Transcriptions from Friday, September 8, before Sunday's regular season game:
Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Thirteen (13) is in there getting treatment. Odell [Beckham] is getting treatment. We will see how he responds. He is going to do all of his work with the training staff today and we'll see how he responds tomorrow. We have a chance for a launch day tomorrow.
Q: Would you like there to be a definitive decision on him by tomorrow?
A: That's my answer. I said my answer.
Q: You said the other day that you won't put him on the field if he can injure himself further, does that include worries about a re-aggravation?
A: I just gave you my answer.
Q: How is he doing mentally?
A: He's in there getting treatment. He's doing everything he can to get himself well.
Q: How important is it preparing for this game more than any other because you had all offseason to prepare for it?
A: You know, it is a challenge. Each phase faces different challenges. Defensively, when you look at this group there, they have a talented perimeter, they are good upfront, you're not really quite sure what you're going to see. I'm sure they have been preparing for us for a little while and they'll have some wrinkles, especially early in the ballgame in their script, and we'll see how that part goes. From a special teams' perspective, there is not a lot of film on the guys you're going to be playing against. They do have some carryover on the roster, but we'll have to see how it shakes out and where they play guys and where they match them up. From an offensive perspective, they have some injury concerns and they've drafted some players in the secondary and they've drafted well there. We just haven't had a chance to see them much playing NFL football. We had a chance to see them play college football, but not much NFL football. So there is some different things and adjustments that need to be made during the course of a game.
Q: How did you go about making the decision on whether you or Mike [Sullivan] were going to call the plays?
A: Yeah, we have our game management meeting tomorrow morning and we'll talk about play calling in the game management meeting.
Q: So, you didn't make a decision whether you or Mike is going to call plays?
A: Of course, I did.
Q: Do you see J.T. Thomas filling a lot of the roles that Mark [Herzlich] had?
A: J.T. had a good week of practice. It's great to have him back out here. Linebackers and tight ends and sometimes safeties, the bigger ones, play similar type roles on the team, and we'll see how that shakes out. I'm not going to give up anything matchup wise.
Q: Are you comfortable with B.J [Goodson] playing three downs?
A: Yeah, we are confident in B.J. He's played a lot of reps. We were short on numbers there for a while in camp and with Keenan [Robinson] being down, we are very confident in B.J that he can handle the role.
Q: Do you view B.J and Jonathan Casillas as three-down linebackers?
A: I think they both can play three downs, yes.
Q: Do you expect them to?
A: Wouldn't be smart for me to answer that question.
Q: How concerning was Roger Lewis' incident with the police in the spring and can you talk about sticking with him through that?
A: Yeah, again, Roger Lewis has done a nice job for us in camp. He's been cleared of any wrongdoing and you like to stand behind your locker room when you can and see how the information works itself out.
Q: Are you comfortable with Chad Wheeler jumping in at tackle if something were to happen to Ereck [Flowers]?
A: Again, we are not going to talk about actives/inactives right now, but Chad is a guy that we have increased confidence in each day.
Q: What do you think adding Shane Vereen back to the offense will do for you guys?
A: Yeah, Shane is a good security blanket for the quarterback. He is like having another tight end out there. He's a friendly target, he has good control of his body and creates friendly angles.
Q: How do you view the mental state of your team heading to week 1?
A: We've been practicing since April. We've played four preseason games. We are excited to play a game that is meaningful.
Q: Can you over prepare for an opener like this?
A: You'll have to explain to me what that is.
Q: That's what I'm asking you.
A: I've never heard of such a thing.
Offensive Line Coach Mike Solari
Q: How do you feel about your line?
A: Excited. We are excited to get going. They've worked hard, they are prepared, and they're looking forward to playing Dallas.
Q: What has it been like to work with the same guys for a second year?
A: It really helps. I mean, in the sense of being crystal clear for the communications and also the techniques and then being able to see it on film. It makes it a lot better, the continuity is big.
Q: How much improvement did you see this summer?
A: I think we are on schedule. It's a thing that is in progress. We always want to improve and get better at all of our techniques and our fundamentals. They've worked hard. They do a good job on and off the field in sense of off the field, in the classroom, their preparation and we have seen improvement.
Q: When you say on schedule, what have you been expecting at this point?
A: In the sense of on schedule, we are healthy, we've had some stability in the sense of playing together and practicing together and that's a very important part of offensive line play is that synergy, all of them working as one. So, it is critical and when I say we are on schedule, the preparation through training camp, through the preseason games, and now for the opener.
Q: How much is that right guard job up for grabs?
