Q. What kind of challenge is this going to be? You had a few opportunities but decided to take on this challenge with a defense that gave up the most points since 1966?
A. I think it is a workable challenge. I look forward to the opportunity to work with this defense and see if we can keep the opponent out of the end zone. Football is a game that people like to see points scored and as defensive guys we like to deny those points. So, it will be a great challenge.
Q. Did you expect a second interview in Buffalo for the head coaching job?
A. Yes, I did. I thought I did a good job in the interview process the first time. So, yes, I did expect a second interview.
Q. Do you have any idea why you didn't?
A. No, I don't.
Q. Then how disappointed were you that you did not get the coaching job? Do you think that you coached well enough to deserve to be the next head coach there?
A. I was very honored to have the opportunity to lead the Bills. When you enter a process like that it is a situation where beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Did I think I did a good enough job? If I would have won one more game, then yes, I would have said I did a great job in leading the Bills and I had a winning record. But I won three games and I lost four games, so they thought they needed to make a change and did. I was just appreciative of the opportunity to lead the Bills, number one.
Q. Were you disappointed that you didn't get the opportunity to be the head coach on a permanent basis?
A. Obviously, your aspirations are to be a head coach, so obviously you are a little disappointed when you are not the guy.
Q. Have you had the chance to look over your personnel yet with the Giants and have an idea of what kind of scheme you may run there? I gather you were a Tampa-2 guy when you were in Buffalo, is that something you would consider here?
A. I am currently evaluating that, just looking at our players, just trying to get what they do best in my mind and what I can bring to the table to help them do better. Scheme-wise, I am still in the process of formulating that.
Q. One thing that you defense did well in Buffalo was creating turnovers. What do you think is the key to that?
A. Turnovers is opportunity. If the ball is on the turf it is our opportunity to grasp that ball and get that ball. If the ball is in the air, it is our opportunity to intercept the football. So, I think creating turnovers is about opportunity. Looking at some of our defensive personnel, our front four has the opportunity to rush the passer or they have the ability to rush the passer very well, which can cause that passer to throw the ball quickly or not throw the ball on point. We can create our own opportunities, now we have to capture the moment and seize the moment. I thought we did a good job of doing that in Buffalo last year. Really the players bought into the system and studied. I think that was real key that our players did some extra work when the meetings were over. They really prepared well for their opponent. If we can bring that type of mentality to the table, I think we can increase our turnovers here with the Giants.
Q. Have you gotten to the point where you have made contact with at least some of the defensive players and told them what you expect, how you want them to come into mini-camp?
A. No, not that far yet. I have made contact with some of the players, I have met some of the players. But, expectation levels, etc, no, not yet.
Q. What players have you had a chance to talk to and what was your impression?
A. I have had a chance to meet several of the defensive linemen. I really have a favorable impression of all the men that I have met at this point in time. Very professional, good looking, strong men. As I see on tape, they love to play the game. They play the game excited, they get excited about football. I am excited about football. So, of the men that I have met so far, that is my impression.
Q. One thing missing in the Giants defense last year was leadership. Do you know who those guys could be? Have you talked to Justin Tuck and what do you expect from a defensive leader?
A. I think as you go into mini-camps, as you go into training camp, I think that leader or that person, each year, that person evolves. So that is what I expect and that is what I hope to see after we go into OTA's and in training camp. That person changes sometimes each year because the nature of your football team changes. If we want to be a winning football team, if we want to be a winning defense, I expect somebody to rise to the top.
Q. You called the game as the defensive coordinator from the press box in Buffalo?
A. I did, yes.
Q. Do you expect to be doing that again with the Giants?
A. I called the game from the press box as well as the field because when I took over as the interim I called the game from the field. I served as both the interim head coach and the defensive coordinator. So any role that I can play, if I call it from the press box, if I call it from the field, I am comfortable at doing either/or.
Q. Which one are you planning to do with the Giants?
A. We haven't really discussed that at this point in time. So I just think I need to learn our players and what I expect from them, what I can see from them and what we are going to do within our scheme. Then coach Coughlin and I will discuss where we want to go with it.
Q. Do you find it advantageous to call from one compared to the other?
A. I found this out; I get pretty excited on the sideline. I am probably a little bit more controlled when I call it from the press box. So when I call it from the sideline, sometimes you can get caught up in the ballgame and you know, you chest bump a player or slap somebody on the hind end or something like that and then you've got to go back and get by yourself and gather your thoughts again. Up in the press box your emotions are a little bit more controlled. It depends on how those emotions are running, etc. I can go either way, again, it is just a matter of being in that moment.
