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Transcripts

Quotes: Coach Joe Judge, OL Joe Looney, LB Azeez Ojulari, WR Darius Slayton, LB Tae Crowder

Head Coach Joe Judge

Opening Statement: Hope everyone enjoyed the day off somewhat. Players are a little bit refreshed and getting back to work. The progress this week will be shells today as we get back into the acclimation period. We'll be in pads for tomorrow and Wednesday. We'll ramp up the team a little bit more. The emphasis still remains on getting our football conditioning right away, improving on fundamentals and then we're going to keep advancing with the install and the situations that come up. Today will be more focused on early downs, just a little bit of goal line walkthrough and then get a review on the red area almost on a daily basis, so we'll have that today.

Q: Any chance we get to see more of (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) or is it still kind of a gradual build up?

A: He's still building up, but we will start seeing a little bit more of him day by day as the trainers keep allowing us to have him more. Look, these guys do a really good job as far as knowing our players and looking out for their health. We trust what they say, we trust our medical team, but the focus is to get this guy involved as much as we can with football and keep building him up through training camp. It'll be limited for the time being., We'll get him day by day a little more.

Q: Joe, what's (Linebacker) Elerson (Smith) dealing with and how close is he to getting on the field with the team?

A: He's day by day right now. He's made a lot of progress the last few days. He had a small setback early in training camp. We don't think it's something that's going to long-term limit him, but I don't want to put a timetable on him in terms of when he'll be back absolutely. We feel confident in the direction he's moving, the trainers feel good about where he's at right now and he's working hard with the strength staff. So very similar to the other players. As soon as we can kind of get him back with the team, we will and it'll be more of a ramp-up, gradual process when he gets back to practice.

Q: When (Offensive Lineman) Shane (Lemieux) went down, you guys put (Offensive Lineman) Kenny Wiggins in there. Just curious what you've seen from him to put him in that position.

A: Well, Kenny is a guy we've known for some time now, he was with us last year. Kenny is a good vet, he's solid, he's very smart, he's got position flexibility, he's played all five spots on the line. He's played in different systems with different coaches. He's a guy that just has a really good, cool demeanor about him, he adjusts very easily, there's no panic. He's a guy that's got good size and strength to anchor, and he plays ahead and faster because of his experience on the line, so Kenny's done a nice job working for us.

Q: Is Shane close?

A: Shane's still day by day. I think if you asked Shane, like I said the other day, he's going to always tells us what we want to hear. He's with the medical team now and they're continuing to do more and more with him each day. We'll see where he is. Hopefully, we'll get him as soon as possible, but I would say it's more day by day than week by week. 

Q: Joe, do you normally start camp with such an emphasis on the red zone or is that a reflection of what the team did last season?

A: No, we always start that way. We start that way in the spring and training camp, and there's more than one reason for that. But I'd say the overall health of the team, it's important to start them and ramp them up from that low red area, where it's reduced space, to the red area before they're really, truly ready to open up. So we go low red area to high red area to fringe to early downs. We kind of expand the space to build them up over time. Now, there's another emphasis we've made with the team as well in terms of that's the most important area of the field. It's about finishing down there offensively and defensively. The kicking game is a big part of the field position that sets up the opportunities offensively or defensively with field position at hand, so we place that emphasis for our team so they understand why we're working the emphasis. However, it's truly a physical reason more than mental.

Q: (Offensive Lineman) Joe Looney, what did you like about him?

A: Well, he's a vet with a lot of experience. He's got experience with (Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett) before, so there's some familiarity with the system, although it's not a carbon copy from before. He'll have to get on the same page with some of the new terms and verbiage we have with our line coaches and some of the new system adjustments we made. I would say aside from that, he's a good vet, he's got good experience, he gives us a lot of versatility. At center and guard, he's a guy that gives us a decent piece in there. We're going to let him compete at all three spots like everybody else, make sure we build on our versatility. That's always a strength for us. He was out there for the walkthrough the other night for us. Obviously, this is his first day of training camp, so we'll have to build him up over time. That's not a reflection on what we think of him as a player, it's a reflection on anyone in their first day of camp. We want to make sure we don't put him out there in a position not ready to go out and execute and maybe have an injury or something. We'll do the same thing with (RB) Alfred Morris, as well.

