RUTHERFORD,NJ (SMI-SPORTS, 08.17.21)-The New York Giants Football organization(NFL), held its daily training press briefing Today with special attendees; John K. Mara (Giant's President & CEO), Dave Gettleman (Giants Sr.Vice-President & General Manager) and team coaches in preparation to their second preseason game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday August 22, in Ohio at the Quest Diagnostic Training Center.
The NYGiants who loss to the NY Jets 12-7, on their first preseason game of the 2021, will try to bounce back when they travel to Cleveland for an away game versus the Browns who are 1-0, who defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-13, as visitors on their preseason opener last Saturday at the TIAA Bank Field Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Today's attendees at Giants daily press briefings were:
John K. Mara (Giant's President & CEO), Dave Gettleman (Giants Sr.Vice-President & General Manager), Joe Judge(Giants Head Coach)
Patrick Graham(Assistant Head Coach & Defensive Coordinator),
Jason Garrett(Offensive Coordinator) & Thomas McGaughey
(Special Teams Coordinator).
Giants Sr. Vice-President & Manager: Dave Gettleman
Opening Statement: Good morning. Good to see everybody, I hope your families are well as we're all coming out. It’s good to see everybody and let the games begin.
Q: What have you seen so far in camp and what are your expectations for this team?
A: We've had some good work, we really have. The weather's been pretty cooperative. We've had comfortable days and we had a couple of cookers, so that's been really good. We’ve seen some good things -- there wasn't much happening in the spring, all you had was rookie and veteran minicamp when a lot of players took the voluntary thing. We’re making progress. Like (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) says, I believe the team is just as well. Everything's a process and we're moving along. We did some nice things Saturday night, obviously have some things we gotta work on. We’re making progress and I like it.
Q: You’re three-plus weeks into camp, you have a preseason game under your belt. As of now, what would you say your biggest concern is?
A: I'm a little more patient than that. Listen, upgrading the roster is a 12 month process. You’re looking at improving all the time and right now it's because you don't have your full complement of players out there. We really treated this last game, the first game, like the fourth preseason, which is generally speaking what you see. We wanted to get the chance to make sure, before we make any hot decisions, that we really get a chance to evaluate all the young kids and the new players we brought in. So, we're always looking at every position to answer your question. You improve as you go.
Q: Along those lines, there's obviously a lot of optimism about (Quarterback) Daniel Jones making that leap this year, but how much of the trade during the draft to get that additional first round pick next year was kind of an insurance against that not happening?
A: Not even a thought. No. The trade was made because the opportunity was there and there was an opportunity to get an incredible amount of value and we really liked the position that we were in. So, no, that was not done as any kind of hedge. We believe in Daniel, we’re excited to see what he's going to do in the second year in the system. Before this last year, it was his third system in three years, so this'll be the second year in a system. You know how diligent the kid is, we’ve talked about it all the time. He works just as hard on the field as he does off the field. He's more comfortable, he’s more prepared. It’ll be fun to see what happens when we finally give him a full complement of players out there.
Q: (Wide Receiver) Kadarius Toney obviously hasn't been on the field a ton so far for various reasons. What are your thoughts on his start so far? Any kind of level of frustration just not being able to see as much as you'd like?
A: It's that way with any young player. You want them on the field. The COVID-19 piece is real, it affects everybody very differently and that's been a bit of a stop and start. He'll get there, he's working his fanny off, getting healthy. He's had that stop and start and it doesn't make us any less than enthused about him. The kid’s got tremendous talent and he's been great inside with his rehab. He's been terrific in the classroom. He's engaged and the kid wants to be out there. He’s a competitor. I treat contracts like injuries; contracts gets done when they’re supposed to get done, guys get healthy when they're supposed to get healthy, and he’ll be out there and we trust our medical staff.
Q: How do you balance being patient and letting the process play out versus, after seeing so much, maybe we got to start thinking about doing something else? How do you balance that?
A: It’s a process that you keep working through. At some point, at a certain point in time, you know when you’ve got to pull the trigger. I think that since I've been here, you guys have seen I’m not afraid to pull the trigger. So there is a balance. It's an interesting question because we'll know and I think that we need to have another preseason game. Last year, we didn't have this, we didn't have preseason games and it made it difficult. We weren't any different than anybody else, I’m not suggesting for a moment that we were, but at the end of the day we've got to understand when it's time to pull the trigger. Right now, I'm really excited about us going to Cleveland -- I guess some of you folks are going to be out there -- getting a chance to work against them. And then playing on Sunday, I think will give us a real good indicator.
Q: You’ve said many times that it takes three years to evaluate a draft class. I'm curious, how would you evaluate your 2018 class?
A: (RB) Saquon (Barkley) is Saquon. (OL) Will (Hernandez) had a tough season last year, but he is really having a terrific camp. Unfortunately, (LB) Lorenzo (Carter) got hurt last year as he was really coming on, he's ready to go. (DL) B.J. (Hill) has been a steady solid contributor. Obviously, Kyle is gone and RJ’s gone. That’s where that class is.
