Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Good morning. The Jaguars are coming off of three wins, two of them in spectacular fashion. They feature an outstanding running game, an outstanding running back, good offensive line, lots of team speed, speed on special teams, returner's ability. The defense is very physical – they get after you with a good front, a good front seven. They are, as you know, a team that won a couple of weeks ago with the batted ball issue and then a 75-yard screen last week, but they had to hold Cleveland off at the end of the game and had an interception to do that. They played very well over in Dallas – they were the recipient of many turnovers and they converted them and won. They won a game the other day by turning the ball over six times themselves and still winning the game, which is a very rare experience. They're a good football team. We look forward to a very physical battle this weekend here at home.
Q: Michael Clayton – what did you see from him?
A: Well, I think he's a veteran player, he's been on the field, he worked out well. He's anxious, he's excited about the opportunity, as are we, so we're going to see how far he can go with the learning and depending on how well he does with that, we'll make some adjustments as to how much we can use him.
Q: Has he played in a similar offense or are you starting from scratch?
A: Well, as far as the terminology and what have you, it's different for him, but he did feel relatively comfortable with the way that things were explained to him, so we'll see. You'll know really fast whether he can be full speed or whether he's hampered a little bit by what to do here and there. I think that if we can keep it as we practice it – in other words, it's first and second down today – then he has a better chance to have a handle on it.
Q: Would you rather give him a smaller package or the whole thing?
A: We'll see. Well, he's going to get, as I said before, he'll get the game plan. He doesn't have to get the volume. He's got to learn what's going to happen this week.
Q: Can you still be a balanced football team offensively this week?
A: Well, we're going to try to be and we're going to approach the game just as we approach any game. We're going to depend on some of the people that have been here to learn, to be in a position to help us with regards to that, but we will be able to just go along, but the way in which we've gone about our business has been very similar.
Q: Is receiver one of the easier places to drop guys in?
A: No. Not with the adjustments that have to made. Every route, for example, every pattern has adjustments within it for coverage. A guy has to, one, recognize the coverage, be in the right place at the right time, make the right adjustment and the quarterback has got to feel like he's going to be there, so no, it's not.
Q: So the adjustments aren't universal? They're Giants specific?
A: Oh, absolutely. Every team has different ways in which they function.
Q: How did Hakeem do with his procedure?
A: He did well. According to what has been reported, the situation was well done, well handled and he's optimistic about a speedy recovery.
Q: Still three weeks?
A: That's what they're saying.
Q: Tuck was on the report today.
A: He's sore – got a helmet in the thigh area and that type of thing. He's better. He came in this morning, got his work in and he was a little bit better, so I'm thinking tomorrow will be a better day.
Q: Diehl is cleared to do something?
A: We'll see. Whatever has been told to you, I'll just stay with it. So many times we've said this and then gone out on the field and I have to explain again how come it didn't progress to more, so we'll be real conservative with this one.
Q: Is O'Hara expected to do anything this week?
A: No one has given me any indication that those guys are any further than just advanced in where they are, but not ready for the field.
Q: Would you put Diehl at left guard?
A: We'll deal with that one when we get there.
Q: Is there any change with Hedgecock?
A: He's going to try today and hopefully he can do some work.
Q: Blackmon's chest from the hit he took?
Q: What do you see from David Garrard?
A: He's playing within himself. You've seen it – he has a very, very high completion percentage. He still is the same player – he can run the ball, he has a very strong arm, they do some of things where they come off play action, like we're familiar with, the ball goes way, way down the field, he has speed at the position to get there for him. He's done a real good job. Last week was the four interceptions, so that wouldn't be called one of his better days, but he and his team are improving.
Q: Where's your trust level with putting an extra load on Bradshaw given his fumbles?
A: Well, we have three running backs. We have to utilize them all. We do want to be balanced. We are trying to get our running game back to where we want it to be. I know it's only a one game dip, but we want more production in the run – that's just the way we do things here. We'll come out with four wides and let it fly.
Q: Knowing his issues are you inclined to give more carries to Jacobs?
