COACH TOM COUGHLIN
COUGHLIN: We look forward to a great challenge this week, playing the San Francisco 49ers. They’re a very good football team, ranked in many, many categories throughout the league on offense and defense and special teams. They have a quarterback whose rating is 108, they use (Colin) Kaepernick as an option quarterback, wildcat quarterback, however you want to look at it. They are the number one team in the league in rushing, with 195 yards per game, they’re scoring at 28.9 per game, and 13.6 per game giving up. So, they do have a big margin of victory. Of course, that’s been enhanced by the last two weeks, in terms of their play. They have exceptional return men, they have a veteran punter and kicker, and so, they’re a very good team, they’re 4-1, and deservedly so.
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QB ELI MANNING
Q: It came down to the wire twice last year. How much are they different defensively than what you recall?
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.
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DE JUSTIN TUCK
Q: When a guy goes a long time without hitting a homerun, it starts playing on his mind a little bit. Does that happen with sacks?
A: No question. I think we all are kind of puzzled by the fact. It’s not like we forgot how to rush the passer. We’ve been doing it all our lives. It’s something strange, but we’ll figure it out.
Q: What about you personally? Do you look at stats?
A: Do I lose sleep over the fact that I haven’t been rushing the passer as I previously was? No, but I am watching film and trying to make sure that I’m doing everything on my part that when an opportunity presents itself that I am ready and in the right position.
Q: Are you confused at all by the fact that everybody seems to think San Francisco is going to kill you guys? It seems like you’re the big underdog this game.
A: So? Who cares about that? I like the fact that we’re underdogs. I think we’ve been in that role a lot. The fact of the matter is they’re a good football team and they’re playing well and I think if I was a betting man and didn’t have anything to do with this team, I would probably pick them as favorites, too.
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DE JASON PIERRE-PAUL
Q: Talk about going back to San Francisco and the fact that they’re motivated to show that what happened last year shouldn’t have happened.
A: They’re motivated to beat us. I know they’ve got a chip on their shoulders. After all, we did beat them in the conference championship game and we’re going to go back there and they’re going to give us their all and we’re going to be ready for it and this is going to be a fight. This is going to be probably the toughest team we played this year, but it’s going to be a good game.
Q: You have a couple of ex-teammates in their room. How many secrets do you think they’re trying to sell in the meeting rooms?
A: I’m pretty sure when you leave a team, especially if you’ve been there for a while, that you’re going to tell the other team what you know. So we’ll be ready for that and it’s nothing that we can’t handle.
Q: What’s it like playing in that place? What’s the whole experience like?
A: I know everything is going to be fast and it’s going to be very fast and we’ve all got to stick together and all three phases have got to come together. We’ve got to play hard. It’s probably going to be one of the toughest games we play this year and we’re going to give all we’ve got. That’s all we can do.
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WR VICTOR CRUZ
Q: Are you looking forward to this game in
A: Definitely looking forward to it. I miss those guys a little bit, haven’t seen them in awhile. I still send text messages to them every now and then; it’s going to be cool to see those guys again.
Q: They may have some secrets about your offense:
A: They’re probably spilling the beans over there, but it’s expected. We, as an offense, have probably switched a few things up so they don’t have a complete read on what we have going on.
Q: The 49ers are still mad at you guys, what do you expect from them?
A: It’s going to be hostile, we know that. It’s going to be a heart-felt game. It’s going to be a knockdown-drag out fight. We’re prepared for that. Prepared to match their physical play and go in there and be ready to go.
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