Head Coach Joe Judge
Q: Do you have any update on (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney)? I'm curious what might be going on there and if there's any timeline on it.
A: No, I'm not going to set a time on it. Again, we're going to check with the trainers. He'll be out there today doing some things today and working around. We'll see how he progresses and what his workload in Cleveland will look like this week.
Q: We shouldn't really expect him to practice then?
A: I didn't say that at all. We'll see how he's doing in practice and we'll see if we can ramp him up further along, like a lot of our guys should.
Q: Are you still hopeful he'll practice this week?
A: Today will tell us a lot about it with him and a lot of the other guys. There are guys coming out of the game that are dinged up a little bit, there are guys coming out of last week's practice where we have to where they're at physically, guys coming off of injury, so today we'll take the day to move these guys along through individual and group, see if they're ready to do more team periods. We'll see from today how they can handle what we're expecting them to do later this week completely.
Q: It's just injury with Kadarius, right?
A: Yes. Look, there's nothing too much to read into this. This guy is working hard, he's doing what we're asking him to do. Obviously, he had to come off the COVID-19 list, that made his timeline a little bit different than everybody else. No different than anybody else, there are bumps and bruises, things you have to deal with. We made the determination last week that he wasn't in a position to play in the game and that's the decision we made for the team.
Q: A guy we haven't asked you about in a while is (Cornerback) Aaron Robinson. Is he any closer to being ramped up and getting back to practice at all?
A: In terms of what he's dealing with right now, he's working hard every day. The trainers feel he's moving at the right progression right now for where's he's at. As soon as we can get him out and work with him, we'll definitely look forward to it.
Q: What do you see in (Quarterback) Brian (Lewerke), the quarterback you signed?
A: We had him out here a few weeks ago for a workout with some of the guys. Thought he threw the ball well. He's a guy we knew about coming out of college last year we evaluated. He was someone who when he came to the workout it was a position we weren't looking to add a fourth, but we knew if there was going to be an opportunity at some point to add him that we'd like to work with him for the time being. This time of camp it's good to get guys in here and see what they look like, and make a determination going into the season.
Q: You obviously have a connection to (Defensive Back) Keion Crossen. What does he bring to the team?
A: It's not unique to just Keion. It's a small league. Whether it's a guy you've coached before or coached against, maybe a guy you worked out coming out of college, there's always some kind of connection to just about every player in this league. In terms of Keion, I had the opportunity to coach him his rookie year. He was a guy who obviously we used a lot on special teams. He had defensive roles, as well. He's a guy who brings an element of speed and athleticism. We're going to get him involved with our defensive backs and our kicking units and see how far he can push himself.
Q: Did your experience with him help in any discussions you might have had with (Senior Vice President and General Manager) Dave (Gettleman)? And on a broader scale, Dave was saying you guys share the same vision of football. Has that been evident in how things go transaction-wise and personnel-wise?
A: I think me and Dave do a really good job of talking through our needs on the team, what we're looking to do, understanding the vision of what this team is going to be and how we have to get it there and what we have to work on the field. And then personnel-wise, to get the people that fit the system in here. It's ultimately our job to find guys who can have versatility so as coaches we can put them in positions of strength and change that by game. In terms of my prior relationship with Keion as far as helping with the transaction of bringing him in, absolutely. Any time you know somebody – and as I said earlier, there's always some kind of relationship with the players in this league -- you draw on your past experiences with those players to make the best decision for what you're doing going forward.
Q: Is there anything new with (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) or do you think he's still a ways away from live stuff?
A: We're going to go ahead and keep progressing him, do a few more things. You'll see him out here today doing a little more than he did last week. At this point, until the doctors give me the green light, I'm not going to throw him into any live contact drills or anything of that nature. We want to be careful as we go through it, but we just have to keep on pushing his body. When the doctors say that he can go further, we'll keep pushing him further and further.
Q: During joint practices, he's not going to do much there, right?
A: I wouldn't plan on putting him in 11-on-11 at this point. We'll see if there's something else we can slide him into drill-wise.
Q: Have the doctors said at all that if he keeps progressing at this point he should be ready?
A: I'm not going to go into individual medical conversations right now. I'm happy with the way he's working and the progress that he's making.
Q: Dave made it sound like you've got to add an offensive lineman, but you haven't yet. Do you plan to have someone before you head to Cleveland or where do things stand over there?
A: We'll see. We're always talking through the entire roster. Obviously, we talked through the last couple days of moves we had to make to get down to 85 by league rules. These are in-depth conversations. We want to make sure we evaluate everyone on our roster, as well as who else is being released throughout the league who is available, different needs we may have or different people who we think may upgrade us or come and be competitive for the roster. So, we've spent the last couple days looking through it. We're always looking at personnel at all times. That's our job, to know who's available based on what we need and what the team needs for competition. In terms of will we bring somebody in, I won't rule that out. I'm not saying that's an absolute or that we have to do it, but we'll see where the person on the street is available and we'll see where we are as a team after today.
