Q: What do you think of Victor Cruz so far?
A: Last two days, his work load has been pretty consistent as far as the reps he’s been getting. He had some team stuff today, so he looks to be on schedule.
Q: What can you say about the progress of Sterling Shepard so far?
A: He’s a young guy learning from his mistakes and the second day, he got better than yesterday, but he didn’t have any team reps yesterday. So that’s encouraging.
Q: Ben, I think it was Rashad that said for a coordinator going to be a head coach, a good play or a bad play happens for the offense last year and you’re focused on the offense. When today’s practice starts or at least the seven-on-seven with the pick by Devon Kennard, what’s your reaction in that moment?
A: Great effort. DK made the same type of play last year in Buffalo on the same type of route. Great effort, good ball skills, and I’m happy for the young man, he made a nice play.
Q: Do you think health held him back last year? Is that the primary reason why he didn’t really continue after that Buffalo game?
A: Again, that would be a better question for him since I was primarily focused on the offensive side of the ball. And not being there in the heat of the moment, that could be a contributing factor.
Q: When was the last time you were somewhat happy to see an interception at practice?
A: I think it would be never.
Q: With rookies like Sterling Shepard and Eli Apple, how early in the summer do you need to know that you can trust them before you pencil them into prominent roles?
A: I trust them right now. We’re not going to be afraid to play young players.
Q: What’s your plan here with Eli in training camp with how you’re going to assimilate him?
A: Which Eli?
Q: Apple. Sorry.
A: Eli is going to be out there. He’ll have a chance with the first group and the second group, and we use those guys fairly interchangeably. They’ll get a chance to work inside and a chance to work outside.
Q: Seems like you’ve had a lot of that with DRC, him and Janoris rotating constantly. Is that going to continue?
A: Yes, we’re going to use them all. We trust those guys and we’re going to give them a chance to compete against each other. I think that creates a great atmosphere.
Q: Do you see Eli Apple’s skill set as being best served in the slot or is it a shotgun marriage if it has to be that way?
A: I see our corners like I see our receivers. I see our corners as guys that have versatility. They’re smart players that can play inside and outside.
Q: But they don’t have a lot of experience doing that?
A: That’s okay.
Q: You talked in the spring about trying to find out what you had in the slot with some of those guys, as well. What did you find?
A: I found that I was excited to get the pads on Tuesday and get a chance to get out there and see them be physical in the slot because that has a lot to do with it. It’s a physical game inside there.
Q: Coach, Ereck Flowers had a bit of a medical hiccup yesterday. How do you think he recovered today?
A: He got through it. He bumped into someone yesterday in a non-full speed drill, but he got through it today.
Q: Is it anything to be concerned with in the long run?
Q: You’ve got a bunch of receivers for the last couple of roster spots, what are you looking for out of those guys?
A: They have to be consistent. They’re going to jockey for reps until we get to the games, and then when the games come, they have to take advantage of their opportunities.
Q: What does Tavarres King bring to you? He made a big play out here today.
A: He is a guy that grew on us last year when we had him on the practice squad. He’s chomping at the bit, I know he had a couple different opportunities and he feels like, I know I’m speaking for him, but he’s walking around like a guy who seems like he’s earned his stripes and he’s ready to take that next jump. It was good to see him make a play today.
Q: What about JT Thomas doing some work on the side, do you think he’s getting close to coming back?
A: He’s getting closer.
Q: Coming of an injury, is it good to see Larry Donnell make a play like that today?
A: Yes, he made a couple of plays down the middle of the field. Again, winning down the middle of the field is huge for this offense, and he’ someone that could definitely do that for us and he laid out and made a real nice catch on the second one he came up with. Earlier in the period, he caught one down the middle in good rhythm and timing from Eli, so it was nice to see Larry bounce back and make some plays.
Q: Do you look at this defense and think it’s already better than last year because of the personnel?
A: They’ll be the first to tell you that just because we went out and signed a bunch of guys, we’re going to have to go through some pain together and we’re going to have to learn to get the chemistry we’re looking for. It’s going to take some time. We’ll have to go through some pain, some bumps and bruises together, and come out on the other side. Any offense, defense or special teams, or any team in this league that’s worth anything has to go through those things together.
Q: Olivier Vernon said yesterday that he thinks communication is the biggest thing that this defense can establish to improve and be a good defense, do you agree with him on that?
Q: What is it physically that excites you about Sterling Shepard?
A: He seems like a young pro. He seems like a young man who’s committed to his craft and being a pro is important to him, and that’s what you’re looking for from young players.
Q: At tight end, the depth, how wide open of a competition is there? How many tight ends do you intend to keep?
