Head Coach Brian Daboll
BRIAN DABOLL: How is everybody doing today? Just a few things here. Congratulations to Deonte Banks, he graduated this past week. It's an awesome accomplishment for him. We have been grinding away here into phase three of the program. I think we made some strides physically with the strength and conditioning program, phase one and face two. Really, it's a learning camp, a teaching camp. That's how we approach it. No one is going to make the team off of performance at this camp. There are certain rules and things that we with try to coach and make sure that our guys are on top of. As always, I think there's a few guys out that had prior engagements for today. They will be back next week. We have really good attendance. There will be some guys working their rehab stuff, and throughout practice each of those guys are kind of at different stages. Just trying to get them as healthy as we can. I'm not going to get into specifics of any of them. I would say with Saquon, that situation is going to be between Saquon and the organization. I'm not going to get into detail of any of the discussions we've had. So, hope everybody is doing well, good to see you. Whatever you've got.
Q.*You said this is a learning, teaching camp with the young kids, the rookies, the undrafted guys, what exactly are you looking for in terms of figuring out how well they are mixing in?*
BRIAN DABOLL: The biggest thing is taking it from the classroom to the field. I would say they are behind considerably, which is the same every year I've been in the NFL, so our job as a coaching staff is to try to get them up to speed as quickly as we can. Lay a foundation for training camp so when we get to training camp which I think is in about two months, is today the 25th? Yeah about, two months. They have a lot to learn in a short amount of time and try to get them as prepared as we can, so in training camp they can go out there, and again, there's players slowdown when they are thinking a lot. When you are just learning a new system, maybe not playing as fast as you'd like to play because you're thinking about a lot of different things, so just try to get them acclimated to our systems, our calls, to how we do things, but a long way away from training camp, actually. They will get reps, learn from those. There will be a lot of mistakes on everybody's end, including mine, so try to get better so we can be ready to go for training camp.
Q.*You've been on staffs before where contracts and business have got in the way of players. What's the key to once there is a resolution making sure there are no hard feelings once the player and the team come back together?*
BRIAN DABOLL: I think you build relationships with people in the business. There's always a business sighted of things in this league and again, those conversations will remain private, but the guys on the team that you have, everybody goes through it at some point, and you just build on relationships and keep discussions private between yourself and the players.
Q.*That situation with Saquon will be settled at some point this summer, right; there's a deadline date. Are you working on the impression you'll have here in the summer at that point?*
BRIAN DABOLL: I respect the question, but I'm not going to get into any talks about contracts, what could happen, about what could not happen, out of respect for the situation.
Q.*He's expected to be at minicamp; right?*
BRIAN DABOLL: I'm not going to get into any discussions about that.
Q.*Any of the guys who hit last season or part of last season, are any actually full go? Is anybody to the point where they are full go, (Sterling) Shepard, (Aaron) Robinson, (Darrian) Beavers?*
BRIAN DABOLL: I think they are all in different stages where they are at. Our training staff has done a great job with those guys, and they will continue to work with them.
Q.*Can you give us an update where everyone is at in their rehab process?*
BRIAN DABOLL: Different stages, yeah. They are all at different stages.
Q.*Can I ask you about big picture changes? With some of the rule changes that have been implemented, how does that affect how you teach and does that change what you look for in players talent?*
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think there's rule changes every year. Our job as a coaching staff is to make sure we understand them first and then teach our players accordingly. Whatever they are, they are, whatever the rules are, that's the rules, and we play by the rules.
Q.*Do you look for different things, like for example, this kickoff change, does that affect or change what you look for in certain place that might fill that role?*
BRIAN DABOLL: I think we have a good understanding of what each guy has to do based on their responsibility, and again, the rules are the rules. Whatever they are, we coach them.
Q.*How do you assess a player like Beavers who you never did get to see on the field last year?*
BRIAN DABOLL: He's been in here working hard. He'll be one of the guys on the rehab (field). Once we get out to training camp and preseason games, that's really when the evaluation part comes in. He's done a great job, everything we've asked him to do, so whenever he gets back, look forward to working with him.
