T Dave Diehl
August 3, 2013
A: You talk about a guy whoís coming from spring thatís worked extremely hard, learning on the go, learning the offense, the technique and itís never good when you have a teammate go down. Especially a guy who is going to be a critical piece to our offense, a guy who can play numerous positions, thatís challenging me for the starting spot at right tackle and you never want to see any of your teammates go down, especially when youíre dealing with something like a concussion. Itís a lot different than just a sprained ankle or something when youíre dealing with the brain and all that stuff. Youíve just got to be safe and be smart. But I know our medical staff is doing their best. We just hope that he comes back soon.
Q: When you think back to when you first got here as a draft pick ,the fact that you were able to be there every day, on the field. Guys came, guys went, you were there every day. You were almost like the last man standing.
A: Yeah, thatís what itís all about. At the end of my rookie year, standing in the huddle, the only ones that were still survivors from that first game in 2003 were me and Tiki Barber, everybody else was hurt. Yeah, that is, itís something that you always want to be, you want to be a durable guy, you want to be a guy thatís a dependable guy, that, through thick and thin, when things are tough and things are on the line, regardless of the circumstances youíre going to be out fighting with your guys.
Q: Without that, you probably wouldnítÖ
A: Yeah, thatís everything. I think the fact in my rookie year that I ran a pro offense for five years under Ron Turner at Illinois, to come here and just have to switch around terminology obviously helped the transition, unlike some of these other guys who are coming in running all different types of offenses. So that was a huge advantage, definitely.
Q: Some years youíve been challenged for your job, some years you havenít. But youíre undefeated when it comes to training camp battles.
A: Nothing is ever given to you in life, youíve got to earn everything. Thatís the way Iíve always approached it, each and every year, it doesnít matter what year you are in the NFL, you have to establish yourself, you have to create you identity and you have to prove yourself to everybody else that youíre the starter, that youíre going to be the guy there. Most importantly, youíve got to prove to yourself what youíre capable of and go out there with a confidence that youíre going to go out there and fight and play to the best of your ability. I know, coming off of last season, being 100 percent healthy like I am now, the way I changed my diet, the way I conditioned, everything I did going into the season, I have never been more ready to play football in my life. So let people say what they want to say, challenge me, I could care less because Iím ready to roll.
Q: You said you changed your diet?
A: Yeah, I leaned down, I cut out bread and pasta, all the nasty stuff that, usually, you have to eat as an offensive lineman to keep the weight. Just eating clean. Conditioning wise, I pushed myself to the limit. Coming off a knee surgery, once my knee started feeling great, from that point on I just took off to make sure that I came out here just like I did. I have no regrets about what I did this offseason. Anything thatís happened, I know that Iím able to come out here and play the best.
Q: Did you lose weight?
A: Yeah, I lost some weight, I lost some body fat.
Q: Do you know the numbers?
A: I lost maybe 10 or 11 pounds. Dropped some body fat, right now Iím about 304, 305
Q: When was the last time you were that?
A: 2004 maybe.
Q: What about your body fat?
A: I dropped my body fat probably three or four percent. Just, you know, at this point, 32 years old, going into my 11th year, youíve got to do something to change things up. For me, it was changing my body style, changing my conditioning and I come out here and, the best thing is, Iím not breathing, Iím not heavy, Iím not any of that stuff because everything I did going up to this point. So, for me, there wasnít an offseason. I was here the week after the football season, the week after I had surgery, and Iíve been here grinding all for this, all for this purpose, to come out here, lay it on the line and earn my position.
Q: Did you feel heavy? Did you feel winded?
A: No. Like I said, you know, obviously when you have a knee injury, it affects you and it affects the way you can do things. As a football player, as an offensive lineman, yeah, itís a lot different when you have the one year when I had my hand or if itís a slight ankle, itís a lot different when youíre dealing with a knee and mobility and bending and anchoring and all of that stuff. For me, it was just, you want to do something to get an edge and get an advantage. For me, it was changing everything up and coming here focused, like Iíve always been, and the mentality that Iím not going to be denied.
Q: Did the fact that they drafted JustinÖ
A: Yeah, of course. Itís not the first time they every drafted somebody and itís not going to be the last as long as I play. That competition only pushes you to be harder and pushes you to the limits, to earn everything, but yeah, regardless of those circumstances, I didnít play my best football last year. Iíll be the first one to say it. Youíve got to look in the mirror and judge yourself. Now that Iím healthy, now that I feel the way that I do, I know Iím able to go out there and play up to my capabilities. All my coaches, all my teammates Iíve had, they knew what I was going through last year. You want to tell yourself that youíre 100 percent, you try to lie to yourself, but, as an offensive lineman, as a football player, youíll play through anything, In order to get me off the football field youíre going to have to shoot me. Iíll play through anything, Iíve always done that, Iíve always been that durability guy and, just when youíre dealing with things like knees and stuff, itís a lot different.