A: Well, we'd like to have Ahmad evaluate the whole situation and improve obviously in that area, work on that. We have a couple of things that hopefully we can help with in the small amount of time that we devote to individual at this time of year, but hopefully there is something we can do to continue to resolve that issue, but we're not going to stop trying to be balanced.
Q: Would you ever have to tell him to stop fighting for those extra yards?
A: I think sometimes it's…yes, you can say that, but you don't want to take that away from a player. The simple fact of the matter is, with the amount of exposure in this league, every team in the league goes for the ball. Everybody goes for the ball. I see people that aren't even worried about tackling, they just go try to grab the ball. I think there's a spot there where the absolute most secure position, no matter if you're striving for extra yards or what, has to be the number one priority. Easier said than done.
Q: Was it a lapse in his technique when it got pulled out?
A: Well, he didn't get it as secure as you need to get it.
Q: Is he still your starter?
A: We're going to have Brandon start this week, but as I said, there are plenty of carries to go around.
Q: Is the ball security issue the reason why Brandon is starting, or does it go beyond that?
A: Well, the number one consideration is to try to stop beating ourselves. That's one area that we should be able to improve. It's very frustrating not to improve in that area.
Q: Is there the mindset that your team really has to run the ball?
A: Well, I think it has been presented basically like that.
Q: Do you still have lots of connections to the Jaguars and the community?
A: I have a lot of connections to the community, not the franchise.
Q: Does this game mean anything extra for you?
A: It's a very important game.
Q: Will tomorrow be a normal day?
A: It'll be like a Friday schedule, so it starts the same time, but what we'll do is the players will be done around 1:30 and then the next day will be basically like an in-season Friday, but we're going to expand that to make sure that we take the tape from the day before that doesn't get looked at because the players are going home – we'll do that first and then we'll get into our Friday installation.
Q: Has Brandon won the job or has Ahmad lost it?
A: Well, yeah. Brandon has run the ball – it's basically been like a two to one deal, both guys have had lots of carries – we're going to try to get Danny Ware some work as well.
Q: Do you think it will remain this way?
A: We're going to play this game. We'll see how we do this week.
Q: In '07 you stopped Eli's turnovers late in the season – can you do that again now?
A: He's very much aware of it and it can be done. Yes, it can be done and really it's important that it gets done. Now, not pointing the finger and not talking blame, but those kinds of things, you talk about the number of tipped balls – we do have some issues there as well, people being in the right spot at the right time.
Q: How did Bradshaw take the change?
A: He's not happy, but he's going to fight his way through it. Why it would be a total surprise to anybody is beyond me.
QB Eli Manning
Q: What was it like working with Michael Clayton today?
A: It was good. We got some good work. I've known Michael for a long time. We worked out before the combine seven years ago – we were down in Florida for about three months and he was my roommate and he was a guy I was throwing to a bunch then, so it's good to reconnect and I know he's excited about being here and seeing how he can help us out. He's obviously a veteran guy who has played in a lot of football games and he should be able to pick it up quickly and get some playing time.
Q: How much can you expect him to get under his belt in the next couple of days?
A: I think a guy like him – obviously, he knows how to prepare, he knows how to study, but you can only ask so much, keep things relatively simple for him and just see what he can learn and see what he can pick up and I think he can learn enough.
Q: How does it limit your game plan?
A: It's still about execution – it's about how you execute, how you go out there and there are enough guys who know what they're doing and know how to run routes and know this offense, so we're still trying to do everything that we need to do to go out there and perform our best and have a chance to beat Jacksonville.
Q: Where have you missed Steve Smith the most?
A: It's tough to say. When you need a completion at third and six, he's going to fight for you and get open, so he's been a great third down receiver for us and just getting easy completions in the middle of the field, so we need guys to step in and fill that role.
Q: What do you see in the Jacksonville defense?
A: They're a big, physical team and they're very well coached, very disciplined. They play aggressive, they play fast, so we've got to go out there and a lot of it is just taking what they give you and moving the ball consistently and staying out of bad situations.
Q: How long do you think it takes a guy like Michael Clayton to get acclimated to what you guys do?
A: Hopefully it takes about two days. He got here yesterday I figure, first practice today, tomorrow he should know everything. He got in there; this will be us meeting and talking to the coaches and figuring out where he's going to be lined up and what packages he really needs to know and what routes and all of the conversions and different things and different adjustments that we have within the offense.
