New Giants cornerback James Bradberry covers some Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.
Q: You’ve met with Daniel Jones near your Charlotte, N.C., homes.
A: He reached out to me and we met at like a coffee shop. We didn’t sit in the coffee shop, we went to a park and kind of walked around. He’s a cool guy.
Q: What did you talk about?
A: We just talked about his rookie year, talked about my past four years, we talked about the city of New York and Jersey. We talked about what we’re looking forward to about next year, stuff like that.
Q: What did he tell you about New York?
A: He enjoyed it. Of course it’s different, ’cause he’s from Charlotte.
Q: What did he tell you about the Giants’ organization?
A: He told me he didn’t know too much about, of course, the new coaching staff, but the facilities are A-1, and he said all the teammates are pretty cool.
Q: What comes to mind when you think of former Panthers teammate Luke Kuechly?
A: The smartest football player I’ve been around. He calls out the offensive plays 50 percent of the time, so that pretty much sums it up.
Q: Are you surprised he retired at just 28 years old?
A: I was shocked when I got the news. But the things that happened throughout his career with the injuries and concussions, I understand.
Q: Christian McCaffrey?
A: One of the hardest workers I’ve been around. It’s tough to stay in your regimen throughout the season, but every time before practice I see him out there going through his warm-ups, every time before a game I see him going through his warm-ups. I see the attention to detail that he puts within the meals that he eats. He always tries to put the right stuff in his body.
Q: How would you compare him to Saquon Barkley?
A: I would say they’re both elite. I’ve only played against Saquon once, of course I’ve seen highlights of him. I know they have that big play just waiting to happen, they’re both capable of that.
Q: Did Saquon do anything that made you go, “Wow!”?
A: Yeah, he was a lot quicker than I expected. I thought he was gonna be just like a downhill runner, but had us questioning the film that we watched on him ’cause he was a lot quicker in person.
Q: Tell me what you remember practicing against Sterling Shepard at the 2016 Senior Bowl.
A: He was quick, too. He was a lot quicker than the receivers I had faced. He surprised me off the line.
Q: Now he’s your teammate, you don’t have to worry about that.
A: Yeah, I’m glad too. He’s in the slot, too, I don’t have to worry about him too much.
Q: What was Cam Newton like as a teammate?
A: He was cool. He was a genuine guy. If you needed anything, he would give it to you. I remember one time as a rookie, we had a terrible season, we got to the end and he pulled me to the side and sat me down, had a talk with me. He was just pretty much encouraging me for the next year. And he was also forewarning me. Most guys they have that Sophomore Slump, and he was just encouraging me to work hard throughout the offseason and come back in the best shape that you can.
Q: Are you surprised the Panthers cut him?
A: I was definitely surprised that they cut him.
Q: Knowing Cam as you do, how motivated do you think he’ll be when he gets his next shot?
A: He’ll have a bigger chip on his shoulder than anybody in the league, I feel like. Everyone’s against him. I know he wants to prove all the doubters wrong.
Q: Former Panther Kyle Allen will be battling Dwayne Haskins for the Redskins’ starting QB job.
A: His poise surprised me when they first put him in a game [last season after an injury to Newton]. I feel like he did a wonderful job even though we kind of fell off toward the end. I still got respect for him, and I think he’s a heckuva quarterback.
Q: Do you think he can win that job?
A: I’m not sure. I know they invested a lot in Dwayne Haskins. I played against Dwayne Haskins, he has an elite arm.
Q: Describe your former coach and new Redskins coach Ron Rivera.
A: He always had a positive outlook on life.
Q: What do you know about the tradition of New York Giants’ defense back in the day?
A: I’m familiar with the team that had Lawrence Taylor — was it Carl Banks on that team as well?
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Q: Carl Banks, Harry Carson …
A: Harry Carson … I watched like a documentary on those three guys.
Q: What were your impressions?
A: The hits back then were a lot more vicious.
Q: What was the pressure of replacing Josh Norman like in Carolina?
A: It was difficult. ’Cause, of course, he had a heckuva career with the Panthers. He was an elite corner when he left and during his tenure when he was with the Panthers. Those were definitely some big shoes I had to fill.
Q: How do you think you handled it?
A: I think I handled it well given the situation that I’m in now. I was able to make it to my next contract. You have to build yourself mentally, going against Julio [Jones], Mike Evans, Michael Thomas. I had to watch a lot of film and try to beat them and anticipate the routes that they were gonna run before they ran ’em.
Q: What was your mindset making that jump from Samford to the NFL?
A: Really I had nothing to lose. People doubted me from the git-go. That was my whole mindset, was to just get up there and don’t put too much of a burden on yourself. Keep that chip on your shoulder, but don’t put too much stress on yourself. Football is football.
Q: Have you always been doubted, and why were you?
A: Personally, I don’t know why I was doubted, but when I was in high school, a lot of the bigger schools didn’t recruit me ’cause they said I was too slow. And I guess when I was in college, they doubted me going to the NFL because I came from a smaller school.
Q: Do you remember the first time you were doubted?
A: I remember I got a postcard from Tennessee when I was in high school, pretty much telling me I had a lot of athletic ability but I was too slow.
Q: How big is the chip on your shoulder?
A: I don’t know, it’s big. … I always think about the people in the past that doubted me, whether they were a coach, recruiter, scout. So I always think about that stuff during the season when I have to sacrifice time, or I want to play video games, instead I decide to watch film, stuff like that.
Q: Describe your on-field mentality.
A: Even-keel. I don’t get too high within a game if I make a play, and I don’t get too low if I get beat on a play.
