Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: Saturday. They're off tomorrow. We'll get a good padded practice this afternoon. Move the ball period in there, not unlike you've seen already. Just hacking our way through training camp. I think the guys are handling it pretty well. I look forward to having a good day. I'll try to answer your questions.
Q: Did you limit the reps of the threes yesterday just because of a lack of bodies?
A: We changed it up. It was a plan. Some of the twos were with the ones, and some of the threes were with the twos. Early in practice, we did. Later in practice, we didn't. Just trying to get the guys the work that they needed.
Q: How close is Darius Slayton to getting back (on the field)? It's been a pretty prolonged absence now. How far has he fallen behind?
A: I'll answer the first part of it. How close is he to getting back? He gets better every day. He's making progress. As far as anytime you're not out there, you're certainly missing things. But he made great strides in the spring. I anticipate when he comes back that he's going to continue to do that.
Q: Is anyone close to returning? You have a bunch of guys (banged up), especially in the secondary. (Grant) Haley? (Henre') Tolliver?
A: We're managing some of those guys. I know because we're all together in the same spot all the time, we focus on our guys. But I've tried to do research in my spare time, and in everybody's camp, they're dealing with guys that they're managing. Some of these guys will be out today, some will be competing today. Some will be out. Hopefully by Monday, we'll get some of them back.
Q: Sterling (Shepard) played a little bit yesterday without the yellow jersey. Was that just an oversight?
A: No. When we're in competitive situations, he puts the yellow jersey on. Not an oversight. But yes, when he's out there competing with the defense in front of him, most of the time he's in a yellow jersey.
Q: Am I missing something. He was out there, caught a pass?
A: Yeah, that's fine. He's fine.
Q: Even without the yellow jersey?
A: Yeah, it was fine. They're aware that they're not supposed to hit him.
Q: Oshane (Ximines), is he battling anything there?
A: X-Man, we were just giving him a little bit of time. Probably a little leg soreness, but he's fine. He'll be fine.
Q: Yesterday, Coach McGaughey was talking about Riley Dixon needing to be more consistent. What have you seen from him, and where does he need to be more consistent in his play?
A: Dixon? The punter? Punting the ball.
Q: Is it placing the ball?
A: I think it's everything. When it comes to a punter, it's like the quarterback. There's the game within the game. With a quarterback, it's accuracy. So even though it's a completion, did you put it on the right side of the body? The same can be said for a punter. Even though you punted the ball down the field, making sure it's the right type of punt if it's in a pooch scenario, or certainly, placing the ball if we're trying to kick it right or left. That's probably when you talk about, generally speaking, the punter… You're always, always trying to make the get-off time be consistent and quick. You don't want to rush it, but you want to be urgent. So, all of those things. I'm certain that's what he (Coach McGaughey) was referring to.
Q: Obviously, there's the suspension hanging over Golden Tate. But what have you thought about what he's done so far, on the field and in camp?
A: He showed us what his reputation was. He has a way of getting open in the short area. Even though we're not tackling to the ground, you can see that he's got good run after catch. He's very smart, so we can move him around. All of the things that are necessary to play in our offense.
Q: Do you have to temper your enthusiasm because of the situation (with the suspension)?
A: Not really. I wake up enthusiastic every morning that they're all going to be there and be at full strength. We'll just kind of deal with it as we go.
Q: Along those same lines, do you see benefits when you have a younger guy like Julian Love out there matched up against Golden? Seeing Golden, having to guard him in that situation and cover him, works as a benefit for Love. So, having Golden with the ones is not necessarily just about Golden. Maybe it's for the other side of the ball? Is that fair?
A: No question. That's why I think if players are smart, that's why I prefer going good-on-good all the time, because iron sharpens iron. When you're playing against the better players, so to speak, you get good work. Julian has made great progress with regard to being able to cover. We're asking him to play safety and the nickel, so he's playing in two critical spots on the inside of the defense. To go against a guy like Golden, who's a nifty route-runner, Julian is learning a lot.
Q: How is Julian handling that, a rookie learning two spots at the same time?
A: He's doing a very good job. You saw the practice that Grant Haley went out of. Then he (Julian) stepped right in and he got some valuable reps in maybe a scenario that might happen in the season. I thought he handled it very well.
Q: How are things going to change next week when you come back and have a preseason game, you have a game week. Are you going to change the focuses of the practices?
