New York Giants

NY Giants Arriving for 2020 Training Camp. Masks and Everything

By Scott Mandel

It’s game on—or more accurately, training camp on, for the NFL after the league and the NFL Players Association finally resolved their remaining differences regarding operational and financial matters that had threatened to end the season before it had a chance to get off the ground. 

The Giants rookies have already reported for camp. By Sunday, they will have completed the mandatory five-day testing period in which they were to have taken a COVID-19 test on reporting day (July 23) and again on July 26.

Both tests must be negative if they are to be allowed to begin training within the sterile environment the team has set up to be based out of MetLife Stadium.

The veterans are due to report for their five-day testing period on July 28. There will be an established schedule (as laid out by SI.com’s Albert Breer), who also reports that walk-through practices will be permitted during the strength and conditioning part of the schedule.

Schedules aside, the Giants will have no shortage of storylines this summer, ranging from what new head coach Joe Judge’s practices and command of the team will look like to how the new offensive and defensive schemes will take shape.

Matt Rhule, Born and Raised New Yorker, Cancels Giants Interview to Take Carolina HC Job

By Scott Mandel

In a shocking development, Matt Rhule, the 44-year old Baylor head coach, former Giants offensive line coach, and born and raised New Yorker, has rejected the Giants, who were scheduled to interview him today for their once-prestigious head coaching position.

Instead, Rhule, who was the Giants clear first choice to be their next coach, never got on the airplane after his interview yesterday with Carolina, who reportedly will name him their next HC later today.

Giants owner John Mara and G.M. Dave Gettleman have some soul-searching to do. There was nobody who didn’t expect Matt Rhule to jump at the chance to coach his childhood team.

Carolina could not have out-spent the Giants for Rhule’s services. For the young coach to not even give the Giants an interview may speak loudly about how far the Giants organization has fallen in esteem in the eyes of the league.

Mike McCarthy interviewed with the Giants last week and took the the Cowboys job, instead.

Tomorrow, the Giants interview Josh McDaniel, the offensive coordinator for the Patriots.

Maybe, McDaniel’s boss, Bill Belichick will become available as well, over the next couple of weeks. He can see the writing on the wall for his Patriots organization, with coaching staff and player personnel undergoing massive changes. At age 67, the only job Belichick has told friends he would leave New England for is the Giants job, with the organization that gave him his professional start as an assistant coach under Bill Parcells.

The allure of the Giants organization and tradition has taken a huge hit, today, for sure, but this may turn out okay for the Giants if McDaniels or his boss still see the job as the apple of their eyes.

Can you imagine McDaniels and Belichick coming to the Giants as a package?

Giants Fire Shurmur, Retain Gettleman. Can Belichick be in the Mix?

by Scott Mandel

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today announced they have dismissed head coach Pat Shurmur after two seasons of a five-year contract.

Mark this down as another bad deal for the Giants.

The team also confirmed that general manager Dave Gettleman will remain in his position.

Mark that down as a win for John Mara, whose loyalty to Giants personnel is legendary, and a loss for co-owner, Steve Tisch, who reportedly wanted to sweep out the entire hierarchy of football decision-makers.

Looming over the Giants, a franchise that many feel is developing a young core of of talent along with a franchise quarterback in rookie Daniel Jones, could be the imposing figure of the winningest coach in NFL history, Bill Belichick, currently trying to get to his tenth Super Bowl in the past 15 years with the New England Patriots.

Since becoming the Patriots head coach in 2000, Belichick has led them to 16 AFC East division titles, 13 appearances in the AFC Championship Game, and nine Super Bowl appearances, with a record six wins. Belichick has participated in 11 Super Bowls, including two as Bill Parcells’ defensive coordinator in 1986 and 1991, has won eight Super Bowl championships in total from his combined time as an assistant and head coach. And, he’s never gotten rid of his soft spot for the Giants.

No one outside Foxborough knows for sure what his contract status is and there is speculation he could be available in 2020. Whenever given the chance, Belichick waxes poetic about the start of his NFL coaching career with the Giants. It is very likely that the Giants are the only team he would leave New England to take over. He could bring his offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, with him — with McDaniels taking on the challenge of continuing the development of Daniel Jones. This would make sense if the rumblings that Tom Brady’s time with the Patriots is nearing an end.

The Giants were 9-23 in 2018-19 and have not won more than five games in any of the last three seasons.

“Steve and I have had many extensive discussions about the state of the Giants,” Mara said. “This morning, we made the very difficult decision that it would be in the best interest of the franchise that we relieve Pat of his duties. The last three seasons have been extremely disappointing for the organization and our fans. Pat has been a successful and highly-respected NFL coach for 21 years and he is not solely responsible for our record. But we came to the conclusion it is best to have a fresh start with the coaching staff. We very much appreciate how much Pat has done for this franchise. He is a man of character and integrity and the team has conducted itself with pride and professionalism.

“As owners, we take full responsibility for our recent poor record. It is our goal to consistently deliver high-quality football and we will do everything in our power to see that there is a rapid and substantial turnaround.”

Added Tisch, “The last two seasons have been a continuation of what has been a very difficult and disappointing period for our franchise. It is never easy to part with someone the caliber of Pat. But John and I came to the conclusion that we need a new voice in the coach’s office and made the decision to bring in new leadership.

“We understand how frustrated our fans are. They expect more from us and we expect more from ourselves. Our focus now is on developing and improving our football team so that our fans can enjoy the winning team they expect and deserve.”

Mara and Tisch believe that Gettleman is the best general manager for the team. His first draft class included running back Barkley, the No. 2 overall selection who set numerous records in his debut season and was selected the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. In addition, his 2018 draft choices included Will Hernandez, who has started all 32 games in his two seasons at left guard, linebacker Lorenzo Carter and defensive tackle B.J. Hill.

This year, the Giants drafted 10 players, including Jones, who started 12 games and established numerous franchise rookie records, including 24 touchdown passes. Jones is expected to be a fixture at the game’s most important position for many years.

The 2019 draft class also included Darius Slayton, a fifth-round selection whose eight touchdown receptions tied him for first among NFL rookie wideouts; Dexter Lawrence, who started all 16 games; linebackers Oshane Ximines and Ryan Connelly; and defensive backs DeAndre Baker, Julian Love and Corey Ballentine.

“Dave Gettleman is our general manager in 2020 and hopefully for many years after that,” Mara said. “We believe he is the right person to lead us going forward. Dave has a long record of success. We think he’s capable of putting a great team together and he’s going to get that opportunity. To the extent we need to make changes in personnel or the way we do things, we’re going to discuss that.”

“Although our record didn’t reflect it this season, we believe Dave has assembled a strong nucleus of young players that will help us compete for championships in the future,” Tisch said.

Shurmur was named the 18th head coach in Giants history on Jan. 22, 2018.

The Giants finished their first season under Shurmur with a 5-11 record, a two-game improvement over their 2017 record.

Twelve of the Giants’ 16 games that season were decided by seven or fewer points, tying them with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for the most in the NFL. The Giants were 4-8 in games decided by seven or fewer points. The eight losses in such games were an NFL high. The Giants held a fourth-quarter lead in four of those games.

