Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham
Q: So how do you feel about where the defense is now that the roster is cut down and after training camp?
A: We've got to get better every day. So, where we're at, I think where we're at right now, we need to improve and today's going to be an important day before the guys have their days off. We've still got a lot to improve. Like to me, even the early part of the season's really an extension of training camp as you're trying to find your way and see who's playing more fundamentally sound. Again, figure out the things with the roster and all that stuff like that. So, I just hope this – from, what is it September 2nd or 3rd? I just hope we're a lot better come January 9th. That's what I'm hoping. So, hopefully we're not where we need to be.
Q: What was that night like after the first practice in New England? We talked to (Defensive Back) Logan (Ryan) and (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) a little bit about it, but how did you handle that with the group? Did you let the players take the lead? Did you read them the riot act?
A: I think for me as a – and again, I've said this to you guys before, I think of myself as a teacher. I think all of our coaches on our staff think of ourselves as teachers. So, I think it's important to be consistent. For me, I'm trying not to get too up, trying not to get too down and just correct the mistakes. So, like whether it was the first day at New England or the second day at Cleveland, just try to correct the mistakes. Now, can it get animated at times or can our voices change in terms of the tone? Absolutely. But that's how it goes sometimes. Really what we did is just correct the mistakes and said we've got to play better the next day and that's what they worked to do. We did in some cases, some cases we didn't, but it was more competitive. That was encouraging.
Q: So as a teacher, are you harder on students who last year kind of had a built-in excuse or are you harder on the students this year that believe that everything is kind of coming together a lot quicker than what last year was?
A: Just my personality – again, you guys don't get a chance to really – I'm just hard and miserable all the time. I don't know. That's just who I am. Doom and gloom, they probably would say that. This is probably the most I've smiled all day, doing this stuff. So, I can't differentiate between the two. But yeah, I'm probably hard. I mean, you have to ask them. It's usually probably the same.
Q: Well, it seemed from talking to Logan and Blake that they were hard on themselves?
A: I mean, the players – that's the thing. It's a players' game. I talk about it all the time. What happens between the white lines, that's them. It's my job to teach them and get them prepared for situations and stuff, and really, to put them in the right spot and try not to screw it up. The benefit of having veteran leadership like we have, they're able to self-police in terms of, OK, sometimes the effort. Not saying we won't coach the effort, we'll do that, but they're able to get on each other. I think that's one of the best things that (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) does in terms of building the camaraderie amongst the team. Whether it's the functions we do together, the Team of Teams stuff, we get more and more comfortable with one another where you can have those uncomfortable conversations. It's no different than your brother or sister. I could have a conversation; my brother could tell me shut up and it doesn't come to blows because there's a reason why. We shared a room for 18 years. He's my best friend. We're able to do stuff like that because we have that relationship. It's no different than what Joe's building here with the guys. With the relationships, you're able to have those tough conversations. 'We did not perform well. Let's get this fixed.' That's the benefit of having veterans on your team.
Q: Last year, that number two corner position was kind of a revolving door for you guys opposite (Cornerback) James (Bradberry). For as long as (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) is sidelined with his ankle, how do you feel about that position and who you have?
A: The injury stuff, I don't really talk about it. The thing is, we've got a lot of good players on that back end right there and Adoree' is one of them. Joe will really address any of the injury stuff, but like –
Q: I'm sorry. I'm saying while he's out, everybody else, how do you feel about those guys?
A: Oh, the beauty of it is like in terms of the people we evaluate, we've brought in, I feel good because we have a lot of guys that can cover. We've got a lot of guys that can cover. We've got a lot of guys that can tackle and they're improving every day. (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome (Henderson) does a great job. Jerome, (Assistant Defensive Backs Coach) Mike (Treier) and (Senior Defensive Assistant) Jeremy (Pruitt), they do a great job of teaching the fundamentals with these guys. You've seen improvement over the five weeks that we've been here. I have confidence because I know this, whoever's down in whatever part of the season, the other team doesn't care. We have to prepare, and we have to get those guys ready, so that's just more preparation for the season, in my opinion. Because again, Denver's not going to care if whoever's not playing, they don't care. They're just going to play who they play.
Q: Speaking of cornerback, what did (Cornerback) Sam Beal show you in training camp? I know he was a guy that wasn't with the team last year, so he kind of had a fresh face for you.
A: Just the improvement every day. I mean, just trying to get better every day. That's what you're looking for. Now, is he where he needs to be? Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Just like I'm not where I need to be. But improvement every day, small steps, that's what you're looking for. Now, the next thing you've got to work on is consistency. Can you be consistent? Again, you don't have to be a world-beater, but can you improve every day and be consistent? Now, you build trust with the teammates and with the coaches. That's what we're looking for with a lot of our young players because remember, he didn't play football last year, so it's no different. I don't know how much he played his rookie year, but it's like he's just starting all over again. You've got to get better every day, start to perform with some consistency, so you can build that trust amongst your teammates and coaches.
Q: Are you going to play (Defensive Back) Keion (Crossen) on defense at all?
