Head Coach Joe Judge
Q: (Offensive Tackle) Andrew Thomas didn't really do much yesterday, why was that?
A: It was a third day in back in pads. For some of the guys, coming off the loads they had the year before, and he's obviously coming of an injury and surgery at the end of last year, so we just take all that all of that into account. It wasn't a direct issue of something we couldn't do, but it was just us being cautious.
Q: (Defensive Back) Logan Ryan said after the fight that he had no regrets on what he did out on the field. You had scolded those guys and said what they did out on the field was wrong, so was it disappointing to hear one of your leaders say that he doesn't regret doing that stuff?
A: We've handled everything in house. This team is good, we're moving forward. We understand that we have to learn from our mistakes. We can't do anything that's going to lead to penalties or consequences that can affect us in a game. We coach holding and offsides the same way we coach the fight right there. Anything that leads to penalties and sets us back in the game, we are not going to consent to.
Q: Do you have any update on (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay)?
A: I don't, I know he's with the trainers right now. These first 36 to 48 hours is the biggest, as far as what his timetable may be. We're hoping for the best. We're going let him go ahead and keep getting treatments and see where it progresses over the next week.
Q: He met with the doctors yesterday. Was it just a pull, or is it anything more serious?
A: I'm not going into specifics of it right there. I'm not trying to create some fabricated timetable, not from you, but from people in the public based on just a word. Every injury is different, whether we say it's a pull, or strain, or whatever it may be. Guys react differently to everything and their bodies are different. So, I'm going to make sure that he has every opportunity to rehab and get back on the field when his body is ready.
Q: How is (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph? I saw him in the first week on the side, but I haven't seen him these last couple days. Did he have a setback or is he doing something different?
A: No, we're just kind of changing up some of the treatment that we're doing inside with him. Sometimes, he'll be more available on the field and be out there with the team. Other times, because the training room and the rehab facilities are more open for him to use when the players aren't in there, we go ahead and do that.
Q: We saw (Offensive Guard) Shane (Lemieux) back out at practice today. Are you guys doing the ramp up thing that you've been doing with these guys as they come back?
A: We are, so we're ramping up right now. He'll be active through a walkthrough today. Today's the fourth day, we did three days in a row, high tempo and pads. Today is a back down day with more of a mental day teaching on the field. We'll go at a much slower pace. It's a walkthrough, at the most, it should be a slow jog if anything. We're going to control the tempo and the volume on our players. Shane will participate fully in this. I'd say if it was a full practice, he'd be doing less and he'd be building up to it. We'll see how he feels tomorrow and how much we can allow him to do tomorrow.
Q: He's not had to eat his own arms or legs?
A: If he did, they grew back.
Q: (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney), is he close to getting into a full practice and what have you seen from him?
A: Yeah, he's doing more and more every day. We're pleased what he's doing on the field. He's progressing physically at a nice rate. Right now, we're kind of building towards next week with a lot of these guys. They'll continuously work throughout today's walkthrough, tomorrow, and Saturday as well, and see how they feel coming out going on Monday.
Q: Maybe they're involved in different circumstances, but there were two guys that retired days after signing, just how did you react to that?
A: Well, both guys were great guys. We looked forward to coaching both of them. In the brief time we had both them, they both made strong impressions. (Linebacker) Todd (Davis), obviously for his own personal situation, we talked. I'm not going to disclose what we talked about in the office, but we left the door open in terms of if something were to change in the future. I think this guy has got ability. I think he would have been here and competing with our players. He would've been on the field for us if he had a spot on the team. In terms of (Center) Joe (Looney), a tremendous amount of respect to this guy as a person. As a player, I've known through the league. We had a very, very good talk yesterday morning.
These are tough decisions on guys. As you get vets later in their career, they started training camp, it's not uncommon for this to happen. Now, you don't want it to happen, but you have to respect the decision each person makes for their family. I'd say in both these cases, not to speak for the players, but both of them had family situations that they had to attend to, and that was a large part of the decision. I think both guys could've helped us. We left the door open for both guys based on what may open up in the future. If they change their mind and something goes, but they made the strongest impression, personality wise, mentally in the meetings, and on the field, both guys did show enough improvement. I mean, the time was short, but we knew them both from being vets in the league. We respect them both. To be honest, we'd like to have the option to keep coaching both. But we respect their decision and are wishing the best going forward to their families.
