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TE Jake Ballard Conference Call


Q: How exciting was the plane ride home?

A: It was pretty exciting but it was definitely most exciting when we got into the locker room and everybody was jumping around, Coach Coughlin was smiling and then Brandon Jacobs picked up Coach Coughlin. The plane ride home kind of settled down a little bit and I took a little nap but it was still a little crazy.

Q: Did it seem like Coach Coughlin was having fun?

A: He was definitely having fun. He joked afterwards and told Brandon to get out of here but you could definitely tell he was excited and happy about what happened.

Q: How much confidence does this win give you going forward?

A: It gives us a great amount of confidence. We knew what we could do but winning a game like that gives us all the confidence in the world. We know we can get it done against good teams. 

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Q: Is it a different Monday for you?

A: No, not really. It started out as usual. I came in to workout and lifted. We will enjoy the win for a little bit but turn our sights towards San Francisco. We had a team meeting and watched the film. It was a good win and it is now behind us. We need to learn from the win and some of our mistakes and move on.

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Q: Have you had an increase in phone calls or texts?

A: I got quite a bit of texts and a couple of them came in today. That is an obvious.

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Q: Were the New England linebackers aware of you during the game?

A: I don't think they were hitting me as much as they hit Heath Miller in the Pittsburgh game but as the game went on, they started to pay more attention to me.

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Q: How difficult is it to go up for a catch knowing you may get hit?

A: I don't even think about that. People will get some shots at me and that is football. You may get hit hard but you just have to make sure you get up for the next play. That doesn't even come into my mind when I am running around. All I am thinking about is catching the football. As long as I catch it, I am not worried about what happens afterwards.

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Q: Do you think the Spikes hit was helmet-to-helmet?

A: No, it was a legal hit. He hit me with his shoulders into my body. He got a good hit. It happens in football and you just get up from it. I am not worried about it.

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Q: Are you surprised at the season you are having?

A: I am not surprising myself. I know that a lot of people who doubted me are surprised at where I am right now but I am not surprised. I work hard every day and try to get better. I learned when I was two years old, just to keep pushing.

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Q: When was the last time you caught a game-winning touchdown?

A: I don't know if I have, to be honest. I made a big touchdown against Arizona but it was not game-winning.

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Q: Did anyone from the Giants come up and say we believe in you in the preseason?

A: No, that never happened, but I never took it that way.

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Q: Did you worry about the Giants getting another tight end?

A:  I never thought about any of that stuff. I wasn't worried about what they were thinking or doing in the front office. All I was worried about was how I am playing and how I was going to change their mind. If it didn't work out, I could say I did everything I could do for the team and if it didn't work out, it didn't work out. All you can control is what you do, you can't let all that type of stuff bother you because it will affect your play and you are not going to do your job.

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Q: How do you turn the page after a big win like yesterday's and focus on San Francisco?

A: You always want to take the good and the bad from games. I think the biggest thing from this past game is just beating a good team. I think we just need to look at the things we need to keep improving on and not the things we did well because that's what makes teams better. Sitting down and being critical of yourself pushes you to get better in every aspect of the game.

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Q: Did you think in college you could be this "guy"?

A: I always thought that I could be that guy. I didn't have an opportunity in college and last year I just battled to get on the practice squad and just got better every week. I eventually moved up to active. I always had confidence in myself and all I needed was a shot or opportunity. I am trying to make the most of it right now.

Q: Why didn't you get that opportunity until this year?

A: At Ohio State my first three years, we had four of five first round or second round draft pick receivers. Ted Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez, Brandon Robiske, Brian Hartline, there was talent all around. In the running game, we have Chris Wells, who is tearing it up this year for the Cardinals. We also had Terrell Pryor so we ran the ball and were beating teams. Why change things up? I wanted to play and whatever I had to do to play on the team. 

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Q: How big was this win considering the games you have coming up?

A: It is huge. It is reassuring that we are this caliber team and we can compete at that level. It is a great way to start off this stretch of games. We are going into these games saying we can beat these teams and we will.

Q: Do you feel like you have arrived?

A: I wouldn't say I have arrived. Last year was hard. It was hard to be on the practice squad and you bust your butt every day during the week and you are not even traveling with the team or playing on Sundays. That is hard to do and I am glad that part of my career is over but at the same time, I am happy to have that opportunity to be put through that. If I didn't have that, who knows what would have happened to me.

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Q: What was the biggest thing you learned on the practice squad last year?

A: I couldn't say that there was one thing that I learned more than anything else. I knew I could play with these guys and I think practicing with these guys and making plays, reassured me that I deserve to be here and I could be an NFL tight end.

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