Tom Coughlin On Michael Strahan's Enshrinement**
Q: You [Coach Coughlin] and Michael [Strahan] had an interesting relationship over the years. What does it feel like for you to see how he began and now going into the Hall of Fame?
A: Incredible pride. Michael Strahan was a great football player. He had ability and was taught right from the beginning. He practiced hard, ran to the ball, was a great example for the younger guys in doing that, and excellent in the classroom. He was a dynamic leader and had one of those magnetic personalities where everyone was attracted to him. He was a superb player on the field in both the pass and the run. Yeah, we didn't necessarily see eye to eye right away, but thank goodness we won Michael over. We spent some time together and went through some times that were good and bad. I think that he appreciated the fact that what we were trying to do was in the best interest of everybody and the team and being the best we could be. He became an outstanding captain and very good in the leadership council. He did a great job with us that way. Couldn't be more proud of him as he made the transition out of football to life and how successful he's been in the business he's in now. To his family, mom and dad, nothing but congratulations and happiness for this wonderful, wonderful recognition. To be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a wonderful thing and gives us another great Giant. When we go out there and pass through the Hall of Fame, we can see the bust of another great Giant football player along with all the others.
Q: Was seeing eye-to-eye with Strahan, however you managed to accomplish that, one of the keys you think to that first Super Bowl?
A: No doubt, I think it was because of the fact that Michael was so strong in the locker room. I think also the way in which our organization handled that summer when he didn't come right into camp and we still expressed the fact that – I know Michael and I had conversations in which I said, without a doubt, that we'd love to have him back but only if his heart was in the right place, and it was when he came back. Nobody was cheering harder in that last drive (of Super Bowl XLII) than Michael Strahan. Very, very proud of him, a very proud day for the New York Giants.
Q: Do you think he was rare because he played as well against the run as he was a pass rusher?
A: Rare, very rare. Not only that, but as he got into those 14, 15 years, he took his weight down. He was probably 252-254 [pounds], still playing with that kind of power over those right tackles with that punch and that great extension against the run. Just a great love of the game and competing with tremendous pride. His thought about fear of failure - I mean that's a great motivator.
Q: Did his personality kind of influence you as you progressed in this job? He has such an infectious personality.
A: Well, so do I.
Q: You do, too. I'm just saying, the two of you playing off each other and just growing together.
A: Well he's definitely himself and I try to be myself. The thing that I picked up on right away is that he's one of the classic – I mean he has a great time with anybody if he wants to bust their chops, but he can take it. And they come right back at him; they can't wait to get at him and he was always great with that, too. No hard feelings, in other words.
Q: He's been gone for six or seven years now, but it seems like he still has a large shadow on this team.
A: Well only because when he comes over. He struck up a relationship with Damontre [Moore]. He was always here for [Justin] Tuck and all the guys in that room. Last year in the fall, we had him over and he sat in with the defensive coaches, sat in there with the players. We haven't been able to get him over here yet this year, but I'm sure we will. I'm sure we will.
Q: It's hard to take a young player and say, "look, you could be like Michael," but is that a good goal to have for some of these young defensive ends? You know, "look what he did; maybe you can do some of that too."
A: That's a great goal. He sets a great example, let's face it. The way he practiced, studied, worked at it. Very opinionated, no question about it. Very loquacious, one of those personalities that had a lot of fun but could get serious and could ask serious questions. You have to respect that. Always.
Q: How does it feel to have a guy that you coached now be a Hall of Famer?
A: It's a wonderful feeling shared by our whole staff. What a great feeling.
Q: Does it also amaze you that he's now a guy that even in retirement you will lean on to set an example? That's a long way for a guy who I would imagine at first you weren't sure where this was going to end up.
A: I don't know what you're trying to get me to say. I think I talked enough about that part of it. No matter what he felt like, he came to work and he worked hard and went out and played hard. I think that once he realized that we were all doing that and trying to do the best we can, there was never any friction after that. That last year was a tremendous experience for everybody.
Q: You got to go through the Hall last year when Bill [Parcells] went in. Are you going to take the team there this year?
A: Yes. We're going there and we'll travel through. The hotel is about an hour away and we'll send the team on their way and we'll stay for the ceremony.
WR Odell Beckham**
Q: What did you find out yesterday?
A: Just heavy inflammation and blood in the hamstring. The trainers are just taking it day by day to see. Whatever happens is what happens. It's up to them right now on the length, however long it's going to be.
