Coach Pat Shurmur
Training camp Sunday. This will be our last day before they have their mandated day off tomorrow. Just pushing through it and trying to have another good day. I'll take your questions.
Q: What are your impressions of Dexter Lawrence?
A: He's a big man, obviously. He's had an impact already. Watching the one-on-one pass rush, you can see that he's a guy that's going to be able to get some pressure. We feel good about him being able to play on all three downs. A lot like the rookies we've spoken about already, he hasn't disappointed us in any way and he's continuing to get better each day.
Q: How does RJ McIntosh look? He made a few nice plays yesterday.
A: Yeah, he's gotten a lot better. We crossed that bridge last year. He was way behind for most of the year. He's caught up, and he's doing a good job. Last year was like year zero. This is more like year one. So in some ways, he's like a rookie going through it. I think he's done a good job so far.
Q: Going back to Dexter. What about his skillset makes him the right fit to line up on the end of the three guys, versus the middle, like the nose tackle position?
A: He can line up on the nose. He can line up as a 3, and he can line up as a 5, on the center, guard or tackle because of his size, his quickness and his length. Generally speaking, as you get further from the ball, length is more important, and because he's got such great size, he can do that for us.
Q: Is that where Dalvin's [Tomlinson] flexibility works too? If I'm not mistaken, he played on the defensive end when Snacks [Damon Harrison] was here, and then moved in the middle.
A: Yeah, exactly. The goal is to get really, really good athletes that are very big and very long. But we all fall somewhere in the middle. But yeah, a guy that's more multiple and can play on the center, guard or the tackle is a good thing.
Q: For Dexter, the further out he gets from the ball, is there more learning? He didn't do a lot of that in college, right? He was sort of an anchor guy.
A: I think everything's got to be defeat your blocker, be gap sound, and when it's time to rush the passer, get after the quarterback. So there is more to learn, but I think he's capable of learning it.
Q: The last couple of days, it seems like Jabrill [Peppers] has been pretty effective up near the line of scrimmage. What do you like about his skillset up near the line of scrimmage?
A: Well, he certainly can play the deep part of the field. He's an active player that does a good job of tackling. He does a good job covering. A lot like most safeties, they do a better job covering when they can find the space a little bit. He's very active. I think he's probably more of a strong safety type guy.
Q: You guys didn't get a lot of sacks last year, but did you get enough pressures?
A: No. Neither. Neither situation. You want to get more pressure, and then certainly sacks. You know, it starts with pressure. There are a lot of times when you can get pressure on a quarterback, disrupt him enough where it affects the throw, without sacking him. You need both. Then obviously winning the one-on-one battles, or whether we pressure to scheme it, we just need to do better in all areas.
Q: Do you see the potential for more this year?
A: I do. I do, because of the second year in our system. Plus we've added some guys that have a history of sacking the quarterback.
Q: What have you seen from Corey Ballentine? He had an interception yesterday, and just in terms of his football stuff, what have you seen from him?
A: He's very smart, he's very instinctive. Each day, he looks a little bit more comfortable. I would say it's running parallel with two things. Obviously, coming back from the gunshot. And then also just becoming more comfortable in the defense. He made a play yesterday which was good, and he's generally been in the right spot. He's been competing. We're sort of pleased to this point with his progress.
Q: Do you leave his story outside of the building or is it something you talk about?
A: No, we've moved on from it. It'll always be a part of who he is, but we don't talk about it.
Q: Do you have any update on Sam Beal?
A: Yeah, he's got a groin and a hamstring he's just dealing with. It's nothing serious. We anticipate he'll be back soon. Maybe not today, but soon.
Q: What about Darius Slayton?
A: Same. He's made really good progress the last couple of days. He'll be back soon.
Q: First day in pads yesterday. Were you happy with the linemen, and the way your injured guys, or guys that had surgery like [Nate] Solder and [Mike] Remmers, came through?
A: There were mistakes upfront, obviously. I mean, they competed. It was a little sloppier than I would have liked to have seen, but that's part of it. The last time they were in pads was when we played the Cowboys in the last game of the year. It's hard to believe, but that's just the way the world works now. So, they're getting used to their pads, getting their sea legs, you know, that's part of it. With regard to Solder and Remmers, they both held up pretty well.