Q: Seeing the injuries that have caught up to Saquon, do you still feel as passionately as you did in 2018 that running back was the right place to go?
A: Absolutely. Absolutely. Stuff happens, not everything's perfect and there are guys all over this league who get hurt, big-time players. He's done a great job and I feel the same way about him. He's different and he’s going to be ready to go when he’s ready to go.
Q: Obviously though, that stuff does happen more to running backs.
A: I don't know that that's true.
Q: You don't believe that they have shorter career lives than maybe other positions just because of the hits that they take?
A: Really and truly, you can talk about injuries at any position. I would not make a different decision than I made in 2018, plain and simple.
Q: I think I heard you say once that you've changed your philosophy on negotiating contracts in-season, and I'm not asking about Saquon or anybody in particular. You have guys who are going to be free agents after this season. Will you negotiate contracts in-season this year? Have you changed your stance on that?
A: I have. I think it depends upon the guy, I think it depends upon where the team's at. I used to feel that it was a bad idea, but not so much. Have I changed my idea on that? Yes, I'm a lot more flexible on that.
Q: Is (Safety Jabrill) Peppers maybe one of those guys?
A: I don’t discuss contracts.
Q: Do you believe in the theory that quarterbacks, especially with the financial climate, that after three years you’re going to know. Do you believe that after this year you will know one way or another whether Daniel Jones is the guy?
A: We certainly hope so. Again, our game is different than the college game. It's very different. He’s got all the physical skills, he’s got all the mental skills. I'm seeing a lot of good stuff out here in the fact that, as I've said, last year was his third consecutive year in a different system. His decision making is quicker out here, he’s getting rid of the ball quicker, you see he’s throwing the ball well. I think he's making progress and like every other young kid I think we'll have a pretty good idea when the season is over.
Q: You guys made the decision to stick with the offensive linemen you have and let them develop. As we’re a couple of weeks into camp, how do you still feel about that decision? Especially the depth is kind of an issue with guys retiring and getting hurt and stuff like that.
A: That stuff happens. Four of the five starters were out there Saturday night and the offensive line really played pretty well. Listen, you have to have depth everywhere, whether it’s the offensive line, the linebackers, secondary, you need depth, you need to have quality depth. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to do that at every position. Obviously, we didn't expect those guys to retire, but they had their reasons and it's their lives. I wish them the best and respect the decisions they made. They made tough decisions. Training camp is not over, the roster building season never ends. We'll get to where we need to get to.
Q: When you guys released Kevin Zeitler, was the plan to upgrade at guard or address guard more than you have at this point?
A: I think that we believe in Will, we believe in (OL) Shane Lemieux and we're going to continue to look. You’ve got the two guys retiring, you have (OL) Kyle Murphy’s now done for the season, we have to put him on IR. So it's tough, but every day we're looking. My gut tells me that there'll be more movement of those types of players that you feel good about after the second preseason game and maybe even after the cut because you’ve got to remember you now have a full week. Going to cut to the 53, (Head) Coach (Joe Judge) is left a couple of practices, players have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, so I think you could see some horse trading going on during that period of time.
Q: Do you have the financial flexibility to take on any level of player?
A: I think that whoever's available, you sit down and take a look at. At the end of the day, were going to do what we can do.
Q: At that position there are different tiers of players that you're talking about. Is your focus right now upgrading the depth behind what you see as the starting five or do you think there will be opportunities or you may have to take opportunities to improve that starting five?
A: I think there's a lot of things that are in play in my head. Want to certainly address that position as well as we can. I've learned that if you have patience, stuff happens. All of a sudden, a player becomes available that you weren't expecting. It's kind of like what happened with us in free agency -- all of a sudden (CB) Adoree’ Jackson's available, all of a sudden (TE) Kyle Rudolph's available. There’s a saying, ‘You don't lock your knees,’ so you just sit there and you talk to people, you make phone calls, you watch film, ‘Hey, is this guy available?’ ‘Hey, would you consider moving that guy?’ ‘Hell no,’ ‘Yeah, I would for this.’ You have those conversations. It's a chess piece.
Q: Just as a follow up, yesterday, you guys traded a sixth in 2023 for (Cornerback Keion) Crossen. In terms of draft assets, will you be willing to dip into 2022, and was there a thinking of going beyond that?
A: Really and truly, I prefer not to. We've got ten picks, and doubles in the first, third, and fourth rounds, so we got some pretty good assets there. So, we’ll see, but the bottom line is it's an asset, it’s a chip. It's something you can use. You don't have to, but you don't necessarily hoard to a certain degree. If a guy's worth it, you're going to do it. If the guy's not worth it, you don't do. Being able to get Keion with a ‘23 pick was really something we’re excited about.
Q: Obviously, the wins and losses that have happened over the last three years is not what you would have hoped. Do you believe there needs to be a significant uptick in wins in order for you to deserve to be back next year, objectively speaking?
A: Objectively speaking, I’m not going to put a win total or a number on it. I don't think that we've done a lot of things. I feel like I really love Joe and the process that he's brought and that we've brought. We've worked really hard since I got here in terms of not only being on the field operations, but off the field operations. We’ve made big changes in our football operations, and how we operate. Really and truly, my goal when I got here was whenever I leave here, and however I leave here, that we've set this team up on the field, and off the field. That's been my goal and I feel like we've done that. I’m excited to see what's going to happen.
