August 31: They Said What?

Read what Jim Zorn, Jason Campbell, Clinton Portis, Jon Jansen, Antwaan Randle-El, Randy Thomas and Durant Brooks had to say about the Giants game, the roster cuts and other topics.

Jim Zorn

On the decision to start Stephon Heyer at right tackle:
"When I got demoted from a starting position to a backup position it is harder because you come in and face your teammates. I think that is very difficult. I thought Jon [Jansen] did an excellent job today working through those issues because it is very emotional. It is trying. Things changed and he has to be able to live up to that and keep working hard. It is not over for him, he still has to work hard and be ready."

On Stephon Heyer being named the starter at right tackle:
"This was a decision that has given Stephon Heyer a great opportunity to play right tackle for us."

On whether Stephon Heyer can still ask Jon Jansen for advice:
"This is the ultimate team sport. It is not tennis, it is a team sport. We are accountable to each other on a team. [Jon] will continue to help, push and be a pro. He has been at it a long time and he has seen a lot of guys come and go. He is not gone, he has to be ready."

On whether having only five wide receivers on the roster is a concern:
"I think that is the way it is for most NFL teams. You can't carry more than five guys. That's if you use a lot of four wide receiver sets, which we have. I think it is hard. When a guy goes down, then the tight end becomes more prominent. We are carrying three tight ends for various reasons."

On the decision to cut wide receiver Billy McMullen:
"Billy did an excellent job during preseason. It was a matter of making a very difficult decision. It wasn't necessarily a numbers game; it was a tough decision of keeping one guy over another."

Jason Campbell

On only keeping five wide receivers on the roster:
"That just means that our veterans are stepping up each and every day. It is going to be a lot of work for them right now, but at the same time I think Santana (Moss), Randle El (Antwaan) and James Thrash are ready for that type of load. They are proven veterans. They have been in the league for a long time and they are continually and constantly doing the right thing to make themselves better. They understand that until we get more people in here to help them that they have to carry the load."

On tight end Chris Cooley:
"Cooley is an unusual tight end. You can line him up in different positions on the field and he is like another receiver out there, the way he runs his routes. The way that he can maneuver after the catch I think brings a lot of addition to our offense. You can look at him as another receiver. You could say we have six [receivers] just because of those attributes."

On what this week is like for a football player:
"It is a big week. You are excited to get the regular season going. This year is a tough challenge. We are playing the defending Super Bowl champs. We are on the road. We are in their house. We have to come together as a team and we have to go up there with the right attitude and the right mindset and be ready to play and just lean on each other for support."

On the Giants playing without defensive ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora:
"You still have to approach it just as serious because they still have those two young guys that are really, really great ballplayers. I am talking about Tuck (Justin). Tuck is a high-motor guy. He is a guy that is relentless and he loves to play. Then, you are talking about Kiwanuka (Mathias). He is another guy who is tall, he is athletic. He can move around. He can make plays. They can line him up in different spots. They are still very talented and they are a very talented front seven. They have guys behind them that can make plays too. It is definitely a big challenge for us. I think we have to lean on each other for support. It is going to be a hostile environment. When you are in a hostile environment it is very key that everyone is on the same page."

On preseason being over:
"It feels like we have been in preseason for a half a year. You talk about the long training camp we had and then five pre-season games. During preseason games, a lot of it is about evaluation. It is not a lot about putting in plays to try to win games. It is a lot about putting in plays to see how players react. Coaches are playing up to 80 players. You are trying to see who you are going to keep and who is going to be here. Now, when the regular season comes, it is a 53-man roster. You know who is going to be on the field each and every snap. Now you start to feel that continuity. You start to feel that unity with the guys around you because you are going to be playing with the same exact guys each and every week."

On Stephon Heyer and Jon Jansen competing for a starting offensive tackle job:
"In the NFL there is always competition at every position. Each and every time you come out there, there are always guys that are ready to play. Sometimes competition brings out the best in each other. It takes your game to another level. You are talking about two guys right there with great character. They are handling the situation very well. It is a tough position, probably, for Jansen because he is a veteran. He has been in there a long time. I am pretty sure, understandably so, it is a different position. In the National Football League there are no guarantees and there is no being complacent."

Clinton Portis

On if he was surprised with the final roster:
"It really wasn't a surprise. I think it was a major move by Coach Zorn to not be selfish and try to put Marcus (Mason) on practice squad, because I think Marcus is capable of playing somewhere. For Coach Zorn to release him, now he gets the opportunity to choose where he thinks will be best for him, because somebody is going to pick him up. He has enough talent to play in the NFL and somebody is going to pick him up. I think it probably would have hindered him if he was still on the roster and all of a sudden somebody calls. Now he has the opportunity to shop the market and go wherever he chooses."

