Press Conference: Gilbride and Spags Speak

Kevin Gilbride and Steve Spagnuolo spoke with the media today. Here is a transcript.

Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Now that your two offensive draft picks are hurt do you have the rest of camp off?

Ha ha, no, no.  We have a lot of guys we have to look at.  Obviously we are disappointed with the injuries because you need every rep you can possibly get to get them prepared for when they actually go into practice with the veterans.  It is disappointing, but those things happen and we will just have to make the best of it.

Especially with a guy like Manningham who you might count on in the regular season?

To be honest with you I don't count on anybody until the real season starts.  If he comes, which we are hoping he is, obviously, it will be a great bonus for us.  We know he has a lot of talent and it is just a matter of giving a guy enough exposure to what we do so that when he gets his chance, when you start to depend on him, he doesn't hurt you by making mistakes.  That is where you get penalized by being injured, you just miss the opportunity to go out and experience things.

Do you think he is a guy that can get vertical for you?

We are hoping.  That is why we drafted him.  We thought that he not only had quickness that reminded us of some of the guys, a Steve Smith type quickness, but we thought that he has been labeled as a guy with great speed.  Obviously that is something we thought we needed so we are looking forward to seeing what he can do.  Unfortunately this afternoon we had the routes in where we would have been able to see if he could do those things and he is not going to be able to participate.

How did he injury himself this morning?

Running what we call a pivot route, just going straight down the field 14 yards and turning inside.  You are trying to give the impression that you are going deep and then you stop quickly and when he did he just kind of tweaked something.

Like a hamstring?

I don't even know.  To be honest with you I don't know either one except they are supposedly soft tissue injuries.  That is all I was told.

Is this as deep of a group of receivers as you have had going into a season?

Hopefully.  That is what you are looking for, that is one of the things that we were trying to address.  As has been mentioned we are trying to get some speed, more speed, into the mix and we thought Mario could do it.  There are a couple other guys really that look like based on two days of practice have a chance to compete.  We will see.  It is just so hard to project that far off, but you have a core coming back that you feel pretty good about and if you can add one or two to the mix it gives you the kind of firepower that you like to have.

Do you still have a good feeling about Sinorice Moss?

I think as a coach you always have to have good feelings.  Until somebody is separated from you, you are always looking forward to trying to help develop him.  You see his physical tools and it is just a matter of him showing on a consistent basis some of the things that you see flashes of.  You see the speed, you see the quickness, but you have to see it play-in and play-out.  That is our job; we have to try to bring it out in him.

What are your thoughts on Shockey?

It is so nebulous right now.  You just have no idea what is going to happen.  Right now he is on our team and we are planning on him being there.  He will be one of the guys that we look to feature and one of the guys that we will look to depend on and hopefully he will be here in good spirits and ready to do the things that we know he is capable of doing, but who knows?  It is certainly beyond my hands.

Shockey's loss and the perceived effect it had on Eli Manning's play?

You know I think it is more of rather than Jeremy leaving it was more Steve Smith coming back.  That is what a lot of people don't realize.  It was Steve Smith's return.  You look at him in the Dallas game in our opener he did some good things, he caught the pass on the third down conversion in Green Bay and all of a sudden we don't have him again until Buffalo.  Then he comes back and little by little... I thought his emergence really has helped, and also the play the entire group contributed.  I thought the line played better, I thought Steve Smith's addition, and I thought Kevin Boss did some good things.  A lot of those guys played a little bit better, like the supporting cast, I hate to use that term, but the supporting cast played better, which I thought allowed Eli to showcase his abilities more efficiently.

So you still think Shockey is a valuable weapon for this team?

Absolutely, no question about that.

What do you guys like about Woodson and what were other team's concerns about him?

I don't know what other people's concerns were.  We were surprised he was still there.  We are trying to address all the need that we have, not just on the offensive side, but also on the defensive side.  It wasn't necessarily the number one priority, there were other things, but when we saw him there we had had him evaluated or assessed at a value that was very difficult to overlook so that is why we picked him.  He is a guy that has played a lot of big games.  He has won a lot of games at a school and a program that hasn't necessarily flourished in the South East Conference.  When you can get a guy that has carried his team for a long time in a very competitive environment it is hard to not take a chance on him.  We are excited about him coming in and seeing what he can do.  We think that he is a young guy that you have heard Tom refer to and Jerry Reese refer to that we have been working on getting  a young guy that can come in here and develop and become a quality backup to Eli.  Hopefully he will be that guy.

