Coach Mike McCoy and QB Philip Rivers speak to the New York Media
Coach Mike McCoy
Q: Is there something Philip Rivers is doing to change his game? Or what is he doing to perform so well this year?
A: I think the entire offense has done a nice job of buying into the changes and adapting to all of the changes that we’ve made schematically and everything. It all starts with the quarterback. Since the first day we all got here and said I want Philip and kind of talked to him about what we were doing. I think it has kind of re-energized him a little bit. He had so much success in the last system and then you have a new system coming in, it takes a lot of time and effort to master that system. I think you put all of the time and hard work in every day to kind of master the system. He always has good questions and he’s always looking for that next phase of what we’re going to do, what that next step is. I think he bought into the changes and has done a great job of running the offense.
Q: What have you seen from Sean Lissemore? How has he performed?
A: He did a great job for us. It was a great acquisition for us when we got him. We saw what kind of player he was and the system he had played in before the change this year and it was a way for us to improve our football team and that’s something you always do as an organization. Anytime you can bring in a good player like him in to upgrade your football team, that’s what you do. He’s done a nice job for us so far.
Q: What has been his strength?
A: I think he’s done a nice job overall, playing against the run, and actually done a nice job of getting after the quarterback from time to time.
Q: When you look at the Giants, do you watch their first six games?
A: Well, there’s a number of different things that you watch throughout. There are certain situational things we watch, there are certain parts that we have broken up, there are all different areas. It’s all parts of the season that you watch. Like I say, you don’t watch every single snap from every game, but there’s certain parts from every game, or you see certain things that you’ve seen or you make note of. There’s a lot of it you do watch.
Q: In the second half of the season, they’ve been much better. What have you seen in that phase?
A: Sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. That’s the way the season goes sometimes and I think Tom Coughlin and his staff do a great job and it says a lot about the character of their football team and what they’ve done the past six week, after getting off to a slow start. Some things happen. There’s injuries that have happened. You don’t get the breaks, all of a sudden you get on a roll and win one, you get going and your football team gets energized from it and you start making those plays that you might not have been making early on, or you get that turnover, you don’t turn the ball over. Whatever it is, that’s why you have to play 16 weeks.
Q: You haven’t been there very long, but what’s your sense of just the fans and community of having Eli come in? Is there a buzz in town about Eli coming back?
A: I have not talked individually to anybody about that. We’re worried about beating the Giants’ football team. It’s not about one guy. They’ve got a good football team. He’s the leader of the franchise obviously. We have to worry about the whole entire football team.
Q: With the playoff scenario in your conference, do you say guys, we’ve got a shot?
A: We’re worried about one game only. That’s all you can do. We can’t control what everybody else is doing in this league. We can just take care of what the San Diego Chargers are doing. That’s our number one focus, taking care of our jobs first and letting everything take care of itself at the end of the year.
QB Philip Rivers
RE: On facing Eli after the 2004 trade.
A: It didn’t come up yet this week. It really hasn’t. It’s obvious it exists and that it happened and there are a lot of memories there, but I’m sure Eli will say the same thing: this is about, at least from my standpoint, the challenge at hand of facing this Giants defense, trying to get a win to keep us alive and obviously they’ve won five of six, so I know Eli is trying to keep them going. I know it’s a good side story, but I don’t think it’s at the top of either of our minds.
Q: Eli said he’s been looking at you and Ben Roethlisberger over the years and that he’s had pride in his 2004 quarterback class. Have you felt the same way over the past 10 years, kind of keeping tabs on what each of you have done?
A: Yes. I think it’s human nature. There are certain guys or certain positions and certain things that you’re always linked to. I know for the three of us being in that draft class and how everything went down that there’s always going to be the comparisons and such. I don’t know that I follow them so much to see where I stack up against them, but more so just they’re guys that you know you’re going to be linked to forever. With the ’04 draft class, they’re going to talk about who did what and who did this and it’s not something that necessarily motivates you, but it’s something that you’re aware of. I’ve got a great deal of respect for Eli and what he’s done and the quarterback he is and the player he is, but it’s not like, ‘What did he do this week? Or what did he do next week?’ There’s too many more things important than to get caught up in that.
Q: Are you still hoping that one day you’ll have a chance for a Super Bowl?
