Transcriptions from Wednesday's practice
Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Opening Statement: We're getting ready to play a good football team coming off a tough loss on the road. Offensively, they're led by Jameis Winston, a very aggressive and talented quarterback. The youngest player in NFL history to throw 50 touchdowns. They're very talented on the perimeter, as talented of a group as you'll find in this league. Defensively, they're fast, athletic. They make messes all over the field. They do a good job with their line stunts, and their linebackers run well to the football. (Gerald) McCoy is a tremendous player at the three technique. He can wreck a game if you don't account for him early and often. Their linebackers are a fast flow and active group. The secondary – they play very well to the front. Special teams – (Bryan) Anger is a tremendous directional punter, does a good job hanging it up there, puts it where he wants to put it. Nick Folk is a reliable kicker. He was just down the street a little bit ago and does a nice job for them. With that, let's open it up.
Q: How is your team handling the noise surrounding 0-3?
A: We have our noise blockers on. The guys have been focused and did a good job yesterday in the team meeting – in offense and defense and special teams meetings focusing in. We had a good productive day today. Good to get out there in the heat and humidity today. That will help us on Sunday.
Q: What has been your message to the team?
A: Well, just handle our details. We need to focus on ourselves, our football. We need to quit learning the same lessons over and over again and it's about the details right now. Focus on keeping the main thing the main thing and the details of our football.
Q: What is your reaction to Giants' President and CEO John Mara's comments about WR Odell Beckham Jr.?
A: We've had conversations on it. I'll start with this – we had 10 penalties in the football game. Penalties snap to whistle are penalties that happen, combative penalties in the game. You can clean those up with fundamentals. Pre-snap and post-snap penalties, we have to clean up and that's a part of it. Celebration penalties are things you can't have. It's a poor reflection on me, on the program and on the organization. We have a plan for it. We're going to handle it internally and we have a plan for it moving forward.
Q: Will WR Odell Beckham Jr. start on Sunday?
A: I'm done talking about it. We have a plan for it. We're handling it internally and we have a plan moving forward.
Q: What was one of the reasons why the Vikings were so successful getting the ball deep downfield against the Buccaneers?
A: I think they did a nice job, not just down the field, but short to intermediate. They came out, they did a good job completing the ball, getting Case (Keenum) some rhythm early in the ball game. That just carried over as they went through the ball game. But they got the quarterback in a rhythm early. They did a nice job of protection. If you're going to throw the ball down the field, it always starts with protection. The rhythm and the confidence early in the football game is important.
Q: What prompts you to say that the penalties are a poor reflection on you?
A: I'm the head coach. It's my responsibility.
Q: Are penalties across the board your responsibility?
A: Pre-snap and post-snap penalties.
Q: How do you stop pre and post-snap penalties?
A: Well, recently it's been a problem. The past year it wasn't and we're going to clean it up moving forward.
Q: Have you turned cleaning up penalties into a team-wide message?
A: It's something we talk about every day after practice.
Q: How does WR Odell Beckham Jr. balance his passion for the game with the side antics?
A: Again, I made my comments on it and I'm leaving them at that.
Q: Why have pre and post-snap penalties become an issue in recent weeks?
A: Pre and post-snap penalties. Some are discipline-related. Some are not. But the pre-snap penalties, we injected some tempo in the plan last week offensively. We handled it well at times early on. As the first half went on, we didn't do a good job of it. We need to do a better job of it.
Q: You have not shared your thoughts on Odell's celebration. What are your thoughts on the way WR Odell Beckham Jr. celebrated?
A: I just did. It's a poor reflection on me. It's a poor reflection on the organization. We have a plan for it moving forward.
Q: Are you convinced the celebration won't happen again?
A: That didn't come out of my mouth.
Q: Are you worried that the celebration will happen again?
A: I'm not worried about anything. We have a plan for it if it does.
Q: Did WR Odell Beckham Jr. tell you his celebration was in response to President Donald Trump?
A: Personal conversations stay personal.
Q: How do you balance the fact that you need WR Odell Beckham Jr. on the field, but there are some pre and post-snap penalties that go with that?
A: Like I talked about in the conference call, we should be focused on the way he plays the game. He made two of the finest plays you'll ever see in pro football since I've been in the league. Those are getting overshadowed. It's unfortunate.
Q: Do you tell WR Odell Beckham Jr. that his football talent is being overshadowed by other things?
A: Personal conversations stay personal.
Q: Did you or your staff go over the celebration rules?
A: We went over it on a couple occasions. The officials came in. They went over it. They put more on the coaches, well, I guess more on the officials, too, is really what happened.
