Giants head coach Pat Shurmur and several Giants players speak at voluntary minicamp:
Pat ShurmurOpening Statement:
Day two. You had a chance to watch it yesterday. I thought, for the most part, the guys competed. There were some good plays, there's some bad plays. I thought their attention to detail was pretty good. We did some good things throwing and catching. I thought the defense defended and stripped a couple of balls, which was good. When you watch a practice, I think sometimes you've got to be careful assigning blame to the good, the bad and the ugly because as you go through practice, there are mistakes that get made and there are reasons for it and that's why you practice. So that you can go back in and clean them up and attempt to get better the next day. So, a good first day. As you just watched, we had our walk-through. The attention to detail has been good and we'll try to add to it a little bit today. We're going to add some high red zone stuff. The red zone is certainly, in my opinion, the most important part of the field. So, we get it going and all of the preparation early, so we'll do it today and tomorrow. With that, I'll take your questions.
Q: How much of your schemes are you going to install during this minicamp and do you focus on some areas more than others?
A: No, I think what you're trying to do is you're trying to teach the guys how to function. It's important, especially on offense, and even on defense, when you're playing multiple positions, to learn this thing conceptually and then go out and try to function and play fast. I think that's what you're trying to do. So, in terms of the scheme, it's hard to say the percentage. There's a good amount in, but I wouldn't say if it's over half or two-thirds or whatever.
Q: Was defensive tackle Damon Harrison's absence yesterday an excused absence?
A: Yeah, I talked with him, I'm aware of why he wasn't here. So, there's no real issues there.
Q: How did you like the way quarterback Davis Webb looked?
A: Davis did a good job for the first time out. Again, I thought he's just getting a feel for what we're trying to do offensively and it was a good first day.
Q: Can you talk about the advantages of getting an extra minicamp and the disadvantages of having to balance this minicamp with preparing for this week's NFL Draft?
A: Well, you're right, we have things right in parallel here. But every year it's the same way. Even if we're not out here on the field in an extra minicamp, we're still working with the players in preparation for the draft. There's been a lot of work done on the draft behind the scenes, I mentioned it yesterday. We had some final meetings today and we'll have some final, final meetings tonight and some final, final, final meetings tomorrow and then we'll get ready to go. Actually, the preparation for the draft continues all the way up until you make the pick. So, that's always the same. The advantage of having this extra minicamp, especially for me, is I get an opportunity as a new coach to watch the players, get to know them. You think you know them because you met them in your office, or you watched them do certain things, but you really don't start to get to really know a player until you see him out moving around. And that's been very, very good for me.
Q: Is there anything you learned about your two quarterbacks yesterday that you didn't know before?
A: Well first, with Eli [Manning], this guy's a pro. So, what you noticed about him is you only have to run a play or two and he gets the drill calibrated and he gets his feet right and he makes the throw. I quickly, after being with him one day on the field, see why he's been so successful for so long. He's a pro. And I admired what he did yesterday in the first time out. So, that's first Eli. And then with Davis, you see his size, he's got excellent arm strength. I think he moves around real well and it's just a matter of just smoothing things out. So, that's what you're trying to get as you go through kind of a pattern, or kind of a sequence of practices.
Q: You have said that quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes. You have two here that are big. Do you like that?
A: I fancy guys that are tall. You can see. Some of us are challenged in terms of height, so even in a setting like this, you're trying to find sightlines. It's no different for a quarterback when he is behind a very tall offensive line. All else being equal, as long as all the skillsets are equal or maybe even a little better than equal, guys that can see have a chance to be very good.
Q: You said you were aware of why Snacks isn't here. Is it injury or personal?
A: No, it's just we've spoken.
Q: Do you expect him back for the next camp?
A: I expect him back soon.
Q: How do you balance in the draft as a coach wanting to win and having a player that helps you right away with getting a potential franchise quarterback for the future?
A: Right, well I think really the narrative is that every player we pick is going to help us win. Done. And that's the way I look at this. I really am excited about this draft because I really believe after going through the process and seeing the way that Dave (Gettleman) and Kevin (Abrams) and all the scouts and all the player evaluation people and all the conversation, I'm very confident that we are going to pick players that are going to help us in all rounds of the draft, so that's where my excitement lies.