Q: Is (Wide Receiver Kadarius) Toney's conditioning COVID-19 related at all?
A: He definitely was behind in his conditioning coming off. You've got to remember when he came up here and he had the quarantine period where he had to stay inactive by himself and then obviously that sets you back for a good bit. That's something we've seen with all of our player coming off of COVID-19. We've had different guys in different stages. Some guys have tried to work out while they've been away and found that tough, where they can't. Some guys have been able to go ahead, and they've been asymptomatic, and they've came back with an easier transition coming back. It's definitely unique to every person and we don't want to have just a blanket template for everybody. We've really got to make sure we treat the person and not just the issue. I would say, all of our guys who came back off COVID-19 were behind in conditioning. He missed a good bit of time. That's something that's set him back, but he's working hard to get caught up right now. I'm very pleased with how he's working in the meetings. I'm pleased in the progress he's making. I'm pleased in the way he's fitting in with the team and his personality's coming out. That's something for rookies that naturally happens this time of year after extended just time with vets. That's all been very positive and when we get him on the field and go full speed, we will do that. But right now, we're going to make sure we take our time and based on past experience with different players here or elsewhere, we're going to make sure we don't get impatient and rush a guy out there before his body's ready to go.
Q: The joint practices, how important is it for you and (Browns Head Coach Kevin) Stefanski to meet, and obviously next week with (Patriots Head Coach) Bill (Belichick), just to set up the situation the way you want it to have the control of what you want to see out there and the trust factor that you are working together and not against each other?
A: To me the trust factor's huge, which is part of the reason early on me and Kevin talked way back in the offseason about the possibility of doing this and part of it is because of our relationship and our experience together. That helps because then you can work together. When you go into these practices, you want to be with someone that you have a relationship with because then you can work together and make sure, 'hey, what do you need to see? What do we need to see? Let's work together to make sure we all accomplish that.' We talked continuously throughout these last few weeks making sure practice is mapped out for both me and him. We'll wait and see how our teams come out of practice today and touch base before we finalize any plans going forward. Whether it's Kevin or Bill or other places I've been with or other guys we've worked with, it's very important in these practices to have a relationship. The players have to understand going in, it's going to be competitive. That's the nature of football, right? It's another team that's going to be competitive. Just like out here, we don't want to get out there and make it something that's not football. We want to get out there and work against each other and keep it between the lines and keep it between the whistles and make sure we play hard, we protect ourselves in every play, but we're also working with the other team, as well.
Q: (President and Chief Executive Officer) John Mara said, 'we're all on the hot seat,' in regards to producing this year and it resulting in actual wins. It's year two of your time here, how much do you feel the pressure to produce victories and go deep in the playoffs this season?
A: Right now, all I'm focused on is practice today and getting our guys a little bit better. We have to have a better day today. We've got to go to Cleveland and have good days on Thursday and Friday and keep improving this team. All that other stuff doesn't matter if we don't take care of what's in front of us right now. That's my focus.
Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham
Q: A guy like (Cornerback) Rodarius (Williams) when he goes out there and gets targeted that much in the first game, how much do you evaluate that critically and hard as a coach and how much do you say it's the first time out there?
A: I love it, get experience with it. You know, first NFL game, they throw the ball at you, you get a chance to see them cover, win some, lose some, see his confidence grow, see if he could recover from a bad play. I think it's a positive anytime you get a chance to practice your craft at the highest level and you get a chance to fail and win some. That's how we all learn, so I'm happy it happened.
Q: This time last year, when you guys lost (Safety) Xavier (McKinney) for most of the season. Curious with your thoughts on where he is as a player right now.
A: I call him Zay, but I think Zay, the thing is, how many games does he actually have under his belt right now? It was about four, I think, about four games. He's still young and in the process of learning the NFL game, but I would say this in terms of his study, his preparation right now for 2021 season, has been top notch. He's hanging out with the older vets, getting knowledge from those guys. He's making plays out here on the field, all the stuff we're asking him to do. So, in terms of his progress, it's moving along. He knows he has more to improve upon just like all of us do, but it's moving along pretty good and you're looking forward to seeing them play and practice today and practice against Cleveland later this week.
Q: What did you see in (Linebacker) Carter Coughlin on Saturday? I know that was his first game playing inside (linebacker).
A: I think the thing you saw was a guy being explosive, running to the ball and really being a reflection of what (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) wants this team to look like. Fast, tough, smart, being physical, working on special teams as well. So again, as the team starts to take shape and take shape of the direction of the head coach, a lot of stuff Joe talks about, I thought was reflected in his play.
Q: Going to Cleveland, knowing your guys, I would imagine there's some 'Come on coach let's game plan.' How much do you have to push back against that or do you like the idea that maybe you will match up a little bit against what Cleveland is showing you?
