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Quotes (8/4): Beckham, Flowers, Shurmur, Hunter

WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Q: How’s it going so far?

A: It’s honestly just great to be back out there. As I’ve been running routes, running around, I remember nights falling asleep downstairs, having to get up to my room and literally having to crawl up three flights of stairs to get to my room. So to be able to walk again and be able to do the little things, you’re very appreciative of being able to be back out there, and it’s great to be back out there with some of those guys – Sterling [Shepard], it’s always good to see him, Saquon [Barkley], everybody. It’s going to be a good team.

Q: There’s some star players in your position who are holding out for a contract. Why did you show up?

A: Like I said, after I see my ankle snap and it feels like your world turns upside down, life’s just different. I’m just happy. Honestly, for real, I’m just happy to be back out there running around. And like I said before, I don’t believe in any of that stuff. I feel like they’ll get it done when they get it done, let my agent and them figure it out. I just come out here, try and get all the plays down, focus on being the best that I can be. So, it’ll happen when it happens.

Q: Are you optimistic?

A: Optimistic? Yeah, I’m optimistic. I’m confident it’ll all work itself out. Life always does.  

Q: What has it meant to you the relationship building that Coach Shurmur has done by meeting you halfway, going out to LA and getting to know you? Have you ever had something like that, and what has that meant to you in the big picture?

A: Coach Shurmur is great. When we first met in LA, we just sat down and talked football, and just to see his mentality and how he’s going to run the ship – it’s just been phenomenal to come in here every day. It’s like your back at the workplace and you love it, and he makes it fun for us. He’s just doing a great job. He’s got everybody doing what we’re supposed to be doing.

Q: You said once you wanted to be the highest paid player in the NFL. The market has changed a little bit since then, but do you still want to be the highest paid receiver?

A: Of course, of course. I mean, who doesn’t want to get more money? Everybody does. Realistically, you just got to be realistic with yourself. You see what happened over the offseason. I can’t really worry about anybody else, just let them figure it out and whenever it happens, it’ll happen.

Q: Do you feel like you’re taking a risk being out there in full contact drills and maybe even preseason games without a new deal?

A: Calculated. You’re out there, you control your body and we’re practicing, these are your teammates and we’re all working together. There’s no extra pushing and shoving and doing too much, so it’s all calculated. And, like I said again, I remember not being able to walk at all so to be able to be back on the field doing what I love, it’s truly an amazing feeling.  

Q: Do you think they take notice of you showing up on time and that made an impact to talks getting to where they are right now?

A: I don’t know. I don’t really know how to answer that one. I just know, just do what you’re supposed to be doing, the rest will take care of itself. Life always has a funny way of reminding you who’s in control and it’s done that. So, I’m just taking it a day at a time, and like I said, it’ll happen when it happens.  

Q: Does your ankle feel the way it was before?  

A: I don’t really feel it. I don’t really feel it, I don’t think about it much – well, I try not to. It’s still always there, but I’m getting back as close to 100 [percent] as I can for right now, so it’s been a long process. I can say that.

Q: When did you feel like that was the case, when you felt like you were your old self again?

A: I had been feeling it as I was working out, and it’s kind of like over the last month I’ve taken a huge stride. I remember maybe two months ago, it wasn’t as smooth and I wasn’t getting out of cuts, and you kind of get that frustration and just you want to get back to where you were at. But now that I’m here, like I said, it’s been a lot of hard work put in, lot of doctors, lot of treatment, lot of rehab, lot of pain you went through. It’s nice to be here now.  

Q: What are your personal goals?

A: Personal goals? Probably the same as every year – be the best that I can be, hang one of these banners up.

Q: You said you think this team could be really good. What makes you believe that? What elements are here?

A: I think it’s everything starting from Coach [Shurmur], starting with what he’s done since we’ve been here. Bringing all these guys together, now I’m looking at the defense and they’re moving around and they’re causing problems for us, and I watch the O-line hang out with each other all day, every day. None of them go out to practice without each other. It’s truly incredible what they have been doing and the improvements and everything, the comradery that they have. I just think we have a special group. We got a nice little running back – he’s alright, Saquon. But just looking to have fun this year and Coach has made it to where you can move around a lot and you can get in the slot, you can get outside, everybody has to know every position. It’s just been a lot of fun.

Q: How did you get back to such a positive and productive mindset and you and the Giants in such a positive relationship after a tumultuous and uncertain offseason?

A: I think kind of what I was saying earlier bout life – I literally watched my world feel like it turned upside down. I watched relationships close to me devour and things go wrong and things go sideways, and it was a lot of pain I went through the last ten months. So, just kind of taking it day by day and trying my best to just make my mindset every day I wake up, I’m going to be happy, I’m going to do this right, I’m going to do the very best that I can in whatever it is, whatever it is that I was doing. Just changed the mindset, and it’s helped me out a lot with everything. It’s helped me out a lot.  

