Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale
Really pleased with where we're heading and the direction we're heading defensively. I think you're seeing the development of a lot of our young players that are getting better every week, and our veterans that are stepping up and playing really well on Sunday. I'm excited to see where this thing goes.
With that, I'll open it up for questions.
Q: How do you replace (defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams)?
A: I don't think that you ever look at it that way. I think as far as replacing somebody, I think you look at it as that we've got two veterans that are ready to step in and step up in different situations. You've got to move some people around sometimes and there's a challenge with that.
I'm not going to sit here and say we're not going to miss Leo; we're going to miss Leo. I'm going to miss the person and the guy himself. I wish him nothing but the best of luck and I hope he does things well out in Seattle.
Q: Is there any scenario where it's the right play to, in the last 24 seconds of a game, play defense honestly the way you guys dominated the whole game, or do you have to back up into a prevent soft coverage there?
A: You could say it's soft coverage. It's situational defensive coverage that worked pretty well in some games last year. It's man under and three deep, and at that time you're playing the clock. You're not playing the offense; you're playing the clock. They had no timeouts. You're trying to tackle them in bounds, which makes them panic and go into a hurry up, Hail Mary, if you will. But it just didn't work out that way.
Q: What did you think of the (outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux) offsides? I know he didn't seem to think he was offsides.
A: I support Kayvon. If he didn't think that, I don't think that. But they called it. They threw the flag. I've said that many times standing up here. I don't think (NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell is going to say 'Hey, hold on a second.' I think that you're talking about a guy that's a young player in this league, and he knows situational football. He's mad at himself that it was even in question.
Credit to the Jets. They made some plays there at the end of the game to win the game.
Q: Kayvon has played pretty much every snap the last couple games. How comfortable are you with that workload? Is that sustainable, and what does it say about him that he's able to do it?
A: I think there's other guys in the league that play a lot of reps. The good thing is that he's young. Do you want him to play all those reps? No, but sometimes it's the way the game works out. Do you want to have a play where he's not out there? That's a testament to how well he's playing. So, you say, 'Hey, let's rest him,' and then go, 'Get him back in there!' You know what I mean?
It's a thing that he's been working his tail off. We talked about pass rush a month ago and when you're developing pass rushers, it's not just a straight arrow. Usually, it's a rollercoaster ride in developing those guys, but with him and working with (Outside Linebackers Coach) Drew (Wilkins) and consistently studying everything, you're seeing the growth of him as a pass rusher. I'm really happy for the guy.
Q: What's he doing better as a pass rusher?
A: Everything. Everything. Everything from the classroom in there with Drew and studying the tackles, and he's perfecting his moves and counters and things like that. He's taking advantage of situations when he gets one-on-ones.
You guys know how I feel about Kayvon. I stand up here and say it every day. I told him, hell, I feel like I'm his attorney sometimes standing up here. But I really do. I think he's a great person. He's becoming a leader of this defense as well. I think that his hard work is really paying off for him.
Q: When you look at what (defensive lineman) Dexter (Lawrence II) has been able to do over the course of last season and now this year, the stretch that he's on right now, statistically, people talk about pressures and what he's been able to do for a guy who's lined up essentially over at the nose. For all the great ones that you've coached, can you put into perspective where Dexter is right now and what he's been able to accomplish?
A: Because I'm here now and he's here now, he's the best I've ever seen. I think that when I retire and we're drinking a glass of wine down in Florida, you can ask me that question.
But I tell you, the guy really is, he's unbelievable. A man that big shouldn't be that athletic. We can all say that when you watch him. He's playing at a high level, he's very confident in what he can do. Just like I said with Kayvon, every year, and every day that we spend with them, and Dre (Defensive Line Coach Andre Patterson) has worked his tail off with him as well. The assistants have done a great job defensively developing these younger guys. Look at (inside linebacker) Micah (McFadden) as an inside backer. It's not the same extreme as far as what you're talking about with Dex, but Dex, he's a freak. He's a freak of nature.