The Giants began the 2019 season 2-2, with the two victories coming in Jones’ initial starts after Shurmur decided the rookie would replace 16-year veteran Eli Manning as the team’s starting quarterback. But after defeating Washington on Sept. 29, the Giants tied a franchise record by losing nine consecutive games and falling to 2-11. They did not win again until Dec. 15, when they beat the Miami Dolphins. That was the second of two games in which Manning substituted for Jones, who was sidelined by a sprained ankle.

Mara and Tisch said they will immediately begin their search for a new coach. They did not identify any candidates.

“The search will be extensive,” Mara said. “We understand this a very big decision for our franchise. We’ve had three losing years in a row and, quite frankly, we have lost some standing as an organization. When you have three losing years in a row as we have, you face a lot of criticism. A lot of it is deserved. It’s up to us now to turn that around and get back to where I think we should be.”

Transcript of Champion Super Bowl Coach Bill Belichick’s Conference Call Today As Patriots Prepare for Giants on Thursday Night

by Scott Mandel

Q: What are the ingredients to creating and sustaining a winning culture?
A: That’s a tough question, probably a long answer, might need a book on that one. Honestly right now, my apologies, I’m just trying to prepare our team on a short week for a really good Giants team. A team that’s gotten a little bit of a spark. They are a dangerous, explosive team, they have to try turn it around on a short week. The question you asked is more than I can handle right now.

Q: Did you have a reaction a few weeks ago when you heard Eli Manning was benched? Obviously, Eli Manning has been around a long time, he has history with the Giants, certainly has history with your team. What are your thoughts on Eli, his situation and what he’s done in his career?
A: I have a ton of respect for Eli, he’s a great person, very professional, team oriented. I spent over a decade with the Giants, I have an appreciation for playing quarterback for that franchise in that environment. He’s done a tremendous job, and certainly had a lot of success against us. I have a great deal of respect for him. I’m really focused on trying to coach our team and I need to do a better job of my job and not really looking to evaluate what anybody else is doing. I have my own full plate here, I’m trying to coach the Patriots.

Q: What is your impression of how your defense is playing this early and seemingly this well?
A: We’ve had our moments. Right now, it’s about focusing on the challenge ahead with the Giants. The Giants have so many weapons on offense, a great tight end, two great quarterbacks, probably the best running back in the league, very good receiving group. They are very experienced on the offensive line, they added a lot of players there in the last couple of years. Solder, Zeitler, Remmers and, of course, Hernandez, Halapio has done a good job for them. Those guys have played together, they are in there every week, they haven’t really had any changes all year. They have (Golden) Tate back now, they have a ton of weapons offensively. Well coached, they have a great scheme, they are a well-balanced offense. That’s a lot for me, a lot for us to handle, to try to prepare for and for our players to get ready for all the things that they do and do well. They can run it; they can throw it, throw it deep, throw it to the backs, throw it to the tight end, catch and run plays, play action drop back, misdirection, you name it. It’s a lot to get ready for.

Q: What is different about the Giants offense with Daniel Jones at quarterback?
A: Offensively, it’s probably the same plays. Eli is very good at the line of scrimmage of making adjustments and protections and occasionally signaling routes against pressure and things like that. He may have done a little more of that on the line than Jones has. Jones is fast, and he’s made plays with his legs outside the pocket. The Tampa game comes to mind right off the bat. He’s got the ability to extend plays and also run for yardage to score or pick up critical first downs. He has kind of the sixth receiver element. Both guys are very accurate passers, see the field well, make good decisions. They are at different stages of their career, but both guys are outstanding players. Any team would like to have either one of them and they are fortunate they have both.

Q: I know you guys had Jones up there for a visit pre-draft and I’m just curious what your impressions were of him before the draft, and has he looked like the player you thought he could be?
A: Yeah, we had a great visit. He spent most of the day here, actually spent a lot of time with our offensive coaches, with Josh (McDaniels) and Mick Lombardi, guys that work with that position on the offensive side of the ball. We had a great conversation, talked about a lot of things. He’s very mature, certainly a good understanding of the Duke offense and Coach Cutcliffe and the things that they were doing there. Again, a good grasp of the offensive system—protections, routes, route concepts and why they’re used in different combinations and in certain situations. Actually, I think it was kind of a change of plans, but at the end of his visit, I think he said he had to go somewhere, but then he ended up going to the Giants from here, so even I could figure out there was something going on there. He’s an impressive player and a very impressive person. We had a great visit, and again, playing quarterback in New York is not the easiest thing in the world, but he’s got a lot of maturity and a good head on his shoulders and has good perspective on football and the overall leadership position that comes with that role on and off the field. So, I’m sure he’s done well and will continue to do well.

Q: You’ve never faced Saquon Barkley, but you’ve seen him on film, and I guess his availability is in question for Thursday—what kind of dynamic does he bring to the Giants to change their offense?
A: He’s an outstanding player. You’re right, we haven’t faced him, and I hope we don’t, but we need to be ready for him. He’s a very competitive guy, I’m sure he’s doing all he can to get ready to go. He was close last week, so we’ll probably get him. He can do it all. He’s got great power, speed, they use him well in the passing game. He’s very hard, obviously, to tackle in the open field, he’s hard to tackle anywhere. He’s got good vision, good quickness, he can play in space, he’s elusive, he’s got power, he had 2,000 yards from scrimmage last year. That pretty much says it all right there. Plus, we know he can return kickoffs and everything else, so he’s got a ton of skill, as good as any back we’ve seen on film. We watched a lot of him last year, we didn’t expect him to play in preseason, but just kind of getting ready for the Giants in the preseason we saw a lot of last year’s film and what a player he was for them. And he was an explosive player and a dynamic player this year. I’m sure he’s either going to be back or is close to being back, so we have to be ready for him.

Brady is missing Gronkowski and others but has been solid, if not spectacular

Q: What made Nate Solder such a valuable member of your organization when he was there?
A: Nate did a great job for us. His first year, he played behind (Matt) Light, played right tackle, played tight end, and so forth, he played about half the time, but it was in a variety of positions. Then, after that, he took over at left tackle and gave us really solid play there for a number of years.

Q: I know you focus on your team exclusively, but are you mindful at least that two of your quarterbacks (Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo) with the Colts and 49ers are having a lot of success this year, and you had them and did a lot to develop them?
A: Well, that’s kind of the way it is in the National Football League. Every team has players that were on their team that are playing somewhere else and some of them are doing well, and maybe some of them aren’t playing anymore, but that’s the league. There’s plenty of movement throughout the league at all positions with every team. If you follow the NFL, that’s pretty much the same for every team.

Is Eli Manning a Hall of Famer?

by Scott Mandel, SportsReporters.com

I’ve gotten backlash for this many times but, media guys who have never strapped on a helmet or pads should qualify their opinions about football with, “I have never, ever tackled or blocked anyone my entire life and this opinion is that of a pure fan. Call me Benigno.”

