Good morning. We’ll talk first about the guys who are not going to practice today. Terrell Thomas, this is his day, we practice him two days a week, so he’s not going to work today. On the injury side, Webster is not going to work; JPP is not going to work; Brandon Jacobs is not going to work, he’s scheduled to work tomorrow; and I’m not quite sure if Bear Pascoe can go or not with the ankle. I’m sure if it’s up to him, he goes.
QB Eli Manning
Q: What’s the importance of this week’s game and keeping things going?
A: It’s important because it’s the next one. Obviously it’s a good team in Green Bay. We’ve got another home game, which is nice, so we’ve got to make sure we go out there and find a way to win. Offensively, we’ve got to do some better things and make sure we’re scoring some touchdowns.
Q: What do you need to do to have all three facets of the game clicking?
A: Just keep working and I think we’re doing some better things. We’re not making as many mistakes, so we’re getting in better positions to do some better things and make some plays and score some touchdowns. Now it’s just a matter of executing a little bit better. I think we are very close. I think we know that. We’ve just got to keep working a little bit harder and make some of those plays.
Q: What do you see when you see them on tape?
A: They’re a good defense. They show a lot of different looks. They’ve got a lot of guys with sacks. They bring pressure from every player. Everybody has a chance to get to the quarterback. Obviously, (Clay) Matthews is back playing now. He missed the last few games, so he’s a guy you have to watch and be careful about. They’ve got good corners, so they have a talented defense. They show a lot of different looks and we’ve got to prepare for a lot of things.
Q: With some of the troubles of scoring touchdowns in the red zone, is it an idea to try to get into the end zone from outside the red zone?
A: You try to get into the end zone however you can and so we’ll keep working on it. I think what we see is that there are opportunities there. We have plays. The execution is good. It’s just finish them. It’s just making that catch or making a little bit better throw or making that one extra block; little things that can be done. Our execution has to be a little bit better and we should be able to score more touchdowns.
Q: What’s the mood now during the three game winning streak? Do you notice more of a pep in the step of everyone here?
A: Yeah. You win some games and you get rewarded for your hard work. It’s definitely a little bit easier to smile on Mondays, but I think we still kind of have that idea in our head that we’re still fighting. We’re still fighting to get back on track and get back to where we need to be and so we’ve got a lot of football games. We can’t let anymore slip away. We’ve done a better job in the fourth quarter of games of finishing the games out and making plays when we weren’t doing that earlier, so I think that’s a good sign. We know we still have got a long way to go and we’ve got room for improvement.
Q: What happened when you threw the pick six last week?
A: I had a guy in my face on that one. That’s football. Sometimes you make great throws and obviously it was a windy day. I think it maybe affected one or two of them, but hopefully we can keep making some of those good throws and eliminate the bad ones.
Q: Was it tougher than some people thought? Coach Coughlin said it was a crosswind.
A: It was a crosswind. I thought I did pretty good throwing into the wind. It’s when I was throwing towards the Oakland bench is where I missed some of my throws. I think it caught the wind and kept pushing it a little bit far left. That’s just a part of a playing and hopefully it doesn’t affect too many.
Q: Can Andre Brown help the play action?
A: Yeah. It was great getting Andre back. He rushed the ball 30 times and over 100 yards and was big in finishing out that game when we had to run it six straight times and he had two first downs and didn’t give Oakland the ball back. He did a great job of just getting positive yardage, putting us in a lot of third and manageable situations running it down in the red zone. I think that was big and hopefully he can continue to play well. Yeah, that can slow down that pass rush a little bit to get the ball down the field.
Q: What do you see on the number of deep balls you are attempting?
A: It just kind of depends on what defenses are doing when you can hit the ball down the field. Sometimes you call for plays with the possibility of getting the ball down the field. It just all depends on if the defense gives you those opportunities. We’ll try to get a few balls down the field, but if we’ve got a dink and dunk and get positive yardage and get in third and manageable situations and get first downs, then that works also. You can’t force things down the field just to be throwing it down the field. It’s only worth it if you have a chance to complete it and make some big plays.
