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Transcripts: Devin McCourty and James White 10/8

SAFETY DEVIN MCCOURTY

Press Conference
Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Q: What are your thoughts on the quick turnaround between games?

DM: It is what it is. If you come out here, you play well, you get the weekend off. So, that’s an advantage, but it’s definitely a tough turnaround. Especially on the road, and then you’ve got to come back home, kind of get situated. Before you know it, we’re first, second down, third down today, we’re red area and the next thing you know, you’re playing a game. So, I think it helps that we’ve had to do it for a while now, so you have some experience with it. I think the coaching staff obviously does a great job of getting us ready and preparing us along with Mo [Moses Cabrera] and the strength and conditioning. But, it’s tough. I think it’s tough for everybody, but it’s equal on both sides.

Q: How explosive are the Giants when they’re healthy?

DM: Very explosive. I mean, they’ve got a lot of guys that can go 70, 80 yards at any second. You watch the Tampa Bay play with [Evan] Engram, catches the ball and he runs away from everybody else. You obviously have seen Saquon Barkley over the last two years, just what he’s been able to do. So, very explosive group. I think now you even throw [Daniel] Jones in there, which he hurt Tampa with two touchdowns running the football. So, they have a lot of guys you have to be aware of that can make plays and make big plays. So, I think that’s something that we know we have to do a good job of. We can’t let those guys get those plays and get it all in one chunk.

Q: What have you seen from Daniel Jones as a passer?

DM: He does a great job. I think one of the things you watched last week, he did a great job of just staying in the pocket. He took a few hits, but he hit the double-move to [Darius] Slayton, just staying in the pocket doing a good job of making sure he gets the ball where it’s needed. So, you could tell right away he’s a tough kid and smart. I think really throughout the preseason, and now these last three games, you can see how he’s developed and how he’s coming along, and I think you put the aspect of him being able to keep the ball and run makes it tough on defenses. You saw it at the end of the game at Tampa. Last play, you try to make sure you cover all those explosive guys, and he reads it and as soon as it opens up he knows, there’s enough room for me to just run for the touchdown instead of holding the ball for an extra second. So, I think you can just see his awareness in the pocket and understanding the game of football.

Q: Tom Brady was talking earlier today about studying film on other quarterbacks. At 42, what does that tell you about how he’s able to prepare and keep up with the new generation?

DM: I didn’t even know he did that. But, I think he’s very competitive guy, and I think the one thing he’s understood about football is you can learn something from watching everyone. So, even though we’re talking about keeping up with those guys, I think he watches the evolution of the game – what younger quarterbacks are doing and understanding how he can always improve his game. So, obviously you don’t just play the game at 42 because you just play on pure talent. You do a lot of different things to get better, and I’m always blown away by how much film he studies and how much he knows about the game of football. I’ve learned a lot from him, and I think as a team we learn a lot just from watching him and the opportunities we get to talk to him. 

Q: Do you start to feel more confident going into games after seeing that you lead the league in several defensive categories?

DM: No. I mean, for us, it’s the same thing each week – studying our opponent, understanding what we need to do to play well. Like I always talk about, you talk about playing good situationally and trying to turn the ball over. I think for us as a defense, that’s not going to change and that’s something we have to stay locked in on. I think the good thing about those guys in the locker room is we’re very resilient. Not much is going to bother us in a good way or a negative way. So, people talking good about us, people talking bad about us – we don’t really care. We just come out here, practice hard and try to execute out there on Sundays.

Q: You’ve talked about how one of Kyle Van Noy’s best traits is his ability to communicate on the field, but also how he has a different side off the field. Can you expand more on your personal and professional relationship with Kyle Van Noy?