A: I can't predict – I mean, he played some in the preseason.
Q: I think he only played two snaps?
A: That counts. You said played (laughs). You didn't say how much. Pretty much most players on defense on the roster, they're going to play defense. You know what Joe says, if they're at the game, we're going to play them. I don't know exactly how many plays or what role. I don't know if he's going to be active – who knows? I don't know how to predict the future, but we're not afraid to play our players. I know that and I know Joe says that. So, that might be a specific question for Joe, but if they're at the game, they're ready to play. If they're on defense, they're ready to play. I mean, we've got guys on the offense playing defense in the preseason. I've had a regular season game where that happened. I've had an AFC Championship game where that happened. If you're at the game, you're ready to play.
Q: How do you feel about what you've seen from (Linebacker) Lorenzo (Carter) and (Linebacker) Oshane (Ximines), two of your edge rushers who kind of need to step up this year? But they're both coming back from pretty serious injuries.
A: Lorenzo – again, I'm not going to get emotional or anything, but like I'm very proud of his progress, to be honest with you. Very proud of his progress. I think he looks like a different football player on the field. Now, we'll see how it comes through –
Q: Why does it get to you so much?
A: Because you see a guy who – the stress of the, OK, potential this, potential that, all the time. Having a good season last year. I think he had, what, three sacks? Not that sacks are the end all be all, but like he was doing well and then he gets hurt. He works his way through. He's in the building all the time. We see him every day and then for him to come out on that field and he looks like a different football player to me than anything I saw in his previous three years. I'm just happy for him. I'm happy for him. Again, as a teacher, that's what we do. I get it's a business, but just like a teacher getting somebody to understand math or calculus the first time or algebra or go back to just basic arithmetic. You're happy for that. Like, I'm very happy for these guys. They're all still young dudes, very happy for him. X (Oshane Ximines), same thing, he's improving. I would say the last few weeks, really this last week, he started to take some steps in terms of the improvement. I'm just happy for these guys. That's what I mean. That's why I do this. That's why I do this. I don't know where else I would get fulfillment, like I do with this coaching thing, to be able to watch these young men fulfill a childhood dream. Just again, I might be being a little dramatic right now, but that's how I am.
Q: You don't sound like doom and gloom though?
A: Yeah, I know. I'm happy for them. I didn't say for myself, so yeah.
Q: What is it about (Safety) Julian Love's game that allows him to essentially play every position in secondary?
A: Well, the thing is he's smart, he's tough and he can tackle, and then he has a skillset of a defensive back. Again, he can cover. He can play the deep part of the field. He can back pedal. He can come downhill. So, with all those skills right there, and he can handle it mentally, like it's a coach's dream. It's a coach's dream because now you've got a piece that you could move around in terms of on the chess board. He helps us there and he's very selfless. So okay, you tell him before one game, 'oh, you're playing corner.' He doesn't complain. He's like, okay. I haven't heard him complain about anything. You're playing safety this day. You're playing corner, star – he doesn't complain. So being selfless like that, that's part of who we are, team-first. Joe talks about that. We talk about it in the defensive room. Again, that's because of him, his personality and his skillset, that's why we're able to do that.
Q: (Linebacker) Quincy Roche, what do you see in him?
A: I'll tell you this, I'd never met him before. I've seen him on tape with our coaches. He almost broke my hand when he shook my hand. I said, 'hey, that's good, you know? (laughs)' So, I don't know. Maybe I'm weak? But hey, I've been working out, so he definitely almost broke my hand, so that was a good thing. He looks big. He looks big, he looks physical because he almost broke my hand. So, I'll take that and then hopefully everything comes into play on the football field. I liked the tape and glad to have him here. Our personnel department, they do a great job looking over the waiver wire, figuring out guys that can help us and I'm looking forward to working with him.
Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett
Q: How do you feel about where the offensive line is at? I know maybe they struggled a little bit to start out that game the other day, but how do you feel about how they've developed and where they're at right now?
A: Really, it's the same answer that we've had all training camp long. I think we're getting better and better. I think if you look at that game the other night there's a lot of good examples of guys playing well individually, guys playing well together. There are certainly some examples of stuff where it wasn't good enough, so we're just in that process of trying to build on the good stuff and learn from the stuff that wasn't quite as good. Some of it is recognition, some of it is technique, some of it is just experience, but they're working hard every day and I think they're getting better.
Q: You guys added a couple of new guys via trade. How quickly can they get acclimated when the season is around the corner and you only have a practice today and then they're off? Are you worried at all about having them ready for Week 1?
A: It's just part of the deal. Each of these guys we think are smart guys, they've played football, they have experience. So, it's their job, it's our job to make sure that we catch them up as quickly as we can. You said it, we have today's practice and then we're off. We'll have a bonus practice on Monday, but they've just got to spend some extra time, we've got to spend some extra time getting them up to speed.
Q: Everybody always talks about how hard (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) works at his craft. What tangible things have you seen this summer that show that the hard work is starting to pay off and that he'll be able to make those jumps that everyone wants him to?
