Media Availability 9/9: QB Daniel Jones, C Nick Gates, DL Dalvin Tomlinson

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QB Daniel Jones

Q: Two-parter. One, how many points do you think Duke is going to lose to Notre Dame by on Saturday? Two, what was the first game week Joe Judge practice like?

A: You know what happened last time Duke went to Notre Dame, so I think our chances are pretty good. Practice was good today. We got a lot of good work in. I thought guys were locked in and ready to go. I thought we did a good job out there on the field today. There certainly are some things to tighten up and keep focusing on, but we’ll continue to work on it. I think we had a good start to the week.

Q: How collaborative has the game planning process been so far? I know we’re still early in the week, but Joe made it seem like he was taking a lot of input from the coaches and the players like yourself.

A: We’re all involved in that process. We have a good plan. Yesterday was a big day to study the opponent and getting an idea of what’s coming this week and what to expect. We’re all involved. Obviously, the coaches are doing a majority of that. I think we have a good plan going in.

Q: How much say do you think you have in terms of what goes on in the offensive game plan particularly?

A: My role is to try to understand what we’re trying to execute, certainly to talk through things and to get an idea of what I like and what I think works in the plan. We have great coaches. We have guys who are experienced with game plans. Like I said, I think we have a good plan going in.

Q: Going into a game like this when you know you’re going to face a player like T.J. Watt, who’s shown a penchant for strip sacks, stripping the football, what kinds of things do you look for on film? Are there certain techniques he might use that you would hone in on? What kinds of things would you add to your preparation to make sure you’re prepared for a player like that in Week 1?

A: You look at their defense, it starts up front with those guys. You look at, like you said, Watt and all those guys up front can make plays. As an offense, as a quarterback, we have to make sure we’re executing, that I’m understanding where to go with the ball, getting the ball out on time, and making sure we’re sharp from that perspective. Like you said, they’re good players. They cause you to study what you’re doing, make sure you’re prepared going in and I think we will be.

Q: Are there certain ways that you can kind of look at the techniques that he uses, whether it’s certain types of punches or rakes his hand to get the ball out, that might help you as you go into a game to be mindful of what his specific technique is?

A: Yeah, I think you can see he certainly is attacking the ball when he gets back there. He’s working hard to get that ball out. A lot of the fundamental things as a quarterback, like keeping two hands on the ball, and like I said, making quick decisions and getting the ball out. Those are things that we’re certainly focused on.

Q: You got zero snaps last year with Darius (Slayton), Golden (Tate), Evan (Engram), Saquon (Barkley) and Sterling (Shepard) all together at once. It looks like Monday night might be a possibility. What are the possibilities and the potential of this offense with everybody together?

A: We have a lot of guys who can make plays, like you said. All those guys bring something different to the table and allow us to attack defenses in a lot of ways. We’ll look to utilize guys’ strengths. It’ll be exciting to get back out there on the field.

Q: How much is it an opportunity basically to show ‘hey, this is what this offense can be,’ and do it against a defense that quite frankly a lot of people say will be one of the best defenses in the league?

A: Yeah, this is the first opportunity we have to show what we’ve been working on, to show what we can be, like you said, as an offense this season, and we’re excited to do that. They’re a good defense. They have a lot of good players, a lot of good players coming back who played together. I know we’ll be prepared for it and we’re excited.

Q: Joe Judge was saying that he was initially surprised when you guys started forming your relationship that you were not this quiet guy. That you have a very strong personality, you just don’t go off spouting a lot of things. Can you talk to that a little bit, and is there anything in your growing relationship with Joe Judge that you look at and say ‘you know what? I’m surprised by that. I didn’t see that coming’?

A: I certainly feel like I have a good relationship with Coach. I’ve enjoyed working with him and learning from him through camp and into this season. Like we’ve talked about a lot, he’s a very detailed coach. He’s clear. The way he communicates, the way he says what he wants is very clear and purposeful, and you can feel that. Guys respond to that. As far as him and I’s personal relationship, we have a good one. Like I said, I’ve enjoyed working with him. 

Q: When you guys named the captains and you found out that you were voted a captain, what was your reaction and what does that mean to you, going into your second year, for the locker room to kind of recognize you with that status?

A: Being voted by your teammates is a tremendous honor. It’s something I don’t take lightly at all and I appreciate the responsibility that the position comes with and what it means. I’m certainly grateful to be in this position to be elected. Like I said, it’s a serious job. It’s something that I don’t think you can take lightly. You have a responsibility to your teammates and to your team to represent them and do what you can to be their voice and lead.

Q: To piggyback a previous question a little bit when Judge said he was a little surprised when he found out you’re talkative and all that, will you get up in a guy’s face? Will you get on a receiver if he runs a wrong route or an offensive lineman if he misses a block? Are you fiery like that? Will you get up in a guy’s grill a little bit?

A: Everyone responds to communication in different ways. I think it depends on the guy and the situation. There are times where maybe that’s appropriate, but I feel like most of the time, I find it most effective to communicate clearly and make sure that we’re on the same page. I’m comfortable doing that if I need to, but I think each of those situations need to be handled differently. I try to do that the best I can.

Q: A year ago, you went into the season opener as Eli’s (Manning) backup. Are there any more butterflies going into a season knowing you’re the guy?

A: I don’t think so. I feel prepared, our team feels prepared. I’m certainly excited and looking forward to it. There’s a level of anticipation waiting for that game to come, but I feel prepared. I think we’re in a good spot as a team and as an offense. I feel comfortable going into Week 1. We’re all excited to get back out there.

