Q: I guess you've heard about the injuries at your spot with Rogers, Parker and Austin. What's your sense of what the defensive tackle spot is like right now?**A: We've had a couple of guys dealing with some medical issues. When one guy goes down, somebody's there to step up, and we have confidence in those guys that they can get the job done.
Q: Obviously, a lot of this concern would be lessened if you were healthy. What's the timetable for your return?A: Obviously, I would like to be out there with my teammates. When Coach Coughlin feels like that's appropriate, and the medical staff feels like that's appropriate, that's what we'll do. Until then, my hands are kind of tied. The guys who we have in that position, we have confidence that they can step up and they can make big plays. They've done it in the past, and we have confidence that they can continue to do that.
Q: You said you're getting better? How do you measure that?A: I'm definitely getting better, just with the level of activity. What we're able to do, my general feelings about it, dealing with pain, things like that. So, it's continuing to progress. We knew this was going to be a long process. Obviously, I didn't think it was going to be this long, but I think we're being smart about it, taking the right approach. It's important for me to do everything that I can do physically to make sure that when I do get the clearance to step out there on the field, I'm ready to go.
Q: What kind of things are you able to do now that maybe you weren't at the start of camp?A: I can run now, I can go through the bags, the agility drills, doing weight work on the legs, and pretty much any and everything that I would need to be able to do to play at a high level this year. It's just a matter of putting together good days and being able to continue to do that on a daily basis. I think once we're capable of doing that, we'll make some strides toward getting back on the field.
Q: I know it's a different position, but do you guys look at something like this, when there seems to be a run of things at one position? Do you say, 'Well, last year, it was cornerbacks. Hey, we got by that way.' Do you think you'll be able to draw on that at all?A: No, it's the game of football. It's just one of those things. Injuries are part of the game. It's a 100 percent injury rate in football. Everybody's going to be hurt at some point. It's just unfortunate that at this particular position, at this particular time, there are guys who are not going to be able to play through those medical issues. So, it's tough, it's unfortunate, especially in Shaun's case. He's put so much work into getting himself ready to play, and compete for a championship. The work he's done, losing the weight, coming back in great physical condition. It sucks that he's not going to be able to be a part of that.
Q: When you were talking in the off-season, you expressed such confidence that you were going to be ready. You can say, 'When they tell me I can go, I can go.' Is there a discrepancy between what you thought and what they thought? You kept constantly saying, 'There are no setbacks.' What is the difference there?A: There's no discrepancy. I just think as a player, you believe that you can deal with it. Honestly speaking, my knee is in better shape than it was in November/December of last season, right now, today. It's just a matter of making sure that we're smart, so that moving forward, everything will be fine. We'll have no setbacks; we won't have any kind of lingering issues. I think they're taking the right approach, and I have the utmost confidence in the coaches and the medical staff.
Q: Do you think you'll be on the field for opening day?A: It's tough to say. It's tough to say. It's a matter of making sure that we can put together enough good days, making sure that I'm feeling good, and in the kind of shape that I would need to be in to compete at a high level. I'm not going to rule it out, it's still a possibility. Obviously, I would definitely look forward to being out there on opening day with my guys, being able to hunt. We'll see.
Q: How much time would you need of full speed in practice, before you feel ready to play a game?A: I think you need a reasonable amount of reps. Let's be honest, this is year eight for me. I think I know what I'm doing. So, it's just a matter of just making sure that I'm in good shape, and making sure that I can be physically able to go. I don't think there will be a lot of lag, or a lot of drop-off so far as my mental capacity or understanding of the situation, scheme or anything like that. I think I've pretty much got that.