A: I think he's done a lot of good things. Obviously, he hadn't played in the preseason until the game the other night and if you look at that tape, there's a lot of positives on that tape. There were a couple of really bad decisions, a couple of things that he's going to continue to learn from, but there are a lot of positives in how he's playing. I think he's in general getting the ball out of his hand quicker, he's more decisive, he's making a lot of good throws. We've just got to make sure we clean up some of the plays that we want to have back. He knows that and we all know that, and he'll continue to grow from the experiences the more he plays.
Q: Is that how he's going to get to that next level, not necessarily by stretching his top part, but by cleaning up the bottom part?
A: It's really every quarterback I've ever been around. One of our jobs as an organization, as a coaching staff is to try to create a great environment for him – the players that we put around him, what we're calling, what we're running, give him an opportunity to take advantage of some of his strengths and also kind of put him in situations where he can be a really good decision maker. That's our job and we've got to continue to do that. That's why we add personnel. That's why we're trying to put some weapons around him. The better Daniel plays, the better the runner is going to play, the better the receiver is going to play, the better the line plays, the better they're all going to play, the better the defense plays –it all works hand in hand. So, we're trying to create a great environment for him and for all our players, and when we do that and when we continue to learn from our experiences, we'll get better and better.
Q: Big picture with him, what is it about him that you're so sold that he's going to be a high-end quarterback?
A: I think there are just so many positives about him. Start with who he is as a person, his approach, his competitive spirit, his smarts, his toughness, all of that. And then he has athletic ability. He's big, he can throw the ball, he can move around and make plays with his feet. I think we've all seen that. The biggest thing for him is just to play more football and, again, it's every quarterback I've ever been around. They need more experience. We need to create a really good environment and they need to grow from the experience that they do have. We believe Daniel can do that.
Q: There was a stat that the average depth of target against the Patriots when Daniel was in there was 5.9 yards. Is that you just kind of keeping things vanilla for a preseason game or is it that Daniel didn't have enough time from the offensive line to throw the ball any deeper than that?
A: I think it's a combination of things. I think when you're talking about offensive football, you want to be able to run the ball and you want to be able to throw the ball. It starts there, you want to be balanced. Then, you want to be able to run it and throw it different ways. You want to be able to throw it quickly in the intermediate range and then throw the ball down the field. We're talking about the offensive line and bringing guys in, we have to get better. We have to be able to give our quarterback more time to throw the ball down the field, but we also need to be efficient. We need to be able to mix it up, throw the ball quickly, get it out, make positive plays. I think we had two 11-play drives in the game, a nine-play drive. Those are positive things, but you and I both know we need to make some explosive plays. That's what leads to scoring. So, we have to find what that balance is.
Q: With (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph, obviously, we know (Tight End) Evan (Engram) is banged up right now. How close is Kyle Rudolph do you feel without having much training camp to being ready to be effective in your offense?
A: Well, Kyle's played a lot of football in this league. The biggest issue with us is he's just been hurt, so he hasn't had a chance to practice. He's practiced here the last couple of days, he's looked good. He's obviously very comfortable. He picks things up quickly. He's run a lot of the plays that we're running. I think he's a quick study in that regard, so more than anything else it's just getting out there, getting his football feet underneath him. He's done a really good job the last couple of days.
Q: Have you seen enough out of (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay to know what you have in him, what you can do with him, or is that going to be a little bit of a work in progress?
A: We saw a lot of him in Detroit. That's one of the reasons we liked him and wanted to bring him here, so that's where it starts. But then certainly you want your guys to practice every play every single day. That's how they get better, that's how they get comfortable with each other. But that's not realistic, so whatever the situation is we have to make it work. Obviously, we'd love to have Kenny out there every practice, he and Daniel working on their timing, but that hasn't been the case, so we deal with what the situation is. He's stayed completely engaged. He understands what we're doing. We'll get a chance to have him practice more and more here the next week or so and we'll find out more, but I think we have a real good feel for what his strengths are and the positions we want to put him in. It's just time on task more than anything right now.
Q: How much of a feel do you have for what the offense is going to look like given that you haven't seen him and you haven't seen (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney), (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) working with Daniel? How much do you feel that?
A: Again, I think you have a feel going in, now you just want to see it on the practice field, you want to see it next week, so today's an important practice for us. The bonus practice on Monday is important. Again, we have a notion about what these guys are, we have a vision for what they are and how they fit in, but we need some time on task.
Q: Do you learn over time, like you see a guy in practice and think, 'Oh yeah, I've got a play for him. I didn't realize he could do this,' or do you know it all already?
A: You don't know it already. I mean, you're always learning and growing and you're always learning more and more about your players. I think one of the things that we've always talked about is you never want to put a ceiling on a player. You never want to say, 'He's only this,' 'This guy can only do that,' 'He only can play here.' You always want to stretch their limits. You want to see them as they can be, if you will, so you want to put them in those situations and see if they can handle it. You're always trying to look for those things for players at all positions and then you make those evaluations about what's best for the team and you go forward.