Q: With Julian Love, for a guy that seems like he's learning both inside, outside and now safety, I know he's intelligent, but what about him gives you confidence that he can handle everything you're throwing at him?
A: The one thing about Julian is he's got good spatial awareness. The game sort of makes sense to him. That's why he can play at top down. The safety thing is not unnatural for him. His skillset fits the nickel spot, so that's sort of where we played him. He certainly can play outside as well. But he's a smart, instinctive player. We'll keep trying to give him what we can and see where his best spot will be.
Q: We've seen Daniel Jones make some strong plays the last couple of days. From your vantage point, as you watch his progression, what have you thought about what he's done at practice?
A: To your point, I think he has made some strong throws. There were a couple of times yesterday in the blitz drills where the rush got on him a little bit, and he was able to snap it off and make pretty much an all-arm throw, which you're looking for. I know we're sort of taking his temperature every day, but I really feel like he's making progress. Each day is a new install. Each day is like 50 first dates. You start over, but you've got to move on. He does a good job with that. He's making progress. I'm pleased with where he's at after three days of practice here.
Q: Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're seeing his eyes don't come off downfield?
A: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, he's done a good job with that. Now they (the QBs) know they're not getting hit. But still, to have your eyes downfield with people around you, I think, is a good thing.
Q: He had a nice high point throw yesterday to [Alonzo] Russell. That's an NFL throw. Were you impressed that he's able to have that kind of ball placement on a deeper pass this early?
A: No, because I've seen it and we knew he could do that. We've seen him do it in our drill work. As people get to know him, and they recognize more the things he does… we expect that from him and we think he can do those things.
Q: A lot of times, people want to talk about Grant Haley and use the word "feisty." Is that accurate? And is that good for a slot corner?
A: It is. He is very feisty. I think he's a tough, competitive guy. I think you want that at all positions. Because he's a little shorter, they give him credit for being feisty, but that's just part of his nature. I think that's why he's going to have success. You have to be able to compete. You have to be tough, have to be competitive. He's all of those things. Because no matter how talented you are, if you don't have those things, you have no chance. I was around another guy that was like that. Buster Skrine, when we were in Cleveland and now with the Jets. Competitive, tough guy, and he had success. That's part of his charm. He's feisty.
Q: He's kind of like the nickelback. A lot of those guys are short and alike.
A: I don't want to put him in a box.
CB Corey Ballentine
Q: What have the last couple of months been like for you, just going back from draft day?
A: It's been a lot of highs and lows. Trying to stay focused on football now, but everyone kind of knows about the situation I was in. I don't want to speak on it too much, out of respect for my friend, I've been kind of dealing with it on my own, the Giants have been helping me. Been seeing therapists, and I just kind of realized I can't keep myself in that mental space. I've got goals to reach, and come and help the team win, so I've got to do my own thing and keep progressing. Life's not going to wait on me, so I'm just going to keep doing my thing.
Q: What happened that day?
A: I don't want to go into detail, but just a tragic event, and I lost my best friend because of it. I don't think it was anything I had to do with it, I just happened to be there, and nothing that I could control. So, to this day I just try not to think about it too much because there's nothing I can do about it at this point, and I know the police are doing their best to make peace with the family, and bring justice to the family as well.
Q: How will you honor Dwane (Simmons) going forward?
A: Just playing my best. I know he wouldn't want me sulking and being down and what not. So, I'm just going to do my best to make this team and pitch in and try to win a Super Bowl with this team, and I'm just giving my best effort.
Q: How relieving was it that they did make an arrest? What did that mean to you, and what did you make of that?
A: I was glad because a lot of people were looking for answers from me that I didn't really have, so I'm glad that somebody else could kind of take that away from me and give the family and everyone else a little bit of closure—something that I couldn't really provide because I don't know all the details myself, I just happened to be there. So, that definitely made a good feeling go through my body
Q: You talked about pursuing your dream now, but do you feel like you're pursuing two dreams here?
