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New York Giants Linebacker Bobby Okereke (Hour 2)

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May 20, 2024 5:23 pm

New York Giants Linebacker Bobby Okereke (Hour 2)

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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May 20, 2024 5:23 pm

NY Giants Linebacker Bobby Okereke joins the show l The Dallas Mavericks are moving on l NewsBrief

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Minimum $10 per order. Additional terms apply. Alrighty, rockin' and rollin'. It is the Zach Gelb show right here on the Infinity Sports Network. We will get to the NBA in a news brief in just a second. Hockey though wise, the Rangers start the Easter Conference Finals coming up on Wednesday against the Panthers.

What a Game 6 that was. And I was on a plane flying to Florida on Thursday, so the plane was scheduled to take off at 8.30 going there and coming back. I sat on the runway for about an hour.

You know, both times. I was actually so happy. I was sitting on the runway though when you had the Rangers series come to a close up against the Hurricanes. Now, if the plane went up in the air, you'd have the TV, but when you're going from on the ground up into the air, sometimes it buffers for a little bit. But I got to see the duration of that epic third period sitting on the runway. And I thought for a second, Stu, you ever see those crazy videos where people act up on a plane and they're just screaming things, and the next thing you know, the flight attendants come up to them and like duct tape them to the seats?

I thought for a second I was going to get duct taped to the seat because there was like a guy next to me. I don't know where he was from. He did not speak any like, like he didn't speak good English, but he goes Rangers, Rangers, Rangers, like in an act. And I was like, yeah, Rangers. And he's like, Oh, didn't know they were playing.

And he was like living through me watching the game and my emotions. And Kreider having the natural hat trick in 10 minutes in the third period, it just shows you how special that team is. But this is what this team's been doing all year. Going into the past, say like 30 or 31 come from behind victories. It's wild.

Whenever they look down and out, they find a way to get the job done. And don't get me wrong, I thought we were on the verge of seeing one of the worst, the worst sports collapse of my lifetime. That teams up 30 and you had the way that it plays out in game four, in game five and how lethargic they were in game six. Yeah, until the third period. And I said to my uncle and my dad when it got to the third period, it was 31.

I just said this. I said, just get one goal with like 10 or nine minutes left and they maybe they could find a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. But when that plane finally got up in the air, it took off with like a minute left in the third and the TV didn't go out. But when that game ended, I actually once the fasten seatbelt sign did go off, I ran right to the bathroom. And have you ever been on an airplane bathroom?

They're very small. And I'm a large human being being six foot four built like an offensive lineman. So I ran right to the airplane bathroom to record an instant reaction video from the air of the Rangers winning because I didn't want to do for my seat. Cause I'm like, I already made a little bit of a scene. Like it wasn't cray, but I was like, oh, yeah. Like from the plane and people like who the heck is this guy?

And I'm leaving out of New York. So you think people would get what was going on, but I don't think there was many hockey fans on this plane. So I went into the bathroom and I cut like a 10 or 15 second instant reaction video where like, it looked like my head was about to get cut off because of how small that damn bathroom was. And then I went right back to my seat at the life on the plane, boop, send out the video and definitely enjoyed the rest of the plane. May have ordered a cocktail on the plane after that to do a little celebratory drink after the Rangers did win.

May or may not. Sources can't confirm they did not. And then you had the Bruins and the Panthers where last year, if you recall, the Panthers had that epic 3-1 comeback. It looked like we were going to a game seven there as well. And the Panthers scored late in game six in Boston and you don't get a game seven. So now those two teams meet up in the Easter conference finals. And those are the two best teams in the East. The Panthers and the Rangers, I felt like going in, I think the Panthers are the best team in hockey. It doesn't mean I don't think my Rangers aren't going to win. I think it's going to be a sweated out, crazy seven game series where anything could go.

But I did think going into the postseason, the Panthers are the best team. And then you have the Stars advancing, which that series, Stars of the Avalanche is also crazy. So they're off to the Western conference finals. They beat the Boar in another conference finals. Once again, he's had a phenomenal career, even though he's not won a Stanley Cup yet. And then we'll see who's going to advancing game seven tonight between the Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks.

So that's where we're at on the hockey side of things. But anyway, Bobby Okereke, the Giants captain, linebacker. He's going to join us at some point in this 4 p.m. Eastern time hour.

But without further ado, I'm not talking about Freddie Odoo. It's time to update you on some of the biggest stories in the world of sports with some audio. Let's get to a news brief. Time for your daily news brief.