Q: Joe, is it fair to say that you'll be cautious with Kenny and his hamstring because it is so early in camp? It doesn't seem like there's a reason to want to push him and rush him back.
A: I'm going to let the medical team take care of that. I just ask for the updates and they tell me where the player is. When they say he's ready to go, we go and put him on the field and build him up if we have to. I don't want to start throwing around words like that, not by you, are misconstrued. The public goes ahead and puts a label on someone. We treat all of our players the same. We're going to push him to be on the field when they're ready, and medical and strength team do a tremendous job of getting these guys back on the field.
Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham
Q: What were you so angry about last night?
A: I'm always mad, man. I'm from the tri-state area. That's just my natural personality, I guess. I don't know. I'm mad now, you know, I'm trying to disguise it. Something to do with football probably. Something to do with football. This is my family out here, so that's probably part of it, too.
Q: There were a lot of positives outside the building talking about what the defense was able to do last year from the top on down. How do you reset everything for your guys going into year two with so many guys coming back?
A: This league, every year is new. I mean, again, it's cliché, but it's true. As soon as the season's over, I've reset and then it's part of our job to make sure the players know, 'hey, nothing matters from last year, from the previous year.' So you just try to convey that message to them and thankfully, we have a good group of guys who understand that. Based on what we've been through so far on the field, we've got a ways to go to improve. I've got a ways to go to improve, so I think they understand. Our offense is doing a pretty good job out there, so we've got ways to improve, and we'll keep working, so nobody really thinks about last year.
Q: What do you want the identity of this defense to be?
A: The same thing that (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) talks about, toughness. We really want it to be reflective of the communities, the tri-state, New York, however you want to look at it. But like the people here, they're tough, they work hard. I want them to look at us on film, like whether it's over at the stadium or out here at practice, we see our toughness come out. We see us working hard and not loafing around the field – running around the field, that's what I want it to be. Specifically, with the football part of it, playing in good football position, team-first, playing with our hands in front of our eyes, good knee-bend and all that stuff. Again, same stuff that most high school coaches are teaching, it's still the game of football between those white lines and that's what you want it to look like.
Q: We've seen (Linebacker) Azeez Ojulari get quite a few reps with the first team because of injury, what has been your impressions of him?
A: Azeez is a diligent worker, smart and he's taking it all in right now. Obviously, it's a new league for him. It's a new – not a new position, but just different for him a little. But he's been working really hard listening to the vets and then the thing that shows up when he gets out there on the football field with his pads on, he knows how to play football, which is a positive. He's physical. He's hard to move. He plays with his hands and I'm excited to keep working with him.
Q: In terms of last season, how critical was it to you to get more help for (Defensive Lineman) Leonard Williams in the pass rush and do you think you now have enough players to help him out?
A: I mean, again, I'm not going to disrespect the guys from last year and the guys that are here. We did what we did last year from the pass rush and Leo was a big part of that and I think that we're growing in the system. We're growing listening to my coaching and how we coach the pass rush. I think Spence (Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer) and (Linebackers Coach) Kevin (Sherrer) work well together in terms of the development of our pass rushers along with Blev (Assistant Linebackers/Special Teams Assistant Anthony Blevins) and (Defensive Quality Control Coach) Ryan Anderson, our QC. I think we're just growing, and we've got some more players, guys to work with and they have different skillsets. I'm looking forward to that and we'll see how it plays out. Pass rush, you know right now, to be honest with you to answer the first part of your question, I'm more concerned about the run game. So, if you were wondering about that, I might be mad about that, you never know. I'm more worried about the run game. The pass rush will come. I know it's a passing league, but I'm not there right now.
Q: Have there been times this year out in camp so far where you instructed the guys to do something and they knew it already or they got it real quick as opposed to last year where you were teaching and they were looking at you like, 'we don't get this?'
A: I would say the situational stuff because we spent a lot of time – Joe hits it with the group and then we hit separately as a unit and the coaches hit it. But the awareness of the situational football, I mean you guys aren't privy to it, but the conversations happen on the sideline now, they're more football based as opposed to worrying about whatever it might have been before because hey it's three and 10 here, second and seven. We're able to have those conversations. Again, you have players that were more advanced before. You had (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez), you had (Defensive Back) Logan (Ryan), those guys can have those conversations easily. Now you're dealing with a larger group able to do so.