A: No, the focus will be the same. We're going to go to a morning practice schedule when we come back on Monday. So, we'll do a morning practice and an afternoon walkthrough. That will probably be the way I do it throughout the rest of camp. That will feel different to those that are watching. But in terms of what we're trying to get done, we'll still work on all of the situational football. There will still be padded practices. But with the games on the horizon each week, we'll take the pads off as you get near game (day), to get the guys that are playing ready to go.
Q: Will you still do stuff off the cards?
A: Some. But that will be later in the week. We play Thursday. We'll have our mock game on Wednesday. Then Tuesday, we'll do some card work. Monday will still be Giants vs. Giants.
Q: Where is Avery Moss at right now. His first two years kind of went backwards, you could say. He played a lot as a rookie, and then was on the practice squad for all of last year. Where is he at right now?
A: I think he's made progress within our system. But he's just been dealing with injuries. Last year, he had an injury that kept him out. He did a nice job for us as a practice squad player. He's been competing out here. He's just dealing with some of the camp soreness that you have. But he's working hard. He's making improvements.
Q: What have you thought about C.J. Conrad's progress?
A: Good. He's a tough, competitive guy, and I think those are necessary traits to play our game. So that's where you start. He's a good learner. I would say he's a notch better blocker than he is a route-runner at this time, which is a good thing. He's becoming a little bit of a fan favorite out there. He's made some nice catches in practice. But then he's also made his mistakes. I like the way he competes, and I think he's a tough guy. I think he has a bright future.
Q: From top-to-bottom, is tight end your deepest position? Is it the position you feel most comfortable with?
A: I don't know. I'm optimistic about all of the positions. I wouldn't say I'm standing here saying one's better than another at this point. We'll just have to see when we get to game day.
LB Alec Ogletree
Q: It's now year two of the system, how do you feel the defense has come along?
A: I think we have made a lot of good strides this offseason. With OTA's and now the second week of training camp, I think we have definitely put ourselves in the right positions to continue to grow and get better and go into the season playing at a high level. I feel good about it right now, for sure.
Q: How do you look back at last season individually in pass coverage?
A: I think there's definitely stuff I could have done better in pass coverage. You can't play everything perfect, I definitely think there are some things I can work on to help myself get more interceptions than five. I definitely looked back at the film and saw what I need to work on as far as pass coverage, this, that and the other. I came out at OTA's and training camp just trying to get better at stuff like that. I have my own standards, I know I have some things I can work on to get better.
Q: Has that been a main point of emphasis?
A: It has. I think Coach Bettcher said it best, everybody has things they have to get better at. The longer you stay, you still have to get better at something. Like I said, looking back on the season I had last year, I know there are things I could have done better, pass wise and run wise. It's about going out there and taking advantage of the day. The longer you stay in the league, you realize it's harder to stay. They are looking to bring new guys in every day. For us, it's about taking advantage of opportunities, getting better, and continue to improve.
Q: How many interceptions could you have had?
A: I definitely could have had more than five last year. I think I could've had at least seven or eight.
Q: What do you think of the job Ryan Connelly, Jonathan Anderson and some of the new guys have done?
A: I think they have done well. They have picked up the defense really well and they are able to communicate, get lined up and play ball. Like I said, we are all working to push each other to get better. Those guys are pushing each other in the room, along with myself. We just try to make sure we handle what we can handle and that's trying to get better everyday and going out there being leaders on the field.
Q: Do you have to take even more of a leadership role because so many of the parts around you have changed?
A: I don't think I have to take more of a leadership role. I think me and a few other guys have a little more experience in the defense as far as some of the rookies we brought in. We have guys like Antoine that has 14 years of experience, you can't substitute that for anything. When you have guys like that, it makes your job a lot easier, because he knows ball, he knows how to communicate, along with Jabrill, Markus and the guys we brought in like that. We have guys here that know ball and know how to communicate, get lined up and play. For me, it's continuing to get better with myself and going out there and making sure everybody is on the same page.
Q: What have you seen from B.J. Hill? Looks like he likes to talk out there…
A: He's coming into his own. You like to see that from him because he is a good player in this league and he's realizing he has the potential to do a lot of great things in this defense. That's just his personality that's really showing. As a rookie, you kind of just try not to do too much wrong and not say too much, just handle your business. He enjoys playing football, you can tell he loves football. The trash talking he does, that's just his personality that we are starting to see now.
Q: What does Jabrill Peppers bring to the defense?
A: He brings a spark to this defense, he brings an energy that we need. He's a guy that we can use all over the field. With Coach Bettcher's defense, he likes to mix and match stuff, change coverages, put guys in different positions and for him, he is a guy that can do that. He's very versatile and he's going to be a huge help for us this year.