We get you caught up on the rumors, reports and reconnaissance from the day in sports. Alrighty, let's start you off with Michael Malone. Last year, a member, he was eviscerating everyone that would not give the Nuggets their credit even after winning a championship. And, you know, they love to rub it in the faces of the Los Angeles Lakers and all that. This year, though, when Michael Malone's team loses, and they lose to the Minnesota Timberwolves when his team choked away a 20-point lead in game seven. He outscored 60-37 in the second half.

Michael Malone, the coach of the defending champion Nuggets who will not repeat this year after losing in game seven, got very, very mad at a certain reporter. How hard is it just to absorb a loss like this after going ahead by 20? Next question, man. The season's over. That's what's hard. F*** being up 20. The season's over. You don't understand that.

The season's over. It's hard. Stupid-ass questions.

That's such an easy question. And I get it, like, the how do you feel, how tough is it when you lose questions a lot of people don't like. But when a reporter just simply asks you, hey, coach, how hard is it to overcome a loss like this when you guys were up 20 at home, you know, there's ways to answer that question without sounding like a d-bag.

That's the easiest way to say it. And Michael Malone there just sounded like a douche. He sounded like a sore loser. I'm not saying you shouldn't be upset, right?

Obviously, you should be heated. But to go after the reporter like that, it's just so unnecessary. And this is the same coach that wants more media coverage, wants more attention, and then you don't win and the attention's there and you act like that. That was Classless by Michael Malone.

Here is Jamal Murray. He reflects on the Game 7 loss. I feel like we should have won tonight. That's the tough part, you know. They beat us, but we had so many great opportunities, including myself.

It's just tough, man. I'm just excited for next year. 24 points in the first half by Jamal Murray. I know he finished with 35, but it felt like a no-show in the second half. And outside of Nikola Jokic, no one could really get going in that second half. And you got to give credit to Minnesota.

We know their defense is incredible. You saw that in Game 2 where Gobert was out, and they just took it defensively right to Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. And there were moments in this series, even with how great he played, where Nikola Jokic was frustrated. You give credit to the Timberwolves defense, but somebody, when you are home with that lead, you got to step up and make a shot to stop the bleeding. And the Nuggets outside of Nikola Jokic just weren't capable of that last night.

Here is Nikola Jokic on the difficulty of winning back-to-back championships. Teams are more hungrier, better, talented than last year probably. Everybody get better. Everybody wants to beat us probably.

That's my thought process probably. I just wonder where the mentality was at with the Nuggets. Because when they're down 0-2, no one's believing in you. And no one should have believed in them when they were down 0-2. Then you get this series at 2-2 and momentum starts to shift back to your favor.

Did you celebrate a little bit too early? Then you're up 3-2. You failed to show up in Game 6. Then you're up 20 points in the second half of Game 7.

And it looked like they just shut it down. And you wonder when you already have one and you think a series is over, did that at all play in the mentality in some of those moments in Game 6 or Game 7? Here is Anthony Edwards and how big of a win this is for the Minnesota Timberwolves. It showed us who we are. Because the coaches believed in us even though at halftime, even in the third, we was down 20. They were like, just keep making runs, keep making runs. And it showed us who we are, man. Once we really lock in on the defensive end, because offensively we played okay, but once we really lock in on the defensive end, man, we're a hell of a team to beat.

They are. And you saw that. And you saw how frustrated Denver was at times throughout the series.

Here's a funny exchange. Anthony Edwards and Carl Anthony Towns on the 20 years of pain for Minnesota. Usually in NBA history it says you have to lose and lose big before you win. What is it about this team that says... We lost last year.

That's different. You have to lose at a bigger stage. Usually teams... It's the playoffs. We lost last year. We lost the last two years. **** damn. How much more we got to lose? How much you want us to lose? We've been losing for 20 years. I mean, that's just the truth, dog. **** damn.

What makes... That's awesome. And Mark Madsen, who was on the last Timberwolves team to get to the conference finals back in 2003-2004, he's going to stop by and join us in about an hour and 10 minutes from now. So we'll talk to him about the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it's funny. We lost last year. You usually got to lose later and more heartbreak.

What are you talking about? That was a great exchange. Here is Charles Barkley inside the NBA at halftime. He believed that the Timberwolves should have been Trudy Gobert. This is what I think the Wolves should do. They got to take Gobert out the game. Take him out the game? Take him out the game. Because Jokel just throwing around like a damn ragdoll first and foremost. But I think what would happen is it would give him some space.

Because they're not worried about Gobert on the offensive end. So it's really playing five on four. So I would... That's what I would do.

