President & CEO John Mara
Q: Does this feel like 2004 at all, bringing in a young quarterback and looking ahead?
A: I guess you can make that comparison, yeah. We weren’t quite sure when that was all going to take place and how it would all kind of work out, but yeah, there’s a certain similarity to it. I like to think that we have a better team than we had in 2004, but we’ll see about that.
Q: What have you seen from Daniel (Jones) so far?
A: So far, so good. He’s everything that we thought he would be. He’s been terrific on the practice field, did a good job the other night. I think people need to temper their enthusiasm a little bit. It’s one preseason game, one series, but so far, so good.
Q: When you look at Daniel and praise him and think of things about him, does any part of you also drift toward Eli (Manning), and when you would have that whole dynamic come and go?
A: Yeah, a little bit, but Eli is our starting quarterback and will start the season. He’s obviously been a great representative of our franchise for a lot of years, and will continue to be, so we’ll just have to see how that one unfolds.
Q: Ideally, how would you like it to unfold this season for Eli?
A: I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field. That would be an ideal world. You’d like to see that. Again, at the end of the day, it’s going to be a decision by the head coach as to when or if Daniel ends up playing this year.
Q: Is that true, really? Obviously, you want the team to win a lot of games and make the playoffs, but if Daniel doesn’t play one snap as a rookie, you’d be okay with that?
A: I’d be very happy about that because it means that we’re having a great year and Eli’s having a great year.
Q: Do you think that’s possible?
A: Sure, why not?
Q: John, what do you think that would mean for next year if that’s the case?
A: Let’s worry about next year next year, seeing that we’ve got to get through this season first.
Q: John, you said that the 2004 team was not as talented as this team. What do you see from this team?
A: Well, I think we’ve done a pretty good job in the draft the last couple years and we’ve got some good, young talent on both sides of the ball. I think our offensive line is better than it’s been, so I think there’s reason for some optimism there, but until we start playing some games and winning some games, that’s all it is right now. I also like the feel of the locker room, so we’ll see.
Q: You said you’ll worry about next year next year. You’re fine with holding off on anything with Eli, because obviously he’s in the last year of a contract, until after the season?
A: I think we’re in a one year at a time mode right now.
Q: Do you imagine that if and when a decision comes on the quarterback situation this season that you’ll have to approve it?
A: Well, I’d like to be informed of it before I read it from you guys. But, at the end of the day, just like it was in ’04, it was Tom’s (Coughlin) decision back then, and it will be Pat’s (Shurmur) decision this time. Again, hopefully, it’s a decision he doesn’t have to make until way in the future.
Q: You mentioned the locker room. Was the locker room an issue last year?
A: I think it was not as strong as it could have been. I think there’s just a different feel to it this year. I think some players have commented about that, too, so we’ll see. A lot of times, I think that gets taken out of proportion. At the end of the day, if you start winning some games, it builds some enthusiasm, it builds some good feelings, some positive vibes, and I think that’s what we need to do more than anything else. Right now, it feels pretty good.
Q: At this point, what has given you faith in Eli? It’s obviously been a few years since he had the type of success he had earlier in his career.
A: I think he’s played well when the protection has been there in front of him, when he has confidence in the protection. I thought that the second half of last year he played much better, our protection got a little bit better, and obviously Saquon (Barkley) was having a big year. So, I think our offensive line is better this year than it has been, and he’s had a terrific camp so far.
Q: John, Eli’s the longest tenured player in franchise history. How much thought has been given to how hard it might be when you have to say goodbye to him?
A: It’ll be a very difficult, emotional moment, to be sure, but I’m not thinking about that just yet. He’s still the starting quarterback.
Q: Around the league, Dave Gettleman has taken a lot of heat for the moves he has made, for his attitude, for a lot of things. People are taking a lot of shots at him. Has any of your confidence wavered at all throughout this whole process?
A: Not at all. I think the best thing for me about Dave is he makes decisions that he feels are in the best interest of the franchise and he doesn’t give a damn what people think about it, be it the media, or be it fans, or anybody. He has the courage of his convictions, and you have to have that. He’s set about to try and rebuild this team and change the culture a bit in the locker room. I think, as I said before, our last two draft classes were pretty strong, and that’s what gives me confidence going forward. I think we’re moving in the right direction. Again, until we start winning games, it’s hard to sell people on that notion, but that’s what I believe.
Q: Did he give you pause at any time about all the talent that went out the door? Not just Odell (Beckham Jr.), but Landon (Collins), (Olivier) Vernon, a lot of guys.