Q: (Center) Nick Gates has been entrenched at center, but if it was your best five to play him elsewhere would it be too disruptive to have Daniel work with a new center suddenly right up against the regular season?
A: I don't want to deal in any hypotheticals. We're always trying to get our team better, we're trying to help the players who are here get better and we're going to evaluate those players against each other, but also against the league. That's when you make the decisions that we've made. There are some guys out there that we liked, we wanted to bring in. We're going to give them a chance to get themselves acclimated and then we'll decide who we think our best five are, what're the best combinations and then we'll go.
Q: You said there was examples of Daniel being decisive and making quick decisions. Is that a big point of emphasis for him this offseason?
A: I think it's a big point of emphasis for every quarterback. You have to understand what you're trying to do on offense, what the defense is trying to do, and you want to be a great decision maker. A big part of being a great decision maker is being decisive. I see it, I like it. This is what they're playing, this is what we're doing, here's where I want to go with the ball and that helps everybody get better. So, you're always working with your quarterbacks. Now until the end of time, you'll be talking about that – being a great decision maker and being decisive and getting the ball out of your hand.
Q: Can you fully utilize your whole playbook if the offensive line struggles the way it did against New England, or do you have to call plays to protect everyone?
A: We have a tremendous amount of confidence in our guys up front. We have a young group, they're getting better, they're working hard, they're working the right way. We'll always evaluate what we think is best for that position group, for the tight ends, the receivers, the quarterbacks, and the runners, and try to put them in the best situation as we try to put a game plan together and call a game on Sunday.
Q: Are you going into next week assuming you'll have Saquon for Week 1 and then waiting to hear back that maybe you're not?
A: Saquon's done a great job, so we take it day by day. He did a really nice job at practice yesterday. We anticipate him practicing today, so that's really the approach we take with all our guys. He's done a hell of a job working hard to get back though.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: Have you been in touch with (Long Snapper) Casey (Kreiter) a lot in the past 24 hours to make sure nothing crazy happened?
A: Oh man, that's just part of the process. Casey is good and back in the building. We're ready to rock.
Q: Do you worry about somebody else that might come in and snatch him up?
A: No, I'm not going to worry about that. Casey is a good man. We've got a trust, we've got a good relationship. He wants to be here, we want him here, so it all worked out.
Q: How did (Center) Nick (Gates) do in his one day there?
A: Nick is a good football player, very versatile. Obviously, you watch him play offensive line, he's played all three positions in the game and really, actually all five. He's a good athlete. He's probably got the best hands on our team as far as offensive linemen are concerned. He's a very good athlete.
Q: (Wide Receiver) C.J. Board has gotten a lot of reps at kick returner throughout camp and the preseason. How do you feel like he's performed there?
A: He's done nothing but get better as he's been here since he walked in the door last year. That was a skill he had in college and he hadn't done it a lot in the league, so we just knocked the dust off of it and he kind of jumped right back into it. He's doing a great job. He's working his tail off at it. C.J. is one those kids who comes in a room and he won't say two words and he just works. He'll run all day long and he'll continue to work at whatever you ask him to work at. He's a pro, he's becoming a really good pro.
Q: Are you happy to see (Panthers Kicker Ryan) Santoso get a job?
Q: I know it's a different staff, but did your Carolina connections come in at all?
A: (Panthers Special Teams Coordinator) Chase (Blackburn) is the special teams coordinator over there, but I think more than anything, it had to do with the situation that they were going through and then Ryan being who he is. I'm super excited for the kid. He's worked his tail off, he put in a lot of work just from converting to a three-way guy to being a kicker and a kickoff guy. I'm just super excited for him and the opportunity that he's getting down there in Carolina. Sky's the limit for that kid.
Q: What does a (Fullback) Cullen Gillaspia bring to special teams besides the great head of hair (laughs)?
A: Cullen is a great competitor. He works his tail off and he does have the nice locks (laughs). He's very conscientious. Obviously, he was the 12th man at (Texas) A&M, so you know he's a competitor. He fights and he just wants to learn, he's like a sponge right now. We're just trying to give him all the information he needs to be successful, then he'll go home and study and come to work and study and work and work and work. Hopefully, he ends up where he wants to be, but he's heading down the right path for sure.
Q: Where do you stand with the kickoff returner at this point?
A: We'll see, we've got a lot of options. We'll see where (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) fits in, who knows. We've just got a lot of options. We've got a lot of different guys we could put back there. We've got a lot of guys that have done it in the past, a lot of viable options. It's always good to have options at that spot.
Q: You have about a half dozen guys who seem like they're starting on all four core units. How good do you feel about that group that is in place right now?
A: They're just growing. They're growing as a group and as a unit and that's all we can expect. I feel good about the group as a whole. They're young, they're conscientious. they're always looking to find a way to get better and they're picking up everything we're putting down. I think, more importantly, they're growing as a group and as a unit. That's the most important piece right now.
Q: At gunner, do you now have the speed and ability with (Defensive Back) Keion (Crossen) and (Linebacker) Cam (Brown) that ideally you would look for?
