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Conference Call Transcripts

Head Coach Tom Coughlin

Q: Can you update injuries to Phillip Dillard?
A: Hamstring strain. It'll be probably a day to day thing. Maybe a week. I don't know for sure.

Q: What's the timetable on Andre Brown?
A: All last week Andre had a turf toe problem that was bothering him and it became evident to me that he was really not going to be able to function so when we spoke with the doctors pre-game and they were evaluating him, the decision was made to go ahead and shut him down, put him in a boot, take the pressure off that, and try to get him back to where he can run as soon as possible so that decision was made then and I'm not sure exactly how long.

Q: Do you expect to have Shaun O'Hara and Aaron Ross back next week?
A: Well, we have to wait and see. We do have a nice stretch here of a couple of days and they don't have to work Monday with us if that's what the doctors want and so we could put together a nice run of four or five days here where they're just being treated and hopefully responding to the rehab and the treatment so there's no way I can speculate on that. We're all hopeful.

Q: Is special teams an area where you're really scouring the waiver wire?
A: Talking about the four core units, we've had some inconsistencies as I've mentioned in kickoff. I mentioned we did have two inside the 20 but we also gave up the ball from the endzone to the opposite 45 yard line, so we've had some inconsistencies there. From a return standpoint, we did not put ourselves in any great position from the standpoint of kickoff return, although, to be honest with you, the wedge did a nice job on the first one. There was just a communication issue between the off-returner and the returner and then getting started late, the off-returner was not in position to block the defender that he was responsible for so we lost an advantage there and ended up with a ball that was in the minus 11 and it very well could have been out past 30 yard line. The punt returns last night – I thought Mario's was a very good return and he really gave us a nice spark with a 20 yard return and any time you have a net of 42, you're doing pretty good with returns and your punt coverage team and your punter so that's just a brief outline of where we are in regard to that. I think that Lawrence Tynes has been very consistent in preseason with his kickoffs. His hang times were better last night, field goal production has been very good. He did have the one muff with the holder. That is the first time we've seen that. Lawrence has a lot of confidence in Matt, so we'll just go back to work on trying to solidify that and to make that something that we can rely on there. Our field goal block team has done a nice job for the last three games of the preseason. We've come off the ball well and we've penetrated, we've knocked the opponent back, we've created some opportunities for penetration and also even off of the edge, so we're making pretty good progress in regard to that team.

Q: Do you still need to find a return man?
A: I don't know that we have to go out and find one. We do have to solidify who it is going to be. We did not put Danny Ware back because of the earlier incident – that proved to be the right move. Danny had a nice night and came through the game clean, but he has the ability to return back there.

Q: Did Rhett Bomar show you enough last night that you feel like he could go into the season as the number two or do you still have to keep your eye on other options?
A: I think you're always available to look at what options are out there but there isn't any question that Rhett has improved and he has more confidence, he has more poise, he's running the huddle better. He's had a couple of back to back weeks with two-minute experiences that he's handled very well, so there's progress – there isn't any doubt about it. If we could eliminate the interceptions then I'd be even more happy but as far as a guy that has been impressive in the way in which he has improved in training camp, I don't think that there's any doubt that this guy has improved.

Q: Did you anticipate such a huge impact from Shawn Andrews so fast given that he hasn't played in a while?
A: Well, we were all hopeful of that and Shawn showed his power last night, without a doubt. He did a nice job in the run area. He did a nice job in pass protection and some things up front. I think we still have work to do just to make sure on assignments as we get a little bit more sophisticated with him and the language again and what he was used to doesn't run together one tenth of a second before the ball is snapped. There is still work to be done there but he has gotten into the swing of practicing and last night had his most reps in a game and it was really good for him and for us.