Q.*Going into, this is your second year, OTAs, is it more of a comfort level for you going into this the second year as opposed to last season?*
BRIAN DABOLL: I think it all starts over. There are great challenges that lie ahead, but staying in the moment is where we want to be. There are things I've learned like everybody's learned. A new team, a lot of personalities to deal with, we've got a lot of work to do, a big hill to climb and let's take it one day at a time.
Q.*Do the expectations change with the veterans coming in? I know with the rookies you are going to have their mistakes. Is your patience small with the veteran guys coming back?*
BRIAN DABOLL: I wouldn't say I have great patience, ever. But look, it's May, so this is time to maybe look at some things that you looked at in your studies. Our standard is to come out here and work as hard as we can work. That's what we ask of everybody in the building every day, and that's all I expect is to work hard and do the right thing.
Q.*You talked about how this is, you know, your OTA, it's a teaching time. Do you have to talk to maybe some of your veterans, the idea of slow them down a little bit because coming in for a second year, they may be looking ahead and eager to move forward in terms of trying to get to that next step?*
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I'd say we just try to live in the moment and take each day one day at a time and try to get better at what we work on today. Again, when you're a system for one year, some guys are a little bit ahead of the other, and you have to try to catch them up. But the expectations, come in here to work hard, try to learn the material. We are all going to make mistakes, that's what this time of year is for, and learn from it.
Q.*Do you enjoy, given that it's a little more teaching focused in OTAs, do you enjoy this part of coaching a little more?*
BRIAN DABOLL: I love every part of it. But it's great when you come out here and get an hour and a half of practice in and go back to the meeting rooms and teach them some of the things that -- again, we make mistakes as coaches, too, so this is a great time of year. None of us have really been out here at practice for a while now. A lot of things we can get better at and that's what we're trying to do.
Q.*With a tight end like (Darren) Waller, are you conceptualizing how he can help?*
BRIAN DABOLL: Well, right now, we are just trying to -- again, you can watch him on tape, and he's been a productive player. But trying to do a variety of things, not just with Darren, but a lot of guys, Parris (Campbell) that's new, some of the new guys, (Jamison) Crowder and just kind of knee how they move around and some of the things they are good at. It's a work-in-progress.
Q.*What have you learned about Waller?*
BRIAN DABOLL: He's a true pro. He's been really good for us in the meeting rooms. Gives good input. Good communicator. Has some leadership skills. He's been a good guy to work with.
Q.*What's your feeling about your team leaders or some of your higher paid players if they are not here during OTAs, do you have any feeling on that?*
BRIAN DABOLL: One, I would say it's all voluntary, but we have had really good attendance all the way through. The guys have been out here working. I think we've made some strides relative to when we started back in April. Got a long way to go, but the guys are working well.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q. How has your off-season been?
DANIEL JONES: It's been good. It's been good.
Q. Anything new?
DANIEL JONES: Not really, no. Been up here just getting ready to go. Now we're a few weeks into OTAs. Everything's going well. Just trying to improve every day, get all the new guys caught up, and make sure we're taking a step every day.
Q. You seem to enjoy playing with your new toy out there, No. 12 (Tight End Darren Waller)?
DANIEL JONES: Yeah, Darren's been great. I think as soon as you walk on the field, you can see he's a big guy. He can run. He can run every route. Catches the ball really well, great body control. He's been really fun to work with. A really smart guy. He's picked up things really quickly too.
Q. What's surprised you about his game so far as you've gotten to play with him?
DANIEL JONES: I don't know. I think it feels like you hear about most guys or you see them in the program and they're listed at 6'6", and they're really like 6'4" or 6'5". He's a true 6'6". He's a true 250, 260, and can fly, can run, can run all the routes. He's just an impressive athlete. He's just been locked in. You can tell it's important to him. He's put a lot of effort into learning the stuff and getting caught up. It's been fun working with him.