Q: How has your relationship with (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) progressed, and is it to the point where perhaps yesterday's trade today is an indication that his influence has grown over time?
A: I think that Joe and I are partners. We have a shared vision. We see the ball the same way, which is helpful. We discuss everything thoroughly, and we come to the best giant conclusion that we come to. Yeah, Joe knew Crossen, our pro personnel department, and my grades on him both as a special teams guy. Obviously, you guys all realize how special teams is near and dear to Joe's heart. At the end of the day, the thing that's really neat about Keion is he brings us line of scrimmage value as well as a gunner. So, this is the partnership, we’re working together. We share a vision, and I've enjoyed the hell out of the last two years.
Q: Since you brought it up, how are you feeling, and is your intention to keep on working for as long as you keep feeling well?
A: I feel good, me and James Brown. Some of you younger people may not get that. But anyhow, I feel fine. Listen, some of you guys can speak to it personally, but lymphoma wasn't fun. It wasn't, don't put it on your check list or your bucket list, it's not fun. We got through it. I'm healthy, I’m fine, I feel good, I feel strong. No, I'm not winning any arm wrestling contests, but I feel good. I just keep rolling along.
Q: Do you have to take any special precautions, like for travelling?
A: Me? I had my physical in May and they said just keep doing what you’re doing. You can be doing it with a little less weight, but I like to be jolly.
Q: I know you don't want to put a win-loss total on it, but obviously you’ve been rebuilding for a couple of years and that can't go on indefinitely. Doesn't this have to be the year that you compete for the playoffs, and not just because it's a bad division?
A: Listen, I'm not going to put a win-loss total on it for anybody. We have expectations, everybody's got expectations. I don't think any of us do this to lose, none of us are happy about that. I'm happy with what we've done. I'm really happy with where we’re at, and I think we’ve got a legitimate, completive football team.
Q: I know it's a little different wrinkle. But, along the lines of acquiring talent over the next couple of weeks, with these joint practices, I know some of you guys will be there the whole time. Do you spend time scouting the Browns and scouting the Patriots?
A: Oh, absolutely.
Q: Does that kind of bring a different dimension to it?
A: Absolutely, it does. I'll be there. (Co-Director of Player Personnel) Mark Koncz, (Co-Director of Player Personnel) Tim McDonnell will be there. (Director of College Scouting) Chris Pettit is going to be there. So, we'll all have our guys to look at. Absolutely, it's a scouting process. Obviously, at night, we’ll go back and watch the film. That's one of the nice things because you can get up on top of guys, see their body style, their builds, what they look like it. It’s a great opportunity to scout players up close and personal.
Q: Going to Cleveland this week, you're going to get a chance to see (Browns Wide Receiver) Odell Beckham Jr. again. I'm just curious of your thoughts of your receiving core today versus where it was, and how far it's come since you've made that trade?
A: I like our group right now, I really do. It’s just a matter of getting everybody on the field, and getting in rhythm with Daniel, and doing those kinds of things. I’m very happy with where this group is.
Q: To piggyback on that question, when you made that trade, you said you wanted two or three years to assess how well you had done in that trade. Looking back on it, do you feel like you got enough? Are you happy with what you acquired?
A: Well, I can turn it around with that question back at you. I'm happy. We got (Defensive Tackle) Dexter (Lawrence). (Linebacker Oshane) Ximines has had his injury issues, but when he's been out there, he's shown promise. (Safety) Jabrill (Peppers) has done a hell of a job for us, so I like that group.
Q: Tim McDonnell got a little bump in his title. Can you just talk about what he brings to your guys’ personnel room?
A: Timmy is very bright. He’s a really good scout. He’s just one of those people – there’s the saying, if you want something done, give it to a busy man and that’s Tim. He brings a nice, fresh outlook to everything. He and Mark Koncz do a hell of a job with really working and setting up processes. With the 53, we’re ready to discuss that. As the trade deadline gets closer and closer, we’ve already started the trade process. Looking at those kinds of things, we're getting much further ahead of the process than we were before and Timmy’s great with that, as well as Mark as well. Timmy’s a very bright and promising guy.
Q: That increases his involvement in those processes or that kind of initial where you’re going with it?
A: He's part of helping develop those processes.
Q: When you get down to the 53, will vaccination have any say in the decision or is it just on the field?
A: No, the 53 best players will be on our 53. That is it, that is it. You've got right now, every team has guys in various stages. Some guys have had one shot, some guys have had two shots and they're waiting for the two-week period for the full vaccination, so everybody's in different stages. Obviously, the guys that have not fully completed are masked up right now. They’ve all done a great job. They’ve been very cooperative and done really a great job of following the protocol and being compliant. I'm not worried about it. I'm not concerned. We’ll get the 53 best guys.
Q: Do you feel pressure to win?
A: I'm going to pull a line from Billie Jean King, pressure’s a privilege.