Q: What are you looking for on Friday night out of your guys?
A: You know, this whole thing about pre-season games, we’re looking to see where everybody fits. Obviously, we’re looking at Ahmad Bradshaw to continue what he’s done in the past – being a tough, physical type runner, looking for him to be a great mentor of the rest of the young guys. We’ve got a good group of young guys who want to challenge for a position here on this team. We really want to find out where everybody fits, and how we can utilize, basically a running back by committee if we can. It’s going to be a long-going season, and we want to use the best players in the best situations we can.
We have a really good, young man out of Virginia Tech in David Wilson. He’s got some speed, he’s got some off-tackle ability, and he has that second gear. Where does he fit? Where is he, within the learning curve of the NFL right now? That’s the hardest thing for a rookie right now, especially as a running back, to fit in, and how much can he digest? How much has he grown? Can he protect the great quarterback who we have? That’s the number one thing that he has to do is protect the great quarterback.
I think we’ve got some other kids who’ve helped Eli Manning and Danny Ware in the third-down offense. They can help us there, being able to catch the ball out of the backfield, being able to run the tough, physical runs inside when we need it. Obviously, we’re missing Brandon Jacobs. We want to find out who’s going to be that banger at the line of scrimmage. Andre Brown, who’s an every down kind of guy, extremely athletic, can change direction, has good lateral speed, can get in and out of a hole, can catch the ball extremely well, has the size to pick up 240-250 pound linebackers. Where is he right now in the stage of our offense? We think he’s a lot further than he’s ever been eight now. He’s the one question mark we’re looking forward to finding out. Like I said, we have a good group of guys. We want to see if we’re going to be physical, tough and finish strong.
Q: Ahmad talked about "We all marvel at David’s speed." Ahmad talked about him not dancing so much, getting that north-south speed and using it to his advantage. Do you see him improving on that?
A: I think he has some innate habits. You have to understand David. David is an extremely likeable guy. David loves show. A lot of things he’s doing, he’s playing around, he’s been able to get away with things in college, so trying to hone in that, "Hey, these habits that you’ve done in the past for show, you can’t do that in the NFL. We want to get you on the field as fast as we can, take advantage of your speed, know when to get down, take care of the ball, and protect the ball." He had four fumbles, a year ago. We want to make sure that he is secure with the ball, he’s protecting the quarterback We’ll find the right plays, where we can utilize his speed. If he’s not ready, and the learning curve right now to protect against the linebackers, we’ll do some other things to find out what he can do and not worry about what he can’t do. He is going to be an integral part of what we do this year, somehow, someway. It may not be an awful lot, because we know that the defense gets paid too. If he comes out on the field, and all of you guys are saying, "Well, I guess we know what this play is, that was real good." We’re going to have enough of something that he is going to be a contributor who they have to at least try to defend. He does have that exceptional kind of speed that you’re looking for.
Q: He was a first round draft pick for a reason. Has he impressed you, is what you expected?
A: He hasn’t been in this game a long time. Practice is one thing, the game is another. The challenge of the game, we’re looking forward to it this weekend, and this whole preseason process to see what he can do. It’s an exciting thing right now. There are some things that I’m very impressed with, and some things that I’m not. Just because I’m thinking as a coach that I want him to know that I don’t think he’s ready. We’ll decide when he’s ready, and his teammates will decide when he’s ready. It’s a learning curve process for all rookie running backs right now. There have been more busts than greats, so let’s find a way to make him great. Let’s find what he does do well, and accentuate that. We know he runs with great speed, let’s see it.
Q: Thoughts on Da’Rel Scott and his development:
A: We saw some things out of Da’Rel a year ago. He’s linear, he can get up field, he’s got good finish speed when he gets going. Where he is right now, he hasn’t been on the field an awful lot. We haven’t played him in a game. Hopefully, we can get him in the game and see what he can do. I want, and we want to see an every down kind of guy, who has some size, who has some quickness, who has some finish speed, who can catch the ball out of the backfield, but can he be a continuous play maker? Can he take care of our quarterback? That’s what we want to see out of him. Until we actually get into these games, who knows? The best thing we have right now, that Jerry Reese has been able to put together, is competition. Competition will take care of itself. Let alone playing against who they have to play against, but the competition among each other.
Q: Thoughts on the improvements to the rushing game:
A: Well, obviously Tom has alluded how tough it is right now with this new schedule. This is a different kind of schedule, who knows where we are right now? It’s all going to be based on where we come out of these next preseason games because until we actually play against somebody, we don’t have that ability without the two-a-day practices, for the grind and the toughness, and that’s how you build your team in two-a-days. In certain facets, this practice was all running, this practice was all pass. We now have to put it all together in one practice. Yes, we’re going to be a smarter team. Yes, we’re going to figure out some things a lot better, but have we found a way to grow together, to be tough together, to stick together, to die together? That’s up in the air right now, so we’re dying and salivating to go to a game. I know Coach Coughlin can’t wait to see a game so he can actually see someone attack somebody with their job on the line, and see what you have as a team, and as a man. That builds this team. Where are right now on the run game, we won’t know until we get through this first preseason game and see where we’re going to have to regroup and reemphasize, and just see where we are, but it has to be a great feeling.