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Quotes (8/25): Cruz, Pierre-Paul, Kiwanuka

Posted Aug 26, 2014

Read full transcriptions from Tuesday's media hour


WR Victor Cruz


Q: It was only a few years ago that you were a rookie and you understood what cut down day meant. A bunch of your teammates just went through one today. What is that like? Can you sympathize with them?
A: It’s sad, man. You build these relationships with guys and you build these friendships with guys and the reality is that some of them have to go. Some of them do go. You understand it’s part of the business and you get that point, but it’s still sad to see some of your friends that you built these relationships with and friendships with go to the wayside like that. But you understand that it’s the business and you just hope that those guys get jobs elsewhere and continue to play this game that they love.

Q: I won’t ask you about specific players or names, but do players in the locker room amongst themselves talk about it or is it kind of like a no-hitter in baseball where everyone is silent, shuts up, and doesn’t mention it?
A: We kind of don’t say anything. It’s already understood. You can see it in everyone’s face and things like that. But we don’t really say much; we don’t say anything about it. If we happen to see one of those guys in the hallway, we just shake their hand, give them a hug and tell them best of luck for the rest of the way, and things like that. We don’t like to dwell on things like that because it’s such a sad day for all of us.

Q: What does the offense need to get out of this last preseason game?
A: Just more continuity, just continue to build on some of the things that we did last week and be able to put things together more. Build off that last drive that we had in the second quarter in the two-minute drill and build off that a little bit. Hopefully we can get that done and look a little more fluid. We felt a little bit better out here today than any other practice this week, so we’ll see how it goes.

Q: When you compare this to the past years, how much of a sense of urgency is there at this time of the year compared to the past when you’re familiar with what you’re doing?
A: I think it’s about the same because we have one more to go and then it’s for real the next time we suit up. It’s about the same. It’s kind of up there; it’s getting a little high. But we understand that we have to look at what we have on Thursday and be able to do some good things on the field that day, and get things better offensively, build more of a continuity, like I said, and see where it goes. Then we can prepare for Week 1.

Q: Are you guys getting to the point where you’re reacting more than thinking or do you still have to think through an awful lot?
A: I think we’re hitting that phase where we’re reacting a little bit more. I think the playbook is starting to feel a little bit more second-nature to myself and some of the other receivers. You can see it kind of unfolding a little bit and we’re just reacting out there now as opposed to doing a lot of thinking. It’s really good for us.

Q: There’s a lot of focus on the passing game, but when you look at the running game this year, compared to the past couple of years, do you see a big improvement there that can affect the offense?
A: I do. I think we have some really good, different styles of backs with Rashad Jennings and Andre [Williams] and I think it provides a difference from what we’ve in had in the past. We’ve had some great running backs here in the past, and I think it adds a little bit of an element. Rashad brings a nice, little shifty kind of, big hitter element to it. It’s good to see and it’s good to have on our team. I think that’s going to be one of our strong points. Everyone talks a lot about the passing game and down the field, but I think that to have the ability to be balanced in both is definitely going to be key for us and be good for our team.

Q: Coming off last season and this preseason, there are not a lot of expectations about this team. But when you look at the team, do you feel uncertainty or do you feel confidence or something different?
A: No, I just feel confident. I feel confident with all the guys we have out here. I feel like if we play on the same page, if we play on the same accord offensively and defensively, we can do some special things this year. I believe that, but we have to do it one day at a time, one game at a time, one practice at a time in order to achieve those short term and long term goals.

Q: By ‘special things,’ are you talking about being a contender or proving as you go along what this team is capable of?
A: Our overall goal each and every year is to win a championship. I don’t think any team goes into any season thinking that they just want to make the playoffs or they just want to be 8-8. They want to go and make the playoffs and potentially win the championship. That’s our goal and I think that’s something that we can obtain if everybody is on the same page, and if we get this thing going the way we know how to.