Q: What happened to Paul Perkins? He was in a sling yesterday.
A: Yeah, he's got a sore arm.
Q: Is there any advantage to the fact that you installed this offense with another team only two years ago?
A: Yeah there is. There is an advantage to how the whole thing came together. Mike Shula and I have familiarity; the coaches that we have are career coaches that we've hired – very outstanding teachers. There are things that will be very similar to the guys that were in Minnesota and then we've added things. There is a handful of things that the guys here on the Giants did a year ago that we've incorporated, so that's sort of what happens. When you put new players together with new coaches, we like to think that we take all of the good things from our past and blend it with all the guys that start to come together and then that's what becomes your offense. So I think that's the process that we went through.
Q: You talked about seeing your players for the first time on the field and learning and seeing mistakes and watching video. For yourself, do you have to re-learn how to be a head coach?
A: Oh, I don't know. I think I try to re-learn everything everyday and get better at things. I think it's important for me to keep kind of a wide perspective on things. When you're the offensive coordinator and there's an interception, you're super pissed off. Now, that's your defense, so you're sort of happy about that in some situations. So yeah, it's easy to do – I think. We'll figure it out.
Q: With Ereck Flowers not being here, are you able to call him and talk football? And if so, has anyone reached out to do that to gauge where he is?
A: Yeah, I've talked to him a couple of times. If you talk to the players, I'm sure there are certain players that have called him, but if they are not here – how much you can get done in a short phone call is not much.
Q: Is he upset about the position move?
A: I don't know. He hadn't talked about that with me.
Q: With all the draft preparation that you have done, do you have a strong idea of the player that you want or intend to take at No. 2?
A: We have a strong opinion of the players that we really like and we would consider picking.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Did you go back and watch film on yourself from last season after the year was over?
A: Yeah, I watched a little bit from last year, just looked at some fundamentals and things that I wanted to work on and wanted to improve on during the offseason.
Q: What were your takeaways from that?
A: Well, obviously you have some things to improve on, but obviously it's a different scheme, different things, so just trying to – most of the work is on just getting my feet moving fast. Just keep my fast twitch movements in line with where they need to be. As you get older, those can decrease, so just work hard on working on my fast twitch movements.
Q: You've talked in the past about the change in Tom Coughlin's offense to Ben McAdoo's and it was really a drastic change. How would you describe this change now?
A: Not a huge change. There is always going to be new plays. It's kind of a combination. There are some plays that are similar to last year, there are some plays that are similar to Coach Gilbride and Coach Coughlin's offense, so it's a combination. I think at this point you see most plays being run, it's just kind of the wording, how you get it called and make sure as a play is coming in you can visualize it quickly, you can get the words out and you can get to your adjustments and protections and change plays. It's really more about just running the offense even after the play is called and all that verbiage and make sure everybody is on the same page.
Q: Coach Shurmur just talked about what he learned about you being on the field together for the first time. What did you learn about him as a head coach from being on the field together?
A: I think every coach is going to be a little different. I think he does like to coach on the field. Some coaches like to just run the plays and then you coach in the film room after. He likes to each play have a quick discussion. Some you don't, some you do. But, he'll grab a receiver, he'll grab me and just talk a little bit about what you do well, what you could have done better, but I think he had a good demeanor the whole time. But he's a coach, he likes to coach up the guys and get everybody on the same page. It's a little different, it's kind of the first time you're running things. A lot of times in this time of year you have a few weeks to practice some routes and practice things on the field before you go practice them. This year you're kind of thrown right into the mix and we're kind of learning on the fly a little bit.
Q: Can you describe what you guys feel going into tomorrow night? What is it like right now for the Giants?
A: I think for the team and most players, right now our focus is on this mini camp that we're in. We're trying to learn this offense and build unity, build closeness and make sure that everybody is on the same page as we move forward. I think our focus is on the guys that are here. Obviously, come next week, we'll have some new free agents, new draft picks and we have to get them caught up to speed as quickly as possible to help us out.
Q: Are you going to watch the draft tomorrow?