A: I wouldn’t say I had any—there was never any doubt in Dave’s ability or in what his motivation was, or what his skill level was. You don’t like to see all that talent go out the door, but let’s face it, we had one winning season in ’16 and the other five or six years, nothing, not since we won the last Super Bowl, so we needed some drastic changes. Again, he had the courage of his convictions, he knew they would be unpopular moves, but he went and made them anyway.
Q: What do you need to see this season to consider it a success, or a step forward?
A: We need to win some games. I want to feel like at the end of the season we’re moving in the right direction. I’m not going to say it has to be a minimum number of games that we have to win, or we have to make the playoffs. I want to feel when I’m walking off the field after the last game of the season, whenever that is, that this franchise is headed in the right direction. That’s, to me, the most important thing.
Q: What is your overall patience? Obviously guys don’t last very long if they don’t win?
A: I’m not very patient, I take the losses pretty hard, but I understand that you have to make decisions that are in the best interests of your team in the long run and not worry about the short term as much. It doesn’t make it any easier when you are losing these games, but I understand what he is doing. I think he has us headed in the right direction.
Q: You have a big investment in your future with Daniel Jones. Are your coach and GM tied in with that?
A: Absolutely. I heard something the other day, I forget who the commentator was, that the coach was not crazy about our first-round pick. Nothing can be further from the truth and what sold me on (Daniel) was Dave, Pat and our scouts, Mike Shula, everybody was sold on this kid. That’s what made it easier for me to okay. Pat’s been a huge advocate right from the draft. Everything he’s done so far has been what we expected and what we hoped for.
Q: What was your role in the whole decision to draft Daniel?
A: I just had the final approval, on all decisions like that. For me, if the general manager and the head coach have a conviction, then I’m going to let them go with it.
Q: Did you watch any college tape of Daniel?
A: I watched a little bit. One of the first questions I asked him when I met him was: do you have thick skin. Then after we drafted him, I asked him: do you understand why I asked you that question. He smiled, he can handle it, he can handle being the quarterback of the New York Giants.
Q: Did it give you pause because of the Eli dynamic?
A: Not really. When you have a conviction about a player, particularly at that position, you better go ahead and take him. So, there was no pause.
Q: Do you see a lot of similarities between Daniel and Eli the way other people do?
A: When I first sat down with Daniel, it was eerie to me how similar. It was like talking to a 22-year-old Eli, which is a good thing.
Q: Are you satisfied with the job Pat Shurmur has done? The team only won five games last season.
A: I’m not satisfied with winning five games, but I think he has us headed in the right direction. I think the players believe in him and we have a lot of confidence in him.
Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: I know we’ve got an announcement to make organizationally. So, I will try to take your questions.
Q: Wayne Gallman, is his foot bothering him?
A: He has just a little bit of a sore foot. He’s fine. He just needed a day.
Q: We haven’t seen Big George (Asafo-Adjei) out there.
A: George, yes. He’s in the concussion protocol, and so he’s working through that behind the scenes. As he works through that protocol, there are stages. You can do work, the meeting room, then eventually progress to the field. He just hasn’t quite got there yet.
Q: Is that similar with Isaiah Searight as well?
A: Searight has a different injury. More of a hip kind of thing. But he’s here. They were both here today.
Q: Janoris (Jenkins) was okay after that little spill?
A: He’s fine. He’s fine. Just a boo-boo. He’ll be alright.
Q: Do you expect to see Darius Slayton this Friday?
A: I don’t know. We’ll have to reassess as we go here. He had another good day in practice. Each day, he looks a little bit faster out there. We’ll just have to see.
Q: What can he bring to you when he’s healthy?
A: Slayton? He’s a fine receiver. He has speed, obviously. Through the OTAs and the time he was on the practice field, he displayed the ability to go down the field and make a catch. We anticipate that he’s going to have a bright future. He just needs to get out there.
Q: Do you have different things that you look for from players in preseason games, depending on where they are in their careers? I’m thinking about Eli (Manning) and Daniel (Jones), and what their charge is when they go out there in these preseason games?
A: Everybody that you put on the field, it has to look like football. You want them to execute well within the amount of reps that they get. Am I looking for anything different? Probably not. What you want a quarterback to be able to do is keep drives alive, get completions, and help get the offense in the end zone. I think that’s what you’re looking for ideally, because they all just play a partial game. Some quarterbacks historically start off slower, so at the end of games, they play better. You just have to kind of judge it for what it is. I think they need to try to get the work they need. In most cases, except for the fourth preseason game, I like playing all four quarterbacks. I think the work they get in these games is meaningful.
