Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Good Morning. There will be some people that won’t practice today. The obvious is Victor Cruz, Brewer, Diehl. Peyton Hillis will not practice. Cullen Jenkins will not practice. Jernigan will not practice. McBride will not practice… Pierre-Paul, Cooper Taylor and this is Terrell Thomas’ day. So the expectation from that group is hopefully tomorrow we will get three or four of these guys back in order to sustain our depth and allow us to move forward. So that’s the story on the injury situation.
We prepare for the Detroit Lions, a team that lost a very difficult game the other night when the young man kicked a 61-yard field goal to beat them right at the end in Detroit. We travel to Detroit. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are the third leading offense in the NFL, third in passing, ninth in scoring, sixth on third down offense and fourth in the green zone, with only 16 sacks. They do an outstanding job of taking care of the quarterback. Their defense is 16th, but they’re first in third down defense. They’re first in the red zone and they have (Ndamukong) Suh and (Nick) Fairley and now (Ezekiel) Ansah, (Stephen) Tulloch and those people, just to name a few of the outstanding defensive players.
Their special teams are sixth on kickoff return, third on punt coverage, 14th in punt return. Sam Martin, the outstanding rookie punter, also kicks off and has done a great job with the 41.6 net. David Akers, the placekicker we’ve seen for a long time, has an outstanding, strong leg. Jeremy Ross has become the outstanding punt returner and kickoff returner. Four punt returns of more than 35 yards. Three kickoff returns of more than 40 and a punt return and kickoff return against Philadelphia for touchdowns in the snow.
They’re a very talented team. They have a lot of skill. They are a team that requires an awfully good preparation to be prepared to go up there and play and compete and win against the Detroit Lions.
Q: How much is your practice altered or limited because of the number of people who will not work?
A: Well, it will be adjusted. We’ll adjust it and we’ll do half speed work and half jog through and that type of thing. We’ll get all the learning in, but probably half of the speed work.
Q: You mentioned you hope to have a couple of guys back tomorrow. Specifically, which ones?
A: You want to roll the dice? Yeah, anybody that comes through the door, we’ll be more than happy to wrap our arms around.
Q: What is Victor Cruz’s status?
A: He is going through the concussion protocol, but he does have a knee, which will probably prevent him from doing anything, but he’s being evaluated as he goes forward for the knee and the concussion.
Q: Do you know what to expect from your team offensively in Detroit, indoors, with the noise, coming off last week?
A: I expect us to compete like heck. I don’t think that, the noise is not going to be the issue. We’ve got to regroup and compete like heck and play much better and do a better job in protecting the quarterback. We can’t have anything like the first three snaps of the game the other day. We do obviously have to have some balance and be able to run a little bit against a very good defensive team. But I expect us to prepare well and to go up there with the idea of competing and doing the best we possibly can, finding a way to win.
Q: You had some strong words after the game about the effort in some areas. What goes into measuring that?
A: There are a lot of things. It’s instinct. It’s experience. It’s over time. It’s the knowledge of the individual. I did clarify that by the way the next day and said it wasn’t necessarily about the effort as much as it was about the execution, but that was my feeling right after the game. I felt very bad for our team, for anybody who was interested, and I thought there were some things that we could have done better.
Q: Do you feel like you got the people’s attention that maybe were lacking?
A: Oh, but that’s not… yeah, we got their attention but we’ve got to go out and prove it.
Q: Just based on size, would Prince Amukamara have to cover Calvin Johnson because the other two guys are pretty small?
A: We’ll do some things that we’ll have to do. We’ll try to prepare ourselves that way. I’m not saying what we’re going to do, but it’s a good question.
Q: With James Brewer and David Diehl, are they guys who are going to be close to being available on Sunday do you think?
A: I hope so. They’re both sore today, that’s why they’re not working.
Q: This offensive line has been... do you have enough reinforcements?
A: We’re going to have to.
Q: With a guy like Suh, do you have a problem with his style of play?
Q: Yeah. Some people think he stretches the rules.
A: He’s aggressive, hard-nosed, tough, attack-the-line-of-scrimmage kind of player. I don’t think he leads his team in penalties. As a matter of fact, I know he doesn’t.
Q: A lot of the blame for your team’s offensive problems has fallen on Eli.
