Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Obviously we have the 3-0 Bears coming in here. It's an exciting week for us. I had an opportunity to look at probably half of the game the other night as it was being played. It was a typical battle between people in that division – the Packers and the Bears – and the Bears obviously came out the winners in a game that was a very physical game, as they always are – came right down to the wire. The Bears demonstrated, again, an outstanding passing game, a big play passing game, a quarterback with outstanding mobility, speed at the running back spot, speed at the wide receiver spot, comfortable with the tight end position and the quarterback and his ability to get the ball there. Defensively – an outstanding front, an aggressive front, penetrating front once again – (Julius) Peppers obviously drawing an awful lot of attention in that division. A very good kicking game – return game was quite obvious the other night – not only punt return but kickoff return as well. So, we prepare this week for a very physical game once again. Glad to be playing at home.
Q: Are the Bears putting Julius Peppers in a couple of different places like the Panthers did?
A: Well, they flip him from side to side. He does play right hand, left side and they did stand him up in one particular fashion this week in the A gap like they were going to mug him but he's been very productive coming from the outside.
Q: Any advice for your rookie punter against Devin Hester this week?
A: Kick it out of bounds. Don't let him have the ball.
Q: Given how good their return game is, are you expecting a lot of personnel and schematic changes?
A: There's always schematic changes as you go forward in the game plan as to what they do, so that will take place. We do have some regulars that will play on the kickoff coverage team or that will alternate in there on the kickoff coverage team but by and large we've got to rise to the occasion, no matter whether it's kickoff coverage or the punting game or whatever. Field position is a huge issue in the game, there's no doubt about it. We have to be in a position where we're helping ourselves out. If you noticed the other night, the rookie punter from Green Bay – you don't have much choice when you're punting the ball out of the end zone now. You don't have much of an opportunity to kick the ball directionally anywhere, you've just got to pound the ball as far as you possibly can. They did and the interestin things is that the speed of Hester – it looks like there's a person in position to tackle him – he doesn't have that window that he had on the 28-yard return – and yet the defender kind of hesitates a little bit thinking that he doesn't have enough leverage to beat him to the edge where he turned it north – it almost looked like a zone running play – and the rest was history. He couldn't get there to make the play.
Q: How has Matt Dodge progressed as a directional punter?
A: He's made…obviously he didn't get any last week, so we missed a ball game in which – I'm not complaining – but we missed a game in which he didn't have an opportunity there. He's making some progress there, yeah. Not an easy thing for a young guy.
Q: He's had trouble kicking the ball period, though. Are you concerned?
A: You said that. I didn't say that.
Q: He has though.
A: Well, you've got to believe that he's going to be able to recognize the level of competition and rise to the occasion. That's what we…we're working with him every day. All day long people are in his ear and hopefully it'll sink in.
Q: So are you okay giving him that extra responsibility?
A: We're going to work at that this week and we're going to assess where we are.
Q: When did Mario Manningham suffer a concussion? How serious is that?
A: The nature of it I guess was late Sunday night that he contacted people in the training room. He really appeared to be fine Monday when we saw him. We didn't expect that there would be any slowdown in his performance today in practice. There was, so hopefully we can do the tests again and see how that comes out, but we're a little bit surprised that there's an issue here.
Q: Slow down when?
A: Right here, right when we came in. He did the test this morning and that was the first that I heard of it – right here in the team meeting.
Q: So he will not practice?
A: He will not practice, no.
Q: Is Victor Cruz or Ramses Barden next up for that spot?
A: Well, Victor would be coming from four to three and work today. Ramses would work, so they're all going to get plenty of work.
Q: Did Mario know when that happened in the game?
A: I think he can refer to the play.
Q: Is there anything new on Shaun O'Hara?
A: Not really. We're still in there.
Q: Is he still in a boot?
A: Yes. No. Wait a minute. This morning, earlier, he didn't have it on, but I'm sure that if he's going to walk around or be moving he's going to put that boot back on.
Q: What do you have to do against these dangerous Bears pass rushers, especially Peppers?
A: Well, obviously your schemes have to reflect that. You have to recognize where he is – he's going to line up on the right side, on the left side, he's going to line up to the open side, he's going to line up to the tight end side – and you've got to make some adjustments with your schemes. He's obviously doing that for a reason. You have to basically adjust right along with him.