Q: You spoke about you're concerned about the run defense. I'm just kind of wondering, coaches usually like to say, 'well this guy leaves, we bring in another guy, we pick up where they left,' but we know that they're not robots and they can't all have the same skillset. With that said, losing (Former Defensive Tackle) Dalvin Tomlinson, you brought in some new guys, how do you kind of see that run defense being different than it was last year?
A: Well, it's in the formative stage right now because just by the rules we haven't had pads on. It's different in college where you got spring practice, you have your pads on and you're able to work that. We haven't had pads on. We've just been working really on bags and sleds and stuff that doesn't move, so you're always concerned about the run game the first few weeks of training camp because it's the first time they're playing football. As a linebacker, you're kind of playing football in seven-on-seven drills and stuff in the spring. As a defensive lineman or the guys involved in the run game, you're really not playing football until you get to this part of the year. So again, I probably won't worry about people that aren't here. Again, last year was last year, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it shapes up this year. I mean, we've got good players who are working hard and they're getting a feel for it and I'm getting a feel for what we want to call. I'm looking forward to it.
Q: You have some pretty proven players in that secondary and a pretty high pick in (Safety) Xavier (McKinney) kind of mixed in there now. How good can that unit be?
A: As good as they want. As long as they don't screw it up, so that's how I see it. My job is to put them in the right position to make plays. We've got guys who have been playmakers in the past. I'll tell you this, they're working hard, so they're doing that part of it. They're communicating. (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome (Henderson), (Senior Defensive Assistant) Jeremy (Pruitt), (Assistant Defensive Backs Coach) Mike (Treier), those guys do a great job of coaching those guys and building their awareness whether it's situationally or personnel-driven. With that information, I think the sky's the limit, but we're going to take it day-by-day and just keep putting in that work.
Q: This is such a proven group like you said, do you give them more latitude? Do you say, 'hey, you freestyle it if you know it?'
A: I'm big on this again, I'm a coach, what happens between those white lines is really their defense, if that makes sense. Right now, I'm holding the keys to a certain extent and I'm guiding a ship, but at some point, after you get the message across and you understand exactly what you're looking for and are able to convey that to them the right way, I give them the keys. Again, we don't have any operating outside the defense, but between those white lines, what they see is what they see. They get paid a lot of money to make those split-second decisions, decipher those plays and all those scenarios that come up. So to answer your question, yes, but I don't know if it's a guess.
Q: To that point, how important is intelligence when evaluating and adjusting, especially in you scheme? Is this the smartest group of DBs you've been around?
A: Football intelligence, football IQ or football savviness, that's always important. I could care less if they know exactly what E = MC2 means or whatever. I don't know. I might not know. But I like to be able to talk to them about football. I do like to be able to talk to them about football. I like for them to be able to learn from their past mistakes and from experiences, so that equates to intelligence and that's what we're looking for. Can they get out there on the field? Can they see something? If they're excited for it, fine. Can they learn from their mistakes and be able to move on from it? That's really what you're looking for. In terms of – I'm not going to get into other groups, I've been around a bunch of good football players before, but I'm very excited about this group, man. The level of whether it's communication, the rapport they have with one another and their ability to fix stuff on the field. I'm looking forward to seeing how it keeps growing.
Q: What made Logan's transition to safety so seamless?
A: Being a good football player makes it a little bit easier. Just the system, look, it allows you to be versatile. So whether he was officially a safety or not, he's done both jobs and based on what we can do, we've mixed it up a lot and put guys in different spots. So defensive backs and corners play safety. A safety can play corner. Our safeties play linebacker. I mean with Logan, it's not that different. He's smart and he has football IQ and he works hard. He works really hard.
Q: Do you think that in his second full season as a safety there is a level of improvement that could be there?
A: There's always a level of improvement. He'll tell you that. He's working every day to get better. He wants us to be on him. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about that. We'll do that. He wants to improve. He wants to be the best out there and I love that about him. I love that he wants to be the best and they are all working hard to do that and he's bringing guys along with him, too.
Q: With so many guys coming back, do you have a bigger playbook, or can you do more things?