To say Eli Manning’s record of 116-116 does not qualify him for the NFL Hall of Fame shows a fair measure of ignorance, even as a “fan” who purports to be an “expert.” Whether Manning is a Hall of Famer is certainly debatable, but, do not turn his TEAM’S won-loss record into a rationale for or against his inclusion in the Canton shrine.

You see, if you ever played pee wee ball, you would know the quarterback cannot succeed without the 10 other guys on the field doing their jobs (as Belichick has preached for 40 years). Neither could the running backs, wide receivers, or offensive linemen. And, if the coach is a dummy, or, the team has changed coaches every couple of years, the continuity and consistency of an offensive unit disappears.

Football isn’t an individual sport like baseball, or basketball, or, even hockey, where one player’s individual skills can dominate a game, or, an era. It’s the ultimate in inter-dependence on your teammates for your own success.

Manning is currently seventh all-time in passing yards, eighth all-time in touchdown passes and sixth in most completed passes. He has played in 234 games.

For comparison’s sake, his brother, Peyton played in 266, Drew Brees in 267, Brett Favre in 303, Dan Marino in 242,

Image result for John Elway Denver super bowl
Elway finally won his Super Bowl, adding a second win before he retired

John Elway, who had a rough start to his NFL career after a legendary three years at Stanford, became a sure-fire Hall of Famer who played in the same number of games Eli has. Eli has almost 500 more completions, completed 61% of his passes vs. Elway’s 57%, and has thrown 62 more touchdown passes than the great Elway in the same amount of games. The one stat which stands out as one they have in common is, they are two of only five quarterbacks in NFL history whose team won two Super Bowls and, were the MVPs of each Super Bowl game they won.

Manning was never, in my view, better than a top five or six quarterback within his own era, but being behind Brees, Peyton, Aaron Rogers, Matt Ryan, Rivers, and Rothlisberger) does not disqualify him from Canton. Those six guys, all arguably better than him, will be joining Manning in the Hall of Fame, someday.

End of the Eli Manning Era as Giants Bench QB for Rookie Daniel Jones

By Scott Mandel

From the moment he was drafted in April, it was inevitable that Daniel Jones would one day succeed Eli Manning as the Giants’ starting quarterback.

That day has come, two games into Jones’ rookie season.

Coach Pat Shurmur announced today that Jones will make his first career start on Sunday, when the 0-2 Giants face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium.

“Eli and I spoke this morning,” Shurmur said. “I told him that we are making a change and going with Daniel as the starter. I also talked to Daniel. Eli was obviously disappointed, as you would expect, but he said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games. Daniel understands the challenge at hand, and he will be ready to play on Sunday.”

Manning started the season’s first two contests – losses at Dallas and Sunday at home to Buffalo. He completed 56 of 89 passes for 556 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for a passer rating of 78.7. But the Giants have scored only four touchdowns, despite averaging 420.0 yards a game.

At his news conference yesterday, Shurmur said he was “going to address all areas” and declined to say if Manning would start on Sunday.

“Ultimately, this is a move that I felt was best for this team at this time,” Shurmur said. “I have said it since I got here, I am very fond of Eli. His work ethic, his preparation, his football intelligence. All those attributes are as good as I have ever seen in a player. And Eli worked as hard as you could ask of anybody to get ready for this season. This move is more about Daniel moving forward than about Eli.”

Jones, 22, was the sixth overall selection in the draft. In three seasons at Duke, Jones started all 36 games in which he played. With the Blue Devils, Jones completed 764 of 1,275 passes (60%) for 8,201 yards, 52 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He also had 406 rushing attempts for 1,323 yards (3.3-yard avg.) and 17 touchdowns. 

Jones was outstanding in the preseason. In four games, he completed 29 of 34 passes (85.3%) for 416 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a glittering 137.2 rating.

Jones will be the third of the 11 quarterbacks selected in this year’s draft to both play and start a game. Kyler Murray, the first overall selection by Arizona, started the Cardinals’ first two games. Gardner Minshew II, a sixth-round selection by Jacksonville from Washington State, started the Jaguars’ loss Sunday in Houston as a replacement for the injured Nick Foles.
 
Manning has been the Giants’ starting quarterback since he replaced Kurt Warner with seven games remaining in his rookie season in 2004. He has started 232 of the Giants’ last 233 regular-season games. The loss Sunday to the Bills dropped his record to an even .500 at 116-116. He is 
8-4 (.667) in the postseason, including victories in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI in which he was named the games’ most valuable player.

Manning started 210 consecutive regular-season games from Nov. 21, 2004 to Nov. 23, 2017, the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history. Only Brett Favre (297) started more consecutive games than Manning. He did not play on Dec. 3, 2017 at Oakland but returned to the lineup the following week and has since started all 22 games the Giants have played.

He will be the team’s No. 2 quarterback at Tampa Bay.

Manning holds all of the Giants’ career passing records, including attempts (8,061, which places him sixth in NFL history), completions (4,860, sixth), passing yards (56,537, seventh) and touchdown passes (362, eighth).





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End of Eli Manning Era as Giants Head Coach Shurmur Hints at Quarterback Change

By Scott Mandel, SportsReporters

Head Coach Pat Shurmur — September 16, 2019 

Opening Statement: Let me talk about the injuries. You saw Cody Latimer had a concussion. Sterling Shepard is improving from his concussion. (Kevin) Zeitler has a shoulder that he’s been dealing with. Then we just have some game soreness. Markus Golden got hit in the throat, I guess. That’s about all I have for that. I don’t really have much to add to what I talked about last night. There were areas in the game where all three sides played well. I also think there wasn’t enough consistent play. They were four-for-four in the red zone against us. We were one-for-one. We had other opportunities to score that we didn’t. We moved the ball well at times. We didn’t do well enough on third downs. There were some opportunities out there that we didn’t take full advantage of that you need to do against a good team. As we go along, you’re going to see that they’re a good team. They were a good defense. We knew that going into it. They played well on offense against us, and we got beat. We’re looking at all things moving forward, finishing up our evaluation of this game and then having talks as to, like we always do, what we’re going to do moving forward. With that, I’ll take your questions.

Q: You said you’re looking at all things moving forward. Does that include the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game?
A: We always do that. Obviously, Eli’s been our starter to this point. I’m not really ready to get into any of those conversations about any position.

Q: Do you mean conversations with us or conversations…
A: No, we’re going to talk about everything we’re doing moving forward. That’s fair at this point. We’re 0-2. There are areas where we have to get better. We’re going to address all areas and try to find ways to put a winning performance on the field.

Q: Is Eli (Manning) your starting quarterback this week?
A: He’s been our starter to this point. I don’t want to talk about anything else moving forward from that standpoint. Not ready to discuss that.

Q: That’s going to leave it open for debate.
A: I understand that. I do.

Q: Do you think Daniel’s (Jones) ready if he is named the starter?
A: I think anybody that we put in there, we put in there with the idea that they’re ready to go. What I find interesting, too, this is why I’m a digital minimalist, is you all quickly quit listening to me and you’re looking at your phones. I find that fascinating.

