Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Q: Obviously an easy way to beat them is to stop Peyton Manning. Defense is one thing; maybe a better way is to just keep him off the field?A: That would help, that would certainly help. The amazing thing about last week is even though the Houston team held the ball in the second half – did a nice job that way – he still threw for well over 400 yards and 70% completions – and didn't throw an interception on 57 passes. So that is certainly part of the deal. You like to see, as you look back over, exactly how much time of possession other people have. However, they were 14-2 a year ago and were the lowest - the 32nd team in the League in time of possession.
Q: Do you tell your guys to not get involved in this "Manning Bowl" business?
A: I don't think we have to talk about that. We really don't. Because the way I look at it, it is two exceptional quarterbacks who are trying to get their team in position to play against another very good football team in the case of the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Giants. And I'm sure the two brothers will maybe talk Friday night, maybe, and then after the game. But they are competitive and that is all that matters.
Q: Bruce Johnson – did he get hurt during practice?
A: He came in with a swollen knee and they started treatment. Truth be known, he probably could have practiced today but they were cautious with him.
Q: Do you expect Hakeem Nicks to be okay to play on Sunday?
A: I'm hoping. I'm hoping. Really I was hoping he would maybe be able to do something today. But that wasn't the case.
Q: Is he developed enough that he can get by without much practice?
A: It is hard to play well and not practice. There are just so many things that happen out there.
Q: Did Aaron Ross suffer a setback today?
A: I don't think so. He has had the off and on taping issue. "It just doesn't feel comfortable; would you please tape it again?" I think that happened today, too.
Q: How much did he do today?
A: Just about everything. He has been doing – he did the same thing yesterday, really.
Q: Do you like the way he moves – his moving around?
A: Yeah, he has been a little rusty but he made a couple of nice plays today.
Q: How is Osi Umenyiora recovering?
A: He has been doing fine. He moved around real well today, I think, and is well on his way.
Q: When you were looking at college tapes of Jason Pierre-Paul did you see special teams abilities?
A: That is really not what you are focused on. We thought athletically he could probably do whatever we wanted him to do.
Q: Does his lack of football background help him or hurt him?
A: Let's put it this way, he is learning every day. And fortunately, he is in a position where he wants to. And I still see it. You probably saw it the other day – that fresh, young work about, even special teams. He kind of grabbed hold of that and went out there and really did a nice job.
Q: Is this the kind of game where you can learn a lot about your football team going on the road against a good team like the Colts?
A: I think you learn a lot about your football team at every practice, every game. How your team prepares is really important. I thought last week it did a job with that and it is going to be very, very important this week as well.
Q: Linval Joseph – was he very disappointed last week?A: Yeah, very much so. You like it like that.
Q: Is there more that he can do – is there a role for him on special teams? What does he have to do to convince you to take him off the inactive?
A: Just keep playing – opportunities come. It is a long season. In that spot it has never been an issue, believe me. It just seems as if the – once you get going in this, you are juggling this part of it every week. There is a lot of football for young Linval and he does have a great attitude about practicing and trying to get better and I appreciate the fact that, hey, nobody wants to make anyone inactive. That is one of the toughest – how would you like to tell your guys in the Super Bowl who is inactive? Nobody wants to do that – it is unfortunately part of the game. I feel for the kid and every young man that doesn't get a suit on Sunday. But it works itself out somehow.
Q: Did Shaun O'Hara make it through the whole practice?
A: No, no he didn't. He had some reoccurrence of the injury and they felt it was better to just back him off.
Q: Your young receivers, have they made a step as far as the mental mistakes?
A: Yeah, they have made progress. There is still more to go, but they have made progress along those lines, for sure.
Q: How has Matt Dodge's attitude been at practice?
A: Great. The attitude is not the issue. He is a worker. He is hard on himself.
Q: Any update on Chase Blackburn?A: No.
Q: Did Will Beatty have surgery this morning?
A: I haven't had a report, but yes. It was a little too early to get that when we went on the field for the jog thru.
Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell
Q: You always talk about stopping the run first. Does that priority change when you're playing the Colts?