A: I haven't planned my day for tomorrow yet, so I'll know who we draft. I'll know who we draft and then go about my business.
Q: Do you watch the draft usually? Do you sit there and watch the whole first round?
A: No. No. Very seldom.
Q: What would Saquon Barkley add to your offense?
A: I'll answer all the draft questions after the draft. I think that's the easiest way. There are a lot of possibilities and this person or that person, so no point in kind of speculating on the guys. We'll just wait and see what happens.
Q: Did you have a chance in the offseason to meet any of the guys that came through?
A: I met most of the top quarterbacks before. But I did get to see a few of them in the facility and I went up and talked to them just because I've been around them before. Some of the running backs, also, so I saw a few of the guys over the year. All of them are obviously good players and good people from my encounters with them, so all went well.
Q: Pat Shurmur says you are the fittest 37-year old he has seen. Do you feel like the fittest 37-year-old?
A: Well, I heard that's what coach says. I guess he hasn't been around too many 37-year-olds maybe. No, I feel good. I'm moving around well. I'm always working on my flexibility and my conditioning and offseason lifting and everything, so I haven't relaxed on that in any sense. I know I need that to kind of keep up with those other guys, but I feel good in that sense and I have to keep it that way.
Q: Not a bad compliment though?
A: It's good. Always a good thing. Compliments are always good from the head coach.
Q: Is he reminding you that you're old or that you're in good shape?
A: Thirty-seven is not old (laughs). I think 37 is young, so it's all perspective.
Q: It has been said that you spent a lot of time this offseason with Davis Webb. Can you just talk about the kind of growth you've seen in him?
A: I think Davis has always worked extremely hard, even last year. He likes watching film, he likes drawing up plays, he likes doing all those things, so we were in there a good bit – you can't really have any meetings with the coach and you're trying to learn a new offense and really the only way is kind of watching film. It was good watching it with someone else just because you can kind of help decipher what the read was or what the play was going on or what the protections are and try to figure out some things. He works extremely hard on the field, in the film room, in the weight room, so he's got the right mentality for it all and it's good. That's who you like to surround yourself with, guys that work extremely hard and it even motivates me to work harder and to keep up with him.
Q: What do you remember most about the night before your own draft?
A: I was in New York, that's about all I can remember. I think I went to dinner with my family and just tried to – it was a stressful time because of everything going on, but just tried to enjoy it and tried to enjoy the time being in New York, being at the draft, being with my family and knowing I'm going to have the opportunity to play in the NFL somewhere. So, I think I just tried to relax a little bit before. I knew once you were drafted and you are going to a team, I knew the work was about to amp up and I had to go kind of earn that right to play quarterback for that team.
Q: What has it meant to you that this new regime has come in with a lot of positivity directed at you?
A: It helps. Obviously when you feel that the coaches and the GM and everybody is excited about working with you, has your back and looking forward to good things. Obviously I have to prove that and do that every day and get on the field and make sure I'm making the right decisions, protecting the ball, making good throws and learning this offense quickly. I think we're off to a good start, but we have a lot of football left.
Q: You're five months removed from 3-13, when you see this team coming in do you kind of get the sense of, 'Where can we go this year?' Is 8-8 better?
A: I don't think I've ever put a number on going into a season. I do know that in the NFL you can go from a bad team to a good team quickly and vice versa and it's kind of happened both ways and so it's just about everybody kind of buying in, putting a few of the right pieces together, finding ways to win those close games and we've got to obviously buy in and learn this offense and work hard and be here and be committed and have great work ethic through this period and through training camp. It's just a matter of can we all put the work in to make the changes that we need?
QB Davis Webb
Q: How valuable is this week for you?
A: Well, it's the first chance – we have a new offense, obviously with Coach [Offensive Coordinator Mike] Shula and [Head] Coach [Pat] Shurmur and you do so much during the offseason, kind of watching what Minnesota did and now you get a chance to kind of do it yourself with our guys. It's been an exciting first day and exciting past couple of weeks learning the installs and learning the new system. So, now we're just going to go out and execute and have fun today and then tomorrow.
Q: Can you talk about the improvements you've seen yourself make on film?
