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DE Osi Umenyiora on staying focused

Posted Dec 24, 2012

DE Osi Umenyiora on staying focused as a team heading into the final game of the season

Q: When you look at the playoff scenarios that have to happen for you guys to get in, what are your thoughts when you see that?
A: I think we can’t really concern ourselves with that right now. We have to concern ourselves more with getting better as a football team for this final game, which is the most important thing. After that, whatever happens happens.

Q: How are you going to handle this last game at home with your future up in the air with this team?
A: Same way I handle every game. I’m preparing myself this week to go out there and play as hard as I can. I’m going to expect the same thing from my teammates and we’re going to go out there and win the game. We have a lot of pride and we’re going to come out there and play like it and I’m going to especially do that myself.

Q: Last year you said you were going to appreciate things because you thought it might be your last time through. Do you have any chance to do that this week?
A: No, not yet. I think I was just so focused on trying to win and coming out there and performing that I didn’t really do that (last) week, but maybe this week I will. I don’t know. We just need to find a way to win this game and then all of that other stuff will take care of itself.

Q: Are you thinking that this might be your final game with the Giants?
A: Yeah. I definitely thought about it, but that’s pretty much out of my control at this point. The only thing I can control is the effort I give and I’ll continue to do that, to give great effort.

Q: Are you angry? Frustrated? What’s going on?
A: No. I’m not angry at all. Am I frustrated? A little frustrated, but definitely not angry. Football is life. I think people like to differentiate football from life, but it is what it is. You’re not going to win the Super Bowl every year. All the teams who are going to the playoffs, hopefully we’re one of those, but there’s only one team who is going to win the Super Bowl. So for every other team it was a disappointing season for them. So luckily I’ve been here where we’ve won two championships and I’m going to hold my head high no matter what because of that and I’m happy about it. Did this year play out the way out any of us wanted it to? No, but at the end of the day we still have a chance to go out there and give one last good impression or one good showing of ourselves and I think we’re going to do that.

Q: Do you personally want to have that big game and remind everybody of the feared pass rusher you can be and have been?
A: No. I just want to win, honestly. I don’t control a lot of things that go on out there on the football field. There are games this year where if the ball would have bounced differently, we would have a little bit more coverage in certain situations. You would have thought that. I would have ended up with 12 or 14 sacks, but it didn’t happen like that. It’s just one of those situations that I think what I put on tape has been great for all the teams to see and we’re just going to go from there.

Q: Tom said he didn’t think this group had a lot of confidence right now. Do you see where he’s coming from when he says that?
A: Yeah. I have to agree with him on that. The pedigree of this group is very, very good and for us to be getting beat the way we’ve been getting beat these last two weeks, obviously there’s something lacking. Is it physical talent? You can’t say it’s physical talent because we have the ability, but obviously it has to be something and so the only thing I think you can point to is confidence. It just doesn’t seem like we’re playing with a lot of confidence and it’s showing out there on the football field.

Q: Why does that happen with a team that won the Super Bowl a year ago?
A: Now that question I cannot answer. I can’t answer for everybody. All I can do in that particular instance is speak for myself and I’m definitely not lacking confidence. So for us to go out there and play the way we’ve played and play with that lack of confidence is a little surprising to me, but I just don’t have an answer to that.

Q: Are you pretty much certain that no matter what happens Sunday you’ll be playing next year somewhere else?
A: I’m not certain of anything at all. Is there a high probability that I’m going to be playing somewhere else? I would say there is a high probability and that’s just me being honest, but I’m not certain of what’s going to happen. Anything can happen. We can get in the playoffs. Anything is possible, but it’s a high probability that I’m going to be playing somewhere else and I think everybody knows that. Let’s don’t kid ourselves.

Q: Your desire is still to play if it is somewhere else?
A: Yeah, of course. I definitely have some very good years left in me. I haven’t lost any explosion. I haven’t lost any speed. So as a pass rusher that’s what you need and thankfully I’ve been able to maintain that and I’m just happy about that. I’m not happy about the way the season unfolded, but I’m happy about that.

