Kyler Fackrell began his introductory conference call on Thursday by being very straight-forward.
Flashing back two seasons ago, Fackrell collected a career-high with 10.5 sacks and 42 tackles from his outside linebacker position. But the Packers went and picked up Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith after that 2018 season, which took tons of snaps away from Fackrell.
In turn, Fackrell collected just one sack as a depth player with 23 tackles.
"It was obviously not ideal," he said.
But that doesn't mean improvement for the four-year veteran didn't take place.
"I think I played better this year than I did the year before, despite not getting the numbers that I would have liked," he explained. "If you look at percentages and pressures per rush, I think I had 200 less rushes but ended up with more pressures than the year I had 10.5 sacks. I think as far as the way I play and getting better as a player, I think I took a step forward this year."
That's good to hear because with Fackrell joining the Giants on a one-year deal, he'll be right back in the position he was in 2018. Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines are not the Smiths, so Giants GM Dave Gettleman brought in Fackrell to lead the way for this group that has struggled to find consistency in rushing the passer.
Working under Patrick Graham, the Giants' new defensive coordinator and his linebackers coach in 2018 when he set those career highs, will certainly be helpful in fulfilling that role.
Fackrell admitted there wasn't anything specific that Graham did to boost his production numbers. But he did say "I know that he liked my versatility of being able to rush and drop." With Graham using a 3-4 scheme compared to a traditional 4-3 scheme, Fackrell sees that as an advantage -- one that just may see another double-digit sack season.
"I have the utmost confidence in myself," he said. " I think that I am a very versatile 3-4 Sam outside linebacker. I love to rush, and I think I am good at it. I take a lot of pride in dropping and making plays in space as well. I think in the 3-4 defense that we played in Green Bay, and Patrick Graham runs a similar style defense, having a versatile outside linebacker is very valuable."
Fackrell also believes he can thrive next to the man that he was roommates with throughout his time in Green Bay: Giants new inside linebacker Blake Martinez.
"I'm thrilled," Fackrell said about playing with Martinez again. "We came into Green Bay together and we were roommates all four years of training camp and during rookie minicamp. We have a good relationship and he's a great player. I was really excited to hear that he was going to the Giants as well."
But Martinez isn't on that same one-year deal as Fackrell. The Giants gave him three years, as he's consistently been one of the best tacklers in the game.
And that's more than OK with Fackrell, who understands this is a prove-it year for him, too.
"I think I view it kind of in a similar way. I believe that I'm better than a one-sack guy, so that's really what I'm going to try to prove. Again, like I said, I got better this last year. I think I'm a better player last year than I was the year before, and I'll be a better player this upcoming year just with continuing to work and trying to perfect my craft."
For now, working on his craft means working from home like the rest of the NFL. Fackrell said he has been in contact with new head strength coach Craig Fitzgerald to get some workouts for home, which he likes thus far.
But, when Fackrell is allowed to begin working at the Giants' facility in the future, he won't be heading into this season with the goal of getting back to being that double-digit sack player. The Giants would obviously love it. But he wants to show consistency in getting into the backfield and disrupting the quarterback.
The sacks will come if that happens.
"Definitely just the way that I affect the quarterback, at least as far as rushing, how often I affect the quarterback," he said when asked how he'll be measuring the season as a success. "I think pressures are a big thing, and I think the league is kind of trending towards recognizing that. That maybe a guy gets 10 sacks but he has half the pressures of a guy that maybe gets eight sacks but he's in the quarterback's face and he's affecting the quarterback, getting him off the spot a lot. As a rusher, I think you're more valuable when you can do that more consistently."