Coach Tom Coughlin**
Coach Coughlin: Good afternoon. What can I do for you? (Weston) Richburg, they kept inside. (Justin) Pugh, they kept inside. So those two guys didn't work. (Damontre) Moore is working his way through a hamstring. Probably those are the only questions. Now we're done, right?
Q: Where is Pugh in the protocol?
A: He's in the protocol, that's where he is.
Q: When did it get diagnosed as a concussion?
A: It's been a continuous process. He won't be able to do anything until he meets all the conditions.
Q: Given how the games unfolded over the weekend and where you are now, what was your message to the team when they came back this morning?
A: Well, obviously the division race is the way it was when we left. We have a divisional foe in the Redskins this week, which is very important. But we've got to take care of our own business.
Q: It's only one practice, but how did Hakeem Nicks look out there?
A: He's energetic, he looked good. Kidded around with him a little bit. He did fine for a guy that's just trying to study and pick up the signals and all of those things. He did okay.
Q: What do you think he can bring to this team at this point?
A: Veteran experience, catcher, outstanding hands, he'll work very hard. He's excited about being here. He's missed the opportunity to compete, so all of those things he'll bring to our practices and our games.
Q: He's only 26 years old, which is crazy because a lot of people almost write about him being done. Do you think he can be the same player he was?
A: To be honest with you, I don't think there's any question about that part of it. He is a young man and he does miss it and he has worked very hard to stay in shape. We knew that when he worked out here the first time. Yeah, I'm hoping that's exactly what it will be.
Q: Was today anything to do with the Redskins or just to getting back in shape?
A: No, it was just to come back and get our minds back into what we're doing, the same thing we always do when there's a break.
Q: How much do you think Prince Amukamara can add to the defense?
A: I think he can add a lot. He's a good player and he's demonstrated that over the years. He'll hang in there, he's done a nice job of that. Everybody gets beat on a route once in a while, but he hangs in there and he keeps battling away. He has a strong physical presence, so I think there's no doubt he'll add tremendously.
Q: Do you think he can help balance out the defense, too? When they have DRC on one side, it seems like they try to pick on the other side.
A: I think that hopefully is what we're going to get, is outstanding play on both sides.
Q: And because it's not a lower body injury, you think he can come right back pretty quickly?
A: I do. And he's had a couple weeks to do that. He hasn't tackled. Certainly there will be some things that will have to be kept in mind—you don't want his arm getting out to the side. I think he knows how to handle that.
Q: Does he have to play with a harness on his shoulder?
A: I don't know what they'll do for him game time. He's protected throughout these practices. It's probably a preference. I'm not sure what the medical people will say. If they recommend it, then he'll wear it.
Q: Does he have full range of motion without it or is it something he's just going to have to deal with?
A: He has the medical clearance to play. I can't get into percentages with you.
Q: During the bye week, did you self-evaluate and look at the red zone?
A: Yes. Oh yeah, oh yeah. Tremendous amount of time spent on it and a tremendous amount of thoughts based on it. Not only on the offensive side, but on the defensive side, as well. The way we research ourselves is to look at what we call "worst to best" and that's where all our attention goes and that's where our time is spent. When the players return, they get the benefit of not only the visual by the tape but the numbers and all the things that go with it. But it's also for the coaches, not just for the players. Yeah, we jump hard into that.
Q: What did you see when you looked at your safeties and what can they do to get better moving forward?
A: Yeah, we can do a lot better. We can perform much better, we can take care of the middle of the field better—not only the safeties, but the linebackers etc. It has been a weak spot and we've got to do a better job there.
Q: It was about 15-20 years ago that everyone started talking about "high and tight" for ball carriers. Have there been other changes in the way that guys carry the ball and protect against fumbles?
A: I don't know if it's 15 years ago; that's a term we grabbed a long time ago. Frank Gansz was the first one I ever heard say it. We've benefitted from the direct example of how that works, but there's also the other hand—the other hand has to go on the ball, too, today because, quite frankly, people, as you know, are not too worried sometimes about the tackle, they'll take the ball first. It's something that we've all got to continue to work on. It's a basic fundamental, but it's the difference between winning and losing many times.
Q: A day like yesterday when Washington and Philly lose again, does that maybe heighten the sense of urgency--you guys have alternated wins and losses, it seems like, the whole season—to finally pull away from these guys?
A: We've been trying to do that, thank you very much.
Q: Over the years you've brought in a bunch of guys who are former Giants. What do you get from that?
A: I'll be point blank with you, Hakeem was the best player out there for right now, for the circumstances. Matter of fact, he was someone who we figured was in the sights of other clubs. Certainly he's been a Giant before, it's a different system. But we know the player, we know the young man and, quite frankly, he was, in our opinion, the best player out there.
Q: Earlier in the year you made a point of staying relevant. When you get to this point, now Thanksgiving will pass, is there another marker now? Do you bring that to your team?
