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Monday's Player Interviews


WR Victor Cruz

Q: Have you seen Hakeem Nicks today?

A: I saw him earlier, but I think they've been sending him back and forth for x-rays and MRIs and stuff like that so I haven't had a chance to really talk to him.

Q: Would you be excited to step in?

A: Of course. Anytime you get an opportunity to go in there and play and have an opportunity to be the number one or two guy and make some big plays you always want to be excited. I understand for us to play at top notch we need all three of us to be out there and to be clicking on all cylinders.

Q: If Hakeem can't go, what do you lose?

A: We lose that he's a big play guy and he stretches that field for us and he's a guy that can go up and get it at any given time and change the momentum of the game. We understand that he's important to our team and losing a guy like that, you're losing a big chunk of your offense. Our guys have to step up. We have to get our running game going.  Myself and Mario and Devin Thomas and Michael Clayton are going to have to step in and fill that void.

Q: A defense can play you differently without Hakeem.

A: Definitely. They'll try to key in on that. Knowing Belicheck, he's probably going to be listening all week to see if he's playing and base his personnel off of that. Like I said, we have to be ready, we understand that and we have to be ready to play four quarters.

Tackle David Diehl

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Q: Is Eli a better player than he was in the Super Bowl?

A: I think he is. Eli has been doing an unbelievable job for our offense – the improvements that he's made. Our offense goes the way Eli makes it go – the adjustments to not only the blocking schemes, but the mike calls, his recognition of defenses is unbelievable and that's what allows him to go out there. Yesterday, with all of the blitz packages that they were bringing at us, for him to be able to pick it apart. It's awful if you're playing against a guy like that, like Eli. I think it's a credit to him. The way that he's worked and the way that he's handled things. It's awesome.

Q: Is it important to get the running game going with the latter part of the season and the bad weather coming?

A: I think you just answered your question right there. We all know how important it is down the stretch to run the ball when the weather starts changing and all of that stuff. Watching the film today and watching the Miami defense, it's pretty much a blitz every play. Two or three that they were coming, doing whatever they can to make the run game a big problem, whether it was shooting two corners from the sides, which opens up the passing game. For one of those games like yesterday, Eli did an unbelievable job of picking apart things, being able to diagnose things earlier to adjust the blocking schemes to pick up the blitz to be able to throw for that many yards. We all understand how important it is to get that going. Each and every week it's a new week, a new challenge, a new phase. Defenses are doing the same thing that we're doing, trying to figure out, 'Hey, this week, what are they going to try to do? What are they going to try to change?' We understand the importance of it.

Q: You know how specific Belicheck is?

A: Yeah of course. And that's what makes him a great coach. I think he's going to do the same thing, see what he can try to do to take away the run, not get it going. That will get us in third-and-long situations so that they can play coverage and take away our receivers. I think it's an important way for us, third-and-shorts. Keep ourselves in manageable downs so that we're not sitting there trying to get our problems away when we're playing New England and letting their crowd and energy feed off of that.

Q: Is the situation getting tougher with Hakeem banged-up with the hamstring?

A: I hope for his sake, we hope for our sake, we hope that he's feeling great. We know how tough he is and the way that he plays. Like I said, that puts a stress on us to get the run going, but it also allows other guys to make plays downfield. Victor Cruz has been playing unbelievingly well – Mario Manningham. It gets guys in there that we know can step in and do the job.

Q: It's hard to walk down the hall in this building without a reminder of the last time you played the Patriots. Does this bring all of that back?

A: Obviously you're going to keep hearing about the comparisons and the Super Bowl and everything like that. That's part of history and that's part of the Super Bowl and how great of a game it was. We're four years removed from that game. We didn't play them last year. That didn't just happen. This is a whole new year. They're a different team. We're a different team. Obviously you're going to hear all of that stuff throughout the week, but I don't think it plays a bearing into this game. We're focusing on this season and what they've been doing this year. They've been playing defense differently. They've been doing different things up front. You're going to hear that stuff, but I don't think it has a bearing on this game. It's the Giants versus the Patriots. This isn't the Super Bowl.

Q: They have the two big bodies in the middle. Have you looked at them yet?

A: I started breaking them down. I started looking at them. They've got a good rotation of guys in there, big guys, but they also have veteran guys who are smart, that are always in the right gaps, that play very sound defense. I might have to eat a little extra this week going into this one. This is what it's about. When you're an NFL player you want to play up against the best guys and play up against the best competition and this is one of the better defenses in the league.

Center David Baas

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Q: You look like you're limping.

A: Could be.

Q: Any results from any tests?

A: No. We're just waiting on them to figure it out. They said day-by-day. We have to get the swelling out of it. I'll see them in the morning for treatment and just keep working at it.

Q: So your hope is to play this weekend, but you're not sure?

A: Yeah. That's the best way to put it.

Q: What exactly happened?

A: It was just a guy that was being blocked down and he just ran into my knee, part of football. It happens. We'll make the best of it and try to get it healed up as quickly as possible.

Q: Does it hurt more today than yesterday?

A: Yeah. We're just going to get the right tests and figure out exactly what it is and go from there. Until then, I have no power at my house so I can't use my Game Ready. There's plenty of enough snow and I have some ice bags. I'll make it. We'll work the old fashioned way until I get my power.

Q: Is your concern that you might not play on Sunday?
A: That's always the case. They checked it out on the sidelines and stuff like that. If I was stable enough to go back in and play, that's a positive sign. My hope is very high. We just have to watch it day-by-day. Tomorrow, seeing how it felt

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