I'd say, you know what, guys, we got to go small. I'm bringing Dodge Reed in. I'm going to let the Joker have the place of defense. But they're not even playing anybody. A little guy is still playing on the call out to town.

So I would go small, and that would help them speed up. So I heard that at halftime, and I didn't think it was crazy. But you give credit to Minnesota for trusting what got them there and how big of a cog Gobert is for that team. And he paid off not only the defensive end, but offensively in the second half. Let's listen up to the fadeaway floater by Rudy Gobert on the Minnesota Timberwolves radio network. Yeah, and the bench was going crazy. And even after the game, I heard Anthony Edwards say, yeah, Gobert, when Rudy made that floater, probably felt like we were going to win the game.

Because that bleep just doesn't ever happen for Rudy Gobert on the offense. Here's Jalen Brunson nixed loose to the Pacers yesterday in Game 7. They got blown out.

He fractured his hand in the game. He was asked afterwards if the Knicks' season was a success or not. Did we win the championship?

Did we get close? So, no. That's just, that's my mindset.

This is how it is. So I respect the mindset and the mentality of Jalen Brunson. That's a big reason the Knicks have turned this around the way that they have because of his leadership and his style.

I'm not saying he has to say the season was a success, but it absolutely was. You know, the Knicks now, with Leon Rose, World Wide West, Jalen Brunson, they have consistency, they have stability, and they have hope. And those are three things that Knicks fans haven't had for over two decades.

And now it's up to Leon and Wes to go get that next piece. It's unfortunate how the season ended because they were decimated with injuries. And if they did not get hurt to the extent that they did, they win that series. Because, look, the Pacers, I'm not taking anything away from them.

They shoot a record rate yesterday at 67.1 percent from the field. But they still had to win the series in seven when the Knicks were the walking wounded. So I like the mentality from Brunson, but this absolutely positively was a successful season for the Knicks. Here's Rick Carlisle winning Game 7 at the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. I just told our team, when you win a Game 7 in Madison Square Garden, you've made history.

It's very, very difficult to do. This is the most raucous crowd in the NBA. Well, I have seen my team lose at Game 7 in Madison Square Garden.

Not the Knicks, but the Rangers. I was at that Tampa Bay Lightning Rangers Game 7. That was like being in sports hospice.

That was dreadful, absolutely terrible. Let's go to Kyrie Irving on reaching another conference final. Just that whole walk-off, hugging my family, and then going and hugging some more of my family in the locker room, everybody cheering for each other. I had to make an impromptu speech. I was doing my best not to let some tears come down from my eyes because it feels like it's been a long time coming just being back in this position, getting back to the finals or the conference finals. It was just a long way back. I look back at parts of my career where I took it for granted, just getting to the conference finals three years straight and then not getting back for a little bit to weigh on you as a competitor.

So I'm grateful that I had these guys beside me and kept feeding me confidence and kept doing the little things for one another. I think that's what made the celebration feel that much better. We'll talk about this more later, but you saw Kyrie act like an ass in Boston. He acted like an ass in Brooklyn. It just shows you when he locks in, and he is there mentally, how great he is. Because now we're in a league of dynamic duos, and that dynamic duo of Luca and Kyrie is phenomenal, and here they are in the Western Conference Finals. I give a lot of credit to P.J.

Washington, too. He had a great series, did not play great in the closeout game, but he came up big in the closing minutes of that game to secure a victory and make sure it doesn't go back to Oklahoma City for game seven. And finally, let's go back to Denver.

Here's Christian Braun. He said the Nuggets are actually the better team, and that's what makes this series loss even more painful. This feeling is not something you want to feel. I haven't felt this feeling in a while. We've got to come back better. We've got to get better as a team. It sucks because I think we're a better team. They beat us fair and square, but I just think we've got such a good opportunity to go back-to-back and get the opportunity very often. So it hurts, but this is what we need to deal with. And remember, he won a national championship at Kansas, then wins a national championship or an NBA title in Denver. I don't like, and it's not going to drive me bonkers here, but I don't love when someone says we were the better team.

You are taking something away from them. And you weren't the better team in this series. You were down 0-2, then you took three straight, then you didn't show up in game six, then you're up by 20. You didn't close out the game.

If you were truly the better team, you find a way when you're spotted a 20-point lead in game seven in your own building to get the job done, and they weren't able to do that. Alrighty, that's the News Brief. It is the Zach Gelb show on the Infinity Sports Network.

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Additional terms apply. All right, it is the Infinity Sports Network. And yes, it is the Zach Gelb show. 855-212-4227.