Q. Considering who you are replacing, do you think those emotions are part of the reason you were brought here?
A. I can't speak to that. I am who I am. I coach how I coach. I can't speak to that.
Q. Have you had much of a chance to evaluate game films from the past year? Can you put your finger on a couple of things that you think went wrong with the defense? In your eyes, is there enough defensive talent remaining to go back to the level it had in 2007 and 2008?
A. I haven't looked at the tape to see what went wrong. I have been looking at the tape to evaluate our players. So just in evaluating our players, I have been trying to find out what they do well.
Q. Have you looked specifically at the linebacker position and do you have some concerns with that group?
A. Again, as I watch them, I am watching each individual, I am watching the talent level of each individual. Not so much the scheme, but just how I see them, how they would fit in what I may do. So, right now, I know that I see some talent at linebacker. But you can always get better with the draft, with free agency. You can always better your football team when you add additional players. So if we chose to do so, fine, but I haven't looked at it in that sense.
Q. Considering the statistics say this is the worst Giants defense since 1966, the assumption would be that you are not inheriting much at all, that you have a lot of work to do. But in your limited evaluation so far of the players and what they do well, do you believe you are inheriting some talent or do you believe this is a major overhaul?
A. No, I think I have some talent here. I think the strength, as I look at it right now, the strength of our football team looks like our defensive front. If we can stay healthy in the secondary, as well as at linebacker, I think we have talent.
Q. For various reasons, Osi Umenyiora was demoted to part-time status last year. In your limited evaluation, do you see him as a full-time player anymore or was he being used correctly at the end of the year?
A. Again, I can't speak to what happened a year ago. When I look at Osi, I see a football player. When you have a football player, obviously you want that player to be on the field all the time. But in today's game we substitute players, we roll players just so we can keep them fresh so they can stay healthy and play the entire year. I see Osi as a football player.
Q. It seems like your first NFL job was in Jacksonville with coach Coughlin. Was that a formative time for you, did you learn a lot from him and if so, what was the most important thing?
A. Yes, my first job was with coach Coughlin. It really set the foundation for being prepared, not only mentally, but physically for the challenge of a football season. Setting a foundation to be fundamentally sound in what you do and just being detailed in what you do.
Q. How about your defensive assistants? What did you know before you arrived and how have your dealings been since you arrived?
A. I never had worked with any of the other guys that are on the staff right now, but I knew of them. I watched them in their careers. I have admired their work in the past. Obviously, coach Coughlin and I thought really highly of these coaches. I am happy to work with them. Right now we are learning Giants language. Football is not always a universal language, so we are learning how to speak with each other. They are helping me in the evaluation as I look at our football team.
Q. Did you have any input in the hiring of coach Nunn?
A. I had some input. He was recommended. We did some research through coach Coughlin and myself. So I was able to make contact with him, help set up the interview, etc.
Q. How much did your past relationship with coach Coughlin make you decide that you wanted to take this job over some of the other offers?
A. Really, it wasn't the relationship. It was the opportunity to coach for the New York Football Giants. Again, seeing a talented group of young men, it was very exciting.
Q. You talk about the defensive line being the strength of this team. Last year they weren't as good as they have been. From what you have seen so far in your review, what was the problem?
A. Again, I can't speak of scheme and what happened a year ago. I am just speaking of talent level. I see a talented group of men that can play football, that are football players. As I evaluate the numbers of athletes at that position, I think I haven't been with very many teams that have that many talented athletes at one position. That is why I say it is the strength of our football team.
Q. Antonio Pierce has been a very important part of this defense for the last several years. He had that serious neck injury last season that sidelined him. His future seems somewhat in doubt. As you approach this job, how much, if at all, are you anticipating him being a key component to this defense?
A. I don't know the status of his injury right now. We will have to wait and see how that plays out. I really can't speak as far as that is concerned because I don't know the status of his injury.
Q. What can Giants fans expect from a defense coached by you? How do you want these guys to play on Sunday?
A. Obviously, I want to be fundamentally sound. I want to be multiple in what we do. I want to attack. I want to be aggressive in what we do. I want our players to play fast and have fun playing the game. Definitely create turnovers; I believe you score on defense. I think you have to be physically tough. We have to play with discipline and we have to play as a team on defense.
Q. Justin Tuck has also been a key component to this defense. He had offseason shoulder surgery. How quickly do you need him in camp, even mini-camp, to have him become a part of what you are doing?
A. With his injury situation, too, you want him on day one, will he be available on day one? That will depend on the nature of the injury and how quickly he recovers. But if he is there and able to take the mental reps, that is good also. When you have a player of that status you would like to have him there day one. Will he be available? That's up to the doctors. We just have to do the right thing by Justin.
Q. Do you think that your defense is hard to learn? How hard is this adjustment going to be for these guys?
A. I don't think so. I think they will grasp the defense relatively quickly. Will they be able to execute all the little things, all the details? That is what will take time.