Q: Did they have a better timeframe now after the tests?
A: Nope, they just said it's still day-by-day. That's something that they know a lot more about than I do, I'm just trying to do whatever they ask. I'm trying to get back out there as soon as possible.
Q: You know how it feels. Did it surprise you when the said there was some blood in there?
A: No, it didn't surprise me. I knew how it felt when I actually stepped on (DRC) Cromartie's shoe. I felt a little pinch. I know that it's not full-go but I know that I'm doing whatever I can to get back out there.
Q: Is that on the play that he intercepted it?
Q: Did you have hamstring issues at LSU?
A: Just in general coming from a track background, my mom, they say you have to be fast to pull a hamstring I heard. My mom has been coaching me up on what there is to do. I've pulled a hamstring before, it's not the first and it probably won't be the last. It's just a bump in the road.
Q: Is it frustrating, though? Your head coach is frustrated, are you?
A: Yeah. I talked to Coach Coughlin and like he said, it's frustrating on both ends. He wants me out there as bad as I want to be out there. It's just kind of like you work so hard to get to where you're at now and it's like you can't go out there and do the one thing that you love to do. It's hard to just take that all the time and then have your coach, at the same time, be frustrated. It's just something that… you're just trying to play both sides of it.
Q: He's still getting to know you. Did you kind of reassure him, 'Hey, I want to be out there and I'm doing everything I can?' Because there are maybe incidents where it's not that way. Do you reassure him that it is that way with you?
A: Definitely. We had that talk today and it was just kind of like, 'I'm new and we don't know each other so well.' Over time you get to know people. The bad part about it is your first impression is going to last forever. You don't ever want to leave a bad impression but at the same time I'm just trying to reassure him that, he knows how bad it is for me to not be practicing. I'm a high-energy guy. I always loved practicing at LSU. I love practicing now. For me it's never really been about days off, it's just been about getting better each and every day.
Q: Do you think you might have been pushing yourself a little bit too hard coming off the spring?
A: Probably so but that's just my natural instinct. I'm one of those guys who, when it's time to go I only know one speed and that's 100%. It's just one of those things that's frustrating. You push it and you push yourself to the limits that sometimes you can't reach. It's something that will get fixed and in the future it will be better.
Q: Did it bother you at all? Did it give you any problems during the month… you say you probably went a little too much now, did it bother you during that month at all? Did you feel it at all or do anything in particular for it?
A: During that time, I was in API in Arizona. I was getting treatment at the facility while I trained for the combine just trying to get right. We did a good job; those guys over there do a good job. We got a lot of the problems fixed, it's just sometimes you can't really guess how a hamstring is going to act. It's one of those unpredictable ones.
Q: Did you feel 100% when you showed up for training camp? Was it something where you felt like the hamstring was pretty much obsolete and you felt good?
A: Yeah, it felt good. I couldn't give you a percentage, it just felt good enough to run and practice and go hard like I usually do. Sometimes your body doesn't hold up.
Q: This sounds like it was a contact injury for a hamstring. I think that is pretty rare, usually guys are running in the open field and they pull it.
A: No, it was in the open field. My foot got caught in his cleat and I just overstretched it. It's not like I got kneed in it or anything like that. It's not a bruise, it's just when I was opening up. I can do a lot of short stuff it's just when I try to get into that top speed it's a lot harder for me.
Q: But that re-aggravated something that was already there, right? It was not 100%, there was still something there and you tweaked it against Cromartie, right?
A: With hamstrings there's stuff that gets built up in there and it takes a while for it to get out. I'm sure that there was still something there, not that you could see or not that you could note just from looking at it but it's just one of those things that once you start digging deep you find out about it.
Q: Have you dug deep? Have you run the way that you can run here yet?
A: No, I don't think so. I definitely don't think so. Maybe the first couple days I was here I felt good, flying around until it initially happened. I definitely know that there is a lot more for me to show.
Q: How do you learn an offense when you're not out there running it?
A: Just exactly what I'm doing right now. I'm just staying with coach Roeder and talking to coach Sean (Ryan) every single play, getting the plays, getting all the mental reps you can, learning all the signals and that's really been as much as I can do. Catch balls when I can, stay up with your receiving skills. It's tough to just sit there and have to, it's not the most fun thing in the world to be trying to learn the playbook without actually getting to act on it. The biggest thing for me is just with patience and just continuing to dig deep in the playbook.