Q: Why have you been so successful against the Packers with the deep ball?
A: I think there are a couple of reasons. It’s just kind of the right play at the right time and everything works out. Guys are winning the one-on-one matchups and have hit a couple of post routes and hit some go routes. We’ll see if we can call a few up and hit them at the right time. If not, other guys have got to win. We’ve got to win underneath and wait till there are opportunities to come.
Q: Hakeem has had some big plays against the Packers.
A: He’s had some big plays. He’s had some deep ones. Yeah. We’ve done pretty well. I think we’ve done pretty well in protection versus them. Staying in a good down and distance… We haven’t had a lot of third and longs and different things where it’s tough, so hopefully we can stay in a good down and distance and have some drives and have a number of plays to kind of set up some of our deep throws.
Q: When you look at your starting streak, is it luck?
A: I try to work hard in the weight room and in my preparation to avoid injuries as much as possible, but yeah, there’s obviously a luck aspect to it as well. I try to be a fast healer on some things and just not taking some of those awkward hits that can obviously just happen at any time.
Q: There have been three or four times when you have appeared on the injury report. Have there been more times than we know of that it’s been a struggle for you to get to a game?
A: Over the nine years, I’ve had a few close calls, but most were the ones that were pretty public. I think we’ve done a good job of keeping everything on the injury report, I guess.
Q: You obviously don’t want to jinx it.
A: Right. Thank you.
Q: You said at the beginning you’re making fewer mistakes and it’s putting you in better position. Is that a conscious effort, to do things to avoid mistakes?
A: It just seems like we’re not having as many negative runs. I think that was something in the first half of the season, we would run the ball and lose two yards and so you kind of just got right off rhythm right there. When you put a team in second and 12 and 14, it kind of takes you out of your game plan a little bit. You’d like to get in second and sixes and sevens where you can run the ball still and you can throw it. You kind of still have everything going. We’ve cut down on the turnovers. We still have got to continue to work on that and make sure we’re not giving the opposing offenses short fields to work with, but we have been a little bit better at that and I think it’s just we’re just playing a little bit better football.
Q: The offense has been sustaining long drives in recent weeks. Is that something the offense has been working on?
A: Yeah. We’ve been good. Last week, we had a 90-yarder. We had a couple of 90-plus yard drives and I think that’s avoiding the bad plays where you’re going backwards. You’ll have an incompletion. You’ll have a run where you get one yard or something. Those are fine. That’ll happen. Avoid the sacks. Avoid losing three yards on a run. Let’s stay in manageable distances, not as many third and 10-plus plays, so we’re a little better at converting on third down.
Q: Do you think you guys have turned the corner with the running game to a more balance offense?
A: Yeah. It seems like we’ve been more consistent with the run game, definitely, these past few weeks and that’s helped out just our whole offense running a little bit more smoothly.
WR Victor Cruz
Q: Three straight games, three straight wins. What’s the confidence level like here?
A: It’s pretty high. I think we understand exactly what we need to do and we’re just focused on conquering each and every week. Focusing on the little things that we have to do during practice and really just getting a leg up on our opponent and just having consistent days. Just being consistent, doing the things that we need to do in order to win. I think we’re doing that so far.
Q: Are you noticing any extra pep in people’s step around here now that you guys have won three? I know there is plenty of work to go but are you noticing that?
A: A little bit. Guys are excited. Guys are excited to come to work, they’re excited to do better than they did the day before and, you know, every opportunity you get to go out there and win a ball game. We’ve got a few more home games to go so we’re excited to play in front of our own fans for a couple games. I’m sure they’re excited as well, so we just want to put some good things in front of them and we’re excited about that.
Q: This team has had some pretty good games against the Packers in recent years. Even though some personnel has changed, does that carry any weight at all in terms of your confidence in knowing the kind of team you can be and how successful you can be against them?