Q: Would you prefer that your career would end here?
A: Yeah. I think most people want to finish out their career with the team that they started and I fall into that category. I would have loved to have finished my career here, but everybody is not so fortunate. Everybody is not a Michael. A lot of you were around when I got drafted. If somebody would have told you that when I got drafted, somebody who nobody knew about, that 10 years later I would still be here and had won a couple of Super Bowls and been to Pro Bowls and set records and all of that stuff, you would have laughed, I would have laughed. Everybody in there would have laughed and so I’m just happy with the things that I’ve done here and I’m happy with the things that I’ve accomplished here. I’m happy with the things that this team has done here and if it does, in fact, turn out to be my last game, then it’s been a wonderful, wonderful ride and I’m just going to walk around in New York with my head held high because it’s been a great accomplishment playing for this organization and being able to do some of the things that we accomplished here as a team.

Q: Are you looking to still be a starter?
A: Of course. Why not? Why wouldn’t I be looking for that? I’m not a situational pass rusher. I think that’s the word that’s been going around me for years because most people don’t know what they’re talking about. But there’s no football person who’s going to actually sit there and watch tape and not think that I’m a starter in this league and I’m 100 percent sure of that.

Q: Do you believe there’s no chance that you’re back with the Giants after this year?
A: Of course, there’s a chance. There’s always a chance, but I just don’t know what’s going to happen. But there’s a chance that I could be back here.

Q: Do you think the way the season is ending for the entire team makes it less likely because when there’s losing like this, they tend to want to make changes?
A: Yeah. Definitely. You’re right about that, but where are they going to make the changes is the question. There’s no individual, there’s no aspect of the team this year that stood out. If you want to talk about the pass rush… Well maybe we didn’t get 50 sacks like we did last year, but was the offense playing well? Was the special teams playing… Like where? There’s nowhere that was up to the standards that we set last year. If they’re going to be making changes, it has to be wholesale changes. Everybody has to leave. There has to be changes for everybody because nobody played above average this year.

Q: Is there any kind of frustration for you that if you leave after this game you’re leaving with the pass rush where it is instead of leaving when you and Tuck and JPP had a good year?
A: There’s no frustration at all. I’m very happy about the things that we’ve accomplished here. Every year is not going to be a Super Bowl year. Every year is not going to be a double-digit sack year and that’s just the way life is, that’s the way football is. The one thing that I do know is we gave very good effort and if the ball would have bounced our way, then things would have been completely different and I’m telling you this because we sit there in those meeting rooms every single day and watch every single play for hours and so we know exactly what it is that’s going on. We know what is going wrong. We know things that fell our way last year just didn’t fall our way this year. Next year, if I’m here, then things are going to be different. Next year, if I go somewhere else and you see me put up 15 sacks, you’ll be like, ‘Oh, what happened?’ Well it was just my year and that I’m confident in that.

Q: Are you confident that you and the rest of your linemates were put in the same positions to succeed as you were last year?
A: Well, we were the same positions, but we were just attacked differently. I think when the rush was there, the coverage wasn’t there and when the coverage was there, the rush wasn’t there. So I think we weren’t married. We weren’t in synch with each other. We weren’t in tune and a lot of times we were right there, but the quarterback got the ball off or they were throwing the ball quick or they were slide protecting or they were doing all types of things and it just didn’t happen for us. But everybody has to be in tune and everybody has to be… I hate to use the word, but married together and playing in synch and we just weren’t doing that this year.

Q: Whose fault is that?
A: Maybe the opponent we were playing. Maybe it’s their fault. Maybe they figured us out pretty well. The effort was there. That’s pretty much all I can say is that we were out there hustling, we were out there trying and it just did not work out or it hasn’t worked out to this point.


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