QB Eli Manning
Q: When you were 0-6, did you ever think you would get to this point where this game would count so much?
A: We were hoping so. We were hoping we could turn around and get hot and win a couple in a row and we’ve obviously done that and got back into the mix of things and so obviously we’ve got to keep it going. It’s a big game in the division and obviously they’re a talented team, but this is where we wanted to be. Now we’ve got to go out there and keep playing well.
Q: What is it about this team’s resiliency where you’ve always had to come back?
A: I think it’s just great. Obviously the players, the organization, the coaches are never giving up, never getting frustrated or turning against each other. We knew we could play better. We knew we could start making the plays and turn this season around and we’ve been able to do that.
Q: How do you do it this week?
A: Just keep playing smart football. Our defense has been playing outstanding. Offensively, we’ve been more consistent and have done a better job of avoiding the bad plays, so we’ve got to keep moving the ball, having positive plays and when we have opportunities to hit some big ones we need to do that. But we’ve just got to run our offense efficiently.
Q: How important is it for you guys to take advantage of this opportunity this week because you fought so hard to give yourselves a meaningful football game in November?
A: Obviously this is where we wanted to be four or five weeks ago at the bye week. We wanted to work ourselves back into the mix and have a chance to win this division and this is the next game. That’s the way we’ve been doing it; one game at a time. This is the next one and obviously it’s a big one in the division.
Q: People say ‘one game at a time’ is cliché, but when it starts to work, it’s not a cliché any more, is it?
A: No. That’s the only way you can do it and obviously when we got off to a bad start, that’s just the way you’ve got to attack things is to truly take it one at a time and slowly get back into the mix of things. You can’t win four games at once. You can only win one at a time and see where your standing is in the division the next week.
Q: How relevant is the Week 1 matchup versus Dallas that you played so many months ago?
A: You obviously still look at it. You look at scheme, look at things that they were successful with, what we had trouble with, how they got some of the plays and what they might do and how they change over the weeks and see if they’ve done anything differently. So you’ll definitely look at that game and try to get some ideas from it.
Q: Are they moving DeMarcus Ware around?
A: They move him around a pretty good bit, especially third down. I don’t think they want you to know exactly where he’s going to be so they try to move him around to try to get him lined up one on one.
Q: Did you feel more comfortable in the pocket on Sunday?
A: I felt good. I was moving around some when I had to. Other times I had great protection, so I felt good and for the most part I had time for the plays to develop and could see my throws and step into them.
Q: How much have you had to change this season? Did you literally have to concentrate on throwing shorter?
A: No. I don’t think I’ve changed. I think I still go through my same progressions and I’m still going through our reads. We’ve probably thrown a little bit more three-step passing game than in the past, it seems like, but we’ve been successful with it and still hitting some good plays. I think we’ve done a good job and we’ve done a good job of doing some new things, some new concepts that we looked at in the offseason and they’ve worked well for us.
Q: Did you feel like you gave the game away to Dallas in the first matchup?
A: Obviously they made some plays, but I felt we had a great opportunity to win that game even at the end. We’re down six points or so there at the end, driving around midfield, and I feel like we were going to go score. We’d been driving the ball well the second half. So I thought if we just played smarter and don’t turn the ball over six times we would have great chance to win that one.
Q: You and a lot of the guys here have been in big playoff-type regular season games like this. Do you think that helps?
A: Yeah. I think so just because you shouldn’t get nervous about it. Just because it’s a big game, you really don’t treat it any differently. You prepare as hard as you normally prepare. You go out there and you just try to do your job and you try to make smart decisions and understand the concepts and just compete every play and do what you would normally do to try to get a win.
Q: You said you shouldn’t get nervous. Does that mean you don’t?
A: No. I don’t think I will. I think you go out there and you just look at it as it’s the next game. It’s an important game, but these last four were just as important. At this point, every game is important. You need to get wins to stay in the playoff picture.
Q: Does the fact that you guys have won a lot of these types of games help with the confidence or you guys being able to figure it out?