Q: Are there any areas of real need on the team?
A: Well, I think that we ought to continue to improve in a lot of areas. As I said, last night I think we played better and we did. Now whether we're ready to go 60 minutes of that type of execution, for example, resembling our first drive. I would have felt a lot better if we scored the second time, too. If it wasn't for the flea flicker issue, we may very well have. There is advancement in all areas. There's refinement. As you look at special teams, you know that the kickoff coverage has got to parallel the kicks. The kicks have been good. We should be having greater success. We shouldn't have a ball come out to midfield on us. That's not acceptable. Our return game should be without hitch now. It's not that we're that complicated. We're more physical than we are complicated. We've had some errors that shouldn't be taking place, so there's improvement needed in all areas. We gave up some yards for the pass last night. I'd like to be able to tighten that down. I'd like to do a better job defensively on third down. Get people off the field on third down instead of 50%. I'd like to return to where we were a couple of weeks ago in the green zone offensively. We were one for two last night and we came off of the early season game at two of three so I'd like to get that back up to where it belongs. There are areas everywhere that need to be improved upon but I like the way our guys came in, how they prepared in the short week and I think that they're excited now about the upcoming first week of the season.

Q: How do you feel about the defense going into the season opener? Are you where you want to be?
A: I think we made good progress last night as far as getting where we want to be. A couple of things that I saw that I mentioned to you before is that we did get the outstanding pressure out of the linebacker position last night and we did get a big hit on the quarterback out of Michael Boley. That was a nice step forward. We still haven't gotten there from the secondary although Terrell was very close and I think Phillips may be a guy that we can count on to get there and get home to the quarterback in that situation as well. I think that we are making progress. I think that we rose up against the run and did a pretty good job against the run. They had 73 yards, 2.2 per rush, so I think we're making progress along those lines. We do have to go ahead and continue to not allow the big plays and we did make a nice play – Antrel's interception was off of a deep ball intended for Randy Moss and we made the interception there, which was a good, positive thing, so I think that the defense is improving. We still have improvement to go. We'd like to get a couple of guys back that are not out there so that they can make a contribution as well but I think we're heading in the right direction.

Q: Brandon Jacobs expressed frustration with his role as Bradshaw's backup – have you addressed that at all and are you worried about his mental status?
A: I was surprised to see that today and I'm really not going to comment on that. I think we have always been a multiple running back situation. Nothing has changed. The big thing that is important to realize is that Brandon is healthier than he's ever been prior to the start of the season and that's a good thing, so we're looking forward to the opportunity to play our multiple running game, our ability to use our power back in combination with Ahmad and with Danny Ware and we're looking forward to that and I think that at this point in time I do feel good about our ability to use multiple people at that spot and as you well know, with a 16 game season, you're going to need them.

Q: He said it really hasn't been explained to him how this is going to work moving forward. Is that true?
A: Well, I'm not sure all of that. We did have a conversation today and he is well aware of where we are and what we are doing. He's very, very confident in his relationship with Jerald Ingram and he and Jerald are, I believe, on the same page and there is no – I don't believe that there is an issue there.

Q: Did you make it a point in the preseason and in training camp to get him less carries so that he would be feeling better for the regular season?
A: The idea of having all of these guys healthy has always been a first and foremost. We prepare them, get them ready go to, keep them healthy as best you can, so that at the beginning of the season they are ready to go. Obviously, they have to put the work in, but that has always been one of the objectives. Now, to the extent of how the individual is used in these preseason games, there is always a regard for how many snaps. It is all thoroughly planned. Brandon didn't get the number of snaps that was intended for him last night but the end result of having him ready to go for the season is still in place.

Q: He is fully healthy though? That wasn't an injury thing that kept him from getting many snaps?
A: No.

Q: What is the latest with Travis Beckum and his neck? Have you found anything there?
A: They're looking into it. All of the MRI work has been completed. Hopefully we're going to get Travis back next week.

Q: You mentioned the flea flicker. Do you have any reservations of opening up the playbook so much in the preseason like you did last night?A: No. I don't think so. I don't think that there's any reservation at all. The fact that you have that type of play available is simply another thing that the opponent has to defend.

LB Keith Bulluck

Q: A few weeks ago you said you weren't quite sure what your role was going to be in this defense. At this point do you know what that role is?
A: I'm just going with the assumption that I'm playing outside linebacker. Coach Coughlin told me earlier this week don't worry about if I'm playing outside or inside. Just get the reps and make sure I'm out there practicing hard and making sure I'm doing what I do to take care of just getting back into football shape and just learning this defense. So it's not unclear to me. It's just I don't have a definitive answer for you.

