M&F: What has been the focus of your offseason training this year?
PA: The focus of my offseason is always the same–and that’s to get bigger, faster, and stronger. Every year I go back to the University of Nebraska, my alma mater. I feel secluded. I’m away from everything else. There’s no distractions there, so it’s the perfect place to train. That, plus the strength and conditioning coaches were amazing when I was there, and they’re still there. I work with the same guys.
What were some of your best lifts ever during your college years? Most NFL players lift heavier in college than they do in the pros.
I would say my best lift was the squat. We never did a one-rep max, but we would do rep maxes for 10. I did 405 for 10 deep reps, all the way down.
Looking at tape from last season, what do you think you need to get better at on the field?
I’d say reading coverages better and knowing what’s going to happen before the quarterback snaps the ball, so pre-snap reads, looking at film and having the confidence to jump a route. I need to have the confidence to take a risk, because there are so many times [last year] when I recognized a formation and played it safe.
What is Coach Coughlin’s philosophy on strength and conditioning? He’s known for being an old-school guy, but one drawback to some of the old-school guys is they believe you need to do a lot of running, drills like gassers and things like that, which don’t have any carryover to on-field production. Does he allow his strength and conditioning staff to be more progressive than that?
Yeah, he’s more hands-off. He does get on us if he thinks we’re out of shape. He’s not afraid to tell us that. I think his focus is just doing the best you can and taking care of your body. If that means extra stretching, getting in the cold tub, the sauna, you need to get treatment—he’s all about maintenance, just taking care of your body.
Your mindset in the gym, is it anything like your mindset on the field?
I like the workout to be hard. I like to be tired when it’s done. I condition before I start lifting, so I do something that gets my blood flowing and my heart pumping. I need to perform well while being fatigued as I would in the fourth quarter of a game.