A: I think the challenge with Cleveland, they have a lot of good players. The first thing I'm going to do when we start to talk about Cleveland is ID the players, before we even get to the game plan. You've got to know who the backs are, the tight ends, the o-line, the quarterback, the receivers. They're all going to present different challenges. So, we start there just like most weeks, because again, whether we play cover three or cover two, in this league, everybody knows how to play a curl flat, everybody knows how to play a flat, so we get to take care of that first. Then from there, the big thing is, okay, how much defense do we want to put in? Are we going to stay with our normal progression for training camp? It's kind of a mix. I'm sure they want to put in a bunch of calls, but we got to eliminate our mental errors first before we do that.
Q: (Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) and how well he performed the other night.
A: For his first game, he had some good plays, he had some bad plays. There were plays against (New York Jets Tackle Mekhi) Becton and the fullback a few plays that I saw there, but it was okay. He has a lot of room to grow, I'm encouraged by the fact that he played hard, his conditioning's coming along, he's playing with his hands being physical, but he still has a ways to go just like most of us. It was encouraging that he got out there and came away, no penalties, no injuries, so that was encouraging.
Q: Did Saturday night help you shape a lot of the defensive personnel?
A: I don't know if we're there yet in terms of solidifying who's the top half and who was the bottom half, so no, I know this, guys that came in the last quarter, we had a bunch of situational football come up, four minute, a couple of thirds and shorts where guys made plays and third downs we got off the field. That was encouraging that the younger guys were the guys playing in the later part of the game, they were in tune to the situations, we took away some of the repeat plays that were run. So that was encouraging, so if anything, I don't know if it solidifies or it marks where the bottom half is, but it was encouraging that they were paying attention and that's some of the coaching that's going on, just really coming to fruition out there.
Q: The box score doesn't say how valuable (Former Defensive Line Dalvin) Tomlinson was. Can you get that out of (Defensive Tackle) Austin Johnson and others? Or do you have to compensate somehow not having that kind of star presence in that spot?
A: I'm not going to comment about guys who aren't here. Dalvin was a good player here for the Giants, I was here when he got drafted, we all loved Dalvin, he's a good football player in this league and we're not going to do any comparisons with our guys. To defend the run, it takes more than one person, I know that. There are 11 guys out there, we got to defend all those gaps, get off those blocks. One person, two people, we just talk about this, whether it's Austin, (Defensive Lineman Dexter) Dex (Lawrence), (Defensive End Leonard) Leo (Williams) (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez), (Cornerback James Bradberry) JB, (Defensive Back) Adoree' (Jackson), we can't give a one for one in the run game. That's the big part about that, no matter what position you play, we don't go one for one, that's what we're trying to build, that type of play style out there. So, that's my answer on that.
Q: You have a lot of veterans upfront on the defensive line. One of the guys as a rookie from the small school really is (Defensive End Raymond) Randy Johnson (III). What have you seen from him and has he assimilated himself enough where it's not just the older guys and one guy over here and that he's part of that?
A: He's here because he played well at the school where he was at down there and he could play football. He's explosive, he has some twitch in terms of quickness, in terms of the pass rush, he has grit and toughness about him whether he's inside or outside. He has great demeanor when you get a chance to meet and I'm not sure if you guys have spoken to him yet, but he has a great demeanor about him he's very humble. He set himself up to have a good chance to compete, to see if he could play in this league and I'm excited about seeing what he could do. But he still has a long way to go especially that position, nothing in the spring really mattered, you hit some sleds and all that stuff, none of that stuff matters. Now he has pads on and he's trying to see if he could play ball and he's learning as he goes, but luckily, he has (Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer) Spence, he has (Linebackers Coach) Kevin (Sherrer), myself, (Head Coach) Joe (Judge). Joe wants to be a D-line coach too. Sometimes y'all probably got for four or five D-line coaches over there, you know? So, he'll be good.
Q: Is it important for a guy like that to get reps this week in Cleveland?
A: It's important for all of them to get reps. But yeah, I don't want to differentiate because however you got here, you get here, and you get here and play ball because you were obviously you were successful somewhere else. So, all the reps are important for everybody to be honest with you.
Q: First team reps from Azeez in the last couple of weeks, what is his progress?
A: I think Azeez has come along nicely just like a lot of the guys whether it's Azeez, Raymond, we talked about him, you know, (Rodarius) Ro (Williams), I'm encouraged with what's going on with Ro, but they don't really know NFL football, what do you have a quarter underneath his belt? Again, he's got a long way to go, he'll figure it out at some point. I'm in my 13th year, I'm still trying to figure it out, you know. I would say this, like I said last week, he's physical, he plays with his hands, he's learning from his mistakes, so that's all encouraging.
Q: How much will you learn over the next two days going against Cleveland.
A: I don't know, but I know this. Cleveland's O-line's pretty good, (running) backs are pretty good, quarterbacks good, receivers are good. Am I missing anybody? Tight ends are good. We're going to learn a lot.
