September 7, 2011
A: Good morning. We are excited. It is game week and we are playing against a very good and very improved Washington Redskin team. We are excited about that. They have done a good job in preseason and you can see the areas that they have improved. They played some very tough opponents in the preseason and played them very well. We look forward to that part of it and getting started today with our game plan day and practicing this afternoon. We are all greatly shocked and disappointed about the loss of Jon Goff. Jon has worked his tail off and put himself in position to be our starting middle backer. He has been an outstanding learner and individual and he has done a great job with all the calls and checks and all those things throughout the preseason. We saw the knees bang together and for intents and purposes, the first initial report was that is was a stable knee and it wasn't that way. We re-group and accept the challenge. We look at it as another form of adversity and on we go. You are going to ask me who it is and we will be looking at a couple things today.
Q: Will you be looking at Greg Jones?
A: Absolutely. He has been here all preseason and he is a good football player. If not, he wouldn't be here. He has had a good preseason himself. Sometimes it is just time to step it up.
Q: How are you still remaining calm with all these injuries? Do you ask youself, "Why us?"
A: I wouldn't say it that way but you do have your moments. We are human, but it was the lateness of the hour. We didn't find this out until late in the afternoon and we had to move fast and think fast and make some decisions there. Not under the best of circumstances but nevertheless, that is what we are charged with, so here we are.
Q: If you have your moments, then the players must, too, right?
A: I'm sure they are but the way the team presented themselves this morning in the defensive meeting room was outstanding and the guys press on. It is not an excuse. You have a job to do and you have to go do it.
Q: Who will make the calls on defense if you have to play a rookie in there?
A: We can do a combination of things there.
Q: Are you worried about his size?
A: No, I think that he has a force and he has always been an outstanding tackler and physical player. I think you can see that.
Q: Will Mark Herzlich play in the middle?
A: He can play in there, yes. Sure.
Q: If you do sign somebody, how long will it take to get him ready?
A: It depends on the individual and their recall. We can play the game the way we are, they way our breakdown is but it would take naturally a little while.
Q: Are you worried about lack of experience?
A: You have to get it on the fly. Obviously there will be a lot of mistakes but they will be aggressive ones. That is the thing that you look forward to plus the improvement. You expect a young guy put in that situation to learn from errors and improve.
Q: Is this the most injuries you have dealt with this early?
A: I don't keep track of those things.
Q: How do you compare a freshman coming into college and playing versus a rookie in the NFL?
A: Well a rookie playing in the NFL has had success in college and sometimes against the best opposition in the country therefore he has a certain amount of confidence that comes along with that. Sometimes a freshman coming into college is not really sure. There are exceptions and there are a lot of guys that play four years in college but usually there is a little bit of a growth period and that is the same here. The collegiate experience has given them a little confidence.
Q: Do you think Greg Jones will be overwhelmed?
A: We will see. Obviously you have to force feed it but we will make some decisions with what we can play without and what possible errors can be made in some situations that we don't want to have to put ourselves through. We will make those decisions.
Q: How is Tuck?
A: He is getting better and feeling better. He is not going to go today.
Q: Is Ballard the starting tight end?
A: We play them all in different situations but we just listed it that way. You can take away from it what you want. They play in different situations and different circumstances.
Q: Are you down about the injuries?
A: I'm not going to allow myself to have that sense. It is unfortunate but it is our game. It is unfortunate that these guys have gone down. There is no question that there are a number of defensive players that have gone down. There are a number of defensive players that we were counting on that are not going to be with us and you can't hide that fact. We have what we have and we are going forward with it.
Q: Do you think the lockout had a factor in the injuries?
A: I am not going to have any projection on that. That is for you people. Let's just say it is not soft tissue.
Q: What are you expecting to see from the Redskins?
A: I am expecting to see what I saw in preseason.
Q: Can you talk about Eli Manning's consecutive game streak?
A: It means that he has been able to display the kind of toughness and competiveness. One week he was out with a shoulder and he played. He has that desire and he has that toughness, both physical and mental. He said the first time he walked into my office that he wanted to be the quarterback and leader of this team and he has demonstrated that consistently.
Q: Can you talk about those kinds of players?
A: There is a lot of that. If you look at middle linebacker, the Redskins have had an awful lot of years with that kind of play. I guess you do recognize that but that wouldn't be on my mind today.