Q: What goes into that decision this week?
A: We’re looking at everything that we can do to get better. That’s really what we do every week. To this point, what we’ve done hasn’t been good enough.

Q: Your third downs have been bad. Is there any thought of when you have third and long, putting Daniel in so you have a greater option to, if the pass isn’t there, run?
A: Third and long is usually what you’re presented with are longer yardage situations where they can take away the deep throw, you check it down. You see that around the league. We just need to do a better job of making sure we’re not in those situations, number one. Then number two, everyone once in a while, you have to try to fit one in there. But your option of just putting a guy in there… the ability to run with the football in those pass rush type situations, typically the runs become scrambles where you drop back and throw. The quarterback run game is typically thought of and used more in shorter, third down situations or first and second down, typically. Red zone, situational ball. Not usually on third and long.

Q: What did you think of Janoris Jenkins’ comments after the game about the pass rush?
A: I don’t think that reflects him that well. We spoke today. I talked to him about how things that we say can be interpreted. He was referring to one play and not to anything in general. But I spoke to him and we discussed what should be said moving forward.

Q: Did you disagree with what he said?
A: I don’t like anybody making excuses for anything.

Q: What about just the frustration? Is it almost, I don’t want to say a good thing, but the fact that he showed he cares and he’s tired of losing?
A: Listen, we’re all disappointed that we lost. We can’t get frustrated. We obviously need to make sure we’re saying the right things all the time.

Q: Getting back to third downs real quick, you guys are 5-for-24 through the first two weeks offensively. Obviously, you can get better on first and second down, but how do you create more manageable third down situations and prolong drives?
A: Well, you’re sort of answering the question within your question. We have to be in more manageable ones. Those situations, we’ve had more longer yardage third downs than the law allows. We need to make sure we do a better job of making them more manageable. That’s where it starts. Then everybody needs to do their job. You have to protect well. We have to make sure we’re running crisp routes. Then we need to throw and catch.

Q: Would you agree that your offensive line is playing well enough, and that your running game is good enough that you should be scoring more points if the passing game were producing?
A: We’re producing yards in the passing game. The critical situations, obviously the third downs and then when we get closer, scoring… With regard to the offensive line, I think they’ve played much better than they did a year ago. There are still errors in there. We’re doing some things better in the run game than we did a year ago.  We’ve made improvements in some areas. Not good enough to win yet. I don’t want it to come out that way. But moving forward, we can build on that.

Q: You guys poured weeks of practices and training camp into Tae Davis with the ones, Antonio Hamilton somewhat with the ones. They went from starting Week 1 to zero snaps defensively. Is that you just decided to move on and go with the rookies? How do you go from starting to zero snaps?
A: Everybody gets reps in the offseason. Most of the guys that made it on our 53 (man roster) got reps at some point with the ones. Sometimes you get more reps with the ones in situations where a guy in front of you is injured. I wouldn’t look at that as being the reason. We felt like we wanted to make a couple changes. We wanted to put (DeAndre) Baker in there and dedicate him to playing at corner so that he can improve, and the same thing with Ryan (Connelly).

Q: How have you been handling Daniel’s reps?
A: Typical of every place I’ve been. He’ll get a couple reps, as you do a rack of plays with the ones, Daniel will get a couple of those.Q: Does 10 percent of the reps sound about right? 50 percent?
A: A lower percent, closer to 10 than to 50.

Q: So, similar to what you did with Alex Tanney as your number two last year?
A: Yes, very similar.

Q: When you look at Eli yesterday—the way he ran the offense, managed the team, utilized the players he had yesterday—where could he have improved in your mind?
A: I think those are internal discussions and things that we look to improve on moving forward. Everybody that played in the game—we’re all responsible for when we win and when we lose—and even when you win, you make mistakes. So, those are internal conversations so that we can make those corrections moving forward.

Q: You mentioned the designed run that Josh Allen scored a touchdown on yesterday–
A: That was a good play. Well designed and he did a nice job. They blocked it well—it’s typical of the play they were running with the running back, the G-sweep—they carved us out and got in.

Q: Around the league in this day in age, you see a lot of the time quarterbacks are scoring and getting first downs on designed runs. You don’t do that with your starting quarterback–
A: There are other teams—there’s a lot of teams that don’t run quarterback-structured runs. We could sit here and make a list of the ones that don’t. I think when you do that, and you have a quarterback that can do those things, I think that’s smart, I think that’s utilizing the talents of the player that you’re working with.

Q: Is it fair to say that—you don’t do that with Eli, no one has ever done that with Eli—whenever Daniel Jones gets his chance, that’s something his skill set would allow you to do?
A: He has a much better skill set to do those types of things than say Eli. Yes, that’s fair.

Q: When you say that you look at every position every week, when you’re looking at the quarterback position, how do you balance giving you the best chance to win this week versus maybe the future?
A: We’re always trying to do what we can to win this next game, and then behind the scenes, we’re always having those long-term discussions, but I think that’s the challenge each week—just doing what you can to win the next game. That’s really my focus as the coach, and certainly that’s what the players’ focus is.

Q: Is Ryan Connelly okay? It looked like he was shaken up on the touchdown.
A: Yeah, he’s not on my list. I don’t see him on there.

Q: Do you expect more from Jabrill Peppers than what he’s shown you through two weeks?
A: I think everybody needs to play a little better, and we’ve got to coach better, that’s all. Here’s the thing with Jabrill—I’m a big fan of his energy and his enthusiasm, his toughness, and I think he’s one of those guys, if there are mistakes in there, he’ll get them corrected and move on fast.

Q: When it comes to making changes at quarterback, is it more complicated because of the position? Is the discussion more complicated because of the personnel involved and who you’re dealing with, as far as Daniel and Eli, and (Alex) Tanney? 
A: I think anything that we choose to do, and when I say we have discussion amongst us as coaches, and then I certainly keep Dave (Gettleman) and John (Mara)—everybody upstairs sort of knows, okay moving forward this is how we plan to play the game—we have those conversations. It really, fundamentally, happens the same way.

Q: Both Dave and John said, “Pat’s going to make that decision.” Do you feel like you have the final say on who your quarterback is?
A: I think at this time of year when we’re talking about the team and moving forward, I’m right in the middle of all of it.

Q: Do you think not being definitive to us about this, and we’re not being definitive to the public right now—is that an edge of uncertainty that you want around this team?
A: Uncertainty about what?

Q: About not coming out and saying Eli is starting this week again. Is a little edge, a little uncertainty, good in the locker room?
A: Listen, I don’t want to be dishonest with anyone. Like I said, we’re evaluating everything moving forward, and I’m not ready to talk about all that right now.

Q: Have you talked about it with Eli?
A: Again, at this point we’ve had meetings, and they’re still finishing up their meetings.

Q: Is it fair to say that by drafting Daniel in the spring, you guys internally have already had most of the conversations leading up to the point at which a change would be made?
A: I wouldn’t say all conversations have happened, or haven’t happened. We’re very honest and open behind the scenes with everything that’s going on. I think I’ve tried to portray that with regard to the quarterbacks all along here.