A: I think that’s the goal of every team in this league. I think the goal of every quarterback is to help lead your team to win a championship, to get to the top of the mountain. I think it gets over said that, ‘this guy’s got a ring.’ It’s not really about that. I want to experience for our team and for our teammates and the guys that we played with for so long to experience getting to the top with one another and so you look back over the whole journey getting there. That’s really, I think, what’s most motivating is to stand at the top and say we did it. Not so you can that got you in this category or this club or this deal. It’s really not and I’m not just saying that. I want to lead this team to a championship because that’s the ultimate goal and that’s the top of the mountain.
Q: What does it say about you and Eli that you’re both 10 years later and still playing at such a high level and still the face of your respective franchises?
A: I’m grateful for that and proud of the fact that when you talk about the three of us… You asked about Eli, but Ben… We’re all three 10 years later playing quarterback for our teams. Combined, Eli and I have both started in over 250 games or something like that and played in a lot of games and helped our team win a lot of games. So I do think there’s something to be said about that and I’m thankful that I’ve had that opportunity now for 10 years. Obviously, I didn’t play the first two, but it is something you feel blessed and thankful for and then you do feel some sense of accomplishment that you’re able to be out there for your team for so many in a row. I know Eli has got a long streak going and we’ve had one here as well.
Q: With Justin Tuck coming off a monster performance, how do you plan to neutralize their pass rush that’s come to life in recent weeks?
A: I watched the Sunday Night Game on the TV copy first and Tuck… there was a lot said about him and two and a half sacks or whatever and then he goes out and has four in a game. I think really the stats and the numbers are more for the newspapers and just to talk about and see the stats and this and that. I think, as players, we turn on the tape and just because there’s not sacks doesn’t mean they aren’t pressuring and they aren’t really good rushers and they haven’t been playing well. I know Tuck… I was going against him and Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl way back in ’02-’03, so he’s had a heck of a run there and all those guys; not just him. It’s a good defensive front. I really think it starts with those guys and their front and their ability to create pressure.
Q: Can you talk about Danny Woodhead and what he’s meant to the offense this year?
A: He’s been a great addition and I said this when we signed him. That’s no disrespect to our other free agent acquisitions, but he was the one I was most excited about; just the dimension that he was going to bring to us, not only as a receiver, but also carrying the football. I don’t know if he’s still leading the league as far as running backs in receptions, but I know he was going into last week and he’s just been a great asset for us. He’s a great protector and his ability to not just run routes from the backfield, but split him out and run routes and then to hand him the ball. It’s one thing if you’ve got... Danny runs in the game and they know it’s pass, but he’s had quite a bit of carries and ran it well also.
Q: You haven’t come across the Giants that much professionally. Did you ever think of what might have been if you were on the team?
A: I think when you end up playing the Giants with Eli there, you do think what would it have been like had our spots been different, he’d been here and I’d been there. We played him in ’05 and I wasn’t playing and then in ’09 we played there and the last year there was the stadium at the Meadowlands and then here this year. It’s only been three times, only two for me playing against him. I don’t so much just because I honestly believe had the trade been close to going down or already the plan, I don’t think the Giants would have drafted me. I don’t think about it as much because I didn’t really think the Giants was a realistic spot for me, but when they drafted me it must be something going on with San Diego. I don’t think about it as much because I don’t think it was much of a possibility as it seemed, even though they did end up drafting me.
Q: Even in that moment, once they said your name, you thought maybe the deal is in the works then?
A: I just thought that maybe something was going on. I didn’t know for sure. I hadn’t heard anything before that other than all the stories whether Eli was going to come to San Diego or not. I think also, I never spoke to any member of the Giants’ organization on draft day. When I heard my name called, that was the first of any contact I had. I had no contact with anybody, usually they call you beforehand, so I knew something was up there, when you get drafted without even hearing from the team.
Q: Coughlin called it a win/win for both sides? Would you agree?
A: I think so. I would hope so. I hope our organization feels the same way. I know that I’m thankful that I’ve been here 10 years and I know my family has grown quite a bit in my time here and we’re thankful for being here. I certainly can say it’s been a win for those guys in New York. Eli’s led them to two championships and has had a heck of a career.