Head Coach Tom Coughlin
I thought I was having my meeting inside but I turned around and they were standing there. So I had my meeting right there.
Q: How productive was that meeting?
A: Well, it was very good. Any time we have one it is good; it is productive.
Q: You had (Adam) Koets out there at center. With Shaun (O'Hara) out, do you prefer him in there or moving Rich over like you did in the preseason?
A: We have to be ready with everybody; we have to be ready with both guys.
Q: Did Rich takes snaps today?
Q: Was there something at practice today that made you want to talk to all your captains?
A: No, this was all set up. It was set up prior to. And as I said, I thought we were going to go inside but I guess it is too nice a day.
Q: Without going into details – whatever you are comfortable with – with can you give us an idea of the tenor or your discussion with them?
A: I thought we had a good practice today. I thought the energy was good. I thought guys worked hard. We have talked an awful lot about execution at the championship level – which we weren't getting. And that was one thought. But the rest of it is between us.
Q: In general those meetings were weekly, daily?A: Not daily – usually it is weekly.
Q: Did you think there was any chance for Shaun O'Hara to practice today?
A: No. He did not get cleared to go.
Q: Any sense about tomorrow?
A: We are going to go day by day.
Q: Could O'Hara do what Ahmad Bradshaw did last year – go play and not practice that much?
A: It's tough. It's hard. There are people that have done it. Plaxico (Burress) did it that year. And Bradshaw did it. But there is always something missing from your game when that happens. You need the work.
Q: Does it make it more difficult to do that, given that he is the center and making all of the calls?
A: The quarterback identifies a lot of the calls and he echoes them up front. But he is in the center of it, obviously. And he is the guy. So that is a pivotal position and you need to see it with regard to the speed aspect – not just in meetings.
Q: A year ago during the draft there were several wideouts still available to you. Why was it Hakeem (Nicks) that you liked? Why did he stand out?
A: He was ranked the highest when we got to our pick.
A: Ability, hands, power, size, experience. He had been a kickoff returner as well. He was an outstanding college player. And we thought he fit our offense very well.
Q: Did maturity matter a lot? Did you feel like this was a kid who wouldn't have off field problems?
A: I just felt he was -- his attitude was terrific. He was a worker. He did it most of the time with a smile on his face. We thought he fit well.
Q: (Adam) Koets has been around here for awhile. He has played a bunch of different positions. But he hasn't played much at all.
A: He played a lot in preseason – a lot.
Q: Do you have the sense that in a regular season game he could step in at center and play at a high level?A: Well he certainly has had the work. He has been developed by us and by our coaches and our program. We have extended to him – in confidence – that he has been in a position to do this in the preseason when we were kind of in and out with a lot of guys. So we have confidence, no doubt, in Adam.
Q: Justin (Tuck) has been described – I guess by some former teammates – as a bit reluctant to take a very vocal leadership role. Do you get that sense?A: No.
Q: Do you think he will be the type of leader that you want him to be?
A: Justin has – whatever the word is – developed, matured into that type of role. He has definitely come to that spot.
Q: Is that a recent thing? Does he have to work at it?
A: I think it has evolved – for sure.
Q: It is hard to follow up – (Michael) Strahan was the guy and Antonio (Pierce) – he does not have that kind of personality. So it is a little bit difficult for him?
A: Yeah, but he is very smart. He is very sincere. He is intuitive – he has a good sense about things. He is not afraid to voice his opinion. Those are all very, very strong points. Plus he is well liked.
Q: Obviously you rely on those guys to send your message to the rest of the team. Have you asked them to increase their leadership or do anything different this week?
A: No, my message – I speak directly to the team and I speak to these guys in terms of – normally I'm just giving them advance information as to what I'm going to do and what the next issue might be and how I'm going to approach it. It could be bye week – it could be a lot of things. I want them to know in advance because then they can do a good job of circulating the information.
Q: The familiarity aspect that you have in your center - that if it is Adam, he has to get a comfort level with Eli. Even if he did play in the preseason they probably didn't play that much together.
A: No, they did – they played a lot, oh yeah. If you look back, Adam probably took 50 snaps a game. He and (Will) Beatty – as I mentioned – those two guys played a ton in preseason.
Q: While Eli was in there?
A: While Eli was in there, yeah. But Shaun didn't play much.
Q: Jeff Fisher – he has been there so long – they have good teams – they have had not as good teams – but have they always been tough to beat?
A: Yes, they have been physical, tough teams.
Q: Why were the Steelers so effective against Chris Johnson? Can you do the same? Can Antrel (Rolle) do what Polamalu did?
