Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Q: Mario Manningham was back today?
Q: He had his test this morning?A: Yes.
Q: How did he do?
A: He did well.
Q: Is he good to go on Sunday?A: At this point, yes.
Q: Any update on Rocky Bernard or Keith Bulluck?
A: Improving but not quite there.
Q: Did Rocky practice?A: No. He....... both. (Keith) came out but he had a lot of discomfort so he didn't.
Q: How about Phillip Dillard?A: He is practicing. I don't know if he's ready for that. He was able to give us solid reps.
Q: What does Bulluck have - is it turf toe or broken toe?A: Turf toe – sore toe.
Q: How have you seen the Bears use Greg Olsen?A: I don't know if 'quietly' is the right word, but he has become a very confident guy for the quarterback to go to. And he has gone to him any number of occasions and he has responded.
Q: What is the matchup challenge wise with a player like that?A: Well, he has got great height, speed, size. So you have got your issues in terms of just his ability to block you out and go for the ball. Hopefully people can be in position where they are able to use our size, too - if it is a linebacker or if it is a safety – use your speed and ability.
Q: You were very angry with Matt Dodge a couple of times last week on the sideline. How do you handle that with a young player like him?
A: He has done well with it. He has done well with it. He is a young guy growing. I don't always show him that I'm upset. I take the other approach most of the time just because sometimes a young kid needs to know the facts but he needs a little pat on the butt, too. When he does well he hears about it, too – not just when he screws up.
Q: Does he seem like he is on edge or nervous about his job?
A: No, he doesn't.
Q: You had a lot of success recently with running Brandon Jacobs early and Ahmad Bradshaw coming in late – wearing down defenses. Is there a thought of maybe going back to that kind of style? You kind of got away from that.
A: That wasn't the way it was when Brandon first came here. It was the other way around. So we would like to have, perhaps, a little bit more distribution. But I don't think the order is going to change.
RE: Shaun O'Hara?
A: Nothing. I don't have any news for you at all.
Q: Do you think Shaun is going to play Sunday?A: I don't know, we'll see. It is getting late in the week. It would have to be something very good that would have to happen in a short amount of time. I will say this – he did come into the meeting room – I thought he was a little more spry than I have seen him in a while.
Q: When you say you don't have anything – you don't have anything or you don't have anything to add?
A: I don't have anything to add to what you know about his injury or his situation. Hopefully the swelling is down a little bit.
Q: So in other words yesterday when he went for his visit there was nothing was new?
A: Not that I was told directly, no.
Q: How is Sage Rosenfels coming along? Is there a package put together for him.
A: Well that is always the way at first. But he knows the offense now. I think he is fully aware of everything.
Q: When you interviewed Perry Fewell he was also considered a candidate for the Bears job. Did you sort of have to sell him on the Giants as well as he had to sell you on himself?A: You always know who your competition is and you just present the facts the way they are and present your team. Perry had been with Lovie and he had been with us. So he had to make a choice – he gathered all of the information – and here he is.
Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride
Q: How about Greg Olsen – what kind of a factor can a tight end like that be for an offense?
A: He's a tremendous advantage from a lot of standpoints. One, his athleticism – he usually is a great mismatch in favor of the offense. Most guys are in there for their physical play and their ability to stop the run, so when you get a guy that's an athletic opponent involved, that's a tremendous advantage. Those kinds of throws inside, if you've got the right make up as a tight end – you're more suited just physically. You're bigger, you're stronger, you can take the hit after the catch. It's a great advantage – a great weapon to have.
Q: They usually move Peppers around – what do you tell your offensive line to do to protect Eli from him?
A: You're certainly conscious of where's he's at and wherever they allow you and of course most defenses are going to do whatever they can to protect that so you can't but wherever you can you're going to get your guys…you take care of the responsibility first, whether it's a guard sliding out or more often than not it'll be somebody from not the line but the backs or the tight end that's responsible for helping that tackle with him, so you're cognizant of where he is, number one, and number two, you design your scheme – which we've done for years here – so that you're providing some assistance where you can to help slow down some of those premiere pass rushers and he certainly falls in that category.
Q: Do you feel like you've had as much success wearing defenses down these last two games?
A: We haven't had the success running the ball that's allowed us to do that, so what's happened is we've actually had much more success throwing it and because of that we were able to run the ball later more effectively. So, it's been the reverse of the way it was. As I've said many times, I could care less how it starts, just as long as we get moving. Right from the get go, we didn't move the ball very well at all with our base runs – in fact we didn't move it at all – but we threw the ball immediately very well and so we kept doing that and then that opened up the running opportunities. You talk about the other games, we actually ran the ball more than we passed in the first two games. We didn't have much success the first game. The second game we actually had a little bit of success statistically but I don't think that we ever got the sense that we were controlling the game with our run game, so in order to do that, you've got to be effective with it. Otherwise, the game is gone. The game is over with and you're losing the game trying to accomplish a foolish objective. The objective is to win the game. How you get it done is irrelevant.
