LB Jonathan Casillas
September 9, 2016
Q: What does it feel like to be a captain?
A: Itís surreal. Itís unbelievable. Being a hometown guy, as you call it. Iím from Jersey. Being the captain of a Jersey team, the Giants, itís unbelievable. Itís something that you can dream of as a kid. Still, the possibility that it happens is very small. Itís a very humbling thing to know that these men in this locker room look forward to me or towards me in that light. Itís very humbling.
Q: From a medical standpoint, how confident are you that you can play Sunday?
A: Very confident. Thereís nothing telling me that Iím not playing. Of course, weíre going to go workout before the game to give it an extra go, but Iíve been participating and doing everything. Off the field, Iíve been doing everything I can to get back out there.
Q: We never let you forget that last yearís defense was last in the league. When you start this season, how much of a motivator is that?
A: Itís a huge motivator. Weíre all prideful men in this locker room. Weíre a prideful group and this is a prideful organization. How weíve won in the past before I got here, of course, Jessie Armstead was here and Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, all those guys. Those are defensive guys. Those defenses took the teams deep into the playoffs and to the Super Bowls. In order for us to have success as a team, we have to be better defensively. I think weíve taken the right steps in that direction.
Q: You mentioned it being surreal being named a captain. Did it just totally catch you by surprise?
A: I want to say yes, but it was actually one of my goals for the year. I try to set goals. Going into my eighth year, Iíve never been a captain. I was a captain in high school, a captain in college. I feel like that was the next step for me. Just taking it there. Using my knowledge and everything Iíve learned over the years and the success that Iíve had in the different organizations that Iíve been in and applying it here. Helping out not only myself but also the people that surround me.
Q: Was there anything specific that you were doing to try and accomplish that?
A: Just continue to be me. I felt like last year I established my role playing-wise. Being a first year guy, itís kind of hard to get the guys on your side. Even having guys actually know what youíre about. Having the whole offseason. The full season and training camp, I think the guys really saw what I was about and what my makeup was about. Even the coaches got a good feeling of what Iím about.
Q: Did anyone tell you why they thought you were the right guy?
A: Not really. Iíve been getting the El Capitan jokes from the guys. The biggest thing for me is when I hear from somebody like a DRC or a Leon Hall, guys who have played longer than me in the league, saying Iím glad my vote didnít go to waste and well-deserved. That means so much to me. From guys who have played so much in the league as long as they have, won games, been to the Super Bowl like DRC has. Itís very humbling.
Q: Are you more of a lead by example guy or are you a vocal leader?
A: A little bit of both. I feel like when the time is necessary and the opportunity is there for me to say things, Iíll try and do it. Iím always talking to the young guys and guys that donít really know exactly what it is to be a pro. You have to learn to do it. You just donít come in this game and be a good pro. You have to learn to do it. Itís an acquired skill and an acquired thing that you have to go through. Also your play. Being available, being accountable on the field. I feel like besides me being out for the last couple of weeks because of my ribs, Iíve been trying to be as consistent as I possibly can on the field. Getting guys lined up and making those plays.
Q: Does any added responsibility come with it now that you actually have the title?
A: I donít know. This is my first time. Weíll see. Iím always willing to do whatever the coaches need from me, my players, my guys, my friends need from me. Itís a family here. I felt that since I walked in the door last year when Coughlin was the head coach. McAdoo has picked up his culture and is establishing his own culture as well. Iím trying to keep it going. Let history be on our side. Take from what weíve learned. Jessie Armstead is in our room. Heís always around. We see him. Thatís huge having a guy like that always around. Banks is always around, Carl is always around. Having those guys remind you of the importance of being great defenders and actually being the New York defense. Representing.
Q: What have you seen from the leadership in this locker room?
A: I think weíve done a great job collectively at staying healthy. Aside from my rib, thereís not too many guys on the injury report, which is really rare. Iíve been around, Iíve seen it. Iíve seen teams start the year with 10 guys on the IR that are considered starters or important role players. Besides that, I think itís people taking responsibility for their own action. Being responsible for learning the playbook, making plays, being accountable. That starts individually. When you can do that individually, people start seeing that and young guys start seeing that and looking up to you. You can lead that way as well. I feel like weíve done that collectively as a unit. Youíve seen guys like Darian Thompson come in and learn the playbook. As a rookie, thatís a difficult playbook, then going out there and rarely making mistakes. Heís very good. I think thatís a testament to Landon being here in his second year and him learning from him. Itís a snowball effect, a trickledown effect and I feel like weíre doing a great job.
Q: You have 22 starters available for this opener. Why do you think that is?
A: A combination of the training room and the weight room. Aaron Wellman has come in and did what he needed to do with the strength and conditioning program. Focusing on what we needed and not doing anything unnecessary training-wise. Sticking to football stuff and training the hamstrings a certain way. Not overworking us. Heís done a fantastic job. The training room. Ronnie Barnes. Iíve been around Iíve seen different training rooms. We have the best training staff in the league, hands down.