Q: Joe, what did you learn about (Defensive Lineman) Dexter Lawrence last year and what are your expectations for him this year?

A: Well, he's a tremendous teammate, number one, and he's obviously very physically talented. He's a big, athletic man, but when you're with him in the locker room, when you're with him in the cafeteria, traveling, he's a guy that can really lighten the room. He's got that ability to flip the switch on the field and go from being that big, jolly guy to locked in and playing intense on the field. That room as a whole really does a great job. There's great personalities, there's a lot of ability in there and they practice and play the right way. In terms of what we expect from him right now, it's like everyone else. We expect him to take daily steps going forward with daily improvement in the system on defense.

Q: How much of a help can he be in the pass rush?

A: Well, all those guys can be a help. That ties together with how the backend plays as well to buy the time to get to the passer up front, but we've got to stop the run first, put them in passing situations. 

Q: But he does have some passing ability, correct?

A: Yeah, absolutely.

Q: Joe, what have you seen from (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) in terms of progress?

A: You know what, he's making a lot of strides for us and I don't want to go ahead and make any predictions or anything on Saquon, but I will say that this guy's showing progress, tangible progress every day with our medical staff, with our strength staff. He comes out here and works. Right now, we've really mirrored his rehab to what our players are doing on the field practice-wise to make sure that he's building up that same volume, that same intensity. We can kind of go apples to apples with what he's done on a daily basis compared to the players that are in practice to give us a better picture in terms of where he is physically.

Q: So would you consider that like a simulated practice for Saquon at this point or is it not quite to that level?

A: I wouldn't say simulated practice because there's no one across from him at this point. There's differences in that, but in terms of the volume with what he's working on, whether it's simulating the routes any of our receivers and backs are running, whether it's simulating just the overall loads we have in practice. But as you watch him, I know you guys are looking at him, period by period, his rehab is structured to mirror what the other players on the field are doing as much as possible.

­­Q: How close do you consider him to getting ready for a real practice?

A: I couldn't give you an answer on that. That's not being coy right there. Look, with this injury right here, we're going to make sure we do the right thing by Saquon and what's better for the team and we've got to take a long-term vision of this right here. The doctors know a lot more about the knee, about where he is medically. I know where his spirit is. I know where his work ethic is. I know he wants to be out there with the team. As I've said to him time and time again, when you're ready, we'll let you go. I know he wants to be out there, but we've got to make sure we help our players make the right decision. The goal is to get him out there and keep him out there. We know he can make a great impact for this team. We know what kind of player he can be, so we want to make sure we put him in the opportunity to go ahead and play full-speed, aggressive and confident when he gets out there.

Q: Joe, does (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) have to catch up to get back on the field or is he ready to go?

A: I would say, the good thing with Blake is he's been engaged through all the meetings, so he's heard the practice corrections and the install. So mentally, he's gotten all of that. Now, there's always an adjustment from hearing it in a meeting to actually doing it on the field. Physically, he hasn't been with our team yet, so he's got to ramp up and physically catch up to where the team is right now and that's just how all these guys come off this COVID list.

Q: With (Running Back) Alfred Morris, is that a sign that you are concerned about Saquon being ready or is that just more depth?

A: No, this is just overall an opportunity to, number one, have depth to go ahead and practice the way we want to practice and also have the opportunity to bring a quality player back in. Alfred, last year – look, I can't tell you how much I feel on a personal level about Alfred and what he did for our team last year, about how he carries himself, about how he is as a teammate, how he is in the team meeting. Look, I walked by him when I was coming in the building and he was waiting outside for his clearance from his test, and we got to have a conversation sitting outside and it's just refreshing seeing his face. He's always smiling and good, great energy out there. Again, like anyone else, he has an opportunity to come in here and compete for a spot on this team. We had an opportunity to bring him back and he helps our competition within that spot.