Q: You have Blake Martinez, that next linebacker playing alongside him behind it, what are the qualities you're looking for in the guy grabs that spot.
A: Team first, football position. All the stuff we talk about, that's how we evaluate these guys, value the process and then in terms of the football part of it, football position, I'm looking for someone that plays with his hands, plays with good knee bend, knows where to be and you want something that complements, it all depends on what the call is, what the personnel grouping is. We mix and match so much you never know. It might be a coverage guy, it might be another run guy, it might be a blitzer. We just mix it up and just see how it plays out based on what the plan is for that game, if that makes sense.
Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett
Q: How do you feel about what you saw from the offense on Saturday?
A: The preseason, it's a great night regardless. You get a chance to see a lot of young players play and our starting group played 19 plays. I think it was a good learning experience for them. Some young guys who haven't played a lot of football had to battle through some things and certainly when the real young guys went in for most of the game, it was great to see them. It's an opportunity for them to take it from here, this practice field, and go out and play in a game and see how they respond to that. See how they respond to what's good and they can keep playing and see how they respond to the adversity and see if they can keep playing. A great learning experience for them and a great learning experience for us.
Q: Where do you think your offensive line is in the progression at this point?
A: I think you said it, it's a progression really with everybody on our team right now. You go through training camp and you practice against each other and then you go through the process of planning these preseason games. Typically, it's a ramp up as you go in preseason, so they'll play more as we get going and it was just good to see them out there. Obviously, we're a younger group. Guys need to play, guys need to play individually. They need to play together and that's the process we're in right now.
Q: One of those young guys was (Tackle) Matt Peart who gave up a sack on the first drive. How do you think he responded to that?
A: Yeah, it wasn't a good play, but it was a good response. I think after that he settled in a little bit more, did a good job both in the run game and as a protector. It wasn't perfect by any means, but he was one of those guys we're talking about. Matt's a young player who's got a lot of tools. He just needs to play in games. He needs to play against NFL players in a game-type situation. To see him respond the way that he did, that was a positive thing for him.
Q: What have you learned about some of your younger receivers that have been out there since (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) and (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) and (Wide Receiver) John Ross (III) have missed the last week?
A: Really the same answer, just so good to see those guys out there. Any time there's an injury or a guy's not in the lineup, it's an opportunity for somebody else, particularly this time of year. We have 90 or so guys on our team, now we'll go to 53 and it's a great opportunity for us to evaluate them and really what you're looking for as much as anything else, are they taking advantage of opportunities? Are they getting better? Are they prepared for the opportunity and then do they learn from it? And I think across the board without singling anybody out, I think they're doing that.
Q: This is a tough league for rookies and Toney is missing a lot of time. Are you starting to get a little concerned that he's fallen too far behind?
A: It just is what it is. He wants to be out there. We want him to be out there. He's just had a couple of different situations that he's dealing with, so what you have to do is take the approach of, OK, what opportunities do I have? Meeting room, walk through, those kinds of things. You have to take advantage of those. We want him to be out there at practice every day, getting reps. We want to play in the preseason games. That's just not how it is right now, so you take advantage of the chances you do have to get better.
Q: We see the results, obviously if it's completion, if it's an interception, if it's an incompletion. Are you seeing (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) make better decisions during practice?
A: Yeah, absolutely. Daniel's growing every day. Daniel has tools. Daniel approaches it the right way. I think the biggest thing for him is to play with his teammates, play with the guys up front, get that communication right. Play with the receivers, be out there and all the different situations that you come across and learn and grow from them. That's a big part of playing quarterback in this league is just developing chemistry with the guys around you. We're in the process of doing that. You see him grow, you see the group grow.
Q: Without knowing when (Running Back) Saquon's (Barkley) going to come back, does that affect how you prepare offensively and what you want to implement not knowing when you're going to have him?
A: Not necessarily, we feel good about the guys behind them. (Running Back) Devontae Booker's a good football player and has played a lot of snaps in this league. Obviously, Saquon's one of our best players, so we want to get him back quickly. He's made great progress. He's worked really, really hard to come back from that injury and you see the strides he's making every day. But we're going to be smart with him. We'll be deliberate with him, like we would with any player, not put them out there before he's ready to go. In the meantime, it's an opportunity for the other guys and we feel good about Book. (Running Back) Corey (Clement) has gotten some opportunities for us. He's shown that he can play in this league. Giving those guys some opportunities to grow in the system and then have confidence in them once we get going. Feel good about their progress.
Q: From your experience, what is most valuable about joint practices?
A: Oh, I think you change the environment up. You go against other people, you hit other people, you see different systems. It's a naturally more competitive environment for everybody. It's naturally a little bit more uncomfortable. You don't know how the other guys are, what the systems are, what the schemes are, so everybody has to respond to that and that's a great opportunity to grow. I think it will be a good week for us in Cleveland and next week up in New England, it'll be fun for us. I think we'll grow as a team as a result.
