Giants head coach Pat Shurmur and several Giants players speak at voluntary minicamp:
Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: Oh boy, quite a crowd. All right, it's fun to be back out. This is kind of neat to have this first kind of veteran mini camp. Guys are out and ready to go, we've got a good group out there. We just finished the walk through, so they're going to go in and have lunch and then we'll come out this afternoon and practice at about 12:30. We'll do the same thing tomorrow and then on Thursday what we'll do is we won't have a walk through, we'll practice a little bit earlier, get them out of here by noon, so that we can finish up our preparations for the draft. So with that, I will take your questions.
Q: What do you want to accomplish?
A: Well, I think the big thing for us is our game is very simple – it's about the ball, it's about negotiating the ground and it's really about man whipping man. Now this time of year there is not any contact so to speak, so that third part you can't work on very much. But, we can work on throwing and catching; the defense can work on defending and trying to strip. We can work on the coordination of running plays and defending plays and the kicking and the punting and all of that. So those are the things we are trying to do. We've given the guys two weeks of meetings and we've put together a mini camp, there's not a whole lot of scheme, but there is enough here to challenge them mentally and then hopefully by the end of these three days we'll walk away and know a lot more about our players as we move forward.
Q: How much of this is about team building also?
A: Yeah, I think everything you do is team building. This is the No. 1 team sport and I think anything you do, any team activities, anything worth doing is worth doing right, so we're trying to do everything we can to make our team as good as possible.
Q: What are you hoping to see out of the quarterbacks this week and specifically out of Davis Webb?
A: We want it to look like football and I'm not trying to make a joke there, but we want to get the ball snapped, we want to get guys lined up properly – the progressions we're giving them, we want to see them go through the progression, throw the ball accurately, things break down and use their legs and generally make good decisions, throw the ball on time and be accurate.
Q: You have talked several times about this camp and about what Davis Webb can do and show. Have you talked to him about that?
A: No, I think for him there has been a lot that has been made of this is like his tryout. Well, I don't think so. I think he's just like every other player out here. They're trying to take what we give them and then go out here and execute and try to execute at a high level and I don't think there needs to be any anxiety on his part – get trained up, come on out here, let it rip and mistakes happen in practice and you learn from them. I think that's why you practice, so I think you have to be careful about making a final evaluation on a guy in a three-day period here. He just needs to come out here and get as good as he can be.
Q: Have you learned anything about him in meetings?
A: Yeah, what I've learned is he cares, what I've learned is he is an extremely hard worker, what I've learned is he is very smart, he listens to what Eli (Manning) says, he listens to what all his coaches have been telling him. You can tell that he has learned things as time has gone along and I think what is important now is you take what you learned in the meeting rooms and bring it out here to the field and that's what we're going to see here in a couple hours.
Q: What is your feeling about Ereck Flowers not being in attendance?
A: He's not here, so there's not really much to say. That's my feelings.
Q: Are you disappointed at all?
A: He's not here. We understand that this is a program that is voluntary. I tend to believe it is very necessary, but he's not here. So, when he is here, we will start to talk about him.
Q: How much has Odell been here, is he here now and what is the plan for him these three days?
A: Yeah, he's here and he's been here. He's going through his rehab to get fully cleared, so he was able to be involved in the walk through, but as we get going here competitive full speed, he won't be able to participate this afternoon.
Q: Are you planning for him to be a Giant this fall?
A: Absolutely. He's an excellent player, he's part of our team and he's a very valued member of our team. Everybody that's out here, I'm planning on them being here.
Q: Why did you guys cut Brandon Marshall when you did?
A: Well, that was a tough thing anytime you part ways with a veteran that's done so much in his career. But, I think Dave (Gettleman) mentioned it and it came down to the physical.
Q: How do you feel about your receiver depth right now without him?
A: Well, we'll see. Again, there's a lot of players that I know but I haven't seen them work yet, so we'll know more as we go through these next three days.
Q: How has your relationship with Odell grown?
A: Well, it's like any relationship – we constantly communicate, we had a great conversation yesterday. He came in and we sat down as we were getting ready for this mini camp so we could talk about what we were trying to get accomplished. We've spoken on the phone, we text, it's just like any relationship. We're very honest and open with one another and we communicate frequently.
Q: What has it been like working with Eli?