A: No, it doesn't. If you don't stop the run, Joseph Addai will shred you and he is a very big runner. He does a great job of cutting back. I call him a jump cut runner and so that's one of the priorities. You must stop the run against these guys.
Q: Were you surprised that he only ran the ball 10 times in the last game?
A: Yes I was. They are not a high percentage run team by nature, but only 10 touches for him was a surprise.
Q: Is this a bad week to have a couple guys banged up in the secondary?
A: It's always a bad week in the National Football League when you have some of your secondary guys banged up because it's a passing league. It's really turned into a passing league. And yes, you must stop the run, but you need four, five, sometimes six DBs all the time in the National Football League.
Q: Do you have the numbers to have that on Sunday?
A: I think we do.
Q: How much of the stuff that Peyton does at the line do you think is for show and how much of it is really him making those changes up there?
A: I think probably 50% of it is show and probably 50% of it is communication with his offensive line, with his offensive football team. He runs the offense, as we all know, and I think that when he gets up and he's talking to those guys or telling them what he wants or what he sees, they've got great respect for what he's saying to them. Now, if it's all dummy, then they've got great respect because they'll listen and the play is normally a successful play, so he's doing something right up there when he's talking to them.
Q: What's the preparation level like when you play a run team like Carolina vs. a pass team like the Colts?
A: I think that the level of intensity is all the same because each opponent is unique in what they do. If it's a run team, it's uniqueness in stopping that particular run play and then moving on to the next play. It's the same way with a pass-run team or a run-pass team like the Colts, but you can't just always focus on Peyton, you have to focus on concepts, you have to focus on the receivers and understand splits, so you have to broaden your horizons a lot more when you're playing a team that's a wide open football team like the Colts.
Q: In terms of the no-huddle, you guys had a lot of sub-packages last week. Are you able to do that when you can't get off the field?
A: That's a great question. I'm not sure if we'll be able to do that or not. I don't know if he will allow us to do that. He's very aware of when you bring someone on, he gets his offensive football team to the line of scrimmage and snaps the ball. He tries to catch you with 12 on the field, so we'll have a plan in place. We want to use our personnel, we want to do certain things, so we'll have a plan in place for that.
Q: Could you get caught with the wrong package too where he can audible out of something?
A: It's a possibility, but that's the chess game that we'll play on Sunday.
Q: Do you have fun as a defensive coordinator knowing that you're playing Peyton Manning on Sunday?
A: Oh, no doubt. That's the great thing about coaching in the National Football League, you have an opportunity to go against the best, you have the opportunity to face Peyton Manning, so it's a challenge to go against him to see if you can match wits with him. If you coach against New England, you go against Brady and Belichick. It's always exciting and fun to go against the best in our league, so yeah, you definitely get jacked up. You're jacked up during the course of the week, you're trying just to calm down to make it to Sunday.
Q: You got them in a snowstorm in Buffalo didn't you?
A: Yes, I did. If it can snow in Indy and I can get that roof opened, it'd be great.
Q: How about a young guy like Jonathan Goff calling the shots in this "chess match?"
A: Well, it's the communication with our linebackers and myself as well as our linebackers coach, because our linebacker is the quarterback. So, can our quarterback match wits with their quarterback, and can we put him in the situations that he can get us in the right defenses that we can move properly and show Peyton certain things that we want him to see or that we don't want him to see. So, yes, Goff will be involved in that match also, no doubt about it.
Q: How do you get him to separate the dummy calls from the real calls?
A: I don't think we focus on that, because if you do, you're taking away from what you do. I think we have to focus on what we do and what we want him to see and then let Peyton do what he always does.
Q: Can we read anything into the struggles you had against the no-huddle in the preseason game against Baltimore?
A: I think that's a good game for us to watch. I think that's a good game for us that we learn from. We've definitely improved our communication system since then and we're definitely aware of a rally or a no-huddle situation and we're going to be better with it, I feel, when Sunday comes, so I think that that was a good preseason warm-up for what we have to face.
Q: Some defensive coordinators might lose sleep on a week that they're going to face Peyton Manning…
A: I lose sleep every week. But again, you're playing the Colts, you're playing Peyton. It's Sunday Night Football. Where would you rather be?
Q: How much can he learn from looking at your Buffalo film?