Q: Will you be back out there like you have been, catching punts and catching the ball off the JUGGS machine?
A: Definitely. I'm one of those guys that's going to push it as much as I can with respect to the trainers and whatever they say. I'm definitely going to be back there catching punts and doing whatever they allow me to do.
Q: What have you been allowed to do up to this point? Are you working on a treadmill inside? What kind of things are you able to do to sort of strengthen it?
A: That's all stuff that goes down in the training room, just the equipment that they have in there, the stretches, the pool workouts. All that stuff that goes down is kind of what I've been doing. I haven't been able to get out here and open up full stride and run full speed yet but it's coming along. It's one of those things that take time and you just have to be patient with it and not let it get you frustrated or mentally upset or anything like that. My head's in the right place. I'm just looking forward to getting past this.
Q: Did the doctors give you any new treatments or recommend anything to do differently or is it just…?
A: Just one of those things that takes time.
Q: What was it that they felt that they wanted you to go take tests? You say nothing's really changed much in the last couple days so what was it that made you want to go get those tests done?
A: It's like one of those things with your bone, let's say your foot hurts or something and you just want to check and make sure that everything is OK. It was more preventative, it wasn't anything where we were worried. We just wanted to make sure what's in place was what was in place?
Q: Have they given you a most optimistic scenario that says you will play one or two or three preseason games? Or is that not even on the table right now?
A: I definitely think I will be playing in the preseason games. I don't think it's going to be anything that long. I've actually pulled my hamstring, pulled it and came back. It's just one of those things, like I said, it's a day-by-day thing. You can't predict it and it takes time.
Q: And it's unlikely they'll let you play against Buffalo. That's only a few days away.
A: Yeah. That's two days away, I wouldn't' expect it either. Really it's up to the trainer. Whenever they release you is when they release you. Whenever I get back out there I will do my best to help this team do whatever we need.
TE Daniel Fells**
Q: …anything that has been an adjustment for you?
A: I would say every aspect of it. You want to make sure you're doing everything that right way. It boils down to footwork, timing on your routes, and building trust with the rest of the offense. Just working together is the biggest thing.
Q: Do you pay attention to the depth chart even though it's so early in training camp?
A: No, you can't. That's out of my control. All I can do is come here and work hard every single day and hopefully it will work itself out.
Q: A five-way position battle doesn't leave much room for error. How do you approach that?
A: You have to keep your head down and keep going with it. Mistakes are going to happen because it's a brand new offense. Everyone's on the same playing field right now. You have to go out there and get in your playbook and we have a lot of meeting time to watch film. With the 2-3 hours that we're out here, that's the time to try to execute everything.
Q: What drew you here [to the New York Giants]?
A: A tryout. I was sitting at home last year. I had a couple of tryouts here and there. I was in training camp with the Patriots last year but I got released. It's the way things go sometimes. I sat around my home, working out and trying to find another opportunity. The Giants came out and gave me an opportunity.
Q: What was it like sitting at home for a year and not getting that call?
A: It was hard. Personally, I felt that I had the skillset to be in the league but things dictated differently. I was sitting at home. Fortunately, I had some distractions like my new baby girl who was born in November. I had certain distractions to keep my mind off the negative and start focusing on the positive. I'm out here and I'm hungry because I have a family to support. This is my passion and my love but at the same time, there's more to this than just football.
Q: When you're home, are you working out the whole time or start looking for another job?
A: It's difficult because you go back and forth. There are times where you are hungry. At the beginning of the season when you're working out every day and trying to stay in the best shape possible. I had a couple of phone calls a couple of weeks into the season with tryouts but it didn't pan out. So then the doubts start to creep in. I'm human. You start thinking if I can still do this or if it is time for retirement. But at the same time, I know I can get to this point. I kept working out and preparing for the "afterlife," but I knew this is where I wanted to be.
Q: How did you prepare for the "afterlife" [post-retirement]?
A: I thought about owning a business. My father-in-law is a business broker so he brings different business out in California to my attention that I could be successful in. He kept an eye towards things like that and at the same time, football is where my heart is.
DL Mike Patterson**
Q: What are your impressions of how the defensive line is coming along?
A: It is coming along well. [Hankins] picked it up a lot this camp and came out right in spring ball. I am excited for him. He stepped up a lot, and he's moving around a lot. He is doing a lot of good things that the coaches are happy about.
