Q: How’s camp so far?
A: Until 9:30 at night, you’re in football mode. There’s a ton of learning, there’s a ton of growing. I’m in quarterback school every day, so I’m really trying to perfect my technique, my craft, and my ability to understand this offense at an efficient and quick pace. So, I’ve gotten better every day. That’s our team’s goal – to get one percent better every day and I feel like I’ve done that so far. I got a lot of reps today and the chance to do all the jog thru reps, two sets of those, so that was a lot of fun to just keep growing as a quarterback.
Q: How’s Eli Manning’s play calling?
A: It’s good. He is good. It was kind of fun to hear him on the headset today. He did a good job.
Q: Is there anything you’d say is the biggest challenge for you?
A: Not really, it’s just about getting better in every aspect. I feel like my footwork has tremendously improved from spring to now. I feel like I’m efficient, I’m moving quickly, I have correct mechanics in the drops and through my footwork and throwing the football. At the same time, I can still get better in the huddle, I’ve gotten better at that. We do a lot of no-huddle things too and I feel pretty comfortable doing those type of things. It’s just again, continue to grow and understand this offense. You know, there’s about ten installs, so you want to make sure that you just keep getting one percent better each and every day and I think I’ve done that.
Q: So you don’t know what the plan is yet for the preseason, how ready are you to get into action if called upon?
A: I’m ready. I prepare that way, and those aren’t my calls. It’s up to Coach McAdoo and my job is to be ready. I feel good and I feel comfortable in this offense to run some plays, and hopefully get a couple touchdowns in.
Q: Has he discussed any preseason playing time?
A: Not yet, we’re still on install. We’re still installing, we’re getting ready for the season. Once Pittsburgh week comes up, which comes up pretty soon in a couple days, then we’ll start talking about that. We’ll talk about game week. You know, preparation starts by Monday for us. So, we’ll start talking about that next week, but right now that’s Coach McAdoo’s decision, you’ll have to ask him. But I feel good, I feel ready, and it’s my job to prepare.
Q: How do you view that 7-on-7 opportunity?
A: Opportunity 7-on-7 is a great chance for me to maximize my reps. I do a lot of mental reps throughout practice mostly. Right now we’ve got four quarterbacks, everybody’s getting evaluated on everything we do. So, opportunity 7-on-7 is really just for me to get reps, steal some reps, and really take advantage of my footwork, things I’ve been learning throughout the day watching Eli go through his reps, Josh and Geno. Just kind of put it all together and get about seven or eight plays in. You try to get mental reps through the eyes of others, then it’s your job to kind of get your reps through your eyes. So that’s kind of what I do, and opportunity 7-on-7 has been really helpful for me and I love that period.
Q: Do you ever see anything like it? Did you know it was coming?
A: No, I didn’t know it was coming. I knew it was coming when I did it in the spring a little bit.
Q: They had a special opportunity period?
A: Yeah, we did it in the spring a little bit. We’ve been doing it so far in fall camp, and again, I feel like I’ve gotten better just about every play and every time we do opportunity 7-on-7. I think the last couple days I had a really good opportunity 7-on-7, a lot of completions and a couple touchdowns. The receivers are running good routes and we’re feeling more and more comfortable with the install. We’re going through it again, it’s kind of a repeat from the spring. So, I think we’re all playing a little faster. Travis Rudolph has played really well in opportunity 7-on-7, one of those guys. And Mark [Herzlich] Mark’s catching the football good.
Q: Have you improved your relationship with Evan Engram on the field?
A: Yeah, we’re back to being roommates again. We’re roommates right now for training camp. We hung out just about every day this summer. We threw a bunch at Weehawken High school, and we saw some one-on-one’s. Every time I got to him, I feel we have a pretty good connection. I know where he wants to be. We’ve talked about it almost every day this summer, about routes and concepts and signals, so we feel good about it. Again, we’re just trying to get better every day. One percent better, I think Evan’s done that. I think he’s had a heck of a fall camp so far, and hopefully that leads up to a good preseason and off to the regular season because he’s a great player.
Q: What’s going through your head when you’re trying to get mental reps?
A: There’s a lot of things. First of all, you just want to go through the progression of being a quarterback while you’re in that play. So, you’ve got to see the play clock, you’ve got to see the defense in front, the coverage, our offense personnel, make sure you’re in the right position and everybody’s in the right position, our scheme, there’s checks and adjustments. So, you just go through all of that. When the play snaps, you just play the game as if you were the quarterback. If we have a pass call, go through your reads, and is a check necessary? Maybe kind of go through it in your head, maybe say it out loud because you’re fifteen yards behind the huddle so you can kind of say a little bit out loud. Just kind of go through that process. My goal every day, I write down three things: finish all my throws, get every single mental rep possible, and number three, keep continuing to get better when it comes to footwork. When it comes to mid line footwork, you know, outside zone, inside zone, three, five, seven step drops. Those are three goals I really have every day and just continue to get better, one percent better, and that’s what I think I’ve done so far. I’m going to continue to get better, it’s my first training camp, and I think I’ve done a good job. I’ve got a long way to go though.
Q: Is it hard to tell that Mark Herzlich isn’t a traditional tight end?
A: Mark’s just a great athlete. He’s a great human being. He’s one of our leaders on our team. He’s one of the first people to introduce himself when I arrived here in East Rutherford. Mark’s done a great job having knowledge of both sides of the ball. He has a really good understanding of what tight ends do, as well as defense obviously.
Q: What does it mean to have him as a leader?
A: It’s the same thing with Eli in there. You just respect those guys because they’ve done it and they’ve been in your shoes, and they’ve done what we all want to strive to be. For me, Eli, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, Mark who played in the Super Bowl and had a great career at Boston College, great football player and well respected everywhere. I have no bad things to say about Mark, none of us do, he’s a great person. They’re the kind of people we want to be around and it’s really helpful to have him in the huddle because he’s kind of a leader and kind of picks up the energy in the group.