Coughlin: Cruz ‘excited’, JPP ‘coming’

The Giants reported for their annual training camp today at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in the Meadowlands today. Tom Coughlin gave his initial take of the troops after this afternoon’s conditioning drills were concluded….

“It’s good to have the guys back, it was nice to see them all and to have our meeting; our meeting there was good enthusiasm and everybody was paying attention.  You know, first at camp, everybody’s like that anyway but… it was a good group today, we met and had a good session this afternoon. This little conditioning run was just to observe, to see who’s worked and who hasn’t worked.  I was pleased with that.  We have one player overweight, I’m not going to name him, but the rest of the players all came in at their assigned weight, which is a good thing, and we’re excited, we’re anxious to get started. We know, certainly, the challenges that we have ahead, but we’re really looking forward to it, and I like that sense of commitment that I felt this morning when we met them individually and this afternoon when we had a chance to speak to the team.

So it’s the beginning, it’s the start of camp 2013. We’re here, at our own facility, we’re excited about that, the grass is in excellent, excellent condition. It looks like the state fair around the outside here, but we’re anxious to get going.  I’m excited, looking forward to the challenge ahead, looking forward to the idea of putting this team together, sensing the true commitment, feeling the energy, so I’m excited to get going.”

Tom, is anybody starting on PUP?

Yeah, there will be some that start on PUP.  Snee is on PUP, Hynoski is obviously on PUP, JPP is on PUP, Markus Kuhn is on PUP, and Terrell Thomas will start out on PUP as well.

What about Baas and Jernigan. They were on the side, were either one of them-

Yeah, I’m not sure why Baas was, to be honest with you.  Baas has been doing everything, he came in, and he’s in outstanding shape, but they chose to hold him over there on the side.  Jernigan, a little tenderness, you know, so I hope we don’t have to deal with that.  Not on PUP at this point, but I haven’t been inside yet.

Do you like the leadership that you have going into this season, do you like the core in that regard?

Well, you know, let’s let the leadership rise to the surface.  You know, we certainly do have people in position. We have people who have been in leadership roles for a long time here, we certainly have a solid, solid crew of veteran guys, some of whom certainly feel a deep desire to have a better year than we had a year ago, so we have people in position. We’ve had exceptional leadership from this group in the past, and I think that will remain, hopefully, the case this year.

Can training camp set the tone for the season or is it too far away to be symbolic in that regard?

I certainly think it does set the tone. I don’t think there’s any question about that. Now that’s not saying anything with regards to the difficulty of the season on your schedule, but if you feel like there’s an exceptional work ethic or great moral… there’s outstanding leadership, the practices are the way you want them to be and you can see the progress throughout the course of preseason, I think it does set the tone.

When Aaron Curry got here a couple of months ago, you really didn’t know what you had. How much better condition and shape does he look to be in now?

He’s in good shape now. He’s lighter, quite a bit lighter than he was when he reported. So I think that based on that fact alone, I’m excited to see how he works.

You didn’t get to see Victor Cruz during the offseason workouts. How has he looked so far?

His weight is exactly like it always is and he’s anxious. He’s excited.

This is a lot of training camps for you. Where do you characterize your own competitive drive to start another one?

I’m excited. I really am. It’s time. You’re sitting around on vacation, or whatever you might call it, and you know. I’ve been doing it long enough to know. It’s kind of like when the horse turns. It’s time to go.

You don’t call it vacation?

Yeah. It’s vacation.

How has JPP looked?

He’s coming. He’s done well. He’s worked hard. I’ve seen him the last two days on the machines in there. His weight is good. He’s optimistic.

Do you have a new phrase or motto for this year?

We have a couple of things going, but I’m not going to share it.

It’s been two times where you’ve won a Super Bowl and didn’t make the playoffs. Are there lessons you have learned from those years?

You know from a couple of years ago, the ‘finish’ aspect of it was a huge motto and our players really responded to that. Last year’s experience at the end of the year was not a very pretty one. We finished our season… our 16th game went well, but we played against two very outstanding teams, one of which won the World Championship, but we didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing. So I think that’s on everybody’s mind. We’re better than that.

So is it just reminding them of what they didn’t like from that previous season that seemed to work the last two times?

There’s always a theme that comes out of that. I’m not going to share that with you right now, but there’s a theme that comes out of the experience that you have and the players are constantly reminded one way or another. One day I might be verbal about it. The next day it might be up in the corner of the video screen. The next day it might be on the door to the meeting room, but they’re constantly reminded of what it is that we’re zooming in on and that has been good to a point. A couple of years ago at the end of the season, we grabbed the “all in” thing that was tremendous and one of the questions that I have about going forward here is that we really tried to sustain that feeling because we knew how important it was to us a couple of years ago, but it didn’t work the way we exactly wanted it to. And there are a lot of reasons.

You said at the end of last season that you wanted to go back and try and figure out things. Did you find anything that you would do differently this year?

I don’t know about me doing it differently, but you learn. You learn as you study.

This is your 10th year with Eli. Both of you are linked in that regard. What is it like going into a camp knowing he’s your quarterback?

It’s great. It’s a good feeling, especially because of the type of individual that he is and how focused he is and how hard he’s working during the season and what he’s looking to improve on in his particular game and the way in which he can influence and lead and he’s thought about all of those things and I’m excited to see him work here in camp.

Transcript courtesy Giants Public Relations