Q: Brian Jackson – what have you seen from him?
A: I liked him when he came over here to us and showed us some ability – a big kid, a big strong kid – we're going to start him at the corner position and see exactly how that goes but I'm very interested in watching Brian.
Q: You had high expectations for Darius Reynaud. How has he progressed?
A: Well, we're not very productive. I'm not ready to say it's just him. We would like to see him get up in the hole – what hole there is – we'd like to see him hit it a little bit faster, a little bit quicker and we'd like to see that the blocking for the schemes – if it's talking kickoff return first – let's not wait a play before we get into the scheme and block it right. Let's get the scheme going and let's give him a chance. Let's hit it as fast and hard as we can – no hesitation – and let's see if we can run through some arms and make some plays. No matter who you are, that's the way that ends up.
Q: DJ Johnson can play safety – will he get any reps?
A: That's what he did last week and that's what he'll do this week.
Q: The line as it is right now, do you expect it to stay the same or will Shawn Andrews come in there?
A: Well, Shawn is continuing to develop and continuing to get better, continuing to improve, and we'll continue to use him.
Q: Is it reasonable to expect an offensive tackle to go head to head with these great pass rushing defensive ends without any help?
A: Well, the Packers did that some the other night and they had some success – more on one side than the other – but they did have some success, so the reasonable word…that's up to judge.
Q: There's usually some help built in though, right?
A: Somehow, some way. Now, you have to understand, the defense is doing things to keep you from getting that help too. It's not that easy. There are ways to keep you from creating the help over there that you'd like to create.
Q: Do you have any sense of your team's resolve coming off of Sunday?
A: I think that there was a good feeling in the room this morning and I think that come Monday morning it was pretty strong as well.
Q: Are these opportunities for coaching and teaching moments? What leads you to think that you can come out of this?
A: I think it's a good group of people. I think that we have to come together a little bit more. We do have some new additions to our team. I think we continue to preach 'team.' We are determined. We have great resolve. We're trying to, again, put our people in the best position that they can possibly be in – we're talking more performance and execution than we are anything else and I think that our guys will come through.
Q: How is that different in the NFL vs Boston College?
A: I don't know how…the message is basically the same. You're talking to a little bit more sophisticated audience obviously and I think that you look in the eyes of the guys and they want to play well. They want to win. They don't like this circumstance any more than anybody else does.
Q: You're honoring some of the Giants greats this week. Have you talked to the team about that?
A: We certainly will. We'll talk about the Ring of Honor and the ceremony as we get into the week, maybe perhaps later in the week. Nevertheless, we will talk about that. That being set aside, it's another reason, another occasion, it's Sunday Night Football, to honor those athletes, the great players from the past, and certainly we'll use that a little bit later in the week.
Q: Michael Strahan had some great things to say about you yesterday. Have you had a chance to read anything about that?
A: I didn't really. I understand that it was an interview that you people conducted and taped and maybe I'll get a chance to listen to it.
Q: He said he has a greater appreciation of your methods and your teaching now than earlier in his career. Is that what you're looking for as a coach?
A: Well, really what happens – to put it in very few words here – is you start out a certain way, you establish who you are – this is a game about toughness, this is where it starts – and you hope as it evolves in your leadership, the players that have been with you for a while can then go and share those values and those ingredients with the young people that come in and it just builds to the point where the players understand what this is all about. What I would like to be remembered for obviously is winning and I would like to think that we have an influence on the lives of these young men and that is very important to me, obviously.
Q: How gratifying is that for you personally?
A: I know that it brings you closer. I saw Fred Taylor earlier this year when we played New England and he said basically something along those lines – 'I understand more now' – that kind of thing and it does give you a strong sense of gratification or satisfaction and there's no doubt that it eliminates all the in-between and makes you closer to the player.
Q: Is the O-Line starting to diminish?
A: No. I think we're capable…obviously the center is not in there. Adam is doing a fine job, but we did have five that played together for quite some time. It is a position that really does need continuity. It really does. Now everybody in the league has problems. The Bears won the other night. They had a problem – their left tackle was down – it happens. This is a unit that grows as you play and hopefully that's what's going to happen to our unit once again.