C Nick Gates

Q: Big test coming Monday. You have the Steelers, a team that has a very complex defense. In your preparation for this team, what are some of the things that you’ve been doing in addition to  practice? Have you been doing more film work? Have you been kind of reaching out to Spencer (Pulley) maybe for some advice? What are some of the ways that you’ve been getting ready for a complex defense?

A: I’ve just been watching a lot of film. Me and Spencer go in as the centers, we have to watch more film than most of the other guys and do the scheme and everything like that. Me and Spencer came in on Tuesday on our off day and probably watched film for about two, three hours extra, just kind of talked through a couple things. ‘If they run this, what are we going to do? What are our calls?’ Vice versa, things like that, just kind of pick each other’s brains.

Q: Any butterflies about going up against a group like that?

A: I think I always get butterflies before my first game. I think it’s just the first game of the football season, especially this year, it will be a lot different. But I’m excited. I think it’s good to have butterflies.

Q: Kind of a tough debut walking into a defensive line with T.J .Watt and Bud Dupree and all those guys. How much more of a challenge is that? What does Watt present specifically that makes him such a tough draw? 

A:  Everyone on that front seven is really good. All those guys. Watt, those edge guys are really good. The linebackers are really good. They’re just all good. It’s a really good front. Watt, he’s really good at getting after the QB and trying to get the ball out.

Q: Talk to me about the pressures of playing in New York, the fact that no one’s really thinking the Giants will do anything well. Everyone’s talking about the Cowboys and the Eagles. How does that resonate in the locker room?

A: To be honest, I haven’t really thought too much about that. I’ve just been worrying about the task at hand, the Steelers, getting to learn their defense, getting to know each one of those guys individually, how they play the game and how they do their moves and everything like that.

Q: What are your impressions of Daniel Jones throughout this whole process?

A: He’s been a good QB. Last year, he was a really good QB, too. I think he’s going to do really well and take that step, so we’ll see.

DL Dalvin Tomlinson

Q: Tell me about the whole process given the pandemic? What do you think it’s going to be like when you play your first game and there’s no fans in the stadium?

A: It’s certainly going to be different, of course. But I know the crowd noise, it helps a lot because we get so locked in on the field that it sounds like the fans are there even though you look up and it’s empty. You still get the feeling of somebody’s watching from the noise.

Q: Coming into this season, not a lot of folks are expecting a lot from the New York Giants in the NFC East. Everyone is talking about the Eagles and the Cowboys. Is that something you guys have talked about internally?

A: No, we’ve just been focused on the process. One day at a time. Just come give it your all each and every day, improve as a unit because all we can control is what we do.

Q: What is it like to be named a team captain? How much does it mean to you? Sometimes, captains are real, real, crazy rah-rah, talk all the time guys. I think you can try to lead a different way. Can you talk about your leadership and what being a captain means to you?

A: It’s an honor to be a captain. To have my peers and everybody vote me in to be a captain is a great honor, I guess you can say, because just to see all the other captains in the past are just great players. I always try to lead by example. I feel like I can’t be a captain if I don’t go out there and give it my all each and every day. That’s one of the biggest things that I feel like every captain has to do.

Q: The fact that there are a couple of new guys on the team who are team captains, which is unusual, what does that say about this team?

A: We brought some great guys in who come in every day to work with that work hat on. They just keep grinding. They have respect from all of us and everybody on this team. They’re great guys.

Q: You guys have a new defense, new scheme, new coordinator. You’re going up against a team on Monday that’s got a longtime established quarterback. Are you curious to use this as a measuring stick to see where you guys stand? Are you excited to get started with a new group. Just what’s your approach on Monday?

A: My approach is to just go out there and execute the game plan. What we set out to do, those are the things we’re supposed to do. I’m going to go out there and execute the game plan, have fun while we’re doing it and just be happy football is back.

Q: Does it feel kind of like a measuring stick for you guys as far as where you might be as far as building this new defense?

A: I probably wouldn’t say that simply because it’s football. Anything is possible. We just have to go out there and give it our all and play.

Q: When you’re in there in that tight phone booth with a guy like (Maurkice) Pouncey, how much video do you study of him, even going back to last year but previous seasons? You are head up a lot of the time. Just curious how much do you put into researching anything you can pick up on him on film?

A: Yeah, you watch a lot of film and you try to pick up all the tendencies from each offensive lineman, especially with their interior for me because I’m always on the inside. You always try to pick up as many possible tendencies and things that help benefit you in the game. I watch a lot of film on Pouncey and stuff like that. I’m super excited for this week.

Q: I know we’ve asked a couple of guys this and we may have even asked you a couple of weeks ago, but you mentioned the artificial crowd noise. Will you guys be curious to see how Monday night plays out? I know you’re focused on your calls in your huddle, but what you may hear from the other side of the line of scrimmage may kind of tip you off to certain things that maybe you’re not going to get under normal circumstances?

A: I feel like everybody is pretty excited for that part because you’re going to hear a lot more things you probably wouldn’t hear. But also as part of the game, you may hear some dummy calls, so you can’t always focus on what they’re saying. You need to focus on your call and execute that.

Q: If you look at the early injury report on the Steelers, (David) DeCastro seems to be somewhat of a question mark, Pouncey is the same way. Do you have to study two deep when you’re preparing for guys?

A: I always study two deep because the way the game is, injuries are likely because it’s a tough sport. You never know what’s going to happen on game day. I always study two deep, always make sure I focus on the main person first but you always have to prepare for the backup to come in and support them, too.

Q: Real simple question. I don’t think we really know, we haven’t seen this defense get out on the field. What is this defense going to be like? What are your expectations?

A: I just expect a physical defense. We just want to be physical across the board. That’s what we want to build our defense around, physicality.

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