BB: We're out rain or shine; it looks like rain. We're just finishing up here, as I said yesterday, the last week of our OTA program. We're out today and tomorrow. We're just trying to build through some of the situational things here at the end of the spring as well as continue to work on our regular stuff – red area, goal line, third down, two-minute, no-huddle, things like that. Some situational football, trying to give everybody an opportunity; the evaluation period, as the players know, will be in training camp. Hopefully we can just get a lot of good teaching done over this whole period but especially here the last two days.
Q: Are you practicing outside because it's too many guys?
BB: Rain or shine, whatever it is.
Q: Is that more because you want them to practice outside?
BB: Whatever it is. Rain, wind, hot, we've had a little of everything this spring so it's been good. Sooner or later we'll play in those conditions.
Q: Is that a good way to maybe add a little stress to the workouts at this point in the year?
BB: I think it's a learning experience for us. I don't know about that. Some guys have played in it more than others. Look, this is where we live, this is where we play. Whatever we get, we'll deal with it.
Q: What do you like about Jake Ballard?
BB: He obviously had a real productive year last year. We'll just see how all that goes. We haven't seen him yet.
Q: Is he on his way today?
BB: Yeah, probably.
Q: How would you rate Shane Vereen's offseason?
BB: I think you can put a lot of guys in the good category in that they have physically improved and also mentally improved from their understanding of what we do, understanding of what other teams in the league are doing and their physical condition is better. I'd put a lot of our guys in that category. Now there are some guys who haven't been able to train as much this year because they're rehabbing an injury or something like that. Those guys are kind of trying to get back to where they were. I'd say the other guys, probably just about all of them, would be moving farther ahead because they've worked hard, they've been here. The guys that have been here, that have worked hard, which I would say is just about all of them, have improved and that's what the offseason is for. Guys that are rehabbing are rehabbing and we hope that we can get them back as soon as they're ready.
Q: Did Shane Vereen start to make those physical strides last year in the weight room even though he was not active for all the games?
BB: We were trying to get him active last year. He did play. He missed a little bit of time at the end of the season and he was more ready to play in the playoffs, even though he didn't play. We don't know how that's going to go. Those guys were still trying to play. I think it's more the practice squad players that would fall into that category – that could start an offseason program during the season and then start another offseason program once the season was over.
Q: How do you approach situations where there are unwritten rules, such as when you claimed Jake Ballard when it appeared the Giants were trying to get him through waivers to place on Injured Reserve?
BB: First of all, there aren't any unwrittens. As you know, as astute as you are on the rules, I'm sure you're aware that you can't negotiate a contract with a player while he's under contract. You can't negotiate a contract, release him and then re-negotiate another contract with him that was already done in advance. I'm sure the Giants weren't doing that. So a player is on waivers, then he's on waivers – ours or anybody else's. As far as anybody else, I don't know what unwrittens you're talking about.
Q: There was speculation a few years ago when the Vikings grabbed Garrett Mills, which you didn't comment on so I'm not saying –
BB: Any time you put a player on waivers, you know there are 31 teams out there that can take him if they want him. We all know that. There's no secrets about that.
Q: What's the timetable on when Jake Ballard might be ready?
BB: I don't know. But we wouldn't comment on injuries even if we did.
Q: Do you think Joe Torre is the greatest baseball manager of the last 20 years?
BB: He's not better than Tony LaRussa, no.
Q: It looks like Alex Silvestro has spent some time at tight end. What about his skill set seems to be a good fit for that?
BB: He did a little bit of that in high school, did a lot of that for us last year in scout team for our defense, running plays of the other team's offense. We just had the two tight ends so he was able to give us some snaps there. He'll still work on defense and offense. We'll see how it goes. That's what this spring is for is to evaluate that. We'll make a decision on him going into training camp whether it's one or the other or maybe a combination of both. We'll have to see how it goes.
Q: What have you seen from Alfonzo Dennard so far and what do you like about him as a corner?
