Coughlin:** Good morning. It's an exciting week for us. This is Wednesday, in case you don't know it. As we prepare for the Indianapolis Colts, the Colts under Chuck Pagano, an outstanding football team. He and his staff have done an outstanding job. Number one in the league on offense, first place in the AFC South, an exceptional fast start team. Sixty-four points in the first quarter, the opponents, 13. They are the number one passing team as well, big plays, you name it. Defensively – very, very aggressive. Prior to the Pittsburgh game, they were third in the league on defense. They have a high percentage of pressure on each and every down and distance. Special teams is outstanding as well with McAfee and Vinatieri and Whalen doing the returning. They have done an outstanding job with regard to that as well, so we look forward to this week of preparation against this outstanding team. Looking forward to Monday night and really looking forward to being at home and sharing the experience with our fans, looking for our fans. The 12th man, I think, will make a big difference here in the remaining nine games of our schedule, and it starts Monday night right here at home. We have three guys that are on the injury report that will not work: Rashad Jennings, Cullen Jenkins. We do still have limited work on the part of Rodgers-Cromartie as well.
Q: This is the first time in almost a month that you've been back home. Just your thoughts in general. Like you said, you're looking for your fans to respond, just to be back in your own place.
A: Well, that's the whole deal. It's back home, back with the home fans, back in an environment that is a positive thing for our football team to be able to play in front of our fans, to be able to count on our fans to help us as we play some of these outstanding teams down through the stretch.
Q: To have more big plays in your offense, do you have to be more aggressive, better execution?
A: Both. Higher… the execution is something that we really have talked an awful lot about. Playing above the Xs and Os, talked about that a lot. I don't care how it comes, short pass and long run, long pass and long run, whatever it is, kickoff return, punt return, interception run to the end zone, we need more of them.
Q: What have you seen from Damontre Moore and would you like to see more production from him?
A: He's a guy that we've got to get, particularly at this time of year, to do some more rotation of that front to try to keep the guys as fresh as they can, particularly when you're playing against Andrew Luck. You're going to need that and we would like to be able to get into a system maybe where we can do some more rotating with Damontre Moore and Robert Ayers, as well.
Q: When we spoke to Jerry Reese earlier this week, he really seemed interested in seeing the offense be more aggressive, more shots down the field, things like that. What's your take on that?
A: You can ask questions, whatever you want. We'd like to see that, too. We'd like to see the ball in the end zone more, however it gets there. We do realize that when you're playing some of the people we're playing, you've got to give yourself more chances to be able to do that. There's a lot with regard to that as well, it's not just that kind of deal. You've got to protect the passer, you've got to kind of do all of the things that we tried to structure in order to do. We've gotten good numbers out of the quarterback position. We need even better and we need more production out of the people that are involved in handling the ball – the runners, the catchers, etcetera.
Q: How fine a line is that to walk for Eli though? If he is more aggressive, the turnovers…
A: Well, it's always there. No question. Nevertheless, we've certainly had our personnel changes, but regardless, we've got to get to the point where when the opportunity is there, and I mean… I'm not going to point out what that is for our team, but when it is there, we've got to take our shots.
Q: When Geoff Schwartz is ready, does he come back as a full-time player or do you try to ease him in a little bit?
A: We'll see. We'll see throughout the whole process here with the amount of time that he has to get ready. He's coming off of a significant injury so we'll see how he practices and then we'll go from there.
Q: How close is he?
A: He hasn't practiced yet. He's going out there, he's going to go through individual, and then we'll spoon feed him in there, no doubt on the scout side of the ball first.
Q: Does Rashad Jennings have a chance to play Monday?
Q: You know what Ahmad Bradshaw can bring to the table. What do you remind your defense about him?
A: Well, we know very well what he brings to the table. He's an outstanding football player, highly competitive. Obviously has demonstrated he catches the ball out of the backfield very well. A difficult guy to bring down, an outstanding stiff arm, always looking toward the end zone and the next play. Great energy, a guy that does a very, very good job of upbeating his entire team. That sounds like the scouting report description.
Q: After the Philly game, Justin Pugh was very hard on himself speaking to us after the game. When you see that type of thing, a guy taking accountability like that, what does that tell you about the guy even though it was a young guy and how has he rebounded from that?
A: Well, it means an awful lot to him. He has great pride. He has great toughness. He's not afraid to step up and say what the results were. He's not afraid to be accountable or responsible and, to be honest with you, I wish the circumstances weren't the same, but nevertheless we'd like everybody to be that way.
Q: For most of his time here Mark Herzlich has been a middle linebacker and you used him on the outside when you were without Jon Beason earlier. What do you see from him at that position? Is he better-suited for that?
A: No, not necessarily. He's a linebacker. He's a big, strong kid who can run, who puts himself in position to be physical, whether he plays on the outside, up on the nose of the tight end, whether he's back off the ball. I think he's productive in either spot and special teams as well.
Q: That's where he'll be now?
A: We'll see. He'll get some snaps in other spots.
Q: At the midway point of your season, you obviously installed a new offense that's different. Are you at the point now where you're comfortable and you know what your strengths are and what you think the identity is in that offense at this point?
Q: What is that?
A: I'm not going to tell you what the strengths of the offense have been. We'd like to be better as a running team, we've tried to have more balance. And we need more big plays. The system, itself, providing opportunities is there, we just haven't done it. We haven't thrown the ball down the field, perhaps, as much as we should. We know the personnel and we know what they're capable of doing and the personnel being put in the right position can be successful and all those other things you talk about have to take place. We can't be stripped of the ball in key situations. Every game, if you play the game the way you want to play it, they're all tight, everything's tight. You're going to get in the fourth quarter with a chance to win and then you have to perform at a very high level and some of those errors that have been made in the past cannot be made.
Q: Coming out of the bye at 3-4 and knowing the schedule that is ahead, what is the message to your players right now?
A: My message is, as I told the team the other day, that what I really want, we have a nine-game schedule, I want total commitment, I want no distractions, I want every man putting forth his greatest effort and I think this team has to play above the Xs and the Os. That's what the… Xs and Os have to be played above and that's been the message.
Q: Is this team good enough?
A: Yeah. We've got to play above the Xs and the Os, though. There is nobody in this league, if you watched football last weekend you know, you can see it. Teams go along, go along and then they have an explosion game or the other way. We've got to get some consistency of playing at the highest level. We've got to do the things we did in the three-game win streak, the creation of turnovers, the takeaways, the field position, which we really haven't had. We've got a chance to get something done on special teams, let's do that. Let's give ourselves a little boost there. Let's get some field position by punt return or kickoff return. All those things.
Q: Seeing Andrew Luck in the preseason, does that help your pass rushers know that you've got to wrap him up and that he can…?
A: We've got a lot of tape to look at that tells you that, plus what you've seen in every game. It's the same way. You can't… you've got to stay on the move. Just because you see someone engage, you can't think that he's down. You've got to stay plastered in coverage because he's not going to take a sack, either.
Q: Ben Roethlisberger…
A: I'd like to have 639 yards of total offense, thank you very much.
Q: Is there something your offense can take from that?
A: Sure, absolutely. Make the play. Make plays. Please make plays. Run around, jump up and down, do whatever you want. Scramble, bring the guy across from the other side of the field, throw him the ball up in the air, catch it and run in the end zone. Any other questions, Bruce? Thank you very much.