Q: Are you still trying to get a rep at tight end?
A: I am still trying to get my rep at tight end. I don't know when it's going to happen. Before I'm done playing football, I hope it happens. It will happen.
OLB Markus Golden
Q: They say a guy coming off an ACL injury needs two years to get back to where he was before. Do you agree with that assessment, and if so, this is two years for you, right?
A: I don't really look into all of that. I just make sure I can go hard everyday and try to prepare myself. Of course, the more time you need to be able to get from an ACL injury and be able to get out there and get used to everything, and running around on it, doing the plays, and getting back to your normal, healthy self. I would say it helps out a lot just to be able to be out there running around and getting used to being among my teammates.
Q: What is the one aspect of your game that has been the most difficult to regain?
A: Just being yourself, like you used to be before the injury. That was early on, and I'm past that part. Like I said, I'm just going hard every day and taking it one day at a time. I'm just working to get better every day.
Q: Twelve and a half sacks in '16. What number would be a successful season for you this year?
A: I wouldn't do that. That has never been me to come out and put numbers on stuff, because it's bigger than that. Pass rush work, up front and back— you need your teammates to do all of that. Of course, you want to come out and do better every year. I know what I can do, and I know what I did before. You always want to get better and work harder every year. I wouldn't dare put a number on that. I just want to come out, hit the quarterback, whether it's a hit or whether I'm sacking them, I'm just looking forward to finally being able to hit a quarterback. I haven't hit one in a while. I'm tired of running past our guys in the red jerseys at practice. Whatever quarterback I get to hit next, I'll be happy— I don't care who it is (laughter).
Q: It could be a Jet…
A: Ii doesn't matter who it is, as long as it's a quarterback besides one of my guys.
Q: One of the things (Defensive Coordinator) Coach Bettcher talked about yesterday was that he didn't think that this is a 'prove-it' season for you. Do you see it that way? How do you see it?
A: To say, 'prove-it,' I would look at it as a person who hasn't done anything yet in the league, who hasn't made plays, who hasn't showed themselves that they can do it. But I've done that. I've had double-digit sacks, I've had big games, big moments, and I've done that, and it just so happens to come with the game – which is the injury. (There are) no excuses, I had an injury. At the same time, I wouldn't say (that I am) 'proving it to myself,' I would just say (I'm) getting out there, getting back started up, and getting back to where I was.
Q: What's it like being the only guy in the group who has done that? You have a lot of young guys who are hoping they can reach that level, but you're really the only one who has done it already.
A: I don't really look at all of that. We have a lot of guys. We have (Lorenzo) Zo Carter, a dude who works hard every day. We have Kareem Martin who works hard every day. You know how it goes, if guys come out and hunt every day, and get better at rushing the pass and learning, anybody can come out and do their thing, but you have to work on it. I don't look at that, I just try to bring guys along. Of course, I know what it takes, I have been part of a defense that led the league in sacks, so I know what it takes and what we need to do to get there. That helps out, but that isn't something I lean on because every year is a new year.
Q: In Arizona, Bettcher had that reputation of being a blitz coordinator, and get after the quarterback with all kinds of pressure, but that wasn't the case last year. What about the guys that are in the room with you right now gives you confidence that you guys can be that type of defense this year?
A: Bettcher is a great defensive coordinator, so I know he's going to put guys in the right position to be successful. I have to give Bettcher credit for that, I believe in him on that part. After that, we have a bunch of good players who are working hard every day out here, going hard, and helping each other out. We want to rush the passer, we want to get out there and make sacks. It is a bunch of hungry young guys that are ready to make plays. When you are hungry and putting in the work, success has to come in some way.
Q: Does that 12.5 sack season seem long ago?
A: It's crazy. I'm a type of guy who moves on quick, so to me, it might seem even longer ago. I move on quick and focus on my next goal. Yeah, it happened and it's motivation. It's always good to go back and watch film on yourself and all of that, but at the same time, it's all about what you're going to do the next year, and what you're going to do when the time comes. It's a new season, I've been working, and I've been getting ready. The number one thing is I believe in myself, and I believe in the work I've put in. When the time comes, I know I'll be ready to go out there and do my job.
Q: Do you feel like you did when you were having those big seasons?
A: I feel good. I can walk (laughter). As long as I don't have crutches, and I'm able to come out here and play, you won't catch me making excuses. If I can line up and play, I'll be ready. You won't ever hear excuses from me if I'm able to get out there and play.
Q: What's a guy like Olsen Pierre, another guy who was with Coach Bettcher in Arizona, what's he like in the meetings in terms of his leadership role? Is he a vocal guy, is he going to point at the screen?
