Defensive Lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches
Q: I'm just curious how are you doing after the accident and presuming that maybe you feel fortunate?
A: Definitely blessed. Definitely was fortunate coming out of that situation. Looking at that accident and both vehicles being totaled, it was definitely an eye-opener. At the same time, shoot, I am in a car wreck every week at practice, so it wasn't anything different, fortunately. God blessed me to be safe, no bumps, bruises or broken anything, so it was all good.
Q: Was that accident in New Jersey?
A: It was literally less than five feet away from the facility.
Q: For a guy like you who comes with the reputation of stopping the run and being a physical player, I guess I'll ask two-fold. Is getting pads on special for you this time around maybe and what will you bring to this defensive line when it comes to stopping the run?
A: Just juice. Discipline, technique. That's the biggest thing. Putting on pads doesn't really change the foundation of me, it just keeps me a bigger surface to grab. Other than that, just come in here, stop the run, just having the attitude and the will to do so. That's what I bring to the team.
Q: As a guy that has a reputation for being a run stopper and being a part of some really good run stopping units, what have you seen from this group so far, maybe just through the early stages of camp or looking back from last year? What do you see that you guys can improve in that area?
A: Understanding one another. I feel like there is a great thing here that's able to stop the run. There are other things that we have to fine tune. Just understanding where your neighbors are at. Not forming the same ground, just being disciplined. Not peaking too soon, just staying there and trusting that your guy will float to the ball, and you don't have to do anybody else's job.
Q: With you now in the fold and (linebacker) Bobby (Okereke) and (defensive tackle) Dexter (Lawrence II) and (defensive lineman) Leonard Williams still around, is the feeling that if you guys can really shorten up that area that the sky is the limit for this defensive in year two with (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale)?
A: Yes, yes, yes. I definitely felt it yesterday, it was some things that we did. Routine plays that weren't leaving the box. I just kept saying, if we continue to keep it like this, you all can rush the passer all day. I was loving it. I enjoyed it to see those pieces fall together and to see it actually working, I was like okay, we got something special, let's continue to build on that.
Q: I have two questions. One is on (defensive lineman) Leonard Williams. I am curious what your impression of him as a fellow defensive lineman has been from afar, before you played with him? What have you learned about him most since you have got here?
A: At first, I thought a lot of things were God given to him, of course his height. But being here and seeing how he approaches the game, his work ethic, his attentiveness to detail. Nothing was an accident. Everything he has, he worked for. I had to tell him the other day, I was like 'bro, I respect everything that you do.' I love his approach to pass rush, his wisdom. I was just like man, seeing you do what you do, it puts in perspective why my bank account look like it looks and yours look like it looks (laughs).
Q: What do you think makes him so good? I mean obviously, he's got physically he has the tools, but what are the things that stand out to you the most on that?
A: The biggest thing is even though he is as big as he is and as gifted as he is, in his head, he's just like anybody else. He's willing to learn. He's willing to take criticism from anybody, literally anybody. What can I do better? What am I doing wrong? To have those things and already be so ahead of a lot of people, it just boosts his game. It's just puts it all together very well.
Q: You are coming from a Super Bowl winning team, where expectations, certainly when you won it were elevated to huge heights. This Giant team just made the playoffs last year for the first time in a long time, and there is more expectation now because of what happened last year. As a veteran, what is a message you can give to some of the guys here on how to handle those expectations?
A: I mean, don't look too far. Those expectations are always going to be there, but just worry about the now. Worry about what you can control and win the day. As long as you keep winning the day and keep stacking them, everything else will fall into play.
Q: If I could just go back to the accident, what actually happened and was it scary in your mind? Was it just a split-second thing, cars didn't see each other?
A: No actually I was coming through, and I saw her approaching the stop sign, which she was supposed to stop, but as I am looking at her, I'm like 'she's going way too fast, I don't think she's going to stop.' I was able to apply the break a couple seconds before she hit me because if I didn't, she was going to hit me straight on. As she hit me and I spun in a circle, it was more frustration because I was heading home to help my wife put the kids down before bed check. It was just like, I was just disappointed that I wasn't able to help because I knew I was going to have to go to the hospital, I knew I was going to have to do all these tests. I was really more mad about that than the accident all together.
Q: On a much less important note than your health, that Super Bowl, what did that teach you about how a good defensive line can just dominate a football game? Because if I remember correctly everything was about (Chiefs quarterback) Patrick Mahomes and their offense. It kind of reminds me a little bit of the way people talk about the Eagles now and they have all these explosive weapons. To me it's like well the Giants way to catch up to the Eagles is to harass (Eagles quarterback Jalen) Hurts the way you guys harassed Mahomes that game. Do you see that parallel and what did that Super Bowl teach you about what a good defensive line can do, no matter who is on the other side playing quarterback and receiver?
A: Correct. It just all goes back to what we say. The game is won up front. You see it in the Super Bowl, and you see that time and time from successful teams. If you have a good front seven on both sides, playing a 4-3 scheme or a 3-4, if you have a good interior, that's what is going to decide the game. If they can't run the ball, they have got to throw the ball, now we can make them one dimensional. On the flip side, the o-line is rolling them off the ball. They can do whatever they want to do, run, play action, pass, everything. It's all about up front, and trust me, there is some guys here that I am just happy that I am here to help them because they got it. I'm looking around like 'woohoo.' Some of the things that these guys do in practice is unbelievable, and I can't wait until it transpires into a game, and it just correlates, and all comes together because I want to be out there celebrating. You all know how I get down.
Q: I couldn't help but notice on Sunday and Monday, Sunday you were in the red and Monday you were out practicing, how much of a joy it was for you to be on the field. Can you discuss just what that is?
A: It's just simple. I am very thankful, I'm so appreciative of the things that football was able to bless me and my family (with). Anytime I can go out there and just showcase my ability and just say thank you for everything, that's what I do. I come to life out there.
Q: How much has your perspective changed from a young player to now a veteran as to what training camp is, what you want to get out of it and when it's time to push the pedal to the metal and when it's time to pull back?
A: It's changed a lot, but still at the end of the day you have got to put the work in. You can't hide from the work; you can't shy away from it. Always compete. Always find a way to get better in some aspect. I've always told the young guys, even though the big money guys are up there, your job is just as big. If it's time for them to get a breather, it's time for them to get a break, it doesn't need to be a fall off. That's where you earn your name at. When you come out there and be just as destructive or just make the same plays, that's where you make your name at and that's what we need. Just pushing guys like that, being a competitor and competing. I just love it and I understand it. I try to make sure it trickles down to the young guys.