Did Peyton give you any advice when you were drafted here?

A: I have not spoken to him recently. I remember back when I was making my decision to stay in school or move on, his advice was that whatever decision you make or whatever you chose to do, people will criticize it. It is your job to prove them right or prove them wrong. I think that is still relevant advice.

Q: Last night was not your first time walking into this building, but did it feel any differently walking into the building last night now that you have been drafted?

A: It did. It felt good. I was excited to be here. Being at home, at Duke for the past week, I am really just excited to get up here and get started. Coming in last night was awesome.

Q: When you walk through this building, you see a lot of trophies and photos of your mentor, Eli. Do you imagine what it is going to be like 10 years from now?

A: I think the goal is to win Super Bowls. That is the goal, no doubt about it. To win multiple Super Bowls like Eli has. Mr. Gettleman, Mr. Shurmur, Mr. Mara and Mr. Tisch certainly all expect that. There is no question, the goal is to win Super Bowls. I am looking forward to it.

Q: Is your locker next to Eli’s?

A: It is not.

Q: I assume Kyle Lauletta is one of the guys you knew coming in here. Have you thought about competing against him?

A: Not a whole lot yet. I am just excited to be here and I am looking forward to getting on the field, finishing up this rookie minicamp and really getting out there.

Q: What will you do next week?

A: Go home, train. Hopefully I’ll have some things to work on.

Q: How did you come to jersey number 8?

A: There were several options. I think eight is a good number. Old Kobe, I guess.

Q: How do you balance blocking out noise and being the best QB you can be?

A: It is just focusing on what we are doing. I am going to be busy learning the playbook and learning what it is like to be here. I don’t think I will have a lot of time to think and reflect on that. There will be plenty of things to keep me busy.

Q: Are you friends with Zion at all? Have you talked to him since being drafted and him maybe joining you in New York?

A: I have gotten to know him a little bit. We talked a little bit about that actually this week. That would be a cool deal. We will see what happens. He is a special guy.

CB DeAndre Baker

Q: How important are ball skills at your position?

A: Ball skills is the most important thing at DB. You got to get your hands on the ball, and get turnovers for the defense. That’s the biggest thing. That’s the ultimate goal of a defense is to get turnovers. So, ball skills, it’s a big role.

Q: How would you describe your personality on the field?

A: I’d say confident and fearless. That’s how I explain my personality on the field.

Q: How do you think that helps you?

A: It plays a big role, because you have to have some confidence to play defensive back. So, it plays a big role.

Q: What do you know about (CB) Janoris Jenkins?

A: He’s from South Florida. He’s a South Florida guy. He plays with a lot of swagger, a lot of personality on the field. Great player, I love watching him.

Q: You’re a physical corner. You like to press guys at the line of scrimmage. How do you think that’ll translate to (Defensive Coordinator) James Bettcher’s scheme?

A: It’ll translate well. I can adapt to whatever scheme we play, and we play a lot of press. So, it’ll be great for me to show what I can do and help my team.

Q: What do you make of questions about your size?

A: Size doesn’t really matter. As long as you can play, you help the team, you produce -- that’s the biggest thing.

Q: Do you feel any added pressure given they traded up to draft you? Or, do you just come in here and play your game?

A: I just come in and play my game and just show them they haven’t made a mistake by coming to get me. Just want to come in and help the team.

Q: As you go through this week, what are some of your goals? What do you want to show the team and the coaching staff?

A: Just show them I got the talent to help the team, and come out here and compete with the guys, and just have a great weekend.

Q: Who is the NFL receiver you’re most looking forward to defending?

A: I don’t really have a certain player. I just want to get in and help the team. Whoever is in front of me, I’m just going to compete with them and go hard.

Q: What was your initial reaction when New York took you? What’s your thoughts about playing in a big city?

A: I was excited just to get an opportunity to play for any team. Just to get my name called in the firstround. It was a blessing. I was happy.

Q: I’m assuming you’ve taken a look at the playbook. What about it makes it a good fit for what you do well?

A: It’s a lot of man-coverage. That’s what I excel in. I can do a lot of things to help the team in man coverage when I get the opportunities. That’s what I like the most about the playbook.

Q: Is it similar to what you ran at Georgia?