LB Mark Herzlich
September 7, 2011
Q: Reaction to the injury to Jon Goff?
A: He is a great guy and he has helped us out a lot while we were preparing and I think he is going to be around to help do that still.
Q: Have you and Greg Jones talked about that at all?
A: Not really, you come in and just have to know that the opportunity is there and we need to know all the positions. I played Mike, Sam and Will in the preseason and I just need to focus more on the Mike because there is that void and that is something that will be decided later.
Q: How hard is it to learn the whole playbook?
A: That is what the preseason was all about. You have to learn everything in the preseason. As rookies, we played the preseason games as if they were our regular games. We had to know everything and that translated over into the same study habits and translates over to the season.
LB Greg Jones
September 7, 2011
Q: What did people say to you once you got the news Jon Goff was hurt?
A: They just said you have to step up and you have to be prepared. When I talked to Jon, that is the kind of guy he is, he expects me to be ready if that ever occurred and don't be a drop off.
Q: Who told you?
A: Coach Herm (linebackers coach Jim Herrmann) told me. He just called me and let me know. I was sad to hear that, especially what kind of guy Jon is. He was still walking around like he was fine, you would have never known unless somebody told you. He is a good guy and I respect him a lot for taking me under his wing since my very first day, telling me what to do and how to line up and how to be a leader.
Q: How ready will you be?
A: I will be as ready as I possibly can be, given the opportunity and be a leader. I'm just trying to gain the respect of my teammates and I believe that's what I am going to do.
Q: Can you make the calls on defense?
A: I can do it. I believe in myself to do it. I am not going to doubt myself and I have been preparing for it all the time although it has been a short time without OTA's. I believe in myself to do it.
Q: Do you know the playbook?
A: Yes, but don't get me wrong, it is always tough and nobody is prefect. I'm just trying to put my best foot forward.
Q: Have you ever lined up with the starters?
A: No, this was the first time.
Q: Was it different?
A: No, it was cool just being out there. It is a different type of motivation and everybody is so positive and not saying you are only a rookie. Everybody is saying you can do this. Believe in yourself and we will follow your lead and make the right call. Everybody works together so it felt good.
Q: Did you have to yell a lot?
A: No, I didn't have to yell a lot. They pretty much know what to do so it was pretty cool.
Q: Was there something that happened that gave you more confidence?
A: Really just from week to week and knowing that I am getting better and talking to the coaches a lot. Taking steps forward is what I am trying to do and not trying to overstep my boundaries. Just building up my confidence and watch more film and just critique myself more. Take the constructive criticism from my coaches and teammates and build on that and that is how I get my confidence at the end of the day.
Q: Will you say hello to Mike Shanahan?
A: I always seek out Mike. I always seek him out and I still have a lot of respect for him. I still take the things that I learned from him. It is funny because he was a coach I always dreamed of playing for and of course situations happened. I picked up everything I could and learned from him and I apply it now. I think it is helping me a lot.
Q: How motivated are you to play well against him?
A: Oh yes, trust me anything I do, I remember where I started at, so it is going to be a good game and I am going to play hard and do anything I can to help us win.
Q: How do you make sure the special teams are in order?
A: It has to be and that's what we practice for. We critique everything on film and we keep our same attitude and mentality that we are a good special teams unit and we just have to go out there and do what we do when the game is on the line. That's what counts, wins and losses.
Q: Are the mistakes you have seen on tape simple to correct?
A: Definitely. Maybe it is just one person who makes a mistake or picked up the wrong block. It is always just one play away from making something happen. We correct what we see wrong, fix it and make it happen.
September 7, 2011
Q: How is it morale wise, for a team to be so decimated by injuries?
A: That's part of football. It's going to happen. I thought we had a great practice today. Our concern is getting ready for Washington. You can't worry about who's out there and who's not. You have to trust the guys that are out there and go out there and do a great job. You game plan, play hard, and find a way to win.
Q: Do you take it as a personal challenge because of the questions at receiver and tight end?
A: No. I think my job is to go out and do my job - make the throws, follow my reads, and put our team in good position. That's what I'm trying to do. Play hard and do my responsibilities and leave it up to other guys to do their responsibilities.
Q: What's the key to winning this week?