A: Yes, because I think he helped me get here every step of the way. When I was on the field by myself, he would come out there and join me, and I feel like I'm kind of doing it for both of us. I know if he was here now, he would love to see where I'm at, how I'm doing, and want to visit and all that stuff. Like I said, I spent the most time with him, I was his best friend, so I'm just going to try and keep him in my heart, but at the same time try to strive for the goals of the team, and also my own personal goals, and just do my best.
Q: How are you physically now?
A: I'm 100 percent now. I can run, I can jump, I can't really feel it at all. I'm 100 percent.
Q: How long did it take you to get your mind back to football?
A: It took me a little bit, maybe—I mean, I think about it every day obviously, because it was somebody that was in my life every day and it's hard to fill that gap, and I haven't filled it yet, but like I said, I'm trying to move forward. We have goals to accomplish here, the playbook I have to learn, and other things I have to learn, so I just can't keep myself in that place, but I think about it every day. It's hard, and earlier on I was paranoid, but now that I'm out here in New York, I've got a lot of support from the organization, and a lot of other people too. I've been talking to Janice, the psychologist, and just trying to get my mind off of it. So I'm not thinking about it too much now. I'll always have it in my heart, but I'm moving forward with my life.
Q: Is there any way you are going to physically honor him? Initials on cleats or something like that?
A: I've been thinking about getting a tattoo. Personally, I don't have any tattoos, but this is somebody that was very dear to me, so I've been thinking about it. I haven't gotten it yet, I'm not 100 percent sure, but I was thinking about something like that.
Q: How good did that pick-six feel yesterday?
A: It felt good. I feel like I'm finally starting to get somewhere. I came in the spring a little late to mini-camp and all that stuff, so learning the plays I was kind of behind the eight ball, and I'm also learning the nickel and corner, so two positions at once, and now I feel like I'm finally starting to move forward, and now I'm making plays, and it was just kind of rewarding to know that the hard work and the long nights of staying up is paying off.
Q: Do you still feel behind a little bit, or do you feel like you're finally caught up?
A: I feel like I'm catching up because of the older guys in the room, a lot of them will help us and stay after meetings to help us learn run fits, learn plays, and they'll help us once we get back to the hotel as well. So, with the help of them and my teammates, and just extra studying, I think I caught up pretty well.
Q: Is there anything specific that you do, either on a daily basis or leading up to camp, that helped you focus, or helped re-center you, or helped you emotionally?
A: Not necessarily. I think it was just kind of me making the effort to learn the plays and try to—because I know they're not going to wait for me here. They've given me time to think about it and ponder on everything that happened, and recover and everything, and I think personally that it's time for me to be strong now. I can't keep thinking about that and dwelling on it, I've got to move forward. If I want to make this team, I've got to learn the plays, I've got to execute, things like that. So, mentally I just kind of shifted mentally, knowing the obligations that I have to do, and just moving forward with it.
Q: How has the organization helped you?
A: They came to the funeral, they've given me the time I needed, the resources, taken me to the doctor, made sure everything was okay, checking up on me, doing all the rehab with me. Coach Pat (Shurmur)—all the coaches really—have contacted me. Even when I wasn't here, they contacted me and made sure that everything was okay and I was taking the time I needed and talking to people and making sure my mental was okay. So, they've definitely helped me a lot, providing me with all the resources I needed.
Q: What were your thoughts when there was some narrative that your situation had cast the organization in a bad light or made you at fault for what happened?
A: Initially, I was kind of upset because nobody was there and nobody knows what happened, and at that point, I don't think anybody really knows who I am or who I was. So, for somebody to say those type of things, it kind of made me upset, but at the same time, I don't think I would be here playing for the Giants if I was a bad person. I think everybody knows that the NFL is pretty thorough with everything that they do, so if I was doing anything bad, I think everybody would know about it. So, I think the right people know that everything that happened was out of my control, and there's nothing I can do about it at this point, so I'm just moving forward with it.
WR Coach Tyke Tolbert
Q: With your young players, is it more important for your group to have their technique, alignment, assignment down and the playmaking part of it will take of itself?