Q. What can it do for your offense? How much of a new dimension does a guy like that bring?
DANIEL JONES: He can do a lot. He's obviously a tough matchup for people, for defenses, with a guy who can run like that with that kind of size, and how you play him in man and how you account for him in zone coverages. He definitely gives something for a defense to worry about or to game plan for, and we can move him around and put him in different spots. Just a super versatile player.
Q. Daniel, what are your initial impressions of (Center) John Michael Schmitz?
DANIEL JONES: He's been great too. He's been great. He's a smart guy. Been in here working hard. He's on it every day, working to learn and understand what we're doing in protections, what we're doing in the run game. Obviously, this is more of a passing camp. So, a lot of that run stuff's happening in meetings and then walkthroughs out here. But he's doing a great job, and it's been fun working with him.
Q. What's your opinion on the dead ball snap?
DANIEL JONES: It's been good.
Q. You're okay with it?
DANIEL JONES: Yeah, I'm good with it. He's accurate. I'm good with it.
Q. He said he was going to ask you if you wanted to do it basically and you're okay with it. So, I assume by that answer you said yeah?
DANIEL JONES: I did, yes. He asked me, and I said yeah.
Q. Do you notice the difference in speed with this team from a year ago? Receiver-wise. Does it feel like you have more guys that can run a fly and beat guys?
DANIEL JONES: Yeah, I think we've got -- we've got a lot of guys who have played a lot of football, have really good experience in this league, making a lot of plays, who can do different things. Yeah, speed is certainly part of that, and we're learning what everyone's good at or what they feel comfortable doing and trying to set guys up to do those things and put us all in a position to be successful.
Q. In regard to Waller, what have you learned about him kind of as a guy, a guy you're probably going to connect with a lot on the football field, but I would guess also try to connect with him to some degree off the field?
DANIEL JONES: He's a real deep-thinking guy. You can tell he cares about the relationships he has with guys on the team and is extremely humble and authentic in who he is. I have a ton of respect for that and who he is as a person, as a teammate. For all the reasons I said before and all those reasons, it's been a lot of fun working with him.
Q. Would you say this is the most excited you've been since you've been here?
DANIEL JONES: I think I've been excited going into every year. There's a lot of work to do, but like I said, we've got a lot of good players who have made a lot of plays in this league and can do a lot of different things. I'm excited, I think we all are. But there's a long way for us to go. For us now, we're focused on taking a step every day.
Q. What's your mindset being in the second year of the same system now? How beneficial is that?
DANIEL JONES: Yeah, it's definitely beneficial for myself as well as all the guys who have been here, having learned it once. I think in that we don't want to skip steps or look over anything during this time of the year. We're focused on continuing to evolve and change-up what we're doing, experiment with different things that may be good for us. In that, we're always kind of learning. We're always adjusting and trying to work on new and different things.
Q. How strange is it to be out there without (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley)? From your standpoint, how important is it that that gets resolved at some point?
DANIEL JONES: That's obviously Saquon's business. That's been him and the team. Obviously, Saquon is a close friend of mine, and he's been a very important part of what we've done here, and he's a tremendous part of this offense. I hope they can get something done. That's between them.
Q. How often are you in touch with him at this point?
DANIEL JONES: I talk to him pretty regularly.
Q. Is it an adjustment throwing to a tight end who wears No. 12 as opposed to an 80?
DANIEL JONES: Not really. No, he looks good, and that's his number. I think it looks good on him.
Q. You had a meet-up in Arizona?
DANIEL JONES: We did, yeah.
Q. I guess how impressed were you with the turnout you got from your teammates, and that fact that Saquon, he was there. He obviously can't be here, but what does that say about him?
DANIEL JONES: Yeah, we had a good turnout in Arizona. Just about everybody made it out there. I think that was good for us to spend some time together. We spent some time on the field working out and introducing some stuff. Like I said, Saquon's a big part of what we've done here. He's been a great teammate to everybody in the locker room. I think that says a lot about him as a guy.
Q. Are you guys going in with the impression that he'll still be playing with you and he'll show up at some point, whether it's in the summer or whatever?