Q: Do you feel there is a hole to fill to replace Linval [Joseph]?
A: It is a lot to make up when you lose a guy like him. I think that we can get it done, most definitely. Just for a fact that everybody is on the same page; all the tackles that we have know what we need to do to get it done. Everybody came out ready to play this year.
Q: What does it mean for you to be back in a starting role?
A: I am very excited and I am very thankful of this opportunity. It wasn't cut down or cut short for me. Since I have been able to get back to the starting role, I have been taking it very seriously and personal to keep it. I want to go out there and do my best to go out there and show them that I can still play.
Q: What does it mean to take it serious and personal?
A: Just for the fact with the AVM stuff, and to finally put that behind me and move on. That is what I meant by that. I had a lot of questions of people wondering if I was going to be able to play. All of that is behind me and now I am here. Fresh new year with nothing to worry about, and I am just excited.
Q: Do you feel better this year than last year?
A: Yes I do. Just for the fact that it has been a couple years now since anything has happened, and I am excited to get back out here and have nothing to worry about.
Q: What is it that is different that makes you feel better?
A: Just for the fact that I lost a lot of weight in the off-season and the coaches believe in me to get it done. That's what I am excited for. [The coaches] put you on the first team and tell you, 'hey get it done.' I am excited for the opportunity.
Q: Are there things physically training wise you can do before that you couldn't for a couple years?
A: Not necessarily, it was more just a cautionary thing. People wanted me to take it easy, especially my last year with the Eagles. They just wanted me to be able to heal. That was a big thing at the time, and now I am healed and ready to go.
Q: Who steps up as a leader on the defensive line?
A: We have a lot of guys that can step up. We have Kiwi, we have [Cullen] Jenkins, we need JPP to step up, and if I needed to, I could. We always have had leaders. Good thing about us is we never overstep anybody's boundaries. If one person wants to step up and take the lead, we let them take the lead. That is the thing about the d-line; everyone is mature enough to understand how the roles go and what we need to get done.
Q: Was losing weight something you wanted to do?
A: Yeah, most definitely. It is something I wanted to do just for the fact that I felt better lower than higher obviously. It was something I really wanted to accomplish so I could get back on the field.
Q: What did you play at in Philly?
A: My best years I was below 310-312 pounds. I am trying to get back to that spot.
Q: What was the big difference?
A: There really wasn't anything big differently; I kind of just changed up my eating habits. I was more conscious of the body. I was more conscious of what I was putting in my body.
Q: Were you surprised when the depth chart came out that you were in the line-up?
A: I wasn't really surprised. I didn't know what direction the team wanted to go, but once I saw it I said thank you and I am looking forward to this opportunity to get back on the starting line and work some more and do a lot of good things.
Q: How do you make sure you stay in the starting line-up?
A: I have to go out there and play well and make sure you do the things the coaches ask of you to do.
Q: But you still have [Johnathan Hankins] who is going to play obviously because he is the future, but in some ways you want to push that future off a little bit?
A: No, not necessarily, because for the fact that we are all still on the same team. For us upfront, d-line wise, we want everyone to do well because when we go out and they come in, you want them to not skip a beat with what is going on. We are always motivating each other, showing each other different techniques of what we could do and what they could do. We are all motivated by each other and are trying our best to pump each other up and have everybody stay on the same page.
Q: Does being a starter at your position make that much of a difference with the way they rotate guys in and out?
A: I guess it doesn't matter now, just for the fact that the league has been rotating a lot of defensive tackles in games. It is exciting, but it's not like 'oh I am a starter.' It is nothing like that.
Q: Is there a sense of pride of being on the field for the first play?
A: Not necessarily. I learned that last year. I came off the bench last year. I wasn't the first guy out there. It really wasn't really a point of pride, for the fact that I got time that was meant for me, and I was able to get back on the field and play.
Q: How do you evaluate yourself for last year?
A: Me, personally, I felt good just because I was able to go out there and do my job without any questions. That was my thing and something personal that I wanted to go through to let people know it is not over for me yet.
Q: When you re-signed with the Giants and they brought you back, did you have any idea you would be competing for that number one spot atop the depth chart?
A: When I re-signed with the Giants my mind was open, anything could happen. I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I just needed to come out here and practice and show them what I could do. To me it was just another opportunity to go out there and play.
CB Prince Amukamara**
Q: Can you relate to the trouble Odell Beckham Jr. is having getting on the trouble with the injury?