A: It does a little bit. They kind of run some of the same schemes that they’ve had in the past. It gives us a little bit of confidence but every team is different, every game is different, everything is unique, every gameplan that they have for us is unique, so we just have to go in there and expect the worst, expect for them to come with everything they’ve got and be able to adjust off of that.
Q: We talked last week about getting better in the red zone coming off the bye. Obviously you would have liked to have had more touchdowns against Oakland. What about trying to get into the end zone outside of the red zone so you don’t have to get bogged down in there?
A: Yeah, a little bit. You want to score from as far out as possible. Any time you get the ball, you want to score but we have to do better in that regard. No matter where we get in that red zone, we have to be able to put some touchdowns on the board. That’s definitely a point of emphasis for us and we’re trying to do better in that area.
CB Terrell Thomas
Q: Do you prepare any differently for a third-string quarterback?
A: Yeah. It’s tough because we only have two game films to watch, so it’s hard to get a sense of what they’re going to do on Sunday, but I thought he did a great job in stepping up for Seneca and Aaron the last couple games and managing the offense. Obviously a couple throws were high here and there, he is a backup, but I’m sure he will be a little more comfortable in the pocket come Sunday when they play us.
Q: What’s the toughest thing about facing a guy like that?
A: It’s everything because you don’t know what to expect. They can bring out a different for him but the great thing is that we’ve faced this challenge a couple times this year against backup quarterbacks. Our coaches do a great job preparing us for the worst-case scenario. We’ll prepare, like always, as if Aaron was playing. He’s a good quarterback and we’ve got to get another win come Sunday.
Q: Can you get into the head of a guy that hasn’t played a lot?
A: Definitely. No doubt. And the best thing we can do is stop Lacy. Right now, even when Aaron was playing, they’ve been running behind him. He’s a big back and we’ve got to do a better job in stopping the run. We let Jennings get too many yards on us last week so that’s the number one focus, stopping him and putting all the pressure on the quarterback.
Q: When talking to your teammates, they said they couldn’t be happier or more proud of the way you have been able to bounce back and contribute. What does that mean to you when your teammates have your back like that?
A: It means a lot because this locker room has stuck together. We were 0-6 at one time and nobody pointed fingers, nobody turned on each other, and it just speaks volumes of the leadership in this locker room. Everybody has respect for each other, we’re not going to quit on each other. They’ve seen me work the last couple of years. They know what type of player I was before I got hurt, so I think they’re just happy for me to see me get back to playing football again.
Q: What’s been the biggest difference with this defense during this streak?
A: One – we looked each other in the eyes and everybody held each other accountable. Lastly – it was Jon Beason. He’s definitely been a voice that has given us confidence in our defense with his leadership. Him being a two-time Pro Bowler, getting everybody lined up and just making plays out there too. We know how hard it is to come with a week’s notice and have to learn the playbook and go out there and perform and he did a great job against Chicago. After the bye we all had enough and got this thing turned around.
Safety Antrel Rolle
Q: It looks like Green Bay is finding some offensive balance with Eddie Lacy. What kind of challenges does he present?
A: I think he’s a very gifted running back, hard-nosed runner, very agile and also definitely has some explosiveness to him. But, you know, just a straight, downhill runner. I think he’s definitely giving them some balance and Lacy to go along with Starks, I think that’s a great combination that they have there.
Q: Did you ever hear of Tolzien before the last couple of week?
A: No, I hadn’t. But going into the game and filling in for Seneca Wallace I think he played a pretty decent game. I think he came in and threw for over 200 yards, one touchdown, so he can definitely throw the ball. We’re not taking anyone lightly. I think he runs their system pretty effectively and we’re looking forward to the game on Sunday.
Q: How important has Terrell Thomas’ play been and how happy are you that he’s playing so well?