Q: This is technically the end of your training camp period. It’s the end of the public part. Can you assess where you guys are at this point?
A: It’s not the end of training camp for us. We just won’t be doing it unfortunately in front of our fans. We have a long way to go. We have weeks of work to do before we play Dallas. That’s where we’re at. We try to get as much out of each practice session as we can.
Q: What are your thoughts on Ryan Anderson’s play so far in camp?
A: I think he’s done a good job in terms of he’s kind of caught our eye. He’s made plays. He’s worthy of the reps that he’s getting.
Q: How about Chad Slade? What have you seen from him playing more tackle lately?
A: He’s done a good job. He’s certainly been one of the guys that has caught our eye up front. You’re always looking for guys that can play tackle. I sort of feel like he can play guard as well. He’s actually made really good progress. He played well in the game the other night, especially in terms of his pass protection.
Q: I’m sure both of them can do it, but when you have two young linebackers like Tae Davis and Ryan Connelly, who do you like to make the call?
A: Connelly does, just by the nature of the defense. But Tae can do it.
Q: It looked like he did it a little bit today.
A: Sure. Oh yeah. They both can do it. Bill (LB Coach Bill McGovern) and Bettch (DC James Bettcher), they do a good job of working with them to… It’s obviously very important if you’re an inside linebacker to be able to communicate. They’re all working on being able to do it.
Q: Have you gotten any word on Golden (Tate’s suspension) yet?
A: No. I’m anticipating something, but that’s something that the league would announce, certainly. I certainly would not want to speculate ahead of time.
Q: Have you been told of a timeframe?
A: No, I’m just anticipating something is coming.
QB Eli Manning
Q: John (Mara) said a couple minutes ago, when looking at the season, ‘the best thing that can happen is Eli (Manning) plays every game and Daniel (Jones) sits on the bench all season.’ Any thoughts?
A: My mindset is to go in, play well, win football games and have a great year. That’s what I’m working towards.
Q: Did you guys take anything out of that first series against the Jets the other night?
A: Yeah, not a whole lot. (There was) one little bootleg and two runs. Then obviously I had a penalty on the second play, which is never good. I think this week we’ll get more playing time. (We’ll be) going against a good defense and a good team in Chicago. We want to go out there and get some first downs and move the ball and score some points.
Q: Have your personal objectives changed in terms of what you want to accomplish in preseason games as your career has gone on?
A: No, you always want to go out there, perform well, and make good decisions. I think in preseason it’s important for quarterbacks, because things are live now, the rush is live, it’s real, and you’re going to have to throw it in some more awkward situations with your feet not always set and different things. It’s good to get work on that, feel the rush and move it around, and (then) make good decisions with that.
Q: John talked a little bit about how it’s one year at a time right now to wait to see what happens. You’re obviously in the last year of your contract, how do you approach that and what’s your mindset toward that?
A: My mindset is, again, just focus on this year. Have a great year, play well, win football games, and take it from there.
Q: Are you alright with that wait until the offseason, no matter what happens, to see what your future holds?
A: Yeah, I think that’s what’s fair. I have never been one who is ever concerned or worried about contracts and things like that. I figure I won’t start now.
Q: If you could define a successful season for yourself or for the team, what would it look like for you?
A: It’s making the playoffs to start with, and then making a run in the playoffs. Obviously, the goal is to always win a championship, and you can’t do that without making the playoffs. I think the goal is to win the division and go from there.
Q: Do you feel any pressure with having such a high draft pick playing behind you?
A: No. In this job, the pressure is to go out there and perform at a high level to win football games. That’s the point. You can’t worry about what other guys are doing behind you and what’s going on there. My mindset is to prepare each and every week to get better, to make the guys around me better, to try to make good decisions, play at a high level, and put the team in a situation to win.
Q: How impressive, though, was it, because you were able to sit there and watch what Daniel did the other day in his first game experience here in the NFL and to be able to do that?
A: Yeah, Daniel came in and had a great drive. He threw the ball accurately, had completions, and had a nice touchdown throw. It was a good drive by him and the offense.
Q: Do you see any reason why the offense cannot start out fast?
A: That’s the goal, we have a good squad on the offensive side. I feel like the guys know what we are doing and we should be able to go out there and perform our jobs, move the ball, score points and make some big plays. Whether we are going to make explosive plays or dinking and dunking and moving it down the field, and kind of being able to do it each way. I think that’s the way you have to play football, take what the defense is giving you, make good decisions. Run the ball, play action and convert on third downs.
Q: One thing you could lose before the start of the season is possibly Golden Tate. If it does unfold that way, what would you be losing? You have had a while to see what he brings to the table.