A: Well, if you leave it me, I might go a little crazy. I'm sitting there on vacation on the Vineyard this summer, yeah, I start thinking about stuff. But then you got to think about this, you got to be mindful, what are your core principles of what we want to do, what we want to be? You got to understand, we don't have a lot of time and the team hasn't really formed yet. So you have to be mindful of that and you have to be mindful of look, the playbook for pros, we grow as a unit. The thing for me is establishing a foundation and establishing the foundation of the base knowledge of what we want to do, our core principles and from there based on the opponent, grow. You guys ask me about old players, they know I hate playbooks. I hate playbooks. I can't use the language I use in a playbook. I'm not a big fan of playbooks because it's all based on what they take from us.
Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett
Q: What have you noticed from (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) so far? Year two in the offense. Where is he further along than maybe this time a year ago?
A: Daniel is one of those guys who just comes to work every day and he's so prepared. He's prepared physically, mentally, emotionally, and I just think he continues to grow and get better. The more you put him in different situations, you can see him just grow and develop. That's his understanding, simply having physical experience running the plays against the different defenses. His approach is outstanding, and I think you see daily improvement.
Q: Jason, there's been a lot of confidence expressed in the organization about the offensive line being better. You just recently got into pads. I'm just wondering, what was driving that confidence without seeing them in pads?
A: Yeah, I think we made progress over the course of last year. We had a lot of young guys playing for us who just simply were inexperienced, and I think over the course of the year you saw them grow and develop. Again, it's the same thing we talked about with Daniel, if you approach it the right way, you get your mind right and your spirit right to come out and practice and get better every day, you're going to improve. So, we try to put those guys in those situations and they're responding well. We have a long way to go, every guy individually and certainly as a unit, but they're going about it the right way.
Q: Have there been times out there when you've told the guys who were here last year a couple of things you wanted and they got it right away, they already knew, as opposed to last year where it was all new?
A: I think anytime you're exposed to something more – hopefully, again, if you go about it the right way, you're going to respond more favorably to that next experience. All those guys who have been around and have a year under their belt in this system, and now you come back the next year and 'Oh, I remember that. I understand what you're saying. I've been in that situation before.' We have guys that go about it the right way.
Q: Is it any more though?
A: Again, we're a work in progress individually, as a unit and as a football team. But the thing we emphasize to our guys is approach it the right way, come in here mentally, emotionally and physically prepared, and then take advantage of the opportunities. I think our guys are doing that.
Q: How do you envision (Wide Receiver) Kadarius' (Toney) role in this offense? And have you had a player with his skillset in the past that you can compare it to?
A: You know, we're excited about Kadarius. Unfortunately, we haven't seen a ton of him yet and we're ramping him up here over the next few days, but you can tell he's someone who picks up football easily, we saw that in the rookie minicamp. We're excited to get him out there and just see what he can do. There were a lot of positive things on tape from college – obviously, that's why we drafted him as high as we did, so we're just excited to see him out here on the grass.
Q: Frankly, there are questions about whether your offense is creative enough to fully utilize a player like that. How do you respond to that?
A: Yeah, we're just excited about him. We're excited about all the guys and how they're working.
Q: Do you intend to use more motion as far as moving guys pre-snap trying to get the defense off-balance in that regard?
A: Yeah, motion is, obviously if you followed our offense last year, a big part of what we've done. Last year, we ran a lot more of the no-huddle stuff around the line of scrimmage where you don't run as much motion. We were using tempo, sometimes we went fast, sometimes we went slow. We weren't in the huddle as much last year – I don't know if you guys could see that on TV – but that was one of the things that we did. Motion and shifting and movement, all that stuff has been a big part of what we've done in the past and if we feel like it applies to a particular game plan, we'll certainly use it.
Q: The Chargers interview, how did that go? And how much are you, as a proven NFL head coach, working towards down the road and that next opportunity?
A: Certainly a great opportunity for me to visit with them, but my focus right now is what we need to do today to get better as an offense with the Giants, so that's really where my attention is.
Q: When you have a lot of your primary offensive weapons sidelined, like (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley), (Tight End Kyle) Rudolph, (Wide Receiver Kenny) Golladay, how do you continue to get them ready through August to make sure that when they're on the field in Week One they're ready?