Q: Should there have been any confusion that what WR Odell Beckham Jr. did to celebrate would cause a penalty?
A: Whether it was or it wasn't a penalty, it's still not something that we're condoning.
Q: Would you consider telling your players that they have to hand the ball to the ref post-touchdown?
A: Listen, we have a plan for it moving forward. We need to focus on our football. We have to get prepared to go win a football game down south in some conditions against a good team.
Q: Do you find this to be a distraction?
A: I'm not distracted. I think some people in this circle are distracted.
Q: Are you at the point where you have to win this week?
A: Well, I don't know that I've ever been in a game that's not a must-win. I think every game is a must-win. That's what you do. That's why you come to work every day. That's why you're here early. That's why you stay late. You show up, you work hard to prepare to go win the ball game. It's why we're here.
Q: When you looked at the run defense, how much was it missing LB B.J. Goodson?
A: It was more than one position. First things first, you have to give the opponent credit. They did a nice job and then we have to go to work on ourselves.
Q: How did some of the guys that came back from injuries look in practice today, like LB B.J. Goodson and DE Olivier Vernon?
A: They were limited today. OV (did not practice).
Q: Did Sunday's performance solidify that you need to call the plays?
A: Again, we'll take a look at that each and every day. I'll let you know when it changes.
Q: What do you mean about DE Olivier Vernon being out?
A: He was working with the trainers.
Q: Did RB Shane Vereen practice.
A: Shane Vereen. He was sore today.
CB Janoris Jenkins
Q: Do you sense anything different about the team, now at 0-3?
A: I just feel like everybody's got a sense of urgency around here now. I think we woke up. Just ready and excited to see us go on Sunday.
Q: What do you mean by you think the team woke up?
A: You see more energy. Everybody knows what's at stake. Everybody's moving around and just trying to find a way.
Q: Why did it take the team being 0-3 to find that energy?
A: I mean, it's not about how long it took. It's just about what's going on now. We understand the type of situation we put ourselves in and now we've just got to come out and go strong.
Q: Is there anything you can do to help cornerback Eli Apple?
A: I just keep talking to him. Let him know what I see, help him out a little bit, as far as technique and lining up and what to expect from different formations. He's going to get better.
Q: Are there specific things technique-wise that you suggest to him?
A: Just basically about the deep balls, the pass interferences that he's been getting lately, I've just been telling him, instead of him turning his head all the way around, just stay facing the man because he's already at that point where he doesn't have to turn his head and then the ball is underthrown and now he's reaching and grabbing. So, it's just small things like that.
Q: Normally they tell you to turn your head, you're saying don't turn your head?
A: I mean, you only turn your head if you're behind. But if you're on top, there's no need for you to face him off and if you're on top, turn your head because it's going to be underthrown, or a back shoulder fade anyway. So, if you're even or behind, I say you look and lean. Other than that, face off.
Q: What do you see from the Tampa Bay offense and quarterback Jameis Winston?
A: We know they're explosive. On the outside, they've got some big threat receivers. Jameis is going to try to force the ball and get it up anyway he can. He's mobile and he's the leader of the team.
Q: Can Winston be prone to throwing interceptions after throwing multiple last week against Minnesota?
A: I mean, he can be prone to it, but you can't hold a guy to what he did last week. Each and every week, you only come out to get better and we're just going to do what we've got to do on the backend.
Q: What does Tampa Bay wide receiver DeSean Jackson do for their offense?
A: He's explosive, a very, very good deep threat, quick, elusive. When he gets his hands on the ball, he's out of there. And just competitive and we've got to be aware of that.
Q: Do you have to run long and hard against Jackson?
A: You've just got to do your job.
Q: Do you like the matchup with Jackson?
A: I mean, I like all my matchups. I just like to compete, I don't care who it is. That's how I take it every game.
Q: Is it more of a challenge when you go up against two receivers like Jackson and Mike Evans, who are completely different?
A: I just focus on doing my job. Whatever they give me, I just go in and do it to the best of my ability.
Q: How is your ankle feeling after the game in Philadelphia?
A: It was sore, but not crazy. Not too bad.
Q: How do you see the National Anthem protests around the league playing out?
A: I mean, you don't have to say too much. Everybody sees what's going on and we're noticing what's going on and at some point you've got to take a stand. And I feel like that's what people and players around the league did. So, whatever way you're going with it, in or out.
Q: Can you show your support without kneeling for the National Anthem?
A: I mean, in certain ways. It's just how you want to express it, how you're feeling at the moment. How hearing the National Anthem makes you feel at the time, when you know what's going on around the world. You can take it all different way. Locking arms, like they said. Double kneeling, just praying. Just small things. It'll work itself out.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Q: What was your reaction to Giants' President and CEO John Mara's comments?