Q: Do you anticipate playing entirely on the outside this season or do you think you'll be bouncing in between?
A: I think that Jonathan Goff was doing a great job all preseason and showed the coaches that he can man the middle. So as of right now, I would think that I would be playing the outside, but I've also proven that I can play the inside and have the knowledge of the defense. My knowledge of this defense is only going to increase with game planning and the game coming up. So I think that we've developed depth if not anything at the linebacker position this preseason.

Q: But you're more comfortable on the outside anyway, correct?
A: I'm comfortable on the football field. Outside is where I've been trained in base defense the last eight-to-10 years, and the last five years I've been playing middle linebacker in the nickel package. So it really doesn't matter to me. What I'm told, that's exactly what I'll do and I'll be effective at it either way.

Q: Obviously there were a lot of eyes on you. You've come back and everything and they brought you along slowly. How would you rate this whole summer so far getting ready for the regular season?
A: For me, I would say it's probably the best preseason camp that I've had just because I basically had to go back to basics. I've had to learn that new defense. I've had to learn new terminology, learn new people, new coaches and players. So for me it's been overwhelming mentally, and I think that I've handled it. I've gotten to understand the Giants, and I've gotten to understand how coach (Perry) Fewell is going to be calling the defense and what his expectations are of his Mike linebacker and his outside linebackers. So I think with all that knowledge and getting these couple days off, I just get to relax my brain for a little bit, my body as well, and come back next week with a fresh start. So I would say it was good. It was definitely good, especially coming off just having ACL surgery eight months ago. I've been out there running around, moving around. The last few games have probably been the equivalent to the amount of reps that I've had all camp. So I think that the Giants training staff and coach Coughlin have done a great job of allowing me to continue to get stronger as far as my knee is concerned and to learn the defense as well.

Q: As you sit here this morning, do you believe that you're ready for the full 65- or 70-snap load if that's what you have to play against Carolina?
A: I definitely am. I played through the half yesterday. I played the whole first half yesterday, and I definitely felt good because I've invested in getting better. Those reps, I needed reps. Those are reps that I haven't had in a long time-a substantial amount of reps. For seven or eight play drives the week before, they were in more of a no-huddle offense, which increased the speed of the game. So in these last two weeks, I've had a full game of NFL football as far as the no-huddle, hurry-up offense to a very basic package lining up, two-back formation, one-back formation, football situations. So I think within the last two games, I've just had about every NFL situation that you need to go into a regular season. I feel that I'm prepared to play a full game however many snaps it has to be. I'll continue to increase my stamina and my strength.

Q: Obviously a lot of this has to do with personnel packages and coaches' decisions, but do you see yourself at this point as a three down linebacker?
A: Yeah. I think so. The only thing that's helping me is reps. In these last two weeks I've gotten a lot of reps. I think it's given me an opportunity to see where I'm at to go back and watch the film to see where I need to get better, to see the technique that I may not be using or I may need to use. I've been using the film from the last two weeks to see where I'm at, but yeah, definitely. I definitely will be more of an asset than I will be someone to help this team lose. So it's up to the coaches. If they feel I'm ready, I'll definitely have myself prepared to be out there. But that's what I am. I am a three down linebacker. I'm not used to coming off the field, and I like to be there. I like to be on the field every play.

Q: In watching the film, what about the defense jumped out at you from last night?
A: I think we played hard. You see when the wide receiver there was running, Bryan Kehl and our cornerback were able to make the tackle. The defense stayed in there and made a goal line stand. That was big for the game. It actually wound up winning the game. I just think a lot of people played hard, and everyone is ready for the regular season. It was our last little tune up. You want to go into a regular season with momentum so that's what it is. We played with an energy level. We always went to the ball. We played hard, and that's what we needed going into this regular season.

Q: As a veteran, what has been your message to Clint Sintim?
A: I just told him you can't control what goes on around you. You can only control what you do. Don't get discouraged because they drafted him in the second round for a reason. He's definitely going to be playing football here.

Q: You've been in this league for a long time. When you've got one running back making disparaging comments to the public a week before your season opener, is that discouraging?
A: I'm not aware of any of that stuff. I don't even know what you're referring to.