Q: One of the biggest reactions on Saturday night was (Running Back) Sandro's (Platzgummer) run. Have you ever seen that for a guy who's on the bottom of the roster?
A: It was spectacular. I think if you look at the side copy of the film and you see the eruption on our sidelines, it was everybody. It was universal. It was a really good run. There was a mike linebacker who had a chance to get him in the end zone and he makes that guy miss. He makes the safety miss. He gets out in the open field. It could have been an 18-yard run, he sized the guy up, cuts laterally and makes it a 48-yard run. I think everybody saw that. Sandro is a guy who works really hard. He's very well-respected among his teammates and his coaches. For a guy like that to get an opportunity and then take advantage of it like that, it was really fun to see, and I think our players responded accordingly.
Q: Are you renaming the play?
A: No, we're not. Not, not quite yet.
Q: Kyle Rudolph has been fighting to get back on the field. How involved has he been behind the scenes with you guys?
A: Kyle has been great to have around. He's really a smart player, obviously a very accomplished player. He's a veteran presence. He picks things up quickly, even though he hasn't gotten reps, he understands what we're trying to do. He can help the younger players and he's working really hard to get back. A really good example to the rest of his teammates and we're excited to get them out there.
Q: Speaking of the tight ends, you lost (Tight End) Levine (Toilolo) to a season-ending injury, right now it kind of looks like the depth is thin there. Is anyone really stepping up right now and how do you feel how that's going?
A: We certainly feel bad about Levine because he's worked really hard and he's a good player for us and we're excited about him and the role that he was going to be in. Again, injuries like that provide opportunities. He's gonna work his way back and he has a lot of football ahead of him, but the younger guys who are behind him have a chance to step up. We're excited to see those guys, (Tight End) Cole (Hikutini) has done a good job for us. He got some snaps the other night. (Tight End) Nakia (Griffin-Stewart) has done a good job, excited to see (Tight End Jake) Hausmann and some of those other guys. Again, it's reps in practice, hopefully reps in the preseason game and those guys can grow. Certainly, no decisions have been made. We just want to see those guys play.
Q: What about (Tight End) Rysen John as a guy who's in year two in his conversion to a receiver?
A: Rysen did a nice job in the game the other night. He's learning to play the tight end position and all the things that are involved with it. It's a complicated position. You gotta be able to run block and pass protect and run routes at all different levels. We ask our tight ends to do a lot and he's most natural doing the stuff that relate to receiving and we saw that the other night. He just has to grow in the other areas.
Q: You're not going to have all of your guys, receivers and all that when you're in Cleveland the next few days, but what are you really looking for? What strides are you hoping to make?
A: As much as anything else, it's about just getting out there and competing. Again, Cleveland's a good team. It'll be a good challenge for us with the guys they have on their defense and their defensive scheme, so we'll go run our offense against them. The guys who were available, let's take advantage of that opportunity. The guys who aren't available, stay close to it and try to learn what you can from the situation that you're in. So continue to try to grow, continue to try to stack good days on top of each other.
Q: Just the way Daniel has performed in practice, does it give you a little bit more comfort in being able to open up your playbook more to what you want to do?
A: Again, you certainly want to make an environment comfortable for the quarterback, but ultimately what we run is going to be what's best for the whole group. At different times last year we had to evolve based on the people we had to try to help our team win and we'll do the same thing this year. If we have to do more or less or a little more of this and a little more of that, that's what we'll try to do. We're always evaluating that. You're trying to play to your player's strengths and try to minimize any weaknesses that they have as much as you can and that's across the board.
Q: You talked a little bit about Cole Hikutini, what is it exactly that he brings?
A: We think he's a good player. If you watch him play in college and then in the NFL, when he's gotten opportunities, as a runner, as a pass receiver, as a protector during his career he's done a good job. He's learning our offense and learning our system and has done a good job. He's gotten a lot of work and he's just one of those guys you want to see play. We're comfortable putting him any situation right now.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: What do you know about (Defensive Back) Keion Crossen?
A: I know he can run very fast and that's a good thing. Now, Keion's been in this league for four years now and a veteran player who's been an outstanding gunner and penetrator, and that's what we're looking for. That's why we made the move to get it. So, he's going to come in, he has a role and I look forward to coaching him and having him in the building. Seems like a really pleasant guy. A lot of good things have been said about him.
Q: There have been times in the past year talking about special teams guys, just coach who's there. Is it a statement of how you guys feel about your units when you go and make a deal for Keion on special teams?
A: It just shows that it's important. It's no different than offense and defense. When you have a need, you need to fill a need, you're going to make the moves as an organization to get those needs filled and those needs met. He's going to definitely fill a need for us.