Q: About Looney, was that something that was precipitated by what happened with (Guard) Shane (Lemieux) early in the week or did you guys always have a focus on the interior line and looking to bring in someone else?

A : Well, at this point in the year, to be honest with you, we're looking all across the board at different players at different positions. So you'll see us throughout the next week, two weeks, three weeks work out all types of guys at different positions and we're trying to see who's out there and how ready they are. If there's someone that we feel can help us basically with the numbers, a need or just a competition at that spot at any point in training camp and they're available, we'll look to go ahead and bring them in and get them with the team and be able to get them moving and compete.

Q: Tae Crowder, what do you think about his development as he begins year two?

A: Yeah, I think Tae is doing a great job. Last year he had a little bit of a setback with some physical ailments from training camp. This year, being healthy at the jump gives him a better start on the season. He's a guy that showed a lot of growth mentally, maturity-wise from the season last year and he's got to just go and keep building on that on the field this year. Again, we all start back over, so like everybody else, the fundamentals and conditioning, the schemes, communication, that's what you have to do every day.

Q: How has (Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) done on the mental part of picking up the defense? Because it looks like he's earned some quality reps early on at least.

A: The real test will be when the pads come on, but I'd say in terms of his mental understanding of the system and schemes, he's made progress in that. There's some similarities to the defense with what he played in college. It's not the same, but there's similarities and I think that gives him a little bit of a jump verbiage-wise or scheme understanding-wise. It's something that he can relate to, something he's done in the past. The biggest thing for Azeez right now is he's really shown us a lot of jumps in how he came in in shape in training camp. When we saw him in the spring, like all rookies, I tell you all the time, they come in, they're not ready to go. That was evident with the way some of those guys handled the conditioning throughout practice in the spring. You watch him out there throughout the duration of practice of maintaining his conditioning level, conditioning at the end of practice, where he is in the pack as far as running. He's not towards the back, he's getting up there towards the front, so the demonstration of how he's working and got himself in physical shape to come in has helped him to this point.

Offensive Lineman Joe Looney

Q: What's it like being out here? You didn't know you were going to be with the Giants until this part of the offseason; I'm sure is unique for you not knowing where you're going to be. But what went into the decision to come here?

A: Yeah, you know, I love playing football. Football, I grew up with it, man. My family loves it. It's great to be here. I know Coach (Offensive Coordinator Jason) Garrett. He's a great guy. It's always exciting to work with a new team, so just very blessed to be here for this opportunity.

Q: How much of it is familiar to you? Obviously, you know Coach Garrett, but what was familiar to you? What wasn't?

A: A lot of it is familiar. I feel like once you're a veteran in the league, you learn the systems and each thing is almost the same. A team can only run so many plays. It's a new opportunity for me. There are new calls, new things I need to learn in the playbook, so it's a challenge to me.

Q: Is running laps new to you? You had a couple of go-arounds there.

A: Yeah, that's something I ain't done since little league, but you know I loved it. It's another way to hold us accountable as professionals. If you make a mistake, you're going to have to run a lap for it. You know, I'm all about it. It holds us accountable at the end of the day.

Q: Did you know that was part of coming here that there was a lap, or did you only know you when you had to run the lap?

A: No, I found out once they said take a lap. I haven't heard take a lap since I was 10-years old, but I definitely understand it and I'm going to do whatever helps the team and helps me, also.

­­Q: What'd you do?

A: So I just snapped the ball early. You know, little things. I'm knocking the rust off, you know? Eight months without football, still knocking this off.

Q: It looks like you said something to (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) mid-way? Like were you guys trying to figure out what went wrong or were you like, 'hey, is this a normal thing?'

A: We were actually just talking about taking some snaps before practice. You know me being a new guy, we haven't gotten snaps. It's just things take time. It just takes time with that center-quarterback relationship.

Q: So you were talking to the Giants last year a little bit and you considered coming here last year? How close did you get to even thinking about coming here or did you always want to go back to Dallas last year?

A: No, no. It was definitely a tough decision for me. I was with Dallas for a long time and the family's back there, but we work in a business, so we're all going to be moving around. Like I said, I'm very thankful to be signed here and go through training camp.