Q: Give me a scouting report on James Bradberry.
A: Tall, athletic, rangy guy. Loves to press. Very good with his hands and technique at the line. And has improved in off coverage and within zone coverages. I’m able to read route concepts, and active in the running game. I’m able to come up and help out in run support.
Q: What drives you?
A: Mainly to take care of my family. And, of course, anytime I’m matched up on a receiver, I accept that challenge.
Q: Your infant daughter, Xena Reign, was born Feb. 14. What’s fatherhood like?
A: It’s cool. It teaches you a lot about yourself, you gotta learn how to be patient, for sure. She’s gonna cry, she can’t talk so she can’t tell you what she wants. A lot of responsibility. You’re looking after someone 24/7 now and you’re not only having to defend for yourself but also someone else.
Q: How’s your diaper game?
A: It’s all right. … No. 1, I’m pretty good, that’s an easy cleanup. No. 2, I use too many wipes right now, I gotta get down to using less wipes.
Q: You need more reps.
A: Yeah, I’m all right.
Q: Who is one quarterback you haven’t intercepted that you would like to intercept?
A: Tom Brady.
Q: What is your favorite interception so far?
A: My first one, my rookie year [against San Francisco’s Blaine Gabbert in Week 2 in 2016].
Q: If you could test your skills against any receiver in NFL history, who would it be?
A: Jerry Rice. He’s the greatest. Gotta go against the best.
Q: If you could pick the brain of any cornerback in NFL history, who would it be?
A: Darrelle Revis. I watched quite a bit of film on him. He had perfect technique. He took care of his body, and he’d break down film … various stuff like that. … He’s one of the greatest ever.
Q: Who was the toughest receiver you’ve faced, Michael Thomas or Julio?
A: I would say Julio’s the toughest guy I had to face, but that’s no knock on Michael Thomas, he’s also tough as well.
Q: What’s the difference?
A: Julio’s real fast. Michael Thomas doesn’t have the speed that Julio has.
Q: Are you a trash talker?
A: No sir. I’m not good at that.
Q: How many people are there in your hometown of Pleasant Grove, Ala.?
A: I don’t think we have no more than 10,000.
Q: What made it a special place to grow up for you?
A: It was a small community, but it didn’t seem like it when I was there until I went to other cities. Pretty much everyone knew each other. It just had a closeness about it to me.
Q: What was your best high school moment?
A: We played Wenonah [from Birmingham, Ala.] senior year. I had two picks on defense, and then I also had a few highlight plays on offense.
Q: What was your best college game?
A: In my last game of my career, the last play I had an interception.
Q: What is your favorite NFL moment?
A: I broke up a Bang 8 against [Cincinnati’s] A.J. Green my third year. It’s one of the toughest routes to cover in football. It’s like a skinny post. So a receiver is standing outside, and then cuts real hard back inside. They use it off of play-action. It sucks the linebackers on a run, and then they just drop it behind him.
Q: Are you cooking for yourself?
A: Right now I’m not. I got a chef that comes to the house cooks me meals. We devote a lot of time to my daughter, so it’s kind of hard to cook and like workout and stuff.
Q: But you enjoy cooking?
A: I do. In my spare time, I try to get “Call of Duty” in, and before I had a daughter, in my spare time I would do “Call of Duty” and I would do a little cooking and working out and yada yada yada.
Q: What do you like to cook?
A: I love cooking mashed cauliflower, broccoli. I eat a lot of Beyond Meat. I make hamburgers out of that. I make like a rice bowl, like in Chipotle or something.
Q: Who are athletes in other sports you admire?
A: LeBron [James]. All the work that he does in the community. Of course, he’s had almost a 20-year career in the league, which is impressive.
Q: You plan on continuing your commitment to the Arthritis Foundation and supporting Boys & Girls Clubs in the area.
A: I want to be great on and off the field.
Q: Boyhood idol?
A: Marshall Faulk. … I used to play “Blitz 2000” a lot, and I always played with the Greatest Show on Turf, and Marshall Faulk was my go-to guy.
Q: Was the main reason you transferred from Arkansas State to Samford? Because you didn’t like safety?
A: Yes sir, I wanted to play corner.
Q: Three dinner guests?
A: My aunt Veronica, Malcolm X, J. Edgar Hoover.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: “Any Given Sunday.”
Q: Favorite actor?
A: Denzel Washington.
Q: Favorite actress?
A: Halle Berry.
Q: Favorite singer/entertainer?
A: Chaka Kahn.
Q: Favorite meal?
A: Pizza and fries.
Q: Thoughts on playing on the New York stage.
A: For me, football is football, I feel like, and that’s what I always try to remind myself, so I don’t be real fazed by the fans and the crowd, and of course the cameras. So that’s my mindset right now, you never know once you get up there and you get in front of the lights, but I feel like I’m gonna handle it well.
Q: Tell Giants fans why the best is yet to come for James Bradberry.
A: Because I’m continuing to learn the game of football. I’m always ready to soak up knowledge. I’m gonna continue to watch film and try to get a bead on the opponent. And I’m still young, you know?
Q: Pro Bowl?
A: That’s a goal of mine.
Q: Any other goals?
A: I want to be Pro Bowl, All-Pro, win the Super Bowl, all that.
Q: How scary is this coronavirus?
A: It’s really scary. I just hope we figure out something soon and we get the numbers down as far as deaths, and hopefully we get this virus out of here.
Q: Do you expect there to be a football season?
A: I hope there’s gonna be a football season. I didn’t think the coronavirus was gonna get this far, so I don’t know.