Almost guaranteeing Woodson a spot makes for a heck of a battle for the last QB spot?

Yes it does ha ha.  Yes it does. 

What do you want to see out of those guys that are competing for that second spot?

Obviously you are looking for the best player, but to me I am just looking for a guy that can go in and the fall off is minimized.  You don't have to start changing what you have been trying to do as an offense because you have lost your starting quarterback.  Now there are going to be some alterations, some modifications, but you would like to minimize the adjustment.  So you need a guy that can come in, has a little savvy about him, has a feel for what you are trying to accomplish, so he has to have a degree of intellect and know what you are trying to accomplish, and we think that we have a couple of guys that can do that.  Until they do it, and hopefully that will not happen and we don't have to depend upon them to do it, but if they do you would like to have somebody step forward and you don't just get defeat, so to speak. 

It sounds like you are talking about a veteran?

Well I have been both, we have been in both cases.  I was down in Jacksonville and Rob Johnson came in and wound up playing so well he wound up getting traded for with Buffalo and Jacksonville after I left was able to get a number one pick out of him.  It can be a young guy, you would like to think that there is a veteran that can do it while you ease the transition or you slow down the transition or the dependence on a young guy, but hey if he can do it that is great.  All we are looking for is somebody, whoever it is.

How has Carr looked?

We haven't done anything with him so I haven't seen anything.  I just know him from watching other team's defenses as we do in our offseason study and what have you.  He came into the league highly touted, there have been some things where he struggled a little bit, and I think there have been some extenuating circumstances so hopefully we have eliminated those extenuating circumstances and he will play well for us.

Have you talked directly to Shockey?

I did.

So the whole situation and your description of it is how he sees it?

You know 90 percent of it is coming from you guys, to be quite honest, and I just listen and read and hear what you guys are saying and hear what our organization's responses are to your inquiries, but when I spoke to him I just told him in essence I hope he comes back and if he does come back I am looking forward to working with him and I think his teammates and coaches all feel like I do.  That we will be a better football team because he is here and I just wanted to make sure that he understood that.

He is not saying he wants to come back though?

In our conversations it wouldn't be fair for me to divulge what was said by him and I would feel very uncomfortable in doing that.  I would feel like I was betraying a confidence, but we had a good talk.  The most important thing is that I wanted him to know the way that I felt.

Does he still think that he is valuable to this offense?

Again, I don't feel real comfortable commenting on the exchange of ideas that came from him.  I can tell you what I said and I have already mentioned it to you.  I just want him to know that there is a place for him here, I think we are a better football team if he is here, and as far as I am concerned he is an integral part to what we are doing. 

Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo

Saturday, May 10, 2008

So none of your guys got hurt today?

I don't think so.  At least not that I am aware of right now, unless you guys know something I don't.

When you draft two defensive guys in the first two rounds are you excited?

Well we certainly trust what Marc Ross and Jerry Reese have done and we are certainly happy with getting those two guys, yeah.

Anything specific about them that has caught your eye?

They were both very productive guys that both played at a high level of football so that right there we think means a lot.  Just in the few days we have had a chance to work with them they are pretty much every bit what we thought they were.  We will keep working them and hopefully get two good players out of them.

Is it accurate that when you looked at Phillips you saw him as a Brian Dawkins type player?

I am not going to make that statement.  I have said this before; Brian Dawkins is a special guy.  You are talking about a guy coming out of college... I mean we are getting a little bit ahead of ourselves.

You don't want to compare them?


Can this kid make an impact on a defense at some point?

We will see.  You stand there and make that statement today... that is a lot of pressure on a guy.  All these guys take their natural jump from college to the pros and it is a learning process and we will let it take its course.  We obviously think he has some potential to be pretty good.

He can be a strong or free safety?

Yeah I am not going to classify him either way.  What we are doing with him right now is we are having him play left and right so he learns both.  Right now you see him either always on the right or always on the left, which means he is basically playing free and strong.  As we go through we will assess where we should kind of slide him in there.

Is it helpful for Terrell Thomas that he comes from Pete Carroll's system at USC?

I have a lot of respect for Coach Carroll and what he has done certainly in this league and what he has been doing at USC.  I do think it makes a difference.  I think he is far ahead. You all know we are a press team and just in the three practices that we have had with him he looks like knows what he is doing in there.  That is a major advantage. 