A: Six-game season, that's exactly what it is. Every game is a critical game. We are relevant and now we've got to do something about it. "Finish," that word we keep using, you've got to finish. We've got to be playing at our best in all three phases with no lapses, and that's where I'd like to see us go.
Q: Did they seem recharged after the bye and ready to go today?
A: There were some fresh legs, that's for sure.
Q: What is it like being back?
A: It feels good. Feels good to be back in the building, definitely feels good to be back in the Giants uniform. Just want to continue to make plays and be a great football player and a great team player.
Q: It is a different playbook from what you remember. How do you think you'll be able to contribute on a short-term basis knowing you have a lot of stuff to learn?
A: I came in last week and got a head start, but whatever they need me to do, I'm sure they'll sprinkle me in and get acclimated. But whatever the coaches need me to do, whatever they need me here to be, that's what I will be.
Q: How much does it help that you and Eli know each other like the back of your hand?
A: That helps a lot. That helps a lot, that chemistry. We're definitely looking forward to it. Glad to be back in this position again, playing with Eli again. I look forward to everything that is about to come.
Q: When you left here, did you think there was ever a chance that you'd be back?
A: In my heart. I felt like this is where I wanted to be in my heart. Business is business and it's going to play out the way it's going to play out, and fortunately I was blessed enough to be back in this position.
Q: How tough was it to sit out for the first three months of this year?
A: That competitive job and I just had to stay in it. Came up with a little that my agent made sure I got off the couch every week by going to see different teams. So that's kind of how I got every week started, I'd watch Sunday football, then go see a team, get a little workout in and just keep it going throughout the week. I was just making sure I was keeping up with my body and when the time came, I wouldn't be slacking and I would fit right in.
Q: What do you feel you can bring to this team walking in as late as right now?
A: Confidence level. It's a new season, we got a six-game schedule. I've seen this before and we're right where we need to be in this division. Just look forward to what's at hand.
Q: How do you feel?
A: I feel great.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul**
Q: How much do you pay attention when you see Washington and Philly lose yesterday?
A: None. I didn't really watch any games yesterday. I did watch the Minnesota [Vikings] and Green Bay [Packers] game to watch my boy…play. That's the only game I watched. I didn't watch all the games or whatever. Coach Coughlin talked about it or whatever, but who cares, you know? It's all about us right now.
Q:…divisional opponent coming up and knowing what happened yesterday and you could potentially get another half game on Thursday?
A: We're just going to go out there and play our best football. Coming off the bye week, we put last week past us, when we lost against the Patriots, and now we're just studying for Washington. We know what kind of team we have here and we're going to keep on fighting.
Q: What did you do during the off week?
A: I relaxed, man. I relaxed, took care of my body, a lot of rehabbing for me, but other than that, I'm ready to go. I'm fired up.
Q: What kind of rehab are we talking about?
A: Everyday rehab, being consistent with my hand, that's basically it. Other than that, my entire body is fine.
Q: With the idea of building strength back?
A: Yeah, and building up strength, and getting better.
Q: When you started out the game, you had the glove on and then you switched.
A: Yeah, I'm more comfortable with the club. I feel better, I don't have to worry about anything, and it is what it is, so I just wear that.
Q: Was there a certain thing that happened on that first drive?
A: Not at all. I just was like, "You know what, I'm just going to go ahead and put it on and just play like I've been playing." That's basically it.
Q: You didn't get a chance to play the Redskins the first time the Giants played them this year.
A: Nope I didn't. I was at home.
Q: You've seen them [Redskins], you know what Kirk Cousins is about, some thoughts about what you need to do against that Redskins offense?
A: I really have to go study the film. I know he's a good quarterback, both of the quarterbacks they had were good, but he's getting better and better. Each game he's making plays and getting better and better. I have to study them really hard, study my opponent, study the tackle in front of me. Trent Williams, he's a good tackle. I played against him for five years now and he's been dominant. He made me better as a player, so I have to study him, and that's basically it from me.
Q: What have you seen from the two games you've been back in the pass rush?
A: We're getting back there, man.
Q: You're feeling it?
A: Yeah, I'm feeling it. We're getting back there as a group, it's not just about me, and we're getting back there as a whole group and that's what counts. The sacks are going to come, but when you get back there as a whole group and disturb the quarterback, that's a great feeling.
Q: You haven't been back here yet with Prince [Amukamara] on the field but you know what he's like.
A: Yeah, Prince is going to do his job. He's not going to go out there if he knows he can't do it. I talked to him, and he's in good spirits, and he's going to go out and do what he can to help the team.
Q: How much can he add to the back end of this defense?
A: A lot. He's a good player and I don't care what anyone says.
Q: Did you stay up here during the bye week?
A: I stayed up here the entire time. I didn't go home or nothing. I just stayed up here and relaxed. Like I said, I rehabbed and that was basically it for me.
Q: When you did your self-study of yourself, did you identify specific areas where you've…?
A: Yeah, everything is new to me. Like you all can see, everything is new to me, still learning everyday, daily, the system, and how to use to my hand. The good thing about it is that I can still play football. I have to be consistent with things, but like I said, everything is just new. I'm just learning and as time goes on, I'm just getting better.