A: That’s not true. I’m asked this every week. No one person loses football games. It takes a team to win and a team to lose and so the issues that we have are the issues that we have. First, it’s the head coach, blame me, that’s my job. I feel badly for Eli that he has to stand up and answer things of this nature, but it’s understandable where it comes from, the quarterback and the head coach. Is it all his fault? No, of course not.
Q: If your line is as battered as it looks, would you be wary at all of keeping him out there a full game behind that line?
A: I expect that he… matter of fact, we’ve talked about this. He wants to play and he’s looking forward to playing and competing and having a better game. I wouldn’t expect anything different.
Q: What have you seen from Johnathan Hankins?
A: He had a couple of good plays the other day. I think he’s a young guy who is coming along and learning how to play in this league. He makes some errors, but as I said, he did make a couple of plays, nice aggressive plays.
Q: You’ve had him in there more recently…
A: Yeah. For a while we didn’t, it took a while to get him active but I think he’s made some progress.
Q: Has Linval Joseph had a good season in your opinion? He’s kind of a guy we don’t talk about that much.
A: Well, yeah, oh yeah. I think he has. He certainly is a powerful force inside and does a good job. Obviously there are games where he’s done a nice job and has been in the backfield and had a couple sacks here of recent. I do think he’s played well.
Q: Does Eli’s work ethic give you the faith that he’ll fix whatever he has to fix?
A: Absolutely. Absolutely. Not just the work ethic, the will. The will to want to fix it and be better. I know he’ll do that.
Q: How much stock do you put into the way guys play these last two games as you move forward?
A: Well, I think it says a lot about people, I really do. It talks about responsibility and accountability, competitiveness, believing in each other, really understanding what your team is all about. You’ve got to have the passion and the character to fight on. That’s what you signed up for, that’s what this game is all about, is playing as hard as you can possibly play. Pride gets involved, the name on the front of your shirt being more important than the name on your back, all that stuff, so I expect that to take place, yes.
Q: What are your thoughts about Jerrel Jernigan and how he played the other day?
A: I like the way… his toughness was outstanding the other day. Even running his kickoffs up in there, he barreled up in there and got knocked around from side to side, spun around, and then the play he made late where the big safety, (Kam) Chancellor, came and stuck him and he spun out of that and kept going. I was inspired by that.
QB Eli Manning
Q: With all of the injuries on the offensive line, how much of a concern is it heading to Detroit?
A: We’ll be ready and whoever is out there will be prepared to go and hopefully we’ll be able to run our offense well and we know they’re talented. They’ve got a great defensive front and do a good job of getting pressure and just bringing four guys a lot of times. So we’ve just got to get ready for their scheme, what they want to do and have some good answers.
Q: We hear a lot about Ndamukong Suh making the headlines sometimes for some of the wrong reasons. How are Suh and Nick Fairley as players?
A: They’re good players. They’re big guys. They play the run well, but they do a good job of rushing the passer and just getting a good push on the offensive line, kind of getting the guys back in the quarterback’s face, which makes it hard to step up and so you’re going to have to do a good job of moving around in the pocket, buying some time, and hopefully our guys can get open in a timely fashion.
Q: The Lions are still in the playoff hunt. Do you guys find any extra motivation to play the role of spoiler?
A: I think all our motivation is just trying to get back to playing better football than we have these last few weeks and try to go out there and just execute our game plan and be able to compete and try to get that winning feeling back and feel good about going out there and playing a good game.
Q: What do you see when you see them on tape?
A: They’ve got a good scheme. They do a good job of mixing up some unique pressures and different blitzes and then sometimes they just say we’re going to get pressure bringing four guys and play two high and different things, and so you’ve got to have great answers. You’ve got to have pressure beaters when they’re playing coverage, but they still do a good job of getting their rush on the quarterback bringing four guys, which can make things difficult because you’ve got to have routes that are a little bit longer developing to get guys open. So we’ve got to have a good mix and hopefully we can have a good balance of pass and run and move the ball.
Q: Do you go into this week assuming you’re not going to have Victor Cruz?
A: I haven’t heard one way or the other. I don’t know. You just try to go in there and the guys that are practicing… I have a talk with them a bunch and I have a great understanding with them and playing that way and if Victor is able to come back and play, then that would be great.
Q: How important is it to put two good games together to end the season and build for next year?
A: I think not so much the building for next year, but just feeling good about having some positive memories about this season is always helpful and whether you say it’s the next two or really just… Let’s worry about this game. Let’s get back and start playing a little bit better football this game and be able to compete and do some positive things offensively.
Q: Tom said that you want to play the next two games. What is your motivation for saying that you still want to be out there and still want to be a part of this?
A: I talked to coach. It never came up as a question whether I wanted to play or not and I never thought about it any other way but going out there and playing. I want to compete. I want to make improvements and try to run this offense more efficiently and go out there and try to do the best I can and try to get a win.
Q: I would guess that was a quick discussion with you and Tom?
Q: Was that today?
A: We talked on Monday and we’ve done that over the years fairly frequently. I just go in there talking about things, how to get things back on track. What are some ways to get things going, to be better offensively.
Q: Is some of that due to the nature of the offensive line? You could have some really raw bodies in there?
A: No. We weren’t talking about the offensive line, but just trying to get some ideas for this week and how to get the offense playing better, get me playing better and just some general thoughts of everything that’s gone on and how we can make some improvements quickly.
Q: No matter what seems to be happening, your approach doesn’t seem to change. You said you never want to get gun shy. Is that part of being a successful quarterback in the league, to have the ability to withstand adversity?
A: Yeah. I think you’ve just got to forget about the last game. Whether you had a great game or a terrible one, you move forward and you prepare for that next game and you have ideas in your head on what plays are going to work and how they’re going to turn out and hopefully they turn out that way and you make the throws and you make the plays that you know you can and so that’s all I’m doing and I’m going to keep throwing it and keep trying to compete and doing whatever I can to try to win a game.
Q: Do you have any concerns about playing behind some third and fourth string offensive lineman?
A: No. I think our guys will be…They’ll be ready. They’ll compete. Hopefully we get some guys back, but whoever is in there we’ll handle, we’ll have a good plan and have all the faith in the world they’ll do a good job.
Q: That’s got to be hard. Some of the guys up front have not done a good job and now you might be putting guys on the field who haven’t played.
A: That’s just part of it. You go out there and you’ve got to have confidence in them that they’re going to do their jobs, just like they have confidence I’m going to do my job and so it doesn’t change. Obviously you try to maybe do some things to protect that. We’re not going to put a new guy playing one on one on Suh all day and take seven-step drops and pump and go this way and that way, so you’ve got to be smart about it in a sense, but you’ve still have got to run our offense and we’ll make the best of it.
Q: Is the other option just throwing the ball quicker?
A: You can do some quick passing games. Those are all options, but you’ve got to have a mix. You’ve got to be able to run the ball. You have to be able to do a number of things to try to… You can’t just throw five-yard passes all game and so you’ve got to have a good mix.
Q: Do you think Suh is a guy that stretches the rules a little bit? Do you have a problem with his style at all?
A: We haven’t played against Detroit a whole lot over the years. I never had an issue with him. I think he’s a good player and obviously you read a few things and he’s been fined for some things, but I think he is a good player. In the games that I’ve watched, I haven’t seen anything done inappropriate on his behalf.
Q: Has this season shaken your confidence in yourself at all?
A: No. I have the confidence I can make the throws and do what I’ve got to do to win. Sometimes in football… Sometimes things don’t go your way and you can’t catch a break on some things. I know I’ve got to play better, but I know I can do that and get back to playing at a high level.
Q: What did you see from Jerrel Jernigan on Sunday?
A: I thought JJ did a good job. He made some good decisions. He ran some good routes. He beat some one on ones and showed some toughness. I think he did some good things in the slot and made some plays for us and that was good to see.
Q: London Fletcher announced that he’s going to retire at the end of the season. He’s the only guy to play in more consecutive games than you have. What do you make of him and his career?
A: London has been a tremendous player and a great competitor, a guy I loved going against twice a year in games just because you know you’re going to get a smart player and a guy that makes plays and just loves the game of football, and you can see the passion just in the way he prepares and the way he plays the game, so (I have) a great respect for him and I guess you can be happy in a sense we won’t be facing him twice a year for the next years. But he’s one of the good guys in the NFL and a great competitor and I appreciate what he’s done.
Q: You’ll get him in the last game.
A: We’ll get him in that last one. I’ll see him one more time.
Q: After that you’ll be the reigning iron man in the league as far as starts.
A: Well, we’ll see if we get there, right?
Q: Tom didn’t say anything about not starting this game?
Safety Antrel Rolle
Q: Detroit has turned the ball over 31 times, second-most in the league. Are you going there looking to create turnovers this week?
A: Same mindset each and every week, no matter if they turn the ball over one time over the entire season, or 31 times, it doesn’t matter. Our mentality as a defense is always to create turnovers to give our offense more opportunities to put the ball in the end zone.
Q: How big a task is it to try to shut down Calvin Johnson? You’re going to be probably charged with helping out a lot trying to do that.
A: Definitely one of the best, if not the best receiver, in the league. I think he’s earned the right to be called that. He’s a guy that I know works extremely hard for it, so he’s definitely a force to be reckoned with, but at the same time we have guys here that are fully confident in getting the job done and just try to make plays whenever the opportunity is there.
Q: With his size, do you guys almost have to put Prince on him because of the size difference?
A: That’s to be determined. We might throw Trumaine on him. You never know what the game plan is. It all will be revealed come Sunday, though.
Q: What makes him tougher to prepare for now than when you faced him in college?
A: I’m not playing the cornerback position. I think he’s still the same guy. He was a big, fast, athletic guy in college. There’s no difference now. Obviously (he has taken his) game to a whole new dimension. He’s definitely become one of the best receivers in this league. He’s going to be challenging, no doubt about it, but like us, we have guys in there that are confident in themselves and we’re confident enough to go out there and get the job done. The result will be shown on Sunday. There’s no telling what is going to take place.
CB Trumaine McBride
Re: playing a player like Calvin Johnson, who knows your number but not your name
A: You can’t really let what people say affect you on the field. I know as far as me, Prince, we go in every week with the same mindset regardless of who it is or what they say. We have to get better and every week is getting better and just make a play.
Q: Would you expect him to know your name?
Q: I mean, you’re not a rookie, why not?
A: I mean, last year I was out of the league. I haven’t done much, so it doesn’t bother me that he doesn’t know me.
Q: I think he said he knew your number. He said 38, so he’s obviously watching something.
A: it is what it is. Not a big deal.
Q: How big of a challenge is he and Nate Burleson?
A: Obviously Calvin Johnson is a great wide receiver. He’s big, fast, and he’s physical. We just have to watch film and see what he doesn’t do as well and just take advantage of that.
Q: This isn’t the biggest group of cornerbacks. You have to go up against him. What are the challenges and how do you approach that?
A: I’ve been this small forever. Everyone I go against is always bigger. With me personally, I just have to find ways. With him being so tall, I can’t jump with him. It doesn’t make sense for me to try to jump with him. It makes more sense for me to play his hands when he’s coming down and knock the ball out. That’s one of the things that I could do possibly.
DE Justin Tuck
Q: Last week you were eliminated but is it different having another game where there are no playoff implications?
Q: Why not?
A: Because we play to play football and we still have two more games on our schedule.
Q: Have you had to talk to some guys about effort and focus?
A: No. Focus maybe, not effort. I think the effort was good, I just think the execution last week was not there.
Q: Do you expect that to change this week?
Q: Reggie Bush has been around for a while, bounced around with a couple of teams. How different is he than he was a couple of years ago?
A: I think he looks a lot better this year. I think he’s gotten a lot of his explosion back. I know how it feels when you’re injured and you can’t be yourself. The last couple years it looked like that for him but I think now he’s starting to feel good and it shows. I think he’s real close to being a 1,000-yard back on a team that hasn’t been known to run the ball so he’s played very well for them this year.
Q: Matthew Stafford has struggled in the fourth quarter the last several games. Is there something you’re seeing there that you can maybe expose?
A: I think Stafford has done a good job getting the ball out of his hands, almost to a fault sometimes. They’re not giving up a lot of sacks and a lot of the reason why is because he’s getting it out. Sometimes he just chucks it, so I think a lot of times you see guys being able to make plays on him because of that but I think he’s playing well. Another year for him over 4,000 yards, obviously he has big receivers, probably the best receiver to play in the game right now, and a tight end, 6-6-plus tight ends, so it’s going to be a huge challenge for us.
Q: You had mentioned last week about maybe doing some scout team reps to help out the O-line. Were you able to do that today?
A: Very little. Today’s practice wasn’t really set up for me to do so.
Q: With everybody being hurt.
A: That wasn’t it, it was just the scheme of the practice. It wasn’t set up for me to do so.