A: If there’s one guy I want to see succeed, it’s Terrell. I think he’s been through something that, to be honest with you, outside of Thomas Davis, I don’t know who’s ever come back from three ACL tears and to be playing at the caliber and the level that he’s playing at right now, I think, speaks volumes for himself, his heart and his passion for the game. If anyone needs to be playing that way, I definitely take my hat off to Terrell. Honestly, I consider myself extremely strong, but I don’t know if I would be able to bounce back the way he’s bounced back from those injuries.
Q: Bill Parcells says you are what your record says you are, but when you walk into this locker room, it doesn’t feel like the 3-6 team. It feels like an 8-1 team. Can you explain why?
A: We’re definitely a 3-6 team. We can’t mistake that under any means, but our level of confidence is definitely rising each and every week. We still have yet to play the game with all three phases of the game in tact, so yeah, we are 3-6 but we’re not worried about being 3-6. We’re not worried about winning the last few games, we’re just worried about and focused on the week that’s ahead of us.
DE Justin Tuck
Q: When you’re looking at the Packers offense, how much are you looking at the offensive scheme and how much of it are you looking at this new quarterback?
A: I think it’s the scheme. I think Coach Mike McCarthy is not going to change much. He didn’t change much from what they normally do even when Seneca got hurt and I think the quarterback (Scott Tolzien) came in and still kind of ran that offense pretty good. He might not be as accurate as Aaron (Rodgers) is, but he still made some good throws and he still did a lot of good things against what I thought was a quality opponent.
Q: Their offensive line has a lot of shuffling going on and a lot of banged up guys. How hard is that for you to prepare for?
A: It’s difficult because you don’t know who you’re going against, but regardless of who we play against, it still comes down to what we do and if we go out there and play our style of football the way we are capable of doing, then it really shouldn’t matter who plays us.
Q: Their rookie running back Eddie Lacy looks like a good football player.
A: Yeah. They got a steal. Lacy is a powerful back that makes all the right reads, it seems like. Even when it’s not a very impressive run, he still gets second and fives, second and four. He always falls forward and he’s a very strong back. He reminds of kind of a bigger Marshawn Lynch. It’s going to be tough, especially with Aaron being out, they’re probably going to try to feature him a little more and keep the down and distance in their favor so you don’t put a lot of pressure on an inexperienced quarterback. It’s going to be a huge challenge for us.
Q: From the outside looking in, some people will say they’re using their third-string quarterback and it should be easy for the Giants defense. You guys know better than that.
A: Sure we do. This is the NFL. All these guys get paid and get paid for a reason. Obviously, Aaron Rodgers is one, two or three, by most people’s standards, as far as quarterbacks in this league and that’s a huge loss for them, but they still have got a lot pieces to the puzzle there and obviously McCarthy is going to do a great job of prepping his quarterback, and I feel as though they’re still going to be a very dangerous offense coming in here. So we’ve still got to play great defense and hopefully we’ll be able to get a win.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul
There’s no question about that. Last Sunday’s game, I thought I had a great game. I think that was probably one of my best games. I had one sack or whatever, I could have had more except I got hurt, but I’m taking it day by day right now and that’s all I can do.
Q: Any doubt in your mind that you will play Sunday?
A: I don’t know if I’m going to play Sunday. I don’t. That’s the honest answer. At this point, I’m just taking it day by day and see how I feel on Sunday. There’s no question if I’m going to play or not. It’s on me.
Q: Green Bay has a pretty good rookie running back in Eddie Lacy. How do you defend against a runner like that?
A: As of right now, he’s a pretty good running back. You have to get him going east and west. When he runs downhill, he’s a very good running back. He hits the holes pretty good, too, and like I said, just going east and west. We’re doing a great job at the running game and we have been doing a great job, so we’re going to continue doing what we do best.
Q: Just because of how good you felt last Sunday, does that make it even more frustrating now that you have something else to deal with?
A: Not really. Like I said, there’s going to be some ups and downs in your career. Right now, it’s nothing. This is (nothing) compared to my back surgery. I got over that and I’m going to get over this.