Q: How much did it really affect you last year?
A: It definitely affects you. You anchor up against somebody when your knee is bothering you and theyíve got 300-pounders running down, itís a big difference. But no excuses, Iíll be the first one, I never make excuses for anything, Iím a team guy, Iím a guy whoís going to fight and all that stuff through thick and thin and Iíll always be that way.
Q: You were saying about the offseason, you sound a little bit like Tuck. Has Tuck been saying the same stuff to you? You guys are sort of in a similar position, you donít know whatís going to happen after this season.
A: I donít need to know whatís happening after this season, all I can focus on is right now and I know Iím working my butt off to do whatever I can, Iím playing good football, I feel great. Thatís all that matters to me. You take one day at a time and prove myself each and every day. Thatís all I care about. I donít care about down the road, the only thing I can control is the present.
Q: How interested are you to see the preseason games? This has just been practice here.
A: Yeah itís definitely, thatís where you start to get the feel, thatís where you start, were still in our early stages of camp but, starting this week once we start hitting you start getting sick of one another, so itís great to be able to go out there, thereís nothing like simulating game speed, regardless of whether itís a preseason game, whether itís any of that stuff. When you go out there and you get your reps you want to maximize them to the best of your ability. I love preseason because you see who the future of this football team is, you see what young guys are going to step up and who are game-players, who know their assignments, know all those things. Thatís very important for us because those are the guys down the stretch that are going to make plays for us and are going to be vital for our team winning football games.
Q: How does the challenge now, being so many years in the league, compare from when you were a rookie, trying to make a team, trying to prove it allÖ
A: I try to make a team every year. Youíre not guaranteed anything. You may have a contract but NFL means not for long, we all know that. So, each and every year, youíre trying to earn a spot on a team. Iíve always thought that to myself, that ďyeah, come out and earn it.Ē It doesnít matter how many starts you have itís all about what you do now.
Q: Some years though, you have to convince yourself, you almost have to fool yourself.
A: Iím not fooling everybody, Iím ready to go.
Q: Youíre a guy whoís won two Super Bowls, you sound just as fired up and motivatedÖ
A: Of course, Iím not a complacent guy. All that stuff is great in the past and Iíll be able to, how many starts and all those things, all the awards I won from the Giants, thatís great that you have those things and, donít get me wrong, Iím proud of those accomplishments but, itís all for when Iím retired and I can look back and do those things. Iím not ready to hang up my cleats, I love coming here, I love playing this sport, I know what Iím capable of, Iíve worked extremely hard to prove it to people and Iím going to do it this year. I can sit here and say what I want to say to you guys but itís all about what I do. Itís all about my actions and thatís what this is all about. So, Iím ready to go, Iíve never been more ready to play football. Challenge me, throw what you want at me, I could care less. I know what Iím capable of and I know what Iím going to do.
Q: Do you feel like some of the fans or people outside of the organization have counted you out?
A: Iíve heard that since I was five years old. I could care less. Iím a fifth-round draft pick whoís started as long as I have, been in the league for 11 years, you hear that stuff all the time. I love haters, keep bringing it. I donít care.
Q: Number wise are the bench marks, whether it be your weight, percent body fat, what youíre bench pressing, how are your numbers comparing to some pervious years? Can you tell thereís a tangible difference?
A: I can totally tell, my conditioning, the way I feel, the way Iím moving is a lot better than last year. Being healthy is another big thing. My numbers are the same as, if not stronger than when I was 10, 11 pounds heavier. Like I said, Iíve worked extremely hard and Iíve done everything I can, whether itís been training here, training with my trainer here in New Jersey this entire offseason, I havenít left. Usually during the summer is the time where I go visit my family in Croatia and do all that stuff, I didnít do any of that stuff. All I cared about was focusing on football, working hard, doing all this and getting ready for the season, that was my only focus.
Q: With Justin, with the concussion, was that something that you thought, maybe a couple of years ago, a player would have not reported that?
A: Itís a lot different. I think you have to have the medical staff and people step in. As a football player, you have that warrior mentality. Especially when youíre a young guy fighting, competing for your job, thereís times when you think, ďoh, Iím not that bad, Iím not dinged up that much.Ē And thatís where the medical staff steps in and thatís where you need to. Itís a lot different, like I said, when youíre dealing with an ankle or something that you can fight through, that youíre not going to hurt yourself any further. But when youíre dealing with a concussion and youíre dealing with the brain you have to go back to the baseline and make sure that youíre alright and figure out when the best time is for you to return to play.
