Sr. Vice President & General Manager Jerry Reese
July 27, 2017
Opening Statement: Good afternoon. Welcome to Giants Training Camp 2017. We’re excited about this season coming up. The division is going to be tough like always. I think the division is stronger than it’s been in a few years. So, obviously we have our work cut out in a tough division, but our players just went through some conditioning stuff out there – positional conditioning things and they all look great out there. They’re in shorts, but everybody looks excited. I know Coach (Ben) McAdoo is very excited and I’m excited about our team and we’re looking forward to all the challenges we have this season moving forward. I’ll take any questions.
Q: Is J.T. Thomas III out there doing everything?
A: J.T. is taking a physical right now.
Q: Is J.T. Thomas III cleared?
A: He’s taking a physical. We’re trying to make a decision on that right now.
Q: At what point did DE Owa Odighizuwa decide he wanted to play?
A: It’s been a while. He has been ready to play. He had some things he had to take care of and he’s out there ready to go and ready to compete.
Q: You made some late signings to the defensive line in DT Corbin Bryant and DE Devin Taylor. What did you see in those guys and what do you think they contribute to the roster?
A: Well, those guys have played some football and you’re always looking for some quality depth at the defensive line; at any position, really. So, those guys give us some quality depth and they’ll be battling for a roster spot. So, we like what they bring to the table with respect to that.
Q: Are you making a decision on whether J.T. Thomas III will be on PUP or be on the roster?
A: One or the other.
Q: Will J.T. Thomas III be here?
A: He’s going to be here, you know, right now, he’s going to be here. But, we have to make some decisions on how he comes out of the physical.
Q: You’re coming off of an 11-5 season. Does that make you feel differently heading into this season?
A: No. Every year is a new year and every year has the same challenges and you have to, you know, you have to stay healthy. You’ve got to have good coaches. You’ve got to have good players. You’ve got to have a little bit of luck. You have to have a couple balls bounce your way. Stay healthy. So, it’s all the same. The new challenges are the same. It’s a new year, but the same new challenges, but we’re looking forward to the challenges.
Q: At this time last year, you had paid a lot of money for new defensive players, whereas this year it is more established. Does that make you feel differently about the expectations?
A: When the new season starts, you never know what you’re going to get. There have been seasons when everybody is like ‘Wow, the Giants. They really don’t have that much’ and you know, we play pretty well. Then there have been seasons when people say, ‘Giants. They look pretty good’ and we don’t play as well. So, every season is a new season. I like the squad. I’m excited about the squad. The coaches are excited. The players are excited. But, we have work to do and it started today. The guys look good running around out there and we’re ready to go to work.
Q: What makes you excited?
A: Well, you know, we did win 11 games last year. We’re hoping to build off that, but it’s a whole new season. You’ve got to win one game at a time, one practice at a time, one day at a time, one game at a time. It has its own set of circumstances this season. Last year means nothing. The last 10 years mean nothing. This is a new year. New challenges and we’re excited about it.
Q: Where do you stand as far as a contract extension for WR Odell Beckham Jr.?
A: I’m not going to talk about contracts. We’re going to keep all of our options open with respect to any contracts. Any contract questions, we’ll keep all of our options open with respect to that.
Q: Are you confident that you can keep the draft picks that will be up for deals in the coming years?
A: Yeah. It’s something we have to start planning for and it’s a good problem to have. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
Q: Are you open to negotiating with players during the season?
A: We’ll keep all of our options open.
Q: Have you talked to WR Odell Beckham Jr.?
A: Odell has been on vacation. I have been on vacation. So, we haven’t talked. We haven’t talked.
Q: Will you have a message for Odell?
A: Just play good football like you always do and be a great teammate. That’s all that we would need to say to Odell. He always does, he’ll play well, be a great teammate.
Q: How is the offensive line coming together and why are you so optimistic about them?
A: Well, the thing that gives me optimism about the offensive line is they have a lot of snaps. This unit has a lot of snaps under the belt. [D.J.] Fluker came in, he has a lot of snaps and some more players on the roster who have a lot of snaps. But the five guys who started last year, they’ve got a lot of snaps under the belt right now. The two young kids (Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart), they’re still very young, we’ve talked about their age. But it’s time for them to step up to the plate and be good players and I believe they will. All the offensive linemen are galvanized with respect to playing great. Everybody keeps saying that’s the weak link to the football team. They hear that. So you guys keep talking about it, keep motivating them and I’m sure you will. And I expect big things from them, I expect those guys to play well. They have a lot of snaps. I’m sure some of you analytic guys will count the snaps, since we talked about that.
Q: How pleased were you that the players behaved themselves over the past six weeks?
A: During the offseason, you’re always a little bit nervous about things happening and when guys are away for some amount of time. But we didn’t have any calls that were earthshattering. We’ve had some in the past. But we still haven’t got to our first padded practice yet, so there’s a long way to go, a long way to get to Week One. But we didn’t have any crazy calls this time.