A: I think it’s been good that we have guys who have been through stretches where you’ve lost a few and you come out and stretches where you’ve won a bunch and you still come to work prepared and ready and knowing it doesn’t matter what you did last week. It’s about what you’re doing this week and each week making sure you are getting better, you are making corrections from the week before and doing everything you can in your preparation to make sure you’re going to go out there and play your best.
Q: You guys have made the importance of this game pretty early.
A: Right. Yeah, but it’s the next game. It’s an important one. It’s in the division. It’s always important when you get in November and you’re playing divisional games. They’re always going to play a major importance on the season.
Q: The Cowboys have given up a bunch of yards. What are you seeing on film?
A: I don’t know if there’s one thing specific. They’ve played some teams very well. You look at Philadelphia. They didn’t give up much and they do a great job. They’ll give up some plays, but then they’ll get turnovers. They’ll give up some yards, but then they’ll get a turnover. They give up some big plays, but also they make a lot of big plays on defense. You’ve got to make sure you’re protecting the ball.
Q: Do you feel like this team has a certain confidence about them right now riding this four-game winning streak?
A: Yeah. I think we’ve found our way, that we know we had to play to win games and playing smart and not making the mistakes, but also taking our shots and being aggressive and hopefully we can go out there this week and continue to execute well enough to win the game.
Q: Is there anything better than Giants vs. Cowboys with a lot on the line this late in the year?
A: No. It’s fun. These are fun games and another home game. We should have a great crowd and it’s an important game. You get excited for these.
Q: Is this game the climax of the NFC East?
A: I know it’s a big game for us and to get back in the divisional race and so we’re going to prepare hard and go out there and see if we can get a win.
Q: Does the three-step drop emphasis in recent weeks help with the offensive line transition?
A: Yeah. The ball is going to get out a little faster and sometimes you can go three-step, but if you hit guys throwing slants and you can hit guys running you can still get big plays. You can get 20-yard gains, so it’s just about trying to mix it in just to slow down the pass rush. Those defensive linemen sometimes get annoyed when they’re rushing hard and the ball is getting out before they can get back there and so you’ve got to mix in that with the play-action, with the five- and seven-step drops just to have a great mix to throw off the defense.
Q: Is it impossible to use the seven-step drop when you aren’t able to run the ball?
A: No. You’ve still got to use it and you’ve still got to have some things to get the ball down the field to try to hit some plays and it’s just a matter of what the defense is doing and sometimes you’ve got to hold the ball a little bit and you’ve got to slide in the pocket to give yourself a chance to make some plays.
Q: As a team, they are plus-11. Do you have to be more conscious than ever against a team like this as far as ball security?
A: Yeah. They do a great job on defense and causing a lot of fumbles. Their secondary, their safeties, all do a great job going after the ball. They do a good job breaking on the ball and catching tipped balls and getting pressure on the quarterback, making you throw it a little bit before you might be ready. So they do a good job on defense running to the ball, being aggressive and making some plays.
Q: When you look back to that first game, did you have any sense of what might be in store?
A: No. You didn’t know. I thought there were a lot of good things in that game and obviously some bad plays also. So I thought we would hopefully be able to kind of build off the good plays and fighting back and to get back into the game when we were down and kind of use that as a motivation into those next weeks.
Q: There was a lot of miscommunication in the first game. Are you guys past that now?
A: I don’t think there was a lot of miscommunication. We just kind of had some unfortunate plays. You had some new guys in there playing for the first time, so we weren’t quite as comfortable with some of the personnel as you want to be. But I think we’ve been getting a little bit more consistent and just feel comfortable with all the guys in there right now.
Q: You were getting on some people during the game on Sunday. Were you making a conscious effort to do that?
Q: Is the beard superstitious?
A: I just think it looks great.
DE Justin Tuck
Q: Giants-Cowboys, need I say more?
A: No, so I can leave now, right? The interview is over with?
Q: It’s special, right?
A: It’s going to be a barnburner.
Q: Do you get extra pumped for an opponent like that?
