OT Nate Solder and LB Kareem Martin held conference calls after signing with the Giants:
NATE SOLDERQ: Can you give us a rundown of how you came to your decision?
A: Yeah, so it was a tough decision. There were three really good teams that were kind of in the running and it came down to a couple things. The money was all somewhat equal and it just came down to where my family was going to be most comfortable. My wife's family lives here, this organization is incredible, just the reputation that we know and the reputation that precedes them. At about 2 a.m. we kind of worked out a deal and kind of took our time figuring out what we're going to do and we're so fortunate to be where we're at.
Q: Where is your wife's family from?
A: Her family is from Southbury, Connecticut, so not too far -- maybe an hour.
Q: You're coming to a team where the offensive line has struggled in the past. Do you think you're the key to fixing the offensive line?
A: Well, I think that it's going to be a whole group effort. I don't think one particular player is going to change the whole thing, so with everyone that is already there that I know and anyone that is coming in, we're just going to have to work as hard as we can. It's going to be an uphill process and that's not saying anything about the past, it's just that the NFL is a difficult, difficult league and we're going to have to be the best that we can be to perform at a high level.
Q: What is the biggest challenge for you with this transition?
A: Well, there are a number of challenges. I think right now my priority is just getting the family moved to where they can be situated and they can be okay, and then once that is taken care of, then I can take care of football, and I'm going to dive in as soon as the league allows. I'll be diving into the playbook and whatever the Giants can get me. I look forward to OTAs, we'll be there the whole time, every day, learning the playbook, learning to get to know my teammates, learning how the coaches operate and just doing what I can to help all of those guys and that's kind of my plan. There are going to be challenges, there are going to be bumps along the way, it's always going to be difficult. I look forward to that, I embrace that. I think it's going to be a new challenge, both an exciting and new chapter in the book, and we're looking forward to it.
Q: Does being the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL bring any pressure or prestige and did you think that when you entered the league you would ever reach that status?
A: No, this is all very surreal. But I think it's a shame on me if the money only helps the Solder family. My belief is that this money has been entrusted to me not for the personal comfort and security, but for an actual impact that we can have on our community and the people around us. I'm just such an imperfect person -- I'm going to make mistakes, so I have to rely on Jesus. We have all through our suffering with our son and everything that goes on in life, so we have to do the same thing with our rejoicing and when things are going well, we have to rely on him. But by God's grace if we joyfully look forward to the momentary impact for the New York Giants, a lifetime of impact on our communities and an eternal impact for the kingdom of God, me and my family could not be more thankful and excited, so it's just a great time. Like you said, no, I couldn't have ever expected this, but we believe that it's God's wishes, not ours, to make the impact in our communities -- for the kingdom, for people that are less fortunate for us. It's nothing about us having a bigger house, a nicer car, anything like that. So like I said, shame on me if it's just about us.
Q: How is your son doing?
A: He's doing awesome, really awesome. We're so thankful. He has one more treatment left and tentatively they're going to do scans, they're going to do different things to see if they can remove his (?). So maybe for now he'll be done with chemo and they do that all very conservatively because they know that things can change and it's never over, but we're all very encouraged and very excited with the way his treatments have gone.
Q: Is there such a thing as the 'Patriots Way' and if so, what is it and are you going to bring that to the Giants?
A: I'm going to worry about one thing and that's taking care of my business. I'm going to do the best I can to play football, love all my teammates, do the best I can in everything that I do, try to improve every day and I don't put any quotations marks around that. That's just the way that I've done it before and that's the way that I'm going to do my best to continue to do it.
Q: Do you feel any teammate-to-teammate responsibility to help out Ereck Flowers?
A: I'm excited to get to play with him and all those guys because he's a talented guy. All the decisions and all the coaching and all that sort of thing, I leave that up to the coaches. I'm going to be the best I can to do what I can -- lead by example and it's a group effort. Like I said, it's not going to be one player, so I don't have the mentality that I'm going to come in and make this huge impact, change the culture and all this kind of stuff. I'm just coming in to play football and be myself and do what I can.
Q: Can you give us an insight into how complex (defensive coordinator) James Bettcher's defense is for a linebacker?