Q: You’ve obviously heard there was a lot of trade talk in March, I think. What did you make of that at the time and how did you handle that personally?

A: I don’t know. Noise? Rumors? You never know. I remember I used to say all the time, don’t take it personal and stuff, but I still took things personal and I really have gotten that out of my heart to not take anything personal. And with doing that, it’s left things that I used to worry about out of the equation. So, once you can really put that in your heart, don’t take it personal and you can feel that, it’s a completely different story.  

Q: I know you said “it’ll happen when it happens”, but do you have any deadline in mind, maybe start of the season, when you don’t want to talk anymore?

A: We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Q: What’s it like to be back out there with Eli [Manning] with your teammates, but then after practice a lot of the times you guys seem to be going over technical aspects of what you’re trying to accomplish?  

A: I need all the work that I can get, and I love being able to get the timing down with 10. Like you said, being out there with him, being out there with Sterling [Shepard], and little Saquon. It’s just fun. It’s just fun, and I want to make it fun again, I just want to play football the way I used to play football and just play with that love and that passion, and do some great things. I know Coach has it lined up for us.  

Q: What did you miss the most?

A: You guys. I missed you guys. No, really. I love football. Football was always a [outlet] for me, it was always how I could get everything out, and just being able to be back out on the field like I said, I remember waking up 4 [o’clock] in the morning and crawling upstairs to my bed and laughing to myself, like this is going to be a hell of a ride for you to get back to where you’re at. And now I’m here, and there’s still a lot more for me to do. It’s truly, I’m just thankful; that God is able to put me back out there.

Tackle Ereck Flowers

Q: Since training camp has started how does it feel being on the right side?

A: I think it’s going well, I’m getting better at it every day just trying to get comfortable.

Q: Do you have a feel for this line yet? Do you have to see what happens in a game to figure out if you’re any good?

A: I mean yeah, we haven’t played any games together yet, but its going well. I think we will get better with each game.

Q: What has been the toughest adjustment for you moving over?

A: When you move over you kind of have to switch everything, your muscle memory, a lot of different things. It’s going pretty well though I have gotten a lot better at it since I first started.

Q: What’s been the most difficult part? What do you have to focus on in terms of working at it?

A: A little bit of everything, its different footwork, it’s different everything. There’s different ways of looking at silent counts, everything is a little bit different.

Q: Who has helped you the most during the transition?

A: A little bit of everybody, Pat [Omameh] and the whole line have been very supportive.

Q: What’s the biggest thing to help chemistry up front?

A: Time and reps.            

Q: Are you feeling good about that chemistry and continuity?

A: I think we’ll have our first run this Thursday and we’ll see where it goes from there. We’ll try to build each week.

Q: Do you think there will be a time where you say “I got this, I got the right side”?

A: I think as games go on, I haven’t played a game there. As you get more reps you get more of clearer picture.

Q: How much does going up against a defense like this that blitzes a lot help you prepare for a game?

A: It helps a lot. It helps everybody a lot. I don’t think I have been to a practice where we’ve done this many blitzes and this many different looks. It’s definitely great in terms of preparing for games.

Q: What has Nate [Solder] brought to the O-line room?

A: A little bit of everything. He is a great dude that works hard. It’s a great addition.

Q: How has he [Solder] helped you?

A: Different ways, we work together sometimes practice. A lot of the times he works with Will [Hernandez] and I work with Pat a lot so it’s kind of like we are on opposite sides but its been good. I can go to him if I need any questions answered.

Q: How much does this offense help you out; is there anything different for you from things in the past?

A: No, you still have to do a lot of the same things. It’s an NFL offense.

Q: Do you feel a chip on your shoulder after everything that’s been said about the offensive line?

A: Anytime I’m on the field I want to play my best regardless of who says what. I want to play my best regardless so it doesn’t matter what anybody says.

Q: It seems like Pat Shurmur has tried to have relationships with players and get to know a little bit about them. How have you found Pat Shurmur?

A: He has been great from the time I got here. Ready to get the season going and learn more from him.

Q: Has there been a moment in training camp where Barkley did something and you kind of went wow?

A: Yeah, he’s been great. Its kind of crazy because I really focus on what I have been doing so its kind hard. I don’t really keep tabs on him I just try to do my job.

Q: Has he ever buzzed by you and you said wow?

A: Yeah, he’s been great.

Q: Do you like right tackle?

A: Yea I like it, it’s cool, it’s been great.

Q: Do you think it might help you in terms of your career moving forward?