A: Obviously, Keion is a blazer, it jumps off the tape. Cam is learning the position and I think Cam has the potential to be an outstanding gunner. There are some things he still needs to work on, because it's a new position for him. Anytime you put a young kid in a new spot, there's going to be some growing pains. Once he starts to figure it out for what works for him, he's going to be good.
Q: (Free Agent Safety) Nate (Ebner) was here on a visit this week. Did he give you guys any idea of how long until he's ready to suit-up?
A: I'll let Nate take care of that. When he gets here, I'll coach him. That's kind of my deal with him. I love him to death. Nate is an outstanding leader and has been a great (special) teamer in this league for years. Anytime you can get a guy like that back in your building with that kind of leadership and that kind of experience, I can't wait to get him back.
Q: I think, and maybe it was just me, that there was a thought that (Defensive Back) Jabrill (Peppers) might be backed off of being a returner in the sense that he's had the ball in his hands a lot. Is that just about whoever is the most dangerous, that's who's going to be back there?
A: Like (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) always says, the best players will play, that's kind of our deal. The best players will play. Jabrill gives us an opportunity. Obviously, he's been a really good returner in this league since he's been in the league. The best players will play. It depends on situations. It just depends, there could be a situation where we use three different returners in one game, you never know. That's just the way the game flows sometimes. Again, having options is always good.
Q: Back to gunner for a second, when you have a guy like Cam with his profile, and I know we've asked you about it, does it force teams to think about who are they going to double and make choices that make it difficult on them?
A: Absolutely, you've got to deal with both of them. With Keion, we traded for him for a reason. He has a unique skill set, and he's a blazer. Then, Cam on the other side is a big, strong, long, powerful guy who can run also. Teams will have to deal with those guys. Then, throwing in a C.J. Board and some of these other guys that we have and having to deal with speed on both sides. It's always good for your punt team.
Q: Cam made the big tackle in Cincinnati last year. Then, it looked like he stopped a big one from breaking in Cleveland. Is that second effort stuff, is that awareness, is that his physical ability? What is he showing you?
A: It's everything you just named, it's all of that. Cam is a very instinctive player. He plays hard. He has great physical ability and then coupled with a really good motor, he's able to make plays like that. That's what you love in a kid like that, that kind of energy, that kind of effort, that type of tenacity. As a gunner, you have to play like that. You've got to be relentless to the ball and that's his skillset. That's who he is.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: Did you take your first hit today?
A: We did a normal practice safely, and just talked to the guys and (they) gave me some good shots. But it's (about) route-running and running routes just to get me back in the flow of things, so I guess you could say yes. But today felt good at practice and practicing with everyone on the team. Think that was definitely needed. Just grateful to be out there and just getting ready for the season.
Q: Does that feel like a checkpoint for you? I'm sure there have been a lot along the way.
A: There have definitely been a lot of checkpoints along the way, but (I'm) just happy to be able to get out there. Yesterday, I had a run and I just thought about like, this is kind of the first time I really carried a ball in that situation from the last time I hurt my knee. Just taking it one day at a time and just being blessed to be able be back out there playing the sport I love, going out there and doing the thing I enjoy the most with a great group of guys.
Q: If the doctors and (Head Coach Joe) Judge told you you're not playing Week 1, would you accept that?
A: This whole process I've been a team player listening to the doctors, listening to the coaches, listening to the trainers knowing that they have my best interest at heart. Whatever they feel that is best for me and best for the team, I'm willing to do.
Q: You mentioned that it felt good to be out there running the ball. Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel? Can you see yourself being back out there soon?
A: I know Week 1 and the season is right around the corner, but I'm just taking it one day at a time. That's the approach I'm going to take not just rehabbing, but from now on. I feel like that's the best thought process to have throughout the season, not just for me as a player physically, but mentally, too. So, I'm just going to take it one day at a time and that's my approach. I'm just happy to be back out there playing the sport I love.
Q: What does that blue ribbon (rolled up prewrap) do for you?
A: It's like a knee thing. It's more kind of just for it to be there in place for comfort, I guess you could say. It's like foam that you roll up and you put on your knee, and it just feels like a place of comfort, I guess you could say.
Q: What's it like being out there lining up with (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay out there, (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph out there, (Wide Receiver) Sterling (Shepard). It's the first time that you guys have all really lined up at the same time together. That's got to be a good feeling, right?
A: Definitely a great feeling to see all those guys out there and to be out there with them. I think we did a great job of adding some key additions to our team in who's going to help us a lot. Just starting to get out there and getting reps together is definitely beneficial.
Q: Can you guys all put it together quickly? Most of the new pieces and you haven't been out there this summer. Can you put those offensive pieces together fast or is it going to take some time?
A: I truly don't know how to answer until we get out there. You never know. You don't know how the season is going to start. Obviously, you have an idea of how you want it to start, but you never know. I think we have a great group of guys, a veteran group who have been playing football for a really long time. I think between all of us we have a lot of football plays – not too much together, but just in all being on the football field. It's kind of like we've been doing this since – some of us have been playing since seven (years old), middle school, high school, but at the end of the day football is football. We do a great job here of simulating games in practice and getting us ready for games on Sunday.