A: Yeah, I didn't get a chance to play last year, so just kind of going off practice tapes and asking people around me that were on the staff last year what I needed to work on this offseason. And then our new coaching staff with Coach Shurmur and Coach Shula, had [TEST Football Academy Trainer] Tony [Racioppi] in area and just kind of worked on two or three really big things and just focused on that and make them no longer weaknesses, more strengths, and I think I did that. Now it's getting football back into my system a little bit, 11-on-11 action and having a rush and just kind of playing football again.
Q: What has your relationship been with Eli Manning throughout the course of this offseason?
A: It's been really great. Me and him had a pretty good system in January, February and March, just kind of working out every day together, lifting and running. And just kind of watching a little Minnesota stuff here and there and just kind of getting a conceptual mindset of what's to come. And it's really helped us the past couple of days.
Q: What do you think you have to prove to the coaching staff throughout the spring and summer?
A: I don't have to prove anything. All I've got to do is show what I've got and that's up to them. I try to do the best I can in the meeting rooms, the weight workouts, the practices especially. Just kind of show what I have and let them make a decision. It's out of my control and I'm not really too worried about it, I promise. I just work hard and I know I'm going to get a chance someday.
Q: If the Giants don't draft a quarterback in this week's NFL Draft, will you take that as a vote of confidence?
A: No, because Mr. [General Manager Dave] Gettleman gets paid a lot and he's very high up on the chain and his job is to make a decision that's going to help the Giants. So, if that's a quarterback, or if that's another position, whatever. As long as it helps the New York Football Giants, and that's all I'm about. I'm a team guy, I've said that last year, I'll say it again. My number one goal is to be the best teammate I possibly can be and whoever we get [with the] number two overall pick, we're excited about and he's going to be a great member of our team.
Q: As a quarterback, can you simulate the timing of a live rep, to kind of get a feel for how things go?
A: Yeah, the first day is always a little tough. First day's always the worst day, first of all. It's the first day back, new system, guys are moving really fast, don't really know what they're doing all the time. Both sides of the ball, just learning a new system, kind of getting the offseason out of their system a little bit and guys are just playing faster, you know? So, first day's always a little more difficult and the second day it will be a lot more clean. But I thought Eli and I did a pretty good job, operationally speaking, getting in and out of the huddle and running the plays. And I thought we did a pretty good job yesterday and now we got today to get better.
Q: Have you played in a system like this before?
A: Well, I've only been in one system in the NFL. In college, yeah there's some similarities in all the systems I've been in. Everybody's different, everybody has their own little twist to it. But enough is said about the Minnesota offense last year. They were unbelievable, Coach Shurmur did a great job dialing it up and [former Minnesota quarterback] Case [Keenum] played really well and they ran the ball good and their playmakers made plays. So, that's what we're looking forward to this year and the first day was very successful.
Q: Have you and Case Keenum talked and did he give you any advice?
A: Yeah, Case and I have sent texts back and forth and just kind of said what's up and kind of talked about Coach Shurmur a little bit. Nothing really too big to read into that, just trying to gather as much information. Case and I played for the same coaches in college.
Q: Has your relationship with Manning changed at all, since you are both starting at this same spot with this offense?
A: Not really. I think I got his respect early on last year, kind of doing so much stuff for him week to week, scheming defense wise. Now, we're on the same level. When I got here a year ago, Eli was, I think, year four in the system. So, he was at like algebra 20 and I was in addition. So, I kind of caught up a little bit towards the end of the season, not near his level, obviously. But now, we're kind of starting off in addition and now we're moving on to algebra one. So, we're getting there, we're kind of learning together and it's been a lot of fun learning with him and he's got a lot of experience.
Q: What is the biggest difference going into your second year at this point as opposed to last year?
A: That's a good question. The first thing is, I learned a system last year and I kind of tried to master it as much as I can and now you've got to flush it out of your system a little bit. There's some carryover, but not much. And then you have to kind of learn a new system and re-grow again. So, right now I'm just trying to do what the coaches are asking us to do, be coachable and complete the ball to the open guy. Coming out of college, coming into an NFL system, being in the huddle is a little different, but now I feel so much more confident and especially yesterday. I didn't mess up in the huddle one time. So, that was definitely a plus from last year.
