Q: When you lose so many important weapons this offseason, how important is it to see what the young guys have and how they will fill certain roles on the team?
A: All of these workouts are important for everybody to get back into a football mentality. Our first thing out here is safety. We don’t have any pads on; we don’t even have shells on now. We do have helmets in this phase. We can go against each other a little bit in this phase. But the development is real important. Just to learn the new language is really critical to be able to come and execute with… if you’re on offense with the quarterback, on the defensive side of the ball to get the communication down, the adjustments down. All this stuff is very, very important, obviously, to the development of our team.
Some teams have 11 weeks, we have nine. There’s parity in that regard. We’re in position, right now, we’ll look to make some improvement here. I just told the players: We have two OTAs this week, three next, four the following, we have the White House (visit), and then we have a mandatory camp. Before you know it, we’ll be in training camp. We need to have a good focus, a good concentration now, a good learning – everybody kind of build themselves back up to football speed.
Q: With the ring ceremony last week and the start of OTAs this week, is it time to put last year behind you and move ahead and build for the challenges of next season?
A: All those things are wonderful experiences. David Diehl mentioned closure. It’s probably not quite closure, but it’s time to move on. You can sense it and you can feel it. As soon as the draft comes, get moving. That’s the feeling that you get.
Q: Did you hear anything about Brian Witherspoon?
A: I’m afraid it was an ACL again.
Q: Same one?
Q: At the ring ceremony, Justin Tuck said he’d like to elevate this championship into a dynasty?
A: I would take the word ‘elevate’ and I would say this: I think we must raise the bar for our own performance, whether it be in the meetings, on the practice field, on the game field. That’s what I’d like to see. I’d like to see everyone come in here – the young players, the new players – [and] understand the New York Giants championship culture, which is over the door to the locker room, and try to raise the level of how we do everything so that it is championship level.
Q: Have any comments about being honored with the Outstanding Civilian Service Award tonight?
A: I think it’s a tremendous honor. I’m very humbled in receiving this honor, and I look forward to spending an evening with General [Raymond T.] Odierno and the other people being honored. I have learned a little more what this honor is over the last week or so. Like I said, it’s very humbling. It’s an honor to be in that company and to realize the historical significance of where we will be once this takes place tonight… where all the chiefs of staff who lived and going way back to the 1800’s and what this represents in terms of our support for the military, our men and women who serve our country. If you think back going all the way to back to 9-11 and how that changed the way, I hope, all Americans feel about our armed forces, the changing of the way in which war is conducted… what they do for us on a daily basis, so we can work in this great National Football League and all Americans can sleep under the blanket of freedom. It is a very, very humbling experience that I’m looking forward to.
Q: What have you learned about the award in the past week?
A: Just the nature of what this represents. I think it’s the third-highest civilian honor that can be bestowed on any non-military persons. I’m deeply, deeply moved by this.
Q: Was your commitment and support of the military a result of 9-11?
A: No, it’s always been there. It’s always been a strong belief on my part to be supportive of our military. You have to remember, I was in college during the Vietnam era and I just have great respect for people who make the sacrifices that our armed forces do for the rest of us.