Q: Were you surprised that they didn't re-sign you?

A: You know, I put my faith in Jesus Christ at the end of the day. Wherever He wants to put me, He's going to put me. I'm just going to go with the flow and trying to be the best player I can be and the best guy I can be at the facility.

Q: What do the Giants want from you? Are you strictly a center? Do they want you to play a lot of guard? Do you have any idea on that?

A: I don't have a preference. Wherever they want me at and wherever I can come in and help and step in even coach and give guys little tips here and there. I'm just out here trying to have fun. At the end of the day, this is a game. It's a kid's game that we play, so I'm going to come out here and have fun and give it my all.

Q: But they didn't tell you, 'hey, you're going to do both' or they kind of did suggest that?

A: You know, just throwing me around and what not, but as a 10-year vet, I've been very blessed to play all over the line, so nothing surprises me.

Q: Did you do any guard today?

A: A little bit. A little bit today.

Q: Joe, you have a really big personality. Did you already get to share that with your teammates on the practice field?

A: Oh, yeah. Just like I said, this a kid's game we play. My dad always told me when I was kid running out to play little league games, 'get cuckcoo for Cocoa Puffs.' So he always made it fun. He was my coach growing up and my mom always supported me, so it's always been fun. You know, I know there's a lot of pressure on us at the end of the day being professional athletes, but we can't forget what the game is about. It's about having fun and being around these guys.

Q: I know you've only been here two or three days, but what are your early first impressions of Daniel?

A: Man, he's a hard worker. You just look at him and he takes command of the offense and he looks like a leader out here. Just the couple of days that I've been here with the team, he's marching the team down the field. He's trying to win games.

Q: What is it like seeing Jason out there in a Giants hat?

A: Oh man, it's crazy. Him here and all this, you know we sat out here on the practice field and reminisced a little bit. It's awesome to be with him. I can't say enough about Coach Garrett. He gave me a great opportunity to be with Dallas and now here. I want to play my tail off for him.

Linebacker Azeez Ojulari

Q: When is the last time you put on shoulder pads and played in shoulder pads?

A: Yeah, the last time I put on pads was January 1st, Peach Bowl game in Atlanta. That was the last time.

Q: You looking forward to tomorrow?

A: Oh, yessir. Definitely.

Q: What are you thinking it's going to be like?

A: Just come out here, do my best every day, try to get better. Just come out here, do the best, do what the coaches want me to do and give it the best of my abilities.

Q: Did you miss hitting people?

A: Oh yeah, definitely. That's part of the game. You gotta love it. You play defense, you gotta hit people. It's part of the game and can't wait to do it.

Q: When you look back on yourself, the player who walked off the field at the Peach Bowl versus the player out here now. How different are you?

A: I'm just trying to grow every single day, you know? Come out here every day, learn from the older guys, you know? Just continue to get better every single day, just one percent better every day.

Q: Is there tangible evidence that you know you've gotten better?

A: I'd say just staying in shape, keeping that up and getting in better shape. Coming out here, definitely just improving on that and I just feel like I'm getting better with that, so that's one thing.

Q: Did you happen to catch a glimpse of who was on the sideline today at practice? Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka.

A: No, I didn't see them.

Q: You should try and hunt them down in the building.

A: Definitely, for sure.

Q: Last year when pads first went on, (Linebacker) Lorenzo (Carter) caught (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas) a couple times, Georgia on Georgia crime. What are you expecting? If you get lined up against Andrew right off the bat, what's that going to be like?

A: Man, we've been going at it since college, so it's just coming out here trying to compete every single day. We try to make each other better every single day, no matter what it is. No plays off, just keep improving, trying to work hard against each other and get better, so it's going to be good.

Q: Have you seen him improve?

A: Oh, definitely. Coming out here, we work hard. All of us is trying to get better every single day. Each one of us, for sure.

Q: Since the last time you'd gone up against him in practices?

A: In practices? Oh, definitely. For sure. Big leap now, definitely. For sure. He's a dog.

