We’re about halfway through our annual “Blog Bits” series and we still have a fantastic interview with linebacker Spencer Paysinger coming up.
For the time being, though, we turn our attention to the interviews we were able to get with the assistant coaches that did not appear on Giants.com, ether in the videos or in the transcripts.
First up is new running backs coach Craig Johnson, who was an assistant coach at Rutgers the same time we were an undergraduate student. We managed to get a couple of questions in with Johnson before a crowd came over to join the session.
Q: Let’s start out with your impressions of each guy you have in your meeting room.
A: Okay, sure. I’m going to start with the halfback position and Rashad Jennings. He’s done a fabulous job since coming over from Oakland. He’s a strong physical runner, good in the passing game. The guy really has what you want and he has great leadership skills. He’s thick, strong and I can’t wait to see him get the pads on and see what he can do.
After Rashad, we have a couple of guys rotating in some of the roles. There’s David Wilson, a guy you’re not really sure about because he’s obviously not been able to do much other than walk-throughs. He’ a tremendous talent and has a lot of things going for him. I can’t wait to see if and when he gets cleared, if he can go.
I think Andre Williams as a rookie has done a really good job. He’s obviously was a really good player coming here from Boston College, very good stats. Again, very thick, hard runner who’s done a good job in pass protection, who’s done a good job catching the ball. As a rookie you have to bring him along in all three areas and I really like what he’s done there.
Peyton Hillis has done a really good job. He was kind of hurt the last couple of days but I kind of know who he is and what he’s done. He’s a bigger, physical back who can make the short yards, he can go off-tackle, he can catch out of the backfield, he can block. So you’re kind of looking for those four guys to really give you a lot.
Then really, two guys you haven’t heard too much about are Michael Cox, a second-year back who was drafted last year. He’s big, strong and physical, can make plays. I’m looking forward to seeing him and Kendall Gaskins in pads because both of those guys want to prove it– they’re hungry and they want to get after it. All of the backs are pretty good-sized backs and are pretty physical so I’m excited about that halfback position.
As far as fullbacks, Henry Hynoski has been here a while, has a Super Bowl ring to prove it. He’s a good veteran, and did a good job. He was injured a bit last year but he recovered, and has shown me a lot. He can really have a nice role in our offense.
John Conner, who came in when Henry got hurt last year and he has shown me a lot of really good things. He’s very agile, very mobile — he can put his hands on guys and get the guys blocked.
The great thing in summary about the whole room is eight guys, all bring a little different something to the table. I think it’s a very competitive room. They’re very hungry and really pushing each other, and I can’t wait as we continue to improve and as we continue to learn more about the offense, to find out more about how they’re going to make our offense better.
Q: One of the big mysteries is how the fullback is used in this offense. So far, it doesn’t look as though the position will be used much in a two-back set. In trying to predict this, is it a good idea to look at how John Kuhn was used in Green Bay?
A. That could be the expectation given how the Green Bay offense was run when Ben was back in Green Bay. I know we’re not going to have the traditional fullback like what we had a year ago, but I think it’s always a nice thing to have a place for a fullback in your offensive game plan. They have done a good job. We’re going to ask them to probably be a little bit more multidimensional, be able to catch the ball out of the backfield, maybe even be able to run the ball at times, and also be able to be a lead blocker.
The fullback is an interesting, great position right now in modern football for you to get your reps, you have to be able to do more than just block, and we’re trying to introduce those guys to that.