855-212-4227. You can always hit us up Instagram and on X Twitter at Zach Gelb, Z-A-C-H-G-E-L-B. Coming up an hour from now, Mark Madsen is here. An hour from now, Mark Madsen is scheduled to join us. We'll chat it up about the Minnesota Timberwolves advancing to the conference finals as they will go up against the Dallas Mavericks as we do have the Mavericks heading through with the Thunder. And we did see last night the Nuggets go down to the Timberwolves. And the last time the Timberwolves were in the conference finals, Mark Madsen was a part of that team. So he'll join us in about an hour from now. But I know we spent a lot of today talking nicks and pacers, talking Nuggets and Timberwolves.

I want to go over though from the weekend, and we touched briefly on it right after, you know, right during the news brief. When Kyrie Irving is locked in, we all know he's a tremendous talent. And you look back at his time in Brooklyn, he was the biggest reason why the Brooklyn Nets didn't succeed. Because Kevin Durant didn't have the cojones to tell Kyrie, you got to make this work. And Kyrie was a malcontent in Brooklyn.

There's no other way around it. He did a lot of stupid things when he was with the Brooklyn Nets. And you had a relationship with that big three in Brooklyn, Durant, Harden, and Kyrie, where James Harden was willing to do whatever it did take for a while to work with Kyrie. Like when James Harden got there via the trade, he was like, all right, you want me to play point guard?

I'll play point guard. I'll sacrifice my game to make Kyrie Irving happy. And eventually, James Harden, who I don't give a lot of the benefit of the doubt to, I'm not a big James Harden defender. Heck, I'm a huge critic of James Harden. But him asking out of Brooklyn was definitely warranted because Kyrie Irving was just acting like a jerk and an ass. Like there's no other way around it. And KD, who was basically the president, the GM, the coach, and the star player of that team, didn't have the cojones to tell his friend and Kyrie Irving, you got to change, and if you don't change, then we'll ship you out.

He didn't have the cojones to do that. So you have Kyrie eventually lands with the Mavericks. We know James Harden ended up going to the Philadelphia 76ers and Kevin Durant lands in Phoenix.

And look at it this way. The guy who was the biggest problem in Brooklyn, now a few years later, is having the most success. Durant failed this year, failed the last year and a half with the Phoenix Suns. They got swept out of the first round of the playoffs this year by the Minnesota Timberwolves. That organization is at a dead end because you have three players. It's really a big two and a half because you have Devin Booker, who's a star.

We'll see if they try to trade in this offseason. You have Kevin Durant, who's a star, but is an aging star. And then you got Bradley Beal, who, from a house standpoint, he's a $50 million player, but he's no longer healthy. And he suffered a bunch of injuries throughout the years, and he looks kind of shot from ever being a really good player ever again. So the Suns are a disaster, and they have no bench. Then you look at James Harden.

It failed in Philadelphia. His relationship and his friendship with Daryl Morey is now over. He goes to the Clippers, had some moments, but that team is always dealing with an injury because every year now Kawhi Leonard, come postseason time, plays, misses a game, and then you don't see him ever again. And then here we are, where Kyrie Irving has played well. People respect and they appreciate Kyrie Irving's game, and he has got back to a point where we are talking about basketball first with Kyrie Irving. Because a lot of times, and a lot of other years, like with the antics he pulled in Boston, the antics that he pulled in Brooklyn, we were talking about things that weren't basketball-related with Kyrie Irving. And I'm not saying that he is all ball all the time, and no one should be. But basketball is now back to being priority number one.

We'll see how long it lasts. But this pairing and this relationship, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, has been a lot more successful than what a lot of people thought it was going to be. Because deservedly so, everyone gave up on Kyrie. Like, we all remember Kyrie when he was in Cleveland in that great 3-1 comeback, the Game 6 performance, and in Game 7, everyone talks about the block by James. We all know the Kyrie 3, and how enormous that Kyrie 3 was.

And a clutch and special and unique of a player he is. But ever since wanting to leave LeBron and do it on his own, he caused all the problems in Boston and tried to play the victim. He caused all the problems in Brooklyn and tried to play the victim. And now he's in Dallas, where people are wondering how all-in he was going to be, and even some questioned it, and I did too, was Kyrie Irving getting him? You take the gamble if you're the Mavericks, but if it didn't pay off, you're taking an enormous risk because that could have expedited a potential Luka Doncic in wanting to depart from the Dallas Mavericks, and maybe wanted to go somewhere else.

