Surging Giants wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins snagged a few minutes ahead of the potential playoff-clinching Colts clash Sunday for some Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.
Q: Are you a trash-talker?
A: Trash-talking’s definitely part of the game, I definitely, like, love that part.
Q: Why? What does it do for you?
A: Personally, it gets me going into a different mode. Like last game, I kind of started it like personally just because of that mindset that I went into the game with. But if someone comes up to me like first and starts talking trash, like it puts me in a whole different mode. I’m like, “Let’s go throw a ‘go’ ball on him right now.” Like, I’m trying to back this trash talk up. I never let it get me mad or out of my zone, DBs can talk all they want, but I love that part, so I just accept it for what it is and talk right back.
Q: You initiated it in Minnesota?
A: Yeah, yeah, in Minnesota I definitely did.
Q: Why would you initiate it?
A: I just feel like sometimes it throws DBs off and helps them know your mindset, like, “Yeah I’m coming to attack, and I’m coming to attack all game.” So they know, like, “All right. this isn’t no slouch. I gotta bring my A game.”
Q: So out of the first huddle you started trash-talking Patrick Peterson?
A: I think it was my second catch I had on him.
Q: Give me an example if I was trying to cover you.
A: It kind of just like flows to me like in that moment. If I kill you on a route or something, I’m probably gonna get up and like let you know about it, so like you know that I know that I’m killing you, and I’m gonna keep trying to like kill your for the rest of the game and stuff. Whether it’s like a block and I’m like just blocking him all the way downfield and just stronger than him, like I’ll probably make a comment about how they’re too little. Stuff like that, just to kind of like mess with people’s heads and kind of get ’em mad.
Q: Can you give me an example in college at Oregon State or in high school of something that really worked?
A: I can’t really think that far back. This week I’ll definitely pay more attention for you, and I’ll remember a comment or something that I made and bring it back to you.
Q: Do you like it when a DB trash-talks you?
A: Yeah, yeah, I definitely do. Some people don’t like it, some people get mad or kind of like get sensitive and this and this. Like it doesn’t faze me like at all. A DB trash-talking me just like makes me go harder. I personally love that.
Q: Do you believe you can become a No. 1 receiver in this league?
A: Yeah, I do. With more opportunity and more time to be able to show that, time will tell. Every offseason I’m gonna get stronger, I’m gonna get faster. I’m gonna put my all into this game, and it’s gonna pay off eventually.
Q: You believe in yourself a lot more than others have believed in you?
A: Yeah, yeah, for sure. That’s the story of the beginning of my career. Nobody thought even when I got picked up here that I’d be a major contributor or to be catching touchdown passes or like anything, but my support system that I have and just like my faith in God in just knowing that He had a plan for me and that regardless of what people said, that hard work was gonna show up, and I plan to keep on doing that.
Q: Who are wide receivers who remind you of you?
A: Keenan Allen. He’s somebody who I really modeled my game around. … Davante Adams, they could get separation and they’re not necessarily people who are running 4.3s and 4.4s and just running “go” balls, but you have to respect their ability to create separation and go make contested catches.
Q: What did you take from Stefon Diggs?
A: Just like the craft that he has with his routes, like just so many different ways that you can run a slant or run a dig, and like different stems and playing with your feet and your eyes and getting the DB to think one thing while you’re about to set him up to do another, just like the creativity in his routes and releases, I guess it’s crazy.
Q: Describe your on-field mentality.
A: I’m not trying to sit there and necessarily just be like passive on the field. I’m trying to attack every DB that’s out there ’cause I know they’re trying to do the same to me, and I feel like you have to have that mentality of just like that ball’s in the air, like I’m going to attack it like it’s my ball. I feel like it helps you come down with more contested catches. It’s just like that mindset of like if your quarterback trusts you and throws it up, like you better go get it.
Q: Where do you think you’ve made the biggest strides in the last year?
A: I would say just my releases and just like my footwork, which is a lot of like my routes like when it’s the top of the route or selling stuff with my shoulders and eyes, and getting out of breaks and stuff like that.
Q: Give me a scouting report on Isaiah Hodgins.
A: I would say a big, physical receiver who can move well for his size … fast feet, quick feet, good in and out of routes. A critique I would say about myself is he’s not necessarily a burner, but has strong hands and catches well.
Q: What is Daniel Jones like in the huddle?
A: He’s a general, man. He’s a soldier. He definitely, like, takes control. He knows what to expect, and I feel like you could see that with his play.
Q: Do you think he can become a top-10 quarterback?
A: Yeah, for sure. He has the athletic ability, he has the arm and he has the smarts. I think he just is gonna continue to just get better and better every year and he’s gonna be able to prove everybody wrong.
Q: Describe Saquon Barkley.
A: I like messing with him a lot. He’s the guy who I probably talk the most trash to on the team. He’s a great talent, but I’ll never let him really know that. I always kind of like to play around with him, and like, “Oh, you only had this many yards,” or, “I don’t know, like you’re only No. 4 in the league in rushing.” I just try to like mess with him and stuff like that and kind of keep him going, and he always answers it with s great game or a great run or a touchdown or something like that. He’s awesome.
Q: Why did you decide to trash-talk him so much?
A: Because he’s the person who gives me the best reaction. And that’s the thing about trash-talking people is like if you trash-talk someone and they don’t respond or they kind of blow you off, it’s kind of like not fun, you know? But with Saquon, sometimes I’m playing around, but like he really thinks I’m serious. … He’s the person I can get the most reaction out of. I always tell him if we had a full offseason and we switched positions like who would be better? Or like if we both played defense and we were both safeties, who would have better stats? Who is pound for pound stronger, or more athletic? We have a new topic every day.
Q: Brian Daboll?