Q: Do you think you can make that leap?

A: I'm just trying to do what I've got to do, get better every day like I'm saying, just come out here and listen to the coaches, the vets in front of me. Just try to learn from them every single day and improve my game.

Q: It doesn't seem like there are a lot of rookies out on the field. How valuable is it for you to be out there and getting the reps that you're getting at a high level?

A: It's just football, you know? Coming out here and doing what I gotta do just to get better every day. Playing my position, learning my position, learning my role, coming out here and just giving it my best. That's what I like to do.

Q: How eager are you for the pads to come on now? Isn't that when you can really start to show whether you're going to get to the quarterback?

A: Yeah, definitely. Football is football. We come out here, pads come on, we get to hit and everything. We play with pads for sure, so we're going to continue to get better, go all out and try to make plays.

Q: What are your expectations for yourself in your rookie year? High draft pick, a guy who was a game-changer in college. Do you have expectations of being that right away here?

A: I'm just trying to come in, do what the coaches want me to do, get better, play my role, you know? If the opportunity comes or whatever, I'll play to the best of my ability. Plays come, just try to make as many plays as I can. You know, just go all out for the team.

Q: What do you think your role is?

A: We don't know yet. We're just coming out here every day and try to do what the coaches tell me to do, get better, learn and listen to the vets and just try to improve like that from there.

Q: You may have talked about this with us at the Draft, but (Head Coach Joe) Judge was saying today that the defense is similar for you to what you ran in college. Not the same, but it's something familiar. Is that a positive for you coming into camp, maybe having a better understanding than another rookie would of what (Defensive Coordinator Patrick) Graham is trying to do and what your role is?

A: Yeah, I'd say, I mean just trying to learn it. It's new to me, too. Just coming in, learning it the way they teach it here, so trying to learn from the coaches, the older guys and try to make myself better every day. Getting in extra meetings, learning with the older guys, the coaches, just making sure I'm knowing everything and improving.

Q: Judge said you came in in really good shape. What did you do? Did you do anything different for your training this offseason? What did you do to get ready?

A: I just came in the offseason every day, no days off. Just kept running, working out every day. I was with Andrew Thomas and (TE) Evan Engram in Pinnacle, so that was great work for me just keeping my body in shape and just going at it every day.

Q: When you're out here in practice, when younger guys are around younger guys, sometimes the assimilation is a little easier, but you're out here with vets and really guys who are anchors on the team. Do you even realize that when you're in the huddle, that these are the guys that are the veterans? Does that help you raise your game?

A: I'd say all these players out here are my brothers. We try to learn from each other, get better, we compete every single day no matter who it is. I can learn from someone because I'm a young guy coming in here and no matter who it is, I can also everyday grab something from anyone and add it to my game and improve my game and go from there.

Wide Receiver Darius Slayton

Q: Darius, you've been with (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) now going into your third year together. What have you seen from him going into this camp? What's the biggest difference after this offseason from his first few years?

A: I think for all of us, the second year being in this offense has helped a lot with familiarity. As far as the learning curve goes, obviously it's been a lot briefer for all of us, but he looks good and we're all doing well.

Q: How mad were you at (Former Giants Wide Receiver) Brandon London for pranking you the other day?

A: Camp is stressful enough, so yeah. He's like about down there on my list right now.

Q: You don't wake up that early?

A: Close to that, but there's a difference between waking up then and being here then, two different things.

Q: How do you feel like camp has gone so far, especially for the offense? A lot of new pieces. How do you feel like it's gone so far?

A: It's gone well. Like I said, for most of us, it's our second year in the offense, so that in itself has helped a lot. Obviously, that helps us bring the new guys along faster. Not always having to ask coaches, and we can help each other, and kind of player coach our way through it.

Q: What has (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) brought to the receiving room and out here?

A: Size, he's taller than all of us, so primarily that, but also a lot of experience. Obviously, he's been in the league multiple years, been successful in this league, so he's been a good addition to this room.

Q: What do you think of the idea that the defense has gotten the better of the action?