Q: How do you prepare for a receiver like (Raiders wide receiver) Davante Adams?
A: I've said this before: he's one of the top two receivers in the league, and he's not number two. I think that guy, you can have three people on him, and he'll still come up with the catch. He's a competitor. I think that it's going to be a great challenge for us this weekend.
Q: How important is it that a player with Thibodeaux's gifts wants to be great? Because in my career, for whatever that's worth, I think you see players and you say, 'They just didn't fulfill.' So how important is that quality?
A: I think when you look at players like that, maybe they can't fulfill them is why they don't fulfill them. You know what I mean? It's how we see that player. Maybe we see them better than they see themselves. But Kayvon, like I said, there is no ceiling on him and how good he can be. It's his personality. It's his work ethic. It's how he was raised. It's all those different things that go into it, and how much he likes to receive coaching. Like I said, he's a guy that I always want to be around, and that makes it fun to come to work.
Q: You've talked about in the past how much you enjoy it here and how much you enjoy being here. Just because it's coming up this week, (Raiders Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham obviously was here and then left for there, and that opened up this spot. Do you think about that at all, or the circumstances of how you arrived?
A: No, not really. I don't. I just think – I've said this before, too – wherever you're at is where you're supposed to be. This week with it being the Raiders, I do think about (Raiders Owner) Mr. (Al) Davis, and my time that I was able to spend with him. Like I said before, it's those games where, just like Buffalo when we were talking about (Head Coach) Brian (Daboll) going back to Buffalo, I think it's just one of those games that you look forward to.
There's Raider fans here in Jersey that come up to me and they remember when I was with them in Oakland. It's a fun game to play in. If you're a historian of the league, Giants versus the Raiders, can it get any better than that? I know there's other rivalries, but that's two historic franchises. We're looking forward to giving it our best shot.
Q: What do you expect from a new offensive coordinator (Bo Hardegree), new quarterback (Aidan O'Connell), and obviously, not a lot of film on either one?
A: I think that's a tough one. I think that the offensive coordinator, I've been in those shoes before, not mid-season as far as becoming a coordinator, but it takes a while for coordinators to find themselves as well. But you'll see his personality early in the game as far as the coordinator goes.
The rookie quarterback is going to be a rookie quarterback. The quarterbacks in this league, they can either come out and be real hot, or quick games, I'm sure we'll see more screens than ever, especially on third down and things like that where they get the ball out of his hands quick. It's going to be a great challenge for us because the kid has talent. We know he's going to get the ball to 17 (wide receiver Davante Adams) and we know he's going to hand the ball off to No. 8 (running back Josh Jacobs). So, I think who's ever playing quarterback, they're going to get the ball to 17 and hand the ball off to No. 8. (Wide receiver) Jakobi (Meyers) does a nice job for them as well out there, and you can't just fall asleep on the other guys. They have talent offensively.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
Q: We saw (quarterback Tommy) DeVito throw more passes in the preseason games. How come you guys limited him so much in the Jets game?
A: I'd say the way the game kind of declared itself. You know, it's kind of the way it went with the run game focus. I think that was a big part of our gameplan.
Q: So, if it was a different score or a different opponent, he might have been trusted to do a little bit more?
A: I think every game is different and that game specifically, I think that's just the way it kind of declared so we went that route.
Q: Do you look at him as the number two quarterback this week or could (quarterback Matt) Barkley actually catch him?
A: Right now, yes, he's the number two.
Q: What gives you confidence in him as your backup quarterback at this point?
A: I think he's had a great spring, great camp, has had a great start to the season right now working on the scout team. He does everything in the meeting rooms, he's a great dude, great teammate, so yeah, ton of confidence in Tommy.
Q: What have you seen since (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) returning?
A: Daniel put in a nice day of work yesterday and looking to build on that. Daniel's right back in the mix of it and leading and doing all the things that he needs to do.
Q: How's (quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor)?