Q: Regarding calling the little kid that lost a finger.
A: People don't know what other people are going through. I'm just blessed, not saying this was fortunate to happen to me or whatever, but I'm a role model and it happened to me. A lot of kids are like, "What is he going to do now?" Now, it's just continuing to do what I do. They got discouraged, but he's okay and he's in good spirits now.
CB Prince Amukamara
Q: How ready do you feel right now?
A: I feel like I'm ready to play four quarters of a football game.
Q: More ready than you would've been last week you think?
A: Yeah. I feel 100 percent. I feel ready to go.
Q: If you're back in for the first time in a few weeks and DeSean Jackson is probably going to be there on the other side of the field, what type of challenge is that for you?
A: He's freakishly fast. I've been watching the Redskins the last two weeks and he's been flying past a lot of people, but I've played against him my five years here so I know what to expect.
Q: Does he look much different?
A: Just looks well rested and just looks fast.
Q: How do you get a pec ready to play? Do you do any hitting or do you just have to see what happens when you get hit?
A: There's some drills where you could throw like a medicine ball against the wall and absorb the weight as it comes back or you hit dummies, but, like you said, it's not even close to realistic as hitting a 230-pound human going full speed. I'm sure I'm going to be in a brace to protect myself a little bit, but if I had any doubt that I would injure it more or if the doctors did I don't think I'd be out there.
Q: Between yourself, JT Thomas, Uani' Unga and JPP coming back, how much better can this defense be now in the next couple of weeks with some reinforcements coming back?
A: I think we'd definitely help improve our defense. I think our defense was doing great without us and we've seen the last couple of weeks, especially last week against the Patriots, I think we just add more bodies and add more help to help our defense.
Q: With 6 games to go, do you look at the big picture and say we're in first place, we're a game in front, everything in front of us, or what?
A: I think it's great to control our own destiny. We know that this game, Coach Coughlin says, is worth two points because it's in the division and we know that if we take care of what we have to take care of I think we'll be good. We're in the driver's seat and if we win out then we will be happy at the end. We definitely don't want to be in a position where we're paying attention to like Minnesota or other teams to lose and stuff like that because that's not a fun way to look at it.
Q: As disappointed as you were when you got hurt that you were going to miss time, do you feel maybe that much more fortunate that you're back for this stretch run?
A: Yes, for sure. Definitely excited for it to be short-term unlike last year and just to come back and finish where I started. Hosley, I feel like did a great job in my spot and I'm just glad to be back.
Q: You've obviously been here, you're one of the guys in this locker room back when you played a meaningful game after Thanksgiving and the last couple years haven't been that way. Do you have a sense of where this team is right now and is everybody kind of feeling it?
A: Yeah, we know most of the games this season it's been us hurting ourselves and I think last week against the Patriots it was pretty much like confirmation of how great we can be as a team. I mean we stood toe to toe with one of the league's best, the defending champions. I think a lot of guys were bummed that we lost that because there was so many chances that we could've ended it, but I think guys were encouraged also because we knew that we could've won the game.
Q: Has that brace been tough to get use to?
A: It's funny, at first it's a little stiff at first, but once I start warming up and get some sweat in it I forget that I have it on. I don't feel any restrictions, I run pretty good, jam pretty good. If I had any restrictions I would tell them like, 'Hey, I'm going to roll the dice. I can't have this on me.' But it's just all about protection.
Q: So the brace you're wearing in practice is what you'd wear in a game?
A: I don't think so. They keep talking about another one and if we go shoulder pads this week I'm sure I'm going to have that other one on, but when we don't have shoulder pads I have the one that I was wearing on today.
Q: Is it important for you to get over that mental hurdle? I mean you're not that typical corner being out there just to be playing space and not really wanting to come up. I mean you're the opposite of that. You want to be at the line, you want to be physical. Is that something that you need to get straight in your head before you get out there?
A: No, I think anytime I step on the field I think my body just assumes it's 100 percent. Like even today, I didn't think I was hurt unless I did a movement and then I felt something pinch, but I didn't. So anytime I step on the field I just trick myself that I'm 100 percent so going up to tackle, I think, would just be instinctive. I hope there's no hesitation.
Q: Is it different for a cornerback to have an injury here as oppose to coming back and you know you guys when you're legs are no good you guys go nuts? Is it different?
A: Yeah, it's very different. I think if it happened an injury below the waist, I think I'd be more cautious and a little bit more worried especially this week with DeSean and (Pierre) Garçon, but since my legs are able to run I feel like I'm able to go. And that's how it was the last five weeks, I didn't really feel like I was injured because I was able to walk, able to run a little bit, but I just knew my chest wasn't ready.
Q: Your legs feel fresh?
A: Yeah, yeah. Very fresh. I worked out this whole bye so I feel like I didn't miss a beat. And I didn't feel out of wind today with this practice. It was good.