A: Whenever they need me to do, I’m going to do. It’s been great, I love playing next to Pat and I’m ready for the season.

Q: What’s it been like next to Pat? You guys are both switching sides, he has spent most of his career on the left side too, does that help or slow things down?

A: Pat is great, our lockers are next to each other and we are with each other all day so it’s good.

Q: What’s been your impressions of the defense, they look like they are swarming and can be a handful. Does anything stick out to you?

A: I think they have been playing very well. In Arizona, they also had a lot of looks when we played them last year so I kind of expected that. I can’t wait to see it in pre-season and the regular season games.

Q: Are you interested to see what this offensive line will look like once games start?

A: Yeah, it’s very interesting. At the same time, you have to know it’s not going to start off perfect and you have to work and build each game.

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

Opening: We’re going to have an afternoon practice. We’re going to have some more call-it periods, some less scripted situations which in my mind – 11-on-11 drills are uncontrollable. Obviously drill work is controlled and then when you have the call-it periods, now it really adds to it what happens in a game. It’s important we get substituted properly, players get lined up properly, all that stuff you need to see when preparing for games. We’re gonna do that today, this afternoon, and then as you’re all aware, they’ll have their day off tomorrow. With that, I’ll take your questions.

Q: When you say call-it period, do you mean kind of traditional down and distance when you guys are out there together?

A: Most of what we do out there is scripted so we put it on a script and everybody out there knows where they’re going. Throughout camp here, you noticed there will be times when either Mike [Shula] or myself will be calling the plays, so we’ll give the defensive personnel a call-it so it’s not on a script. That part is also good for the play caller to work on their game as well.

Q: Is that going to be a padded practice?

A: Today is padded, yes.

Q: Did you watch the Hall of Fame game the other night?

A: I did not.

Q: I was just curious if you saw those flags, a lot of people were surprised.

A: I’ve been told about two calls of note. One that I think everybody said was proper and then one that was questionable. I think that’ll be part of our education as we go. I think we always see that in the preseason when there’s a rule interpretation or a new rule, the officials work on how they’re going to call it in the regular season. I’m sure there’s going to be continual discussions through the preseason on how it’s going to get called.

Q: You said you had a video of plays you wanted the officials to go over. Did they and were your questions answered?

A: We got clarity on a couple of the ones we showed them, but there also was a league video they showed us.

Q: You were in Minnesota last year where a pretty much overhauled offensive line came together in one season. Obviously trying to do that here, what was the key to making gel so fast?

A: I think when an offensive line unit comes together, it’s because they’re together. I made note of it last night at dinner when the guys were pulling the tables together, there was a table of 11 of our offensive line and then there was another little table with the rest of them real close. They’re gelling in more ways than just on the field and I think that’s important. When you have a good, gritty group that cares about each other and spends time with each other when it’s not mandated, then you know that thing is starting to come together.

Q: It has been said that some young quarterbacks are impatient, they want to get the ball down the field, they want to make the plays. Are you noticing that your two young quarterbacks, [Davis] Webb and [Kyle] Lauletta, are kind of dialing it back and being more patient these days?

A: I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily being more patient. I think young quarterbacks, who knows what their mindset is, they’re out there learning it. There are some guys that are more cavalier in their approach and some guys that just want to get completions. I think what’s important is when we give them a concept and we’re trying to get something out of it that they try to do it the right way, so we’ll see as we go.

Q: We’ve seen a bunch of interceptions the past couple of days. What do you make of that?

A: It’s practice, it’s practice. Sometimes they are really good plays by the defense. There may have been a questionable read by the quarterback, could’ve been a tipped ball, so there’s many reasons for it. We go through each one and there’s no trending.

Q: You guys worked out Leonard Johnson before you signed him. What died you see there and why was there a need to sign him?

A: As we talked about, we’re going to do everything we can to improve every group on our team. He’s a veteran player, we liked the way he moved around, we like how he played a year ago and we felt like he was a good guy to add to our group.

Q: Is there any concern with the secondary? You have so many guys battling at free safety. Seems like there’s a lot of turnover there. Is there any concern with how many new guys are back there?

A: Not concerned. We’re gonna get them coached up and when we’re in base, we’re going to have four of them back there and when we’re in nickel, there will be five of them and then we’ll let it rip. We’re not concerned.

Q: Connor Barwin has been in the backfield quite a bit this first week, you know, getting to the quarterback. Is that a product of him maybe playing as well or is that the second-team offensive line having trouble with a veteran pass rusher?

A: I think Connor is an experienced player and he’s had some really good reps out there, which we expect because he’s a good player. I wouldn’t read too much into who he’s going against or how he’s playing. I think he’s doing what he needs to do to get ready to play.