A: You'd have to ask Tyrod how he's feeling but he looks great. He's in around the guys, just like he always is, upbeat and energetic but as to exactly, you'd have to ask him.
Q: With Daniel off a neck injury, do you have to handle that little differently or are you willing to use designed runs or do you have to be a little bit more careful of going back to that?
A: You're certainly aware of it. You're certainly aware of the previous injury, but you've got to make sure we talk about that as a staff and in the gameplan and see how we want to handle that.
Q: The last time you had Daniel and (running back) Saquon (Barkley) healthy together on the field was the end of the Arizona game, right? So that worked out pretty well. Do you think they can recapture that right away?
A: That's, I think, part of the process this week is getting everyone in the mix, getting everyone working on the same page and putting together a good week of practice.
Q: Can you open up the playbook more with Daniel back?
A: I think just for the gameplan, we want to make sure that we're putting our guys in the best spots to be successful for what we have personnel grouping wise and then what the defense is presenting themself with. Every week we're going through that process to make sure we put the best guys in the best situations and going through each of the schemes, short game, drop back game, the deep game, the run game, all those things we kind of account for.
Q: You were a backup quarterback, so you didn't play regularly all the time, right? Daniel's been on the sideline for about a month, do you expect a little bit of an adjustment period there in the first part of the game?
A: I don't think so. I think Daniel's jumped right in and, as I said, he put together a really good day yesterday and so he's just looking to build on that and just take it each day as today is the most important day for him, so if we have that mindset, I think that'll work out for us in the end.
Q: Do you think it's natural to have a little of that rust –
A: I think he's excited. I think he's excited to be out there; I think he's excited to get back to work with the players and put together a good day today.
Q: People remember (Raiders Interim Head Coach) Antonio Pierce from here, obviously. What do you expect going out there with him running the show now?
A: We're prepping like we would any week, so we're watching the tape and trying to put together the best plan that we can. Obviously, things like that happen that you want to try and maybe look back and see if there's some things that you can lean on but for the most part we're going through our process and trying to put together the best plan we can.
Q: How much does it hurt if (tight end Darren) Waller's out?
A: Well, it's part of the game. We went through it with a couple different position groups and so next man up, next guy has got to come up and as a coaching staff, put together the best plan to put our players in the best position to be successful.
Q: What can (tight end Lawrence) Cager give you? How do you view the contributions that he can give you? We've seen him kind of bounce back and forth this season.
A: Cager's done a great job. He's a really athletic kid, he can stretch the field, he can run after the catch, you've seen him do that all camp and all preseason. I think he does a great job in the room there and (Tight Ends) Coach (Andy) Bischoff does a great job of getting him tuned into the run game. Him and (tight end Daniel Bellinger) Belly being out there at the same time and whether he's out there solo or together, I think he does a great job of just understanding where he fits in in the plan.
Q: Does Waller's injury affect Bellinger? Because they play different roles in the offense.
A: Sorry, say that again.
Q: Since Waller's not there, does that affect Bellinger? Or does Bellinger keep doing Bellinger things?
A: Bellinger has a role and again, each role kind of depends on the week or what we're going to see defensively. So, Bellinger's role may be bigger or less depending on what we think we're going to see.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: How much is (kicker) Graham's (Gano) knee impacting him?
A: I'm not going to get into specifics about his knee. He's just working some things right now and hopefully it can get ironed out and keep rolling.
Q: What makes a less than 100 percent Graham better than another option?
A: You know, Graham's pretty good. And he's better than most even when he's at 80-85 percent, 70 percent. So, again, we are just going to work through it. If it's something that we've got to address later, we'll address it later, but right now he's just working through it.
Q: He tells you he's fine?
A: It has nothing to do with being fine. At this point in time, between kickers, punters, linemen, everybody is banged up a little bit during the course of the year. So, like I said he's just working through some tweaks. We'll figure it out.
Q: I'm not asking as far as like an injury update; I mean more like decisions about when to kick and when to not.