A: He’s not one of those coaches that’s gonna like overcoach you. He gives you the freedom ’cause he knows players have to put their own spin and be able to have that freedom and use their athletic ability to go make plays on that field. But he also knows how to scheme stuff up and put players in the right position to succeed, so his mind for the game is definitely like next level.
Q: From your Instagram: “I’m going for No. 1 for all the times I was put last.”
A: That’s just like my mindset just when I’m on that field, I’m going for No. 1, I’m trying to be the best at everything I could be. … I’m trying to be No. 1 ’cause there’s plenty of times where I was put last. I was a late-round draft pick and I felt like I should have been higher, not playing early in my career and stuff, so now’s the time where I feel like I’m going for that too spot.
Q: “Before they overrate me, they gonna underestimate me.”
A: That’s usually what happens before you start overrating people. You start like, “Oh, this person’s not that good,” or “Can they really do this?” And then that person starts doing good and popping off, and now you either got half the crowd that’s on your side and the other half is, “Oh, he’s overrated, he’s still not that.”
Q: How much did all that fuel you?
A: I wouldn’t say it was like the make-or-break, but I definitely keep and pay attention to a lot of that stuff. I see how many people were counting me out or saying I wasn’t gonna make a team or I wasn’t gonna contribute or if I was good or not and this and this. That’s not like my sole motive is to prove them wrong, but it’s definitely something that I see from time to time.
Q: What is the criticism that bothered you most or was most unfair?
A: I would say people saying I was like injury-prone, because a lot of people like don’t know, but I missed my rookie year because of my shoulder, but that was an injury that I already had in college. It was a torn labrum, and my shoulder would dislocate like almost every game, and I would play through that pain and play through the dislocations and stuff every single game, but I just never had got surgery on it and eventually I needed to. When I got drafted, the Bills knew that I needed to get surgery eventually, so they just decided to do it my rookie year to kind of knock it out of the way. And then the next year I tore my PCL in my knee, so I was out for a couple of months. So really since being in the NFL, I’ve only had like one new injury, and it was only like a couple of months. So I feel like that was kind of like the unfair part.
Q: “You either evolve or you disappear.”
A: I feel like that’s the NFL, man. If you’re not evolving as a player and you’re just kind of staying stagnant and you don’t get better every year, you’re just gonna fade off.
Q: What were you doing when the Commanders game at FedEx Field ended, standing on a bench?
A: Some of their fans were kind of like chirping the whole game and talking to us on the sideline and stuff, so it was kind of like a stand up to let them know like, yeah the game’s over. There was also a lot of Giants fans though that I was talking to and looking at and pointing to and just like having fun with them. It was definitely a fun moment.
Q: If you could go one-on-one against any cornerback in NFL history, who would it be?
A: Between Darrelle Revis and Deion Sanders. I feel like just as a natural competitor, you should want to go against the best people you know and see what it’s like and compete against them.
Q: If you could pick the brain of any wide receivers in NFL history?
A: Jerry Rice slash Larry Fitzgerald.
Q: If you could catch a touchdown pass from any quarterback in NFL history?
A: Peyton Manning. … I used to watch Marvin Harrison all the time and Reggie Wayne and stuff and they were on the Colts. Peyton Manning just sticks out to me.
Q: Describe your 2-year-old son Isaiah Jr.’s personality.
A: He definitely is more on the hyper side. He’s just always on go, man, he’s funny. He’s an active little boy, he’s always got something new for us every day, always kind of running around and play with stuff and toys. He’s full of energy.
Q: How is your diaper game?
A: (Laugh) My wife still makes fun of it, she says I’m not very good at it. At first I was struggling, but I got the hang of it, so I’m pretty good at it now I would say.
Q: Describe your wife Maya.
A: She complements me very well. I’m more of like the trash-talker and like the high energy and this, and she’s like super-kind and sweet and the one to hold me back a lot of the times. I’m definitely more loud and outspoken and stuff than she is.
Q: What was it like growing up fighting with your kid brother Isaac?
A: (Laugh) Me and him used to go at it, man. He’s more built like my dad, so shorter and stocky, but like real strong, and I’m like the taller, leaner like guy.
Q: He was a defensive tackle. What was that like playing with him in high school and college?
A: It was fun, man, being able to see him ball out when I was there and get sacks, and like see him take the field then me take the field, It was a great experience.
Q: Your father James won Super Bowl XXXIV as a Rams fullback.
A: I was 2, I think. There’s like a funny clip that NFL Films had posted, it was on NFL Network and they were replaying the game and … my mom had handed me to my dad on the field and I was like crying. I don’t know, I guess I was scared of all the noise and lights or something like that.
Q: Three dinner guests?
A: Kobe Bryant, he was my favorite basketball player growing up; Michael Jackson, how he changed just the music game and everything; Denzel Washington.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: “The Takers.”
Q: Favorite actors?
A: Denzel and Will Smith.
Q: Favorite actress?
A: Sandra Bullock.
Q: Favorite singer/rapper/entertainer?
Q: Favorite meal?
A: It’s a tie. I’m a huge Mexican food fan, or any type of Latin food, like all that street tacos, rice, beans, all that stuff, and I’m also like a huge sushi person.
Q: Why do you like playing on the big stage here?
A: That’s what the top competitors want, is to ball out on the big stage.
Q: How do you want to be remembered as a football player?
A: I want to be remembered as a Hall of Famer. I want to go down in history, I want to go for that top spot, I want to be wide receiver 1 on a team, making Pro Bowls.
Q: What is the mindset of this New York Giants team entering Sunday’s win-and-in game?
A: Understanding what’s in front of us and like going and take it. It’s the NFL, and no team’s gonna give it to us, no team’s just gonna roll over and hand us a W, we have to go take that.