Q: Is there still a competition at middle linebacker? Maybe Chase will retain the job, and Mark’s job is to unseat him.A: I think there’s always competition throughout. You have your guys who are vets coming in. This is very unusual, because we have such a great group of young guys. Any time you have competition at every spot, it makes your team better. I think we feel very comfortable with whoever goes in and plays, and that’s a good situation to be in. I haven’t been in that situation with the Giants in a long time. We really have good, young guys who came in last year and are now back bigger and stronger. We have veteran guys who played in a lot of NFL games, so as a group, we’re very deep when we’re healthy. You know, there’s competition at every position, so everybody is still competing.
Q: You talked about some of the young guys coming back. Jacquian Williams at that outside linebacker, what have you seen from him so far throughout camp?A: The rookies from a year ago had a hard time. They had no OTAs, no minicamps. They were thrown into the deal right off the bat. This has really been a great year for them, to get OTAs, minicamps, now training camp. What you’ll see with all those guys, I’m sure everybody’s talked about, Tom’s talked about it, is that they’ve all come back bigger and stronger. I actually think Jacquian has actually grown taller. He’s put a lot of weight on his body, and that’s helped him and will help him. We’ll continue to sue him in a lot of different roles, because of his speed , his quickness and his coverage skills.
Q: Where do you see Jacquian kind of long-term, Jim? He’s obviously used a lot to cover as a linebacker. Is he a three down, every down linebacker in your mind?A: Yeah. He’s 240 pounds now. A year ago, I wouldn’t say that, because of his weight. Every year, he’s going to get stronger, bigger, and retain the quickness that we saw from him as a rookie. So, any time you get that, it’s a bonus.
Q: How much weight has he put on?A: I think right now, if you were to ask the trainer, I think he’s around 240. He’s somewhere in there.
Q: He’s retained the quickness that he had?A: Yeah.
Q: Mark Herzlich says he’s faster, stronger, in better shape and a much better player than he was as the ACC player of the year. Do you see that out on the field so far?A: All four of those rookies from a year ago, who got thrown into the fire, they all came in their off-seasons and were like, ‘Okay. We need to get bigger and stronger.’ They all did, they all understand what the NFL is all about. Any time you get that first year under your belt, then you see what’s the game’s about. All of them did a great job this off-season, preparing their bodies. They’ve done a great job of that.
Q: Concerned about Michael Boley not getting to play at training camp?A: Well I think anytime you have an injury, you’re concerned about just getting their body and their mind back in the deal. He’s a guy who’s been and done a lot of great things for us. He’s a veteran, so he understands the game, he understands what’s happening. I think just for him personally, the timing of the game, he’s itching to get back out there. You don’t want to put a guy out there that’s not at full speed. It’s a thing you have to deal with. Every position has that.
Q: Update on Keith Rivers? Is he rusty? Where are you looking to play him?A: I wouldn’t say rust. He was away from the game for all of last year. He’s been through OTA’s, minicamp, now training camp. You get back to a sense of playing ball, and get a feel for the game. Not much rust. We’ve played him, and all of the guys at multiple positions. We try to do that as much as we can.
Q: Thoughts on Jones at outside linebacker:A: Actually he’s played both in(side) and out(side). As a young guy, you try to get them where they can play all three spots, because you know as well as I do when you get into the season, and you have multiple things happen, you need multiple people to go in, and you need flexibility with the guys that go in. They need to be able to play at whatever position you put them at.
Q: Thoughts on Paysinger:A: I like Spencer. He’s one of those young guys who physically has gotten bigger, he’s 246, 245 --stronger. He knows what the game is all about now. He’s got great promise, like all four of them are.
Q: Could Paysinger make the first team?A: I think it depends. We’re still in practice number nine, so we have some ways to go in terms of competition.