A: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I think if he goes out on the field, he's got to be capable of doing the job, you know what I mean? It's just one of those deals, you sign up, you put a jersey on, here we go. It's time to go, they call your number, you've got to make the kick. That's part of the job.
Q: When he misses, it does seem to be most of the time left. Is there something you look at and say this is the reason?
A: Yeah, I mean you always go back and look at the tape and figure out why he's been doing X, Y and Z but that's kind of his miss, when he does miss.
Q: Did (Jets EDGE Will) McDonald jumping over the line on that last kick, did that affect anything?
A: It could have, it could have. Even though it was an illegal play, it was, but it very easily could affect the kick. You got a 6'6, 260-pound dude jump in front of you, that could affect the kick.
Q: Anything wrong with the operation on that field goal?
A: No, everything was fine. Obviously, you would like to have everything perfect, but obviously it wasn't, so it is what it is. We missed the kick, just got to move on and make the next one.
Q: What makes it illegal? Because you can do it in some instances, or can you jump over?
A: It's just your alignment. You can't cover the center and he was covering the center.
Q: But you can jump over the linemen it just can't be over the center, is that what you are saying?
A: No, you can't align – for example my shoulders, if you align inside the framework of the center, that's illegal formation, can't do that. So, you have to be completely outside of the framework of the center.
Q: So, it has nothing to do with the leaping?
A: You can jump over the line of scrimmage. Yeah, you can jump. You just can't use anybody to leverage or gain an advantage in height, but you can jump from one side of the line scrimmage and not touch anybody and land on the other side, that's perfectly legal. But if you line up within the framework of the shoulders of the center, it's an illegal formation by the defense.
Q: It's the person who is jumping who can't line up there right? Or you can't have anybody?
A: No one, no one can line up inside the frame of the center.
Q: Yeah, but he was.
A: Say it again?
Q: He was.
A: What do you mean?
Q: He was within the shoulder-to-shoulder box of the center.
A: No, he was inside the box.
Q: That's what I mean.
A: Yeah, he was inside. That's why I said it was illegal.
Q: What did you think of the job (wide receiver) Gunner (Olszewski) did?
A: He did a great job. Gunner did exactly what we thought he would do. He did a good job of fielding the ball in the elements, it was rainy and nasty. Gunner's being Gunner. Went to school at Bemidji State. It gets kind of nasty up there sometimes. I was messing with him last week, I said 'You passed a whole bunch of schools from Alvin, Texas, to go all the way to Bemidji State' but anyway, he did a good job.
Q: Back to that play for a second, though, is that a play you would ordinarily see flagged and it just wasn't?
A: Yeah, it wasn't.
Q: Is your punter tired?
A: You know what, that guy has been punting balls since he was three or four years old. So, I think his legs kind of have an endurance for punting.
Q: How does it change the blocking when you do the rugby punts? Obviously, he's holding the ball for a bit longer, how does that change things protection wise?
A: Obviously, we change our protection with that style of punt. So, it's just a couple different rules, it's nothing difficult. It's something that he feels really comfortable with and he's actually faster doing it that way than he is conventionally. We are just trying to put him in a really good position to be his best and use all of his skillsets and it kind of helps us on coverage, too.
Q: Is (cornerback Stantley) Thomas-Oliver going to play gunner for you?
A: Thomas just got here. He's doing a good job, he's trying to figure it out, but all those guys are working at it right now. We've got a bunch, three or four guys, that are working it. Just depends on how it shakes out on game day.
Q: He's done a lot of that though, right?
Q: With (Jets punter Thomas) Morstead's punts, I mean you don't field it inside the five, does his punt just die right there?
A: Well, it's wet. And when the field gets wet, the ball is just going to hit and stick. It's not going to roll like it is when it's dry. Thomas had a great game, 15-year veteran punter who has been around. He's punted in this stadium, obviously, for the Jets before and coming back and just being in the business, he's done a great job and handling the elements. He had a hell of a game.