A: I'm not sure. I know he's an avid studier of game film and that type of thing…I'm not sure.
Q: What kind of a challenge is Dallas Clark?
A: He's one of the main targets. He and Reggie Wayne…that's a matchup that people in the league haven't been able to solve because he's the "X factor" in the whole deal – he has probably more catches than any other receiver besides Wayne on the squad, so we're still trying to solve that puzzle.
Q: What did you like the most about your defense's performance last week?
A: The energy that they played with and their attitude when they stepped on the field. If there was a sudden change situation, it didn't seem to faze them, they just wanted to go out and play football. It looked like they had fun doing it and I enjoyed watching them have fun doing that.
Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride
Q: Tale of two halves for the running game last week, huh?
A: Yeah, we were very disappointed the way we started. It was a combination of a lot of things. I think they were moving and caught us a few times, more than we would have thought, and that it wouldn't bother us and it did bother us. Fortunately in the second half, I thought we got it going a little bit. We're still not nearly as consistent but we got a couple big plays. That's what I tell our guys is when you face teams that are doing that, whether it's teams that are blitzing all the time, or a team that's playing and angling, sometimes they're going to catch you with that stunting and sometimes you need to catch them, and we caught them a few times, which is good. We got those four big runs. In the grand scheme of things, it's hard when you get those negative plays. It just knocks you out of your down and distance really. That's when I think we're at our best. That's certainly something that we talked about, and the guys realize it's something we'd like to become a lot more consistent with. We hope it happens this week.
Q: What did that flip play do for you in the second half?
A: It was good. I took a deep breath and called it. I said 'We usually do it with Ahmad, let's with Brandon' and we loaded up with a tight end on the wing on the other side, and he showed enough speed to run away from the end. It was a great play.
Q: So does that prove what you guys are saying about them being interchangeable?
A: Exactly. There are certain things that you'll always emphasize more with one back than the other, but if all you do is play A-G, and then H-M over here, well then it doesn't take defenses very long. You have to be able to do both. That was a big play, and it got us started. We were in the same grouping of personnel when Ahmad hit the sprint on the other side away from that. It was a good play for us. We got three big plays out of that formation, that first look.
Q: How are Boss' injuries going to affect the game plan this week?
A: Not much because we know we have Bear up and ready to go. We'll see what he can do, and you hope that whoever plays that tight end position, being such an integral part of your running game, you have to prove you can run over there, so they have to expect that. Most of the game last week, they started blitzing every time to the open end side and said 'we aren't going to be able to run over to the tight end if the pressure is coming from over here.' Fortunately, we caught them a couple times. It's something we always have to deal with if you can't run to both sides. Bear has a big challenge with two lightning quick defensive ends he has to go against, but we have great confidence in him and he certainly got a lot of experience this preseason.
Q: What difference, if any, have you noticed year one to year two with Hakeem Nicks?
A: I think he is growing. He has made a couple big plays for us, there is no question. He still has a ways to go consistency-wise with his decision making. He got caught a couple times where they sat on him and he needs to be able to solve that problem. The thing he did last year and he did this year is that you throw the ball up and he catches, he can run after he catches it. The key is him running routes well enough that we can get him the ball. I think it's just slow but steady improvement in that area.
Q: Any difference the way he approaches the game from an off-the-field standpoint?
A: I think he is starting to realize what it takes to be successful. I think he understands that if he wants to be a number one type of receiver, you have to play in and play out every time you get single high or single man up that you have to go over there and you're going to win. That takes a lot of work and preparation, and you have to be a craftsman and a true professional. It doesn't come easily. If anything, he's growing in his understanding of what it takes and what's needed to do that. He's got a ways to go.
Q: Obviously the Colts are going to change their game plan after last week, how do you combat that?