A: It's a real joy. I've said all along that he's the fittest 37-year-old that I've ever seen. I see a guy that genuinely cares. I see a guy in the latter stages of his career that wants to learn a new offense just like he's a rookie. He's got that enthusiasm and I'm looking forward to seeing him lead our team.
Q: Where is the team health-wise?
A: You guys are allowed to be here, right? I'll allow you guys to do your little roll call.
Q: What have you seen so far from your defense?
A: Well, they got lined up properly in the walk through, that's a start. We've got to be aligned properly and ready to roll. I've watched the coaches work with the players and what I like about our defense is there's great communication, you can see they're excited about learning a new scheme. We have career coaches that are teaching the players and I see a lot of players that really feel challenged and want to be good. So, we'll get out here and try to be great.
Q: How are you balancing the minicamp this week and the NFL Draft later this week?
A: Yeah, there's a draft, huh? Well, there's been a lot of work done behind the scenes and certainly many, many hours putting the board together. It's been a great experience for me, working with [General Manager] Dave [Gettleman] and [Assistant General Manager] Kevin [Abrams] and all of the scouts and really all of the player evaluation people. Whether you're on the college end or the pro end, there's a lot to the process. And being a part of it, I've been really impressed with how well they all work together. So, that's been going on for a very long time and it intensifies as you get towards the draft. We've done a lot of work through, really, last night. There's work to be done today when we get off the field and really, you work right up until when you make those picks. So, we'll just work around playing football.
Q: Do you go out on the field today and envision how possible draft picks may fit into the team?
A: Not yet. Those are what we do off the field in the meeting rooms. Obviously, you want to have a vision for a guy that you want to pick. Out here, it's very simple: we're working with all the players we have with the idea that they're all going to be here. We know the math is such where we're going to have 53 of them. So, you're trying to work with the players, get them as good as they can be and with every player, you're sort of seeing, 'Okay, this is how he would fit for us.' And so, I think that's part of what's going on these next three days.
Q: What is the most important thing quarterback Davis Webb could show you these next couple of days?
A: He needs to be able to execute the offense, he needs to be able to drop back, complete the ball. And then there's just that feeling you get by watching a quarterback move the offense. Now, there's not going to be a lot of that type of competitive stuff going on, but you can tell by the way a guy runs a huddle, the way he gets the offense lined up, the way he drops back and throws, the way he hands the ball off. Just all the things that a quarterback would do. And I think this is hopefully the first of many days of him developing within our system.
Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
Q: Have you been pulling any trucks in the offseason?
A: Definitely have not been pulling any trucks. But, I've been working out pretty good though.
Q: What do you make of the whole new regime?
A: I'm loving it so far. As an offensive guy, you look at the film on tape and you can't help but light up. You see guys like (Vikings WR Adam) Thielen and (Vikings WR Stefon) Diggs – you saw what they did last year. A guy in my position can't help but smile when you look at the film.
Q: Whose role do you see yourself filling if you're going to compare it to that Vikings team?
A: I'm not sure. They have moving parts in this offense, so you kind of have to know it all. So, I don't think it's like one set position. You've just got to know it all.
Q: What was your reaction when Brandon Marshall was released?
A: I was pretty shocked. That's a guy who has been in the game for a long time. Unfortunately, he's never made it to the playoffs, so he was looking forward to that. But, that's the way this game goes and the way the business part of it is.
Q: What do you make of Davis Webb? You see him a whole lot more than we have up close.
A: Yeah, I've been with Davis going over the offense. He lives in the same building as me, so I'm fortunate to have him with me. I go over the plays with him every night. He's a guy that studies really hard, knows the offense like the back of his hand already. He's been in here the whole offseason, so I try to surround myself with guys like that and just work tremendously hard. That's all you can ask from a guy in his position.
Q: He knows the new offense?
A: He knows the new offense, I wouldn't say like the back of his hand, but he knows it pretty well. He's been up here throughout the whole offseason and has been going over some stuff, so he knows it pretty well.
Q: Could you envision him being the quarterback of this team down the road?
A: Yeah, I don't see why not. If he works hard and keeps doing what he's doing and has the same attitude, I don't see why not. He's been learning a lot from Eli and what better guy to learn from than Eli.
Q: What do you expect from Eli this year?
A: Great things as always. He's the smartest guy I have ever been around playing this game. I expect him to come to work like he does everyday and handle himself that way.