Q: Was there any hit today that you did a little self-scan right away and said, 'Okay, everything is in place, we made it through that one'?
A: No. I think that's a positive thing. I'm not really focusing on it too much. Going out there just practicing, trying to get back to full speed, trying to get back into football condition. It's two different conditions from being able to run all day to actually go out there and making those live simulated cuts and game cuts and game routes. That's just been my biggest focus, just getting my conditioning back.
Q: At this point, are you still doing to rehab for the knee or are you just in football mode out there in terms of training and stuff?
A: I rehab every day no matter what. Before the injury, after an injury, I'm always doing something for my body. I put a lot of work into my body, I put a lot of my money into my body, so that's not going to stop. I guess you could call it 'prehab.' That's how you've got to do it not just for injuries that have happened already, but to prevent injuries from happening further down the line. That's the mindset I'm going to keep doing. I'm going to keep taking care of my body, keep training hard, keep pushing myself and hopefully my body will take care of me.
Q: Do you feel like your old self out there?
A: I guess. I feel good, taking it one day at a time. I'm just not even trying to think about do I look like my old self. I'm a very confident player. I know whenever I'm able to get back out there – maybe it might be one quarter, maybe it might be one play – whatever the opportunity is, when I'm back out there I know I'm going to be able to go out there and be who I am and play how I am. Right now, I'm not focusing on if I'm making cuts saying, 'Is that how it was before?' I'm focusing on getting in football shape, just living in the moment, enjoying the moment and playing football again.
Q: Do you feel like you're close to being in football shape?
A: Do I feel like I'm close? It's been almost 11, 12 months since I've been in a football game, so right now obviously there's still some work to be done, to be put in because obviously I've only been practicing for two to three days. That's why I've got to be a pro outside of football, within football and getting myself ready.
Q: How much have you been pushing them to play, that you want to be on the field Week 1, you want to play Week 1 and you're ready to go?
A: Those are personal conversations that I have within the team and I don't feel that it's needed to be said in the media. I've just been coming out here every single day, taking a one-day approach and just knowing that I have a great team around me who have my best interest at heart.
Wide Receiver Kenny Golladay
Q: How tough has it been not being able to be out there at practice for a few weeks, especially as you were just beginning to get into the groove and all that?
A: It was really tough. I mean, I'm kind of jealous. All the guys out there having fun really, and I for sure wish I was out there the whole training camp.
Q: How are you feeling coming back? How do you feel now?
A: I feel like each day I'm getting better. So, right now I'm just taking it day-by-day, trying to stack good days on top of each other.
Q: You say you're getting better little by little – are you sort of indicating there's more to go?
A: I feel like I've just got to continue to put good stuff on the field when I'm out there and hopefully the trainers tell me what it is.
Q: How much do you feel like you have your explosiveness, so far?
A: I mean, this is literally like the first day and a half I'm back out there, so it's still fresh. I've still got to get my legs up under me and everything.
Q: You have experience with this where you've had hamstring injuries before, so you know when you're real close to being there. Do you feel like you are where you usually are?
A: Yeah, but at the same time hamstrings are tricky. I mean, that's pretty much what it is. They're tricky. You've got to be smart and be patient with them.
Q: Did you learn anything from last year? Did you push it last year when you had to miss a couple of games because of it?
A: I guess you can say I learned a little bit. I really haven't practiced at all. So yeah, I guess you could say I learned a little bit.
Q: Same hamstring?
A: I don't even remember.
Q: So, you're not sure about the opener yet?
A: Like I said, I'm just taking it one day at a time.
Q: You obviously are hopeful I imagine for the opener?
A: Oh, for sure. I want to play in the opener, yeah.
Q: How has it disrupted your rhythm with (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones)?
A: It's definitely a little bump in the road, but we still have some days left. I've got to get just a lot of catches in.
Q: You've obviously been spending a lot of time with (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) out on the side. Have you guys been able to grow that relationship and bond a little?
A: Yeah, for sure. I'm just trying to keep him on a good track and trying to keep his mind clear. As a rookie, it's kind of hard coming in with injuries. I dealt with it a little bit my rookie year and I know how frustrating it can be. You almost kind of want to rush it and get yourself back out there, so I kind of make sure his head is on straight and tell him everything will be alright, and we have time on our side.
Q: When we've seen it, it's really only been in a walkthrough with all of you guys out there together offensively. When you kind of break the huddle and go out there, do you notice the offense the way it was supposed to be when you guys thought it up back in the spring?
A: I mean, I'm excited. When I look in the huddle and see all those guys, it's very exciting. But people have been in and out of the lineup, so we're going to be a little probably slow to get off. But we've got some workers on this team and I feel like if we put the work in, I feel like we can be really special.
Q: With that kind of injury, can you start on a pitch count? Like, let's say only play 15 snaps in a game or does it have to be all or nothing?
A: It all depends on how it's feeling really.
Q: What have you learned about Daniel Jones?