A: I think you can't abandon completely who you are, so they can't do that. They were moving as they always do. There is always an accentuation on their part of getting to the quarterback, getting upfield, getting movement, angles, free up some guys for the pass rush. When that happens and you're in the game running the ball, sometimes you have the type of day that Houston had. Houston happened to hit it perfect, and they did a great job with it. I'd be shocked if they played five times that it would happen again. I know with their emphasis and their pride, there will be some adjustments. Maybe they won't stunt dramatically, and they won't change the ways and angles at which are very severe and much different than other teams. There isn't much movement up field, it's lateral so they take advantage of their speed and their quicks. If you don't catch up with them, then they're disrupting plays all over the place. Hopefully, we have a sense of how fast they're going to be. Last week, Carolina's movement bothered us early on. This is a team that is faster than that. I'm sure they looked at that and said 'Hey, our stuff can be very effective against them.' So I think we have our work cut out for us.
Q: Last year we asked who your receivers are going to be. A year later, do you think you really have some weapons now?
A: Yeah, I thought we had guys that had potential and I still think we have guys who have potential. You guys see the big plays but I see the mistakes that we're still making and the areas that we have to get better at. We have some good kids who have some athleticism. All can make plays with their feet after they catch the ball. I feel good about that. They want to be good, that's the starting point, to have some athletic ability. They want to be good, they listen. I have some good coaches who do a nice job helping them to grow and develop. I think we have a system that allows them to tweak those things that they can do. We give them a chance to showcase their abilities. As I say to them, eventually, it doesn't take long to figure out, 'here's what you do against those guys.' It's important that they continue to grow and develop so that the areas that eventually they take away, they open up other opportunities. Are you good enough to take advantage of those? That's what we're working on right now.
Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn
Q: With a rookie punter, he must drive you crazy. He has these beautiful punts and then all of the sudden he's got the low line drives…
A: It's the consistency we're looking for, obviously. He's talented enough. He can do it on the practice field, so he's got to translate it to the game. That's our biggest challenge right now.
Q: When you look at the video of him at ECU, was he consistent there?
A: He had good leg strength, but he had no control as far as direction, so we're trying to get the direction and the distance, to make sure they all go hand in hand.
Q: With Kehl gone and Blackburn hurt, how much different will the personnel be on Sunday?
A: Obviously it's an adjustment every week, so you've just got to try to have an idea of who is going to be the active guy and it's not always clear because of injuries, so you've got to get enough guys ready and then have enough guys ready to step in.
Q: At what point do you usually know?
A: Sometimes early in the week and sometimes it's not until the day before or the day of. Sometimes you work guys out beforehand, but you always have enough guys ready just in case. You cover your bases.
Q: How much is punting affecting Dodge mentally? How do you deal with that?
A: I'm sure it's all connected. Just try to be positive with him. He's got the ability to do it. He's just got to believe in it and go out and do it. I think once he has that good day, it just unleashes itself.
Q: Do you find yourself trying to reinforce that now? Is it to the point where you're worried about him mentally?
A: No. I mean, we're always working the mental edge of it – being positive with them, making sure that they're going through the right things, they're saying the right things to themselves beforehand to really reinforce the positive.
Q: Just kicking the thing as hard as you can doesn't really work in the NFL, does it?
A: No. There's a lot of technique involved. Unfortunately we went from a guy who was really very consistent with everything. The only thing that diminished was leg strength as time went on, but still, the ball flight and everything else was there. That's what we're working with Matt on – trying to get the consistency.
Q: How has Darius Reynaud been adapting to everything that's being thrown at him right now?
A: Good. I mean, it was a lot in one week, just as far as a new team, new city. His wife and…he has a 5-year-old daughter who was ready to start school and all of the sudden he's moved here and he's gotten thrown right in the fire to do the kickoff returns, punt returns, and play on the kickoff team as well – he was subbed in there late in the game. So, yeah, he's adapting well. He's been very solid for us.
Q: Jason Pierre-Paul is a guy who had never played special teams before. What makes him good out there?
A: He's very, very talented, number one, obviously being the first round pick. And he's got a good attitude, so he's got a desire to want to go and chase the ball and get after it, but he was pretty clean on the blocking signs too as far as when he's in on kickoff returns and punt returns, so that was really positive. He's been in and done a lot of drills in the spring, we didn't do anything with him in the preseason just so he could get his reps at defensive end, but he was positive. He's really a force out there, which is good to see.
Q: When you talk about Dodge having a good day. How long can you go before you have to make some changes?