A: I think anytime you get on this level, you've been a playmaker before so I'm not so concerned about them being playmakers as much as you said and just get up there, know the assignment, know the alignment, and play hard. We have a thing in our room that says, 'Master the things that require no talent.' What is that? Assignment, alignment, (and) technique. (If it's) those things they focus on, the playmaking ability will take care of itself.
Q: There's a chance you might not have Golden (Tate) for the first four weeks. How do you balance putting him out there, and getting his time with Eli (Manning) versus maybe getting some of the other guys ready in the event that you don't have him to start the year?
A: Well, in my mind, he will be ready for Week One. I know he has a deal going on, and an appeal and all of that. We'll let it play itself out, but I have to go with what I know today. What I know today is that he's out there, he's practicing with the ones, and he'll continue to practice with the ones. If something else changes, but up until then, I think it's coming up pretty quick, we'll know then and we'll make adjustments then. But as of right now, we're going to go status-quo.
Q: What do you lose if he's not there?
A: His experience and his playmaking ability. He's a playmaker. Like I said, all those guys are playmakers. They come here, and they've been playmakers before. If you happen to lose someone, regardless of who it is, but talking about Golden, you lose a playmaker. I hope that won't happen, but if things can be possible at this point in time we'll just let it play itself out with the league.
Q: How do you keep the room from being deflated with the bad luck that you guys have had with the injuries?
A: There's no deflation at all. Actually, the guys have more excitement in the room because those guys who normally hadn't had the opportunity to have a lot of reps get a lot of reps now. They can showcase their ability. Actually, there's a little bit more excitement in the room than I would expect there to be because the guys are more excited about the extra reps they'll be getting. I'm excited equally about coaching those guys. We'll give some other guys some other reps, who don't normally get as many reps. Now you get to coach them more, give them more reps, and it makes it exciting.
Q: When you bring in somebody brand new, like TJ Jones, do you spend a lot of time with them on the playbook and getting them up to speed or is a lot of that on the player and getting themselves to a certain point?
A: It's a combination, but I spend extra time with him. Either early in the morning before special teams, and sometimes in the afternoon. TJ's a pro, he's been around five to six years now, and he's an inside- outside type of guy. He'll bring some veteran leadership to our team, and simply make an impact on our team. He's also been a punt returner as well, so that helps.
Q: I think he averaged 12 yards per catch in his career so far. What did you guys see out of him in the workout or maybe on film, that made him stand out?
A: All of the guys that worked out had a pretty good workout. They really did. I told them when they finished, 'You're going to make the decision tough for the decision makers,' because I'm definitely not a decision maker. But he had some good feet to him, you could see him outside, inside, getting out of cuts, catching the ball, and all of those things. He has good size. Having played in the NFL, too, also helped because he has some game experience. You can't discount game experience.
Q: Do you feel like you need somebody with that kind of experience given how inexperienced the backend of your depth chart is now?
A: No, we worked out together and we signed the best guys who we thought did best at the workout, regardless of experience. It just so happened that one of them was TJ who has game experience.
Q: More on TJ Jones…
A: No. Again, in my experience with him was only really in the workout. I never had to study him. Coming out of college, I studied him, but as far as him being on another team, I don't study other receivers. I'm too busy doing other stuff on my team. But at the workout, he had a really good workout, and we just picked the best guys that were available to us.
Q: How far does a rookie fall behind, like Darius Slayton, when he can't get on the field early in camp and stands there watching?
A: As a young rookie, you wish he was on the field more. He is very involved. He's in my hip pocket the whole time during walk-throughs, practice, and everything. He's asking for the play, he's telling me what he does during the play. Actually, he's telling me the whole concept because I teach guys concepts, not positions. But there's nothing like doing it. We're going to get him up to speed as quick as we can once he gets back out there. How far away is he? I can't tell you that, that's a question for the training staff. Whenever he is ready to be out there, obviously he is going to get thrown into the fire really quick.
Q: Coach said, 'soon':
A: Soon sounds good to me (laughter).