A: I don’t believe in the whole extra pumped-ness. Every opponent you play you should be as amped that you can be to play. But, you know, people around me get a little more pumped. The fans get a little bit more pumped, you guys are a little more upbeat today it looks like, looks like you all went home and got some sleep this weekend. But yeah, at the end of the day, it’s about the game. It’s a team that we have a lot of history against and it’s a game that’s of relevance to what we want to do this year.
Q: You were 0-6, what does it mean to be here now with this important game?
A: It means we’re 4-6 trying to be 5-6.
Q: Could you have envisioned this though when you guys were 0-6? It’s easy to say that you’re going to take it game-by-game or day-by-day but here you are.
A: Well at 0-6, I didn’t envision anything other than this. Obviously that doesn’t mean that it will happen, but it did. All of us were very confident that we could get out of that hole. We felt as though we should have played a lot better to not have been in that hole to begin with. It’s the cards that we’ve dealt ourselves and we need to figure out how to play the hand better. We did the last four weeks.
Q: What does that say about the team and coach Coughlin in particular?
A: I don’t know.
Q: The leadership that he brings.
A: It means we’ve got leadership, that’s all. I think people are blowing it out of proportion, to be honest with you. We’ve still got a long way to go. And believe me, we feel fortunate to be where we are, but we also understand that we’re not even close to where we need to be.
Safety Antrel Rolle
Q: You were one of the guys early on really hoping to take this one game at a time, that you guys can get right back into it. What did it take for you guys to be in this position, to play a meaningful game after starting 0-6?
A: It took everyone, starting from the top all the way down to the bottom. Organization, owners, general managers, coaches, players, cleaning staff, it doesn’t matter, it took everyone. Everyone had a positive attitude, everyone just kept their confidence, just rising no matter what we were going through. Everyone is involved in it.
Q: Dealing with guys like Witten and Dez on the field at the same time, is it a pick your poison kind of thing? Do you have to worry about clamping down on one of them or can you really contain them both at the same time?
A: I think you can go out there and do whatever job you have to do. Both are phenomenal athletes and phenomenal players. Obviously they’re serious threats, but at the same time I think if you go out there and play your defense, I think you can go out there and do whatever it is that you want to do.
Q: Do you think you need to win this game to be in the race? Are you already in the race? How do you look at that?
A: Personally, I feel like this game is going to determine the outcome of the season. I think this is such a huge game, being they’ve already beaten us once. I think this is a game, we can’t walk away with a loss.
Q: How crazy is the NFC East?
A: I guess it’s crazy. I really only worry about the New York Giants and in the offseason, starting from the beginning, obviously we weren’t where we wanted to be, but right now we’re fighting, just trying to give ourselves a chance (…)
Q: When you look around and what’s happened in the East, Cowboys start strong and now you seem to be catching them on the backside. It’s got to feel good that after this tough start you’re still in the race. You’ve got a good chance.
A: That’s what it’s all about right now at this point. We’re just trying to fight and take every game as one game, as a priority and try to give ourselves a chance. We kind of buried ourselves pretty deep starting out 0-6. Like I said, you’re just taking it one game at a time and we’re just trying to give ourselves a fair chance.
WR Victor Cruz
Q: What’s it going to take to beat Dallas this week?
A: Just the same focus we’ve been having all week long. Just the same attention to detail, the same focus we’ve been having and a valiant effort. It’s going to take all of us, all hands on deck, to be able to get this victory.
Q: It’s one thing to say you’re going to take this one game at a time, that you can get back into this after being 0-6. What did it really take for this team on a day by day basis?
A: It just took their hunger. It just took their determination and that fight and that will to understand that this thing isn’t over. There’s still a lot of games to be played. We still have a chance to do what we want to do and all of our goals are still intact. We’re excited for this opportunity to play the Dallas Cowboys and keep our dreams alive.
Q: The first game of the season you guys turned it over 6 times. Does that have any relevance whatsoever on this game?
A: I don’t think so. I think we’re a completely different team from that first game. I think we understand how to take care of the ball. I think we understand how to maintain our focus offensively and defensively and maintain ourselves and be able to focus in on our game plan and do what we have to do to win.
