Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Good morning. We're excited about preparing for our first game within the division. As far as our team is concerned, we are 0-0 going into the division and Dallas is 0-1 and that's the way we look at it. It's early in the season. They're a good football team. We're a good football team. We're excited about playing in the division.
Q: How tough is it to play them when they're like a wounded animal and this is a must-win game for them?
A: Every weekend that you play, it's a difficult game in this league. Because it is a divisional game, that's plenty difficult enough.
Q: This is the first time you're seeing a 3-4 front since the preseason. Is that an adjustment for you?
A: Well, it always is. You have to go back and make sure of all your rules and how you go about your business, and then of course, you have a lot of outstanding personnel that you have to be very careful about, too.
Q: Can you talk about the depth they possess in their receiving corps?
A: Well, they're big and strong and powerful coming off the ball and they have a lot of big playmakers and each one of them has exhibited that in this early part of the season.
Q: Is your running game as good or better that you expected?
A: I hope it's getting better every week. It doesn't make it any easier, as exhibited last week, eight or nine guys down below, but we still keep picking away and persistence eventually allows us to have some good yardage, some good results at the end of the game. I think that a lot of that has to do with the quality of our defense as well.
Q: Dallas has had a lot of penalties. Is that just sloppy play or have they been put in a position where they had to commit those fouls?
A: I don't know that there's any real answer for that. Some of these fouls are just aggressive fouls – the kind that happen all the time in terms of playing the ball in the air and making a mistake and turning that into a pass interference penalty or something of that nature. There are some categories where the fouls were unnecessary and there are some categories where they're just playing the game hard.
Q: Are Ahmad Bradshaw's long runs helping the consistency of the running game?
A: Well, it certainly means that people are very excited about blocking for people like that. Brandon (Jacobs) is definitely included as well. Brandon's green zone play the other day was outstanding.
Q: What about Bradshaw's ability to create something out of nothing though…
A: Well, that certainly is a plus.
Q: Is Bulluck going to practice?
Q: Do you expect him to play this week?
A: We'll see.
Q: Any update on Mathias Kiwanuka?
A: Not really. I don't think anything has changed. I don't have anything at this point to tell you other than he traveled to L.A. and he came back and from the information that I get, there isn't a lot of change.
Q: When do you hope to know something?
A: We'll see.
Q: Is this an especially tricky or frustrating injury and something that is more difficult to deal with?
A: I think it is -- whatever your choice of words there was – it is difficult for everyone, the player as well, because the player naturally starts to feel better. He feels better, the symptoms aren't there – why can't I go? What's the issue here? So everyone looks and says that perhaps he can – not just Mathias, but any player under those circumstances – maybe he can practice, maybe he can play. The frustration is that it's not something that you see with the naked eye.
Q: Did you hope to have an answer by this point?
A: Well, you always hope. You hope for a positive one. That's what you hope for. If it takes a little more time to get the answer you want to hear, then so be it.
Q: What did you see from Jamon Meredith that you liked?
A: Well, he's an athletic, young offensive tackle that we had a good college grade on and our pro people have followed him and felt good about it and we tried a couple of weeks ago and were unsuccessful and this time when he was available, we made that move.
Q: What do you see from Tony Romo when he moves out of the pocket? Is he more dangerous when he moves?
A: Well, he moves to buy time and when you buy time and those receivers have an opportunity to have a little bit of extra time and move, then things become a little bit more difficult. Containing and keeping him inside and pushing in front of him and all of those things are really important.
Q: Kevin Boothe?
A: He's going to work today.
Q: When you've had success against Romo, you've hit him. Do you stress the pass rush before the game?
A: Well, our game is to get after the quarterback. That's our game. There isn't a team in the league that doesn't practice that philosophy and of course, that's where the ball is and that's the guy that you need to get at most of the time to try to institute some turnovers, so you're fortunate to get there when you have an outstanding offensive line, but the pressure is continuous and their pressure coming from their front and their linebackers is continuous and we hope and plan the same.