So, the way that this is played out now, it's just so ironic that the guy who was the biggest problem in Brooklyn is now having the most success. When all three of those players have gone off to different places, Durant won place in Phoenix, Harden two places, Philly and L.A., and then you got Kyrie, who lands with the Dallas Mavericks, and now they're four wins away from going to the NBA Finals. And, you know, you got to give credit to that team, but Kyrie and Luka, they set the tone for that organization, and Jason Kidd's done a good job.

P.J. Washington was sensational in this series, and you look at that Mavericks performance, in Game 4, when they lost that game, they lose Game 1, they win Games 2 and 3, they lose Game 4, it's like, uh-oh. It's a brand-new series, and now momentum's shifting. You're on the verge of going 3-1, now it's 2-2. You thought the Thunder were going to win Game 5, and Dallas did a great job in Game 5. And in Game 6, they changed the misfortune that they had in Game 4, and didn't let history repeat itself in Game 6. And that was a very good sign, and obviously huge, for Dallas. And you felt like when they let Game 4 get away that they were going to find the way, once they won Game 5, to finish this thing off in Game 6.

And it came right down to the wire. You know, you hate to see the Thunder season end with SGA getting a foul called against him, and his future's so bright, he's awesome, he's already a Top 10 player in the sport, if not a Top 5 player, and that Thunder team, they're going to be good for a long time. And their offseason now is a fascinating offseason as to how aggressive the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to be in getting another piece. Or, do they stay patient, do they trust this young core, and do they say, no, we think we have a team that's good enough to win a championship? And to see how they're now going to navigate, after for years and years and years, acquiring those assets, acquiring those young players, you have this success, now the question becomes, do you go and make a big move for maybe an older star?

Or do you keep what you have and see how far it could take you? And I heard Richard Jefferson, he was, after the game, the Thunder and the Mavs, he was talking about how he thought the Thunder should have got a big man at the deadline and they missed an opportunity. But you look at both those teams, Dallas, they got to take advantage of it now, because you never know the ticking time bomb that is Kyrie, how long you're going to be able to get him all in like he is right now. But for the Thunder, this is supposed to be the start of something that's going to be very special, and they all start with the play of Shea Gilges Alexander. So, hey, it was a very fun series. It was a very fun series, and it was kind of like Minnesota and Denver as well.

I know it didn't go seven, but whenever you thought one team had the momentum, the other team was able to snatch it back, and now you have the Dallas Mavericks getting a little date coming up later on this week, going up against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the winner of that series will go off to the NBA Finals. Bobby Okereke is supposed to join us in the studio when we come on back, Giants captain. All righty, welcome back in on a Monday. This is Zach Gelb's show on the Infinity Sports Network. We met my next in-studio guest a few years ago at the Super Bowl when he was with Indianapolis. He's turned out to have a very successful NFL career.

Now he's a part of the New York Giants as a tackle machine, and he's also a captain, and that, of course, is Bobby Okereke, kind enough to join us right now in-studio on the Zach Gelb show. Bobby, appreciate the time. How you been, my man? Good, Zach. Great to see you, brother.

Well, thanks so much for coming in. So it speaks a lot to who you are as a person when you go to a new team, and before you even play a down of actual football, they voted you as a team captain last year. When you got that honor and you found out that you were going to rock the sea last year, just how do you kind of reflect on that?

It was very humbling. I've had a lot of great leaders in my career, especially Indianapolis, followed a lot of guys like Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker, so really took their example and, you know, tried to create it in my own atmosphere here in New York. Where do you think your career is at? You have a third-round pick out of Stanford. You had a successful run with Indianapolis.

You get the contract with the Giants. Right now, Bobby Okereke, the player, you know, 150-something tackles a year ago. Where do you think you are in your progression?

Yeah, I believe I'm just entering my prime, honestly. I've made a lot of star plays, flash plays, but, you know, trying to break through that ceiling of being a consistent, elite playmaker. And you look at the defensive side of the ball for the Giants this year. We know Dexter Lawrence is a beast. We know what you could do on the field. Kayvon Thibodeau really started to get some respect last year, and then, boom, you guys go and trade for Brian Burns and give him a whole lot of money. Joe Shane wheeling and dealing. When you got the news that Burns was coming over from the Panthers, elite pass rusher are going to be joining the Giants, just, what do you remember about the day you found that one out?

You know, I loved it. I mean, he's a prolific athlete. Obviously, my guy, Christian McCaffrey, was on the Panthers, so I knew about Brian Burns from there. But I knew it was going to boost the whole group. I mean, Dex up front, Kayvon, just out of competition. I know all those guys are going to be racing at the quarterback, so it'll be fun, fun to watch. And we know Mike Martindale is not coming back with the team defensively. People are trying to figure out what you guys are going to look like with a new defensive coordinator. A lot of talent on this defensive side of the ball. Give us a little intel on what we could expect of the Giants' defense this year.