BB: I'd put him in the category with all of our rookies. I think they're all learning, all working hard, they're all attentive and trying to learn the system. I think he would fall into that group. Again, the evaluation for those guys really starts in training camp. Now there's no contact, we're throwing a lot at them. In some cases, they've only repped it once or twice so you can't really evaluate a player very well on that. When we get to training camp, they'll get to rep it, they'll know what they're doing hopefully. They'll be able to go out there and compete and show what they can do against players at their position.
Q: What drew you to Alfonzo Dennard to draft him?
BB: We thought he could help our team.
Q: What did you like about his attributes in college?
BB: The things he does as a player – run, cover, tackle, play in the kicking game. He was a productive player in a good conference for a good coach.
Q: Yesterday Joseph Addai said that players have helped him adjust in the time he has been here and the coaching staff has made sure he is on track. How much do you think working with Peyton Manning helps him come to a system that is complicated offensively?
BB: I don't know, you'd have to ask him that. I'm not sure because I've never been on a team with Peyton other than the Pro Bowl. I'm really not sure. That would be a good question to ask him.
Q: What have you seen from Joseph Addai?
BB: Joe is a veteran player that has obviously been in a lot of big games, been in a system that's had some multiples in terms of changing plays and audibling, things like that. I think our system is different from probably any other system probably because of our players or our coaches or the way it's formulated. It's an adjustment for any new player or coach, just like if we went anywhere, it would be an adjustment for one of our players or coaches to go somewhere else. I don't think it's anything unusual. Joe has worked hard at it. He's a very conscientious guy that wants to get it right, wants to know what you want to do, wants to try to get it right. I respect that.
Q: Can you see him making an impact on some of the younger guys even though he's new to the system?
BB: I think each player impacts their teammates. Hopefully because of their attitude, their work ethic and their dependability in doing their job. That can go in any direction – veteran to rookie, rookie to veteran. I think right now for all the new players, guys that haven't been in the system, last year or previous years, that it's just getting acclimated to it. We're putting new stuff in every single day and so is the other side of the ball so whatever we're teaching on offense, there's new things to look at on defense – different coverages, different blitzes, different alignments so it's not just them learning what they're supposed to do, it's how to apply it to what's going on on the other side of the ball. I don't think this is a big time for them to be helping everybody else out. What they need to do is learn what they're doing and what we're doing and try to do it better. I think that's where any new player probably is in our system right now, at least that's where I'd hope they would be.
Q: Can you shed some light on your impressions on Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower?
BB: Same thing I said about [Alfonzo] Dennard and all the rookies. They've worked hard, they have a long way to go. They're trying to understand the material we give them. In some cases they get it the first time, in other cases we ne need to go back over it. But, they're making good progress. We'll see in training camp.
Q: You guys have been working with Ryan Mallett on his footwork and making quick decisions since he got here. Have you seen progress?
BB: Yeah. Like I said, I think you see progress in all the players who have been here in the offseason program who are healthy and who have worked hard. We've really seen them all get better. The guys that have trouble improving are the ones that are limited for some reason because they just can't go out there and fully participate. The guys that haven't been here, they haven't been here. But the guys that are here that are working hard, I can definitely see them improving. I'd put Ryan in that category, sure.
Q: Is there a specific reasons you guys are not wearing jerseys?
Q: Do you actually have practice jerseys? Is it because of the switch to Nike?
BB: I don't know. You'd have to talk to somebody in the marketing department about that. That's not really my thing.
Q: You came up here with a couple of noticeable guests. Can you explain how nice it is for you to have them here?
BB: It's great. It's great to have them here. I have all the respect in the world for [Chicago Bulls Head Coach] Tom [Thibodeau] and [former St. Louis Cardinals manager] Tony [LaRussa]. Great coaches in their respective sports. Tony has won over 2,000 games, 2,000 and however many it is games. He wins more games in a month than I've won in my career. Tom has done a great job. I respected him with what he did here in Boston, his defensive patterns and also obviously his job in Chicago. It's great to have them here. There are a lot of questions I want to ask them – running a team, getting ready for the season, things like that. Hopefully they'll be able to help me out.
Q: How did you get to know Tom Thibodeau?
BB: Both in Boston.