Q: After saying if it is not here, you'll get a chance somewhere else and that you have more confidence. Is that what you feel?
A: I never said somewhere else, I just know that I'm going to get a chance. I want it to be here, let's say that. I want it to be the New York Football Giants. But again, if they draft somebody, they feel like it's going to be the best player for our team. That's up to them. I don't get paid to make those decisions, I don't want to make those decisions. I just want to complete the ball to the open guy and be a great teammate and work hard each and every day and just get better. That's what this time is about. Everybody's making a big deal about it, but it's about getting better. We just learned a new offense the past two weeks, so it's just kind of learning on the fly and translating what you learned in the meeting room to the game field.
Q: What are Mike Shula and Pat Shurmur like to work with as coaches?
A: They've been great. I was blessed to have a good group last year, but this group has upped it.
Coach Shula is very easy to communicate [with]. He's a little bit more laid back than I imagined, but he is very good, he coaches us hard, he's looking for the tiniest details and that's something you want as a player. And Coach Shurmur is awesome. You guys have dealt with him, he's easy to talk to, he's a player's first coach and it's a lot of fun learning his system because he has cool ways to learn it and make it stick a little better. And it's been helping us, especially the receivers and I, we've been spending a little time together.
Q: What ways does Shurmur use to make the offense stick?
A: It just makes sense to learn it. It's kind of hard to explain. It's just his system is very easy to learn if you put time and effort into it. You've just got to put a little time into it and you'll grasp it pretty quickly.
Q: Do you have any plans to watch the NFL Draft?
A: Yeah, because I want to see who we draft and who's going to help us this year, whose going to be the newest New York Giant. I'll watch it Thursday and I think Friday, I'll probably just go to dinner.
Q: When the quarterback draft prospects came to visit the facility, what was your takeaway?
A: I've known a couple of them for a while. So, yeah, I've seen a couple. It doesn't bother me. I understand, that's their job. Listen, if I was a GM, I understand, I'd do the same thing. So, that does not hurt my feelings, I do not care about that. The only thing I worry about is being the best I can be because I know I'm going to get an opportunity in this league and when that comes, I'm going to be ready.
Q: Does it light the fire at all, even more so?
A: No, I'm pretty motivated already.
LB Alec Ogletree
Q: What are your first impressions of this defense?
A: It's going to be a good defense. We've got a lot of talent here and I'm definitely happy to be here. Coach Bettcher has been one of the top defenses in the league the past few years and hopefully we can bring that here.
Q: Does this defense ask a lot more of the linebackers than they did maybe in previous systems you might have played in?
A: I guess you have to learn the terminology and get everybody lined up, so it kind of rolls along with the rest of them. But every coach kind of has their own little thing and as a linebacker you have to basically be an extension of the coordinator. But it's going well so far.
Q: James Bettcher said he wants this team to be aggressive, what about this scheme allows you to do that?
A: Like I said, he matches up on the outside and he got the interior line and outside linebackers creating pressure on the quarterback to cause turnovers and be aggressive. So when you've got guys like that that can match up on the back end and then also rush the passer in the front end, it definitely calls for a great defense and an aggressive style.
Q: Even yesterday when you guys weren't hitting, it seemed like the defense was playing with some attitude. Are you in charge of creating that as the middle linebacker?
A: It's definitely a defensive mindset. I don't like to take all the credit for it, but no, it's each guy in the room that's putting in the work and they have that mindset of, 'We've got to attack today and get better together.' So when you play like that, it definitely helps you out a lot to go out there and have fun and make plays.
Q: Do you feel like you guys have those types of personalities on the defense though?
A: We definitely do. We've got guys on all three levels that are aggressive, they love ball and they're here to make plays and if you can't do anything, you won't be in this league for long if you aren't doing anything.
Q: When you play in a 3-4, is there more communication between you and the other inside linebacker than the outside or is it all four?
A: There is communication going all over the place. Like I said, each coordinator is kind of different in the sense of how they want stuff to be communicated. But, you're definitely talking to the other linebacker and the outside linebacker and also the safeties and you're talking to the D-line. Like I said, there is a communication going all across the board and that's how you have to play.