DM: Yeah, I think the biggest thing for us, KV [Kyle Van Noy] – when you get here, traded kind of in the middle of the year, I thought he did an awesome job of just learning, you know, what we do. And then you fast-forward that, the next year, he was our play caller. He was in charge of the huddle, getting everybody lined up, and I thought he did a good job of just staying on top of that. I think now, I talked about that last week of having him, High [Dont’a Hightower] and Jamie [Collins Sr.] all out there communicating. All three of those guys are signal callers. They’ve all had the helmet, have been in charge of making checks. Now we have all three of them out there. We don’t miss a beat. There has to be a lot going on for one of those guys not to notice something or check to something or get to something, or us just draw up on an adjustment that we did two or three years ago. Then off the field, I think for me it’s a little different because I’ve built a really good relationship with him. We hang out all the time. But, Kyle you’ll get to talk a lot if you talk about food and all the boujee things in life – that’s when he could go forever. But, it’s just been awesome to get to know him, and then now see him as a father, how passionate he is about that. You’ve seen through the years all the stuff he does in the community, so he’s just been, for me, an awesome teammate and a friend.

Q: Are you talking about the boogeymen? Is that what you’re talking about?

DM: Oh, I’m going to continue to make fun of them for that. I don’t know, didn’t you have a part in writing that article [Mike Reiss]?

Q: I wrote the article, but only the day after –

DM: Yeah, you’re a big part of the issue then. You’re a huge part of the issue, so I blame you. [laughter]

Q: Do the defensive backs not have a cool nickname like that?

DM: No. We just play football, man. We’ve got a lot of guys born in the 80’s, man. We’re not into all of that. They do that stuff – social media. Kyle Van Noy started a contest today to see who comes up with the design and all of that. Like, we’ve got older guys. We’re going home, watching our kids and stuff. 

Q: Is it weird for you to go into a game with Eli Manning not being the starting quarterback, for a guy who’s meant as much to that franchise as he has?

DM: No, I think for us, you don’t even think about that. Obviously, we know, if anything, they probably have one of the best backups in the NFL. I think we look at the roster and we break it down like two very good quarterbacks – one very experienced that he can come in at any time and be ready to go, and then you have a younger guy that’s been playing pretty good football. I think now in my 10th year, it’s just how football goes. There’s been a lot of legends that I’ve gotten the opportunity to play against, some to play with. Those guys, sometimes they retire or different things, younger guys come up, they start over them. So, those things always happen, but I think one thing we have to be ready for is, if he does get in the game, knowing that he’ll be prepared and he’ll be ready to go.

Q: Given the history between these two teams and the significant games they’ve won against you, do have a natural, healthy bitterness when you play the Giants?

DM: Not really. I mean, I think it’s great for when we play each other, like everyone can talk about all the past games. But, for me, it’s all about how to get a win this year. Even if we play a team we’ve beaten the last couple years, people will bring that up, but it doesn’t matter if they beat us this year. So, I just try to stay focused on that, like this present game and going against some of those guys. Like you look at a guy like Barkley and Engram, [they] have nothing to do with any of those past games, but if we don’t prepare to stop those two guys, we’ll have a problem Thursday night.

Q: Given that you grew up in the tri-state area and Bill’s [Belichick] history with the team, do you have any memories of watching those Giants’ defenses as a kid?

DM: Dang, Bob [Socci], I’m not that old! Man, I was only like two or three.

Q: Well, at least your awareness of those teams.

DM: Yeah, I had an older brother who went and was stationed in the Army. He was in Texas, and he came back and made us full converted Cowboys fans. So, just being in that area and being a Cowboys fan, and having an Emmitt Smith jersey and an [Troy] Aikman jersey, just seeing that rivalry and all of that as a kid. And then as I got older, understanding how much of an impact Bill had on how good those defenses were back in the late 80’s and 90’s, it’s just cool to see that part. I think just from my experience, you kind of understand how good of an organization they are. A lot of times when we used to play them, they’re very similar to us – well-coached, they’re going to play hard every down, understand you’ve got to beat them on offense, defense and special teams. So, I think just understanding when these two teams play, that’s why it’s always good games, because it’s two teams that are very alike in how they prepare and how they’re built.

Q: Has Bill talked to you guys about his fondness for the Giants during your time here?

DM: No, I just remember seeing some of the clips. As far as when we install things defensively, and we’re watching, like we’ve seen clips from teams back in the early 2000’s. Sometimes we’ll see a clip from some of those Giants teams. You talk about rushing the edge and seeing L.T. [Lawrence Taylor], or playing physical in the secondary, jamming receivers and seeing some of the things they were able to do. Obviously, rules change and all of that, but just understanding how they played the game and how they played some of the defenses we still play today. Yeah, we’ve seen some of that before.