Q: Back to the offensive line, what have you seen from John Jerry? It’s a little bit of a different position, different role.

A: John actually has had a really good camp. I think he came in good shape. He was ready to compete and we asked him to play a little bit of tackle, which he’s done. I think the more you can do, really the more you can do in any situation, any walk of life, the longer you can stay if you do it well. His ability to play tackle for us will be something that is important for him and he’s done a good job also playing guard.

Q: All that data you get on guys, what has it told you about Odell [Beckham Jr.] getting off a major ankle injury and what have you seen?

A: I mean, I wouldn’t share the data, but he’s out here and he’s sort of full go and we’re taking it slow like we wanted to. Yeah. we like what we’ve seen so far.

Q: Do you expect William Gay to miss significant time after the injury yesterday.

A: No, I don’t. I don’t think so.

Offensive Line Coach Hal Hunter

Q: What do you see from Ereck Flowers so far at right tackle?

A: The number one thing I see is he’s had a great attitude. I think before you do anything in terms of trying to develop a player, if you’ve got great attitude, then you’re going to approach it the right way. He came back in OTAs and he had great attitude, the first thing I noticed when he came back, he was the lightest he’s been since he’s reported, he came back in great shape. We did the conditioning test, great shape. So all of a sudden, the first thing he does, he makes a great impression. He has his weight under control, right where you want it to be, strong in the weight room, in good condition. It’s been hot outside, he doesn’t bat an eye. He goes and goes and goes. He’s been great in the meeting room, a little bit of the Socratic method in there, so we’re watching tape this morning and I’ll fire a question to this guy, fire a question to that guy, I fired two questions at him today and he had the answers, one, two, engaged in the meeting, that shows a lot. The number one thing that I’ve been really pleased with is his attitude, it’s all a fresh slate, and I’ve never even coached him. When I was in Indianapolis we interviewed him at the combine, he had a great interview. We picked too far down in the draft, we didn’t get a chance but we would have picked him. We’ve had great conversations. I talked to him a couple times in the offseason; he was great in OTAs. I talked to him this summer, I don’t like to bug those guys but I always call them once a summer, we had a great conversation this summer, he told me his weight was under control and he was in shape and he’s ready to go. He showed up, his weight was under control, he was in shape and he’s ready to go. He’s had the right attitude. That’s the thing, when you don’t have to worry about a guy’s attitude, then you just coach. He’s been very responsive, my technique is a little bit different, he tries to the best of his ability to do exactly what I want him to do and doesn’t bat an eye, and if I ask him to do it again, he’ll do it again. So, again, it’s like anything. When you’re trying to coach any player, like anything we’ve ever done, sometimes you have to erase that tape to start with a blank tape, so we’re working on things and he’s making good progress. There’s a lot of technical things to work on, run and pass, and everything is completely opposite at the right tackle position than the left.

Q: Is he being blessed by moving from left to right tackle?

A: I don’t know, I don’t know if he’s being blessed from moving from left to right because honestly it used to be, in the old days, you had a big, strong right tackle and you had a pass protecting left tackle, every team had one good pass rusher. I think one of the first teams that really broke that were the Indianapolis Colts when they had Mathis on one side and Freeney at the other. Now the way people do it, they’ll move a good pass rusher to the other side. When I was in San Diego, they’re going to take Von Miller and move him over Jeromey Clary, so you’re going to find work wherever you go. I’m not sure, maybe it’s a fresh start, he would answer that question better than me. The only thing that makes a difference is if you’ve got a right-handed quarterback who is always in a right-handed stance but nowadays those quarterbacks have a lot of savvy with those things.

Q: At center, Brett Jones stepped in and started a lot of games last year and I think by a lot of accounts played pretty well, what have you guys seen in Halapio that made you say “we may want him to be”, it looks like you want him to be the first string center over a guy like Brett?