Q: I know you came in late with this team, and you weren't here last year. But now that you've been with this defense for a month, what's your impression of how motivated this defense is coming off of last year's debacle?
A: I think this defense is very motivated. I think a lot of people want to prove a few things individually, and I think that will make for a great team defense because every individual on this team understands that nothing can be done without the team aspect. I think that this defense is really ready to get out there and to see and to show what we've got. Preseason, you're out there for about 20 snaps, and then you're off. The situation is changed. Offenses are coming out trying to work on specifics. They're not really game planning a real full game. We're definitely looking forward to getting in here this week and getting to work and game planning the Carolina Panthers because from what I understand, they kind of put it on us pretty bad last year. I actually have a bad taste in my mouth from my season last year because I like playing on top 10 defenses, hard nose defenses. And last year I didn't play on one. I think this team has the makings of being one of the top defenses in the league, and it's one of those things that you have to work hard every day on and off the field.

WR Hakeem Nicks

Q: After last night, do you feel the offense is in its usual rhythm going into the regular season?
A: Yes, I think there is still more room for improvement but I think we're taking the first steps to achieving our goal. We just continue to keep on getting better at what we do, and keep working hard.

Q: Last year, there were a lot of questions about the wide receivers as a unit, how do you feel about the unit this year?
A: I feel like if we keep working hard and doing what we have to do, coming to work every day and doing our job and work hard, I think everything will take care of itself. I think we are a good unit. We work together really well and we contribute to the team the best way possible.

Q: How about how you feel about yourself? Are you happy with the preseason you had?
A: I think I'm getting back to where I need to be. Each week, my goal is to keep getting better and contribute to the offense the best way I can.

Q: You had such a good rookie season, especially when healthy, do you have goals you set for this year? How much better can you be?
A: My goal is to be a team player. I will take my role, whatever that is, and make plays when I'm called on. I think once you set team goals, everything else will take care of itself.

Q: As it stands right now, Rhett Bomar is the number two quarterback. How has he developed since he started getting more reps?
A: I feel that he picked up a lot over the past two weeks. He works hard, and he comes to work every day putting in the time and effort, and he's smart. I think he's going to be fine.

Q: Hakeem, can you describe the difference between an Eli Manning huddle and a Rhett Bomar huddle?
A: Eli is a lot further along in his career than Rhett. He [Eli] is more controlling in the huddle. Rhett is picking up on it as he goes on, but I feel like they learn and they both control the huddle pretty well.

Q: Are you at the point where you've seen enough of Rhett to feel comfortable with him as the backup and he can get the ball to you if he steps in?
A: Yes. Like I said, as a receiver, our job is to catch the ball no matter who is delivering it. If the ball get's there, it's our job to catch it. I don't have a doubt that Rhett would be able to do it.

Q: How about Victor Cruz, what have you seen from him, even in meetings and practices?
A: I see great, hard work from him. He comes in every day working hard. He wants to get better. He works hard on the little stuff, and in the long run that's what benefits you. I think Victor Cruz is going to be a great athlete and I think he's going to be very good.

Q: After what you did as a rookie, you've seen other receivers, can you take the next step to being a more elite receiver?
A: Yes, I think I'll be able to do that as long as I can in the system and playing within the team. As long as they call on me, I'll make plays.

Q: Last year, the Giants were like two different teams at the start and at the end. Which team will show up this year?
A: I think we'll be fine. We're going to go out there and put forth all our effort, and right now where our team goes is to be a team, go out there, and play hard. We have to go out there and do what we have to do.

Q: You still have in the back of your mind what the Panthers did at the end of last year?
A: No, that was last season. This is a whole new season.

Q: You don't even remember, huh? You lost that game:
A: Nope.

Q: Is there a sense that camp is over, and now there is a different feeling?
A: Yeah, camp came to an end. Now, it's more of a schedule based around the regular season. We come in, we know our schedule day in and day out throughout the week. It's time to get down the repetition of it, and keep on getting it.

Q: Are you going away for the weekend, or are you staying up here?
A: I'm sticking around up here.

Q: You were asked about being an elite receiver, do you want to push yourself and be more successful?
A: It's cool. I think that's going to come along, like I said earlier, as long as we put our team goals first. I think all of that will come.

Q: Is it something you're striving for?
A: It's close to the back of your mind, but it's always team first. I feel like as long as I contribute in the best way possible, that it will come. 


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