Q: But you know that old saying in boxing…you tire a guy out…
A: In boxing you've got 15 rounds. In order to do that you've got to have some success early on. For example, Indy came right down and scored so all of the sudden you can't do that. You've got to do whatever you can to match them. We always talk about balance. Balance to me is about what you do through the course of the season, not necessarily in one particular game. You do what you have to do in that game to get it done and if it's throwing or running – to me that has never mattered. It's always about what gives your team the best chance to move the ball and put points on the board. We had no problem moving the ball with our approach. You're looking for something if you're trying to question the approach. You can say why didn't you score many points and that's a legitimate argument, but it was obvious why. You can't turn the ball over twice inside the six, one of which was a run. You want to say we should have thrown then…you've got to be careful. What are you doing to move the ball most effectively?
Q: The receivers have been hit really hard in the last couple of games. Is there anything Eli can do to prevent that from happening?
A: I think that if you're playing zone coverage – that's the approach that most people are playing – sitting back and trying to say throw the ball underneath and we're going to converge on it and can you catch the ball? And there have been a couple of good hits but to be honest with you I don't see anything unusual or out of the norm. I think that's part of playing the position. If you're going to play the game, whether you're a lineman, a receiver, a quarterback – you better be physically tough or you better be playing another game. I think our guys are tough. They're willing to go in there and make the catches. In terms of accuracy – it's always certain throws, certain locations help it a little bit, but to be honest with you I don't see that being a big concern. For the most part, he's been pretty good. I think without the dropped pass and the passing there at the end, we would have been 27 for 27. You don't get much better than that.
Q: The Packers/Bears game the other night looked really sloppy the other night too. Do you see more sloppiness at the beginning of the season because of a lack of preseason play for starters?
A: Well, that's a great question. That would have to be examined and looked at over the long haul but I think that there's an argument that can be made…the amount of time… what is the correct amount of time to get you prepared so that you can play the game at the highest of levels right from the first game on. You're always battling that juggling act: do you play them a little bit more, which will help get them ready, but now you're exposing them more to injury. I think that coaches maybe through the years have been getting more and more sensitive to guys getting beat up and maybe they're not playing quite as much, but this will be 22 years since I started and it's pretty much the same approach. In the old days, you played less in the first game, a little bit more in the second game, a little bit more in the third game, and then even in the fourth game, when I was at Houston, that's when you played them the most. Now it's just the opposite. We play them a quarter the first game, a half the second game, a little more than a half the third game, and fourth game you don't play them much. If you look at it it's about the same amount of time. There's not much there.
Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell
Q: Olsen is a pass catching tight end. How have teams tried to defend him?
A: He's seen about every type of coverage. He's seen about every type of matchup in the preseason and here in the regular season that he could see and no one's been real successful in doing that. He has really come into his own as a pass receiving tight end. He's quick, he's got moves, he's like a wide receiver out there and he's a big body so he's going to be a headache on Sunday.
Q: Is this the kind of thing where they'll move him around all over the place to get matchups isolated on the defense?
A: They've moved him. He's stretched out sometimes, he's in the backfield sometimes, he's on the line of scrimmage sometimes. We haven't seen as much motion with him as we've seen at different positions, so they try to find out who can cover this guy and then they try to exploit you from there.
Q: Is part of a Mike Martz offense just getting into a defense coordinator's head with all of the different things that they can do?
A: I had the good fortune of coaching with Coach Martz in St. Louis and he really studies matchups. He studies techniques, he studies how your players play, and he'll attack your technique and he'll attack your players through his offense by motion shift adjustments, so it's not as much of a coordinator's matchup with him, it's he's going to try to attack the players techniques.
Q: How do you feel about your players' experience against Martz?
A: I really can't comment on that because each time you go into a ball game, even if you've played against the coordinator before, it's a new experience. He's going to have a new wrinkle for them. He's going to have something that he's going to throw at them that they may have seen three years ago, but how will they respond to it? Sometimes we can't get them to remember what we told them on Wednesday. I really can't comment on the experience factor of us going against Coach Martz.
Q: How do you react to all of that motion on their offense? Do you try to simplify it for you guys?
A: We try to do the best we can to simplify it. Try to get into the best defense that we can possibly get into in order to take advantage of it. I think that's one of the factors of Coach Martz and his offense is that he wants to see how you're going to adjust to those types of things and then go from there and if he can cause someone to be out of position or confused, then he's going to strike.
Q: Do you still have to worry about stopping the run even though they haven't run the ball that much?
A: Yeah. Matt Forte is really good. One play and he can go the distance so they've done a lot of things with Matt Forte like they did with Marshall Faulk when he was in St. Louis and so we know what a dangerous runner Marshall was and what a dangerous pass receiver he was and I see him evolving into that. So, yes, we have to stop the run and we have to be able to defend the pass.
Q: You've always had a relationship with Lovie Smith. Could you just talk about the decision you made this offseason?