DANIEL JONES: Like I said, that's between him and the team. I hope they can get something done. He's a great player and a big part of this team.
T Andrew Thomas
Q.*The Giants picked up your fifth-year option. Obviously, it was like the no brainer of all time. Do you have a reaction to that?*
ANDREW THOMAS: No, it's definitely a blessing. I'm excited. Just working on getting better every day. Good thing I'll be here at least another five years and just keep working and getting better every day.
Q.*Obviously that means that at this point in your career, they could start talking extensions and whatnot. Have they breached you about that? Has your agent mentioned that or talked long term deal here?*
ANDREW THOMAS: We haven't really got into anything yet. If it happens, it happens. Right now, I'm just focusing on the first part of the off-season, and the rest will take care of itself.
Q.*Andrew, where do you want to get better specifically? Probably all over, but is there any one area of your game that you saw last year on film that you said I've got to address this for next year?*
ANDREW THOMAS: Starting with my set in pass protection, just being more consistent with my inside foot, making sure I'm staying on the angle consistently. I would say my hands in pass protection as well, especially the inside hand, making sure I keep leverage on power moves and stuff like that.
Q.*What do you see from John Michael Schmitz? Does that impact you at all? Do different centers impact how you tackle?*
ANDREW THOMAS: John has done a good job so far. There's a lot to learn in our offense. We have a lot of code words, different things that he has to do. The center makes most of the calls up front. We're just encouraging him to be confident. Whatever he calls, that's how we approach the game. He's doing a good job for us, and I'm excited to see him play.
Q.*You had a very experienced player doing that last year. Now you have a rookie probably doing that. Does that put more burden on the guards and the rest of the group, do you think?*
ANDREW THOMAS: I don't think necessarily. I think we do a good job in meetings and on the practice field so far just relaying the message. If one person doesn't know the call, we make sure we all get it done at the end of the day. He's done a good job so far, so I'm looking forward to his play.
Q.*There are times when you're on the field where obviously a tight end is next to you. When you get a guy like Waller here, do you go back and start looking at tapes and see what this guy can do or how I can work with him, or do you just talk to him or what?*
ANDREW THOMAS: So far, he's almost like a receiver for us. For me, it really doesn't affect me that much. We haven't really got to do too many blocking drills with the tight ends just because of the rules right now.
Once we get to that, that's when we'll work with them more, like chips and things like that. Right now, they're doing a lot of seven-on-seven and stuff like that. It's just the big guys right now.
Q.*Early in the career of an offensive lineman, you always hear about technique and this coach wants to tweak you this way and how you work. Have you gotten to the point now where I understand there may be technique things you work on, but you pretty much have your bag of tricks that you want to use, and now it's just about refining what you do rather than coming up with new ways to develop?*
ANDREW THOMAS: I think you're always looking for new ways to improve. Coach Bobby (Johnson) does a great job with us. He has a set rule of non-negotiable things he has, but he also allows us to be unique in each and every way. All of us are different players. If something works for one, he might let someone do it. If something works for another guy, he might let them do it. That's a blessing to have as an offensive lineman.
Q.*But you individually, have you gotten to a point now where you pretty much know how you want to handle things, or are you still looking for new things to tweak what you do technically?*
ANDREW THOMAS: I would say the biggest thing is just consistency. The things that I already learned and understand, but also, like I said, just looking to learn new techniques. There might be some things I see on film from someone else that I might want to try just to see if it works for me.
Q.*You were an All-Pro last year. How do you feel about that going forward this year? People now look at you as one of the best left tackles in the league. Do you shoulder that?*
ANDREW THOMAS: I think it starts with your approach. For me, I'm trying to get better every day regardless of the accolades. Obviously, you want accolades, and you want to be the best, but you don't get there by worrying about that. You get there by working every day to get better, and that's what I'm focused on.
Q.*You said you want to do that. Do you feel like that? Is that something in the back of your mind, do you think, I want to be the best left tackle in the league?*
ANDREW THOMAS: I'm a competitor. I want to be the best for my team. I want the team to do well. It's not just about me, but I do want to be one of the better players in the league.