Does Phillips coming from Miami make him more ready than someone from a smaller school?

Well I know when Jerry and Marc Ross, when we talk about players before the draft I think there is a little weight added to the level of football they play.  I think that is just natural and you would all do the same thing.  We are hoping that makes a big difference, especially initially.  Eventually they all end up playing the NFL game, but I think that helps.

What have you seen from Kehl and Goff?

Not pleasantly surprised, pleasantly pleased I would say.  Both of them are good sized guys and Jonathan Goff has a very good presence about himself in front of the huddle, which you need as a mike linebacker.  To me Bryan (Kehl) is a very good athlete, which we kind of need in our outside linebackers so I am very pleased at this point.

Is Goff more vocal in the huddle?

I wouldn't say vocal, but at least he is a commanding presence.  I look at that always right away with my mike linebacker.

How does Kehl make the transition from playing in a 3-4 in college?

Well the natural transition from that particular situation is that when you put him back off the ball in front of the offensive linemen he has some schemes that he has to read.  That is just like when we put Kiwi there last year.

It is more mental than physical?

Yeah, vision and instincts.  Even at BYU they had him at times off in that position because I remember watching that film and saying I think he can be that spot.  I think he will be okay.

You would like to come into camp knowing who is at linebacker and defensive end?

Certainly it is more comfortable sitting here today than I was a year ago only in that I know the players, we have had a year in the scheme, you can go a little bit more forward and expand things.  I think there is a natural comfort there.  I think I would be lying if I said otherwise.

Did you see Michael Strahan when he was here working out?

I didn't.  I was actually down at the NFL symposium and I didn't get back until a little bit later but they said he was here.

No communication between you and him?

I didn't have a chance to talk to him, no, I honestly did not.

Is Kiwanuka's situation going to be based on Michael's decision?

What is today's date?  We kind of committed to this thing last year and he made some strides.  You know how it is, soon you could have an injury here, an injury there, and you have to get the best players on the field you make adjustments, but right now he is working to be a linebacker.

How would you rate your defense right now?

I wouldn't rate the defense.  We are trying to play one day at a time.  I really don't see it in those terms.  If we plug another guy in there it is just like if somebody got hurt in the middle of a game, you have to plug the next guy in there and you have to move on.  We have preached that to the players right from the beginning.  We had guys get hurt early in the year last year and I just asked the guys to rally around the guy that had to step in there.

Do you let your feelings get in the way of how to plan in regard to Strahan?

We just kind of wait and go.  We just move on.  We try not to lose a beat in all honesty.  We preach that in the meetings and if we get the players back it is great, but everybody gets paid in this business and the guys that are backups need to be ready to step in.

Are you happy to still be here after all the interest after the Super Bowl?

Yeah I was very blessed to have some opportunities, but I am very, very happy man.  My wife and I enjoy it here, I love the people I work with, the Maras and the Tischs have been great, and I am looking forward to this year.

Did your financial situation help?

It was a tremendous compliment and again, I am tremendously indebted to Coach Coughlin for bringing me here, but I do want you all to remember that this is not about me.  This is about a team and that is how we won last year.  I handle one side of the ball so it is about our guys on defense for me, but I am a very, very happy man.

How do you feel after seeing that a lot of teams are looking to draft pass rushers after seeing your defense last year?

Did you think that way?  I don't know if that was true or not. 

That is the theory going around now?

I don't know if that is true or not.  I don't think that has changed in football.  That has been like that for quite a while.  I guess sometimes maybe coaches have a tendency to lean on what was successful the year before, but I think that coaches around the league and the personnel around the league are pretty smart and they have been smart for a long time.  It wasn't like we invented anything.

Thomas' injury history coming out of USC?

I just saw a good football player.  I let Ronnie Barnes and those guys handle the medical part of it and when they give a clearance I don't even worry about it.  I just look at the player.

What is your hunch on Michael Strahan?

I have not had conversations with Mike.  My policy has always been that I don't bother the players.  I have a great deal of respect for him and I will respect Michael on whatever he decides.  I love the guy.  I love being around him and what he brings to the team, but I want to respect his decision.

Is it a good sign for Giants fans that he is working out here?

I guess.  You guys will make that decision.  He is a special man. 

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