On if the team's mentality changes now that is the regular season:
"You have to focus no matter what, preseason, season, it doesn't matter what it is, and you have to focus. Guys have been saying, ‘Now I'm ready for the season.' Training camp was long. Five pre-season games and it begins to get boring. Now this means something. Now it is time to strap up and play football. We are going to be the center of attention Thursday night in the midst of the Giants', celebration. The long-forgotten team is the Redskins. It is going to be a tough, hard-fought battle and we want to go up there and find a way to win."

On how concerned he is about the offense:
"As far as the preseason, the first three games we looked good. The last two, we didn't look as good as we wanted to look. At the same time, we have an opportunity Thursday night to come out here and really try to get it together. It is no holds barred. It is not a stacked game. There is no playing not to get injured and guys are going to let it hang out. We are going to know where we are at Thursday."

On how different it will be facing the Giants defense without Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora:
"Those guys were big parts of that defense but the number one guy to really worry about was always (Antonio) Pierce. I think he always puts them in position to make plays. They have always been stacked at D-line, so having Tuck (Justin) and the other young guy (Mathias Kiwanuka); I think they are still going to give the same effort. It is still going to be a fight. It is not the savvy vet moves that Strahan might hit you with, but I think Tuck is a great player and those guys are still going to bring pressure. I don't think they are going to have the depth that they had in having Osi and Strahan, but I think we are going to get maximum effort out of these guys. Hopefully they get tired and have to come out so we can face the guys that are behind them."

On how he feels going into the season:
"I feel great. I really was thinking about this the other day. I don't even have a bruise on my body, a bump or a bruise, but I am working hard. I guess the offseason weightlifting is paying off. That is what they want to keep selling to me. ‘You haven't had to go in the training room, the offseason was good.' I think they are trying to get me to buy into just giving up my offseason and just staying in the weight room. At the same time, I feel good. If it has paid off then I am looking forward to it. I think it puts you in the position to go out and make plays. You still have to have the focus and go out there and accomplish everything else and you need talent. I think it just puts you in the position to recover. That has been a good thing through this camp. Every time I got tired or a bump or a bruise, the next day I was recovered and I guess it was from weightlifting."

On Stephon Heyer and Jon Jansen competing for a starting offensive tackle job
"If Stephon ends up having to step in I think Stephon just has to go out and play. Jansen, as a vet, he is going to fight to get back to be a starter and it is going to be a competition. When you have competition it is going to bring out the best in both guys. As long as we are getting the guy that is the best that week blocking for Jason (Campbell), myself and The Washington Redskins, I think we are going to be in good position."

Jon Jansen

On his reaction to learning Stephon Heyer will start at right tackle:
"I was disappointed that I am not going to be out there. I still believe in myself to be the right tackle here. It is not going to be that way on [Thursday] and that is what I am going to have to deal with."

On the injury to his right foot:
"It is not an issue. I am healthy and ready to go when needed."

On the reasons the coaches gave him for their decision:
"There were some reasons thrown around. Nothing that I felt was reason enough, but they are the coaches and I am the player and I will go out there and do what I'm supposed to do."

On whether he can work his way back into the starting line up:
"I am going to go out there everyday and work as hard as I can, like I have done every day that I have been here. The decision is the coach's not mine."

On how he played during the preseason:
"It really doesn't matter how I grade myself. They graded me as not the starting right tackle, so that his how it is."

Antwaan Randle El

On the health of his hand:
"It is doing good. We are going to protect it as much as we can in practice, but nothing is going to hold me out."

On starting the regular season:
"It is cutting time now. It is the real deal now. We feel good. We know Thursday is going to be a big day and we need to make sure we prepare well for it."

On playing the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants to start the season:
"They are going to be revved up and ready to go, coming off a Super Bowl win. We look at it probably the same way they look at it, that was history. It is a whole new season. This is our first game of a new season and everybody starts at zero and zero. You can talk about the Super Bowl, but we all know it doesn't matter for this season."

On wanting to win Jim Zorn's first regular season game as a head coach:
"Just like we wanted to win his first preseason game, we definitely want to win his first regular season game and many after that. We have got to have a good week of practice and come out and be ready to play."

Randy Thomas

On the competition at right tackle:
"I got to worry about my own job. I got [Jason] Fabini behind me and I got to fight him off."

On the Giants losing defensive ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora:
"This is the NFL, they are always going to replace guys. They are not going to be the same, but they still have [Justin] Tuck and [Fred] Robbins and all those guys up front. They are going to be ready."

On playing at the Meadowlands:
"It is always tough on the road. It is going to be loud. They are getting rings that night."

Durant Brooks

On what he did after he found out he made the team:
"I was on the phone a little bit. I had to let everybody know. I think my parents were more on the edge than I was."

On what he will be thinking about before the game against the Giants:
"I have played in big games before. I know this is a step up to the next level, but you can't be too nervous out there. You can put all that pressure on yourself. You have got to think of it as being out there at practice."

On Derrick Frost's complaints about being cut:
"That is between Derrick and the Redskins. That has nothing to do with me. That is behind me. I am not trying to think about it. I have a game on Thursday and I am just thinking about the Giants."
 

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