A: We have to be smart with the football. We have to protect it. There will be some opportunities to make some big plays, you have to make those, you just have to be sound. Everybody's got to communicate well, be on the same page and just execute our game plan.
Q: How extra important is it to get a win this week with everything else that's been going on?
A: It's always important to try to go get a win. All you can do is focus on the game plan that week, going out there each day at practice, understanding your assignments, perform those, be mentally and physically ready to play on Sunday and once that opportunity comes, go out there and give it your all.
Q: What's the significance of playing in the nation's capital on 9/11?
A: Obviously on this 10th anniversary of 9/11 it's a big deal, especially for people here in New York, for people in Washington. It's a time people all remember, will never forget - should be that way. It's an honor to play on this day and honor the people we lost on that significant day.
Q: Do you think the team is prepared for the emotion of the day?
A: It's one of those things, it's hard to prepare for. You don't know exactly what's going to happen, but I'm sure it will be very deserving for whatever they do. Whatever emotions are flying, you have to be true to yourself and let them go. Hopefully once the whistle blows and that first kickoff goes, guys still play with a lot of emotion, but you want to get your concentration back on football.
Q: Did Coughlin have a message for you guys about the injuries?
A: No. It's one of those things. You don't talk about it. You just go out there, you perform. Everybody is doing their job. You can't focus on that. My job is to focus on the Redskins, focus on the offense, getting guys ready to play, and go out there and perform.
Q: If your brother sits you'll be the quarterback with the most current consecutive starts in the league.
A: I don't know what my number is. You try to be out there every week and perform and be on the field with your teammates. It's not something that I'm keeping track of.
Q: It's not something that's been easy for you.
A: Sure, there have been a few down the road that it's been a Friday decision or a game time decision. That's going to happen every once in a while. I always felt that I could go out there and perform at a high level and be the best option for the team.
Q: How proud of being able to stay on the field are you?
A: I think that's always the goal, to be there on Sunday. Sometimes it can't happen. Some circumstances come up that you can't prevent. I try to do everything I can. Make sure in the offseason I do all my workouts and running - they prevent the little nicks and knacks. And try to get all of the treatment when you do get banged up, get the treatments and do everything you can to get back on the field.
Q: How impressed are you that your brother's number is more than double yours?
A: If you can go through 13 years without missing a game, that's impressive no matter what position or what sport. Just playing for 13 years is impressive. Obviously, see what happens. Hopefully get to this one on Sunday and add another one.
Q: Do you chalk your streak up to luck or do you have a characteristic that let's you stay healthy?
A: I don't know. I don't know what it is. You try to be out there. You try to work hard during the offseason, prevent the pulls. Those things can be, I think, prevented a little bit. Also, I'm not running as much as a lot of these guys and doing as much cutting. Eliminate a little bit of that. The quarterback, you can play with a lot of big injuries. You get a little injury like an index finger or a thumb that most people can play with, sometimes you can't. I've stayed away from some of those.
Q: Is there one you can point to that was the closest call.
A: Try to focus on the good times, not the bad times.
Q: Did Peyton give you a buzz just to let you know he wasn't going to go?
A: I haven't talked to him the last few weeks. I know he's dealing with a lot. We've sent some text messages here and there, been thinking about him, but haven't talked to him.
Q: Were you surprised he wasn't going to be able to make it?
A: I don't know exactly how he's feeling or what's going on. I know he wants to be out there and he's going to give it his all to get back out there.
Q: What's stuck out to you about Jake Ballard?
A: Jake [Ballard's] done a great job blocking. He's a big, [fierce] guy. He knows what's going on, smart guy. He's doing a good job in our run game and has had some catches in the pass game - on an over route a few weeks ago. He's been impressive and earned [the starting] spot.
Q: If a team you were playing was starting a rookie middle linebacker, would you target him right away?
A: I don't know. You run the ball at him? That's the thing about football, you have ten other guys around you. They have to do their assignments and you have to do your assignments. If everybody works together, should be in good shape.
Q: Is Tom Coughlin a good coach to have in adversity?
A: Yeah. He gets us prepared, gets us ready to play. You have to put things behind you, you can't sit and moan about them and complain about things. You have to adjust and keep going.
Q: Does anything change about him when stuff like this happens?
A: No, I don't think so.
Q: As tumultuous as the last six months have been for the sport, is tomorrow night it's back…?
