Tight End Daniel Bellinger
Q. It seems like we have to ask every person on the offense about (tight end) Darren Waller. You're very close to Darren Waller. Everything you read in the offseason after he was traded here and whatever videos or highlights you may have seen versus what you've actually seen in person, what's your reaction?
A: I got a chance to really connect with him last year at Tight End U, so I was already kind of aware of his very unique abilities. Just being able to actually talk and see how he views things off the field, I think is the biggest eye opener for me. He's a very smart guy. He helps myself and helps the whole offense just with different things that he can do. Obviously, we see it on film all the time and what he did in Las Vegas but being able to just pick his brain off the field, I think is what makes him the most unique.
Q. There are some teams in this league where if you get a tight end in the room, all of a sudden, everybody kind of takes a backseat. Within this offense, it seems like there's opportunities. They're willing to use more than one tight end on the field, differing skill sets, that kind of thing. Have you guys talked about what the combination in tandem that you guys might be able to do offensively this year together?
A: Coach (offensive coordinator Mike) Kaf(ka) and Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll), they do a lot of different personnel, a lot of different things with the offense, and we haven't gotten down to the specifics of it. I think that they're trying to put on different things right now to show on film and see what we can do as a whole offense, really just evaluate guys on every perspective, and they'll make those decisions as we go forward.
Q. In the time that you've been with Darren Waller, and I know that you mentioned a year ago as well, does he freely share knowledge? Does he wait till you ask a question, and then he's certainly available? What is his give and take like as a veteran who's seen a lot in this league, and frankly, in his life as well?
A: Yeah, he definitely is kind of both ways. He definitely comes out, if he sees something on film that he thinks I could do better or (tight end Lawrence) Cage(r) could do better, or anybody in the tight end room, he'll definitely speak up and give his thoughts on a play, and then vice versa. If he does something on the field and he comes off the field, and I ask him, 'Hey, what'd you see here? What'd you see there,' he's always open to giving us his experience and his thoughts on a play.
Q. Do you ever say, 'Wow' watching a practice rep, or today, pads go on, who knows what happens then? You're smiling…
A: All the time, yeah. He's a unicorn player. Watching him be able to do what he does, even at his age, it's amazing. Definitely a lot of 'wow' moments with Darren.
Q. Does it help that he comes across – even in our short interaction with him – as just the nicest guy you're going to meet?
A: He's a great guy. That was the biggest thing for me, just being able to just talk to him as a person. I think he's been helping me a lot and helping everybody. He's a good guy all around.
Q. What have the veterans in the room told you about what you should expect from year one to year two, and what do you expect coming off your first year?
A: Just taking the things that I needed to improve on my first year and using them the second year. The biggest thing that I'm getting feedback from other guys on and biggest thing I'm experiencing myself is just having more confidence going into a play or to a practice and being able to understand not just my job and my responsibility, but now being more confident knowing everybody's job and knowing the whole scheme of a play instead of just focusing on my one job. I can now see the field better and be more confident about play.
Q. Do you have more confidence?
A: Absolutely, yeah. I definitely have more confidence now. I feel more confident being able to read a defense as well, and just different kind of small things that I was so hyper focused on last year that now I can really sit back and be like, 'Okay, I got this, I got that.' I still have to make sure I'm good at those things but being able to focus on bigger picture things as well.
Q. There were a lot of questions about Darren Waller, obviously. His coming here affects you, position wise, certainly. As good a teammate as he is, and all those wow moments, do you say, 'Well, I may have to accept that the ball is just not going to be there for me as often,' or snaps or things like that? There's a role for you, but do you have to adjust that in your head at all?
A: I don't really think of it like that. What Darren does opens up for everybody, not just in the tight end room, but in the receiving room and it opens up everything all together. So, I wouldn't say I think about the targets or the passes or whatever that is. I think of it as just what's going to help the team the best, what's going to put us in the best position to win. I think Darren does a great job for us and for myself.
Q. I know you haven't been around that long, but when you look across the line at (defensive lineman) Leonard Williams, whether it be in practice or whatever, what do you see? How dominant of a player is he in your eyes?
A: One, he's a big human being. So, that's the first thing I see is his just sheer size, him and (defensive lineman) Dex(ter Lawrence II). I just see him as a veteran player. He has small things about his game that you don't really see from younger guys, you definitely see from older guys and vets like himself. He's dominant in the fact that he's really good at the small details of his work and in his craft, and it shows up, not just on game day, but every day at practice.
Q. Last year, because the Giants hadn't been to the playoffs in a long time and the new regime coming in, there were not necessarily huge expectations result wise from the outside world. You guys go and make the playoffs and whatnot. Now, there's a lot more expectations on you guys. How do you handle that as a team, as a group, and yourself? Do you welcome those expectations?
A: Yeah, of course, we hold ourselves to the highest expectations, you know. Coach Dabs talks about it every day and just about how we have to hold ourselves to a high standard. But we aren't really worried about the outside noise. We just kind of focus on what we need to do day by day to get better. Of course, the ultimate goal is to get to the Super Bowl and just make sure that we do what we need to do day by day to get there.