A: They’re a good team. They’re a good defense, and they have talented players, they’re aggressive, they tackle well, they’re well-coached. I don’t think they’ve changed up a whole lot from last year. Pretty much the same personnel and they have a good scheme. So, we’ve got to be well-prepared for their different looks that they’re going to give to us, and get prepared to go and block good players in the run and the pass game. So, we’ve just got to go out there and there will be some opportunities to make some plays, and we’ve got to do that.
Q: Having played out there twice last year on that turf and in front of that crowd and against a lot of that team, does that help you more in getting ready for this one?
A: I think you know what to expect. You know their talent level, and you know that you’ve got to play smart football. You can’t turn the ball over. You can’t make it easy for their offense, and you’ve got to play smart and know what it’s going to take to block them up. We know that we have to play great football if we want to win.
Q: Will there be a time, maybe in warm-ups, where you sit back and reflect on what a great game that championship game was last year?
A: No. It’s a new year, new season. We’ve got to make sure that we’re totally focused on this year. Just try to go out there and understand what their defense is, make good decisions, make good reads, and hopefully our guys can do a good job of making plays.
Q: Do you think they’re better and more well-rounded than they were last year?
A: It’s tough to say. I know about their defense, and I thought their defense was one of the best, if not the best, defenses we faced last year. I feel they’re at the same spot this year. So, it’ll be a great test for us.
Q: You got hit 12 times in that game last year. I mean, do you go in, expecting to be hit? How do you approach it?
A: We also had 64 drop backs last year. You throw the ball that many times, you’re going to take hits. Hopefully, we can have a good balance of the run and pass. You’re going to get hit sometimes playing quarterback. You don’t worry about that. Hopefully, you’ll have enough time to get the ball out for the routes to develop and guys are getting open.
Q: You have Mario (Manningham) and Brandon (Jacobs) over there. Do you think they’re giving up corporate secrets this week?
A: I think we’ll be all right. Everybody always talks a little bit, but they’re not going to know what plays we’re running, or what we’re doing. So, I think we’ll be in good shape.
Q: Has this sort of morphed into almost like a divisonal rivalry with the hatred between both teams?
A: Obviously, it’s a big game. The fact that we played last year in the NFC Championship Game makes it a big game, and they’re a good team. It’s not a team that you face twice a year all the time. Obviously, it happened last year, but it’s definitely a big game.
Q: Is this the most physical team that you guys will play?
A: They’re up there. They’re very good. Their front seven is talented, they’ve got good corners, their safeties come up and tackle and hit. So, they’re good all over the field, and each player is going to have to win their individual battles, and do a good job of blocking and receivers getting open, and running backs making guys miss.
Q: Tom Coughlin was saying that he gets the sense that there aren’t a lot of people who think you guys are going to win this weekend. Do you like that?
A: It doesn’t bother me. Going into each game, I really don’t know what the predictions are, and who is saying we’re going to win or not. It really doesn’t make a difference. In my mindset, I go in and I prepare. I look for tendencies, know our game plan, know what runs we like, what throws, how things hopefully work out, and go from there.
Q: San Francisco has won two games in a row that weren’t really competitive. Does that change at all the tape you watch?
A: You watch all their games. You watch the ones from last week. The Jets game was two weeks ago and was 10-0 at half time. You look at that. You do look at the Minnesota game, when they lost. See if they do anything different in close games, when teams always are a little bit more aggressive and when games are close, and blitz a little bit more, rather than when you have a big lead, you usually don’t get as risky and different things. You look at all their games, see what their scheme is, see what their looks are, and prepare for everything.
Q: How much do you watch the NFC Championship Game?
A: I’ve watched that. I go back and watch both games from last year, just to see how they attacked us, what they did differently from the first game to the second game, what they had success with, what we had success with, and try to make some sort of prediction of what they might try to do this game.
Q: Do you think they’re using that NFC Championship Game as more motivation, because they came out on the losing end? As opposed to a team that won, that might not look at it as much of a re-match.
A: I don’t think it matters one way or the other. It’s a game that you have to prepare for it. Our guys are focused, and we’re going to understand the game plan, and what we’ve got to do to win.