A: Somewhat, yes.

Q: As a cornerback, is there really much difference in the players other than speed?

A: No, not really, just speed. You got more bigger receivers and faster receivers, but it’s basically the same thing. Just perfecting your craft and getting better every week.

Q: Any reaction of learning from Janoris Jenkins?

A: I haven’t learned from him yet, but I’m just waiting on the opportunity.

Q: What will that be like being around him and picking his brain?

A: It’ll be good, just getting all the techniques and things he can teach me to get better. It’ll be good for me.

DL Dexter Lawrence II

Q: On being underestimated getting to the QB

A: Definitely underrated. It’s kind of on me to prove myself, right, because I know who I am and to prove others wrong. I’ve always been able to collapse the pocket, now I’m focused on escaping blocks or finishing the plays and things like that.

Q: Do people know the difference between what you’ve been asked to do and what you could do?

A: Great question. I don’t know how to answer that. Kind of just within. I’m asked to go make plays, so that’s what I do. I always like a challenge, so I never shy away from a challenge.

Q: Who are you as a player

A: Smart. Physical. Instinctive defensive lineman. Tough, none quitting dude. Just ready to work, work every day and be great.

Q: On his best position

A: Here, I think I can play all three positions. From the shade or the three technique.

Q: On the scheme being a great fit for his talents

A: Like I said, I feel I can play anywhere. I feel comfortable today out there. I felt pretty comfortable playing all three positions. I kind of did that in college as well. We’d learn multiple, so I’m kind of fluid with it and comfortable with it.

Q: On playing against Daniel Jones

A: That’s my guy. Going to the game, watching film, obviously he is very talented. So that gave me a little more motivation to kind of go get him. He a great player, I think he deserved to go sixth, so that’s what happened.

Q: On replacing Damon Harrison and possibly watching him

A: I didn’t quite watch him a lot. I never really got a chance to watch him.

Q: On his eagerness to get on the field

A: Really eager. This is the longest I haven’t played football in years, since December. Today felt great. Being the first time back on the field since early December. Just moving around, putting my hands on some people. It was good. I missed it a lot.

Q: On the Giants great defensive linemen of the past

A: Definitely. I grew up a fan. Kind of coming here, gave me a little more motivation because the standard is here. So, you got to try to beat that standard or be better than that standard. That is one of my goals as I’m here; break the standard. All these great defensive linemen that came through here and did their thing. My thing is it always starts upfront. Let’s make the back seven and all their jobs easy.

Q: On how he feels about being picked with the choice obtained in the Odell Beckham trade

A: Going through the process, I had a feeling I would probably go to four teams, that were really good on me. When they got another first round pick, I said okay that’s a little more promising because all the talk, talking about picking a quarterback and stuff like that. So when they made that trade, I smiled a little bit more and I just so happened to be that pick.

Q: On the setting his sights to be a Giant

A: Definitely, like I said, I grew up a fan. Always wanted to play here just because of history. The history is great. Just to come out here and bring that tradition back.

Q: On being forever linked to that trade

A: I don’t feel pressure. When they called my name, that wasn’t on my mind. Today, that’s not on my mind. I’m a football player, I’m a defensive tackle, he’s a receiver. I got to go out here and make plays and do what I can.

Q: Did you expect that you might end up a Giant

A: Yeah, it was between about four teams. This is one of the teams I thought I would get drafted by. My agent was talking, he’s a little conservative, so he was talking a little down towards the end of the (first round of the) draft. But I knew who I was, I knew what kind of player I was. I’m in the best spot.

Q: On other Clemson linemen in the pros and the things he wants to work on

A: Definitely. Probably my last year Da’Quan Bowers, he was a good mentor, talking to us. Grady Jarrett; just talking to those guys, they just told me just to work every day and to prove yourself every day. Just to do the little things right, take care of your body, watch a little more film. Just the little things that will equal up to the big things at the end of the day.

Q: On his last name

A: I’m always Lawrence the second. Right now they have me as Lawrence, but I got that fixed quick.

OLB Oshane Ximines

Q: The Giants ranked 30th in the league last season in sacks. Do you feel any added pressure to step in right away and make an impact getting after the quarterback?

