William Gay
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Veteran cornerback William Gay sat down with our own Jason Leach and gave insight on the outlook for the New York Giants this season.

One of the biggest free agent signings the New York Giants made this offseason was signing cornerback William Gay. Gay brings a ton of experience having played 11 years in the league and being a member of the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers team that won Super Bowl 43.

In his career, Gay has amassed 571 tackles, intercepted 13 passes, and forced 10 fumbles. The Giants are hoping Gay’s experience will help their pass defense that was 31st in the league last season.

Before practice, Gay was gracious enough to grant an interview to ESNY to talk about his new team and what lies ahead.

JL: What’s the difference in your mindset in competing on the practice field with your teammates, as opposed to competing in a preseason or regular season game?

WG: Well, your mindset now is each and every day harness your skills, and getting prepared for the battle that’s ahead, and then using these practices to come together as a team. You just use what you do in training camp to get to the season, so this time of year it’s all about preparation. Then when you get to the season you let everything you learned in training camp and throughout the week of preparation and let it fly on Sunday against the opponent.

JL: In 2016 when you were a Pittsburgh Steeler, you played against Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. How much have they improved from then to now?

WG: I’m just amazed on how quick they are now compared to a few years ago. I’m just glad I’m their teammate now, and not going against them on Sundays when it counts.

JL: What are your early impressions of coach Shurmur?

WG: He’s a hard worker; he’s a player’s coach and that’s the kind of coach I’ve been around my entire career.  So to play for another coach that you want to run through a wall for is great and you can’t beat that.

JL: What are your impressions of rookies B.J. Hill and Lorenzo Carter?

WG: We have to see how that rolls; this is their first year in the league. I’ll let you guys evaluate them because I’m not a coach or in the media. But right now their good teammates, they’re great listeners, so that’s a good start.

JL: How difficult was it to lose Sam Beal for the season so early in camp?

WG: You never want to lose a player regardless of who it is, because the general manager, the coaches, and the owner brought him in to help the team, and to create competition. Every player on this team that puts a jersey on is capable of making plays on Sunday. So it’s a blow to lose anybody.

JL: What do you like about James Bettcher’s defense?

WG: You attack. You’re up in the face of the opponent. We play loose; we’re coming after the quarterback and trying to stop the run, and trying to defend against the deep plays and create turnovers, and that’s what I love.

JL: There’s an outside perception that outside of you, Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple, the Giants are thin at cornerback. What do you say to that perception?

WG: People are going to say what they’re going to say, I’ve been around that in previous years with the Steelers where people would say we have no secondary, and I’m like wow, we got players ready to make plays. But until we get out there and make plays,  win ball games, and hoist the Lombardi trophy, there’s going to be questions like that each and every year. So we don’t try to worry about it we just keep a close-knit group and know that we need to work like every other position or every other team in the league. That’s what we pride ourselves on just regardless of what anybody says outside, inside this building, we know what we’re capable of and just have to show it on the field.

JL: Thank you for your time.

WG: You’re welcome.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.