Yeah, we're going to be a fast, physical, detailed group. Yeah, I love the additions we have on offense. Our new defensive coordinator, Shane, is amazing.

He's very detail-oriented. He keeps us learning and growing, so it's been a fun process. What do you take from last year? Because I know you weren't here the year prior to that, but this team came out of nowhere to make the playoffs, win a playoff game up against the Vikings and they lost to the Eagles in the second round. And then this past season, they took a step back. So what do you take from last season so we don't see history repeat itself this upcoming year?

For sure. Obviously, we've got to learn the lessons. We fought with a lot of resiliency, fought through a lot of adversity. Guys got injured. Games didn't go our way, but we stayed tough through that fight, so we're going to take that resolve into the next season and really just have that kind of F-it mentality. Like, everybody's got to go out there and ball out from day one. Kayvon, talking to Bobby Okereke right now, I want to ask you about Kayvon Thibodeau.

So I remember the first time I met him. I said to him, I go, everyone talks about your draft stock balling and I'm like, they're like, oh, you're too focused about off the fields. And I said to him, I go, I thought it was a bunch of BS, because when I watch football, I know how great of a player he is and I just think it's natural when you get anointed that guy and then you still have to go play college football. There's just prospect fatigue where we've talked about someone so long and then people try to overanalyze a prospect and it's just a stupid thing that we do. You being in the locker room with him and seeing the way that he played in a market, that's not easy, right?

Each and every week when you're drafted that high, you are judged and you're either successful one week or you're a failure the next week. What really impressed you about Kayvon? Number one, his mindset.

He attacks every day. He challenges people around him. He's one of the best leaders on our team, honestly. And I think he's just very detail-oriented and he has that mindset like that Kobe, that LeBron, that elite player mindset that, you know, I got to get this day in and day out. I mean, obviously his physical tools are great. Pass rush, get off, second to none. So he's a year three player. He's growing, he's maturing and I think he's just got a great future that he's blossoming into.

All right. Now we talked about the Brian Burns move this offseason. Right before that you find out that Saquon Barkley is going from the Giants to the Eagles.

When you got that alert, right? A lot of people felt like he wasn't coming back anyway with how the contract did play out. But what was that reaction when you found out that Saquon was staying in the NFC East and just going down the turnpike? I mean, we get to see him twice a year.

What's better than that? No, Saquon's a great guy, great leader. I was very fortunate to, you know, be his teammate last year and experience him firsthand. I mean, prolific athlete and incredible leader. So it'll be a great challenge for us twice a year.

Now, I know it's a business, right? Like, hey, you left Indianapolis, you joined the Giants, you see Brian Burns come over in a trade. So this isn't foreign where a player leaves one team and goes to another team and there's history, obviously. But it did have to be a little painful when it's like, okay, we knew he was leaving, but to go to Philadelphia. For sure. I mean, I probably had almost every Giants fan in my DMs telling me to go smack him. So, I mean, it'll be fun. It'll add to the rivalry, and I know we're all excited for it. Talking to Bobby O'Karaoke right now, offensive side of the ball, quarterback room. Everyone's going to talk about Daniel Jones. You know, Tommy DeVito had a successful run last year.

You're bringing Drew Lockett as well. What can Daniel Jones, who we're all thinking is the guy this year for the Giants, what do you still think he could bring to this football team? He's got poise. What, he's going into year five, year six? He's a veteran guy.

So, I mean, it's time, honestly. Like, there's nothing really holding him back. We all know he's got a great arm. He's a smart guy, so I make great decisions.

I'm just excited to see him, you know, grip and rip it. What stood out to you with Dave Ball in year one? He's just got a fiery personality. You know, he could be cool laid back or he can be, you know, mother effing you on the sideline. But he understands how to motivate a group of men really well.

Bobby O'Karaoke here with us. Let me ask you about NFL Africa, because I was told that you're a part of this and it's really cool. Just tell us everything we need to know about NFL Africa. Yeah, so NFL Africa spearheaded by Osi Umenyora, New York Giants' very own. We're setting up a trip to Nigeria.

We'll be heading out there June 14th, short trip, four days. But, yeah, we'll be, you know, bringing awareness of the game of football and, you know, really just trying to prep some of those, you know, high talent prospects in Nigeria and get them, you know, prepared for this crossover program. What are your message to kind of youngsters that are trying to live out their dreams and you get a part of something like this that's so special?

