New York Giants' offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz recently agreed to take questions from Big Blue View readers. Today, we have Schwartz's answers to your queries.
Question: Since coming to NY, which player has impressed you most, on offense and defense, that you didn't know much about prior to joining the Giants?
Geoff says: Johnathan Hankins. I know he was a rookie in 2013, but last season I practiced against him every day in OTAs and training camp. He got better as camp went along, and then ended up with 7 sacks. He just improved as the year went along, which is always impressive.
Question: What are the differences between playing left or right guard? Do you have a preference and if so why?
Geoff says: There aren't many differences in technique. Just using the other side of the body. Kick with the right on the right, vice versa on the left. When you target your punch, your hands are different. I like punching with my outside hand, so on the right, it's the right, left is left. For someone who's played so long on the right side, that is tough to learn right away. It takes many reps to get comfortable with little things like targeting your punch. Scheme wise, most teams probably slide left 75 percent of the time so the RG is on an island, which I actually enjoy. I know it's just me v. the DL.
Question: My question for Geoff is how has he and his family settled in after being a nomad in the league? Does his family like the stability to put down roots with his community?
Geoff says: We love being in New Jersey. It feels like home. Part of that is because I signed a long-term deal, we were able to get our own place, instead of renting an apt. At least for us, it makes it way more comfortable. We are starting to put down roots in the community but during the offseason we spend most of our time in Charlotte. There isn't much to do in the N.J. winter. That being said, we are looking forward to getting back to N.J. in April and continuing to explore the area and Manhattan.
Question: When you study film of DTs, what type of DT keeps you up at night ... .is it the smaller (in relative terms) 3-tech guy who is very quick and can knife through gaps, or the more powerful guys?
Geoff says: It's the 3Ts who can line up wide on third down to rush the passer. You have to trust your footwork and not rush out to meet them. When you do that, it gives him the inside lane, or you're off balance and can get bull rushed. It's helped that I've played tackle for long stretches of time, because that's how it feels. I'm large so powerful guys are ok with me. The game is slowly moving away from those types of interior rushers, and more to smaller, quicker guys. Putting DEs at 3T on third down to create more pass rush.
Question: You were under contract for 2014 but missed almost the entire season due to injury, so this will be your first year on the field in the lineup. Also, there is a good chance that Weston Richburg will start for the first time at center and we might even have a new player at the other guard spot. As someone who has slipped successfully into a few different offensive lines can you talk at all about the idea of offensive line 'cohesiveness' and how long it really takes to develop it? Taking it one step further, if I'm a Giants fan and looking for genuine measurable improvement on the interior how high can I set my expectations with a new group of guys working together for the first time?
Geoff says: You develop cohesiveness two ways. The first is spending time together. I train with Weston in AZ so we get to see each other and talk ball a bunch. We also keep in contact with other guys throughout the offseason. Now that continues when we are all back in the facility. As an OL group, we lift and condition together. That builds a bond. We get lunch or dinner together. We meet together. I think you have to get to know each other and feel comfortable around each other because playing is uncomfortable. So by the time you hit the field, you already know the guy next to you. Then clearly, playing next to one another is a must. You learn what each guy does best, where you need to help, what calls or noises the guy next to you makes. I might say, hey watch out, and they know what that means. I'd love to give you an exact time for it to develop but it just happens when it does. Typically by the end of camp, with no injuries, the line is cohesive.
... Now for the second part of the question. We know we need to run the ball better, and we will. It's hard to give you a solid expectation. I don't know what to tell you. Just know that we will improve running the ball. We don't have a choice.
Question: Can you speak to the experience of being a Jewish athlete in the NFL? Have you encountered anti-Semitism during your professional career? If yes, how did you and/or the team handle the incident?
Geoff says: Well as my career has grown, I've embraced being a role model in the Jewish Community. It's been a pleasure to be able to give back to the community and be a part of some amazing fundraising events that benefit the Jewish community. Football has given me that platform. I've honestly never encountered open Anti-Semitism towards me or my family. There are jokes in the locker room which are harmless and are expected. I can also dish them out as well.
Question: How much food do you eat on average during the off season and how much during the season? Do these two numbers differ? And what's your favorite Polish food?
Geoff says: I get this question all the time. I don't count calories. I never have. I basically stay the same weight all year, +/- 3 lbs. When I'm training, like now, I don't eat carbs and sugar (except one cheat meal a week). You add lots of lean muscle that way. That goes from whenever I begin in March, to the first day of camp. Then when the season starts, I add carbs back into my diet because I need them for practice and games.
Question: How do the NY Giants treat injured players? Who do you work with while rehabbing and what is it like, whether you're out for a long stretch like last year or you're dealing with lesser injuries like Justin Pugh did around mid-season?
Geoff says: The NYG are one of the best at treating injured players. I enjoy working with them. I'd rather not be in there but they did a great job getting me back on the field with the toe. It wasn't an easy rehab. But anyways, we work with our athletic trainers and they know how to get guys ready to head back on the field. During the time you're there, you get treatment and do your rehab with our trainers. It's pretty simple.
Question: Who is your favorite teammate or leader in the locker room?
Geoff says: I locker next to Weatherford, so I never have a dull day. Ha ha. Hard to pick favorites in a locker room of 60 guys.
Question: What was it like playing for Chip Kelly at Oregon?
Geoff says: I get this question all the time. I hope for the last time. Chip was my OC for one season, in 2007. I assume, and I've been told, he's different as a head coach. I enjoyed the 2007 season. Chip had lots of energy and our program needed it. Our offense was amazing, and if not for injuries, like to our Heisman front runner QB, then we might win it all. We were so talented on offense. 4 OL, 2 RB, TE, QB, WR, were either in the league for awhile, or are still playing.
Hope you guys enjoyed this, and learned a little from it. No promises, but I will try to get at least a couple more of these during the offseason.