Q: Is it fair to say that you will have made the decision by Wednesday when you get on the practice field, if you’re going to make a change?
A: Yeah, we’re moving forward, absolutely.

Q: Is Sterling Shepard clear from the protocol?
A:  I don’t know. It says here (on the injury report) “non-contact practice,” so yeah, he’s going through the steps, it appears like, in time to make it for this game. But again, they’re all different, the concussion things are different. Once you’re in the protocol, there’s a set standard that we follow, and obviously player safety is important. We don’t want to bring a guy back too soon.

Q: On draft night, you said it would be Eli’s job to keep Daniel off the field. How is he doing in that regard, in your opinion?
A: I think he’s doing a good job. I think we need to do more, all of us included, everybody, to win football games. That’s why when I say we’re doing what we have to do each week to put a team on the field that’s going to compete and win a football game, that falls on all of us. That’s the beauty, in my opinion, that’s the challenge, that’s what gets me going, the challenge each week to try and do that. We’ve all been around situations where you’ve had an outstanding team and there’s less you need to do each week. Then, we’ve all been faced with struggles as coaches to fight and scratch to do what you have to do in other ways, and so that’s the fun part for us behind the scenes, is to just kind of put that all together and then watch them do it on Sunday.

Q: Is Darius Slayton making progress?
A: He is. Let’s see what we say here about Slayton—he’ll be out there practicing this week, so we’ll see how much closer. We can revisit that.


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New York Giants Get Down to 53, Cutting Quarterback Kyle Lauletta

By Scott Mandel, SportsReporters.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Thirty-two players were released (including seven who were waived/injured) and five players were placed on injured reserve today as the Giants reduced their roster from 89 to the NFL regular-season limit of 53 players.

Those waived included second-year quarterback Kyle Lauletta and one of the team’s 2019 draft choices, defensive tackle Chris Slayton, who was selected in the seventh round. 

Also released were running back Jon Hilliman; wide receivers TJ Jones and Reggie White, Jr.; tight ends C.J. Conrad and Jake Powell; offensive linemen Paul Adams, Evan Brown, Malcolm Bunche and James O’Hagan; defensive linemen Freedom Akinmoladun, Jake Ceresna, John Jenkins; linebackers Joey Alfieri, Jake Carlock, Terrence Fede, Avery Moss and Josiah Tauaefa; defensive backs Tenny Adewusi and Terrell Sinkfield, Jr.; punter Johnny Townsend; and long snapper Taybor Pepper.

Waived/injured were: linebacker Keion Adams (knee), defensive back Kenny Ladler (hamstring), tackle Victor Salako (shoulder), defensive back Henre’ Toliver (ankle), wide receiver Alex Wesley (foot/ankle), tackle Chad Wheeler (back) and defensive back Ronald Zamort (ankle).

Defensive back Kamrin Moore, who did not count against the 89, was waived off the commissioner’s exempt list.

NFL: Preseason-New York Giants at New England Patriots
Lauletta, Dave Gettleman’s fourth round draft pick in 2018, was cut today

Those placed on injured reserve were linebacker Jonathan Anderson (knee), tackle (2019 seventh-round draft choice) George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), wide receiver Brittan Golden (calf), tight end Scott Simonson (ankle) and running back Rod Smith (adductor).

In addition, wide receiver Golden Tate III has begun serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances. He is eligible to return to the team on Sept. 30.

“We are in the second year of building the kind of team we all want,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “The process never stops. The communication between (general manager) Dave (Gettleman) and I and our coaches and Dave’s staff is really good. The group of 90 that was with us through the spring and summer bought into what we are building here and created the kind of competition that makes for tough decisions.

“For the players who were released today, we thank them for their effort and commitment, and we told them to stay ready because you never know when your next opportunity will come, either here or somewhere else.”

Because of the position he plays, perhaps the most prominent released player is Lauletta, a fourth-round draft choice last year who threw the game-winning touchdown pass as time expired in the preseason finale in New England Thursday night. He played in two games and threw five passes as a rookie. The Giants currently have three quarterbacks: starter Eli Manning, first-round draft choice Daniel Jones and four-year veteran Alex Tanney, who was with the team the entire 2018 season, though he didn’t play in a game.

“I said it last week, it’s a credit to Kyle the way he came in here every day and worked to get better and competed after we drafted Daniel,” Shurmur said. “Not every guy would respond that way, and Kyle improved as a result. So there was a lot to consider in that decision, but ultimately we decided to go with Tanney.”

The roster today – which could well change as soon as tomorrow – includes 25 players on both offense and defense, and three on special teams.

Eight of the team’s 10 selections from the 2019 draft are on the current roster: Jones; defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence; defensive backs DeAndre Baker, Julian Love and Corey Ballentine; linebackers Oshane Ximines and Ryan Connelly; and wide receiver Darius Slayton.

The other newcomers to the team include safeties Antoine Bethea and Jabrill Peppers; defensive lineman Olsen Pierre; linebacker Markus Golden; and offensive linemen Chad Slade and Nick Gates (who spent his entire 2018 rookie season on injured reserve).

Not one rookie free agent is on the current roster.

Notable among the players who are not on the 53 are Wheeler, who started 14 games at right tackle last season and 19 in his two years with the team and Moss, a fifth-round draft choice in 2017 who spent all of last season on the practice squad both of whom were waived. As well as two of the players on injured reserve: Simonson, who played in every game with four starts in 2018 and caught nine passes, including his first career touchdown and Smith, who rushed for 359 yards and five touchdowns the previous two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Giants’ roster following the moves today:

Offense (25)

QB (3): Eli Manning, Daniel Jones (R), Alex Tanney

RB (4): Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, Jr., Paul Perkins, Eli Penny

WR: (6): Sterling Shepard, Bennie Fowler III, Russell Shepard, Cody Latimer, Darius Slayton (R), Alonzo Russell

TE (3): Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, Garrett Dickerson

C/G (4): Will Hernandez, Kevin Zeitler, Jon Halapio, Spencer Pulley

T (5): Nate Solder, Mike Remmers, Nick Gates, Chad Slade, Brian Mihalik

Defense (25)

DL (5): Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill, Dexter Lawrence II (R), Olsen Pierre, RJ McIntosh

OLB (4): Kareem Martin, Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden, Oshane Ximines (R)

ILB (5): Alec Ogletree, Tae Davis, Ryan Connelly (R), B.J. Goodson, Nate Stupar

DB (11) Janoris Jenkins, DeAndre Baker (R), Jabrill Peppers, Antoine Bethea, Grant Haley, Antonio Hamilton, Michael Thomas, Julian Love (R), Corey Ballentine (R), Sean Chandler, Sam Beal

Special Teams (3)

K: Aldrick Rosas

P: Riley Dixon

S: Zak DeOssie

Q and A With New York Giants Owner, John Mara

by Scott Mandel

Q: Does this feel like 2004 at all, bringing in a young quarterback and looking ahead?
A: I guess you can make that comparison, yeah. We weren’t quite sure when that was all going to take place and how it would all kind of work out, but yeah, there’s a certain similarity to it. I like to think that we have a better team than we had in 2004, but we’ll see about that.