A: I have talked to Odell a little about it and how he is coming along and just to be different like I said, I wasn't in this position and it's tough. Hamstrings are not something to play with because hamstrings only happen to guys who are really fast and Odell is one of those guys. If it strains a little bit. you do need to turn it down because you don't want it to actually just tear and pop and I don't know what his situation is but I don't think it's torn or it popped. You definitely don't want that because then you can be out even longer and it's just a problem just to deal with, a lingering hamstring. It's not like my broken foot to where it breaks and it has time to heal. A hamstring is a very tricky injury but when he practices he always gives a 100% from what I see and he runs his routes full speed. As long as he is ready by week one against Detroit I will be excited about that.
Q: You've heard Coach get frustrated. You're a rookie and you're not on the field and you're a first round pick. It's part of the drill when you get hurt when you're young?
A: Yeah. It definitely is a lot of pressure especially as a first round pick as high as he went. Everyone wants to see "the investment." They want to see the first round pick perform and when they heard it is kind of tough and I am sure Odell is feeling like, "man, I have to get out there," but I know he is just being smart and will go out when he is ready. There is definitely a lot of pressure; there are a lot of side comments. If he does any movement that looks athletic they will say, "Oh you can do that but you can't run." A lot of people from the outside don't really know what the situation is but I'm sure when he is ready he will be ready.
Q: Is the coach frustrated with the player or the injury?
A: One thing is I think if you are hurt you just need to do everything right. When you are hurt people already are looking at you out of the side of their eye. So just do everything right, attend meetings, be on time because you don't want to add another demerit. I'm not saying being hurt is a demerit, but being hurt is frowned upon.
Q: How much do you feel you can fall behind just from not being on the field? Did you feel like when you got out there you were significantly behind?
A: I would say as a corner it's pretty easy for us you just have to tell us cover one, two, three, or four, and that is universal. Every corner in the National Football League knows how to play that, but I think just the speed and the route combinations are completely different than from watching it on the side of the field. I think how much mental work you get in the classroom or by yourself it's a whole new ball game when you're lined up against Calvin Johnson or Victor Cruz.
Q: You mentioned Calvin Johnson before Victor Cruz.
A: Because "C" before "V."
Q: Prince, how has it been going up against this offense? It's quicker and you take more quick shots.
A: It is quicker and it can seem very reserved just making quick passes and there are times when they do want to take their shots. My first three years here we played the Green Bay Packers so I am kind of familiar with that type of offense. I think it is a great offense; they give us different packages from 22 personnel to 11 personnel. I think that helps our defense.
Q: Is there pressure on this secondary to be as good as advertised?
A: There is always pressure on us and I think guys put a lot of pressure on themselves when you have guys who are leading the way like Antrel, who only expects the best and won't let us settle. It's great following a guy like Antrel's lead.
Q: Is there a bit more boldness or brashness to this secondary this year?
A: I don't know because I think when Coach Coughlin started coaching his motto is "talk is cheap, play the game." I think if anyone starts to open their mouth too much, I think he will shut it first pretty quick.
Q: What about on the field? You can play a little edgier without talking.
A: I would say during this camp we are starting to tune to our swag. Like you said, with the addition of Walter Thurmond III and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, they definitely bring a different dimension to our defensive backfield and it's pretty contagious. Especially Charles James II, he gets his arm tugged pretty well.
Q: The competition for interceptions, how does that look?
A: It is looking pretty good. There hasn't been too many this camp. I think Charles James has one and Zack Bowman has one. We are a competitive group and we try to make everything a competition. Yesterday we were arguing about who is fastest.
Q: Is it strange for secondary to get its identity from a guy who is so close to the bottom of the depth chart?
A: I don't think so. I believe that you are only as great as the weakest, and I am not saying Charles James II is the weakest but Charles James II definitely picks us up. He definitely plays with a chip on his shoulder. Every play he has that "undrafted mentality" and anytime he gets on the field he is trying to prove something.
Q: You guys have a lot of first round picks. He kind of brings that edginess right?
A: Yeah, Charles James II is always a great time.
Q: Does the speed of this offense help you?
A: Getting repetition against the no-huddle with our offense it does help going against guys, like the guys in Philadelphia. Their offense is very fast and I think the Redskins do the same thing so that is only preparing us for the season.
Q: Do you notice it's quicker in practice?
A: Sometimes I notice it and sometimes I think we have been going fast for so long I don't know.