Q: They seem unable to protect him this year compared to last year and he's had more sacks.
A: No, he hasn't. Not really. There are not a lot of sacks. If you look at the numbers, there aren't a lot. Only seven.
Q: Are they using Roy Williams differently? He seems to have had a lot more production.
A: No. He's making a lot of plays. He hit the big slant against Houston – 63 yarder – and he's making more plays. He's a good player and he's making more plays.
Q: They seem to have had trouble getting Marion Barber going. What do you see there?
A: They're using the two backs – Jones and Barber – and he looks exactly the same to me. Powerful, tough, very difficult to tackle, difficult one on one, puts a lot of power into his runs.
Q: Are you surprised that this team is 1-4 with as much talent as they have?
A: I'm not worried about records. I just look at the tape and make my assessment of the team we're playing. As I said, they're 0-1 in the division. We haven't played yet.
Q: How's Madison Hedgecock?
A: He's still bothered.
Q: Your running game hasn't seemed to have been hurt by that though with Bear Pascoe in there.
A: He did a good job the other day.
Q: Is he continuing to improve?
Q: So you might have a decision to make?
A: As many good players as we can get, we're going to get hopefully.
Q: But not at the same position.
A: If we can get them to stand on top of each other, maybe.
Q: The penalties for helmet-to-helmet hits have ignited a lot of conversation. Are you surprised that there is so much controversy between offensive and defensive players and how they view this?
A: I'm not surprised by anything in the league. The only thing that I can tell you – my original statement was made in regards to this: what the commissioner has tried to emphasize to all of us is to play within the rules. The rules were instituted by virtue of the competition committee – all 32 teams had an opportunity to vote, every one has been made – not only this past offseason, but for as long as I can remember – player safety has been the dominant factor in a lot of these league meetings when we gather in March, so the rule was in place, the rule was to protect the defenseless player, to try to make sure that the head and the neck were not violated by the guy who was defenseless and that's what is being asked of us right now. There is a little more emphasis, obviously.
Q: Do you understand the frustration of the defensive players?
A: Absolutely. When you're going a million miles an hour, sometimes you react instinctively, and I think that we would all like to start out with the 'unnecessary' being eliminated.
Q: How can you legislate against the hits that are unintentional?
A: Well, I think the bottom line is that if you don't, you're going to have some extremely serious injuries.
Q: The defensive players have been saying that they think this rule benefits the receivers.
A: I think I'll go back to what we did in preseason – we just asked them to lower the target, not the aggressiveness. Remain as aggressive, remains as all-out, full-speed. There is an instinctive part of the game that the outstanding aggressive defensive players have, but, again, the emphasis is to try to stay within the rules as the rule was written.
Q: What do you think about John Madden's idea that you shouldn't use helmets and it will make them think more about leading with their heads?
A: We'd be back to when my uncle played and the cars pulled up to the side of the field and turned the lights on and that's how they would play.
Q: Do you think that the NFL's letter to the teams is going to make a difference in the games this weekend?
A: Well, I think that the players are very serious about listening. Whether they agree or disagree, they will listen to what the commissioner has to say.
Q: Did you talk about it with your team at the meeting?
A: Not yet. I talked about it, but there's a video now that goes along with it and we will present that this afternoon.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Monday night, Dallas, big rivalry, does it get any bigger than this?
A: No, it's obviously a big game for us and a very important one. Our first game in the division, playing at Dallas. We know what kind of atmosphere to expect there, it's going to be wild. They'll be fired up and the crowd will be into it, and we know how talented they are. We have to have a good week of practice, our preparation has to be outstanding, and we have to go out there and play great football if we expect to win.
Q: Their play has been very disappointing so far, does that make them more dangerous?
A: They are always dangerous. They're a talented team. They have playmakers on both sides of the ball, guys you have to pay special attention to that can change the game. They've lost some close games, and every game has come down to the fourth quarter. If they get a play here, play there, if they get a bounce, their record can easily be reversed. They could have four or five wins. We have to go in there and play great football.