A: When I first went in the meeting room, this is what I told the guys. This is way back in OTAs and I always say it again at the beginning of camp – the best players have to play. We all watch the same tape, we all know who the best players are. Who are the best players? The players that play the best, it’s as simple as that. Everybody that sits in that offensive line room, whether you’re an eight-year vet, whether you’ve been with this organization a long time, whether you haven’t, everybody has the same opportunity to make the team and establish themselves. My goal as a coach is to coach every single guy -- we have 16 guys in that room -- to coach every single one of those guys to the best of my ability to make them the best player they can possibly be and let them decide who’s going to play. I don’t really want to decide who is going to be the starter. I want to coach them technically and mentally so that they can go out there to compete in practice and compete in the preseason games to win a position themselves and take it out of my hands. Any player that ever walks away, that doesn’t make the team, that doesn’t get a chance to start, they’ll never look back and say, “the coach didn’t give me enough reps, he didn’t give me an opportunity”, because we give all those guys an opportunity. The bottom line is practice is practice, drills are drills, some drills weigh to the offense, some drills weigh to the defense, 11 on 11 is the closest thing. But games are games and until you go out there and do something in an actual NFL football game, you never know. Brett Jones has been great, he’s got a great attitude, he’s in really good shape, he’s been really productive, we’ve worked him with the first group, he looks really good. Halapio is in great shape, he’s been really productive. Let these guys play in the preseason games, let them sort it out and let the best man win. I mean, honestly, I really don’t care which one of those guys, I want the best guy. They’re both great guys, I love coaching them both. Whoever is the best player, we will let them go (start). There does come a time with the offensive line where you have to establish those five guys because they have to work together, that’s so fundamental at this position.

Q: What have you seen from G John Jerry?

A: He’s had a great attitude. He came in, made his weight goal – this is the lightest he’s been since I’ve been here. He’s got a great attitude. He practices hard, physical. I’ve been really, really pleasantly surprised with him. He’s really stood out. He’s been one of the real standouts. He’s done a lot of good things. His attitude is great. He’s a veteran, too, he understands football. He’s a tough, physical, big, strong guy. I’m really pleased with how he’s practiced. He stood out to me. He captured my attention early, and he continues to. 

Q: Would it be fair to say you really don’t know what you have until you play Cleveland or until you play Detroit?

A: We’ve got a pretty competitive front up front. I’ll you what – you look at some of this edge – (defensive lineman Olivier Vernon) OV coming off the edge. I’ve seen a lot of pass rushing. I think he’s as good as there is in the league. Who’s the best – I’m amazed. He’s got power, he’s got speed. He can go speed to power, power to speed. He’s really, really good. He’s testing (T) Nate Solder now. He’s really testing him. We get tested all across the front. I don’t know if you’re going to find a better nose tackle than (Damon Harrison Sr.) Snacks. If you can block him, you can block anybody. The defensive front is pretty salty now. A game is a game – and when you get into a game, that’s when you either shine or – again, we’ll see how Pio works in the game. We’ll see how Brett Jones works in the game. They’ll go play through the preseason, then we’ll make our decision.

Q: Did you have a lot of tape on the centers coming into this year?

A: They had a couple of snaps a long time ago. But, I didn’t have a lot. I’ve seen a lot of good offensive linemen, you can put a ball in their hand, and they become – it’s hard. They become debilitated. But, he kind of took to it a little naturally, and so we continued to work with him there. He’s really excelled at that position. Some guys have a knack for it. To play center, you have to be smart. If you’re going to play center, you’ve got to be tough because you’ve got some 400-pound guy right there every single snap right there in your face, and it ain’t easy. The thing that I like about both those guys, they’re both smart, they’re both tough, they both have really good work ethic. We’re just working on the fundamentals.

Q: (Inaudible)

A: There always has to be competition. I think Pat (Shurmur) always says iron sharpens iron. I really believe that, because I’m from that old school too. Again, it’s a competition the way it started out – just two guys competing. You’ve got to find some guys that can compete at center. When the previous center – I really had no relationship with him – when he went to San Francisco, then all of a sudden now you got all these – you’re always coaching two offensive lines. You’re coaching the guys that are playing, and the guys that are going to be playing. You’re not going the entire season playing the same line. So, who’s going to be that other center? Who’s going to be that other center that’s going to be in there? You start coaching one, then all of sudden he starts playing good. Now all of a sudden, he took naturally to the position. We tried a couple of other guys at center, and they’re just not in the same category there. After a while, I think when you find a guy that’s smart, plays with balance, can move in both directions, can play with pad level, and then he can throw that brown thing between his legs, you’ve got to try that guy at center. Hardest position to find is not left tackle. The hardest position to find in this league is center. It’s center, then left tackle.

Q: How big of a part do you want the offensive line to play in regards to the run game?

A: A huge part of it. With the offensive line, the number one element in the running game is the runner, it always has been. You can’t win in the NFL if you can’t run the football, it’s as simple as that. You just can’t do it. The hardest thing to do in football is run the ball. It’s really hard – defenses are getting bigger and stronger. They’re playing more eight-man fronts. But, the number one thing is we have to have a lot of physicality. We’ve got to play with a lot of technique and fundamentals, and we’ve got to conceptually understand what’s going on. The more we can establish the running game, the more pressure it takes off the quarterback. We’ve got to keep that pocket clean. We’ve got to keep that quarterback clean. If that quarterback is clean, then that quarterback is special. We’ve got to keep him upright and keep him from being harassed. In terms of running the ball, some of the best offense – we had a great quarterback in San Diego. He was great because we could run the ball with (RB LaDainian Tomlinson) LT. We had a good quarterback in Indianapolis, but we could run the ball with (RB) Frank Gore. And so again, to have a good offense, we’ve got to be able to run the football and make them defend the run, and then also be able to protect that quarterback. So, it’s all encompassing.