Q: I know you have a proven one in (Kicker) Graham (Gano), but just watching (K Ryan) Santoso on the field on Wednesday night when the fans were there and then Saturday, he's got a big leg. How does he fit in?
A: He has a job to do, he's a kicker. He's going in here, he's competing for a job and not only is he competing for a job here, he's competing for a job all over the league. Ryan has great upside, he's a good man, he works his tail off. That's what this league is all about, it's about competition and hopefully Ryan can do enough where he can get a job, whether it's here or somewhere else.
Q: Do you consider him as a kickoff guy?
A: He can do whatever. Ryan can punt, kick -- I'm serious, he's very talented and he's punted in NFL games before, he's kicked off, he can kick field goals, so Ryan is a very talented young man.
Q: Do you plan to give to him all the work in the games or will Graham see some?
A: He'll get the primary workload. We're going to ramp Graham up slowly. This is Graham's 12th year and he's done it at a high level for a long time, so we're going to let him work himself to where he feels comfortable and then we'll go from there.
Q: We don't do normally see outside linebackers, running out at gunner and running down the field, but that's kind of what you had (Linebacker) Cam Brown do it. What went into the thought process of putting him there and what have you seen?
A: Cam's just a unique individual. I told you guys last year that we expect a lot out of him because he has a lot to give. He's very talented, he's a rare bird. He's just different. He's a six-foot-five, 230-pound guy that can run like a deer. You don't see a lot of guys like that, so when you have that type of skill set he poses a problem to the opponent. A big, strong, long, smart football player who has ability and he's got young legs, so he can run all day. It's fun to coach him and we're excited to watch him play.
Q: Is he the biggest gunner you've ever been around?
A: I've been around some big ones. Brandon Marshall when he was a rookie played for me in Denver. He was about the same size as Cam. But, his length does make a big difference as long as there's strength.
Q: In what way?
A: Just being able to use it at the line of scrimmage. Most of the time, if you've got a figh and they're trying to grab and hold you, if I can stick my long arm out there and stop you from grabbing me and get on an edge, that gives me an advantage because now I can just open up and run and I can power through you. So, now I'm going to put you in a trail position and now I can just punch the gas and go. So, using that length, the strength and being able to bend and come out of his hips, that's a whole different skillset combined with the length. I always tell people, 'Long levers are strong lever,' so if I can bend and come out of my hips and I can use my length, that guy that's on the other side of the line of scrimmage that's normally 5'11", 5'10", 191-195, maybe 200 pounds, and I'm 230 and I got more length and I can bend, I'm going to win that matchup most of the time.
Q: How do you see the long snapper competition?
A: Both of those guys are working their tails off and we'll see where it ends up, but they're back there competing and they're doing their job. Both of them are doing very well.
Q: (Punter) Riley Dixon, how many different kinds of punts does he have? We see him working on all kinds of things. And how difficult is it to maintain consistency when you're hitting that many different kinds of kicks?
A: Riley has a few kicks in his bag, he's working on a few different things. When we work with him, we're really focused on one punt at a time, so we're not all over the map. We have a plan with him when he's out there working, but he's doing a nice job of developing the tool bag. So, we're just going to keep working and see where we end up.
Q: Last time we talked to you, you said (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) had to prove himself just like anyone else. Can he prove himself if he's not on the field?
A: It's kind of hard to do and that's just the reality of it. He'll get out there eventually and Kadarius is a smart kid, works his tail off and he's just got to get through the situation right now. Once he gets through his situation, he'll be fine. He's just got to keep working. Whenever he shows up and he's ready to go, he'll be ready to go.
Q: It's no secret that a wide receiver down the depth chart has to thrive in special teams to make the roster. Do you have guys begging for reps and trying to get out there more?
A: They get it and they understand it, and it comes from the top. Joe talks about it in the meetings all the time, guys that are able to cover kicks can add value to the football team. And that's what we're looking for, we're looking for guys that can add value. We're going to build our roster from the top down and the bottom up. So, if we get in a situation where we got to go to another guy, pull a guy off the practice squad, he's not going to step right in and beat out (WR) Kenny (Golladay) and he ain't taking his spot. We're going to pull him up, so he can run down on kickoff and provide depth.
Q: How do you manage that with preseason game reps where you might have three punts and then you want to see the guys who are going to play on Sundays?
A: It's tough, it's tough. Going to Cleveland this week will be big, those practice sessions that we'll have against those guys will be big, so guys will be able to get out there, go against other competition and you'll be able to evaluate them then. When we go to New England, same thing with the practices, but you're right, you're limited in your preseason exposures to them because of the reps. The reps might dictate there's only two or three kickoffs and it might dictate that it's only two or three punts. So, again, a lot of stuff. The most important thing we do is practice, so a lot of the things we do are evaluated in practice.
Q: Along those lines, the other night Joe decides to punt in your own territory and gives you guys an opportunity to down it inside the 10. I don't know if it was intentional, but from your perspective I would imagine you're thrilled to get that unit out in that situation.