Q: What have you seen from Daniel (Jones) so far?
A: So far, so good. He’s everything that we thought he would be. He’s been terrific on the practice field, did a good job the other night. I think people need to temper their enthusiasm a little bit. It’s one preseason game, one series, but so far, so good.

Q: When you look at Daniel and praise him and think of things about him, does any part of you also drift toward Eli (Manning), and when you would have that whole dynamic come and go?
A: Yeah, a little bit, but Eli is our starting quarterback and will start the season. He’s obviously been a great representative of our franchise for a lot of years, and will continue to be, so we’ll just have to see how that one unfolds.

Q: Ideally, how would you like it to unfold this season for Eli?
A: I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field. That would be an ideal world. You’d like to see that. Again, at the end of the day, it’s going to be a decision by the head coach as to when or if Daniel ends up playing this year.

Q: Is that true, really? Obviously, you want the team to win a lot of games and make the playoffs, but if Daniel doesn’t play one snap as a rookie, you’d be okay with that?
A: I’d be very happy about that because it means that we’re having a great year and Eli’s having a great year.

Q: Do you think that’s possible?
A: Sure, why not?

Q: John, what do you think that would mean for next year if that’s the case?
A: Let’s worry about next year next year, seeing that we’ve got to get through this season first.

Q: John, you said that the 2004 team was not as talented as this team. What do you see from this team?
A: Well, I think we’ve done a pretty good job in the draft the last couple years and we’ve got some good, young talent on both sides of the ball. I think our offensive line is better than it’s been, so I think there’s reason for some optimism there, but until we start playing some games and winning some games, that’s all it is right now. I also like the feel of the locker room, so we’ll see.

Q: You said you’ll worry about next year next year. You’re fine with holding off on anything with Eli, because obviously he’s in the last year of a contract, until after the season? 
A: I think we’re in a one year at a time mode right now. 

Q: Do you imagine that if and when a decision comes on the quarterback situation this season that you’ll have to approve it?
A: Well, I’d like to be informed of it before I read it from you guys. But, at the end of the day, just like it was in ’04, it was Tom’s (Coughlin) decision back then, and it will be Pat’s (Shurmur) decision this time. Again, hopefully, it’s a decision he doesn’t have to make until way in the future.

Q: You mentioned the locker room. Was the locker room an issue last year?
A: I think it was not as strong as it could have been. I think there’s just a different feel to it this year. I think some players have commented about that, too, so we’ll see. A lot of times, I think that gets taken out of proportion. At the end of the day, if you start winning some games, it builds some enthusiasm, it builds some good feelings, some positive vibes, and I think that’s what we need to do more than anything else. Right now, it feels pretty good.

Q: At this point, what has given you faith in Eli? It’s obviously been a few years since he had the type of success he had earlier in his career.
A: I think he’s played well when the protection has been there in front of him, when he has confidence in the protection. I thought that the second half of last year he played much better, our protection got a little bit better, and obviously Saquon (Barkley) was having a big year. So, I think our offensive line is better this year than it has been, and he’s had a terrific camp so far.

Q: John, Eli’s the longest tenured player in franchise history. How much thought has been given to how hard it might be when you have to say goodbye to him?
A: It’ll be a very difficult, emotional moment, to be sure, but I’m not thinking about that just yet. He’s still the starting quarterback. 

Q: Around the league, Dave Gettleman has taken a lot of heat for the moves he has made, for his attitude, for a lot of things. People are taking a lot of shots at him. Has any of your confidence wavered at all throughout this whole process?
A: Not at all. I think the best thing for me about Dave is he makes decisions that he feels are in the best interest of the franchise and he doesn’t give a damn what people think about it, be it the media, or be it fans, or anybody. He has the courage of his convictions, and you have to have that. He’s set about to try and rebuild this team and change the culture a bit in the locker room. I think, as I said before, our last two draft classes were pretty strong, and that’s what gives me confidence going forward. I think we’re moving in the right direction. Again, until we start winning games, it’s hard to sell people on that notion, but that’s what I believe. 

Q: Did he give you pause at any time about all the talent that went out the door? Not just Odell (Beckham Jr.), but Landon (Collins), (Olivier) Vernon, a lot of guys.
A: I wouldn’t say I had any—there was never any doubt in Dave’s ability or in what his motivation was, or what his skill level was. You don’t like to see all that talent go out the door, but let’s face it, we had one winning season in ’16 and the other five or six years, nothing, not since we won the last Super Bowl, so we needed some drastic changes. Again, he had the courage of his convictions, he knew they would be unpopular moves, but he went and made them anyway. 

Q: What do you need to see this season to consider it a success, or a step forward?
A: We need to win some games. I want to feel like at the end of the season we’re moving in the right direction. I’m not going to say it has to be a minimum number of games that we have to win, or we have to make the playoffs. I want to feel when I’m walking off the field after the last game of the season, whenever that is, that this franchise is headed in the right direction. That’s, to me, the most important thing.

Q: What is your overall patience? Obviously guys don’t last very long if they don’t win?
A: I’m not very patient, I take the losses pretty hard, but I understand that you have to make decisions that are in the best interests of your team in the long run and not worry about the short term as much. It doesn’t make it any easier when you are losing these games, but I understand what he is doing. I think he has us headed in the right direction.

Q: You have a big investment in your future with Daniel Jones. Are your coach and GM tied in with that?
A: Absolutely. I heard something the other day, I forget who the commentator was, that the coach was not crazy about our first-round pick. Nothing can be further from the truth and what sold me on (Daniel) was Dave, Pat and our scouts, Mike Shula, everybody was sold on this kid. That’s what made it easier for me to okay. Pat’s been a huge advocate right from the draft. Everything he’s done so far has been what we expected and what we hoped for. 

Q: What was your role in the whole decision to draft Daniel?
A: I just had the final approval, on all decisions like that. For me, if the general manager and the head coach have a conviction, then I’m going to let them go with it.

Q: Did you watch any college tape of Daniel?
A: I watched a little bit. One of the first questions I asked him when I met him was: do you have thick skin. Then after we drafted him, I asked him: do you understand why I asked you that question. He smiled, he can handle it, he can handle being the quarterback of the New York Giants.

Q: Did it give you pause because of the Eli dynamic?
A: Not really. When you have a conviction about a player, particularly at that position, you better go ahead and take him. So, there was no pause.

Q: Do you see a lot of similarities between Daniel and Eli the way other people do?
A: When I first sat down with Daniel, it was eerie to me how similar. It was like talking to a 22-year-old Eli, which is a good thing.

Q: Are you satisfied with the job Pat Shurmur has done? The team only won five games last season.
A: I’m not satisfied with winning five games, but I think he has us headed in the right direction. I think the players believe in him and we have a lot of confidence in him.  