A: I choose not to. It was a personal thing and I just choose not to.
Q: How has Devin Hester developed as a receiver?
A: I'm very impressed with him. When he first came out, of course we all knew him as a punt return guy, a kickoff return guy and then when he was playing receiver, you were just like, why are they doing that? But he has really come into his own this year. I think that the routes that Coach Martz is running with him in the offense and his ability to concentrate on the ball and catch the ball in the air…the play he made against Dallas for the touchdown on the seven cut was an outstanding football catch and so to me, he's really developed and continues to develop into a top-notch receiver. The Knox kid I'm extremely impressed with. He's fast, he runs good routes – they've got a nice little combination right there.
Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn
Q: Talk about Hester:
A: He's electric. He's dangerous when he touches the ball, so you have to do your best to try and claw at it. You have to try and keep the ball out of his hands, and there is not a lot you can do. It was tough to do last time we played him, he touched it three times. We are prepared to get down there, cover, and tackle.
Q: What makes him so effective?
A: He does everything right, you just have to be so good. You have to protect really well so you can get out into your coverage lane, and you can't make mistakes. If you do make mistakes, he will find them.
Q: How have you worked with Dodge this week to help minimize his effects?
A: Yeah, I mean you work on all that to limit his touches on the ball the best you can. We had a couple when we played the Jets, he pinned them down there inside the five, and then the 10,catching it over the shoulder and downing it by the two so you have to be ready to go down and get it done.
DE Justin Tuck
Q: So is your shoulder feeling good this week?
Q: Did you feel anything when you played last Sunday?
Q: Their run game hasn't put up gaudy numbers, why have they seemed to do that?
A: Their quarterback is putting up a lot of numbers.
Q: Just that simple?
A: That's what it looks like. Obviously Forte is a good running back but Cutler is pretty hot right now even though he is throwing a lot of balls that could've been and should've been picked off. I don't know what you want to call that, but stat-wise, he is having a pretty good year so far.
Q: What's the best way to throw off a quarterback when he's hot like that?
A: Sack him. I think we make the game a little bit too complicated sometimes.
Q: How impressed were you with Chicago, especially during the final drive?
A: I was impressed. It was them coming back through adversity. It's something this team needs to do. I think we can learn a lot from what they went through in the Green Bay game because Green Bay is a hell of a football team with them battling back in that situation. They did it in all three phases: special teams, offense, defense. Hopefully, we can get all three of ours going in the same game at the same time.
Q: Does having all the alumni there for the Ring of Honor add any extra motivation?
A: I hope so. I really didn't think about that until now. I think it will. It will definitely emphasize things and it will definitely have a certain feeling in the stadium, and I think we play good in a situation like that. Hopefully, we can channel that and build off that, and use it to our advantage.
Q: Is leadership an issue on this team or is the media making this up?
A: Depends on who you ask. I guess you're asking me, and I think it's overblown.
A: I said it before, and I think people have gotten leadership misunderstood. Everyone thinks a good definition of leadership is how much you talk. I disagree with that. I think the leaders on this football team go out every day and bust their butts on the practice field, the weight room, and the meeting room. That's what leadership is about. It's about leading, it isn't about talking. If it was about talking, they would call it 'Talkingship' or something. We feel confident in our leadership. Obviously it can get better, but I've been on teams that didn't have great leadership and won games. It wasn't an excuse. I have been on teams that have had great leadership and lost games. That's when it comes to the forefront. We start winning football games and you'll find something to talk about.
Q: How about chemistry, is that a more important factor for this team to worry about?
A: Yeah, I mean the same leadership we had in 2006 was the same that we had in 2007. Two drastic years. I agree with you that the chemistry isn't there right now, and that's something we need to work on every day in practice. That's something we have to develop off the football field, too. I'm kind of like the barbeque king around here, so I'm trying to get guys to come over and be conversant. Chemistry is about knowing the individual on and off the field. Their tendencies, annoyances, what they like to do, what they don't like to do, knowing what flies, and knowing what gets them in trouble. We have a lot of new faces in here, and I'm not making excuses, but we have had enough time to bond and have that chemistry but it just hasn't clicked yet. Will it happen? I'm hoping and praying it will but it's not a given. Every year, those are the teams you see going to the Super Bowl and going deep into the playoffs. Those teams that find the chemistry. Some years we didn't find it until week 12, week 13. I'm not too worried about that right now.
Q: Do you think this week is a must-win game?
A: No. There's no such thing as one until the last game of the season and you need it for the playoffs. That's a must-win game. It's a long season. I've seen teams win eight games and have made the playoffs so if I do my math right, we have about six more losses before we have a must win game.
Q: It's an important game, though:
A: Absolutely. Every game is important. I never played in a game that wasn't. It's definitely an important game and we'd love to get off to the right start in this football game early and continue it. A big win against a team like this on Sunday Night Football can really turn our season and head it in the right direction. It's definitely an important game.
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