A: Absolutely, absolutely. Anytime you can down a ball inside the 10, the percentages of you stopping the other team from scoring go up and that's what we do, we play the percentages. And to be able to evaluate our gunners and be able to evaluate our punt team, to be able to evaluate those guys and see what they can do and how they perform. (WR) Matt Cole went down there and made a good play, and it was big for him.
Q: Speaking of the evaluation, can you talk about what you saw from Matt Cole?
A: Matt did a great job, he did. He came in right off the street, jumped right in and did a hell of a job. He went down there and down the ball inside the five and he had some nice releases as a gunner. He showed his feet, he showed what he was, so that was definitely a plus for him.
Q: Are you in communication with Nate Ebner throughout camp?
A: Nate's a good man and I haven't talked to him in a while, but he texts back and forth with Joe. Nate's in a good spot right now. He's just rehabbing and hopefully we can get him back.
Q: Who are you leaning on to be your veterans on special teams? In the past, it was (Defensive Back) Jabrill (Peppers) and (Defensive Back) Julian (Love).
A: We've got some good young guys that have been around. Jabrill was our special teams captain last year, one of them and I'll lean on him definitely heavily. He does a hell of a job with our guys and getting them ready and just being a great example on how to prepare and how to work every day. So, we got a really good group of men that understand what it takes to play at a high level and we just got to build and help these young guys to bring them along.
Q: You have two fullbacks running with a lot of your special teams units. What do you from those guys and how that competition is going?
A: Those guys are football players regardless of position and they're two really good football players. They provide good team value and depth, but they're football players first. That's how we see them and they're doing a heck of a job, both of them.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: How much does being smart off the field translate to being football smart?
A: Yeah, being smart certainly helps, and I think you can apply that to a lot of areas of your life. Same way as being smart probably helps in your job. I think guys have a feel for football too, and there's something to be said for football instincts and football feel as well.
Q: It seems like you stayed dialed in on the sideline the other night, what exactly did you do to stay engaged even though you weren't playing
A: I think everyone was throughout the game. Just staying dialed into the calls and trying to see the defense going through the game as if you were playing, as if you were out there, seeing coverage, seeing pressure and having those conversations when the offense came off the field and talking about the next drive, the next series. I thought it was good practice for everyone in the game, everyone not in the game. I think everyone stayed dialed in and kind of went through that process.
Q: How much trust do you have to have in the Browns in the next couple of days that they're not going to do anything in practice that puts you in danger.
A: I've never been to a joint practice before, I'm looking forward to it. I think that's understood when you come together as a team that you're going to practice a certain way and be smart and take care of one another. I certainly expect them to do that.
Q: Is it a major change when you're in a three-person quarterback room and one guy gets waived?
A: I think that's part of this job. Part of the NFL in my first few years that I've learned is it changes a lot; the team changes a lot and you've got to be able to adapt to change. We'll do that going forward certainly. We'll miss Clayton, but we've got to be able to do that.
Q: We talked to (President and Chief Executive Officer) John Mara today, so I'm just curious about your relationship with the owner of the team. Does he have a policy where you can just walk in once a week or once a month and shoot the breeze with him? What's your relationship? He obviously supports you.
A: I certainly feel like I have a good relationship with Mr. Mara and talk to him every now and then, (I) see him around the building. I think that's something that a lot of people say is how involved the Maras and the Tisches are and they're here every day working. I think we all have a good relationship.
Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
Q: Is it tough when you're going against a teammate and it's getting physical, and you've got to compete, but you've also got to keep your cool?
A: No, that's just part of it. We're making each other better out here. That's what's going to happen on gameday, so I'd like to see it at practice with my guys. I tell them all the time, I tell Pep (Safety Jabrill Peppers) sometimes, you're coming down and I've got to make a block, give me a full force rep. I need that from time to time. That just comes with a part of the game.
Q: What is it going to be like seeing (Browns Wide Receiver) Odell (Beckham Jr.) this week?
A: I saw him all over the offseason and then I talk to him every week.
Q: You guys keep in touch, obviously?
A: Yeah, we keep in touch. Same thing, we chop it up and will be able to see each other in person again, so it's pretty cool.
Q: What do you think you'll get out of joint practices going against another team?
A: It just gives you different looks. You get tired of seeing the same guys every day and it helps you with having to mix things up. But just to get a different look and different guys skillsets around the league is going to help you get better ultimately, too.
Q: When you were a younger player you had guys that you looked up to on your team, what did you maybe take away from that being in a position now where you're an elder statesman on the team?
A: I got to see – Odell used to tell me, do as I say, not as I do. I got to learn from him and then I also had Vic (Former Giants Wide Receiver Victor Cruz) who had been through a lot. He had been through winning a Super Bowl and was a really experienced guy, so I learned a lot from him and how to be a leader, as well. I got kind of thrown into that role a little bit earlier than I thought I would but having those guys helped me adjust to that.
