Safety Julian Love
Q: How do things change for you with (Safety) Xavier (McKinney) out?
A: I just have the green dot, I'll communicate to the defense. From a roll perspective, it doesn't change too much. We have some guys stepping up to fill in for his role and I'll continue to do what I've been doing.
Q: Do you feel comfortable with the green dot?
A: Yeah. I've had the mic since OTAs. He has it on game day. I'm comfortable with it, I'm used to it – it's just communicating. It should be fun.
Q: How much do you have to help (Safety) Dane (Belton) when he's out there?
A: It's a process throughout the week. He's been doing a great job of learning and growing up to this point in the season. So, this will be an exciting time for him to show what he's about in a bigger capacity.
Q: The Xavier news – how tough is that for you guys as teammates and what did he tell you?
A: Yeah, I mean it's tough. Obviously as teammates, as friends. It's something you don't want to hear but it happens, freak things happen. It's crazy but we're going to be resilient and try to find a way going forward to fill a tough void to fill.
Q: Xavier said he addressed it with you guys. It's kind of a weird thing, right? Obviously, you guys are grown men who are intitled to do whatever you guys want to do on your bye week, but did he have to apologize in some way?
A: No. He never had to apologize to us. He just said what it is. He called me and told me what it was, whenever it happened. It's tough. You can look at it from a team perspective, it's tough. But I looked at it right away from a personal perspective and made sure he was alright and everything. That's a scary thing on a trip and you get hurt, you're injured, but it's part of life, part of the situation. I think all of us took it with a grain of salt and just moved forward.
Q: What did you do on your bye week?
A: I was down in Florida. I was relaxing with the wife. I was poolside most of the time.
A: Yeah, as you can see from your guy – you can get this on camera – I was with the Irish on Saturday. That was from the previous week (against Syracuse). They're on a roll right now, I've got to hit up (Defensive Lineman) Dexter (Lawrence) later on.
Q: Did you guys have a bet?
A: We didn't. He was complaining about the gameplan and all this other stuff. Irish play complete games versus tough teams. Now they've got to raise that versus the not as tough teams.
Q: What about taking over the play calling duty? How familiar are you with that? I assume you do it probably a little in practice.
A: Yeah, so I have the mic in practice. I've had it since OTAs. I feel comfortable relaying the plays and communicating. We had a good system, me and Xavier. He's communicating the plays and I'm communicating everything else for the defense. Now it's on other guys to raise their level of communication and get that line flowing, because it's smooth with me and Xavier, we're on a very personal level with the way we can communicate openly. It's going to take some other guys to step up, but I feel comfortable in my role.
Q: How much does it hurt the defense not to have him there as a player, skill wise, with what he brings to defense?
A: He's a rising star in this league, it's tough to replace. He's a guy who's been holding down the deep part of the field for us, is able to do some good things for us to play fundamental football. I think the emphasis has to be on guys just to not let it feel like there's such a big hole. That's going to take, honestly, a community of guys right now to step up and fill the roles that he's been able to play this season and past year.
Q: As an athlete, is it the hardest thing to accept that you may have let your teammates down when something like that happens?
A: It's tough, you know? I think out of anything, you look at yourself first. I'm not one to say he let us down because he didn't let us down. Freak things happen. I think he's feeling fine. Right now, he's been in the meeting rooms leading us still, being vocal about the defense, because that's who he is – he's our vocal leader. Same way (Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard) Shep is a vocal leader on offense and has still been around. That's what makes this team special is that he's staying around and helping us, helping us communicate, helping the young guys, helping Dane, helping some of the other guys come up. That's huge right there. You can either fold or you can rise to the occasion, and he's been rising for us.
Q: You guys have had to overcome a lot of injury obstacles this year. How does that help and where does this rank among the things you guys have had to overcome?
A: We're resilient and I say that – you can be resilient in games coming back from when you're down, but guys have been getting banged up, guys have had freak things happen to them right now this season. That's just kind of the story of what it is. But guys have stepped up and that's what good teams do. Players step up in key situations and fill voids.
Q: (Safety) Jason (Pinnock) just said he felt unfazed by this, like we're going to come do a job. Do you feel that confidence when you're around him?
A: On a schematic level and on a football level yeah, I guess you can be unfazed. I know I have to be in here earlier, leave later, help guys out to get them up to the level they need to be at come game day. On a personal level, it's hard not to be fazed – that's your friend, that's your guy you go to work with every day. To have this happen to him, it stinks.
Q: Last Tuesday, we talked to (General Manager) Joe Schoen and he said he was hoping to get some extension talks rolling with some guys. He didn't mention you by name but all the smart people in the media connected you to that obviously as a free agent who's playing a big role. Did you have any interest in getting that rolling? Do you want to test free agency? How do you feel?
A: I'll say this – I love playing here. I really enjoy the people here. It's been a blast these past few years and I respect the hell out of Schoen and everybody upstairs. So yeah, if something can get done, I'd love to get it done but the bye week was that time to figure things out and be involved in it. Right now, I'm letting them handle it, my agent handle it, and focusing on now this bigger role for me and do my thing. It is what it is right now.
Q: Obviously business is business. Do you want to finish your career as a Giant? Is this where you want to be for the rest of your career?
A: Yeah, that term, 'Once A Giant, Always A Giant,' is something that has been appealing. I've been around some greats. Zak DeOssie and Eli Manning just to name a couple. It is appealing. I love it here. My family, my wife – we enjoy it here. That'd be something that's appealing to me, but at the same time you've got to do what's best for you. That's the line I have to walk.
Was that an ear bud?