A: He's a competitor, (he) works hard. I mean, that's somebody that I want to play with. A guy that's going to go out there and give you everything he's got, and I'm going to do the same in return. That's all you can really ask for.
Q: What have you seen from (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley)? First time on the practice field, he's supposed to be injured, does he look injured to you?
A: Saquon's just a whole bunch of energy, man. I mean, it's pretty much everything I saw before I even got here, and he comes out here and he puts that on the field.
Q: You mentioned it with Kadarius that you were kind of in that situation as a rookie, is that what you were kind of saying with missing time? How hard does that make it for a rookie to come in and make a significant impact early when you do have that throughout the summer or spring?
A: Being a rookie period is just tough. You finally reach the goal, now you've got to learn a whole new playbook. You're in a whole different city and then on top of that, an injury. You have a lot of people back home counting on you. It can mess with your mental (state) a little bit. Like I said, with me going through that and experiencing that, I just try to make sure that he was alright.
Q: So, you think it was much more mental than anything when you're in that spot?
A: Mental and physical. I mean, you're still dealing with an injury.
Q: I'm sure you feel like you can run every route, get every first down and run over the middle, but obviously big plays and throwing the ball deep is kind of why they brought you here. Do you feel like hamstring-wise and play-wise you can do that right now? Do you think you can stretch the field?
A: It's only day two, really like a day and a half for me. I've got some time. I'm going to keep working and hope for the best.
Q: Does uncertainty about your offensive line, new guys coming in, maybe struggles in a game, does that affect the other guy's confidence in how the offense is going to operate?
A: I really can't answer for anybody else, really.
Q: What are your personal expectations for the season?
A: That's personal. I'm going to keep that personal.
Q: Are you a guy that writes them down and puts them in your locker? Any numbers?
A: Not necessarily in my locker, but they're in the back of my head for sure.
Linebacker Lorenzo Carter
Q: (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham was out here earlier today talking to us, and he said he was going to get a little emotional even though he didn't want to, when talking about your progress and the player he's seen emerge this summer. Do you feel the growth that he said he has seen in you this summer?
A: Yeah, I think so. I think Coach Graham has done great job just trusting the players. He doesn't try to play the game himself. He knows that the players are going to go out and do what we have to do to win games and he puts us in the position. I appreciate Coach Graham, everything he's done, he teaches us the game, he teaches us more than just the X's and O's, he teaches us the whole thing and I've learned a lot under him.
Q: Can you describe the player you are right now compared to the player that was here last year pre-injury?
A: Just a faster player. Not in speed, like when they say the NFL is so much faster than college and different levels of football. It's the anticipation, it's the knowing what's going to happen next, just understanding the game plans and understanding what the opponents want to do to you.
Q: Do you have a chip on your shoulder at all after last season? Are you coming into this season saying, 'Hey, I'm back here and I'm ready to go?'
A: Oh yeah, for sure. You've got to have that chip on your shoulder. It's just understanding myself and the player that I am and just understanding what I have to do. It's no expectations, nothing from the outside world, I don't listen to the outside world. Me knowing myself, I know what standards I hold myself to. I'm looking forward to going out there and putting it on the field.
Q: I think (Defensive Lineman) Leonard (Williams) said when we were in Cleveland that the way the two of you have learned to play off one another has really helped both of your games. Have you felt that? How much have you picked from his game and played off of it?
A: Man, I missed getting the chance to play with Leo. We only got a few games together, the first year he was here, then last year I went down, but Leo is a great player. He's an explosive player, a disruptive player, just having somebody like that next to you, Leo, (Defensive Lineman) Dex (Lawrence), all the interior guys. Just getting the chance to play with impactful players like that, all we can do is make each other better.
Q: Patrick Graham said he almost got emotional talking about your comeback. What does that mean to you about a coach that cares about you that much that he gets emotional talking about your comeback?
A: Yeah, that's the thing, they let us know, it's not just coaches and players, we're co-workers. We're all in this thing together. It's a submarine, it's us versus the world and as long as we know each other, we all got each other's back. That just makes it a much easier work environment and just makes it better to want to go to war for each other.
Q: What don't we know about your comeback? Were there days where it seemed too hard or on the verge of tears? What don't we know since not seeing you play since December?
A: It was a long road, but of course there were days where I was down and days where I really just missed ball and wished I could just be out here with my guys. It's just the nature of the beast. Unfortunately, injuries happen and it's just about how you bounce back and how you keep moving forward. That was my main thing was just keep moving forward.
Q: Do you feel like you're playing at a better level than you were even before the injury?
A: Like I said, it's all just about moving forward and getting better every day. That was the main focus in rehab and that's been the same focus I've had coming out here to practice. Getting the chance to play football again is just, you've got to keep getting better. If you're not getting better, you're getting worse.
Q: So, you're better?
A: (laughs) I would like to say I'm better than I was a few months ago.
Q: You were playing really well before you got hurt. Did you wonder if you'd get back to that point?
A: Yeah, coming off of injuries, it's a lot (of) mental, it's a lot of mental and physical. You have to get over that hump in your head where it's like, 'Can I do this? Can I trust myself to come out here and be the same type of player?' I think that all comes back down to rehab, trusting the trainers, making sure that I trust them, listen to them. When they tell me I'm ready, I'm ready.