Q: Do you see anything in his eyes in terms of making this a very good season compared to what happened last year?
A: Yeah, but I always see that in his eyes. That's always what he's striving for is to get that fifth trophy in the case and yeah, he's been coming to work every day with that mentality.
Q: Do you think Odell will come back from that injury?
A: I don't think he'll have a problem. If you've seen the videos of him running around, he looks good to go right now. I think the training room is kind of saving him from himself right now. He wants to get out and run around and do a whole bunch of stuff, but they're kind of holding him back. I've been with him and have been training with him a bit and, to be honest, I forget that he got hurt sometimes.
Q: What does it mean to have him here?
A: You can tell the difference around the facility whenever that guy is in the building. You get a happy feeling. He's always making people laugh everywhere you go, so it's good to have him in the building.
Q: Did you do anything different this offseason with your ankles?
A: I tried to strengthen them a little bit more. When you come off of an ankle injury, I think that's pretty important to strengthen them up and I did both of them. I did one in training camp and the other one during the season, so did a few balancing things to get them back strong.
Q: If Baker Mayfield were drafted into this market, what would he add to it?
A: That's a guy that loves to win. I played with him for two years, and I only had him as a quarterback my senior year, but he brings a lot of excitement to the game and loves to win. That's the bottom line for him.
Q: Are you curious about what you guys will do for the draft or do you just kind of let it go?
A: I just kind of let it go. It's not anything that I can control. It's not anything that I have any input on, so I just kind of let it happen and then take it from there.
Q: Jackrabbit was doing some campaigning for Dez. What do you think of that?
A: Yeah, I've been seeing Jackrabbit online doing that. Dez is a great player, but that's an organizational decision, so we'll leave it at that, too.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins
Q: Are you ready to go now or is it going to be like you're going to have to work your way in?
A: No, I'm ready, I'm ready. I'm back to work just ready to be out here, excited and I'm just ready.
Q: When did you get back to 100 percent from the surgery?
A: I don't want to put a timeline. I don't want to give you any false information, but it's been like a couple weeks, like a month at the most.
Q: What do you think of the new defensive coordinator, his attitude and the scheme he is bringing?
A: I love him. He's a defensive guy, you can tell he understands ball, he's all for the players and he's ready to work.
Q: Have you talked to Landon since you found out he had to have a second surgery and how are his spirits?
A: I talked to him. He had high spirits. We prayed for him Monday when he went in and I texted him this morning just checking up on him. I think he's going to be alright.
Q: I see you have been doing some recruiting on social media. Why do you want Dez Bryant here so bad?
A: He's a great player. It's not that I want him here, I just feel like depth is key in the NFL and whatever decision the organization makes, that's on them.
Q: It's kind of funny because you guys have had some good battles.
A: You have to understand between the lines is football. Outside of football, you have to understand it's the NFL, we're all family, we're all brothers, everybody gets along and we're just competing at the moment.
Q: Even though you have shut him down, do you still think he is the elite type of playmaker that can help the team?
A: He's a great player, man. Just because I did it doesn't mean it will continue for everybody. I just think everybody deserves a second opportunity and we'll see how that goes.
Q: What is the feeling around here with a new coach, general manager and whole new attitude?
A: Excitement. Everybody is ready, everybody knows what is expected around here and we're just ready to go.
Q: How much did you learn about yourself last year with what you guys had to go through as a team?
A: I learned a lot. Just facing adversity. Whether it's me not showing up to practice or us losing, everybody not on the same page and just ready to kick off and pile energy all year.
Q: With the draft coming up, the fans and the media obsess over that stuff. How interested are you in the draft?
A: I'm not really into it. I'll watch it, but as far as who we get, I just sit back and just see. I just want players that want to win and the organization makes that decision.
Q: Can you promise that what happened last year won't happen this year?
A: I promise y'all that Jackrabbit says it won't happen this year what happened last year. There won't be any animosity between players, no disrespecting the coach. There will be none of that. New York Giant football is back.
Q: Is this a fresh start for you?
A: It's a fresh start for everybody. We've got a new coaching staff, new general manager and everybody is clean. You just come in with positive energy, focused and ready to go.
Q: What are your expectations for this team?
A: Get better everyday and continue to work until football season starts.
Q: Was it tough to see DRC leave?