Q: What is the strength of the team?
A: Well, the strength is the team. The strength is the team. I think we have some good players and I try to say this around the building: we have good players at different positions, but if we don’t play as a team, we’re not going anywhere. It’s all about the team. It’s not about individual players and if we play as a team, we can get to where we want to go. But if we think we’re going to go out there and be individuals, we’re not going anywhere. So, I think that everybody knows that’s the message around here. The strength is the team.
Q: What do you do to make sure that the strength is the team?
A: Well, you get good coaches, you get good players and you hope it all gels and guys are accountable to each other and they galvanize themselves as a unit and play for each other and put the work in to get through the season, get through one game at a time. Qualify for the tournament, you want to win your division, qualify for the tournament and obviously if you get to the tournament, you can go as far as you want to go. But you’ve got to get there first.
Q: Is optimism going into the season sometimes forced and is this one of the seasons where it doesn’t have to be forced?
A: Not really. I’m an optimistic kind of guy. I always feel like our team, if we get some breaks to go our way, and we think that we have good coaches, we think that we have good players, we get a couple balls to bounce our way, a lot of good things can happen. This league is a tough league, it doesn’t matter what your schedule is, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing on Monday, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing on Sunday. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing at one o’clock or eight o’clock. You have to get out there and play, you have to be prepared to play, coaches have to get ready to play, the players have to put in the work to play and our personnel people have to give the coaches the players to play. And you put all those things together and hope it all meshes and you can put a good squad out there that our fans can be proud of.
Q: How can D.J. Fluker impact the offensive line?
A: Yeah, well he’s going to definitely create some competition on that right side. So, hopefully he’s a guy that’s really motivated to show that he belongs as a starter in the National Football League. So, we’re looking for him. We try to create as much competition as we can at every positon and there will definitely be some competition there
Q: What is QB Eli Manning’s biggest challenge now knowing the weapons that you have provided him with and they are diverse weapons as well?
A: Well, I don’t know. Eli has to take care of himself and get himself ready to play mentally and physically. When guys get up in age, you have to take care of them when they get up in age. There are a few guys on the squad that coach McAdoo and our staff, we’ve talked about ‘okay, let’s make sure these guys get to the game, get to the season.’ You’ve got to protect them in some ways. Each one of those guys you want to protect along with a few more guys, older guys you want to protect.
Q: A pitch count?
A: You can call it a pitch count. You can frame it like that, you can frame it however you like. That’s a good way to frame it if you like.
Q: Was that an issue last year with Eli Manning?
A: I don’t know if that was an issue or not, but that is something that we have talked about. We want to make sure that he is fresh in the games late in the year and hopefully going into the playoffs. We want him to be fresh and ready to go.
Q: Does he push back at all on that? Do you have to get him to buy into that?
A: All competitive players want to play. They want to stay out there, they want to take every rep, but he is a smart guy, too, so that is between the coaching staff and him and that is up to the head coach to look out for the pitch count, if you want to call it that, but it will happen with a few players across our team.
Q: Have you had that discussion regarding QB Eli Manning specifically?
A: We have had some discussions about that. We’ve talked about that some and actually have taken some snaps away from him over the last couple of years. He does not have to take every snap. He likes taking every snap, but he doesn’t have to.
Q: Will you also reduce some of it because it’s the preseason? Is that part of it?
A: Yes, absolutely.
Q: Have you researched this? Is this something you have looked into?
A: I think it is just common sense. You see it all around the National Football League. I think (Tony) Romo, one year there was one day where he never practiced. I think it was on a Wednesday or something like that. You see it all over the league with older players, coaches give them some time off or some reps off and we have some older players at different positions that we want to have fresh going into the games and the latter part of this season and again hopefully the playoffs.
Q: You don’t have numbers on it right? It is more of a feel thing?
A: No, it is up to the head coach and our analytics, GPS and all of our coaching staff.
Q: Some teams go out of their way to downplay expectations when everyone is talking Super Bowl, but from the moment Ben McAdoo got here as the head coach, he talks about putting the fifth trophy in the case. It seems like this team embraces those expectations; do you like that from your perspective?
A: Well, I just would like for us to go one game at a time. Everybody’s expectations is to win the Lombardi and we are not an exception to that. Whether you talk about it or not, I know it starts with one day of work and we started today and we have a lot of things to do to get to that point. Players are excited, I am excited, it is a new season, new challenges and we are looking forward to the new challenges in the new season.
Q: Now that vacations are over, do you anticipate one of those preseason sit-downs with Odell and the reason I ask is just because of the stuff you told us at the end of last season?
A: I will sit down with a bunch of players before the season starts.
Q: Is he one of those players?
A: He could be. Thanks guys