For sure. I mean, if you have ambition, if you have goals, you know, don't let anything stop you. So that's kind of our message is that, look, like, you have the dreams to make it. We're going to come here and provide you every opportunity, all the coaching, all the wisdom that we've had from all the coaches in our past. We're going to give you every opportunity because we know how hard you're working and the conditions you're fighting through. What's the biggest thing you take away from the Stanford experience when you were a football player and student there?

Mmm. You know, just the amazing quality and intellect of people that, you know, come to Stanford, whether it's, you know, famous concert pianist or you got Katie Ledecky or Simone Manuel who are breaking records in the swimming pool. You got the Stanford Hospital. Like, there's so much greatness around Stanford. In all aspects, fields.

So it's just a very inspiring place. And you know, right, the Stanford education is very powerful. Like, I know you're probably not at the point yet where you're thinking about life after football, but one day it does end even though you're in your prime of your career. Let's say you weren't a football player and you have that Stanford education. What do you think you would have done with it? I'd probably be here in New York, you know, maybe working somewhere on Wall Street somewhere. Like Justin Tucker. Yeah, for sure.

Goldman Sachs, that'd be a cushy job for sure. Yeah, that's pretty cool. How about the state of their football program? I know Shaw's no longer there. They had a great comeback victory up against Colorado. Just what do you hope continues with the program in this bizarre changing landscape with the Pac-12 basically coming to an end?

Yeah, it's crazy. I know we're headed to the ACC. Troy Taylor came over from Sacramento State. You know, he's bringing a gunslinging offense to Stanford. So I'm excited.

You know, I think we got to catch up with the tides with NIL. Obviously, you got to be competitive in that space. So as alumni, we'll do our part. But I know those guys are working hard.

Yeah, it's the college landscape. It's such a fascinating part because for so many years, the players legally did not get a piece of the pie and everyone else was getting the pie. And you have these players that are just given, right, literally their life to the game. And now they're able to get paid. But it seems like there's no organization in this. But you don't want to be the person that speaks negatively about it because then it's like, no, the players should be getting paid. For sure.

So how do you think you would navigate this landscape right now if you were still in college? I mean, it's crazy when you're seeing guys getting agents like 18, 19, 20 years old. But I mean, I think it's positive. You've had coaches making, you know, millions of dollars a year. Different TV networks are making multimillion dollar deals off college athletes.

So I think they should just get a share of the pie. And yeah, I would be using social media. I'd be hitting up every brand. A lot of endorsements. A lot of endorsements, for sure. The power of New York, right, from a marketing standpoint. Bobby Okereke is here with us. You were in Indianapolis. Start your career.

Now you're in New York. How have you realized that since, you know, being here for a year? Yeah, it's incredible. The media, I mean, just the volume of media that's in our locker room at practice every day. It's a lot. It can be a little overwhelming for sure.

You know, the number of fans that hit you up on social media. It's great. You know, when we're winning, it's fantastic.

When we're losing, it's not so hot. But, you know, that's the lore of New York. You know, we only want the best here. So I'm excited, the opportunity to bring that to New York. Did you go to any of the Knicks' playoffs games, Ranger playoff games? You've done any of that? You know, I haven't. I've been locked in on all ball.

But, you know, I've got to get outside a little bit. What's the vibe around the team right now? Like, I know you guys start these offseason programs. You guys are in hard knocks. Not the hard knocks, but some version. Yeah, hard knocks offseason.

Of hard knocks. What's kind of the vibe and the feel around the Giants? Because, you know, day ball year one successful.

Year two didn't go your ways. A lot of injuries. People now very curious what the Giants are going to look like this year. For sure.

I mean, I think we're just a hungry, hungry, hungry group. You know, obviously that first year surprised people. You know, made that playoff run last year. Riding on expectations a little bit under them. So, you know, I had a coach.

He always told me, it's like, you want to under-promise and over-deliver. So that's our mindset right now. You know, we're not talking much. We're just letting our work speak for itself. What was the draft like for you this year?

Because you talk about the media market. Yep. Right? For two months, all we heard, Giants are taking a quarterback. Giants are taking a quarterback. You have six quarterbacks go in the top 12. Giants don't take a quarterback. And then they get one of the more, if not the most, explosive player in the draft.

And Malik Nabors out of LSU. So, like, were you watching? Were you locked in draft night round one to kind of see how this was going to all play on out?