A: It was tough. A great guy, I enjoyed playing with him and I wish him the best.
Q: Do you think Eli Apple can step up after the year he had?
A: Of course. You have to understand that he was young. It's a clean slate, new coaching staff and for him it's guys like me that have to push him and help him out because I've been in the league so long and just help him understand that adversity is going to hit you and when it hits, you've just got to keep it going.
Q: There are a lot of new pieces in the secondary. How have you guys all come together right now?
A: Everyday, just work. Everybody learns the system in and out and just push each other. Everybody is not going to start, but at the end of the day you've got to look at it – it's the NFL, you've got 16 games, everybody is a starter.
Q: Do you have a chip on your shoulder coming off last year?
A: I'm just going to be Jackrabbit, man. I'll do what I have to do between the lines and stay positive.
Q: Is the way you played in 2016 the level you want to get back to?
A: Nothing has changed, but I had an injury. Nothing has changed.
Q: Did that injury bother you all of last season?
A: I came into it with it, but I didn't let anybody know until it got worse. Just me being an athlete and wanting to compete, but it is what it is.
Q: Considering what you went through and then what Eli Apple went through, is it fair to say that this offseason has brought you guys a little bit closer?
A: We have always been close. It's just when adversity hit, everybody adjusted and made the wrong mistakes and talked about each other the wrong way. Like I said, just pull him in closer, pull everybody in closer like brotherly love and just keep it moving.
Q: Have you been doing that with Eli this offseason?
A: Yeah, I talk to him, text him and make sure he's in high spirits and is ready to work. I'm just trying to be a big brother.
Linebacker Olivier Vernon
Q: What do you think of the new regime?
A: Hey, it's a fresh new start, clean slate. It's a clean slate for a lot of guys, including myself. Just ready to get it moving and see how it goes.
Q: What do you think of the new leadership?
A: Everything's just brand new right now. We've got a lot of new faces on the team and on the staff. Right now I can just only go from what I've seen already, which is a lot of new faces, a lot of new people in this building.
Q: Are you excited?
A: Most definitely. It's getting closer and closer to the season, that's always an exciting thing. Just ready to keep it moving.
Q: How is the team going to use you?
A: Right now, you might have to ask Coach. I just know right now that it's a whole different defense and whatever the game plan is, whatever we've got in the playbook, I'm just going to follow what it is.
Q: Do you like what you've seen so far from the new defense?
A: Yeah, it's got different schemes, a whole new different scheme. It's a changeup from last year. It's something different.
Q: How do you feel about being a stand up guy on the outside, in a two-point stance?
A: It's nothing really different for me, I've done that in the past. Right now, it's just different play calls, different terminology. So, that's basically it.
Q: How much and where have you done that in the past?
A: I mean, I stood up and was in a three-point when I was here and when I was in Miami I stood up. So, nothing much that's different.
Q: How much of what you did last year will be a help for you this year?
A: You know, we'll have to see. Like I said, right now is about digesting the playbook, getting everything in right now and everything else is going to play in.
Q: Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher said he'll probably use you like he used Chandler Jones in Arizona. Are you familiar with how they used him?
A: Yeah, I mean he was still rushing a whole lot. I think he led the league in sacks last year. So, he was still down there rushing and getting after the quarterback and when it came down to the schemes and stuff like that, using him and dropping him and stuff like that. So, we've just got to see.
Q: Are you going to be in a new position room?
A: That's one thing I've got to get adjusted to a little bit, but yeah. Right now, in a different room. Just trying to digest everything.
Q: You're now one of the bigger guys in your position room, right?
A: Yeah, a little bit. But we'll see how everything goes.
Q: How do you feel, health-wise?
A: I feel pretty good. Feel pretty good. I know it's a little far right now, but just waiting to get back in the pads.
Q: Have you been frustrated that you haven't been able to make it through a whole season and have you changed anything to try and prevent that?
A: Yeah, I missed my first game last year and it turned into four, so that wasn't normal for me. So, my position is staying how it was before, always trying to stay healthy and play a full season. Once you're healthy, you can be out there. If you're not, you can't make any plays for the team.
Q: What was your reaction when former defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul got traded to Tampa Bay?
A: That's over my head right there. I know JPP, man, that was my boy. We didn't play [too long] together, but in the time that we did play, it was great. He was a great guy, a great teammate, a great player. So, I wish him the best down there in Tampa. I know he's going to do his thing and handle his business.