Q: Besides what’s at stake, playing Dallas is always a special occasion, right?
A: Yeah. Anytime you play Dallas you get fired up, you get a lot of intensity. They obviously don’t like us and a lot of this team doesn’t like them, so it’s going to be a ballgame, no matter which way you look at it, and we just have to make sure we’re on the other end with a victory.
Q: During the streak, how low did it get? Could you see yourself in the position that you’re in now?
A: It didn’t get very low for us, to be honest with you. Coach Coughlin did a really good job of keeping the team together, keeping our mindset on the goal at hand, even though we had six losses. He understood that this is the type of team that has resilience that can battle back from anything and he kept us focused.
RB Brandon Jacobs
Q: When the Cowboys come to town, do your eyes light up?
A: No question, no question. I didn’t have an opportunity to play against them in Week 1 and all of last year, so I’m really looking forward to the opportunity. I know they’re a good football team, I know they’ve battled some injuries but they have mostly everybody back. They’re a good football team, you can’t sleep on them, but we’ve got to come out and be ready.
Q: What does it mean to have a meaningful game like this at this point in the season after being 0-6?
A: It’s very special. We have an opportunity to do something after being 0-6 and close some major cushion in our division with them being in front of us. That’s the team we’ve got to go through. We know they’re going to be ready, they’ve got some guys healthy, but it doesn’t matter, we’ve played against them when they were 100 percent healthy in certain years, so it doesn’t matter who they get back.
Q: I know you didn’t believe the season was over at 0-6 but at that point, as dark as things were around here, did you really think that five weeks later you’d be playing a big game against the Cowboys and it would be something that mattered?
A: No question. If we’re 10-0 and we have the Cowboys, it’s a big game, no question. Right now it’s a really meaningful game because of what we’re trying to do in regards to our season, so we have to be ready. We know they have that offense that’s going to come and try and score a lot of points and they’ve just restructured their defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3. We know they have some talent at the defensive back spot as well as all the other spots. We’ve played against the guys for years and we’ve played against them 100 percent and we’ve played them when they weren’t 100 percent. We know what we’re in for.
Q: What does this say about the team, in particular coach Coughlin, that he was able to keep this ship going in the right direction after such a terrible start?
A: A lot of us in this locker room look up to coach Coughlin and respect him as a man, as a father, first, before coach, and to us, to have him as our coach means a whole hell of a lot to us. Him coming in and preparing for these teams, week in and week out, he’s going to have us ready and we know that. We’re going to go out and fight for him.
CB Terrell Thomas
Q: Opening game against Dallas, they were much more patient offensively than I expected them to be. Have they shown those types of tendencies throughout the season or are they going back to the big stuff?
A: A little bit of both, to be honest with you. They mix it up but I think they know our personnel well and they definitely want to protect Romo. One thing they did a good job of was getting the ball out quick, making very quick decisions with the ball, checking down to the flat and taking what they could get, so we’re taking that same approach in this gameplan. We have different things and obviously we have 10 weeks of film to study and see what the tendencies are as well.
Q: How much better is your defense now that you have Will Hill playing and Jon Beason playing? You’ve got some different parts now.
A: We definitely feel more confident. I thought we played a great game given the situations but obviously we got great additions with Jon Beason. More than anything, we have confidence as a defense, everybody’s on the same page. We have an identity, we know who we are, we’re going to go in there, stop the run, force Romo to pass the ball and hopefully limit the big plays and make some turnovers.
Q: Do you see anything different from Romo? Is it harder to get him flustered now than it was in the past?
A: Yes, no doubt. He’s not turning the ball over, he has six interceptions off 21 touchdowns which is a great stat to have. He’s getting the ball out quick, he’s not getting hit as much. The biggest thing is that we have to capitalize off turnovers and our offense has to be able to control the ball. When you put them in situations where they can’t dictate, they’re not that good of a team. Their defense is not playing that well right now; hopefully our offense can expose them in that area and we can continue to make turnovers because obviously when we do that we win.