A: No, you won't hear a word out of OP. He's a dog. He's going to come in, grind it out every day, do his job, go hard every day, and he won't talk about it too much. He's the type of guy who will get out there and just show you. He's a beast. I've been playing with him since my rookie year. He's a good friend of mine and we've been together for a long time, so I know exactly how he is. He's going to come in and give you his all every day. You might not hear too much out of him, but when it's time to work he's going to be out there.
OLB Coach Mike Dawson
Q: What have you seen from the X-Man (Oshane Ximines) so far, and his progress since day one? Describe what you've seen from him.
A: The things you're going to see when you watch Oshane play is that he's a high effort, high energy guy. What's impressed me about him since the day that he got here probably up until this point is just turning into a pro. The way he studies, the way he takes notes, the way he re-takes notes, and then he'll go out and he'll make a mistake a million miles an hour, I'm fine with that, and then he'll come back and he'll fix the mistake at a million miles an hour. So, that's the most you can ask for from a guy. I'm excited to keep seeing him progress. He's doing a great job of kind of refining his tool box, as far as how the rush goes, and as he keeps honing those skills, he's going to get better and better.
Q: How about Markus Golden? What have you gotten from him, and can he get back to that level where he was a couple years ago?
A: Markus so far for me, he's attacked this thing with a great attitude. He's studying real hard, he's a vet in Bettch's (James Bettcher) system, so he kind of knows and he's been through it, so he sees it through a different lens a little bit, probably from going back a couple years ago, being in it for a little bit, and then being out and coming back into it, which I think is unique. So, he kind of has some of the things where like, hey, I did it like this or tried it like that, with success or without, so he can kind of pass that on to some of the young guys. A couple shots of him early, you can see that real burst when he comes off the edge. We were doing pass rush one-on-ones last week, and you really see him change direction really well, and you see the explosiveness. So, I'm looking forward to seeing that all the time.
Q: Does it generally take somebody a little time to get over a knee injury like that, especially at a position where you need burst, you need change of direction?
A: Yes, I think that would be a great question for Markus, how he's feeling on it, but it think with any type of injury, no matter who you are, you've got to get healthy, and then you kind of spend that time where you're off of that whatever—knee, arm—whatever's injured, so you're kind of used to doing that, so you've got to kind of get back to it. Then, not only do you have to get back to using it, strengthen it and all those things, but then you also need to get the mental aspect—you've got to be confident in what you're doing. As he continues to get more confidence, he'll grow. I think he can get back and be an explosive guy off the edge.
Q: How important is it for these edge rushers to have a plan when they're rushing the passer?
A: That's a great question. To me, that's the beginning and the end. If you go out there and you don't have a plan in mind, it doesn't matter what sport you're playing at this level, then you're not going to have any success. You can't just go out there and freelance. So, I think that's a huge part of it, that mental game, and that's why guys talk about studying film and watching film. There's something different between sitting there and watching the television screen go by and a bunch of colors are flashing, and you're watching film and studying and what you're going to do with that, how you're going to develop that plan, and what you're going to turn it into. That's the big part.
Q: Coach, to piggy-back that, Lorenzo Carter admitted last year that he didn't have much of a plan, he just completely used his skill. This year, it seems like he does have a plan. Do you see that in him, as a guy now that comes off the edge, hand technique and all that, he knows what he's doing as far as that?
A: Yes, I think if you really watch his rushes in succession, that's where it really sticks out to you. You can see him come with a bunch of different tools, but there's a reason for each one—what happened on the previous rush, or what's going to happen on the next rush—all those things tie in together, and he's doing a great job of learning that part of it. He's really making a great effort and coming a long way, and learning the scheme, how I fit in the run game, where is my piece of the puzzle, and then I think that translates over to the pass rush as well.
Q: What have you seen from Jake Carlock? He's a guy that's kind of adjusting into a new position there--you're smiling already.
A: Yes, Jake's a great guy. He's a guy that's playing safety a year and a half ago, and now he's coming in and he's an edge rusher. He is a ball of energy, he's a million miles an hour when he practices, you see him flying all over the place, he's batting down passes—looked like a DB the other day, batted down a couple passes—and is doing some different things like that. He's a fun guy to be around, he's a guy that you want to see success from because he works so hard at it, and it's not something that he's been doing for years and years and years where he's been on the line of scrimmage. To me, the game changes up close. There's definitely a skillset you need in the back end, and then when you move closer to the ball, things are going to happen a lot faster. So, that decision-making process—and it goes from being, 'Hey, if this happens, I have to react this way,' and now you're right up on the line of scrimmage and it's going to happen even quicker. So, for him to keep on going, he's done a nice job for us with everything we've asked him to do.