How One NFL General Manager Runs the College Draft – Dave Gettleman of the NY Giants

Senior Vice President and General Manager David Gettleman Pre-Draft Press Conference — April 18, 2019

Opening: Good afternoon. I would like to begin by thanking our Director of College Scouting Chris Pettit and the staff, Chris Mara, Kevin Abrams, Mark Koncz, Pat Shurmur and the coaches for all of their diligence in putting together this year’s draft board. I really can’t thank them enough. With the college draft a week away, we are coming to the second part of what I call the roster building season. Football is the ultimate team game. While it may be difficult for some to understand, building a roster is not just about collecting talent. It is not just about how fast, strong or talented a player is, but does he fit athletically, intellectually and culturally into what you are trying to accomplish, that is to win a Super Bowl.

Recently, there was an article in USA today written by Dan Wolken. I recommend that everyone read it. What he did was, he was discussing two of the premiere college basketball programs in Duke and Kentucky. The article was written after they had been eliminated from this year’s NCAA tournament. The final paragraph really put what I believe into a nutshell. And I quote: ‘As long as Krzyzewski and Calipari are still coaching, they are going to get their share of the best recruits every single year because of the pathway they have established to the NBA. Both programs have discovered in the tournament that elite recruiting and good roster construction don’t mean the same thing.’ 

As Lou Lamoriello most recently said, ‘players win games, teams win championships.’

The only major transaction I have not talked to you guys about since the last press conference was about Sterling and getting him extended. Obviously, we feel Sterling is a very important part of who we want to be moving forward. He earned this contract and we are thrilled to have had the ability to get him extended. 

This is a pre-draft presser, so let’s talk about the draft. Let the games begin.  


Q: You said this is a really strong draft. What about it makes you say that?
A: Frankly, we have pretty much set the board. We are tweaking it a little bit here and a little bit there. The scouts went home. I sent them home for the holiday. It gives me a chance to do some work on my own, some additional work. The board is really basically set. I am looking at it and we have more players rated as first, second, third or fourth-round values that I have had in any draft. This is my eighth draft as a GM. In terms of the volume of players on the board, this is the thickest. 

Q: Is selecting a quarterback a priority for you?
A: The priority is to select the best players. Last year, we could not pass up on Saquon. He was the best player in the draft. You can’t do that. We have had this conversation before. Eli is closer to 40 than he is to 25. We can do that math. At the end of the day, we are going to take the best players. 

Q: At number six, do you need a gold jacket guy or is that too far down?
A: For me, you are riding on the edge. There are gold jacket guys that never got drafted. That stuff happens. It is still about value. Who is going to give you the most value at that spot? When you start reaching for the need, you get into trouble. You can never have too many good players at one position. 

Q: Is it important to look at every pick you guys have, you have 12, that you need to get 12 starters or do you take the approach of looking at first round talent and seventh round talent?
A: If we get 12 starters in this draft, I would have one hell of a time on Cape Cod. All kidding aside, having 12 picks is crazy. One of the things I have talked about is that you don’t want to draft a player that you are going to cut. Every guy you draft, there is a reason you are drafting him and a reason that he should make your club. First, second, third round draft picks at the very least, you are looking for a big rotational player. Everyone talks about the way the league is going down, 65-70 percent of the time you have your defensive sub package in. You can easily make the argument that your nickel is your starter. You can make that argument. Your third wide is your starter. That is what you are looking at. Guys that walk on the field and help you win now. Anything after that is a huge bonus. Earlier, David Diehl was a fifth round draft pick and a 10, 11-year starter. That is what you are looking for. 

Q: You mentioned that you have a lot of value in rounds 1-4. Does that give you more flexibility if you want to move around?
A: Absolutely. Obviously, every position is different. There are some positions that are thick throughout. Some positions, it gets thick late. Some positions, you are thick, nothing, thick. It varies. Obviously, when your turn is coming up, you have to give it a look, especially when you have a number of guys that you can look at with equal value at different positions. 

Q: You’ve said before that a franchise QB has to be one that you love because it is such an important position. Does that also apply to the second first-round pick? There could be a guy that you like but the value is there. Could you see yourself not being in love with a guy but taking him with that second pick or is this too important of a position?
A: With as heavy as this draft is, to answer that question, we are at 17 so I would be shocked, very surprised if there was someone there that I did not like. 

Q: Could it be a guy that you are in love with?
A: Absolutely. 






Q: Are you talking about QB specifically?
A: Who knows?

Q: At 17, you said you would be shocked if there was someone there that you didn’t like?
A: A player, yes. 

Q: Not a QB?
A: It could be. It could be a corner, a wide receiver. It could be a sports writer. 

Q: QB is so important that you don’t want to force it but if he is sitting there at 17, the value might be just too good.
A: The value might be too good for what? If we have a QB rated in the first round, we love him. 

Q: Is there a lot of ‘what ifs’? A guessing game?
A: It is so crazy now. You read all the info and you have 85 mock drafts. There are about 20 guys that are in everyone’s first round. History tells you, you can bet the ranch that those guys are going to go. Times have changed. My very first draft, I was an intern with the Buffalo Bills. And Norm Pollum, who recently passed away, he has a legal pad and at that time there were 28 teams. He had 28 teams and 28 names. He turns around and gives it to me. He says take a look. I am looking at it and he says, that is the draft. He had 26 of them. That is when people didn’t have phones and there wasn’t a whole series of smokescreens and lies. And people just kibitzed. At the end of the day, you can’t count on teams taking this guy or that guy. You just have to relax. It is just a process. You relax and see what happens.

Q: Is there a better chance this year of marrying value with the position of need?
A: Yes, because it is about volume. 

Q: You said that if you have a QB with a first-round grade, it means that you love him. I am curious if there are traits that lead you to a guy like that?
A: A lot of it is physical ability to play the game. One of the things that I really believe is, this is not taking a shot at anyone so don’t twist my words, please. Being a quarterback of a team in this type of market is a load. It is a mental load. You have to really vet out the background of these guys. Just like being the head coach of this team is a load, being a quarterback is a load, too. It is more than just looking at a guy’s physical talent. It is about his makeup. A lot of you guys were here Eli’s first year. He starts the last nine games of the year and there were a couple games early on, the Baltimore game, where he was what, 4 of 15? Something like that. He is there and then we are playing Dallas in the last game of the year. We are on the six-yard-line going in and we have no timeouts. There is 12 seconds left in the game and he has the cujones to audible to a draw. If we don’t score, we lose the game. You have to have a mental toughness about you to play the position here in New York. Or to play the position anywhere. That is a huge piece of it. It is important. If you don’t think it is, you need to re-think it. 

Q: Getting the 17th and 95th picks were a big part of the return in the Odell trade. Any extra pressure knowing that those guys will be compared to him?
A: No, not for me. I don’t mean to make light of it, but no. We are going to get good players with those picks. 

