Pretty much every fan of the New York Giants would have been shocked if you had told them at the start of the 2019 off-season that the Giants’ top free agent acquisition would be a wide receiver. Most assumed that the Giants would be spending their money on the offensive line.
But that is just what happened when the Giants signed Golden Tate to help fill out their receiving corps and give Eli Manning another weapon in the passing game.
Tate was one of the players to speak with the media in the round of press conferences that marked the opening of the Giants’ off-season program, and he offered insights as a veteran player joining a young locker room.
On being a Giant
“It’s been fun,” Tate said when asked what his first week as a Giant has been.
He added, “Really just trying to focus on how to get to my locker, how to get to the cafeteria, where to park, all the things that will hopefully become natural in a few weeks. It’s been great. You can already tell we have a really, really good, solid locker room. Speaking for receivers, who I’ve spent most of my time with working out and in meetings, those guys have done a phenomenal job of welcoming me, trying to help me with any guidance I need, with living situations, or understanding the material that we have so far. It’s been great. I just look forward to keep building relationships with these guys, because these are the guys I’ll be spending most of my time with over the next four years. We have high expectations for our group individually. We’re just going to work.”
Tate has only been in the Giants’ facilities for four days, but he says that a camaraderie is already forming in the locker room.
“Just speaking with the receivers, those guys just absolutely welcomed me in. Sometimes, you deal with envy and instant competition within the group. Everyone in the locker room I would introduce myself and right away I’m having chats with guys that lasted two or three minutes, because we didn’t have enough time. You can see the guys who want to be here, the guys who want to win, and that’s important. That’s just what I can sense after four days.”
On Saquon Barkley
While the Giants signed Tate shortly after trading Beckham, he can’t be called a replacement. Tate won’t be the engine that makes the Giants’ offense run — that will be running back Saquon Barkley. And after getting to be around the reigning rookie of the year, Tate is impressed.
Though where most would be impressed with Barkley the athlete, Tate seems more impressed with Barkley the competitor.
“I get caught staring at that dude, I’m not going to lie to you,” Tate said. “This dude is, just over the last four days, over the top competitive, and I love it. I’m talking about -- we’re doing broad jumps, he’s over there, ‘How much you broad jump? Oh, I got you.’ Bench press, ‘Oh Russ, what did you do here? Oh, I killed that.’ We were playing Connect Four yesterday, and he beat me in five tries. I haven’t played in a while. I wanted a rematch, and he beat me again. You can see that guy is competitive with everything. It reminds me of a young me. It’s either you’re competing, or you’re not competing in everything you do. You can just see it. Hopefully, that catches on to other guys. We’re a team full of competitors. I think it’s great, healthy competition that he’s bringing, and that’s what you want. The guy is obviously a phenomenal talent. I think he has the potential to be one of the best backs to ever play the game. He’s bringing the mentality and the mindset that a championship type organization needs.”
The Giants’ players care
It is still just the start of the Giants’ off-season program. There are still weeks of OTAs to go before we even get to mini-camp, let alone training camp. But while it will take time for the team to get into “football shape”, Tate says that the receiver room is already in shape.
“Yeah, I would say that’s usually the case, especially in April [that players always come in wanting to work] but looking at the work ethic and just hearing about what guys were doing before April, what they were doing to get better to come in and give themselves the best chance to compete at a high level. You can tell, for instance, (WR) Cody Latimer, one of the guys I was sitting next to, and he’s just absolutely worked his ass off this offseason trying to get back. You can just see it in his eyes. Before he does a set of exercises or reps in the weight room, or after he gets done, he’s like, ‘I’m not playing this year, I’m ready.’ You can see that fire. Some people you can just see the fire, and that’s what you can see with him, and a few other guys. (Sterling Shepard) Shep came in in tip-top shape, seems like he’s in tip-top shape, (WR) Russell Shepard has been awesome. If you ever get to talk to him, he is hilarious. Guys are just working. You can tell that they didn’t start working out just on Monday, which tells your ‘give a crap level’ is high.”