Q: It’s been reported that Saquon and Engram aren’t going to play. Obviously you’ll still prepare for them, but how do you make sure you’re not wasting time preparing for guys who aren’t going to play on a short week?

DM: I think we’re here all day, so we prepare for all the guys that’ll be out there. And I think that’s a part of our job, is understanding if this guy’s out there, this is what we want to do; if this guy’s not out there, this is what want to do. Every week we’re doing that, depending on how much a guy plays, how much he doesn’t play in their system, and then even now with injuries. As you get later into the season, you always have to be prepared for if a guy is up or down, and that’s something we talk about constantly.

RUNNING BACK JAMES WHITE

Press Conference
Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Q: What do you see from the Giants defensively?

JW: They're a pressure defense, they try and turn the ball over, they're going to be physical with you, so it'll be good for us to get off to a good start, block the blitzes, and the run game, passing game – really get everything going.

Q: How do these Thursday games challenge you?

JW: You've just got to study up your studying process. You've got to do a little bit of everything in one day, try and know your opponent as best as possible, heal your body as best as possible so you can go out there and have a good performance.

Q: Is it tougher to do these quick turnarounds as you get older?

JW: I don't think so. You just learn what to do over the years. Like I said, do a little extra recovery, get a little bit extra treatment, whatever it is you need to do, study hard. If you do the right things you'll be prepared enough to try and go out there and try and get a win.

Q: Tom Brady said earlier that at some point playing football is like riding a bike to him. Do you ever feel that way?

JW: I'm sure it's different for everybody. Just getting a routine and once you get in that routine you kind of master it. You can throw some new things, some wrinkles every now and then, but that's how you get yourself going once you get in that routine and you're going out there having success.

Q: How do you feel like about the linebackers sticking with the "boogeymen" nickname?

JW: I think it's pretty clever. Big, scary guys, right? 

Q: Do the running backs have a nickname for their group?

JW: No, we don't. I'll let them come up with that, let them come up with something.

Q: Tom said earlier he likes to study all the young quarterbacks in regards to a question about Daniel Jones because he likes to know his competition. From being his teammate, what have you noticed from him in terms of how he handles that competitiveness?

JW: I mean, he studies hard, man. He's been doing this at a high level for such a long time and he loves to compete. That's something that I think rubs off on everybody on our offense, on our whole team. Every time we step out on the practice field, game field, we want to compete just like that guy. He has the energy to do this for this long. We're 27, 28, or however old – we should have enough energy to do the same thing. Know your opponents, know what you're going up against and you want to go out there and compete and put your best foot forward.

Q: Were you impressed with Sony Michel's skills as a receiver last week as he started to progress more in that role?

JW: I mean, he does it all the time in practice. He may not have had that many opportunities in games previously, but he's catching the ball confidently, making plays with it in his hands. He's always trying to improve just like the rest of us in this locker room.

Q: With some of the injuries to the offense, at what point do you worry that those could start to take a toll?

JW: You've just got to go play football. Injuries are a part of the game. Sometimes guys are going to go down and different guys have to fill in the void. That's what comes along with it, unfortunately, but there's no panic. You just go out there and execute.

Q: Thinking of a guy like Damien Harris, he's been inactive for most of this season so far. Looking back on your first year, how critical was that time in your development and what were some of the things you really had to grasp initially?

JW: For me, it was building that routine, studying up on my opponents, working hard during practice. Even though you may not get a rep for the game plan during the week, you've got to study up on it. You never know, things could change at the end of the week on Saturday, Friday, whatever it is and you're in there. You've got to know what to do or they won't put you out there. Practicing hard on special teams, just trying to be a better overall football player so you can do a lot of things out there so when your number is called, you're ready.

Q: What are your thoughts on the news of Rob Gronkowski becoming an analyst?

JW: It'll be great, man. He's a great personality. Obviously, a smart guy. I think he'll be great for FOX, for sure.

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