Q: Does it just hurt? It’s a bruise, right, a contusion?
A: It just hurts, that’s all. I can’t be giving you too much information, you know what I mean? My shoulder just hurts, guys, that’s it. Who knows if I’m going to play Sunday? I don’t know yet. I’m taking it day by day and that’s it.
A: Sunday’s game is very important. We need it. We need to win. We need to win bad. The division’s up for grabs. We just have to keep winning and we have to take each game, one by one. We’re not looking to the next game, we’re going to take the game that’s in front of us, one by one.
Q: Is that why it’s kind of an all hands on deck kind of mentality though? Even if you can’t practice or your shoulder is not right, you’re still going to try to push it to get out there?
A: Not at all. At the end of the day, it’s my body. Nobody can play for me, this is my career. Like I said, I’m going to try to get healthy as soon as possible, but I’m not going to push myself back if I can’t get back. I know with the guys that we have upfront, we have Kiwi, Tuck, Jonathan, Linval, all of those boys upfront, Damontre. They can fill in the spots. They can rush the passer. I know for a fact they’re going to come hard at the running game and I’m pretty sure we’re going to be well prepared for that. I’m not going to rush back for any reason.
Q: A few weeks ago you were talking about maybe feeling the loss of strength this season. With an injured shoulder, I would think that’s a real issue going into a game.
A: Not really. I’m not going to go out there unless I feel comfortable with my shoulder and if I’m going to play a whole game or half a game.
Q: Coach thought that you would hopefully be able to practice tomorrow?
A: I won’t be ready tomorrow.
Q: What’s the problem, that you can’t lift it?
A: It just hurts. I’m not going to be ready tomorrow. It’s a day to day thing. I may or I may not wake up with pain tomorrow. It’s a day to day process.
Q: Have you ever had an injury like this before?
A: No. My back was the worst injury. If I could get through that, I can get through anything. I’m not worried about the injury.
LB Jon Beason
Q: How do you make sure this team doesn’t say, “This is a guy who was on the practice squad last week and now he’s coming in as the quarterback against us?”
A: It’s on tape. He’s obviously a smart guy. You’re the third guy in, your backup gets hurt, you don’t expect to play and he went in and he was prepared and threw for almost 300 yards. If you do that every game, you’re one of the elite quarterbacks in this league. He’s more than capable.
Q: How do you approach Lacy? You’ve seen your share of running backs the last couple of weeks.
A: I’ve been a big fan of his in college. I love the way he runs, he runs hard, he runs with conviction, plays with passion, big, fast guy. We’re going to have our hands full. It’s going to be the same things, and guys like that you have to swarm. You look at what he did against Chicago and you say, “Okay, this guy’s for real.” So bring your big boys pads and embrace the challenge. The 11 on my side will be trying to get to the ball.
Q: Do you feel the need, going back to Tolzien being the quarterback, or have the coaches felt the need to step up and remind you guys to watch the film and that this guy can play even though Aaron Rodgers isn’t out there.
A: The consensus is, “Hey, the guy can get it done.” Right away you look at the numbers, the stats and you say, “Okay, he’s more than capable.” It’s the same approach, any given Sunday you can get beat, so you really can’t go out there and feel like, “Hey, you know what, you should run over a team,” or, “this team’s going to be a tough challenge.” It always seems to work the opposite way in this league.
Q: Well you know this league, you take arguably the best quarterback out of this offense…
A: In terms of arm strength, accuracy, the ability to scramble and buy time with his legs, he’s the best. Not having him is going to hurt their offense but at the same time this guy has proven that he can go out and get it done.
Q: Do you guys feel snubbed at all that this game got flexed out of prime time?
A: Yeah. Anytime you get flexed out of prime time, it’s a bad thing. Everybody wants to play prime time games, but at the same time you look at who they’re taking you off for, what is it, Broncos and Chiefs, undefeated, division game. So you understand, but we’re hoping to do that later on this season and get that game back.