Q: Does B.J. (Goodson) look to you? He's going from a 4-3 to a 3-4.
A: He's asked me a couple questions and stuff. He's going to be a great linebacker in this league. You can tell he loves ball, he definitely has the attributes and the physical part of it and now it's just about doing a little bit more mental and he's taking the steps day-by-day just like the rest of us and he's going to be a great linebacker for sure in this league.
Q: Have you gotten used to the snow and the cold the last couple of months?
A: Well, I started in St. Louis, so I kind of experienced a little bit and then went to California and didn't have it. History repeats itself or something.
Q: Has the surprise of the trade worn off yet?
A: It's still kind of new. I haven't even found a place to live yet, so just trying to figure all that out. But, the trade happened and I'm here now and glad to be here and definitely looking forward to the season.
LB Kareem Martin
Q: How helpful is it that you will be playing in the same defense, even though it is a new team?
A: It's been really helpful, especially in the transition. Coming from the West Coast to East, it can be really tough. Especially trading teams, not really knowing anyone. But having Coach Betch [Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher] here and having this defense, it takes a lot of pressure off myself, to having to learn people and learning a defense. So, I think it's been really helpful for myself and I think it'll be beneficial for the defense, me being a guy that they can lean on when they have questions about the defense or any of the schemes, I'm comfortable with answering any questions.
Q: Did you not know anyone when you got here?
A: No, I know a couple of guys. You got [defensive end Josh] Mauro, who I played with in Arizona. I'm meeting the guys here in the locker room, a couple guys trained back in Arizona, I trained at the same facility. But for the majority, I didn't know much other guys.
Q: Give me a description of James Bettcher's defense.
A: It's a fun defense. We're an attacking, heavy pressure team. We keep teams guessing. Make a lot of checks and we keep a lot of teams on their toes, we disguise a lot of things. It gets guys energized. You never know who's coming, who's dropping. I think that adds to it, to the success that we've had the past couple of years in Arizona. And we look to bring that here.
Q: Is it the same defense you played in Arizona, or is it tailored to the players you have here?
A: No, its pretty much the same defense for the most part, yes.
Q: How much were you asked to cover as an outside linebacker last year?
A: It would depend on game-to-game, game plan. If we felt like it was a game where we needed more coverage guys, we would do that. But for the most part, it's just a piece of the title. Like I said, this is an attacking defense, so he wants us attacking as outside linebackers. So, it's part of the job title, but it's not necessarily the main part.
Q: So, you rushed the passer more than you covered?
A: Correct, yes.
Q: Did defensive end Olivier Vernon reach out to you at all during the offseason, or pick your brain about what the job entails?
A: We've talked once we got into phase one a couple weeks ago. And since we've been on the field, I've been talking with him if he had questions, or things like that. But he's a fast learner, he's been picking things up. Kind of trying to learn a little bit of everything from both positions. But I'm here to lean on, for all the guys.
Q: Do you see the personnel here meeting with what Bettcher wants to do on defense, or do you think there is more work to do in the draft to add pieces?
A: No, I think what we have here will work great with this defense. We've got guys like Snacks [defensive tackle Damon Harrison] and like you said, [safety] Landon [Collins]. Those guys are phenomenal players and they can fit this scheme. Like I said, we're attacking, and those two guys have the ability to do that. So, I think they'll be really successful in this scheme.
Q: James Bettcher said he has never seen a player improve as much as you. What has that taken and do you still have a way to climb?
A: Sure, you always can get better. The moment you stop getting better, that's when it's over for you. But for me, it's just been a lot of focusing and I realized that the more you can learn something, as far as the defense goes, the faster you can play and worry about technique. A lot of guys get slowed down when they can't learn a playbook. So for me, coming in, it was like, alright, let's get this playbook down like it's the back of my hand so that I can focus on my techniques and to do different things. So, I think that's probably the biggest piece of my improvement.
Q: How did you pick your number 96?
A: Well, I was hand in the dirt in college and my first year in Arizona, I had my hand in the dirt. And once I had it in my rookie year, it was like, why change it now just because I'm standing up? Pretty much a glorified defensive end anyway. Just a few drops in there.