A: It's football, they're pros, too. So, every day we go back and forth, we make plays, they make plays. At the end of the day, we're all out here trying to make each other better.

Q: What's your feel on how this secondary can be, practicing against them?

A: They've got a lot of talent, a lot of good players over there. Obviously, when I'm going against them, I wish they were a little worse, but it will be a lot of fun going to play alongside those guys on Sundays.

Q: What do you notice from (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson)? What's your first impression going up against him?

A: He's a really athletic, quick, fast guy. He falls and he backflips off the ground, stuff like that. He's a different kind of athlete.

Q: What does it do for your game this early in camp that they match you up, not just against Adoree', but also sliding JB (Cornerback James Bradbery) over to be against you as well? Different styles, different skillsets, but how does it help you improve your game?

A: It helps a ton. Like you said, they're two kind of completely different corners, but you're going to see guys like JB and like Adoree' throughout the whole season. So, it's a blessing to have guys like that to compete against every day.

Q: What's the biggest difference between them?

A: JB is a little bit bigger, a little heavier. I have to kind of be more finesse with him. Whereas Adoree', we're closer in size, I might maybe have a couple of pounds on him. So, JB I got to stay way far away, whereas Adoree', maybe be a little more physical with him.

Linebacker Tae Crowder

Q: How is this camp different from last year for you just in terms of what you are, coming in and nuances?

A: I feel like I'm just coming in and still learning, trying to see how everything goes as far as like practicing other teams and stuff like that. Still be loose and we did that last year, but like I said, I'm excited just to come in and keep learning and just enjoying the process. 

Q: How valuable has (Linebacker) Todd (Davis) been with (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) out? A couple of other guys have no way of trying to get those reps that they want.

A: I feel like everybody has got to step up. Just fill in the position until he gets back. Just come to work, practice hard, focus on the details and do what you got to do.

Q: How different is it being the play caller? I assume you're the one out there calling the plays and kind of stepping into his role.

A: Our coaches do a great job. Telling us to be vocal and do what you got to do, speak up, we're in the middle of the defense. Both positions, both backers will talk to you, go out there and be vocal and be loud where everyone can hear you.

Q: How does (Linebacker Lorenzo) Carter look out there playing inside I know he was outside last year and what do you see out of him?

A: He's picking up on things fast. He comes to work and everything and he's willing to learn and he's just excited to come to work with everybody in the group and just to be working together.

Q: I was wondering what your impression are on a rookie, (Linebacker) Azeez Ojulari. What do you think about him and what sticks out about him?

A: He comes to work every day moving. He's taking it day by day, comes to work, keeps learning as a rookie. Coming in as a rookie, you don't know a lot so just come in and watch the vets and do what you got to do to be as great as you can.

Q: What can you tell us about him that we wouldn't know since you know him from college?

A: Just coming out of college with him, he going to come to work. Like I said, he's willing to learn and he's going to come to work and try to be the best player he can be.

Q: What's the red and the green (hair)? What's the significance of that?

A: I just woke up feeling different, just wanted to do something different. It just kind of happened.

Q: As in this morning?

A: Oh no, I've had it like a month.

Q: What kind of message does it send when (Head Coach Joe) Judge sends the whole unit, including the coaches, around for a lap?

A: I just feel like it's a discipline thing. We've got to come out and work hard and pay attention, you know, we're supposed to be on the field. It's just a discipline thing so we can focus on the details and do what we got to do. 

Q: Seemed like the defense got the better of it today in that regard. Just wondering what your assessment of that is.

A: Each day is hard, and we just push the offense as hard as we can. They did a great job today, you know, come out and compete with some solid competition. That's what we try to do, we get them to do the best they can.

Q: You have a lot of guys back from last year, the second year with this defensive system. Do you sense that you guys look at each other now and say, 'Yeah, okay, I understand it?'

A: We just have to come out and do what we got to do each day. Take it day by day and enjoy the process.

Q: What are your opinions on the defense right now?

A: You can only control what you can control. Right now, we're coming in and working and trying to be the best defense every day, day in and day out. That's all you can control.

View the best photos from Monday's training camp practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

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