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

Opening: We’re going to have an afternoon practice. We’re going to have some more call-it periods, some less scripted situations which in my mind – 11-on-11 drills are uncontrollable. Obviously drill work is controlled and then when you have the call-it periods, now it really adds to it what happens in a game. It’s important we get substituted properly, players get lined up properly, all that stuff you need to see when preparing for games. We’re gonna do that today, this afternoon, and then as you’re all aware, they’ll have their day off tomorrow. With that, I’ll take your questions.

Q: When you say call-it period, do you mean kind of traditional down and distance when you guys are out there together?

A: Most of what we do out there is scripted so we put it on a script and everybody out there knows where they’re going. Throughout camp here, you noticed there will be times when either Mike [Shula] or myself will be calling the plays, so we’ll give the defensive personnel a call-it so it’s not on a script. That part is also good for the play caller to work on their game as well.

Q: Is that going to be a padded practice?

A: Today is padded, yes.

Q: Did you watch the Hall of Fame game the other night?

A: I did not.

Q: I was just curious if you saw those flags, a lot of people were surprised.

A: I’ve been told about two calls of note. One that I think everybody said was proper and then one that was questionable. I think that’ll be part of our education as we go. I think we always see that in the preseason when there’s a rule interpretation or a new rule, the officials work on how they’re going to call it in the regular season. I’m sure there’s going to be continual discussions through the preseason on how it’s going to get called.

Q: You said you had a video of plays you wanted the officials to go over. Did they and were your questions answered?

A: We got clarity on a couple of the ones we showed them, but there also was a league video they showed us.

Q: You were in Minnesota last year where a pretty much overhauled offensive line came together in one season. Obviously trying to do that here, what was the key to making gel so fast?

A: I think when an offensive line unit comes together, it’s because they’re together. I made note of it last night at dinner when the guys were pulling the tables together, there was a table of 11 of our offensive line and then there was another little table with the rest of them real close. They’re gelling in more ways than just on the field and I think that’s important. When you have a good, gritty group that cares about each other and spends time with each other when it’s not mandated, then you know that thing is starting to come together.

Q: It has been said that some young quarterbacks are impatient, they want to get the ball down the field, they want to make the plays. Are you noticing that your two young quarterbacks, [Davis] Webb and [Kyle] Lauletta, are kind of dialing it back and being more patient these days?

A: I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily being more patient. I think young quarterbacks, who knows what their mindset is, they’re out there learning it. There are some guys that are more cavalier in their approach and some guys that just want to get completions. I think what’s important is when we give them a concept and we’re trying to get something out of it that they try to do it the right way, so we’ll see as we go.

Q: We’ve seen a bunch of interceptions the past couple of days. What do you make of that?

A: It’s practice, it’s practice. Sometimes they are really good plays by the defense. There may have been a questionable read by the quarterback, could’ve been a tipped ball, so there’s many reasons for it. We go through each one and there’s no trending.

Q: You guys worked out Leonard Johnson before you signed him. What died you see there and why was there a need to sign him?

A: As we talked about, we’re going to do everything we can to improve every group on our team. He’s a veteran player, we liked the way he moved around, we like how he played a year ago and we felt like he was a good guy to add to our group.

Q: Is there any concern with the secondary? You have so many guys battling at free safety. Seems like there’s a lot of turnover there. Is there any concern with how many new guys are back there?

A: Not concerned. We’re gonna get them coached up and when we’re in base, we’re going to have four of them back there and when we’re in nickel, there will be five of them and then we’ll let it rip. We’re not concerned.

Q: Connor Barwin has been in the backfield quite a bit this first week, you know, getting to the quarterback. Is that a product of him maybe playing as well or is that the second-team offensive line having trouble with a veteran pass rusher?

A: I think Connor is an experienced player and he’s had some really good reps out there, which we expect because he’s a good player. I wouldn’t read too much into who he’s going against or how he’s playing. I think he’s doing what he needs to do to get ready to play.

Q: Back to the offensive line, what have you seen from John Jerry? It’s a little bit of a different position, different role.

A: John actually has had a really good camp. I think he came in good shape. He was ready to compete and we asked him to play a little bit of tackle, which he’s done. I think the more you can do, really the more you can do in any situation, any walk of life, the longer you can stay if you do it well. His ability to play tackle for us will be something that is important for him and he’s done a good job also playing guard.