Q: Even a couple of years ago, if you work up with a headache after a practice, you probably wouldnít have said anything.
A: Yeah, thatís the thing, Each guy is different, each guys think of injuries differently and yeah, especially when youíre out here at training camp. Think of a free agent guy whoís out here fighting for his job. That one day, two days, four days that he misses, that could put you behind the eight ball. So thatís important for young guys but, like I said, we have a great medical staff here. Ronnie Barnes is unbelievable and itís up to them and the staff. Thatís why youíve seen the NFL take a big standard because itís so important and so vital to the game. Most importantly, the long-term health of players.
TE Adrien Robinson
August 3, 2013
Q: It must be a big difference from last year.
A: It is. Iím getting a lot more playing time and understanding the offense a lot better, so thatís probably the biggest difference.
Q: Does it give you confidence in knowing whatís going on?
A: Yeah. When youíre not thinking as much, you can play fast. So it allows you to play faster and you have to make decisions quick, so thatís part of it.
Q: Was last year hard for you not playing a lot?
A: It was a little frustrating, but I understood the reasons why it happened. I talked to Coach Pope every week. He told me just try to learn something every day and thereís something to watch for and thatís what I did and in the big picture I think it helped me out a lot.
Q: What do you see yourself as a tight end? Thereís guys that run around and catch passes and thereís guys that block. What do you see yourself as?
A: I think I can do both. Itís going to be pretty much kind of like my first year of getting playing time, so I think weíll have to wait and see how the coaches decide to use me. But I think I can run and block.
Q: Do you think with Bear Pascoe having to do some fullback stuff that opens up even more opportunities for you?
A: Yeah. In certain sets Iíll get more playing time because Bear knows every position and the more you know, the more you can do. So thatís what Iím trying to work towards, but I think it helps me out.
Q: Was there anything you learned from watching Martellus Bennett last year?
A: With being a rookie last year, coming in I didnít really know much about releases and blitzes and reading coverages and overall being a professional and Martellus helped me out a lot with that and so did Bear and even this year Brandon Meyers is helping me out. Iím trying to learn from everybody.
Q: With some of the things that Martellus does, do you see yourself being able to do a lot of the things he did?
A: Yeah. We have kind of the same build. Weíre both athletic. We can run, so I think I can do it.
Q: Are you excited to show what youíre capable of?
A: Yeah. Iím excited because I didnít get to play last year as much as I wanted to, so Iím really excited for this year.
Q: The fans donít have an idea about you yet.
A: Yeah. Thatís fine.
Q: You have a chance to make your first impression.
Q: Did you ever feel any pressure from the JPP of tight ends label that Jerry Reese gave you?
A: No. I didnít feel pressure from it. I didnít really think it was a big deal until people started talking about it. I mean itís still not really a big deal. I think he was just comparing our athleticism.
Q: Did you ever feel like it created these expectations?
A: No because I got drafted, so there are already expectations and I have expectations for myself. So trying to live up to those is probably more important.
Q: Did you take it as a compliment?
A: Yeah, for sure. Itís definitely a compliment, but Iím still a rookie coming in and still have to prove myself. So thatís what Iím trying to do.
Q: Did Jerry ever explain that to you or mention that to you? Because he said that on draft day.
Q: Do you think one day someone will be called the Adrien Robinson of defensive ends or something?
A: I hope so.
Q: JPP has done so much in so little time here. What do you think Jerry meant by that? He said the athleticism, but thereís got to be something more than that. I mean, he didnít have a lot of big numbers in college, JPP. He was kind of like an athlete who they projected. Do you see that? Did you also?
A: Yeah, I think that also goes into it. The potential being the biggest thing.
Q: Whatís the most catches youíve had in a year?
A: Twelve, my senior year was the most catches I had.
Q: How about in high school?
A: High school, maybe twenty-something my senior year. We ran the ball a lot too.
Q: So thatís part of it too, JPP had a lot of sacks. You couldnít look at the page and say weíll look at this production. Is that frustrating you? Is it like the tip of the iceberg for you? What do you think about that?
A: Frustrating how? Like not getting stats and everything?
Q: Yeah, you just look at the numbers and say, thereís not numbers there.
A: Back then, it was kind of frustrating because when youíre getting recruited, and when youíre in college, stats are what gets you exposure, helps get you to the next level. I got lucky, my high school coach took me to a lot of different camps, so I was able to get exposure. By the time you get through college, you just understand the system. Understand what your role is in the offense and that wasnít my role. I would love to get the ball more, but whatever is going to help the team win. Thatís fine.
Q: Is blocking the most important thing for you right now?
A: Yeah, I think thatís definitely the most important thing. Having the right technique, stepping with the right foot and stuff like that. Plus, Iím a bigger guy so learning how to use size to my advantage helped me out.