A: I go back to the guys. The approach that those guys take, it's outstanding. They're just true pros. If you watch them out here in practice, if they're not involved with some rehab or something, they're right there, they're watching, they're paying attention. Any walkthrough reps that they're able to get they try to take advantage of. They're really great in their interaction with their coaches and with their teammates. You can see them growing and we're just excited to get them out there to get the physical reps along with the mental reps they've been getting, but their approach is outstanding.
Q: Is there anything necessarily that should hold Daniel Jones back from taking that next step? We know how hard he works and how dedicated he is, but is there anything on the field that you see that's holding him back or not?
A: I just think the biggest thing for everybody with our football team is you've just got to go back out there, approach it the right way and try to get better every day. That's our approach with Daniel and that's our approach with everybody. Because he goes about it the right way, because he's always so prepared and he has physical tools, we're just going to keep trying to give him those experiences. We're trying to put him in an environment where he's comfortable. We've got some young players around him who are growing and they're all growing together, and that's a positive thing and an exciting thing.
Q: As a former quarterback, do you see the other players reacting to Daniel when he jumps in the middle of a fight, which you probably don't want him to do – did you ever do that?
A: I didn't ever jump into a fight like that. Absolutely not.
Q: Did you tell him that's the last time?
A: You never want to take the edge off of a guy like that. Daniel is this guy from Duke who really presents himself beautifully, but deep down he's a really, really tough competitor. He loves ball. His physical toughness and his mental toughness are outstanding. He's a fun, exciting guy to be around and he's a fun, exciting guy to coach because of that. He loves ball, you can see the competitive juices flowing. The best players I've been around, the best coaches I've been around, are people who fight. We talk to our team about that a lot. The way we talk about the word 'fight' is fight to be the best in everything you do. Fight to live up to the highest standard, fight to get the job done and fight for each other. We think that's important, so we try to instill that in our team. That doesn't necessarily mean a physical fight on the field, but you want to have that spirit. If you think about the people in your life who you admire most, they fight, they compete, they battle, they try to be their best regardless of what the circumstances are. We believe our quarterback is one of those guys.
Q: Did you write 'fight' on your shirt?
A: I did.
Q: They didn't give you a 'fight' shirt?
A: I have one, but I only have one and so we try to wash these things. On days when I can't wear the grey one, I wear the blue one and I put 'fight' across the chest.
Q: Jason, you've been coaching for a long time and have your philosophy, but as part of your offseason, do you study other offenses around the league, see what they're doing, steal stuff and that kind of thing?
A: Yeah, absolutely. I think league studies are a big part of what you do. You have an offensive or defensive system or special teams system that you believe in, but it's constantly evolving and growing. The DNA probably doesn't change that much, but a lot of different parts of it do. You want to study league trends and you want to be on top of them, and that's certainly something that's been a big part of what we've done for a long time.
Q: With Kadarius, how have you seen him reacclimate and get back up to speed?
A: Yeah, the biggest thing with him is just come on in here and try to learn. You know, we haven't seen him a lot, he was here for the rookie minicamp and he's working his way back in now, but he's a really good young man. I think he's a smart football guy and he's working hard to get himself back up to understanding what we're asking him to do. Hopefully, over the next few days we'll get a chance to see out there practicing.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: Coach, the impact on special teams of losing (Tight End) Levine Toilolo. How much of an impact is that?
A: Leadership. Levine is a great man and shows up every day ready to work. The leadership he provides, being that quiet leadership, guys follow him by example, him working his tail off every day and just his presence in the room. When you lose a guy, it's hard to replace the leadership part of it, but he's a great man. He works his tail off. He'll get back. Once he's healthy, he'll get back. He's a good man.
Q: Coach, what have you seen from (Wide Receiver) C.J. Board? I know last year he played some gunner for you and contributed on special teams. What has he shown you this year so far?
A: Speed. C.J. is getting better and I'm excited for him and the opportunity that he has out in front of him to compete every day and get out here with these guys. He's done a real good job, so I look forward to watching him in the preseason and see how he progresses.
Q: From the outside looking in, when you look at the gunner position, some of us think, 'This guy's got speed, just put him at gunner and make it work.' Tell me why there's more to that position than just the guy's fast?