Q: For how long?
A: I hope it goes on for quite some time and I hope that it is not anywhere near the end for this group. I hope this group can continue to grow and get better.
Q: Do you have a sense of how long O'Hara will be out?
A: Well, I was hoping initially that it was a two-week period but I'm not sure now what it is.
Q: Will Rocky Bernard and Keith Bulluck be practicing today?
A: No. They won't practice today, but hopefully we'll get them both tomorrow.
Q: Is this a surgical issue for O'Hara?
A: I don't think so. We're hoping it's not a surgical issue.
QB Eli Manning
Q: How important is it for you guys to get a W this week?
A: Every week is important. We want to go out there and play great football. We have to go back to being more consistent, fixing some of our mistakes, and finding a rhythm throughout the day, and just have a good game. They're a great team, and all of their games have been close and have come down to the fourth quarter. We have to expect that it's going to come down to the fourth quarter and we have to play better football to win the fourth quarter and win the game.
Q: Is there reason to believe you'll have better execution as a team and less turnovers and penalties?
A: We hope so, and that's what we're working on. We are working on our fundamentals, just playing smart and having a great understanding of what the concepts are this week and what Chicago is doing defensively. Hopefully, there are some chances to make some big plays and we continue to do that. We also have to eliminate the bad plays and not letting a bad play become worse with a turnover of some sort.
Q: Strahan challenged the leadership on this Giants club, where do you think it is?
A: Our leadership is good. We have our good characters and good leadership on this team. There are guys who are working hard, and it's not a matter of playing bad football. We're doing a lot of good things, we just have to fix some of the mistakes. Some of the mistakes have come from just trying too hard and doing too much at times. Those things are not acceptable, but it's easier to deal with those. It's not mental mistakes, it's not guys doing their own thing, it's just controlling our actions and playing smarter.
Q: How is having a guy like Mario Manningham out going to change things?
A: We'll see how the week goes and hopefully we'll have Mario back tomorrow practicing. If not, Victor (Cruz) is going to have to step up and make some plays for us.
Q: How does their defense look?
A: They have a very talented defense with playmakers all over the field. They did a great job with getting a pass rush on the quarterback, just blitzing and rushing their four guys and mixing a couple wrinkles with blitzes and what not. They are very smart, sound, do a great job of tackling and attacking the ball and causing turnovers. We have to be smart with the ball, and have a great understanding of what they're doing.
Q: How do you describe Mario's job this year?
A: Mario has done really well. He had some big plays for us. He had a number of those balls down the sideline, third down conversions, all sorts of stuff. He really grasps the offense a lot better, does really good things for us, and he has to continue to do that.
Q: What does 39 yards per game given up on the ground say about Chicago?
A: They're good. They're good against the run, and their front seven is very talented. The D-line and linebackers are fast, smart, and have been playing in this league for a while, and in the same scheme. It's always a challenge to run the ball against them. We have to try to establish something and throw the ball. They have a great pass rush, and they're talented over there, so we have to make sure we protect and mix in the run and the pass.
Q: How beneficial would it be to establish the run and get on the board first?
A: Yeah, that's always the goal and we always try and do that. If it doesn't happen, it's not the end of the world. I think we have to play consistent throughout and it's tough. Chicago hasn't given up many points all year, and you have to know that a lot of the games come down the wire to the fourth quarter, and we have to win the fourth quarter.
Q: Their defense will bend a little bit but they try to make you make mistakes in the red zone:
A: Yeah, and that's how they play. They try to wait on you to make a mistake and figure that you're going to get a penalty or throw it underneath or get a sack. They'll get something eventually. They do a great job tackling. They'll let you catch it underneath, and they'll tackle you. They cause fumbles and get a lot of plays being physical and tackling well. They're very talented all over, and we have to be ready for everything that happened for us.
Q: Peppers can be so dominant, how much do you have to worry about him moving around over there?
A: They do a great job moving him around. He's a talented player. We have played against him before when he was at Carolina and know what he's capable of doing. We have to be aware of where he is on a number of plays and we have to account for him, but we have to be able to block him.
