LB Jonathan Casillas
June 9, 2017
Q: What do you see Evan Engram bringing to the team and this offense?
A: A lot. He is such a dynamic player at the tight end position with his skillset, he is going to create a lot of mismatches, whether itís between linebackers, safeties or corners. He is not a small guy. He runs routes just as good as any receiver we have on our team. He creates separation and he has great hands.
Q: What does it mean to have most of the guys back from last year and what is ahead for this group?
A: It means a lot. You have a lot of guys that have familiarity with the defense and each other. We have great comradery and a brotherhood on the defensive guys, weíre always together off the field and weíre always together in the locker room as well and thatís a great carryover, but as far as carryover meaning anything from last year, it really doesnít mean anything. You can go from first-to-worst or worst-to-first like we did last year, we went from worst-to-first. Or not good to good. It can easily be the other way around if we get a little too big headed. We definitely need to stay grounded and we will see come late July, August, and September when that rolls around if that unit coming back together if we are as good as last year.
Q: Is that easy to do, stay grounded? Or is that hard?
A: The league is hard. Whether you have success or whether you donít have success, it is hard to go from year to year and stay at top and dominate or play very well every single game. That is a very difficult thing to do and the standard we set was very high, so it is definitely going to be hard to keep that standard.
Q: Whatís it like to have the defensive draft picks Dalvin Tomlinson and Avery Moss rotating in and out. How does it feel for them to look at you as a team leader and how do you think they have responded to their first team activities?
A: They looked good. Moss has showed up a lot, especially being on the outside. It is really hard to show up as an interior defensive lineman without pads on when we are not really gauging run stops and stuff like that. Avery has done a good job on the outside and has been showing up on the production chart. It is good to see those guys out there. I donít think they are having that many mental errors, which is a great thing as young guys. This defense is not really simple and we ask a lot, especially out of our defensive ends.
Q: What do you say to a guy like B.J. (Goodson), who is one of the changes stepping in and working with you guys on the 1st team? What do you say and what kind of advice do you give to a guy like that who is stepping into that type of a role and what he has to do in this defense?
A: Just take your time. Donít try to do too much. You have a lot of guys like myself, Keenan Robinson, Jackrabbit is out there, DRC (Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie), Landon Collins. You know, guys who have played a lot in this defense and have played a lot of ball in general. You donít have to be the saving hero of the defense. The golden knight. You donít have to do that. Take it in stride because this defense is not a simple defense. It is a little complicated and the Mike has a lot of responsibilities to do. So just take your time, get through your checks and get the defense lined up first. Then we will help you out come OTAís, Minicamp, and stuff like that and he will catch on and as the season progresses, he will be a lot better. He is not doing bad at all right now, but it is just a lot to ask for right now from a young guy playing in the Mike position.
Q: What do you see from him on the field when youíre in there in the huddle with him?
A: He takes control. He is a great communicator. It is hard to tell playing in the interior in the run, playing in our underwear, as they call it, so we will see come training camp and definitely in the preseason against other opponents how well he does because at the end of the day that is what youíre judged on. Not OTAís.
Q: Whatís your perception on how he has handled the huddle?
A: Itís been good. Itís been really good and I like to call myself the co-pilot because I am usually out there with him or with Keenan Robinson at nickel. I try to do a good job of assisting him getting the guys lined up and ready to go.
Q: Can this defense grow, and I donít mean in terms of production, but in the amount of things you can do?
A: I think so. You know Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) likes to put a lot on us. He likes to give us the whole playbook and see how we can handle it. Thatís how he judges if you can play for him or not. With that being said, Iíve played for his defense for four years now, going on my third year here now and one in New Orleans. He has manipulated and changed his defense according to the players he has, the team and the scheme he wants to run and I think he has done a great job with that. When he feels comfortable with the guys and that trust factor is there, I think he puts a little more, a little more, and a little more on us, especially as the year progresses.
Q: McAdoo mentioned at the beginning of OTAís that he and the coaching staff re-evaluate everything all the time and they have made a lot of changes, whether big or small. They mentioned nutrition was one of them. Are these changes noticeable to players in a positive way or not?
A: Very much so. McAdoo is going on his second year as a head coach and I think his first year he did a great job establishing his culture. (Tom) Coughlin was here for I donít know how long and his culture was phenomenal and me being a Jersey guy, I knew about Coughlin and doing things with Giants pride and the Giants way just from being a local guy. From going from such a strong culture that Coughlin had to manipulating his culture, it was like we didnít even miss a beat. Now he is trying to be a little bit more and figure out his identity as a head coach and our identity as a head coach. I think he is doing a great job with bringing in guys like Pratik Patel, who is doing nutrition and he is one of the smartest guys in the building. He is not only giving us nutritional help but he is spotting us when we are doing squats and benches. The more you can do, the better, and I think we have a lot of guys in our building on our football field and off our football field that are doing a lot for the Giants.