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DE Justin Tuck on the Jets


Q: How much better are you feeling these days physically?

A: I feel great.

Q: As in capital 'G' great?

A: As in Tony the Tiger great.

Q: You were not on the injury list. Was that [the trainers] doing? Was that your doing?

A: I don't know. I don't look at injury reports. I didn't even know if I was on it or not. I guess it was their doing then because I had nothing to do with it.

Q: Does it mean you're injury-free?

A: I feel great.

Q: Santonio Holmes said…

A: So?

Q: You don't care?

A: (Shakes head no).

Q: You've played against the Jets before. Does this one seem different?

A: It does. I think Rex Ryan did a great job of putting his team on the national map. Everyone knows that it's going to be a physical ballgame. It's different from times past where I guess that everybody knew that we were the big brothers, I guess. It's going to be a competitive game. I'm looking forward to it.

Q: What is the mentality and philosophy right now?

A: Win. That's all that matters. Win. We don't need to play good. We just need to win. I don't care what happens. Make sure that we have more points than they have. That's the mentality.

Q: I'm sure that was the mentality last week. What could possibly change?

A: Us winning. I think we made things more complicated than they need to be.

Q: Do you hope there's a chip or anger?

A: I hope we win. All those adjectives are great. As my granddad used to say, they don't mean a hill of beans. We need to win. And we'll find out on Saturday what it takes to win. Sometimes it's a special teams play. Sometimes we have to outscore them. Sometimes defense is getting third down, fourth down stops. I don't know yet. We don't know what type of game it's going to be. We can throw a lot of adjectives on what we need to do and what style of play we need to be, but other than that, we need to win.

Q: Will it be weird seeing Plaxico in green?

A: I've kind of gotten used to it by now. If we were to play them Week One, Two, Three or Four, maybe. But I got used to him being in green and white. Still a great friend and I always wish him the best of luck. Unfortunately, maybe a little less luck this week.

Q: What's on the line this week?

A: Playoffs. I could care less about bragging rights. The last time I checked the mayor of New York ran the city.  New Jersey, Governor Christie, doesn't he have a lot to say with what goes on in New Jersey? I didn't see me making any rulings on anything. Rex Ryan either. We have a lot of catching up to do. What is it, 27 rings now the Yankees have? They run New York if you want to talk about running New York, but other than that, it's the playoffs.

Q: You don't want to lose to a team that you're going to see around town in the offseason?

A: Obviously we want to win the game regardless, but it's not like I'm going to be seeing guys at steak houses, Del Frisco's or something , I'm going to run into Sanchez and be like, 'Hey, guess what? We beat you.' Come on man. Who cares? The only thing I care about is getting another one of those shiny things on my finger. That's the only thing that we play this game for anyway. Ask Rex Ryan if he's cool with the [AFC] Championship game two years in a row. Guarantee you he'll trade one of those for playing in the Super Bowl and winning it. At the end of the day, that's what we're playing for.

Q: What does the defensive line need to do this weekend?

A: Win.

Q: What does it need to do differently than last weekend?

A: Win.

Q: Do you feel like you're more capable of putting on a winning performance now?

A: I think so.

Q: Physically, yeah?

A: I told y'all I feel great.* *

* *

Q: What kind of challenges does Sanchez present to you?

A: I think he does a great job of managing the game. I think sometimes he can get rattled when you take away his run game, but if he can hand the ball off to Shonn [Greene]and they can get him into those third-and-short situations or the second-and-short situations where he can throw the quick passes and get into a rhythm, they're going to present a huge problem, especially with his mobility. But I think for us it all starts with being more physical than they are and stopping the run – something that we've had trouble with. That's going to be a huge challenge for us.

Q: What do you know about the Wayne Hunter?

A: I know enough. I've watched a lot of him.

Q: Do you think there are areas you can exploit?

A: We'll see. All of us have our ups and downs, but he wouldn't be in the position that he's in without being pretty good at what he does.

Q: Do you worry about the consequences of change in the offseason?

A: I don't have time to worry about that. All I have time to worry about is what I'm going to do today. The only thing that's promised to me is that breath right there. I don't know if I'm taking another one. I don't have time to worry about what might happen or is supposed to happen or whatever that is. I'm just going to go out there and play hard and let the cards fall where they may.

Q: Did you meet Eric LeGrand?

A: I know Eric pretty well.

Q: How did you get to know him?

A: Obviously, with Rutgers being so close, him having his injury here, I just reached out to him and his family and took him out to dinner one night and just hit it off. Pretty good guy considering his circumstances. The motivation I get from him is tremendous. A situation where not many would be as upbeat and as encouraged about his future as anybody I know that can walk. I think that's pretty encouraging.

Q: It is encouraging?

A: No question. It's hard not to root for a guy like him.

Q: He's made some remarkable progress.

A: I know. He's excited about it. He'll be at the game on Saturday.

Q: You took him out this week?

A: No, it was a while back, but we stay in contact.

Q: Is he a Giants fan?

A: Definitely. He's smart.

Q: Are you treating him Saturday?

A: None of your business. I say that in the most polite way.

Q: I'm trying to give you some credit.

A: I don't want it. My charity has nothing to do with papers, magazines or anything else. He bought his own ticket. Actually I think the Jets stepped up.

* *

Q: Did you feel better last week?

A: I felt pretty good last week.

* *

Q: You guys, on third down, haven't been so hot.

A: Not at all.

Q: Do you think a lot of times you've forced the issue?

A: I haven't really looked at it. The stuff I looked at from third down, it seems we've allowed teams to get in third-and-shorts and obviously the percentages go up. Early in the season we did a good job of keeping them in third-and-eight pluses. That obviously allows us to get more creative on third down. I think the biggest thing is don't let them bleed us for four or five yards on first down. We have to start putting offenses behind the eight ball to start the game, start early. That comes to play in first and second down. I think a lot of people think that third down is the most important play. It's really not. I think first down is. For some reason in the last couple of games we haven't played well in first and second down, which has resulted in us not playing well on third down.

Q: Last week you let the Redskins convert a fourth and 17. It seems like it's been a lot of everything.

A: If you count it up, I think we had [two] third-and-longs in that they converted in that game, maybe less. It seemed like seven third-and-ones. You're not going to stop everybody on third down. They're going to make some plays, too. But like I just said, percentage-wise, the percentages go way up. You give me third-and-seventeens all game, I'm going to bet my house that we're going to have a lot better third down percentage than if you give me third and ones.

Q: Your numbers are not going to be what you want this season. Do you look at it and say, 'Okay, I have two games left. I'm just going to go out and play'?

A: You must be a mind reader. That's what I'm thinking.

Q: Is it difficult to put those numbers out of your mind?

A: No. I think a lot of times you get caught up in the [numbers]. I've been to a few Pro Bowls. I've had 10 plus sack seasons. You get caught up in all of that. At the end of the day it's win. That's all I'm focused on right now.

Q:  But those plays can be game changing plays – the sacks, strips, fumble recoveries.

A: No question. It hasn't happened that way this year. It's not like we're not out trying to make it happen. It just hasn't happened. So I'm not going to allow myself to get down on that fact. We're going to keep pressing forward. Like you said, my numbers aren't going to be what they've been in past years, but we have two more games here and my focus is making the best out of these two games, forgetting the last 14.

Q: Will you have the same confidence going into this game?

A: My confidence never wavers.

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