Q.*Do you ever talk to other left tackles who are considered great and pick their brain? Have you done that at all?*
ANDREW THOMAS: When I was actually in high school, Trent Williams was at the camp, the Nike Opening, and that was the first time I met him. Obviously, a great player. Even back then, he was very great, and it's great to see guys like that. I don't talk to a whole bunch of guys, but I do watch film of different guys and see what they do. I watch (Laremy) Tunsil a lot and Ronnie Stanley, just to see what those guys are doing because they've been doing it for a while.
Q.*Have you told Trent about the high school meeting?*
ANDREW THOMAS: No, I haven't. But we play them this year, so I'll talk to him.
Q.*What do you think high school Andrew Thomas would have said if we told you in six years or whatever you're going to be with Trent Williams as the best left tackle in this league?*
ANDREW THOMAS: He would have been stoked, excited. It's crazy for sure.
Safety Xavier McKinney
Q. How different is this offense with (Tight End Darren) Waller?
XAVIER MCKINNEY: Really different. Just another piece, another added piece that's explosive, that's able to make plays. Obviously when he's out there, you've got to be aware of where he's at, at all times. It's going to be good working as a team. Right now, I think that's the biggest thing for us is competing as a team, getting better. Knowing when we're out there competing against him, just knowing where he's at on the field, because he can make a lot of plays.
Q. How are you feeling about the different guys who will be playing next to you?
XAVIER MCKINNEY: It's all been good. I think we're all on the same page. It's been fun just being able to build with whoever's out there, whether it's a rookie, whether it's a vet. It really doesn't matter for us. As a unit, as a DB room, we like to be all as one. We like to be on the same page. We know no matter who's out there, we're always trying to get better and trying to work.
Q. I don't know if you ever faced Waller with the Raiders, but what kind of pressure does a tight end like him put on the defense?
XAVIER MCKINNEY: A lot of pressure. He's one of the best tight ends in the league that we have. Obviously, it's a lot of pressure just him being out there on the field. You can feel his presence. Like I said, you've got to be aware of where he's at. He's able to make plays inside, outside, against the corner, against the safety, it doesn't matter. For me, I like to see it as a challenge. It's fun to go out there and compete with him every day that he's been here. It's just been fun to have him, see him make plays, and be able to work and compete with him.
Q. Can you talk about what you've seen with some of these young safeties?
XAVIER MCKINNEY: A lot of growth. They're showing a lot of just willing to listen, willing to get better, willing to work to compete. I try to kind of get on them a little bit from time to time just to make them go a little harder, try to see what buttons I can push. But it's been fun having them out there. Obviously, you're able to -- even though they're young guys, you're still able to learn from them, and they're able to learn from us as well. It's been fun just having the unit as one and being able to just work with these guys every day.
Q. When you look at this team -- and I know we're early stages -- but when you look at what happened in the offseason, where do you feel you guys have really improved a lot?
XAVIER MCKINNEY: I think everywhere. I think as a team, I can't really pinpoint one specific place. I think as a defense I'm happy, and I know everybody else is extremely happy to have (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) back. So just another year in the system. Just being a lot more comfortable knowing what he wants to call, when he wants to call it. I think all in all it's been great, and -- like I said, I can't pinpoint one thing, but I know that we're building something special based on what we have.
Q. I apologize if you were already asked this, but how are you guys handling the green dot?
XAVIER MCKINNEY: I have no clue yet. Right now, we're just communicating, all 11 are communicating.
Q. You have it on, though, right?
XAVIER MCKINNEY: There are a couple guys who have it on right now.
Q. It's not like alternating days. Everybody's wearing them at the same time?
XAVIER MCKINNEY: Not everybody out there. It's a select few guys. Like I said, I don't really know right now. Our focus is just having communication between everybody, being on point, and we're just taking it day to day.
Q. Do you like wearing it?
XAVIER MCKINNEY: I do.
Q. You guys started to take people by surprise last year. That won't happen this year. How do you guys look at that, the kind of raise in expectations?