A: Yeah, definitely. You always look forward to the first regular season game. There's definitely some excitement and some nerves. It's been nine months since we hit the field for a real game. It's been a long time. I thought we got off to a great start today, good practice, good game plan. Everybody understands what we are doing, what our objectives are, how we're preparing, doing some things different here and there. I thought everybody was sharp and running around. A few days off, guys are rested and running well.
Q: What else do you like about this team?
A: I think we have guys who want to be here, who want to play football. They enjoy what they're doing, they're committed. They have talent, first off. Second off, they have the commitment to put in what it takes to be great. They understand what's going on. They ask questions. That's what I like from all of the guys. They're committed to going out there and not just knowing the assignment, [but] knowing why we're doing certain things. Every single look, everything that might come up, we're prepared for.
Q: When you look at your championship season, the talent was greater than the outlook. Do you have a similar feeling about this team?
A: I think we have talent on both sides of the ball. We have guys who want to be here. It's just a matter of going out there and performing, everybody doing their responsibilities. There's going to be things each week that you can learn from. There's going to be mistakes, but it's about learning from those things, growing with them. If it happens in the first game, make sure when the same thing comes up in the second quarter, you don't make the mistake then. You learn, you adjust, and you keep rolling. That's part of football. It's not a perfect game. You practice that way, you have your rules, and if everybody is communicating, working together, you have a shot to make the plays and do good things.
Q: With the injuries and loss of personnel do you assume a greater burden?
A: No. You can never do more. You just have to do your job. You have to do your responsibilities. You have to stay within what your rules are, what your assignments are, and trust that people are going to step up and do their role, whatever their job is.
S Deon Grant
September 7, 2011
A: That's the league. [Coach Coughlin] mentioned it. This is adversity. This is the NFL. Dealing with what we're dealing with, I don't think it's happened like that in a long time. I know I can't remember my whole career, but that's adversity. You see what Green Bay went through last year. The next guy has to make sure he picks it up.
Q: Green Bay got into the regular season before they started falling.
A: That's really a gift because in the regular season, when things are going and you have to plug in, that's when it's more difficult. When it's before the season starts, you know exactly what you're going to war with. It kind of helps us that it happened before the season started.
Q: In a season where you lost the offseason, does that make it even more worrisome when Greg Jones has to step in?
A: No. Worrisome better not come out of nobody's mouth in this locker room. We're not worried about nothing. The only thing we should be worried about is what we have to do to the next team we play. But as far as being worried about a guy on the football field with us, our confidence level better be very high and when it comes to believing in whatever guy's lined up in front of us, behind us, beside us.
Q: You believe Greg Jones is the guy?
A: Talk to him about the conversations him and I have been having since I've been here. I like him a lot. When I first came in and saw what he was doing in training camp, I'm like who is this guy? And then I found out exactly who it was, I remembered exactly what he did in college. The guy was a two or three-time All American. You don't make that by going out and making a few plays. That means you were out there playing some ball. I have a lot of confidence in him. He's very smart and very physical.
LB Michael Boley
September 7, 2011
Q: Does Greg Jones know what he's doing yet?
A: Oh yeah. Him, all of our young guys, they did a great job with coming in early on in camp and pretty much picking up grading the defense. Say in that last game, Greg did a great job.
Q: Do you have enough depth at the linebacker position?
A: I think we have it. We have to learn on the run. We have some young players who have stepped up and played great football in the preseason. Coming into the regular season, we look for big plays out of them, whatever we ask them to do.
Q: How shocking was the news about Goff?
A: It was very shocking. Would have never thought just by the way he walked off of the field and his whole attitude about it leading up until I heard about it yesterday. It was devastating.
Q: How devastating is it to this defense?
A: It's big. Jon, since the end of my first year, he kind of stepped into that role then and he got even better last year. Coming into this year, he has gotten a lot better.
Q: Would you consider calling the signals?
A: I don't know. That would be a decision for the coaches and however they want to do it. If they give it to me, they give it to me. If not, then still, the same thing is going to happen.
Q: What will you tell Greg Jones?
A: For me, I've always told my Mike linebacker, even with Jon [Goff], you run the show. Whatever you call and as long as we're on the same page, we're right. And that's how it goes. If one person makes a mistake, but everybody makes that same mistake, you're right.