Do you miss not having Larry Lacewell around this year?
Jones: Yeah, miss him not being around. We've got his projector. We've got his equipment over there. Larry, many of you may have seen him, was here about 10 days or two weeks ago and kind of set up shop back there. This entire organization has a lot of respect for what he's done here.
Are you considering trading down with that first pick in the draft?
Jones: First of all, relative to what we've seen so far, the 11th pick is a good place to be. I don't want to rule out at all, an opportunity that if a key player drops down, and we can move down and pick up another pick on the first day. Because its a mixed bag up there, you may be more inclined to do that. I like the 11th pick and I think we can get real good value.
Can you rule out taking a running back with the No. 11 pick?
Jones: I wouldn't rule it out. There's the running backs that are likely to go high, if they are still there, can create the opportunity to trade.
How many phone calls will you receive on draft day to trade the No. 11 pick?
Jones: We'll have a lot of business there. I don't want to speculate on how many. There will be good business there.
Isn't it difficult to draft the best player available versus a team need?
Jones: When you draft them you always say their the best available to some degree. For us, it's obvious. We are pretty good at tight end in terms of depth. That might be a position you might question me (drafting). Other than that, I don't think we've got enough of any position.
How pivotal is this offseason for you?
Jones: We just have to take advantage of this opportunity. We may not be through with free agency; we may not be through with trading. We're under the cap and this creates opportunity. Our two number one picks creates opportunity. This is the best offseason of opportunity I can remember having all these tools to reshape our team. We could be a really different team than how we ended the season with the Giants.
What's the role of the NFL draft in building a team?
Jones: It's two-fold. The obvious is that if you can get uniquely talented players, you never get a chance to see those players in free agency. That's one. The other thing has to do with our system and the salary cap. If you are going to draft outstanding players that you want to keep, then you have got to have a mix of younger players to make it work under the cap. Drafting, and having those young players, and having them on the field, is a vital part of the success. You just can't put a team out there, financially, out of free agency.
How have you tweaked your system to be more productive since the ineffective drafts of 2000 and 2001?
Jones: We've had some tough decisions to make. We've had a coaching change during this time. Anybody that watches pro football knows that your draft picks for a team are more vulnerable if you go through a coaching change. Philosophically, when Bill came in, we made some changes on both defense and offense. I think that, and a small tweaking, has influenced us in particular way. That influences us some percentage.
Can you talk about the 2005 schedule?
Jones: I like it. It's got us thinking about some unique possibilities. We are batting around staying out in California. But that's all we've done is batted (that idea) around of just staying over. With our set up, our facilities and training camp. We've also thought about staying up in New Jersey between the Giants game and the Washington game. I like the middle part of our schedule, where we have our home dates, and I like our four nationally televised games. I like it.
Why is it so tough to find a defensive end?
Jones: One of those reasons you would go to a 3-4 is because of how hard it is to find those defensive ends. It's hard to find a defensive end that can stand those guys up and provide run support, and also rush the passer. And I'd say that right there is the primary reason.
What's the story on a potential deal for Darren Howard?
Jones: We've certainly been interested. There was always another major issue, and that's negotiating a contract with him and that impact with (Jason) Ferguson. We still had to make our mind up (when dealing with the Saints). We've reached a point where we haven't backed away, but we are far enough in interest we are trying to figure out what it would take.
This document should not serve as an official transcript of Thursday's press conference.
Jones Talks 2005 Draft
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