A: The Steeler defense – it was a physical game – both sides. But there was a long run in the game which was called back. And then there were a lot of real physical plays from scrimmage following that. I think the defenses kind of negated each other right away. The offenses would make a mistake – turn the ball over – whatever. So the defenses kind of dictated the game.
Q: How much will Keith's (Bulluck) familiarity with that team help?
A: I don't know. He may have spoken once or twice with the guys. But Keith is studying his defense – our defense – in preparation for their offense.
Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride
Q: With Shaun O'Hara injured, are going to insert Koets or just move Rich over and put Andrews in there and shake up the whole line?
A: A lot of things enter into that and we could stand here for an hour and a half, because that's about how long the discussion goes on…hours to decide what's the best way to do it. I think we felt that Adam has been playing well enough that he deserved the chance to start because by doing that, we've made less overall changes. It's one person, so rather than changing three, you're changing one. If we didn't think he could do the job or he hadn't been playing well when we've asked him to do it, you couldn't make that decision, but he's earned it. There's no question he's earned the chance to get an opportunity and we're optimistic that he's going to play well and confident that he will. We'll see.
Q: He's been around here a long time…
A: Yeah. He started at tackle and he's moved inside. We just felt that he was probably better suited to be an inside player and last year he started to really come on and we were really optimistic about…hey, here's a guy who could be an interchangeable part in that guard/center mix and then he got himself hurt in that New England game and he tried to play through that. He actually showed great physical courage doing it, but the problem was that it was a high ankle sprain and it set him back for about the next 8-10 weeks and all the sudden Kevin Boothe became the guy and he kind of got left on the sidelines. This year, you say, oh, he's been hurt, he hasn't really done it yet and then sure enough he starts coming around and then he got himself injured in the New England game again but fortunately it wasn't the kind of injury that took him out so he's been in the mix really since the pads went on and it looked like, can he do it? Yeah. He looks like the same guy that we thought he was four years ago.
Q: If he has to start, will you be holding your breath?
A: No. I think he'll play well. You hate to see any of your starters – and of course Shaun has been such a terrific player, you're not just losing a player, you're losing a very good player and guy that's been out there, that's experienced everything so you hate to see that happen but we do have confidence that Adam will play well.
Q: Do you look at Shawn Andrews as a guard or a tackle at this point?
A: That's the million dollar question. Right now we've got no choice. He's got to play them all, but we've kind of had to say, hey, you're the swing tackle now. We were looking to make him the swing guard and then when William Beatty got hurt then we kind of said, you know what, we can't afford to just…even though we're trying to spoon-feed you and bring you up slowly so you learn the offense and you only have to learn these positions…all of the sudden we've had to switch those positions and now it's not the inside, it's the outside.
Q: Does that factor into your decision to have Koets in there so that you don't have to move Shawn around?
A: To me, he's got nothing to do with it anymore because he's a tackle. Right now we're better off just knowledge-wise and performance-wise with Adam.
Q: The offensive line had a little bit of a down week last week. What can you do this week to get them going again?
A: I wish we had an easy solution to that. You hope and you know that the character of the group…it's wearing on them. It's difficult for them not to have played well. We just haven't been consistent with the running game this year. We stress it so much that it's disappointing but if you look at it statistically, we were better last week than we were the week before so hopefully we're headed in the right direction and that you'll continue to see some dividends from our commitment to it. They struggled against two outstanding pass-rushers in a hostile, loud environment last week so we'll at least have the benefit of being home, which is a good thing now that…they've got to play better and just our unit has to play better because we never ask just our tackles to block. We've been helping our tackles for years with chips here and tight ends there. The guards have to slide on all of those things. They didn't have their best game but we didn't have as good of a game as we needed to as a unit in helping assist those guys, especially under the conditions of last Sunday.
Q: Are you going into Sunday thinking that Shaun is not going to play?
A: You always go into that…you hope for the best and say, hey, if he does, that's great, but you always prepare for the other.
Q: Do you have to do a similar thing with the Titans speed-rushers though because they're pretty fast, too?
A: They're good players. They're the number one defense in the league. They're great players. Number one against the pass. Certainly they've got good cover guys, but a lot of it is because of the quality of the rush, so yeah, but we do that every game and we've very cognizant of the ability level that they have and we expect our tackles to play well. I think they will. I think they'll rebound. They've got tremendous pride, but also as a group, we'll make sure that we do a better job than we did in terms of helping and assisting.
Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell
Q: In retrospect, was your plan to stop the passing game against the Colts the right plan? How surprised were you at how much they ran the ball?
A: Surprised that they were able to run the ball. Obviously, that was the better team last week and they had a good plan and they were just a better football team on Sunday than we were.