Outside Linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux
Q: A lot of it just comes down to opportunities, right? Because of game situations you weren't getting a lot of swings, right? If you look at the pass rush snaps, do you think that's helped you get in a rhythm?**
A: The more opportunities you get to pass rush the more plays you are able to make. When you get one on ones and things like that you are able to take advantage of them if you stay consistent in your technique and things like that. Things have been good so far.
Q: What would it mean to you to be the first guy (defensive coordinator) Wink's (Martindale) ever had who gets a double-digit sack season?
A: I mean, honestly it would be a blessing, I guess. Right now, I'm at 8.5 sacks, most sacks I've ever had in the NFL, so it's like, it's only up from here. The bar keeps continuing to move and I'm proud of that.
Q: You made a point in the offseason to talk about how last year maybe in your mind you had a little bit more thought about numbers and then this year you weren't going to think about numbers. I don't know if you even pay attention to the company you are keeping with where you in the sack numbers…
A: I definitely have looked (laughs). I'll be honest. Yeah, because now you are chasing something, sometimes when your team is not in the best position, you start to look at in like what can I use to motivate me or what motivation can you bring to the defense or the guys around and it's playing good football. As a defense we've been able to do some great things and now, although things haven't been able to go as the season, you keep your motivation by continuing to reap the benefits of how good you guys are playing. Just playing together and trying to keep it going.
Q: What it's like playing pretty much every snap like you have been in the last couple of weeks?
A: Oh man – sacrifice your body, glorify your soul. You know, you go out there and play hard, it's going to hurt, but you know I guess the recognition feels a lot better.
Q: Coaches like to talk about things coming in bunches. I mean, the sacks seem to be coming in bunches now…
A: I think when people say the term, 'oh, they come in bunches,' that's almost disrespectful to me. And I say that in a sense, you see a guy like (Vikings outside linebacker) Danielle Hunter with 10 sacks, like he just didn't just go – now granted (Chargers outside linebacker) Khalil Mack went and got six sacks in one game, that's in bunches. Everybody else, a guy like Danielle Hunter that's got 10 sacks, he's been getting at least a sack every game and you talk about putting the work in and really execute your plan and your technique and things like that, it's a lot of hard work. You look at baseball and guys are hitting what? Less than 50 percent or whatever, are getting paid millions, right? You think about pass rush, out of how many snaps, you guys can do the math, it's almost however many 300, 400, 500 snaps a guys playing a year, a guy goes and gets 18 sacks, he's a legend, you know? I think that as pass rushers it's very hard and the guys that are able to do it at a high-level consistently, they deserve the credit.
Q: How are you playing every snap? Especially when you are on the injury report. How are you gutting through that?
A: Conditioning. It's all about conditioning, it's all about what you do in the offseason and that's kind of what I prided myself in knowing that last year I felt like I wasn't prepared and coming in and playing every snap and this year I knew what it was going to be. Just training and kind of putting myself through that in the offseason so that I could continue to make that run and that stretch at the end of the year.
Q: Obviously (outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) is down. Is part of that like you've just got to pick up your teammates basically?
A: Yeah, just got to keep going. Even a guy like (defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams) being gone, you've got to kind of step into that role and be the leader that we need.
Q: With Leo being gone, what does that do for the defense? Obviously, you lose a great player…
A: Makes guys step up. You know it's always been next man up and now guys understand that they've got to continue to go. They've got to start to gel together and fill that team chemistry.
Q: There was this idea in the offseason, for me anyway, that we knew what (defensive lineman) Dex(ter Lawrence II) was able to accomplish last year and that if you were able to raise your game the way he did last year that the two of you together would really cause problems. Did you use that as any kind of motivation looking at your other teammates to see what guys were doing?
A: Definitely. When you have great players alongside of you, it's only right that you raise your level of play to theirs. Dex has been playing great and he's going to continue to play great and I want to continue to match him so that we can be a great front and a great defense.
Q: I know you weren't even aware of it last week, but you became aware of it that there had been a radio incident where (former Giants linebacker) Carl Banks had your back. Were you able to block that out or are you use it as a chip on your shoulder kind of guy?
