COACH TOM COUGHLIN
Coughlin: We played well tonight, really in all three phases, something we needed to do. We approached this game as if it was the first of a six-game season. I thought we had a good week of practice. I thought the guys were very committed, very serious. I thought they came back rested, both mentally and physically. I thought they were really into preparing and supporting each other and so on and so forth. We challenged our team to play. Adam (Merchant), a young man who was with us from Make-a-Wish on Friday, said to our team, ‘Play like world champions.’ The message was loud and clear. We had Adam in the locker room after the game as well and had him in the middle. Guys were very appreciative that he was here and really what he said was most meaningful. We picked up on that and that’s basically the challenge that we kept throughout the weekend and on our Saturday night meetings, ‘play like world champions.’
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QB ELI MANNING
Q: Talk about the way you guys performed in the green zone today.
A: That was big. We had a couple touchdowns, all on third down, so that’s a big difference in points. That’s something we haven’t been as sharp in and we’ve gotten down there, I think, more than anybody in the league and had to settle for field goals. Hit Victor on one, and a great route by him, hit Rueben Randall and he ran a good route; and Hakeem had a great effort getting in. They weren’t all close, a couple of them from the 12 or 13-yard line or third and long situations where we had some big plays. That was very important in getting us the lead and getting us touchdowns during that point.
Q: Talk about the way you played tonight relative to going into the bye.
A: Offensively we just played a lot better. Running the ball, getting in good situations, our third downs were a lot better, and staying on the field. I think I can throw the ball a little bit better on some things and still missing a few things – some fades down in the red zone, me and Hakeem on some of those fades down the sideline. Fade stops, I think we’ve been really good at. We’ve got to get hitting some of those things – there’s definitely room for improvement, but we hit some good plays, hit some big plays down in the red zone and getting touchdowns when we needed them were very important.
Q: Could you feel a difference in your arm tonight? Tom said you felt like you were starting a new season.
A: Yeah. I never thought my arm was tired. I never felt like it in the last weeks, but after a week off and coming back to practice it felt good. It felt live, the ball seemed to be coming out with a little extra pop on it, so that’s always good. I think naturally after a week off with not throwing much, it definitely needed a little rest.
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RB AHMAD BRADSHAW
Q: What are the emotions after this win?
A: We’re very excited right now. We’ve got a lot going on for us right now and this is a huge win. Just looking back at the last couple of weeks we played, this is a big step up for all of us all around. We’re excited for this win.
Q: Coach Coughlin said you had a visitor come in and talk to you guys Friday.
A: It was a lot of inspiration. It gave us something to play for and it’s just bad what he’s going through and we just look at it to be thankful. It’s a great month to be thankful and we’re just thankful to be out here playing.
Q: His message was play like champions?
A: Right, and that’s what we just wanted to do tonight is come out and start strong and play like we know how to play football.
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DE JUSTIN TUCK
Q: Did you see this coming?
A: That? No. I saw us playing better. I thought we had a great week of practice. I thought we in some ways just had a refreshing week off. People seemed like they were kind of refreshed coming back this week and we had a great week of practice, but Green Bay’s a great football team. I didn’t see us winning it like this, but I felt very confident going into the game.
Q: Do you think a game like this reminds everyone in the league what you guys are capable of?
A: I don’t know, I guess you’d have to ask the other guys – the teams that are out there watching it. I think it reminds us what we’re capable of and that’s all that matters. As long as we know what we’re capable of when we play our style of football, that’s more motivation to play our style of football, and I feel very confident where this team is right now. Yeah, we slip a little bit but I think we’re refocused now and I think that showed tonight and hopefully we’re done with the rollercoasters and we just continue to excel.
Q: Your thoughts on Corey – touchdown on his side then he comes back and gets the interception?
A: Not surprising. He’s an eight year pro. I’ve been here with Corey for eight years now and you just see it. He’s a tough-minded guy. He made a great double-move on him. The one thing about being a corner – I never played it, but what I understand – is you have to have a short memory. That was a prime example of that. He came back and got us a huge play and set up a touchdown. We expect that from him.
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WR VICTOR CRUZ
Q: Take us through your touchdown catch.
A: That play was just a play where I come inside and I get lined up one on one with the safety and I just make a quick move to the inside and Eli threw a great ball, hit me right in stride and I went into the end zone.
Q: It looked like you weren’t as double-teamed as much tonight.
A: They did double-team me when we got further into the green zone a couple times, but there was definitely some openings there that I wasn’t used to so hopefully that trend continues and this time I’ll be a little more prepared for it.
Q: Was that because of the way you guys gameplanned or was it the way they were covering you?
A: I guess it was just the way they were covering me. We expect one thing, we see one thing on film and we get to the game and sometimes it’s a complete other thing on certain downs and distances and certain plays you expect one thing. They did a good job of switching things up, but we did a good job of countering them.
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LB MATHIAS KIWANUKA
Q: Does this send a message to the rest of the league that you guys are back?
A: I think for us, it’s a start. The message has to be continued on. You can’t just be a fluke. For us, it’s we came back after the bye, we put it together. We had a good week of practice and everybody was clicking. We have to make sure that we build on that and I think that will be a better message than just one game.
Q: Did you play like champions, like Adam Merchant asked you to?
A: We were definitely inspired. That was a tremendous motivation, to have a young man, who is battling through stuff that we have no concept, no idea. And for him, whose main desire is to come out and be with us and to have the fire and the passion, it’s hard not to match that kind of (emotion).
Q: Was there something in their protections that you thought you could take advantage of?
A: The thing that we said all week was this game is on us. It’s about us and our execution, playing to the best of our abilities, so we went out there, obviously, you want to get to the quarterback, you want to do what the defense asks you to do first, but then each individual can say ‘I have a matchup here, I have a matchup there,’ and we just went after it.
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SAFETY KENNY PHILLIPS
Phillips: I’m not worried at all. I probably could have continued to play, but with the score how it was, I figured it wouldn’t make any sense to go out there and try to hurt it some more.
Q: How concerned were you when you felt the knee?
A: I was like ‘here we go again,’ but I got to the sidelines and the doctors took a look at it. It feels pretty good right now. I didn’t want to take that chance to go back out there and miss the next week.
Q: Do you remember what happened?
A: I saw the guy running open and I just tried to burst and cover him up and I felt it a little bit.
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