Q: How would you categorize him based off how he did in the spring? It seems like he took decent strides in the spring:
A: Big time. As a matter of fact, it's funny that you mentioned that. A lot of the tapes we are watching right now of installs, of guys who were here in the spring, and a lot of the plays we are showing the whole team now, are plays that he made. It stands out, it's noticeable all of the plays he was making throughout the spring. We are waiting for him to get healed, get out there and be full speed so we can coach him back up again and run the routes.
Q: Are you showing veterans a play that a rookie made?
Q: How much will he be near the top of the list if he's healthy, if you are down some of the other guys?
A: It's hard to say because everyone is improving, like I mentioned when I first started. All of these young guys are excited about the opportunity of getting all these reps. When they are all battling, it's hard to mention or say something about a guy who is not out there right now at this point in time. Once he gets out there and gets up to speed, we'll see. At the end of the day, we're going to play the best player, whoever they are.
Q: In your experience when you have a rookie who has done well in the spring and over the summer, do you find a lot of times once the games start in preseason it separates them a little bit and you see things going too fast for them with physical contact? Do you kind of have to take a step back off them?
A: No, because we practice with pros every day. In all of the places I've been, our guys practice against some of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, All Pros, Pro Bowlers, whatever. It makes them better. Getting to the game situation, it actually makes it a little bit easier, because they've been practicing against elite guys the whole time. Not to discount other guys, or other corners. Every player in the NFL is a good player. A place that I was at before, we had elite Pro Bowlers year in and year out, and I had young guys and older guys practice against those guys. By the time they got to the game, they were already ready. Actually, it was a little bit slower for them.
Q: Is teaching concept and not position something that is more important in this league as opposed to in college?
A: It's definitely more important in the league. In college you may have a team full of guys on scholarships and everybody has a position. In the NFL, how many guys you have, maybe five or six, and then you are going to have somebody up on game day. You may have four or five up on game day, and if John Doe busts a shoulder pad or something, then all of a sudden Jim Doe has to come in and play at that position. He can't say, 'Well I can't play because I'm just an X or Z or F.' He has to go in and fill in. That's why I teach the whole concept, so whenever guys have to go in the game they can't say, 'I'm going in at this position or that position,' they can go in and fill in wherever it is.
Q: What has Alonzo Russell done so well in these first few days? Also, being 6-4 in a receiver room where it's a little smaller at the starting lineup, does it give him an edge?
A: He's one of the guys I am talking about chomping at the bit getting these opportunities. What does he bring? He brings his size and ball skills. He can always run, he can always make plays on the ball, and at the end of last year, he became active. But what I was telling him throughout the course of the year, 'It's not your ability to make plays on the ball and do things on offense, which I know you can do. It's your ability to go out there and perform on special teams.' That's a role that younger guys have to play in order to be active on the roster and active on game day, it's be a special teams guy. He improved that greatly and he was worried about that. Being active the last game with the Cowboys, he has continued to improve, as you have seen throughout this training camp, making plays on the ball. I like where he's going.
Defensive Line Coach Gary Emanuel
Q: Can you tell us what you've seen from the young guys? RJ McIntosh, Dexter Lawrence II, B.J. Hill … the progress they've made?
A: Well, all the young guys are working extremely hard, they all are learning their NFL game. A couple of the guys that have experience of playing last year are a little bit ahead of the guys just coming in and learning their NFL game. So they're all working extremely hard and trying to improve in all areas.
Q: In terms of (RJ) McIntosh, he got a late start last year. Has he really taken a big leap forward in your mind?
A: Well anytime you have a chance to have a whole offseason, it helps you take a leap forward, so yes he has improved.
Q: Where have you specifically seen the biggest jump from him?
A: Just overall, his footwork, his technique, his hand and his eyes and feet, just things you look for in a defensive lineman.
Q: With Dexter Lawrence, how is he doing as far as coming in and working?
A: Dexter is a great physical specimen, he has some great tools to work with, so his size helps him tremendously. He's a good student of the game, he plays extremely hard, he loves football, he's a great young man. But he's improved in all the areas. He's getting better technique. For all players, particularly in the defensive line area, the biggest difference is playing with some technique because all the guys in this league are big and strong and the player with the best technique usually wins the game, and Dexter is improving his technique.