A: If I'm being honest, if there is a retired NFL guy who goes on there and starts talking, then I may feel some more type of way with it because they played the game, but it's real tough on players that focus on people who haven't played the game or who are not playing the game or studied the game, right? And I don't just say you don't have to be an NFL player to understand football, but you have to study it to understand it. For me, I try to just stick to my facts and stick to the information that I get from the people who study the game.
Q: When you say you weren't prepared physically going into your rookie season as you were this year, was that because you just didn't realize how tough the NFL was compared to the college game?
A: When I say prepare physically, it's really mentally. Because there is so much that happens like it's Week 9, you ask anybody how they feel, they feel terrible. You go ask a rookie how he feels, he wants to quit (laughs). You know by the time Week 12 comes then it's like, when you go from training all season, you just played a college season and then you are at the combine and doing all this, so now it's like you come to the NFL it's like, 'I've been going for football for a year straight basically.' And now it's like okay, I'm also playing 60 snaps and the tempo is faster, everything. It's kind of just processing, and now I have been able to kind of update my recovery, update my training, update my mind so now that things have slowed down on the field, which can make me play faster and do things better.
Q: You said you looked at the list and you notice the names, (Steelers linebacker) T.J. Watt, (Browns defensive end) Myles Garrett and Kayvon Thibodeaux have the same number of sacks at this point in the season. Does that register a little differently?
A: Those two guys specifically, they'll go down as the greatest pass rushers to ever play the game. From that sense, yeah, it's amazing. We've just got to keep winning. I don't want to pride myself in self-goals or things like that…
Q: Individual stats…
A: Individual stats and goals, but I do want to make the Pro Bowl, that would be something that's amazing. I do want to be in the running for the defensive player of the year. Obviously, we are not playing the best as a team, so individual success doesn't come without team success, so I'm not worried about it, but it's dope to be in this position and be a guy that is successful too.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q. So you just mentally with the workload you've had since you've been back, a million touches, playing like a ton of snap – how do you feel about that?
A: That's how I train. I train to prepare myself for that, a lot of it comes with (the) luck of staying healthy with the stuff that I can control. How I feel in those moments, I train for that in the offseason, so I'm not surprised about it, doesn't shock me. I just want to win games. I would do that again. I would do that however many games we got left if we're in a position to win a game, which we were and just came up short.
Q. Your ankle came back on the injury report this week. Is there any concern there?
A: I mean, it's a high ankle sprain. It's no concern. It's not going to just go away. It's something that's going to linger throughout the whole season, you've just got to do a good job of managing it, taking care of it. The trainers and the coaches have done a really good job of taking care of me, and I've done a really good job of staying on top of it. They have to report that, but it's not really a concern in my mind.
Q. The last time you and (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) were healthy together was the end of the Arizona game. That was pretty good. Can you guys pick that right up again?
A: Yeah, I mean, me, DJ, obviously, if (tackle Andrew Thomas) Drew is able to get back, (tackle Evan) Neal…We haven't had all of our guys on the field at once in a long time, so it'd definitely be just good when you have your playmakers and some of your best players out there and we gel well together. To say that we're going to pick it up of scoring however many points, four touchdowns in a half, I can't sit here and guarantee that, but it'll definitely give us a better opportunity to win football games when your best players are out there on the field.
Q. You're obviously in it but pay close attention to the running back market and how things played out. The way (Raiders running back) Josh (Jacobs) handled it and the contract he got, what was your reaction to how that played out?
A: I think it's just bad timing. With the tag, the Giants, the Raiders, they have leverage. Really wasn't much that I could've done, or he could've done to be completely honest, but I'm happy that he was able to get something done and get back on the field. The NFL's a better place when you've got a guy who's that talented back on the field. Obviously, we communicated through the running back Zooms and personally on the side. Just happy to see him out there and playing at a high level.
