Q: What is the confidence level for the team?
A: Very confident. We know what we have to do. We have most of our starters coming back. A lot of the guys have been in the system for a while; Eli [Manning] obviously being in it for this long, he knows it. Obviously the best he's ever known it. So I'm very confident with this group and excited to see what we're going to go out there and do this year.
Q: What is the confidence to make the playoffs?
A: You don't come into a season expecting to go 8-8, we're not going to make the playoffs. So I'm very confident in this team. I think where we were at last year, we lost some crucial games down the stretch and I think we should have been in last year. I think we missed some big opportunities last year to go to the playoffs, and I think that obviously that is the goal. I am very confident with the guys in this room and the locker room, that we're going to be successful this year.
Q: What is your exceptions for this offense?
A: I think we've gotten even better this off-season. We drafted some guys, got some guys back. The offensive line remaining the same guys, we're very confident with what we are going to be able to do upfront. Coach McAdoo really making sure that he's honing in on, focusing on some of the players we have and really exploiting those things. So it's definitely something that I'm looking forward to. But at the end of the day we have to get out there, we got to put the pads on and see what these people can do; because that really is the tell all.
Q: Is former Head Coach Coughlinís absence felt at practice?
A: We walked in the door, about an hour and a half ago, so being able to tell that will come towards the end of camp. To see how well, to see how we have done it. I'm excited, like I said. It's a fresh start and we get a chance to get that bad taste out of our mouth, which was last year and not making those playoffs. So it's something that I know everybody else in there is definitely looking forward to as well.
Q: What does the team feel like?
A: I think the talent on this team is probably up there with any other team that I've been on since I've been here. Some of the guys we have in this locker-room are unbelievable players. Like I said, I'm definitely looking forward to what they are going to do on the field and watching them. While, also taking care of my business. I think this is the best I've been since I have been with the Giants as well. So I know a lot of guys are probably feel the same way. We've grown; we have some young guys that have been playing and they've come up, and I think they are going to have a big year this year.
Q: What was it like with no distractions for this offseason coming into camp?
A: It's huge. We've had no distractions coming into this season. If you look at our defense, we've signed some big name guys. Some guys that have played some high quality football. So I'm excited to see our defense go out there and play and wreak some havoc on some offenses. But at the end of the day, I can only focus on what my job is and what the offensive line and really making sure that we're getting on the right track. That's going to be huge right now; building that camaraderie, building that gel because if you see the good offensive lines they're producing as one unit, and I think that's something that we have to continue to get better at. But we are definitely taking the right steps from where we were last year to keep getting better.
Q: What are some things you're curious about regarding Head Coach McAdoo?
A: Nah, I love Coach Mac, he's awesome. I was probably one of the closest guys with him last year as an offensive coordinator. So having that relationship with him and now having him as a head coach. I feel like the offense knows him pretty well. The defense is getting to know him more and more as we go along throughout O.T.A.s. I feel like the offensive unit knows him fairly well.
Q: Do you think this offense can be dynamic?
A: Of course, I think we showed flashes last year. We just got to make sure that we run the ball more consistently. I think that is the biggest thing going into this year. Running the ball will help us on third downs, which we struggled with last year and help us in the green zone, where we also struggled last year. I know that the coaches have said that and harped on that. I think that will help us tremendously if we got that going, and also we got Victor Cruz coming back, some of the younger wide receivers looking good. So having those guys will definitely help us out as well.
Q: What discussions did you have with Eli [Manning]?
A: We always set barometers for our offense in the beginning of the year, and that always is. To be the top five in the NFL, you want to score a certain amount of points a game, and 28 points is where we're looking to be at and I know we were pretty close last year. So I think if we got to that point we would've won some more games last year too. So that is definitely our goal. Like I said, we lacked on third down, and green zone last year and running the ball a little bit better. There are some other things as well.
Q: Why it took so long to get the running game going?
A: Obviously, there are a lot of variables that go into it. Obviously you're playing against some good defenses. We're trying to learn how we work; the backs are trying to learn how we work. There we're a lot of things coming together, and I think towards the end of the year, we really showed what we could do; and I think that we got to pick up where we left off. I think we're going to do some good stuff this year.
Q: What are the pluses and minuses to having different backs this year?
A: It changes up what the defenses are prepared for. You have one back that can run with power, you have another back that can run a little more elusively. So it definitely has its pluses and minuses. Obviously thereís backs that have to get a feel for us, so it took a little while to get that going. But I'm excited, thereís guys coming back that are in great shape. The offensive line is excited, I think Coach [Mike] Solari has done a great job working with us on the offensive line unit. Really getting us ready, to keep us on the same page, its black and white, if they give us this look, then we're doing this, so it's something that I'm definitely looking forward to.
Q: How are you learning to close out games and win at the end?
A: Learning from those games, first and foremost. But I also said that after Dallas week one last year. We have to learn from this and we can't let it happen again, and happen again. I think last season that was the theme of the last year. At the end of the game, it was always something would go bad, and we were losing games in the last minute, minute and a half. So it's something that we have to build off of this year and make sure that we are finishing games. So we've done stuff in practice where we hop into a two-minute drill and we go to the end of the game or a four-minute drill. I think like I said, keep going back to running the ball. We run the ball better, we can eat up clock towards the end of games thatís what is going to close out games. I think that our defense is definitely looking forward to getting out there and shutting people down. We got some scary pass rushers out there and our d-line is looking pretty good. Also with those cornerbacks, you know, we'll see act happens when we put the pads on, but I'm excited to see what they do.
Q: What was the transition from when you got here to now?
A: When I first got into the NFL, when you look at the guys in the offensive line room, I think I'm the only one here, from my rookie year. So now, we're that group that has to come up and has to become that older group. I think when I got drafted, it was all those guys, it was the Sneeís, the Diehlís, Boothe, Baas, and the list goes on and on. All those guys, all of a sudden, one year later most of them are gone. So to think about it that way, it was kind of crazy to see that progress. I think the young guys that are going in now, we're building that camaraderie that those guys had when they we're getting into the peaks of their careers. So that's something I'm looking forward to developing with our group and trying to take off their lead and continue that Giant brand of football.
Q: How hard is the change to get back to the winning ways?
A: When you look at those teams that won, the 2007 and 2011 team, those guys built something that was very special. So that really comes from the locker room itself. It's something that you build in the offseason, so you can't really duplicate what they did. You have to find your own way and find how everyone is going to come together and really win as a team. I think that is something that is building now, it's something you don't see. When we're hanging out in the cold after practice cracking jokes, having a good time. It's those things, behind closed doors, nobody is going to see, and thatís something that's going to be very special to this team. I know that I already feel very good about the guys we have in the room and that its going to be fun.
Q: What's your focus this year?
A: I would say finish. Finish is got to be the biggest thing for us. Obviously we have to continue with being a tough offensive line, making sure we're protecting each other, protecting our running back, quarterbacks, obviously first and foremost. But we have to finish games and I think that is something that we have to finish better on the offensive line and something Coach Solari is going to harp on and I know everyone is.