Q: People always say it's a business. Did it matter to you that this is your contract year, so you don't get a year to take it easy. You've got to prove that you need a free-agent contract next year. Does that matter at all?
A: I don't think so. There was no, 'I can have a year to come out here and be easy.' Whether it's a contract year, whether it's rookie year, you don't have that time. We don't have that ease, it's a business. Like you said, it's a business, so if I come out here and think I have a year then, you see what happens.
Q: How have you carried the expectations that have been on you. Since you got here, everyone has said that you would be a huge pass rusher and last year looked like the year that it was going to happen and then you got hurt. How do you carry that type of pressure on your shoulders?
A: It's all about managing expectations. Everybody and their mama are going to have expectations and say what you should be doing, what they think you should be doing. As long as you come out here and trust the coaches, put in that work every day, then it will line up in itself. Everything will fall in place and that's what I'm doing. I'm trusting the process and enjoying the process while I'm at it.
Guard Ben Bredeson
Q: What have these past few days been like for you?
A: Pretty nuts. Pretty nuts, but it's a great opportunity to come up here to New York. Super excited. I got here two nights ago and been loving it ever since.
Q: They took a guard seven picks after you in last year's draft, did they have much interest? Did you talk to them a lot in the pre-draft process last year?
A: We had contact. To be quite honest, I don't remember a whole bunch about that whole draft process. It was all a whirlwind as well. I'm sure we had good talks at the combine and throughout the process. So, it's always a good fit.
Q: Have you talked to (Ravens Guard) Kevin Zeitler at all about coming over here?
A: Absolutely, I did. Kevin kind of gave me the quick rundown. We've been texting the last few days. He's a great guy. I train with him in the offseason. We live pretty close to each other back in Wisconsin, so I've known him. I grew up in like the shadow of Kevin the whole time because he was a big deal in my hometown. Now we're great friends, peers and having him be able to help me while we were in Baltimore together for a little bit and now help me in this transition to New York, I can't say enough great things about him.
Q: Is it weird that if he was still here, you would probably be starting in his spot in Baltimore? Do you play that kind of hypothetical game?
A: I don't know. I'm not going to get into the hypotheticals or anything like that. I'm very happy for him. I'm sure he's going to have a hell of a year and I wish nothing but the best for Kev.
Q: What would you say is your play style? What are your bringing to the fold for the Giants?
A: Physical player, I try to be it in the passer game and the run game and just going to give them everything I have, every single snap.
Q: How similar to what they want to do here – I know you're probably just in the early stages of trying to catch up in the playbook – how similar is it to what you did in Baltimore?
A: There's some carryover in the style of play. We're trying to have a physical run game on both sides. Obviously, we had a great quarterback in Baltimore, and we have a great quarterback here in New York. It's a great organization to come in and play for.
Q: How quickly do you think you can get up to speed? Could you start four practices, eight days from now?
A: I'm just focused on getting as many plays down as possible, getting all the meeting time, using it as most efficiently as I can.
Q: What were some of the things as a rookie last year that Baltimore told you to work on to earn that starting role?
A: I've always been working on pass-pro fundamentals, quick feet, quick hands, delivering the hands strike through the blow. That's just something I've constantly been working on. It's something that we all need to be continuing to work on, myself included. I work on that every single day and that's just carrying over here. It's just working on your basic fundamentals and trying to do that as well as you can over and over.
Q: What will these next three days be like for you because technically you guys are off, are you going to be cramming I assume?
A: It's like a college study session all over again, you know? It's going to be the college crams all over. Yeah, my nose will be in the playbook the whole time and I might be able to go explore a little bit, but we'll see.
Q: Were you surprised that the trade came about? Did it come out of nowhere or did you kind of sense there was a numbers crunch?
A: I mean, I didn't really – I wasn't really paying attention to that. To be completely honest, yeah, it was. I hadn't really heard anything and then all of a sudden, I was told to get in my truck and head three hours north and I had a new team now. It's been a blessing and I've loved every minute that I've been up here.
Q: How was it kind of presented to you? Like where are they expecting you to fit in and what are they expecting you to do?
A: We've talked a little bit, but honestly, I'm just coming in here and just competing every day, trying to build a team here that can go out and win a bunch of games. I'm going to do whatever I can to be a part of that and I think that's the understanding that the coaches and I have is that my job is to help the team win in any capacity I can.
Q: Have you asked any of your new teammates to give up the three days to sit there and cram with you or what?
A: No, no. I've got their numbers, so I'll be calling if I need. But right now, I've just been studying.
Q: What's it like to come in and meet like four offensive line coaches? Was that a surprise to see how many guys they have working with the O-line here?
A: Yeah, it was actually, and I've loved it. There's a lot of eyes on you and there's a lot of different – you're constantly getting coached the entire time. You've got at least one pair of eyes, maybe two. We've got everybody there, they're extremely knowledgeable and have already helped me a lot in the two practices that I've been here.