Q. You guys had a different approach. You actually showed up day one and he waited however many weeks it was—
A: Just goes to show you. Like I said, they had all the leverage. Two guys handling it two different ways, and came out in pretty similar scenarios.
Q. The fact that they told you the week before the deadline that they weren't going to trade you and now you're here to help this team try to make a run here, does it feel to you like they have
recommitted to you for the long term? That you being here now means that they intend for you to be the face of the franchise?
A: No, I don't see it that way. Basically, if you're going off what happened in the offseason with me getting tagged and me not getting the deal done, I never questioned how they view me as a player or what's my value as a player. I just think it's business and they had all the leverage, and there really wasn't much I could do. I think if I was able to hit the free agent market, I think they would've handled things a little bit different but that's not the case. It's not them saying they're not going to trade me or this and now they're being recommitted to me. I know how much I mean to my teammates and my teammates are really vocal about that to me, so that doesn't really bother me at all – to say, 'Oh, they're recommitted,' I don't focus on that at all. I just know that it's the NFL. There's really nothing I can do about it.
Q. With all you didn't get from the contract, do you still love being a running back? Or would you 20/20 hindsight have been a safety or something like that?
A: No, I always would've been a running back. I love the position. I've been vocal about the history of it. A cool moment for me, right now I'm fifth — I think I'm fifth all-time rushing in this franchise. I plan to try to find a way to figure out how to be one. That's a goal of mine. But with everything that happened with the contract, like I said, I know my value. Whether it's a running back or it's not, I know what I'm able to bring to a team. I know how I can help the team win. But hey, it's business. It's really not much I can do about it. Hopefully it doesn't happen again, though.
Q: Do you know (Raiders Interim Head Coach) Antonio Pierce at all?
A: I don't know him. No, I don't know him. Growing up being a Jets fan, watching the Jets and the Giants, I'm familiar with his game and know he just got hired as the interim head coach. As a current Giant to a former Giant, congratulations to him. It's going to be fun going against those guys this week.
Q: The way Andrew and Evan are making progress, are you looking forward to getting the rest of the o-line back?
A: Yeah. When you have your best players on the field, it gives you a better chance to win football games, and that hasn't been the scenario or the case this year for us as a team, especially on the offensive side of the ball. But we can't make excuses about it. Being able to get everyone back out there would definitely help.
Q: How would you characterize how guys feel in here right now with where you are at this point in the season?
A: Ready to go. We feel like we should be 4-4 right now. Obviously, we're not. We're 2-6. The games didn't go our way, but there's a couple plays here and there where if we could change, it'd be completely different, and it would be a whole different mindset for the outside world view of where the giants are at and how we can compete. So, our mindset and our focus is one game at a time, and that's going to Vegas against a really good team with a new coach. They're going to have a whole new spark. It's going to be tough, tough challenge. We've got to come out with a win.
Q: Do you do the math in your head of how long it might take you to get to the top of the franchise rushing list?
A: No, I don't. I know it's (running back) Tiki (Barber). I know Tiki's one, obviously, but I don't really do the math in my head. I'm a big person of staying present in the moment and taking it day by day and if you do the right things, you'll have the opportunity to do it. That's how I'll continue to go by it.
Q: It would take a number of years to get there for you, right? So, we're still talking about you being a Giant for a long time?
A: I've never changed my opinion of me not wanting to be a Giant for life. I was drafted here and when I got drafted I had a mindset, I had a goal and a plan, so I would love for those things to happen. But after everything that happened during the offseason, and realizing and growing up and seeing the business side of it, knowing that it's rare for one player to be on a team for a long time. Obviously, you have a lot of Giants, a lot of greats, like the Elis (quarterback Eli Manning), the Strahans (defensive end Michael Strahan) and the Tikis. So, that's something I would love to be part of, and I've been vocal about that. I know (President and CEO) Mr. (John) Mara came out and said that. But the stuff, it's a business, take it year by year, day by day, and the stuff that I can control and the things I can't control, attack it full force.
Tight End Daniel Bellinger
View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 9 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders.