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Coach Coughlin on Patriots Matchup


Q: What's it like going back to a once in a lifetime experience and what will you tell the guys who haven't been to the Super Bowl before?A: For all of us it's a lifetime experience. We may not put once with it, but if you're fortunate enough to be in a position where you're going to the Super Bowl and you're in this profession, it's very, very difficult to compare anything to it, whether you're a rookie, whether you're a veteran, whether you've been in it as long as some of us have. We're very excited about that. We're trying to keep all things in perspective, not get the cart before the horse. I think they're doing a pretty good job of that. Just the turnout, in terms of the number of people from the media, makes it very difficult for them to realize it's work days. These are work days for us and we have to get our work done.

Q: How do you control the players? I assume you have a curfew.A: Well, we do [have a curfew], but the main thing is that they're professionals and they understand they're going to the biggest sporting event in the world. They want to make sure that they prepare themselves properly for this great occurrence. We've talked about different aspects of this all week long – the great franchise you represent. There's no way that anyone wants to do anything to embarrass himself, his family name, his franchise. That's all been stated, but I think this group is really, really interested in being as good as they can possibly be.

Q: Last time you put the curfew time in the players' hands. Are you going to do that again?A: I have done that, but I have not spoken to the team about that. Until tomorrow morning I'll keep that to myself.

Q: How do you keep practice fresh over a two-week period?A: Keep your eye on the prize. Keep your eye on the prize. Steely-eyed focus. Keep your eye on the prize. There are an awful lot of things to prepare for, believe me. We're fortunate to have this extra practice time because now we can break things out accordingly, present it logically, whether it be by the number of times it occurs or however we choose to do that, but we'll use the time very well. There will be very little that's repeated, believe me.

Q: Why are the Patriots so successful with the QB sneak?A: They're very, very good at it. [Brady's] done it for a long time. Everybody knows he's coming and they still have a hard time stopping it. What I've noticed this year with him, he's taking it wide – a little bit wider than just directly straight ahead.

Q: What's the most important thing a coach can do in these two weeks?A: Be as organized as you possibly can. Be as efficient in terms of your preparation. Make sure your players understand that when we're working, we're working and when they do have some time to themselves and obviously that's their time, but make sure that in the time that we're studying and we're meeting and practicing that all of our focus and attention is on this game. You don't want any regrets. You don't want to leave anything on the field.

Q: How do you balance going from having negative attention on you (people calling for you to be fired) to the positive attention (people calling for you to be in the Hall of Fame)?A: I respectfully pay little attention to it. Thank you very much for asking. I just try to do the best job I possibly can – put the blinders on, go to work and be the best you can possibly be. Once you have done everything that you possibly can – you've put forth your greatest effort – then I can live with whatever's next.

Q: Your players referred to you as "loving" and "caring" today. Is that right?A: I can be that way.

Q: You told your team last Saturday that someone not in the headlines will make a big play. Why?A: (I told them someone) is going to have to. Because I had that sense about the game. Because I knew the quality of both teams. I knew where their strengths were. I knew what the expectation level of the type of game it was going to be. I just felt that way. I just felt that it would come down to some other means, perhaps, by which we would have to find another way to win.

Q: Why do you feel it's important to recognize multiple people for their efforts?A: If we can do that. It's going to be honest. It's not going to be made up. If the players deserve the credit, then so be it. If it's 25 of them that deserve to be recognized among their peers in the meeting room, then it's mentioned.

Q: Why is that important?A: Because what's important is that we all understand that it takes everybody. It takes everyone involved for us to win. The thing that I stress is team. It takes a team. It's wonderful to have great, great players, but it also takes every man on the squad believing that he makes a strong contribution in order to help you win.

Q: Ronnie Barnes' contribution?A: He's been here through them all. He does a tremendous job. The people in his department do a tremendous job and it is not an easy job in order to put people on the field on a weekly basis, have to face the head coach when he's saying, 'What do you mean the guy's not going to make it?' It's not an easy job, but he stands tall, works his tail off. He's completely devoted to his job – 24 hours. He's taken players over there on a Saturday night over to the hospital and what have you. And he's done it consistently for his entire career. The team of doctors, the medical people, our training staff – they're completely devoted to the job that they have and their job is to get the players on the field, help the players overcome whatever the issues might be from a medical standpoint or any other standpoint. We've had lots of issues with players in other areas besides just the physical ailments and they've done a great job of that as well.

Q: Have they helped you come back from your injury?A: They have. They have done that.

Q: Is it different that Bill Belichick uses a Edelman at CB?A: He's done it pretty much throughout his career with different players at different times. This being the person that's involved on both sides of the ball and special teams. Last week he was the third receiver, he played in the nickel back position and he ran the punts back. I don't think he sold tickets, but he may have.

Q: Do you have the same energy level as you did in Jacksonville and the beginning of your career here?A: Now? I got more.

Q: How different are you now than when you arrived here?A: I don't know. I don't think I'm that different. The principals, the values, what we believe are important, those things are all the same. The virtues are all practiced the same way. I think maybe I'm a little more patient.

Q: Do you expect to see Edelman on Victor Cruz?A: They've played different people in that spot. They don't have to play Edelman at that spot, but if they do play Edelman in that spot, Victor will be in that spot as well.

Q: Do you still need to repeat the theme "finish" since the season is down to one game?A: Absolutely. The first thing I said to them on Thursday was 'finish.' The theme of the week would be finish. We'll drive that home again tomorrow.

Q: What did Jacobs' fourth-and-one run in Super Bowl XLII mean to you?A: To be able to keep the ball. The final result. Like Baltimore the other day – second-and-one, third-and-one, fourth-and-one. They made nine yards on first-down and ultimately ended up missing the field goal. It's so critical. You give them a fresh set of downs, what may very well have happened. You can pick out those spots where against the great defensive teams or however, you have to keep the ball. You have to have the ball in order to have a fresh set of downs – you got another opportunity.

Q: Is that play easier to run in the hurry up?A: Yeah you can say that. For as many times as you hurry up the defense hurries up as well. A lot of people in that situation will go through a sneak. Well guess what? Those two big guys that are playing across the ball are lined up and they take up from the head of the center to beyond the guard. You can get caught in that situation as well

Q: How have the players handled the extra attention?A: From the response I've gotten from some people that have been very honest with us about that, I think they've done well.

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