XAVIER MCKINNEY: We're just here to work at the end of the day. It's a new year for us, a new season. We're just taking it day by day. Being in this league, I know that the previous year does not matter. You've seen the worst teams be the best teams. You've seen the best teams become the worst teams. We don't worry about last year. We just focus on today. Then each and every day we'll come in here and get better.
LB Bobby Okereke
Q.*What's it been like to get to work with these guys and kind of start to feel your way?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: It's been great. Great team building out here. (I) Love the atmosphere, love the team camaraderie, so it's been fun.
Q.*Do you expect to wear the green dot?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: I don't expect to. Whatever is best for the team. I don't have an ego about it. I know a couple different guys are wearing it throughout this process.
Q.*Did you wear it with the Colts?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: I've worn it a couple games in the past.
Q.*Are you wearing it now?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: Yes.
Q.*You played against (Darren) Waller with the Colts, right? What did you learn about him playing against him?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: He's a threat on the field. He's a playmaker. He's big. He's strong, he's fast. He's a good player.
Q.*When a guy like that goes into motion and you're a linebacker and you're in there, I know you take pride in your coverage, but a matchup like that, what's running through your mind when you see the guy come into motion, a guy that size?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: If I'm covering him? I've got good size too. Obviously, he's a great playmaker, so you just want to compete.
Q.*How's it been starting to sit down and learn schemes and actually see that as a player on his team?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: It's been good. It's been fun. It's a process growing and growing every day. Just trying to get better, learn the blitz schemes, learn the coverage schemes. There are different nuances. So just trying to learn and be a student.
Q.*Has anything surprised you so far as you're kind of learning the playbook?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: Not really. Just excited to be part of the group. It's a really tight group. Excited to be part of it.
Q.*What changes when a guy signs a big contract? Obviously, expectations outside are now, oh, is he going to play like an X million dollar a year player versus a guy where you were drafted. Does that change anything for you in terms of what people expect of you?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: No, I think that's the biggest thing that changes is outside perspective and outside noise, quote unquote. For me, it's the same process. I'm trying to get better. I'm trying to grow as a player and just help my team win as best I can.
Q.*Bobby, how much have you been able to contribute your experience, your knowledge to this defense. I understand Coach Wink is very receptive to hearing what the players have to say. Have you been able to do that?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: Yeah, a good bit. I think especially with the linebacker room, just sharing my experiences, sharing different techniques, different drills we've done, different ways we've played coverages. Just trying to help the process as we go through it this OTAs.
Q.*Who has impressed you? Behind you, it's just a bunch of young linebackers. Does anybody flash? Has anybody impressed you? Has there been a guy where you're like, wow, this guy's got something. He reminds me of a young me maybe.*
BOBBY OKEREKE: I love Micah McFadden. I think he's a technician, great player, smart guy. Obviously Jarrad Davis is a great leader. And Darrian Beavers is a guy who has a lot of potential.
Q.*When you come to a team like this and you're coming off the year you had last year, are you looking to make as many tackles as possible? How does that work out?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: I think for me it's just gelling with this team as best I can, trying to find a role that I can express myself in and play well. But really just find a way to help this team win as best as I can.
Q.*One of your strengths, if I'm not mistaken -- please correct me if I am -- is pass coverage, right?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: Yes.
Q.*How did that manifest itself? Not every linebacker can play the pass. How did that become a strength in your game?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: I think just my athleticism. I'm big, I'm fast and long. But then just from a mental processing standpoint, understanding how offenses are trying to attack you and where I fit in coverage with my teammates. Just kind of putting it all together.
Q.*We asked you this back when you first signed about your meeting with Daniel (Jones). Have you guys talked about that at all, what happened in the game?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: We talked about it briefly when we first got here. Daniel is a great leader. I'm excited to get to know him even better being his teammate. It's been fun.
Q.*Did you have to go crazy with (Casey) Kreiter to get 58? How did that work out?*
BOBBY OKEREKE: No, he's a great guy. We talked about it. Yeah, I'll leave it at that.