A: Well, I mean all five positions will be decided by Ben [McAdoo]. All of the men are always working and compete to play at the highest level, but John Jerry is the starter.
Q: Has Brett [Jones] made a push at all?
A: Yeah, just like the other young men that are backing up the starters at this point. He's worked hard, he's ascended as a football player and he's always prepared. He does a great job in his preparation off the field and he's ready to help.
Q: Is there any aspect that is ahead of the other? Typically, early in the season the pass blocking is ahead of the rush blocking, do you see that?
A: No, I think we are right at game one. There is going to be constant improvement throughout the year and throughout each week, every day. When they go on the football field, they are always ascending to be a better football player. Right now, both the run and the pass protection, we just got to keep building our fundamentals and our techniques.
Q: How have you seen Bobby Hart develop?
A: Bobby's ascended as a football player. Again, it's like I said earlier, on and off the field in his preparation and his techniques, his confidence as a football player. You see that on film throughout the preseason. Compared to last year where he was at, he is a more confident football player and rightfully so. He has put in a lot of work and he's invested his time wisely.
Q: Do you think him losing his job last year lit a fire under him at all?
A: You are going to have to ask Bobby. It was just a situation last year where there was a time that we thought that was the best situation for the New York Giants in the sense of the switch, of the change that we made.
Q: How do you think he handled it at the time?
A: Right. Again, he handled it properly. He wasn't happy about it and it was something he was working hard to maintain, but there was a time where we felt that this was the best thing for the New York Giants at that time. You know, Ben felt it was the best thing.
Q: What is it about him that makes him better now?
A: Well, one thing would be the offseason conditioning program. He's bigger, he's stronger right now. When I say he's bigger, he's leaner and he worked hard in the offseason. Again, he's young. He just turned 23 the other day and here's a guy that is playing in his third year in the NFL, I mean wow. So, Bobby is an ascending football player. It's exciting to see and it's exciting to see where his career will takeoff.
Q: Are you comfortable with Chad Wheeler if he had to go in on Sunday at tackle?
A: Yes, I am confident in every man on our roster and their preparation and that they are ready. Again, he has a role right now, to learn, to develop, become a better football player every day and he's invested his time.
Q: What have you seen from Adam Bisnowaty and what does he have to improve on?
A: Again, Adam is just a situation where we love his toughness, we love his passion for the game, hard worker. Again at this point, he's working on his technique and his fundamentals to be a better football player, so he can and will be ready.
Q: Where has Ereck [Flowers] progressed?
A: I think, again, Ereck, the key thing we talked about earlier in the sense that he progressed number one in his conditioning. Same thing, he invested his time wisely, he worked hard, he put in the time. Ereck has improved in his fundamentals and techniques and we are excited.
Q: Where do you feel D.J Fluker is better-suited, guard or tackle?
A: D.J., I feel, can help us at guard. Can he play tackle? Yes. I think he has characteristics, his ability, he's a stronger player at guard.
Q: So, Wheeler presumably would be your first tackle off the bench then?
A: Well, Ben will decide that. Obviously, Chad is right up there, but again we got some different guys that can fill in and do a good job there at that spot.
Q: How much did you cross train Justin Pugh at tackle? Or do you just trust him because he has done it before?
A: A little bit of both. We have given him a few reps and I do mean a few. Again, it is a situation where it wouldn't take him much to get adjusted there because he has played there. Again, we just gave him a few reps here and there just because, again, we want to give the reps to go to the younger tackles or a situation where D.J.'s got to go out there and get reps there at that spot. So, that's what we have done to this point.
Q: How have you seen Justin Pugh progress from last year? Do you see a different player?
A: Yeah, I think Justin has ascended also in his work ethic and what he's doing. Again, Justin brings great knowledge to the position and he's healthy and he's worked hard. Last year he got hurt. It kind of threw him off a little bit, but again, he is ready. He is ready to have a real good year.
Q: How important is it for this line to get more out of Justin and Weston Richburg?
A: The key thing with this offensive line, we truly believe is all five of them ascending. That's the most important thing. Absolutely, Weston brings the leadership, as well as John Jerry and Justin Pugh. They bring leadership every day. They bring leadership in the sense of the classroom. Just before the meetings, when they are there, they are ready to roll and they show how to be a pro. They have done a great job in the sense when I say those three men, their experience. But all five of them is the most important thing that they all work as one and that is what we are really pushing and that's what we are excited about in the sense of seeing we are ready to go now against Dallas. They've been working together and it's going to be exciting to see them ascend as a group this year.
Q: What is a good running game? Is there a definition?