No, I was locked in for sure. Obviously, I saw the mock drafts on social media, whatever. I'm excited. I'm excited from Malik Nabors. I think he's a prolific athlete. Obviously, his college highlights are incredible. He's a record holder at LSU. Just his demeanor, his poise as a young player in this league already. I'm just very excited for his future. The locker room dynamic. Because, like, I'm looking at it as someone that's not in the locker room. But you hear the entire offseason how Daniel Jones is going to get replaced in the draft. And now he's still standing there.

He's going to be your starter, assuming he's healthy for week one. Does that at all get a little bizarre in the locker room when there's all this talk and all this outside noise and then really nothing happened at the quarterback position? Yeah, not really. I mean, that's us as players. We do our best compartmentalize.

You know, outside noise is outside noise. So, our number one focus, honestly, is just jelling as a team. You know, studying football, pushing each other in the weight room, hanging out outside. Just trying to be that tight-knit unit that's, you know, going to stand the test of time.

And where is the chemistry of this team, right? Because now you go from being a first-year player in the organization. You already respected. You're a captain. But now you kind of got your feet wet in this organization and not everything's new for you. So, going into year two, what is the chemistry of this group?

Yeah, it's very good. I mean, we're a mature defense now. And we're doing our best to push the offense. Offense is pushing us. We're a competitive group. Great leaders in the offensive side of the ball.

Daniel Jones, Devin Singletary, Isaiah McKenzie. You know, I think everybody's just very excited and hungry. And then personally, like, one of our affiliates we're on in Indianapolis right now. Because it's a business, but there's relationships that you form with teammates and people that kind of paved the way for you, that you learn from a lot. This past year, I know you were focused on the Giants, right, and being the best version of yourself.

But how was that adapting, where you had a big group of friends, you had a lot of people that you knew in Indianapolis, and then you had to get up and leave and come to New York? Yeah, I had a lot of other people I was cheering for on Sundays. I mean, my guy, Zaire Franklin, you know, see the season he had, you know, the breakout he's had and the career trajectory he has, incredible. E.J.

Speed, I came in with him. That's one of my best friends in the NFL, Kenny Moore. So, I have a lot of love and respect for a lot of those guys. I know we got to go beat up on them towards the end of this year. But, you know, it's fun. That's part of the NFL's business. I got players and coaches on different teams.

And, you know, we're all, you know, working hard, feeding our families, and, you know, trying to leave our legacy. Now, when the schedule did come out last week, was that the first game that you looked at, okay, when are we playing the Colts? For sure. For sure.

That's pretty damn cool. So, a few more questions with Bobby O'Karake before we let you run. When you go into this season, you look at this division, you have Jayden Daniels now with the Commanders, Eagles start off 10-1, had a terrible collapse down the stretch. Cowboys, right, they always get talked about with being, I call them the drama Dallas Choking Cowboys, just because they talk so much and they don't end up delivering. That's a damn good division, though. And people are just wondering, are the Giants and the Commanders ready to take that step?

How do you kind of look at the lay of the land in this division? Yeah, I mean, it's a very competitive vision. Obviously, Dallas is Dallas. They're always going to be a star-studded team. The Commanders just bolstered their offense and Philly's Phillies. So, we know the challenge ahead of us, and we're excited for it because we know if we can break out of that division, win that division, then it'll be a great competition for us. So, the last thing I'll ask you, because the New York fan will be honest with you, when you're winning in New York, there's nothing like it.

When you're losing, it can get ugly and it can get dark very quickly. But fans will tell you, you know, you guys got to be better. To the Giant fan that is a little skeptical after what they've seen the last two years, where it's been up and down, I know you've only been a part of it for one year. What's your message to the Giant fan that's maybe doubting this team that they're in this season? Yeah, you know, just watch us work.

You know, we don't have any pretenses about it. We all recognize the situation we're in. We all recognize the results of last year.

And we're just coming with a hard pad and lunch pail ready to work. I love that. And man, Dexter Lawrence, finally being around him and seeing how dominant he is. What did you kind of take from him in year one? You know, he's incredible. And the ultimate leader that leads by example. He's the most physical guy on the field. He plays with the most effort.

He's just the most dominant player. So when a guy like that is giving his all, you know, it just inspires everybody else. Appreciate you coming on and joining us today. He's Bobby O'Karake. Bobby, thanks so much. Yes, sir. Zach, appreciate it.

It is the Zach Gelb Show on the Infinity Sports Network. We'll take a time out. We'll come on back when we return in about five minutes. We'll be right back. We'll be right back. We'll be right back. We'll be right back.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-20 18:51:10 / 2024-05-20 19:12:36 / 21

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