Q: You go from facing probably the best quarterback in the league to the best running back in the league. Do you want to be as proactive as you were against the pass in the run this week?
A: You've got to stop the run. You have to stop the run against this guy. This guy is very good. It's a two-headed monster because Vince Young is very good, the way he runs the ball, so the running attack is very, very strong and you have to defend the pass, no doubt.
Q: Do you have to hedge it a little bit and emphasize the run?
A: You have to stop the run. You have to stop the run and we can defend the pass. With what we're going to do and how we're going to approach these guys, we can defend the run. We can defend both the run and the pass. We have to do a great job Sunday of tackling and we have to do a good job of making sure that we close the gaps, that there are no seams in our defense, because this guy, he's a really good north and south runner. With all that speed he has, he's able to put his toe in the turf and go north and south and he's able to make yards that way so we definitely have to be very disciplined in what we do and how we do it with run and pass.
Q: Do you have to prepare your guys for the possibility that they go to Kerry Collins again this week?
A: Yeah, last week, as you watched the ball game, Kerry came in and they were down by two scores and it became a real pass attack. Kerry really has a good arm. Throws the seam ball extremely well. I've got a lot of respect for how he can flame that football so if that does happen, yes, you have to have a plan of attack for that also.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the responsibility that Jonathan Goff has in the scheme of this defense?
A: He's an extension of what we're trying to do and he communicates to the defense and makes all of the adjustments of what we're trying to do out there so his mental makeup and his ability to think like we think is key and important for us. We give him a lot of checks and a lot of things to go over from a scheme standpoint and he's able to handle that information as well as, when the ball is snapped, make a decision within a second that you have to try to tackle a ball carrier. So, I think he has been progressing extremely well in what we've been doing.
Q: Why did you like Jonathan in the middle?
A: Sometimes you have to let your gut instinct take over and when he was in there calling the huddle and when the defensive guys looked at him, they looked at him as the leader and Jonathan was the guy that they said, hey give me something Jonathan and he would get them pumped up and he would get them ready to go. I just think that his overall play and how he progressed in camp, those things took over. You're looking out there and you're seeing that the chemistry is good with Jonathan in there and I think that that's probably the overriding factor.
Q: Do you anticipate playing three safeties on the field at the same time throughout the season and do you want them to play as high as they did last week this week?
A: Each week that could change. What we're trying to do with our personnel is – we've got good personnel – we try to use our personnel to the best of our ability and try to attack a team and match up with a team as in the case last week. We thought that the matchups were good with that football team using the three safety package. It might not be as good this week because of what this team presents, et cetera, so we try to look at it and evaluate it each week and see where we can gain the advantage defensively with our personnel.
Q: How disappointed were you last week and what did you learn about your defense when it could not stop the run?
A: I still think that we can stop the run with six in the box. I learned that we weren't as sharp as we should have been and that our run fits with the two backers that we had in the football game at that point in time, that we have to concentrate more on that, that if there was an emphasis that should have been tilted one way or the other…hindsight is 20/20, but you took a team that for 13 years, they've thrown the football every down. Every year I've played them they've thrown the football every down. And they had a good plan of attack, so, again, just using our personnel and doing what we like to do, we should have and we could have done a better job.
Q: What does Linval Joseph need to do to be on that 45 on game day?
A: That's a tough question because he makes progress every day in practice and he's playing and competing against some guys that have really good experience in Canty and Barry Cofield as well as Rocky Bernard, so I mean, you can only dress 45 and you have to make that decision one way or another. I think he just has to keep pressing, keep working. He is getting better as a football player, but that's always a tough number when you only have 45 guys to dress on game day.
Q: Have you had a chance to speak with Antrel about his comments on the radio this week?
A: I don't know what these comments are…no I haven't had a chance to talk to him about that.
Q: Do you have to flip a switch from preparing for Peyton to prepare for Chris Johnson?
A: Yeah. It's the polar opposite. But Peyton…his head spun around on the ball last week so I don't know if Chris Johnson can throw the football. I don't know if that will happen this week, but yeah, they're polar opposites and Chris is obviously an excellent running back and so we've got to do a great job in stopping the running game.
Q: Is there anything blueprint-wise you can take from the Steelers game?
A: How physical they played. That was one of the most physical football games that I have seen this year. Pittsburgh, no matter what, they had a great mentality when they went in the football game. They were not going to be denied. It was a bloodbath on both sides of the football, so the mentality that we have to take in the football game is that no matter what, we have to have that physical mentality and not be denied.
Q: Is that a style that you guys can win?