Q: When a team is putting in a very different offense, is it a reality that you’re going to be building on that throughout the season? As much as you want fast results, that it’s still a building process?
A: I think so. I think once we get a full game under our belts. We have yet to get four quarters of football under the new offense under our belts. But when that happens and we start to feel that continuity and feel what it feels like to be in this offense for a full four quarters, certain adjustments that we make throughout the game, and see how that goes, we’ll get a better feel for it and see how it goes from week in to week out, and we’ll take it from there. It’s too early to tell, but once we get a full game under our belts and see what happens, then we can take it from there.

DE Jason Pierre-Paul


Q: How do you think the defense is finishing up the preseason?
A: We’re doing good. We could do better. We always could do better. We come to practice every day and execute what we’re told and we’re bonding with each other, so we’re good.

Q: How do you approach the final preseason game as a veteran that’s been around, knows what to do. You know you’re going to get your limited snaps so what do you think about going into this game? What do you want to get out of it?
A: Basically finalize my technique, get to the ball, get off the football faster, playing the run better. All of the above.

Q: Personally, is there anything during the summer or the preseason that you have yet to prove to yourself that you wanted to accomplish?
A: Not yet. Like I said, it’s just the preseason. Try to stay healthy, that’s the main part, and try to be on the field this whole year.

Q: Are you excited to scout an actual opponent rather than just…?
A: Yeah, it’s much better. Then you get the hang of it and you know you’re not, I know I’m not, coming off the field unless I’m tired or have a broken leg or something. It’s better for me.

Q: How has Jay Bromley looked?
A: He’s good. He’s very strong, that’s a good challenge for him when he’s a rookie. He’s been doing pretty good. In the preseason I’ve watched him and he’s been covering up his gap and taking care of his responsibilities so that’s a great thing. He’s coming in and doing a great job.

Coach Tom Coughlin


Q: It seemed like you got the good news you wanted on Geoff Schwartz?
A: We did, and he is very optimistic, and hopefully it is going to mean the recovery is going to be as fast as possible.

Q: When you get [the good news] on Schwartz, is it almost like a ‘you put one up in your column… Finally we got one?’
A: You know how I am. I hear the news and I say, ‘Okay, let’s see how this goes.’ Obviously you can’t rush him back but it sure would be good to get him back ASAP rather the other way around. It is not going to be easy for him. He is a big man.

Q: Would you hope to see [Brandon] Mosley out there soon?
A: I hope so. He is up and moving, so that is a good sign.

Q: With back [injuries], is it more about managing pain sometimes?
A: Once the decision is made… He has had something before so it is not like it is brand new. The occurrence for me came out of nowhere. He wasn’t even on the [injury report] and all of sudden he is out here the first day of practice this week and being stretched and he can’t go.

Q: Based on what you are saying, the tests showed nothing long-term for Mosley and [James] Brewer?
A: I am not going to analyze the tests for you. I can’t tell you that. All I know is that hopefully they both will be back as soon as possible. They both feel better today.

Q: It seems like Prince [Amukamara] has been making pretty good progress, too?
A: I think he is. He is feeling pretty good.

Q: Could [Amukamara] play if you needed him to?
A: I am not going there. I don’t know. We wouldn’t want to play him and have it become a three-week problem.

Q: What do these last couple weeks mean to Ryan Nassib?
A: It has boosted his confidence. He came off a so-so game and then played very well for the last two. He works at it. He’s a worker, a grinder and doesn’t have a lot of emotion, whether it be good or bad. He is just a hard working guy.

Q: What have you seen from Peyton Hillis since he has been back?
A: He is getting a little bit better each day. He was not tentative today at all.

Q: Do you still feel like you are sorting things out at wide receiver?
A: Any of the guys that are left know that it goes from 75 to 53. You are ending up in a numbers game and it is competitive.

Q: When you look at [Mario] Manningham, you mentioned early on he was tough to evaluate…?
A: He has had some spurts the last couple weeks where he has done some real good things on the practice field. It hasn’t carried over to the game field yet. He will have another chance.

Q: How big of an advantage is it for Preston Parker that he is back there doing punt return for you?
A: The more you can do. He can return punts and he can return kicks. That is a plus.