A: Yeah, a good running game again is consistency. I truly believe it will be exciting to see our run game. I think it is in progress, I think it's gotten better, and it needs to continue to get better and it will. Obviously, it's different now. You're game planning, you're preparing, you're giving them looks that they are going to see during the week versus in training camp, you're on progress to teach technique, fundamentals for them to ascend as a group. Now, it's different. So, again, a good running game is when you can run the football when you need it to run in the sense of a short-yardage, a goal line, a four-minute, when you have to run the ball. You have to be behind your pads and take care of the downs.
Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern
Q: How big of a loss is not having LB Keenan Robinson on Sunday?
A: Kennan hasn't been able to practice as much this preseason. So, B.J. (Goodson) has gotten primarily most of the reps in that situation. So, we're looking forward to seeing B.J. out there on the field.
Q: Is it possible for LB B.J. Goodson to play the whole game?
A: It's possible. We'll see how the game unfolds and what situations arise. It's possible. He's practiced well. He's had a lot of snaps this preseason and we're looking forward to seeing him.
Q: What has LB B.J. Goodson done to prove to you that he can be a player that you have out there in pass situations and sub packages?
A: He's getting control of our entire defensive package. Then, obviously, the reps out on the field that we've seen him do here in preseason. He shows to have the athletic ability to help in the run and the pass.
Q: Did it surprise you what LB B.J. Goodson showed you in the pass game?
A: No. He's just gotten more opportunities to now to show himself and he's really made the most of his reps. We're excited to see him again out there.
Q: How hard is it to come into a defense that is established already, specifically talking about LB B.J. Goodson?
A: I think it's a credit to B.J., you know, showing his maturity – that he's assuming some of a leadership role. But, it's also a credit to the rest of the guys in the huddle. We've got a bunch of really good guys in the huddle, other leaders out there, too. It hasn't been just B.J. doing everything. Yes, he's making the calls, setting the defense, stuff like that, but there's other guys out there that are helping him mature and helping him take control of the defense.
Q: How is LB B.J. Goodson setting the defense?
A: It doesn't matter what you are as long as you're doing it with confidence and B.J. is practicing and working hard and doing it all with confidence. So, it shows up out there. He's vocal. He makes decisions and gets us lined up and lets us go play.
Q: How big of a challenge is Ezekiel Elliott?
A: Obviously, he's a great running back. They have a lot of great weapons on offense. So, again, it's going to be about our guys focusing on what their job is and what defense is called – they're executing it.
Q: Talk about LB J.T. Thomas since he did miss almost the whole offseason.
A: J.T. is just starting to get back on the field in the last couple weeks. So, we're excited to have him back. We're looking forward to him running around and just kind of adding into it. We're finding out more and more he can do every time he's out on the field.
Q: Do you view LB J.T. Thomas as primarily a weak-side linebacker?
A: Wherever he fits. We haven't had a lot of reps.
Q: Where does LB J.T. Thomas fit?
A: I don't know. We'll figure that out as it goes. We haven't had a lot of reps with him. He's played primarily right now on the weak side. But, if he's available and can handle the other stuff, we'll put him wherever he serves us best.
Q: Can LB J.T. Thomas help in sub packages?
A: Again, we haven't been out there long enough to say anything about that.
Q: Do you feel uncertain with your linebacker group in some ways?
A: No. I'm excited about the group. Same thing with last year. Coming in, every year is a new year. We're excited about the whole group on defense. It's not just the linebackers playing. It's not just the secondary or the front playing. We're all playing together. So, we're excited about the whole group.
Q: What's the situation with LB Mark Herzlich?
A: It's obviously disappointing to Mark and to us. We're concerned right now with the Cowboys and going forward and going after those guys on Sunday night.
Q: Why is LB Jonathan Casillas such a good leader?
A: He brings maturity and leadership. It's kind of two of his strong traits that he's out there, he practices every day, he wants the reps. We tried to give him a couple reps off the other day and he got hot at me because he likes being out there practicing. He leads by example. So, it's a great honor to be named captain and he's earned it.
Q: Do you like what LB Devon Kennard has given you in terms of playing the strong side and being able to work in and rush the passer?
A: DK has been really good in terms of excelling in his role. Whatever we put him at, whatever we've asked him to do – he's done a great job at exceling at his role and really has done a tremendous job wherever we put him.
Q: Can you talk about DE Romeo Okwara.
A: Romeo is good. Romeo has the physical and mental traits that we think can help us. The more you can do, the more valuable you become. We're excited to see him keep developing.
Q: How did using DE Romeo Okwara at linebacker come about?
A: You have to give credit probably to Ben (McAdoo) on that. Ben had those flex days where we kind of switched guys at positions and you see him move around, you see his length, you see his athleticism. His mental makeup too really allows him to kind of grasp it quicker than some and that's what has really helped him.