A: We’re going to keep the best players. We’re not going to hold ourselves hostage on what type of numbers we want at different spots. We told those guys the numbers are going to fluctuate based on how they perform. We’re not going to hold ourselves to four, five tight ends. In the past. I think we were the first team in the league in Green Bay in 2011 to have five active. I think it was 2011, one of those years, so if we have five, we’ll keep five; if not, we’ll keep less. We’re going to keep the best players we can keep.
Q: With Brad Bars, last year he was a defensive end and now this year you’ve converted him to linebacker. What factors led to that decision?
A: He’s a guy that plays with great effort. He’s good on his feet. He was a little bit lighter for a defensive end, but he does have some rush ability and some flexibility there.
Q: Do you have confidence that he will do well at that position this year?
A: We’ll find out. I have confidence in Brad. He’s done some good things on special teams, he plays with a great effort and he leads by example.
Q: With Victor Cruz, he talked about staying in contact with everybody and letting everybody know how his body feels. Have you been able to get feedback from him yet from yesterday or today, anything at all?
A: After one day, no.
Q: This is your first day working in front of the fans, what was the atmosphere like out there?
A: It was great to have the fans here. We appreciate their energy, their enthusiasm. They’ve been great so far, very supportive. Nothing better than a New York Giants fan.
Q: Do you even notice them though?
A: Absolutely. When they opened the gates, it was like a sea of red, white and blue coming in here. I know the players and coaches both appreciate it.
Q: Coach, with Larry Donnell and Will Johnson both healthy, are you guys going to make an effort to have two tight ends on the field?
A: Sure. Why not? I like both of them. Again, we’re going to play our players. The guys who earn playing time are the guys that are going to play.
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Q: What are your expectations for this year?
A: To be honest, just go out there and contribute where I can. Being the old guy, I’ve got to set into that role of just spitting knowledge to the guys that are younger than me. That’s just going to be out there just playing. Just trying to help where I fit in.
Q: Has it been frustrating this past few seasons with the injuries that you have had?
A: When I'm out there, I'm doing my own, but injuries fall. They come and go, you can't account for that. So you’ve just got to be prepared as best as you can.
Q: Are you open to playing the slot this year?
A: Slot work, it takes a lot of just understanding the game and the defense and knowing where everybody fits. It's challenging, but I'm definitely up for a challenge, so it is what it is.
Q: Where would you prefer to play this season?
A: I want to be on that field at the end of the day. So if I’ve got to go out there and play D end, then I'm going to D end. So it really doesn’t matter. You want to be outside, you want to be where you're comfortable at, but at the end of the day, you just want to be on the field.
Q: Do you see Eli Apple suited for slot or outside?
A: He's a young guy with a lot of talent, but the biggest thing is, you want to start off and bring him in and build confidence. If you're strong point is outside, you want to be outside. He's definitely showing some good signs out there, he's doing really good and he's ready to learn. You look for that in a rookie.
Q: Does his body type remind you of yours?
A: No, I'm cut a little different. He's tall and long, but we aren’t the same. Nah, I'm just playing. He does, he does. Get at you at the line of scrimmage, got long arms, can press, can run with anybody, so yeah he's definitely coming.
Q: What’s the difference between now and when you were in Philly?
A: Understanding. In Philly, it was just thrown out there. Whole time in camp, playing outside and then in season comes, you just thrown in nickel. So it’s just learning. At least here, doing the OTAs, I understood where I was going to be at for some parts, and got on it early.
Q: Do the rookies playing worry you as a veteran?
A: No. It's football at the end of the day. You know, guys come in with a lot of talent and the main thing is building chemistry. You get in early with them and we've been doing that. Today I think went really well. As far as communication and things of that nature.
Q: How often do you have to correct the younger players?
A: They’re learning fast, and they’re learning on the go, too. That's always hard, but the main thing is that they are willing to learn. You don't see guys getting mad, they just keep on fighting.
Q: What have you seen from Darian Thompson?
A: Who is that is? Nah, I'm just playing. He's a guy that is just vocal. Sometimes you got a guy who comes in, he isn’t as loud, but whether he's right or wrong, he's making the call and he's playing at 100 percent. So that's the thing. Most guys want a guy that’s going to be out there that’s going to be loud and make calls.
Q: Does the defensive signings boost you up?
A: You look at it like, man, they just brought some guys in that can get after the ball, play the ball, understand the ball. All that does is make you better as a unit. So this year, all you can do is go up. Definitely can't be what happened last year. It's all positive, all forward.
Q: Do you see the guys and think it’s going to be dramatically different?
A: You can feel it. You’re out there, they come in, and the transition was smooth. You’ve got some guys that they brought in that can really get off that ball. So that’s definitely going to help from the secondary standpoint.
Q: Did you know Janoris Jenkins much before this offseason?
A: Yeah, he's from Florida. I watched him. Anytime guys want to make plays around this league, you want to take a liking towards them and see what they’re doing. He's going to make it happen. If he gets his hands on the ball, you know where he's going with it So he's definitely bringing that spice to the team.