Q: Does the Ring of Honor ceremony and having alumni here in the building add any motivation for you guys to play well?
A: Yeah, I think so. You see the number of great players that played for this organization and their commitment to football with what they've done for the game. You have an opportunity to play with a few of them, and you remember their desire and the way they played. Hopefully we give them a good show on Sunday.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw
Q: Have you been working on ball control?
A: I have been doing the same things, I work on it every week. I make changes during the week, and I'm trying to make the extra effort every play. Sometimes, it's just got to go down.
Q: How important is it for you and Brandon to get the running game going?
A: We want to eat up the clock with running the ball. That's the plan going into every game. We want to show each team that we're physical, and we just have to outplay them running the ball and throwing it over their heads.
Q: This team has yet to play with a lead, so how helpful would establishing the run be then?
A: Right, well we play from behind and that takes the running game away a lot. We just have to come out, show our physical-ness, and show that we got to air it out and pass it over their heads.
Q: On Monday night, what'd the Bears show you?
A: They showed us that they can stop the run. They're very good with the pass game, and we just have to come out with our game plan and execute as best we can.
RB Brandon Jacobs
Q: Did you get a chance to watch the Bears on Monday night?
A: I did get a chance to watch them on Monday night. I think they played another great football team in Green Bay. It was a great game. We all know how that rivalry is between those two teams, and they got out there and got after each other.
Q: When you look at their run defense, it didn't look like the Packers were trying to run the ball a whole lot. Was that your sense? They didn't run the ball, but it didn't look like they were really trying.
A: Some people get discouraged really quick. Some people look at the paper and look at the numbers on the paper and get discouraged. And that's what turns some coaches away from certain parts of the game plan. I think Green Bay is a great running team. Of course they lost Ryan (Grant), but they have Brandon Jackson – he's back there and I think he's been doing a good job for them so far. So I don't think it was any reason to get away from it, but I don't know if they had plans on doing it from the beginning, or whatever the case was. But Chicago is very good. They have a very good defense. They play fast. They play physical, and we'll have to bring our "A" game.
Q: If someone would get discouraged by numbers, 39 yards would be discouraging, right?
A: No question about it, but you also have to look at the situations and how many blocks were missed or how many plays were blown by guys just giving it away. You also have to take all that into account as well. So we've got to clean up a lot in the run game. We've got to clean up a lot as a team to go out. To be successful in this league, you've got to stop hurting yourself, number one.
Q: You were pretty vocal on the sidelines trying to keep guys' feelings up this week. Will it be more important for you to get that running game going so you can get that going on the field?
A: Yeah. We haven't got the running game going yet, but we're dealing with a lot. We've got a lot of stuff going on. We're still trying to figure out ourselves, and like I said, we've been here before. This is no place where we haven't been. So if we come out fighting and turn this thing around, and we're going to be all right.
Q: Knowing how Julius Peppers can rush the passer coming off the edge, how important is it for the backs to help out blocking him and helping out the linemen?
A: It's very important because Julius is playing on a high level. He's a high level player that's playing at a very high level right now, and we'll have to do something about it. We can't let him come interrupt our game, which he'll do if you let him. He's a great player. And great players, you've got to pay special attention to them.
Q: Tom Coughlin said he's going to need his regular players on special teams. Is that something you expect to do?
A: I'm here. If he needs me, I'm here. I told him that.
Q: At halftime they're going to honor 30 great Giants. When you look at the talent that's going to be honored, is that inspiring to you guys?
A: Oh yeah. Those are guys that came before us – guys that made this game what it is. It's good for me to see guys like that get special attention. I think a lot of those guys earned it.
Q: Did you get an opportunity to talk with Tiki? I know you played with Tiki, but Frank Gifford and some of the other guys?
A: I talked to Ottis (Anderson) a lot. I talked to him a lot. He's always keeping me on the right track with what to do and what not to do, just giving me advice about everything. So he's always been there for me so I definitely hope, and I think he will be one of those 30 great Giants.
Q: Is that because you two are similar runners that you struck up this relationship?
A: Well no, it's not too much of that. It's just because he's a great human being and wants to extend his time to me. It's not because of the running style is kind of similar – that's just the kind of guy he is.
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