A: This defense -- I feel like the outside linebacker position is probably the most important. We have the most responsibilities. We're expected to set the edge on the run, rush the quarterback and drop in coverage. As far as learning curve goes, there is a slight learning curve, but when JB, when he was in Arizona, he started with the outside linebackers, so he spends a lot of time with those guys to make sure that we understand the in's and out's of the defense because he's going to expect a lot from us in that position. So he's going to do his due diligence and spend the time with us to make sure that each individual in there can play to the best of their abilities in this defense.
Q: Have you heard a lot from your new teammates yet? Have they started to pick your brain yet?
A: Not so much yet. The signing just happened last night. When I was at the facility I ran into a couple guys, but haven't really talked to anybody about the defense yet. But I'm sure within the next coming weeks, some of those things, phone calls and texts will start to roll in.
Q: What did they explain to you about what your role is going to be?
A: Pretty much kind of how I was used last year and previous years within this defense. Still not really sure, it's still early, so I have to see in OTAs how I'm specifically used. But I think I'll be a little bit of everywhere. I'll learn probably both the SAM and WILL positions and probably third downs being able to move around -- there are a lot of late, complex blitzes where he likes to move guys and get them in different places that they usually might not play. That's where my versatility comes into play for this defense. So I think Bettch, he's drawing up some good things to make sure that we have a lot of guys on the field making plays.
Q: Is there really any difference between a 3-4 and a 4-3 these days?
A: I think there is a big difference between the 3-4 outside linebackers are generally similar to a 4-3 end and with that stack backer and in the 4-3 the two outside backers in there setting the edge all the time as far as that, so I think that correlation will be an easy translation going from hand in the dirt to standup. You have to feel comfortable in the run aspect and just have to get used to dropping and that's pretty much the only difference between outside linebackers in this system compared to what they've been doing in the past with their hands in the dirt and setting the edge.
Q: When you spoke with the Giants prior to signing, did they mention to you that they wanted you to help the transition into a new defense with your new teammates?
A: Yes, that's something that I expected when they gave me the call and made the offer. I knew that I would probably be looked upon as a guy who would be asked those types of questions about the defense after being in it for the last few years and even talking with the coaches at dinner and things -- they were telling me that they know I was comfortable in the defense, and if I found anyway that I could help those guys learn it or different techniques that we had learned in the past in this defense, to feel free to do that. So I think I'll be a big help in helping a lot of the guys understand the defense along with the coaches as well. I know they're going to do a great job of teaching it and learning it themselves.
Q: What can you tell us about James Bettcher the person?
A: Oh man, he's a great guy. He's a real family man. I was real excited to get back with him. When I met him, he greeted me with a big hug and before I knew we were going to dinner, I was going to go to his house and have dinner with him and his family, and he's just a genuine person and I can tell he really cares, not just about Kareem Martin the football player, but about me as a person and my family and that also helps making this decision on coming here.
Q: Was going back to Arizona a possibility?
A: Going back early in the process was definitely a possibility. I made some great relationships with those guys these past few years and it was something I thought I might have the chance to be back. But this opportunity with the Giants came up and it was the best opportunity that I had to play in the same defense -- to come here with the DC and just to come to this organization was the best opportunity for me in this free agency.
Q: If you had to take a good guess at this point, what kind of identity can we expect from a James Bettcher defense?
A: It's going to be a relentless defense. We're a heavy blitz team in the past years and he likes to get guys run up the field and I think that's what the guys are going to be really excited about, especially the guys up front. It's a one gap defense, so the guys up front, the outside linebackers and D-line, we're just expected to go straight, hit the gap and cause disruption. You look at the last few weeks of our season last year, that's what we did in Arizona, and I can fully expect with the guys that we have here that we will do the same and easily compete with the talent and with this scheme, this could be a top defense in the NFL.
Q: Do you know (LB) Alec Ogletree?
A: I don't know him personally. I just know him from playing against him the last four years. He's a playmaker. If I'm not mistaken, the last game we played, he took a pick six to the house. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that he took a pick six when he played us at home. I've seen his playmaking ability for the last four years and I'm glad to be on the same side with him.