A: Well, you see him in practice, he puts good days together, so you just need to see him put the game together. He's had better pregames and so you're hoping at some point he'll get to that point. I'm sure we'll cross that bridge when we get there. There's a lot of decision makers here and we'll consult and put our heads together.
Q: He said he was nervous…
A: Jeff Feagles got nervous. I remember in the preseason game – I was laughing with Jeff on the phone the other day about that – I said, Jeff, you remember when you told me that you were nervous in a preseason game? And this was after his 20th year, all those balls. And then when we played the Super Bowl with him, he was petrified on the first snap. This is a guy that's got a few punts behind him so that's part of it. We think it's easy to just go out there and just do it, but it's different, it's hard. We try to simulate it for him in practice, but it's tough.
Q: Will punting indoors this week help?
A: You'd hope so. They love going indoors. Guys love going indoors because you don't have to deal with the wind and all those other factors, but it's still going to come down to between the ears.
Q: With coverage problems, was it just lane assignments?
A: Kickoff, yeah. We had some new guys running down and they played fast, they played physical, but we were a little bit out of control, so we've got to clean that up and make sure that we're not forcing the defense into a bad starting position.
C Shaun O'Hara
Q: How's the ankle?
Q: Is it just from the game? Or is it just continuous?
A: I mean, I was sore after the game. Just some days it has a mind of its own, and today it wasn't real happy. So we're just trying to do the right thing and everything is just to get ready for Sunday.
Q: You had the cast. You had that under control so what's the next step?
A: Well, I don't know. Just ice and ice some more. The tough thing is that really rest is the only thing that seems to really do anything for it, and I don't plan on getting any rest until late February.
Q: Is it something you might eventually need surgery for to really get rid of it altogether?
A: No I don't. I don't think it's anything that surgery would really correct right now. It's just kind of a condition that just is basically going to be there until you can quiet it down and give it enough rest to heal properly. Then hopefully you don't have to deal with it again.
Q: Are you concerned about playing Sunday?
A: No, not at this point I'm not. No.
Q: You look at a game like when the Colts gave up 250 yards rushing, do you say you can expose those guys?
A: We're obviously a run-first team anyway, so that's our mentality. That's how we establish our physical presence, and I'm sure they know that we are watching the film and we saw what happened. But I know it's something that they are correcting. We have things to correct ourselves from last week, things that we didn't do as well. So it's going to be a good challenge.
Q: Did you feel the ankle go during practice or was it something that happened overnight?
A: It's just sore. It's just really sore, and it's just kind of an accumulation of things. So we're just trying to do the right thing and hopefully tomorrow it will feel better.
DE Mathias Kiwanuka
Q: How do you guys stop Peyton Manning?
A: You prepare. You prepare until you run out of time and then you prepare a little more. He's one of the most intelligent players that we have in the NFL, and you have to understand that he's going to look at us and try to pick us apart. You have to be able to match up and make those adjustments.
Q: The key is definitely pressure though:
A: I mean the goal stays the same. I think when you go into a game that you need to first stop the run and make them throw the ball. Even though they like to throw the ball, if you don't stop the run, that's what they're going to do. We stop that, and then after that, you go through your progressions and you make sure that you studied as hard as you could during the week and you can anticipate what's going to happen.
Q: You guys have enjoyed some nice safety play from Kenny Phillips and the two guys you didn't have last year, Rolle and Grant:
A: Absolutely. What everyone showed in week one definitely puts a little more confidence in this team knowing that they're there and they're going to do their job. When it comes down to it, they're going to make plays.
Q: How far did you grow up from there?
A: Maybe ten minutes. You can get across the city in about ten minutes, so everything is pretty close. That's still where I go back in the offseason so I'm very familiar with it.
Q: As far as challenges go, is this as big as it gets?
A: It's not the biggest. The biggest challenge you get is the Super Bowl. As far as regular season and early in the season goes, I think it's definitely one of the biggest challenges you can get.
Q: How long do you have to spend prepping with all the things you're doing and positions you're playing?
A: This is definitely the longest just because you have to spend a few extra hours in the meeting room. You add into it the defensive schemes, and the things we're changing and switching up, I think everyone has to do a little bit extra studying and be well abreast on the defense so that we can get everyone on the same page.
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