A: I think we will just see how that plays out in the next few weeks and take it from there.
Q: What does Golden (Tate II) bring to the team?
A: Golden is a smart player and he is going to be in the right spot and he has a good feel for the zones, how to get open versus different techniques and stuff. A veteran guy but also, we have seen a bunch of it with the Giants, his run after catch historically has been very good, a play maker. Hopefully, things work out and he will be here all year.
Q: Have you seen better protection from the offensive line in training camp?
A: It seems that way. I think, obviously, once you get to live action, that kind of tells more of a realistic approach to things. We get blitzes, and everybody is on the same page. I feel like they are on the same page, they are making good calls, they are in the right spots and picking up a lot of blitzes and sound in passing things off, communicating what the defensive line is doing.
Q: What are your thoughts on how the defense is taking shape this year?
A: I think every time in training camp, you kind of go back and forth. Some days the offense has a good day, some days the defense has a good day. That’s football. It just depends sometimes what plays you have called versus coverages. I feel like they are doing a good job and making plays. I feel like they are going to have a good year.
Q: Pat Shurmur talked about how he wants all of his quarterbacks to play at least the first three pre-season games. What’s your preference workload-wise?
A: I don’t know if I have an exact formula to that. I like to get out there and have some drives and get the feel of the game. Get things going, get some long drives going. Face all those circumstances, third downs, a two-minute drive. I think those things are good to get somewhere in preseason games.
Q: On the first play the other night, did you not see Rhett Ellison open down the field?
A: I saw him, I just had to make a decision on whether or not to make that throw with a corner running back there. I figured with him running back, maybe hit the over route. Looking back, it’s kind of one of those maybe you could have thrown it and so you have to make those decisions in football. Sometimes the maybes turn out good or maybe they don’t. Try to make decisions and move on.
Q: Do you like the makeup of this team?
A: That’s kind of the way it works in the NFL. You need your vets to play well and be great leaders. You have to work to get the young guys to step up and eventually help you out. Sometimes you have to go through some of those growing pains with the young guys. Hopefully, we have enough vets that can get us started and get us going, and some of the young guys can eventually fill in their roles and help us out in some ways.
CB DeAndre Baker
Q: How long do you think you might be out?
A: It’s a day to day injury.
Q: Have you had something like this before?
A: No, not before.
Q: So it wasn’t scary at all?
A: No, I was all positive about it.
Q: When a defensive back feels a tweak in his legs or his knees, does that kind of give you trepidation or make you a little nervous?
A: No, I was positive about it the whole time.
Q: Are you a good watcher? Or is it hard for you to sit and watch practice?
A: No, I’m a good watcher. I still can learn mentally without getting out there and getting reps.
Q: What’d you think of your first game, your first preseason game?
A: I think I played well, there’s a few things I can improve on, but I played well overall.
Q: What did you think of the flag for pass interference?
A: No comment. *Laughter
Q: Is there anything you could do different on that play, or is it different in college, maybe they’re looking for that a little more? Or is it something where guys told you to be a little more careful?
A: I probably could have turned around and intercepted it, but I didn’t, so…
Q: Was the main thing just the one arm? Holding the one arm down.
A: I’m not sure; I haven’t asked the ref.
Q: They say for rookies every snap is vital, even in practice. Are concerned that if you miss a few days, you’ll fall behind a little bit?
A: No, not really. I’m getting the mental reps, so it’s kind of the same thing.
Q: When you look at the play that Corey (Ballentine) was called for interference after the replay. Does that make you more hesitant because you sit there and say, “wow, if they call that, that’s crazy?”
A: Oh yeah, I didn’t agree with that one, that one was crazy.
Q: It’s a new world, isn’t it?
Q: What does it mean to you that they have so much confidence in you that they put you basically immediately in with the 1’s and they’re counting on you to play a significant role right away?
A: You know, it’s cool. I just try to go out there and do whatever the team needs me to do.
Whatever I can do to help the team, I just go out there and do it.
Q: What are your expectations as a rookie? To be a rookie cornerback in this league and try to be successful right away?
A: Just go out there and compete, that’s all I try to do. Just go out there and compete.
Q: Have you started looking at some of the receivers that you’re going to face in the regular season? How do you approach that?
A: Not yet, I haven’t looked at it yet. I might get on it soon though.
Q: Is it hard for you to most likely watch this next preseason game?
A: Not really. No, I’ll be good.
Q: Are you still feeling discomfort or are you 100%?
A: No, I’m good.
Q: So you’ll be ready for Dallas?
A: Definitely, I’ll be ready