Safety Julian Love
Q: I wanted to ask about the offense, obviously you guys practice against them every day, can you just reflect a little bit (on) the growth you've seen from the offense from Week 1 basically to where they are now?
A: I think they've done a great job all year of just kind of building on what they do well. It really is a tribute to guys who are good players playing well. Seeing (running back) Saquon (Barkley) do his thing, seeing (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) do his thing, the young guys stepping up, (tackle) Andrew Thomas stepping into a role of his own. It's like guys are just taking more accountability of their play. It's been feeding off of each other and it's been pretty contagious. They've done a great job all year of just sustaining drives, winning critical situations, and putting us in a position to win.
Q: On defense you guys are used to swapping guys out, substituting and what not. On offense you want some continuity, obviously on the offensive line and certain positions. They've had to have a lot of different personnel changes due to injuries, how challenging has that been for them and how have they responded?
A: I think they've responded pretty well. It's tough I feel like when you have an offense that we all knew was a little more complicated going into the season that had a lot of tools that it was able to use. It's tough to just plug and play somebody, as it is on defense more so. The guys that they've been bringing in have done a great job. I think a prime example is (wide receiver) Isaiah (Hodgins) – he's been balling. He's a guy who's familiar with the system but that kind of smart, tough, dependable quality that he's been showing has been crucial for us down this stretch.
Q: Did you watch the Colts game last night by yourself, with any friends, whoever? Did you watch it from like a 'we play them next' scouting standpoint? How do you look at (Colts quarterback) Nick Foles? Do you look at him as a third-string quarterback or the Super Bowl MVP a couple of years ago?
A: I watched it at home with my wife. I watched it like it was normal game, didn't really try to over analyze it because we have time to do that. I just wanted to get a feel for kind of how they were playing. We all know what Nick Foles is capable of and you have to be prepared for that. He's a guy who's been there, who has accomplished great things. He's a guy you can't sleep on quite frankly. He has experience that you need to be on your a-game for sure.
Q: Can you relate to the receivers a little? We know you've been through the ringer here in your career as far as starting, benched, backups, a glue guy, and now you're starting three guys at receiver with (wide receiver) Richie James, (wide receiver) Darius (Slayton), and Isaiah who have certainly not had easy paths to being starters. Can you relate to them in the job that they've done hanging in and becoming playmakers for you here?
A: Yeah, I can relate. I think the average fan pays more attention to offense than defense, so they probably have it worse than I did because to be in this city, to play for the Giants, you've got to be mentally tough as well as do what you've got to do on the field. So, that's a challenge for my guy – I'll just relate to Darius Slayton – has done a tremendous job of dealing with pressure from everyone but staying true to himself and continuing to work. His play has shown, and I think he's been balling this year and he's been consistent. You have other guys stepping up, like I said Isaiah and Richie have been just dynamic all year. I can relate a little bit to them, but I would say they're doing an even better job because of what they do on offense.
Q: It seems like you guys are mostly following (head coach Brian) Daboll's lead here with blocking out the ramifications of this game and focusing on the game. How hard is that when you've been through all that you, Slayton and all the other guys who have been here for four or five years without success have been through?
A: I mean it's tough for sure. None of us are naïve in the sense that we don't know if we win this game what it means. That's on the back of all of our minds, but you've got to stay true to what we've been doing all season. For me that's to stay in my routine, that's attacking, playing with high effort, and giving our defense a place to stand at all times. If I just do my job, hopefully we get the win we all know what happens if we do that.
Q: Obviously you all want to do that and make the playoffs. I would think that a guy like (safety) Xavier (McKinney) is really pushing for you guys to make the playoffs because that probably increases his chances of getting back on the field this year. Has he expressed that to you guys at all?
A: Yeah, he is a guy who is very passionate about the game. I'm sure it's been killing him to not be out there with us. Him, all of the guys who have been out, I think you want just another week, another shot to get back at it. Xavier – he's chomping at the bit; he's getting ready to go for sure.
Q: You know your head coach better than we do. The public face that he shows is very calm, cool, collected, sometimes a little monotone. That is probably not the face he shows you most often. Which is the real Brian Daboll do you think?
A: That's a good question. I mean, he's monotone with y'all? I don't think he's monotone ever with us (laughs). He's a passionate guy, he's a guy who loves competition. I think that's something that he's brought out in me, is that sense of having fun just competing against guys in whatever it is. Whether it's Madden, whether it's ping pong, whether it's a chip shot challenge. Throughout this whole year that's who he is. He's a passionate guy whose kind of a kid at heart, in terms of that competitive drive and spirit he has. That's shown I think throughout the team, especially like I said, with me. He is one way with some people, and he shows his heart with the guys because he cares a lot about this team.
Q: Now the camera shows him during games getting heated at players, certainly at officials. Have you seen that side of him directed right at you?
A: No, I don't give people a reason to yell at me head on like that (laughs). But he has been fired up. I mess with him in a way where he's not really coming at me in a way like that. You see it sometimes on the sideline, it's just his spirit, he's fieriness showing itself. Whether it's on refs, whether it's on Daniel, any of these guys, it's all love. But no, I haven't had the fortune of getting that treatment yet.
Q: So, you've made no mistakes I guess?
A: He looks at me, (and) he must have a soft heart. He doesn't want to yell at me too much. I'll put it to that.
Q: If you guys do make the playoffs, what would that mean to you? What do you think will go through your mind as it's happening?
A: It would mean the world to me. I'm a competitor. I'm a guy who has tried to be as consistent as I possibly can during good times, during bad times, I think you know what to expect when it comes to me. That's been a constant for years, for the past four years. I haven't been to the playoffs in the league yet. I've achieved that goal in college, I've achieved that goal in high school of course, so I'm excited. I'm excited to have a shot. This position is pretty exciting that we can control our destiny. It's going to mean a lot, but I know I have to lock in on the process of this week just so I can be that consistent guy I've always been for the team as we prepare for the Colts.
Q: We can't get Brian to even say the word playoffs, does he say it to you guys?
A: We're all grown men in this building and on this team. We understand what this game means, we win and we're in. I think his approach has been great because he lays it out obviously, we know what we have in front of us, but don't get outside yourself. Don't do some stupid (stuff) because of the increased ramifications. Just stay true, and that's why I think he's not even mentioning it because he's just treating it like another week. A week that we have to really get after it. We have a lot of things to correct, we have a lot of things to build off of, and I think that's where that comes from. It's not out of a sense of denying what's going to happen, just in a sense of keeping his guys locked in on just being themselves.