A: We talked.
Q: Did you apologize to Giants' President and CEO John Mara?
A: No. I said we talked. Mr. Mara and I talked.
Q: Going forward, what does that mean to us that you and Giants' President and CEO John Mara talked?
A: He and I talked. We had a discussion – private discussion in his office. We talked about it – him and I.
Q: Do you feel like you embarrassed the organization?
A: More myself, I guess. Only thing is just causing the penalty for the team. That's really it. I don't even know if they knew to call the flag or not because the look of confusion on their face was, 'Do we throw the flag or not?' And then, it was kind of just like, they threw the flag. So, only regret is causing us 15 yards, having to cover a long kickoff. Thankfully, we didn't have any setback from there. Covered the kickoff well.
Q: Will you choose a different form of celebration going forward?
A: (Nods head yes).
Q: Do you think you were out of line with your celebration?
A: I don't know. I don't think any of us know the rules on what you can do celebrating. They put in a new celebration thing to kind of make it seem as if players can celebrate and then you celebrate and you only have 40 seconds. So, if you celebrate for 20, you have 20 seconds to run on and kick (the extra point), so I don't really know. I don't really know how it works, but I do know going forward I have a lot better celebration.
Q: Was the celebration improvised?
A: I'm talking about Tampa now.
Q: Was your celebration a response to President Donald Trump's comments?
A: I was just telling him, I'm talking about Tampa.
Q: How do you balance your passion for the game with showing respect?
A: I felt pretty good all year, pretty much all offseason. Until you're 0-2, we're down 14-0 in the fourth quarter and it's just, it's time. It's time to win games. It's time to make plays and I just like being a spark and some energy for this team and I know that that touchdown and the one after it put us in good position. But it's just the little thing of getting that penalty. Just can't do it. Just doesn't need to be done and that's really the bottom line.
Q: What challenges do the Buccaneers defense present?
A: They have a good defense in my opinion. (Vernon) Hargreaves is a corner who I've been going against since college. Brent Grimes, I like. I think T.J. Ward just got over there and he's a hell raiser in my opinion – a guy you have to watch for and, I mean, up front, I've been to the Pro Bowl with (Gerald) McCoy. I've watched him. I've watched his film. He's trouble. They have some real good linebackers over there. I'm not going to give Kwon (Alexander) because I went to school with him. He's a phenomenal player. Him, Kendell Beckwith over there. These are guys who I've played with and know what they're capable of. They have a very talented group. It's just time for us to get a win and really the biggest focus is on ourselves right now.
Q: How do you get points on the board earlier?
A: We were in the red zone five times, I think, and came away with two touchdowns and it was in the end. It's just about scoring touchdowns. That's the bottom line. The game comes down to scoring touchdowns. Field goals aren't going to get it done. You can get down there five times, kick five field goals. That's 15 points. They score twice, they're down by one. It's about touchdowns and that's what we have to do.
Q: Does scoring a lot of points in the fourth quarter give you confidence going forward?
A: I don't know if it was the fourth quarter. I feel like we moved the ball all game up and down the field, just couldn't put it in the end zone. Like I said, it's just the bottom line is getting touchdowns.
Q: Are you a desperate football team?
A: I don't know what desperate means. I've never been desperate in my life. And I know that we're not desperate, but we do need a win. Period. Now. And that's the plan.
Q: Do you still believe in this club?
A: I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe in us. It's just a matter of putting everything together, finishing drives. All the little things. Details, details, details, winning.
Q: Is receiving yards an area you feel that you can capitalize on against the Buccaneers?
A: I mean, our defense gave up a lot of running yards and it usually doesn't happen. So, I don't know if it's a one-time thing, if they're susceptible to giving up passing yards or what, but I know they're a good defense and I know that they just lost last week. Correct. So, they're going to come out with some intensity, fired up. They're at home. They're going to come out to get a win. So, we just have to play our best football.
Q: What did you intend with the celebration?
A: I'm really focused on Tampa.
Q: Do you want to clarify your celebration any more?
A: No. We can just move to Tampa because that's the only thing that's important right now.
Q: You're not on the injury report this week. Does that mean you're fine?
A: I've been playing the past two weeks, so I'm alright.
Q: Did you feel your performance last week is an indication that you're fine?
A: Just getting better. Have rehab today. Doctor comes in tomorrow, Friday. It's just the same thing over and over again. So, until that tape comes off my ankle, it's the only way I'll be able to tell you I'm fine, I'm 100%.
Q: Did you talk about your contract with Giants' President and CEO John Mara during your meeting?