Q: What was the ultimate decision on why you went with Josh [Brown]?
A: He is veteran kicker. [Brandon McManus] and him were both very close. They both did a really good job. I think Brandon will kick in this league. He is a very powerful man. He needs to work on some of the finer kicks, but certainly demonstrated his ability to drive the ball through the end zone, which is a tremendous asset.

Q: Yesterday you said you appreciated having the extra time (the fifth preseason game) heading into the season with the players… What is your feel for this team… Do you sense this is a group that can get you back to the playoffs?
A: I certainly hope so. That is what we are here for. We’ll see once the season starts. I am excited about the opportunity and the fact that it is upon us. It is just about here.

Q: Given the new offense, is it especially useful that you did have the extra game?
A: I think so.

Q: It seems like Jacquian [Williams] really brought his game up this preseason?
A: Yeah, he had a really good fall.

Q: What led to that?
A: Not sure. It is because of a lot of things. He is healthy and has a good feel for his position. He has good energy. Very inspired camp.

Q: Is the last preseason game significant in continuing to grow the offense?
A: For everybody. Everything you do is about being productive. It is about improvement. That is what these games are for. That is significant in this game as well.

Q: We know how important special teams are for you… Charles James II seemed to be one of the better special teams guys… What went into the thought process of not having him here?
A: All those decisions are made behind closed doors. That is the way it is going to remain. Charles obviously was a guy that did a good job this fall in the gunner position, but needed some improvement in some other areas that we thought were going to be a little more productive.

Q: Does Daniel Fells roll in first with the tight ends?
A: They are all going to play.

Q: At guard, are you going to run with [John] Jerry and [Weston] Richburg first?
A: They will be the guys that start.

Kicker Josh Brown

Q: …
A: …and also give encouragement. He’s [Brandon McManus] a really good field goal kicker and it’s just the way the competition worked out with the numbers and the lack of field goal attempts in preseason games, I’m sure that’s part of it. I had a good year last year, so I’m sure all of that plays into it.

Q: Both of you guys at the start of camp talked about what the competition would be like. Did he push you the way you thought he would?
A: Absolutely. We’ve been looking at kickers who are not 35 and some that are, we’re watching their kickoffs, we’re watching their hangtimes, we’re watching their distances. Even where I was last year and everything I did kickoff-wise went up with him here. Absolutely there’s positive benefit for me and positive benefit for him as far as just learning. It’s never fun. He was upset and it just very easily could’ve been the other way. I have to be thankful for the job, thankful for the Giants and their trust in me. I just have to continue to do the best that I’ve been doing and continue to deliver.

Q: Not that you needed a confidence boost but to be a “young gun,” so to speak, who clearly was a real challenge has to make you feel good where you stand in this game right now.
A: Absolutely. He’s one of those guys that’s going to be a lifer. He’s going to be a 10-year guy, easily. He’s got that kind of talent and he’s got that kind of head on his shoulders. So yeah, it does make me feel good to be 12 years in and to be able to continue to produce consistently on a daily basis and he’s going to latch on somewhere and sink his feet in. He’s going to be good.

Q: How unique is that scenario? You talked about, “This is my job, this is my kids, my family.” Everyone’s competing for jobs but you’re right next to him every day. You’re off to the side with him every day. You’re there when he gets let go. That’s got to be such a unique scenario in the NFL.
A: It is because you build a relationship as much as you may not even want to. It is a bit awkward, but at the same time I told my wife, “He reminds me so much of me. I cannot pick on this kid.” If I get him angry, he’s going to get that much better. So I became friends with him and I knew what he needed on the field. I could see what he was doing and if he wanted my advice, I gave it to him. I was very honest with him and upfront. I openly talked about the fact somebody was going to lose their job because it is what it is. You have to determine what you want and if you want to be the Giants kicker, you have to come out here and be the Giants kicker. That’s what I kept telling myself. This is my job, it’s mine and he’s going to have to take it from me. [….]…I win. I’m still a Giants kicker, so I’m going to continue to do what I’ve been doing. I’m going to continue to work hard and continue to deliver so they feel they’re always in the right with me.

Q: He’s going to end up someplace though?
A: No doubt. No doubt. I would give him 48 hours.