A: Oh yeah. We can win like that if we go into this football game with that mentality.
Q: Is Vince a guy who is almost more dangerous outside of the pocket?
A: Yeah. We'd love to keep Vince in the pocket. No doubt about it, because in some of the tapes we've been reviewing et cetera, sometimes he comes out of the pocket, he almost pulls a hamstring he's running so fast. We definitely need to build a wall around him, cup him, and try to keep him in the pocket.
Q: Is Keith still evolving into the role on your defense? Does he have something to prove going against his old team this week?
A: I think Keith fits in very well this week. He's on edge this week because obviously if you've worked somewhere for nine or ten years and now you have a chance to compete against that opponent, you want to win badly, you as a man and as a football player, you have something to prove, so I think that he will come out. He has a role, he has a significant role in our defense this week, and he'll come out and he'll play good football. He'll want to play good football.
Q: Is there a process you have to go through mentally to adjust from being in the middle to be on the outside?
A: I think that there's a little bit of a mental adjustment but when you're a man of his caliber and have played as long as he's played and you've played both, I think he can handle that and he handles it well. Again, Keith is a football player and, unlike some guys, Keith just wants to be on the field. He wants to contribute, whether he's on the outside or the inside, he's a guy who can make that adjustment and do that. We're fortunate to have that guy.
DE Justin Tuck
Q: What was the talk with Tom on the field with the other captains? How important is that for you to kind of carry his tone to the rest of the locker room?
A: I mean that's what I think when you look at the word "captain," you can usually replace that word with "middle man" because we're basically just an extension of the coaching staff or the head coach. So basically what we talked about are things that you guys have already heard in the media and how we can better ourselves from it. I mean we've already been down this road so I'm not going to start saying things to the media and give you all easy work for the next week. What goes on in this locker room should stay in this locker room, and we'll get everything straightened out. It's easy to be a leader when you're winning football games, but you go out on a Sunday night and get embarrassed on TV—that's when your real character starts to show. So it's all about what we do from here on out.
Q: Do you think there's enough leadership with you three captains or does it have to be from other people, too?
A: I think that's what we've always been even when (Michael Strahan) was here, even when A.P. was here. They weren't just leaders by themselves even though they were great leaders. They couldn't watch over the whole locker room. I think all the guys stepped up. We had veteran leadership everywhere. I'm not deferring the responsibilities. I'm a captain. That's what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to listen to the voice of this football team and figure out ways how to get it right. And right now, that's what we're doing. We're getting it right.
Q: Coughlin said that with you as far as leadership and embracing it, it has been an evolution type of thing. Is that a fair assessment?
A: Yeah. I think a lot of people would love to be a leader, but they don't realize—I look at it like this: In order to be a great leader, you have to be a follower first. You've got to put yourself into other people's shoes. Without doing that, you don't know what they're going through. You don't know how to respond to them. So for me, I think my evolution has been a good one because I've seen it in different lights. I've seen it when I first got here with (Strahan). I've seen it when (he) retired and A.P. was here, or when they were both together. I've seen it in different ways so we'll find a way. We'll find the right way to lead this football team. Every year is not going to be the same thing. So you definitely have to have, I guess, a different approach sometimes.
Q: Antrel Rolle didn't mention anybody by name, but he talked about leadership. You're the defensive captain as voted. When he says something like that, does it sting you? Did you have to go talk to him?
A: The only thing I was upset about was he didn't come to me first, and we're a team. So we'll talk. We haven't talked. We will talk, and I'll figure out what exactly he meant by what he did. If he's got a problem with how I lead, that's fine. That's his opinion. I mean, none of us are perfect. I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm the best leader. When I make a mistake, I own up to it. And obviously against the Colts, we didn't do a good job in leadership because the score reflected that.
Q: We know Strahan was a leader here, but he also had Antonio here. Can you have more than one leader? Can he be an ally for you?
A: Absolutely. The simple fact is this: We have a lot of guys in this locker room that have been in a lot of wars and being on all those teams and seeing it like that. I've been on this team when we've been dominant. I've been on this team when we looked like crap. And I can see the difference. So every year leadership is going to be created in a different form. You get new players and they've seen it work one way and like an old person, they kind of get stuck in their ways. But it's a Giant way, and we're going to do it the Giants way. And we're going to figure out that way this year because Super Bowl year it was one way. We went 11-1, that was another way. We'll figure it out. I mean we'll be OK. We're 1-1. It's been two games so I'm not really—it's kind of comical to me that we're discussing this right now, but I'm a leader and I'm a captain and I'll address it and I'll do my best to rectify the wrong.