A: I don't know if that has to do with Tampa, really.
Offensive Lineman Justin Pugh
Q: Are you guys a desperate football team right now?
A: Desperate? I don't know if the word is desperate. It's a big game for us. Obviously 0-3 is not where we want to be. I'll say I've had experience being in this position before. I started at 0-6 my rookie year. Just keep doing what you're doing. Keep coming to work, keep working hard. Obviously, you got to do a little bit more. You don't want to press, you don't want to push too hard or do too much. You still have to do your job, but come in here and give a little extra to these guys. We got to go out and get a win on Sunday.
*Q: Is the pulse of this locker room fractured? *
A: I think it's come together even more. Obviously when things outside of you, there is chaos and everyone is trying to tear us apart. No offense to you guys, like I always said, you guys got to do your job, but in here I think it's made us closer.
Q: How do you take the next step?
A: We start by playing complimentary football, which Coach McAdoo has harped on a lot. Obviously, the offense, we have to get on the board quicker. We had some good drives in Philly. We were able to build off of things we did in Philadelphia. We got to do it earlier on in the game. Let our defense play with a lead. They haven't really been able to do that at all this year. So, that's a big goal for us.
Q: When you say things outside are chaotic, are you talking about the media or what the president said?
A: Well now you say that, I mean like media, social media, all of that. But obviously that is a big part of it too. I was doing a media tour this week for Conair and most of the questions revolved around the kneeling and the president. So, that's obviously a big part of it. That's something that's huge that is going on in our country. That's bigger than the game of football.
*Q: What are your thoughts on that? *
A: Obviously I am all for being there for my teammates. I've never walked in shoes as some of the guys in this locker room, but I've heard their stories and heard what they've gone through. Obviously, I want to stand for the flag. That's something that I feel very passionate about, my brother being in the military, but at the same time I recognize why guys are doing it. I think locking arms and being there for on another is definitely something that shows support. I don't think now that it obviously has come to light, what happened with (Colin) Kaepernick originally when he was sitting, I did take offense to that originally. I posted about it and I talked about it, but now realizing he's not trying to disrespect military, he's not trying to disrespect the flag or the United States of America. He is trying to raise questions and start a conversation and I think that is definitely something that I can get on board with and be there for these guys in the locker room and be there for guys because we're a team. When they are sitting at home on their couch, they don't experience some of the struggles that some of these guys go through and we got to be able to start that conversation. Obviously, once the president came out and said some things, we have to show unity as the NFL.
*Q: Today Trump said that if the NFL doesn't change, the business model is going to go down the tubes. *
A: What if every player kneeled? The league would cease to exist? Is that what he is saying? I don't know. That's something that's a little above my paygrade. I have no idea. But at the same time, you got to do what you think is right and every guy in here as their own opinion. That's what makes America great. You have your first amendment right. Freedom of speech and I'm all for guys exercising that right. To be there to support my brothers is something that I am always going to do and something that if you come at us for football related things or off the field things, I'm going to stick together with these guys. Obviously, there is a line that can be drawn in the sand, but I feel like there is a conversation that needs to be had and I think we are going to have it.
Q: Was there a moment that swayed to think this way because you said originally you were against what Kaepernick was doing?
A: I was against him when he originally had sat for the national anthem. I guess being a white man, I didn't really understand what was going through his mind, what he was experiencing and I tweeted about it. Everyone was coming at me and saying, "you're racist, you're this, you're that" I mean I guess it was more me not knowing what was going on and I think he realized too when he started to kneel and there is a guy Nate Boyer who I train with out in LA who is a former Army Green Beret and he stood next to him and put his hand on his shoulder to show that he was supporting him. Like I said, I don't know what guys go through. So, I think being in this locker room here, hearing stories from guys. It's a tough time in this world. America is not perfect, we all know that. There is a conversation that needs to be had and I don't know the right way to do it, I don't know the wrong way to do it. All I know is that guys have the right to say what they want to say and that's what makes America so great and I am going to stand by my guys in the locker room and be there for my teammates.
Q: So how do you stay unified as a team, but still exercise your first amendment right and say what's on your mind?
A: It's a conversation that needs to be had. I'm not saying it's perfect, I'm not saying I know what is right from wrong. I've learned throughout my years, I have to sit back and really listen and pay attention. If you don't listen and see where other people are coming from and you are just listening with the intent of responding instead of understanding, it is going to cause problems and I think a lot of times that is what we find ourselves doing. Listening with the intent to respond. I am going to impose my opinion on you before I have a chance to hear what you have to say. So, it's something that is going to continue to be a conversation throughout the NFL. It's something that I think is going to happen throughout the season.