Q: All that data you get on guys, what has it told you about Odell [Beckham Jr.] getting off a major ankle injury and what have you seen?

A: I mean, I wouldn’t share the data, but he’s out here and he’s sort of full go and we’re taking it slow like we wanted to. Yeah. we like what we’ve seen so far.

Q: Do you expect William Gay to miss significant time after the injury yesterday.

A: No, I don’t. I don’t think so.

Offensive Line Coach Hal Hunter

Q: What do you see from Ereck Flowers so far at right tackle?

A: The number one thing I see is he’s had a great attitude. I think before you do anything in terms of trying to develop a player, if you’ve got great attitude, then you’re going to approach it the right way. He came back in OTAs and he had great attitude, the first thing I noticed when he came back, he was the lightest he’s been since he’s reported, he came back in great shape. We did the conditioning test, great shape. So all of a sudden, the first thing he does, he makes a great impression. He has his weight under control, right where you want it to be, strong in the weight room, in good condition. It’s been hot outside, he doesn’t bat an eye. He goes and goes and goes. He’s been great in the meeting room, a little bit of the Socratic method in there, so we’re watching tape this morning and I’ll fire a question to this guy, fire a question to that guy, I fired two questions at him today and he had the answers, one, two, engaged in the meeting, that shows a lot. The number one thing that I’ve been really pleased with is his attitude, it’s all a fresh slate, and I’ve never even coached him. When I was in Indianapolis we interviewed him at the combine, he had a great interview. We picked too far down in the draft, we didn’t get a chance but we would have picked him. We’ve had great conversations. I talked to him a couple times in the offseason; he was great in OTAs. I talked to him this summer, I don’t like to bug those guys but I always call them once a summer, we had a great conversation this summer, he told me his weight was under control and he was in shape and he’s ready to go. He showed up, his weight was under control, he was in shape and he’s ready to go. He’s had the right attitude. That’s the thing, when you don’t have to worry about a guy’s attitude, then you just coach. He’s been very responsive, my technique is a little bit different, he tries to the best of his ability to do exactly what I want him to do and doesn’t bat an eye, and if I ask him to do it again, he’ll do it again. So, again, it’s like anything. When you’re trying to coach any player, like anything we’ve ever done, sometimes you have to erase that tape to start with a blank tape, so we’re working on things and he’s making good progress. There’s a lot of technical things to work on, run and pass, and everything is completely opposite at the right tackle position than the left.

Q: Is he being blessed by moving from left to right tackle?

A: I don’t know, I don’t know if he’s being blessed from moving from left to right because honestly it used to be, in the old days, you had a big, strong right tackle and you had a pass protecting left tackle, every team had one good pass rusher. I think one of the first teams that really broke that were the Indianapolis Colts when they had Mathis on one side and Freeney at the other. Now the way people do it, they’ll move a good pass rusher to the other side. When I was in San Diego, they’re going to take Von Miller and move him over Jeromey Clary, so you’re going to find work wherever you go. I’m not sure, maybe it’s a fresh start, he would answer that question better than me. The only thing that makes a difference is if you’ve got a right-handed quarterback who is always in a right-handed stance but nowadays those quarterbacks have a lot of savvy with those things.

Q: At center, Brett Jones stepped in and started a lot of games last year and I think by a lot of accounts played pretty well, what have you guys seen in Halapio that made you say “we may want him to be”, it looks like you want him to be the first string center over a guy like Brett?

A: When I first went in the meeting room, this is what I told the guys. This is way back in OTAs and I always say it again at the beginning of camp – the best players have to play. We all watch the same tape, we all know who the best players are. Who are the best players? The players that play the best, it’s as simple as that. Everybody that sits in that offensive line room, whether you’re an eight-year vet, whether you’ve been with this organization a long time, whether you haven’t, everybody has the same opportunity to make the team and establish themselves. My goal as a coach is to coach every single guy -- we have 16 guys in that room -- to coach every single one of those guys to the best of my ability to make them the best player they can possibly be and let them decide who’s going to play. I don’t really want to decide who is going to be the starter. I want to coach them technically and mentally so that they can go out there to compete in practice and compete in the preseason games to win a position themselves and take it out of my hands. Any player that ever walks away, that doesn’t make the team, that doesn’t get a chance to start, they’ll never look back and say, “the coach didn’t give me enough reps, he didn’t give me an opportunity”, because we give all those guys an opportunity. The bottom line is practice is practice, drills are drills, some drills weigh to the offense, some drills weigh to the defense, 11 on 11 is the closest thing. But games are games and until you go out there and do something in an actual NFL football game, you never know. Brett Jones has been great, he’s got a great attitude, he’s in really good shape, he’s been really productive, we’ve worked him with the first group, he looks really good. Halapio is in great shape, he’s been really productive. Let these guys play in the preseason games, let them sort it out and let the best man win. I mean, honestly, I really don’t care which one of those guys, I want the best guy. They’re both great guys, I love coaching them both. Whoever is the best player, we will let them go (start). There does come a time with the offensive line where you have to establish those five guys because they have to work together, that’s so fundamental at this position.