Q: You talk about the Giant way. When R.W. (McQuarters) and Sam (Madison) joined this team, they were veterans but didn't go out of the circle. Do you need to talk to the new guys on this team to show them what the Giant way is?
A: I definitely do. And again, that's not a fault to Antrel or whoever else. It's because like he said, he won a lot of games in Arizona. They did well out there, and they did it a certain way. And you can't fault him for believing in a certain way, but the simple fact is this: we've won a lot of games here, too, and it's a Giant way. I think coach Coughlin did a great job of trying to get everybody on the same page. We went down this road before and this locker room had been divided. And we know it happened. We went down the road together, and we came together and you stop talking about "91" and you start talking about the entire team. So that's what it is. It's a team effort. I'm going to get together with my defense. I'm going to get together with the offense. I'm going to get together with special teams. We're going to go over some things as far as getting more ideas as what might be wrong or what they think can help and things like that. I mean that's what I need to do a better job of.
Q: How much more physical does the team have to be against a Tennessee team that likes to play physical? Do you think you'll be ready for that?
A: I think it fits very well with what we want to do. I think we kind of lost our game a little bit there in Indianapolis and kind of started thinking about Peyton running that offense at a quick pace. And we kind of forgot about what makes us tick and we started to worry about them. So I think this week we can definitely find a way to get back on the same page and play our style of defense.
Q: The Super Bowl year the defense was getting shredded the first two games and then you had a goal line stand in Washington and everything changed. It became more apparent that you guys were getting used to a new coordinator. Are there any parallels to that?
A: I hope so. I mean I think those first two games we did a great job of being individuals and not really understanding what our defensive coordinator wanted from us. I don't know if we knew what he wanted from us after the Washington game, but it just happened to happen so dramatically that we started looking at each other like, 'We've got an opportunity to do something special here.' We started believing in each other. I think after the Carolina game, maybe we got a little high on our horse a little bit thinking that maybe we can put this together right now. But we've still got some learning to do. We've still got some defenses that we haven't dialed in and made it 100-percent yet. So hopefully this week can be that Washington game for us. Hopefully we can get on a run here and start understanding what this team has and playing together as a football team.
DE Mathias Kiwanuka
Q: So you guys go from having to face the best quarterback in the league to the best running back in the league:
A: That'll definitely be a good challenge for us. I think we have a good game plan, and everyone is ready to go. Especially after the performance we gave last week, I think everybody is ready to get back on track and we'll be alright.
Q: From your experience with Vince Young, what do you think his quickness and his ability to escape is like after seeing it first hand in 2006?
A: Definitely. He's a gifted athlete, and I think he's made a lot of strides as far as distributing the ball and getting the ball down the field. Even though he might not have had the best couple of games, he's definitely a very good and proven player.
Q: Does it start with Johnson first though?A: Absolutely. I said last week that no matter who you're facing, you have to stop the run. You have to stop the run and defend the pass. If we stick to our game plan and everybody is in the right gaps, and knows their assignments, then we'll be good.
Q: Do you have any unfinished business with Vince Young?
A: I'm done with that. Next question.
Q: Are you surprised you have to address concerns about leadership in this locker room?
A: We have great leaders on this team. People have stepped up in a lot of situations where they're needed. Now, was Rolle right to say what he said? Absolutely. There was a void at that moment. You can't expect people to be 100 percent all the time. There are going to be lapses here or there, and it's good that he said something because now everyone is paying attention to it.
Q: Do you think it re-energizes the team even more, especially coming off a loss like that?
A: Yeah, it definitely makes us re-focus. It gave us a little boost of energy, and it put a little chip on people's shoulders who felt like they should have stepped up. Like I said before, we do have good leadership on this team and that was one incident. You can't put everything in that category. You can't say there was bad leadership because of that one incident.
Q: I'm sure you know that you'll be going up against a different Titans team after the way they performed this past Sunday?
A: Absolutely. We're preparing for them as if they're going to come out firing on all cylinders. We expect them to be preparing as hard as they ever have this week, and that's the kind of game we're expecting to have.
Q: Do you feel that you have to match the way they play physically?
A: Yeah, absolutely. A lot has been said about their physical nature and how they play the game, and I respect their approach to the game. That's the kind of football we like to play.
Q: Did the Steelers provide any kind of blueprint for you guys as far as physical play?
A: Yes. They played them very tough, and it was definitely a battle. If you watch film, both teams were battling. It makes it a little easier knowing that they do what they do.
Q: You ever play anyone quite like Chris Johnson?
A: No. I think he is one of the most explosive in the league since I've been here. It's hard to duplicate that, especially at the college level.
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