Q: Are you looking at this as a must-win game?
A: I think every game is a must-win game. I think you look at them all the same. You're always desperate for a win. We'll try to go out there and play our best football.
Q: How do you think the dynamic of the running back situation will change now that Jacobs has been re-inserted as the starter?
A: I don't think it'll change much and Brandon has obviously run the ball well for us this year, he knows what it's like to get the bulk of the carries, so it should be good. We'll mix in Ahmad, he's going to stay focused, stay ready and he'll be in there and we've still got the same tandem and they'll be working together, so whoever is in there knows how to run the ball.
Q: How much of a need is there to keep Ahmad's spirits up?
A: Yeah. He's just got to know. It's football and he's still going to get in the games and still have a great chance to make a lot of big plays for us and over the years, that's where he got the bulk of his carries were at the end of games, not being a starter and he should maybe see it as a good thing to wear down the defense and all of the sudden you bring in a different look, so it might be the spark that we need.
Q: What kind of premium are you guys putting on holding on to the football?
A: Yeah. I mean, I think it's always a premium, but we've got to do a better job and we've got to go out there and execute and that's what it is – stay out of bad situations, guys are going to have to make some great plays for us and it's just a matter of running the offense smoothly and respecting what the defense gives us.
Q: Is this like one of those things that goes in streaks?
A: Yeah. That's just kind of the way it goes. A lot of times it kind of all evens out, so I'm hoping that all of the turnovers we've had in the first half, the second half will be great with that and limit those and it'll all even out to what your normal average is for turnovers in a year, so we've just got to go out there and play. We've got to play our best football, we have to play fast and make sure that everybody is keyed in to what we're doing so we can go out there and have no doubts and just perform to the best of our ability.
Q: Are you surprised you're having the turnovers for so long?
A: Yeah. I think each turnover has its own story and some of them are just fluke deals. It's not like it's one thing that's happening over and over again, so I don't think we're repeating mistakes in that sense, it's just a matter of getting some bad bounces here and there.
RB Brandon Jacobs
Q: So you're back as the starter.
A: We haven't actually talked about it, but for me it's a temporary thing. It's temporary and I think that people are making a little bit too much out of it. We know what Ahmad brings to this football team: character, heart, hard work, and he knows that as well. You ask me, it's just temporary and I don't know what the reason for the whole thing is or what they're trying to prove. It's temporary, and I'm just going to do what they ask me to do. That's the main thing.
Q: Do you think it was necessary to do it to calm Ahmad down?
A: Like I said, I don't know the reason why they do it, but he knows that I'm here and I support him 100 percent on everything. I know he does the same. Like I said, I'm just here doing what I'm supposed to do and making sure him and I both stay on the right track.
Q: Does it make it awkward for you because you're both such good friends?
A: Knowing the way things are in this business, it doesn't make things awkward because him and I both know what this business is like. I wish he didn't feel awkward when things happened with me and him in the beginning of the year. We just know how it is. I know he's going to still be there and I know he's going to be a big part of us winning. If we want to win, we're going to have to give him the ball. That's basically all I have to say. If we want to win, give it to him and he's going to get it done.
Q: You needed to get used to not having the starting role. Have you talked to him about getting used to that situation again?
A: Once you go through it, it's kind of there. It's easy for you to fall back into it and get going. The only thing different about it is when he goes in and comes out after two series, he's going to ask me "what are they doing?" so on and so forth, and now I have to figure that out myself. It's nothing hard to go back to doing. It's something I've been doing for three years already, and I'm used to it.
Q: Do you feel like you want to show that you have still got something to prove?
A: I know myself and in my heart that I know that I have that. I know once I get my opportunity, no matter if it's starting, second, or third, I'm going to go out and show people that I am still willing to have it on this football team. I can help my team win.
Q: Are you sharper or fresher than you would be typically when you started?
A: Yeah, I'm much healthier at this point. This is game 11, and I'm much healthier at this point because of the switch around that they had. He's also fresher and feels good physically because he doesn't exactly have all the carries. We both feel good at this point. Right now, we just want to win and get all these mistakes we've been making straightened out and stop handing these games to other teams because that's what's happening. I don't think there is anyone on our schedule that can really beat us if we don't give them the game.