A: It's a great question. At that position, you have to have -- obviously, the first thing is speed, you have to have some savvy at the line of scrimmage because a lot of times you're getting double-boxed. When you get an opportunity to put that speed on the field, use it, and obviously you have to be able to tackle in space. All these guys are working at it, they're all getting reps. Our guys (Assistant Linebackers Coach/Special Teams Assistant Anthony) Blevins and (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome (Henderson) and (Assistant Defensive Backs Coach) Mike Treier, all these guys are working with these gunners and they're doing a heck of a job of bringing them along. The maturation process of a gunner is not easy. It's not just speed – speed helps, but what happens when they get a good jump? What happens when they trap you? What happens if a guy gets his hands on you? What're you going to do? We're working on all those things and getting better at them and making sure that C.J. and all the rest of the guys get better every day.
Q: You were able to self-assess, I'm sure, after last season and into the offseason. When you look at the special teams units as a whole, what are you saying, 'Okay, this year we need to do X better. We really need to improve in this area'?
A: Consistent. Just be more consistent overall and that's what this thing is all about. When you go out on the field and you know what you're going to get, you feel a lot better as a coach. When you know I'm going to get X, Y and Z from this group and I'm going to get X, Y and Z from that group, you feel a lot better. And, to me, the consistency part is the most important.
Q: How do you get that because you have such a revolving door of players in those regards?
A: And it's hard. You want to be as consistent as you can possibly be. It's no different O-line, D-line or offense and defense, right? You want to have consistent people in the same spots all the time, but we all know that doesn't happen in special teams, right? So, you want to be consistent in how you teach and you want to be consistent in how you drill so when the next guy has to step up it's the same thing.
Q: The other day, (Safety) Jabrill (Peppers) was talking about fielding punts and (Wide Receiver) John Ross (III) was back there, and he said about John Ross, 'He was there and then he wasn't.' That's him, right? If he can be there and then not there, that's going to benefit the team.
A: That's a good trait to have. Speed is always good. John Ross is a very fast human being. I don't think I've ever been around a guy that fast. But it's good to have all those guys. Man, the depth at that spot at the returner position, it's a fun thing.
Q: Can he be an explosive returner?
A: We'll find out here today. We'll find out here in a minute. I'm excited for him, the opportunity that he has and we've got a bunch of guys back there we're confident in.
Q: How about (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney)? You see him having a spot with you guys?
A: Kadarius is just like all the rest of these rookies, he's gotta earn his way. He's no different than a rookie free agent out of Georgia Southern, (DL Raymond Johnson III). I mean, he's gotta earn his way, he's gotta earn our trust, he's gotta earn his teammates' trust and that's just the reality of the situation because nobody comes in here and is given anything. You're going to earn everything you get.
Q: What intrigues you or excites you about him as a returner?
A: We all saw the tape about the kid. We've seen it. He has speed, he has quickness, all those things, but this ain't the Swamp. This is the Meadowlands.
Q: You talked about earning trust way back in the spring. Has he made strides in doing that?
A: Well, all of the rookies are trying. They're all attempting to make those strides. But you want to see it in the meetings, you want to see it on the practice field, but ultimately it's going to be there, it's going to be right there in that stadium when the lights are shining the brightest to see what they do. To us, the practice part of it is the most important thing that we do, but obviously game day is going to make the deciding factor to us as coaches when we look at it.
Q: Thomas, you know what you're getting with Jabrill as a returner. How much do you have to balance how much he does for the team versus keep on running him out there?
A: Jabrill is a football player and he's one of those guys that if you take things away from him, it takes away from him as a player. The more you give him, the better he is. I think if you put Jabrill at tailback, it wouldn't matter. He's just a football player. You put him in any position and you trust him because you know he's going to give his best, he's going to work his tail off and he's going to be a great teammate. He's going to bring the energy, he's going to bring the juice and when it's time to make a play he's going to be looking to make one regardless of if it's hands team, if it's onside kick, if it's third-and-three. Whatever it is, in any package he's going to be looking to make a play.
Q: Thomas, how do rookies earn your trust?
A: Being consistent, being coachable, being able to execute when called upon because a lot of times rookies don't get a lot of reps, especially some of those down the line guys. When you put them in there, put them in the game, they step up and they make a play, that's how they earn trust.
Q: After the offseason, the first time you looked at (Defensive Coordinator) Patrick (Graham), did you do a double-take or anything, like where did he go?