Q: Did you watch him in college, when he played at Clemson?
A: Obviously I watched him a lot because we drafted him, so yeah. Yeah, I watched him a lot in college.
Q: What did you notice about him when he played in college that stood out to you?
A: He has ability to play against the run and the pass. He has a passion for the game, he can play with some technique, he's more athletic than you think for a big guy his size, and he's just a smart football player. Being down there for the pro day, I'm spending time down there with him and people have gotten to really love him at Clemson, and we can see why and you guys will learn why.
Q: Are you guys asking him to do some things that he wasn't doing? Wasn't he more of a nose tackle at Clemson or a middle of the line kind of guy?
A: My standard answer is going to be as a defensive lineman who played in a bunch of different spots, whether he was playing nose guard, playing three technique, playing five technique, a little defensive end, so he played all over the line in terms of down there at Clemson as well. So we're just asking him to play defensive line.
Q I think (James) Bettcher said back in Spring that what he likes about the three young guys that you have running with the first team, Dexter, Dalvin (Tomlinson) and B.J. (Hill) is they can play every position. Do you like that about this group and does that give you things you can do with them collectively?
A: I think as a defensive line coach and as a coach in general, you want guys to have the versatility to play a number of positions and these guys are certainly able to do that. We really like that a lot. Sometimes they can line up and play nose tackle, they can play the 3-technique, they can play defensive end within this series or for a series. So that gives them a great opportunity to exploit some matchups that we might have and it just helps them where offenses can't say this guy's only playing this. It creates some problems for the offense.
Q: So you can see a situation where you're in a series and those three guys from play to play could be in different spots depending on what you see on the other side of the ball?
A: We'll see how it goes, but there's a possibility of that, that can happen
Q: Are there different skillsets that the defensive lineman needs when he plays further away from the ball?
A:Yes, you know probably the further you are away from the ball, probably the more athletic you need to be because things is a lot more spaced and the closer you are to the ball, there's probably more of a physical game where you can see different blocks and, as you know, in the interior you're probably getting a little bit more double-teamed, a little bit more scoop blocking schemes like that. Whereas when you're playing the edge of the defense, you might only get a reach block inside.
Q: We understand that the outside linebackers do a lot of the pressure in the 3-4 defense but can those three guys (B.J.) Hill, (Dexter) Lawrence, (Dalvin) Tomlinson get enough pressure on the quarterback. Dalvin has one sack in two years. B.J., most of his sacks came in one game last year. Can your three starters up front get enough pressure on the quarterback?
A: Well, we certainly hope so. It all works together. People get hung up on numbers of sacks and stuff like that, but things happen because the interior guys force them to step out. The outside guys force them to step up, so they all work together, so we're hoping that we can get some good pressure in the pocket. Sometimes you might not have to sack the quarterback if we get him off the spot and make him move his feet and hold the ball a little bit longer, that helps out tremendously.
Q: As a defense, one of the things that you guys had problems doing last year was finishing games, how much has that been an emphasis on you guys for this year?
A: It's been a big emphasis for the whole team, so it's not only the defense. It's everybody, the offense, the defense, the special teams, everybody's doing things. It's all we talk about is finishing and making sure we finish the play, we finish the drive, finish the quarter, finish the game, so that's a big emphasis all the way around.
Q: One of the veteran guys that came in here is Olsen Pierre, what does he bring?
A: OP, as we call him. Olsen Pierre obviously has some experience in the defense, in the scheme he played out there with Bettch (James Bettcher) in Arizona for four years, so he has a lot of knowledge of the defense. He has a skillset that gives a lot of versatility where he can play anywhere on the line the scrimmage. He does well against the run and he has some pass rush abilities, so we're expecting some really good things out of OP.
Q: What about Chris Slayton, 7th round pick, I don't think anybody has heard much about him. Can he play a role depth-wise for the defense?
A: We certainly hope so. We think Chris is, as all the young players are, they're looking to improve and work their technique and continue to get better week in and week out and day in and day out. Chris has the ability and has some skill, so he can do some good things and hopefully we're expecting some good things out of Chris.