Safeties Coach Dave Merritt, 10.27.10

Q: What has impressed you about these guys so far?
A: Like I told you guys before, it's like Christmas to me back in training camp. All of these guys have football instincts and they love each other. So when we're out there and we see the guys communicating with one another, it's something I haven't had since when (James) Butler was here. Butler was able to talk to Sam Madison and a lot of the other guys. Now, we have it back again on each level. The athleticism is the number one thing that stands out for Antrel Rolle, Deon (Grant), and Kenny Phillips, who is continuing to come back and play well for us.

Q: One of other things Antrel said is that communication is excellent:
A: Unbelievable. I mean just the fact that the players are understanding that if you communicate, you can pick up your cell phones and call your mommies and girlfriends, you can do the same thing out on the field, communicate. That's all you have to do. If you talk about things before the play happens, it's going to be that much easier once the play starts. The communication has been on a high level, and I'm going to give a lot of credit to that fact that all of the guys, not just the safeties, I'm talking the corners, linebackers, d-linemen, everyone is communicating.

Q: Does that come from experience?
A: Yes, experience. Let's put it on that. Give them all the credit, it comes from experience and the fact that, again, they love one another and they understand that if we talk about it before it happens, hey, we can play this particular technique this way or that way.

Q: Did you anticipate using three safety packages as much?
A: Yes, yes. You guys remember back when we won it all in 2007, we had three safeties on the field. Now, we've created a package where we can have them on the field first, second, and third down whereas a couple of years ago it was just on third down when we put the three safeties on the field. We had Chad Jones in that plan, and we wanted to talk about it in the spring, so to come in here and see Deon step in at that same position and play as well as he's playing is phenomenal.

Q: There is always a risk bringing in new players like Rolle and Grant, have they exceeded your expectations?
A: To be honest with you, I know you guys may think I'm lying here, but this is exactly the way I thought it would go, to be honest with you, due to the fact that their character is at such a high level. Like we said here earlier, the communication factor, they started doing that back in the spring. Deon and Antrel, even though Kenny wasn't able to go, but it's going exactly the way that I thought it would go.

Q: Does Deon give you more than you planned originally though?
A: Yeah, his leadership...Tim Lewis and I spoke before we signed Deon, and everything that Tim said about him as a leader has all come to pass. I had a blueprint before he came to the Giants organization and just talking to him and being able to see it instead of having a guy tell you "Hey, this is how he is." Being able to see it, it's really clear.

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