Q: Does he have the size to play that position in this league?
A: The thing about when you look at him is that, you stand him next to Kareem (Martin) or Lorenzo (Carter) or something like that, he's obviously giving up some size, but he's a ball of muscle. I don't know what his body fat percentage is off the top of my head, but it's not much. He's a rocked up guy, plays physical, flies around and throws his body in there, and that makes up for some of that size.
Q: With regards to the running game, or stopping the run, is a lot of it about attitude and want-to, and if so, how do you coach that if guys don't intrinsically have that?
A: From my room, I think you kind of dangle the carrot—hey, we want to be great pass rushers. If we don't stop them on first and second down and put yourself into an advantageous third down situation, you're not going to have as much opportunity to rush the quarterback. So, it's a big part mentally that way—hey, if we want to stop the run, we've got to make an effort to do it that way, we've got to want to do it, and then how do I fit in the system with everybody else? When they create different blocking surfaces, whether it's through tight ends, or wings, or extra backs, or receivers, how do I fit, how does that change for me? That's what the guys need to know and where they need to go.
Offensive Assistant Ryan Roeder
Q: What's your job description when it comes to Daniel (Jones) when he gets the ball?
A: Well, obviously it's Coach (Pat) Shurmur's offense, and he's got a lot of experience coaching quarterbacks, so he's heavily involved. Coach (Mike) Shula, who's the offensive coordinator who coaches the quarterbacks, and then I'm in there with Coach (Mike) Shula trying to assist him in any way that I can. I'm just trying to help out and I'm just trying to help him improve every day.
Q: How much of your time would you say goes to the quarterback?
A: In every quarterback meeting and out at practice. Obviously when Coach (Mike) Shula is busy doing something else, I try to fill in the cracks and do anything like that, and just help out whenever I can.
Q: Where do you think Daniel (Jones) has made the biggest strides since he got in the building?
A: Well, he's a fast learner. He works extremely hard at it, so it's kind of like learning a new language, so you come in and it may have been called something different in college than what it's called here and guys can convert the language. So it he works at it. I think the game is starting to slow down for him a little bit. So I think that's kind of the biggest thing, making the language his own and playing faster.
Q: What's it like working with him?
A: He's a great kid to work with. He's smart, he works at it, he's conscientious, he's competitive and he's got a desire to improve every day. So it's fun, it's fun to coach him and it's fun to just try to improve each day.
Q: Different people have different personalities. So you have to coach guys maybe a little differently. Can you get on him? Can you ride him? Does he have to be handled softly? How do you do that?
A: Well I think the thing with all the guys, we have kind of, it's intrinsic motivation. They are really hard on themselves, so usually with those types of guys, you say, 'you could've done this here or you could have done that there.' But usually they're the guys that are hardest on themselves. Those are the kind of guys you're looking for.
Q: Where is the biggest transition you've seen install-wise for guys to really get up to speed or what they have the most trouble as far as install? What seems to be the outstanding grasp?
A: Well, I guess it's just like anything, you're presented in the rookie minicamp, you're presented with 20 plays, right? So you study those 20 plays and once you get through install 7, that number goes up probably to the hundreds, so it's just volume and in my mind it's keeping things in the right category, so you install a play and then you put this play in this category, you put this play in this category and it kind of helps group in your mind and you go forward. So think that's the challenge for probably where all the players are now. You know we are through with the majority of our install. So I think it's just the volume and keeping things straight and making sure you can play fast out there on the field.
Q: What have you seen from Eli (Manning) so far? You've worked with him for a while but what have you seen from him so far?
A: I think Eli (Manning) has done a wonderful job taking care of himself. He works at it endlessly and I think the things he does on the field, you can't just say, 'Oh, he's done that because he's been here so long.' It's just really impressive the way he can diagnose a defense. Physically, I think he's done an unbelievable job taking care of his himself. He's just a phenomenal teammate. It's really a great room. It's really a great room for guys to learn and grow and just be a part of.
Q: A lot has been made of Eli's (Manning) different offseason training, where do you notice that the most?
A: Well, honestly, I think the last couple of years you've just seen him in the offseason and you just notice it being around him in the offseason. So I think he's taking care of his body so well. So I can't really comment on that. He takes it seriously. You see him in here three days after the season ends and he's in here working out, so it's obviously something he's taking very seriously and he looks great.