A: No, not really, I don’t feel any type of pressure. I’m just trying to show the team that I can learn the playbook and be an asset on special teams, and just contribute to this team in any way they need me.

Q: What do you think you can bring to the defense once you step on the field?

A: Just somebody that’s going to do their assignment, first and foremost, and someone who’s going to get after it every single play.

Q: What is it like for you to go sack the quarterback?

A: It’s my favorite thing to do. I’ve been a pass rusher ever since I started playing football, and it means everything to me.

Q: Any quarterback in particular you’re looking forward to playing against?

A: No, no one in particular, but if I did have to pick one, I’d say (Panthers QB) Taylor Heinicke. We played together at Old Dominion, and it would be pretty good to meet up with him again.

Q: Have you thought about the transition from a smaller program to the NFL? What do you want to accomplish initially making that leap?

A: It is a pretty big jump coming from Old Dominion to a bigger stage. We never had none of this, but it’s something to get used to. You’ve got to take everything one day at a time, just like I do everything else in life, and I just plan to do that.

Q: Looking at the playbook, was there something that stood out that made you believe this will be a great fit for your talents? 

A: I feel like the coaches evaluated me and my film, and they feel like I can fit into their scheme, and I feel the same way about it. Looking through the playbook, I feel like I’m a good fit for their scheme.

Q: Have they talked about any changes in reference to your speed?

A: Not really, I feel like being around my playing weight I played at last season, at 255 (lbs), that’s going to be pretty good. I’m right around there right now. I feel like just leaning out and keep doing the right things, and putting the right things in my body is probably the plan going forward.

Q: You had lost weight, and then gained it back, right?

A: Yeah, I did.

Q: You were a lot lighter at the Senior Bowl?

A: Yeah, I weighed in a lot lighter at the Senior Bowl. Just getting adjusted to a new diet, and I had got a little stomach virus going into the week. I got all the good weight back on me, and I’m just excited to keep that going.

Q: One thing the Giants said when they drafted you was the fact you don’t only have one move, but you have countermoves as well. How did you develop countermoves, and how much do you think that will help you at this level?

A: Just by being with my coach at Old Dominion, (Old Dominion Defensive Line Coach) Coach (Jeff) Comissiong. That’s something he drilled into my head every single day, and every single day I went out there and worked my craft with him, and it eventually became something I got good at. I just plan on keep working my craft, and just try to perfect everything I can just to be an asset to the team.”

Q: The pick you were drafted with was one of the picks the Giants received in the (Browns WR) Odell Beckham Jr. trade. As a football fan, what was your reaction when they made that trade? Do you feel any added pressure being apart of that trade?

A: I remember when I saw the Odell trade happen. At the time, I didn’t think it was going to be me, but it is. All I can be is myself. I can’t be anybody else but myself, and that’s what I plan on keep doing.

Q: Do you like the nickname “X-Man”? Or, is that just something the Giants gave you on draft day?

A: The nickname surfaced on draft day. That’s the first time anybody has ever called me X-Man, but I love the nickname actually, and I hope to keep that going.

Q: When did they first use that nickname on you?

A: On the draft day phone call, that’s the first time I heard X-Man, and it kind of surfaced on the Internet. I got a few of my friends back home calling me that now, and I just feel like it’s going to keep going in the right direction.

Q: On the Giants drafting him.

A: I was surprised. I didn’t think they were going to pick me. I didn’t have a visit here or anything like that. New York is somewhere I wanted to go because I had roots here. When I got the call, it said New Jersey on the caller ID. The Jets were on the clock, I think, so I thought it was the Jets. When I picked it up, it was New York.

Q: So you were happy it was the Giants and not the Jets

A: Yeah. I dropped my phone. I was just excited. I’m just happy to be here. I’m just ready to get out here and contribute.

Q: On having roots here.

A: Definitely. I was born in New York. I moved away when I was five years old. But my grandma moved out to Queens. Being around grandma was always good. It’s always that loving feel. So being around her and having that love is definitely going to help me out here. I’m excited to be back home.

Q: On going back to see his grandmother.

A: Yeah. Definitely; when I get some free time. Probably won’t be this weekend but if I get some free time around the summer, of course, I’ll go back and see her.

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