Q: It could be your starting job going forward though if you do well, couldn't it?
A: It's temporary. Even though I'm going to rush for 200 yards each of these games I'm in, it's temporary. He's that much of an explosive runner and I want to see him in there myself other than anybody else. I want to see him in and I want to see him do well. It's only going to be temporary, and that's what I believe in my heart that it's that way. I can keep playing and doing the best I can to help this team win as long as I'm in this locker room, no matter what role I have. We just want to win games.
Q: You've been told that this is just for this week or something?
A: No one has told me anything. I'm just here and I received news just like you guys probably did. I just want to win. I'm tired of coming into this locker room with droopy faces. We used to have fun in this locker room and fun in practice, and I'm just sick and tired of not being able to do that because we're beating ourselves. If we just stay on the right track and get rolling towards the end of the season, it's getting cold, and we know that we have a chance to punish some people and that's what I want to do. All the other stuff going on, I'm not really for it and I don't really care, I just want to win games and that's it. That is it. This is my sixth year in the league and it's to the point where I just want to win.
Q: Your team won a lot of games over a few year span with you as the primary back and then him as the changeup, do you think that's what this is about?
A: I have no idea what this whole thing is about, I don't know. I just want to go in there, get my team up, get the stadium up on their feet and get some momentum going. Not that he didn't do that, he did that because every time he went into the game – when I'm on the sidelines and I ask Jerald "What's the play?" and he's about to get the ball, I'm excited because I know he's going to do something with it. I want to be able to give that back to him. I want to be able to go out there and set our team off, set the stadium off, and have a good mixture going to the game that nobody can stop us. That's really how it's supposed to be. Teams should not be able to stop us from running the football. I don't give a damn who they are.
Q: What does it say about you that when you had the starting role taken away from you that you still average five yards a carry and have been that guy on the team?
A: I'm playing for my teammates, my backs, and my running backs coach. I want to stay around and do the best I can to help this team win. I don't care how. Six hundred yards in the air, 500 on the ground, I really have to get it done, let's just win. That's where I'm at in my career now. I want to contribute to my team to win. I want to go out there and be able to help my team, that's all I'm worried about right now.
Q: Do you have any idea how they'll split the carries up? Coach said he wants D.J. Ware in the mix also:
A: I have no idea. Whenever they call my number, I'll be there and ready. So are the other two, they'll be ready. I know them like the back of my hand, and they'll be ready whenever their number is called.
Q: How important is it to get the run game going with the wide receivers all banged up?
A: It's very important. It's very important to get the running game going when you have all your receivers healthy. I think if you're running the ball well, when it comes to throwing the ball, you'll have a chance to make some big plays in the passing game because you're running the ball so well.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw
A: Nah, no disappointment. I let them do, and I just do what I'm told.
Q: Were you surprised?
A: No. They said a change has been made, and I'm doing whatever is good for the team.
Q: You feel frustration right now?
A: I can't say frustration is the word. Like I said, all I can do is play my game.
Q: This is an awkward situation because your main competition is the guy next to you and your best friend. Does that make it harder or more difficult?
A: Neither. The guy next to me is a great guy, and a great back. Like I said, all I can do is back him up as much and as best that I can.
Q: How about the confidence of this team right now, is it shaken or do you think you're all ready to move forward?
A: We know what we have. We're very confident with what we've got and I think we'll move forward and we'll be fine with it.
Q: At this stage in the season, what can you do to resolve the fumbling issue?
A: No, like I said, my fumbles happen on the extra effort. All I can do is play my game, and it all comes natural. All I can really do is get what I can get and go down.
Q: Outside of not starting, how many carries do you think you'll get?
A: That's all up to the guys up top, the coaches. I can do like I said and just play my game and my part.
Q: Coach said there are still some things they can do to cure the fumbling, what are they?
A: All I can do is listen to those guys, take everything in, the coaching in as much as I can, and play my game.
Q: Do you think you still have a role here on this team without the ball in your hands?
A: I haven't been told anything. Like I said, I'm not the starter. I can just play my game off of that.