Q: What have you seen from G John Jerry?

A: He’s had a great attitude. He came in, made his weight goal – this is the lightest he’s been since I’ve been here. He’s got a great attitude. He practices hard, physical. I’ve been really, really pleasantly surprised with him. He’s really stood out. He’s been one of the real standouts. He’s done a lot of good things. His attitude is great. He’s a veteran, too, he understands football. He’s a tough, physical, big, strong guy. I’m really pleased with how he’s practiced. He stood out to me. He captured my attention early, and he continues to. 

Q: Would it be fair to say you really don’t know what you have until you play Cleveland or until you play Detroit?

A: We’ve got a pretty competitive front up front. I’ll you what – you look at some of this edge – (defensive lineman Olivier Vernon) OV coming off the edge. I’ve seen a lot of pass rushing. I think he’s as good as there is in the league. Who’s the best – I’m amazed. He’s got power, he’s got speed. He can go speed to power, power to speed. He’s really, really good. He’s testing (T) Nate Solder now. He’s really testing him. We get tested all across the front. I don’t know if you’re going to find a better nose tackle than (Damon Harrison Sr.) Snacks. If you can block him, you can block anybody. The defensive front is pretty salty now. A game is a game – and when you get into a game, that’s when you either shine or – again, we’ll see how Pio works in the game. We’ll see how Brett Jones works in the game. They’ll go play through the preseason, then we’ll make our decision.

Q: Did you have a lot of tape on the centers coming into this year?

A: They had a couple of snaps a long time ago. But, I didn’t have a lot. I’ve seen a lot of good offensive linemen, you can put a ball in their hand, and they become – it’s hard. They become debilitated. But, he kind of took to it a little naturally, and so we continued to work with him there. He’s really excelled at that position. Some guys have a knack for it. To play center, you have to be smart. If you’re going to play center, you’ve got to be tough because you’ve got some 400-pound guy right there every single snap right there in your face, and it ain’t easy. The thing that I like about both those guys, they’re both smart, they’re both tough, they both have really good work ethic. We’re just working on the fundamentals.

Q: (Inaudible)

A: There always has to be competition. I think Pat (Shurmur) always says iron sharpens iron. I really believe that, because I’m from that old school too. Again, it’s a competition the way it started out – just two guys competing. You’ve got to find some guys that can compete at center. When the previous center – I really had no relationship with him – when he went to San Francisco, then all of a sudden now you got all these – you’re always coaching two offensive lines. You’re coaching the guys that are playing, and the guys that are going to be playing. You’re not going the entire season playing the same line. So, who’s going to be that other center? Who’s going to be that other center that’s going to be in there? You start coaching one, then all of sudden he starts playing good. Now all of a sudden, he took naturally to the position. We tried a couple of other guys at center, and they’re just not in the same category there. After a while, I think when you find a guy that’s smart, plays with balance, can move in both directions, can play with pad level, and then he can throw that brown thing between his legs, you’ve got to try that guy at center. Hardest position to find is not left tackle. The hardest position to find in this league is center. It’s center, then left tackle.

Q: How big of a part do you want the offensive line to play in regards to the run game?

A: A huge part of it. With the offensive line, the number one element in the running game is the runner, it always has been. You can’t win in the NFL if you can’t run the football, it’s as simple as that. You just can’t do it. The hardest thing to do in football is run the ball. It’s really hard – defenses are getting bigger and stronger. They’re playing more eight-man fronts. But, the number one thing is we have to have a lot of physicality. We’ve got to play with a lot of technique and fundamentals, and we’ve got to conceptually understand what’s going on. The more we can establish the running game, the more pressure it takes off the quarterback. We’ve got to keep that pocket clean. We’ve got to keep that quarterback clean. If that quarterback is clean, then that quarterback is special. We’ve got to keep him upright and keep him from being harassed. In terms of running the ball, some of the best offense – we had a great quarterback in San Diego. He was great because we could run the ball with (RB LaDainian Tomlinson) LT. We had a good quarterback in Indianapolis, but we could run the ball with (RB) Frank Gore. And so again, to have a good offense, we’ve got to be able to run the football and make them defend the run, and then also be able to protect that quarterback. So, it’s all encompassing.

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