Q: Why did you come to voluntary program this year?
A: Well, I have to learn the playbook. It's something different, so I had to show up and learn the many faces that we have here, get the chemistry down pat and link up with the coaches.
Q: Are you disappointed that offensive lineman Ereck Flowers isn't here?
A: (JOKINGLY) I saw him in the building, so I don't know what y'all are talking about.
Q: Is it invigorating at this point in your career to have a new system and almost a clean start here?
A: Yeah, I mean, it's always good when you have a clean slate. I mean, I treat every year like a clean slate. You go every year, it doesn't matter what you did last year, the year before. You come in and it starts at zero again. So, we haven't even had our first practice yet, but I think I'm excited and everybody else is.
Q: Do you pay attention to all of the chatter and rumors surrounding this week's NFL Draft?
A: I'll be honest with you, not really. But whoever we get, I know it's going to be a great decision on the people that are picking, to add guys that can help contribute to winning on this team.
Q: Does it intrigue you to play the same type of role as Arizona's Chandler Jones, seeing what he accomplished last year?
A: I mean, we're two different players. Chandler Jones is his own player, I'm my own player. He had a great season last year and that just happens. He was doing what he had to do, they had a great defense and right now, we're just trying to get everything down pat, chemistry as well. And we'll see from there.
Q: Do you have to train differently for your new role?
A: No, not really. Just been training the same way I've always been. In the past I've done drops in coverage and everything like that, so it's not really that much foreign territory for me. But, we'll see how it goes.
Tackle Nate Solder
Q: What is it like to be here?
A: I'm so excited. I'm so grateful for this opportunity. A great organization, I'm getting to know my teammates slowly but surely and we're learning everything that we need to learn, hopefully.
Q: What makes you feel like this is a great organization?
A: Yeah, I came from a great organization, too. The way they received me, the high quality of the way they run things around here, the quality of people that I've been around here the couple weeks that I've been here has been as good as any.
Q: Is this the time of year when an offensive line builds the chemistry that is going to pay off during the season?
A: Yeah, we spend a lot of time together, now through our offseason. Once the camp starts, there's a lot of time that we've got to spend together to get to know each other, playing side by side.
Q: What has the last month been like for you?
A: We've been transitioning as quickly and as easily as we can. So, we've been finding a place to stay, we've been selling our place in Massachusetts and trying to situate the kids, the healthcare, the schools for my wife, everything like that.
Q: How different is this offense for you?
A: Well, I haven't been in it long enough to really get all of the details of how it's different and how it's the same, but like I said, I'm just trying to learn as fast as I can because we're going to have some games coming up here that we're going to have to know it pretty well.
Q: Is blocking, blocking?
A: A lot of times, it is, a lot of times it is. And your technique, your footwork all kind of parallel to each other a lot of times.
Q: What do you think of offensive lineman Ereck Flowers not being here today?
A: I don't know him, I don't know what's going on. I'm sure he's trying to do the best he can for himself for whatever he's got going on and that's good for him. I'm not going to talk about who's here and who's not here, but the guys that are here, we're working hard, we're trying to do out best with what we've got.
Q: Do you have to find a balancing point between speaking up and being a leader and trying to find your place when coming to a new team?
A: I try to stay pretty quiet, that's just kind of how my personality is kind of wired. I just want to listen, I want to learn how guys are doing things, I want to pay attention to what my coaches tell me to do. I don't think that there's always a place to just come in and push your way around, I think that you just do the best that you can with what you've got.
Q: How is your relationship with quarterback Eli Manning so far?
A: Well, I've gotten to speak with him a little bit, but I don't know him that well, it's been a couple weeks. So, I think there's a lot of great players, really high character people, really quality people, guys that care, work hard. It's a great organization, like I said.
Q: How do the rumors currently surrounding New England quarterback Tom Brady jive with what you know about his plans?
A: I have no idea what his plans are. I love that guy, he's an awesome guy, so whatever it is, I'm sure he's doing the right thing.
Q: Is it weird walking around this building and seeing the Giants Super Bowl wins over the Patriots?
A: [laughs] That is funny, but you know what, they have a ton of respect for this organization, as well as this organization for that one, so it's just a great opportunity for me to be here.