Q: You have the 12 picks, two in the first round. You want to get every draft right. Does the draft pick at the top, you said you put extra value on them. Does that put extra importance in getting those right?
A: There is pressure getting it right every year. Even last year, we had five picks. That is all we had. There is no less pressure or more pressure with 12 than there was with five. It does not make a difference what job you have. You have pressure and deadlines. There are people that look at you, I look at you and say, how do you do that? You have a 4:25 start. The game ends at 7:15. You better get your crap in in about 25 minutes but you don’t have time. By the way, the game just ended and you have to run down and get interviews. You guys have pressure. It is what you do. You just roll with it. That is what I do. I don’t feel that pressure. 

Q: Is it valuable for these QBs that you evaluate to have handled adversity in the past to see how they have handled it?
A: Exactly. It is a hell of a question. Back in the fall, I was talking to Pat (Shurmur) and we were having that conversation. He said, there are a lot of guys that never had adversity. You will have adversity up here. I don’t care how great a player you are. I could sit down over a year and you could give me any Pro Bowl player. I can make you a 25, 30 snap tape and you will look at it and say that you have to be kidding me, he is getting paid that kind of money. You have to be kidding me, he went to the Pro Bowl. Then, I will make the other 25-minute tape and you will say, oh my God. Everyone has adversity. Everyone. Who is mentally tough enough to say, OK, it happened once, it is not happening again. With a lot of these guys, it is a very legitimate question. You have to dig so deep to see where they have had adversity. It is painful but it is part of the evaluation. 

Q: Do you need a defensive playmaker in this draft?
A: You sat there and watched it. We went 4-4 the second half of the year and we had three games that if we make a stop, we are 7-1. Obviously, you can’t have too many playmakers. You talk about roster construction, I have always been a big believer that if you look at the great defenses, they have a lead dog in every level. A legitimate playmaker at every level of their defense. I said it at the postseason presser and I will say it again, we need some defensive playmakers. 

Q: Do you have a lead dog on your defense right now at any level?
A: Ogletree. Alec. Our two safeties that we brought in, Antoine and Jabrill. Antoine has been a lead dog. We are getting there.

Q: Upfront is where you think you need?
A: Listen, we are thrilled with B.J. and we are thrilled with Dalvin. We have to keep adding to that mix. The young guys on the outside, Lorenzo made a lot of strides last year. We are getting there. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Q: If you had a QB rated in the first round, is there any reason why you would wait to the second pick to take him?
A: Depends upon who is available. If you would have said that last year, I would have given you the same answer. You would have seen what happened. We will see.

Q: Is it important to have that battery going from defensive tackle to center to QB to RB where you want your lead dogs to be before you build outside?
A: I don’t know. I don’t think football is any different from any of the three other major sports. Strength up the middle is critical. Your lead dog can be an outside linebacker or an outside pass rusher. What you want is talent. That is what you want. 

Q: Is between 37 and 95 a place that will be hard for you to watch 60 players come off the board?
A: Yes, it is. It won’t be fun. 

Q: What position has impressed you the most in this draft?
A: The wides (wide receivers) are real thick. The offensive tackles are thick. The secondary is thick. Corners and safeties. When I say thick, I am talking about up and down the draft. Rounds 1 through 7. 

Q: How does what people in front of you do complicate things and change the dynamic of what you are going to do?
A: We are going to sit there and see what is cooking at six. We will go from there. 

Q: Have you had any conversations with the Cardinals?
A: I am not going there. 

Q: There are only five teams that pick ahead of you.
A: Look at that, you have done the math. 

Q: The guy you pick will be ranked higher or not that much lower at all because you don’t have to. You won’t force that for any position at all?
A: No. You are up at six.

Q: If you don’t have a QB in the top six, you aren’t taking one with that pick, is that safe to say?
A: I am just saying I won’t force a pick. You can’t draft for need. You will get screwed every time and make a mistake. 

Q: So a QB is not its own special category?
A: No, it is not. 

Q: When you look at this draft, is there a chance you get to six and all of these top stud defensive players are gone?
A: A chance that they are all gone? No. 

Q: Do you see a spot this year where there is a drop off?
A: It is a really good draft. I fully expect, if we don’t move, at six and 17, we are going to get a really good player. I am not going to panic. It is going to be a good player. I do not want to sound arrogant. 

Q: Do you have your guy right now hoping he is there at six?
A: We have to finish doing the board. We are still screwing around. I have an open mind. 

Q: Any gold jacket guys in this draft?
A: Yes. I don’t want to put a number on it. This is a draft that has been well ballyhooed by the volume of players and the depth. It is legit. 

Q: What do you think about this QB class?
A: It is good. Thick. 

Q: Better than last year?
A:  I am not going there. Come on now.

Q: Ernie Accorsi always says that you draft QBs to win Super Bowls. Are there any QBs in this draft that you think are Super Bowl ready?
A: There are a couple of really good quarterbacks in this draft, yes. 

Q: What is the level of urgency to land a franchise QB right now?
A: If you put a lot of pressure on it, you are going to make a mistake. I am not going to put a level on that. You let the draft come to you. We went into last season with Eli and thought he had plenty left. He proved that. We will just see how it goes. 

Q: What about the level of urgency to get the KC model in place?
A: I said ‘the KC model’, people have been doing that for years. This is just the most recent one. How about the Green Bay model with Rodgers and Farve? He sat two and a half, three years. That is what you would like to do. Eli is a pro’s pro and you guys know that. To allow a quarterback to learn at the feet of Eli, it would be a sweet deal. Kyle (Lauletta) is working on that right now. Don’t forget about Kyle. You would prefer that be the situation. You would hate to take a young kid and just throw him in there.

Q: As you continue to construct this team, do you feel that you can win now and in the future?
A: We won two more games than the team did the year before. Then, you had all those games where we lost by a point, two points. We lost eight games by a touchdown or less. The NFL is tight. A few more players get you over the top and you win more. 

Q: You have hit on small college guys before. What do you have to see on film to judge them?
A: A million years ago, I am scouting at Kutztown State and I am looking at John Mobley. It is October and everyone since August was telling me to go to Kutztown, have you been there yet? I said, what do we have here, Superman? So I went and watched John play. The closest Division I school is Penn State. I had to ask the question and I tell the scouts this all the time, if I am watching John Mobley, can I picture him starting at Penn State. That is the litmus test. When scouts talk about DI, II, I-AA, will he start at a big DI program. They all go to big DI programs, so they should be able to answer. 

Q: Will you move if there is urgency?
A: Look at my history. I have traded up a bunch of times in Carolina. Last year, we had to sit. We only had the five picks. I was not going to take picks from this year’s draft to move up in last year’s draft. We are going to do what we need to. If the situation calls for it and there is guy there that we feel can really help us but he is a few picks in front and we are not confident or comfortable that he will fall to us, if we feel the need, we will make the move. I am not afraid to do that. 

Q: First four rounds are loaded ,would you move some picks in the back and try and get into the first four?
A: It is possible. You may. Anything is possible. 

Q: Does that include moving picks from next year’s draft?
A: Maybe. 

Q: How does the dynamic change when you have two first round picks?
A: I have never had that. It is fun. I am excited about it. It is weird. After you make that first pick, you can’t go get dinner. I am excited. You are going to draft two guys that you will have for five years, which is a big help with the cap now a days. I am looking forward to it. 




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