Q: How big of an adjustment is DE Romeo Okwara moving to linebacker?
A: It's an adjustment. You'll have to ask him how big. We expect him to make it.
Q: On days where you switch guys around at practice, what is that like for you as a coach and do you see guys and think about where they could serve elsewhere on field?
A: That's kind of what we're trying to do. I think with only 53 guys in the game – you'll have to ask Ben about this. He can answer better. But, with 53 guys, Ben, I think, is trying to do the right thing by making the most of the 53 guys we have on the roster. So, if we can use them at any other position, we'll use them at any other position.
Q: Talk more about how you switch guys around at positions?
A: Yeah. Build with it from there. Trying to build from where we see something on it.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul
Q: Does the Dallas offensive line look different this year, as opposed to years past?
A: Not really, I didn't [see] that [from watching film]. I'm going to have more of a feel for it in the game when I get there. So, it's always a feel for the game and what the guy is doing in front of me and how everything is going.
Q: Why do Giants-Cowboys games always seem to come down to the final minute?
A: I don't know. I really can't answer that. I know both teams are going to give it their all. We are and I know they are. It's a division rival game, this counts as two games for us. And we're just going to go out there and try to give them our best shot that we can. We're going to play some good defense, I know that they're going to play some good offense. So, we're just going to give them the best shot that we've got.
Q: Are you excited by what you were able to do in the preseason?
A: I'm still getting warmed up. I feel like I'm still getting warmed up, still [have] a couple of things I need to tighten up. But as the season goes on, that's what you still work on. Preseason is preseason, training camp, OTAs, all that [was] getting you ready for football. I think everybody feels the same way about it. But I'm just getting warmed up and we'll see what I can do in the regular season.
Q: Will you be warmed up by Sunday night?
A: We'll see. All bullets are flying then. I'm 110%. I do play full speed – I try to play full speed every play. I try to give 110%, but as far as that, these games count. So, I'll be out there.
Q: Do you like playing against Dallas?
A: I don't care who I'm playing, to tell you the truth.
Q: Did you have to change the way you approached the game because of the core injury?
A: Not necessarily. Me personally, I look at an injury [as] something to just get over. To be honest, after my hand surgery and my hand accident, I feel like there's no injury I can really overcome. So, I look at an injury as a positive thing, but also a negative thing. Due to my injury on the Fourth of July, I look at every injury like, 'Okay, get over it.' If I can come back from that I can come back from everything. So, I proved it. I'm out there playing well right now, I'm just trying to get better, that's it.
Q: How much of an advantage is it that you now know more about Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott than you did last year when he was a rookie?
A: He was a rookie. Every year, you feel like you have the total details on somebody, but that's not the case, that's not necessarily true because every year a guy changes and there are changes in their fundamentals. Like me, my first step. You just try to get better, you never try to stay the same. You try to throw everybody off of your game. He did pretty well last year and I'm pretty sure he's going to do pretty well Sunday night, but it's our job to get him off the spot and play that run. And also watch out for 21 [running back Ezekiel Elliott]. So, we'll see.
Q: What is the key to stopping Elliott?
A: I don't know the key. Our job is to go out there and defend the yards behind us, defend the field behind us and that's what we are going to do as a team.
Q: Do you think that you can win Defensive Player of the Year this season?
A: Honestly man, when I look at Defensive Player of the Year, it all is on the speak of my play. But, I have no choice but to go for it, you know? I'm the type of dude that, I'm greedy, but at the same time, you've got to make sure you're doing your job right. But at the same time, everybody has goals they want to achieve. If I get that, I get that, but I'm going to play to my full capable ability and go 110%. I feel like if I play like I've been playing in the preseason and up it up when it's time to really up it up, then anything can happen.
Q: Being one of the only players left from the 2011 Super Bowl team, do you feel a similar sense this year that you did that one?
A: Honestly, like I said, we've got great players here. We've got great talent. You look around and there's talent everywhere in the room, on that defensive side of the ball, and the offensive side of the ball. But, it's going to take a team to do it. You can't just look at everybody individually. The team is good. It's not a Super Bowl team yet, but I feel like if we don't make those mistakes and we close the games out that we need to do – take it one game at a time, we'll get where we need to go. We were in the playoffs last year, our job is to make it to the playoffs and get to the championship. So, that's our job, that's what we strive for and every team out there is striving for that. But we want to be the ones to get it though [laughs]. So, that's basically it. Hopefully, this Sunday night we go out there and do what we've got to do to come out with a victory.