Q: They are habitually a heavy blitz team with a speedy defense, but they have only caused four turnovers. Are they passive now or are they just not getting to the ball?
A: No, they're still a blitz team and they still get to the quarterback and get sacks. They make a lot of plays. They're one of the best teams on third down. The teams have been playing smart and haven't thrown the ball, and we have to do the same. They're still very talented and doing a lot of good things defensively, so we have to be smart with the ball and take our chances, and when there are opportunities to hit some plays, we have to take advantage of it.
Q: Are they playing as much man coverage as they used to?
A: Yeah, they're still playing a good bit of man. They mix it up. They're still blitzing, bringing guys, and mixing up all their coverages, so they're still aggressive and making plays. They're still talented on defense, still ranked in the top five of all the defensive categories. We know we're playing a great team.
Q: What's it like to have Shaun O'Hara back?
A: It's good having him back. I thought Adam (Koets) did a great job and filled in well. It's good to have Shaun for his leadership and a veteran guy, and that'll be great playing a 3-4 team with guys moving around. It's good to have him back with the offense.
Q: Talk about Ahmad Bradshaw and how he's progressed:
A: I think Ahmad, with his understanding of this offense, is a very talented runner and he makes big plays just being an every down back. Whether it's third down, his pass routes and his catches, he's becoming that full running back. He's done a great job working hard and understanding what he needs to do to get better.
Q: Do you think this is the most talent all around you have had since you've been here?
A: Yeah, probably so. With weapons at receiver, running back, tight end, a lot of guys can make some big plays for us.
Q: What are your thoughts on the helmet-to-helmet hits?A: Obviously, as an offensive player and a quarterback, anything that protects us, you are always a fan for. We have to hear what he says, and honestly there will probably be mixed feelings. The commissioner and the league is worried about protecting the players and keeping guys healthy, and that's very important.
Safety Antrel Rolle
Q: How about the physicality as far as the Dallas receivers? They're big, strong, fast. Because of that, do you have to be more conscious of wrapping them up?
A: I mean you've got to play football at the end of the day. It doesn't matter how big, how short, how tall - it doesn't matter. You can't play each guy the same way. You have to be more physical with these guys being that they're physical specimens. So we're just going into the game plan playing effective football, same football we play each and every week.
Q: Do you look at this game as an opportunity to do damage to their season and put them in your rearview mirror?
A: We're not really worried about damaging their season. We're just only worried about getting better as a Giants team, prolonging our season and being as effective as we can be as a unit.
Q: Do you have a thing in your head as far as the tackling issue?
A: Not at all. It's not going to affect my play one way or another. I've never had any concussions or worried about it before because that's not something that happens intentionally. If it happens, then it happens. But I'm going in playing my game and I'm going to continue to try to be the best I can be.
Q: Tom said he was going to talk about that with the team today. Did you do that yet?
A: No, not yet. We're going to watch that this afternoon.
Q: When you have to play a team like the Cowboys who are very good but now they're playing for their lives, do you feel like this is a do-or-die type thing?
A: In my eyes, everyone is in a must-win situation each and every time you take the field come Sunday. It doesn't affect my play one way or another. We're going in expecting a battle. Dallas is a great team, and we're very aware of the talent they have on both sides of the ball. So we're definitely looking for a battle come Monday and we're going to play our "A" game and that's that.
Q: But it doesn't make them any more dangerous?
A: No. Not on our behalf. We don't worry about that. We just worry about playing the best that we can play as Giants, and whether it makes them more dangerous or not, who's to say? But we can't concern ourselves with them having their backs against the wall and them having something to prove.
Q: The defensive line has done a great job of getting to the quarterback this year. As that continues, do offenses change what they do? Do they throw more screens?
A: They might try to rely on getting the ball out quicker, knowing that our guys up front are getting to the quarterback extremely fast. So it depends on the scheme. It depends on the scheme. They might have something to play - they might revert to the screen. They might revert to the quick game. But who's to say, I mean we don't know what they're going to do yet. We only have what we see on film.
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