A: That's a good question. He's worked his tail off and I'm happy for him to be able to lose that weight. He lost it and I found it, you know? But I'm happy for Pat.
Q: T-Mac, I don't know if you saw this article, but there was an article about why special teams coaches make good head coaches. I'm just wondering, have you seen an increase in your responsibility and your contributions given that you basically do have your hands in working with offensive line, the receivers and a variety of positions? Do you actually see an increase in what you contribute to the meetings and with the feedback?
A: My job hasn't changed. The situation with being a head coach in the league and all of that stuff, I just focus on the Giants. I focus on whatever my responsibilities are given and I've always found in this league that if I take care of the job that I have, the next job will jump in my lap, you know what I'm saying? Every one I've ever chased I've never gotten, but the ones that I always get just kind of jump in my lap because I'm just going to focus on what my job is. I'm not trying to do any more or any less. I just want to do my job and make sure our guys are getting the best coaching they can possibly get and that's it.
Q: How does John Ross compare to some of the fastest returners you've ever seen or coached?
A: He's fast. Just put it this way, he is right at the top of the list. He has what we call 'who-eee' speed, but it's fun to watch in practice. When he gets his opportunity to get out there and go play, I look forward to watching him.
Q: We know (Running Back) Gary Brightwell was drafted with an eye on special teams. Where does he fit in in your mind?
A: Teams, as a backup running back, and he has to find his role on this team. He understands why he was brought in here and he knows that. He knows we've got 26 back there and he's just trying to find his way like all the rest. It's our job as coaches to make sure they figure it out, so we're just trying to push him along and have him understand what he needs to do to help this football team take the next step.
Q: T-Mac, as someone with a preexisting condition, did you make any kind of impassioned plea to the players over the previous month or so about the vaccine or does anything make you uncomfortable about it?
A: There's so many different things about the vaccine and I'm not getting all into it, but it is what it is. The situation is what it is. I control what I can control, what I put in my body, where I am on a daily basis. I take a lot of supplements to try and counteract some of this stuff, so I concern myself with me. I just try and take care of me because I've had a whole bunch of other things, preexisting conditions. I just try and do the best I can taking care of my health and if anything happens, that's life.
Q: You feeling good though? Everything positive in regards to check-ups and stuff?
A: I'm great. Had a checkup probably (a few) weeks ago and everything is good, so I can't complain. Got a clean bill of health and just trying to stay healthy and make it on through the year, trying to get better every day.
Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney
Q: How did it feel to do the most work so far you have in camp today?
A: It felt good. Daily progression and get better.
Q: Where are you at in your progression? How do you feel?
A: I'm still working day by day to get better.
Q: Do you feel like you're back at 100 percent?
A: I mean, I feel good. I'm good. You see me out there doing stuff today, so I'm feeling good.
Q: How much are you sort of behind and catching up? I mean you were here, but you didn't actually get out there for a full practice.
A: You said am I behind?
Q: Yes. Do you feel like you're still catching up?
A: No, I feel like I'm getting better every day, learning the playbook day by day more.
Q: How did you spend the isolation?
A: Basically, going in the playbook. I mean I want to contribute as much as I can to the team, so that's what it takes.
Q: How tough was it not being able to be out there for these first few practices? I'm sure you wanted to be out there.
A: It was pretty tough from like a mental standpoint. But talking to (Head) Coach (Joe) Judge every day, talking to the coaches, looking at the playbook and knowing what I can do, having the impact I can have when I come back, it wasn't that bad.
Q: A pace like this in practice is not really conducive to fast guys, you know what I mean? Sometimes does it get a little frustrating to not be able to get the ball and go just like you want to because the pace is pretty slow?
A: Nah, it's more of like do whatever the coaches tell you, you know what I'm saying? Today was for us. Do whatever we have to do, so just listening to whatever they say.
Q: Kadarius, they use the word twitchy a lot about you. What does that mean to you, twitchy?
A: To be honest, I don't really know. I just know it kind of means kind of quick, so I think that's good.
Q: How did you like Coach Judge punting the ball towards you?
A: That was kind of exciting, just like having hands on with your coach, that's the kind of relationship you would like to have. So it felt pretty good out there.
Q: It seems like they were sending you in motion at least on offense, are you excited about the way that they might use you in this offense?