Q: Have you embraced the idea of being a leader?
A: Yeah, for sure. Everybody has their own way of leading and I've always viewed myself as a leader even though I may not have had a C on my chest. I always viewed myself that way and that's how I carry myself.
Q: Is that a vintage hat?
A: Yeah. I keep the vintages. Everybody's going to be asking me where I got this hat, don't ask any questions.
Q: There was a scene where you danced in front of the fans a little and just showed some emotion. How important is that for your game to embrace the joy of it?
A: That's the reason why we play the game. The feeling of having the fans screaming, however many we can fit in there, I don't know how many it is, but having that feeling and having that energy from them is everything to us. We really missed that last year and it was exciting just as many as we had. We didn't even pack it out all the way, but it was pretty packed, and you could just feel the energy. We look forward to getting in front of them on the 12th.
Q: When did you go from seeing Odell as a Giant who was traded to being just a Brown? Right away or was it hard for you envision that separation?
A: Yeah, but I mean you look at it and that's a part of the game and the business that we play. You never know what's going to happen. I think everybody's going to be in that situation at some point in their career. There are guys that are blessed that don't move around anywhere. When you dumb it down, this is what happens. I didn't really think about it that way.
Q: How much has he been talking to you when you guys have been keeping in touch about these practices coming up against his old team?
A: He's just excited to see us and see his boys. That's pretty much all we've been talking about.
Q: You know him pretty well. You've got some pretty good cornerbacks here; do you think he'll come out with something to prove?
A: You're going to have to ask him. Ask him those questions about how he thinks. I don't know.
Q: Did you get a chance to work out with Odell this offseason?
A: Yeah. We were all out in Arizona, (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley), Odell and I were all out there. So, we got to work out at EXOS together.
Q: How did they look to you coming back from a serious injury?
A: They looked good. Following everything that the trainers were saying and progressing over the offseason.
Q: Was it interesting to see the two of them together? They're kind of going through the same thing. I know they're probably at different points or whatever.
A: Kind of. It's good for those two guys to be able to compete and push each other, and then me, as well. I'm there pushing those guys, as well. It's good to have your boys around you whenever you're working out.
Cornerback James Bradberry
Q: (Wide Receiver) David Sills (V), he's had a pretty strong camp. What's it like playing against him and what do you see from him?
A: I see a crafty receiver. He's been around the league for a minute now, so he knows some crafty moves that most receivers don't know. So, I see a crafty guy. He's a good guy to go against for me.
Q: How much are you looking forward to facing (Browns Wide Receiver) Odell (Beckham Jr.) this week?
A: I'm looking forward to facing the entire Browns team. You got some good receivers other than Odell: (Browns Wide Receiver) Jarvis Landry, (Browns Wide Receiver Rashard) Higgins, (Browns Wide Receiver) Donovan Peoples (Jones), so they got some good receivers all across the board that I'm ready to go against.
Q: How much did it impact what the Giants' defense could do last year that you never really settled on a cornerback opposite you? It just seemed like whoever was playing opposite you changed every week.
A: I don't think it affected our game plan too much because we're going to do what we do. I leave that up to (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Patrick) Graham anyway. I just go out there and execute my assignment.
Q: Now having (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) cemented into that role, how does that change things? Do you expect more throws your way? Does it help you in any way? You get different cornerbacks, but you know who's opposite here.
A: Of course. He's a great cornerback to compete against on the other side. He's going to make plays, and it's going to drive me to make more plays, so I'm looking forward to it.
Q: You've been popping up on these Top 100 lists. What does that mean to you, and then what do you think people are finally realizing?
A: It's pretty cool. I used to watch that show when I was in college a lot during the summer when it would come on, so it's pretty cool to see my name come up on there. Like you said in the question, I've been under the radar. I guess people haven't really noticed me or whatnot, but that's cool with me, too. I just want to play good ball.
Q: When it's something that your teammates or peers around the league are voting on, as opposed to the crowd cycle, the media, or what have you, does that mean a little bit more that people on the field are seeing that?
A: Oh yeah, it feels good that my counterparts are witnessing what I do. (Bills Cornerback) Tre'(Davious) White mentioned that I watch a lot of film, which I actually do, so it's good to see a peer of mine recognize the work that I put in.
Q: Obviously you had a great year, but how much of your recognition do you think has to do with being here? Like, you're a free agent and you chose the biggest city in America. Not everybody would do that. How much do you think it has to do with the New York spotlight?
A: I definitely think it has something to do with it. Of course, we play on TV more. This is the New York Football Giants, a lot of people recognize this logo and whatnot, so I think it has something to do with it.
Q: So, should we take credit for that then because we're all the media here hyping you up?
A: Sure. I'll give you all some credit. Say no more, sure.
View the best photos from Tuesday's training camp practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.