A: Yeah. Pretty much, yeah. I'm just looking forward to the way that I'm going to be used.
Q: How much have you been playing inside, outside when you run routes and how do they divvy that up for you?
A: It's more of just, I'm a receiver, so that's basically what I have to do. I have to learn how to play inside and outside, so it's a daily progression to get better at.
Q: Has (Wide Receiver) Sterling Shepard been a resource for you as far as learning not only the slot, but just the receiver position in general in this offense?
A: I would say, yeah. I feel like the whole receiving room contributes as much as they can daily to helping me get better. Yeah, I mean Shep, he helps me really a lot. The whole receiving room, they got hands on, so the younger guys, the new guys and helping make sure everybody's on the same page.
Q: What can you learn from a guy like Sterling who has been doing it in the slot and other places for a long time?
A: I can really learn from his veteran experience because he knows what it's like to be out there and read coverages on the run and stuff like that. I feel like I can pick up a lot from him.
Q: Do you like punt returning better than kick returning?
A: Nah, it's really all football, so I mean wherever they put me back there to do, that's what I'm going to do.
Q: Why is that so much fun for you?
A: I don't really know.
Q: You like the ball in your hands, that's why?
A: Not really. I ain't really selfish, I'm a team player.
Cornerback Darnay Holmes
Q: As a guy who spends a lot of time in the slot, you've found a lot work against Shep (Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard), what kind of work is that for you?
A: With that guy right there, Sterling Shepard, it's a lot of diligent work. He's a crafty player, a player that I love facing each and every day, and at the end of the day, he is getting me better and I'm getting him better.
Q: You're not a rookie anymore, he's a veteran, is it different battles than last year?
A: I'm still facing the same battles that I was last year. At the end of the day, I'm still the same person. I'm growing as a person, as well. He got better this offseason and I got better this offseason, so I'm just learning about the game and learning more about him as well.
Q: Shep mentioned that he pulls you aside after you guys have a rep and actually tries to tell you what maybe you should have done. How valuable is that to have a guy that's been in the league and is looking to pull corners aside and can do that like that?
A: Yeah, that's just that big brother mentorship that we've got going on. At the end of the day, I practice and I'm always right by him. I ask him different questions of what I should have done and what I shouldn't have done, so just having him in my circle is something that's a blessing to have for sure.
Q: Some people think he's having his one of his best camps, maybe his best camp. Does he seem especially sharp to you?
A: Yeah, he's always been a great player for me. Seeing him out there having fun, being creative on all of his routes, I'm seeing the Sterling Shepard that I always thought I saw.
Q: What impresses you so far about #89, the rookie (Wide Receiver) Kadarius Toney?
A: He's a great guy. Off the field, he's a great guy. On the field, he's a twitchy guy. He's just a guy that you love to have on your team.
Q: A twitchy guy?
Q: How do you feel like camp's been going for you so far?
A: Camp has been an ongoing process for me. I've been in the slot more and they're throwing new things at me, so I've got to be able to respond to different things. But knowing where I'm supposed to be going and so I'm just taking it day by day.
Q: You have a little background with (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson), you've known him for a while. How cool was it when you found out he might come here and then when he signed, how special was that for you? He was a little bit older, but obviously the same area and all that.
A: Definitely, definitely. It's a blessing having him here. It's crazy, at the start he was somebody I always looked up to so having him in my ear and having him as an induvial in the locker room is something special for sure.
Q: How much more do you think you know about this defense than you did last year? It's the same system, same coach, things like that. Do you feel light years different than last year?
A: I definitely feel more in-tune with the defense, more in-tune with the scheme.
Q: Do you sense everybody feels that way with things happening faster on defense and guys know what (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Pat Graham's system is now?
A: I feel like we are just more in-tune with each other. Last year was just a different year overall, so we're in here in OTAs and we're in here in minicamp to learn each other more and we're able to bond off the field. So pretty much when we hit the field, we all know what our values are and what are morals are. We're are all after the same thing.
Q: Looking back, you had a strange rookie experience when it started with the whole COVID and the Zooms. No rookies have ever gone through stuff like that?
A: Yeah, definitely. It's just the hand I was dealt and I feel like we handled it great. I appreciate the organization and the tools that they gave us, and they pretty much gave us everything we needed and we utilized it pretty well.