Q: How important is this bye week for figuring out the current problems? **
A: We're going to try and take advantage of it, there's no question. As you go through that ongoing process of seeing what people are doing against you defensively, you're trying to adapt what your basic plays are to fit more effectively against what people are doing. You're also constantly judging as to what your guys are doing and what they're capable of doing. Sometimes that's an ongoing process too. Things that they were able to do at one time, they are not able to do now. It's a very critical time. It's an important time for us to: a) see what people are doing against us, which we pretty much have a handle on; and b) see what it is that we can do within the framework of our personnel to effectively attack what people are doing.
Q: People are saying that Eli Manning is in a slump. It's not one guy's fault, is it?
A: No, and I think I mentioned it last week, he's always going to get a lot of the credit, maybe more than he deserves when things are going well, and he's always going to get more of the blame when things are not going well. He had some decisions yesterday that he would like to have back, and I think that's probably indicative of us pressing to get back to where we were. Certainly, if we give him the time and the protection, I have no doubt in my mind that he'll put the ball where it needs to go, accurately, correctly and give guys a chance. It comes down to protection. It comes down to the guys doing a better job getting open, getting separation. Believe me, it's a collective process out there. We're all in need of doing better.
Q: What do you think about the trend of Giants teams in recent history struggling in the second half of the regular season?
A: We have. Obviously, we haven't quite figured it out yet, or we wouldn't be going through another one that we're looking forward to ending after two games. It's something that we look at all the time. As I mentioned earlier, you're constantly evaluating everything that you're doing, whether it's a practice structure, whether it's schematic adjustments that can be made. Maybe it's the use of different personnel. That's something that goes on continuously. We've come up short the last two weeks, so that's what I go by. Not the years past, but what has happened the last couple weeks, and the last couple weeks we haven't played well offensively, so that's been the biggest disappointment for us.
Q: Is it hard to look past that trend though?
A: There's no question that it's been ongoing and continuous. We'll proceed forward trying to come up with the best answers.
Q: You mentioned problems in protection, is David Diehl a reason for the recent troubles?
A: You would love to say it's this one thing or one person or one aspect, but it doesn't work out that way. Believe me when I tell you this, it's all of us. We all have to do better. Sometimes it's (Eli) trying to force the ball because he's trying to make a play to get us going, sometimes it's the protection, just not being quite as solid as it needs to be. Sometimes it's the receivers, sometimes it's the call that's not the best call for that defense. It's everything.
Q: When you make a third-and-short call, is it up to Eli Manning to make the decision to throw the ball downfield?
A: Which play are you talking about? The firm hooks…Yeah. It's his judgment. He didn't feel comfortable with the position of the linebacker when Victor (Cruz) made the catch for a five-yard gain, so he had press man. How many times have we won press man throwing the ball to Hakeem (Nicks)? It just didn't work out. It's hard for me to be overly critical of where the ball went, but when it doesn't work out, we're all subject to the second-guessing that takes place. It's up to him to make the judgment, but there's no question that we say, "Hey, this is what needs to be done, here's the play, here's your drops. Against this coverage, the ball can go here. This coverage, the ball can go there." On that particular one, we happened to call firm double-hook, which is usually a six-yard hook route by the two inside receivers and then quick-outs by the outside receivers. He actually had a chance with the quick out to the left, which was to the wide side of the field. That's how much confidence he has in Hakeem, that he can throw a fade-stop and it's going to be a completion.
Q: When opponents take away the deep ball, how does that change your offense?
A: It just forces you to go to a different facet of it, and that's where the running game needs to come to the fore. I think you look at us statistically, although it wasn't near where we need it to be, you're gaining about six yards a carry, yesterday, problem was it all happened in the second half. We needed to have it happen in the first half as well. You have to be able to throw underneath, you have to be able to run the ball effectively. You have to be able to do things where they're more vulnerable defending against the deep stuff, and when you get the chance for the deep stuff, like we had yesterday, you have to catch the ball.
Q: Have you gained some confidence in David Wilson despite being the third running back?
A: He's getting better, that's all I can tell you. He's getting better. He's filling in the areas that need to be improved upon so that you feel good enough about putting him in a more broad range situation, where more things can happen than him just carrying the ball.
Q: I'm sure your expectations are not that he can just come in "out-of-rhythm" and break off an 18-yard run?
Q: How does he get that rhythm then?
A: He's got to be able to do all other things besides just running the ball. It's not just running the ball when you're a running back in the National Football League. It's about catching passes, it's about blocking, it's about being able to protect the quarterback. All those things are taken into consideration when you determine whether a guy gets playing time or not.
Q: Despite being a first-round pick, is it surprising how lacking David Wilson is in other areas?
A: I think you have to look at the background of a guy; where the guy came from, what was asked of him at the collegiate ranks. Certain things are asked based upon the college offense that he comes from, but when you look at David, he was basically asked to be a runner, and not do much else. At the National Football League, you're going to have to do a lot of other things because when people line up in certain defensive structures, even if you call the run, you're going to check out and go to a pass. You have to feel good that he'll know what to do and be able to solve that problem so that you can continue to function as a unit. That's all it is. You're a member of a unit and they're going to be asked to do a lot of different things beside just carry the ball.
Q: How valuable is this week to just look at what teams are doing against you in the green zone?
A: That's one of the things we'll study. See what they're doing; we'll also look at some other teams to see what other teams are doing that are having more success than we are when we get down there. We'll certainly do a self-evaluation, but then we'll also try to look at some of the other teams that are doing well, particularly against the people that we're playing against. See if we can come up with some ideas to help galvanize (the offense).
Q: You had Andre Brown for the two-minute drill, which is usually Ahmad Bradshaw. Was it Ahmad's health that kept him out?
A: We thought Andre has deserved some chances; when we've given him an opportunity to carry the ball, he's done well. He's catching the ball extremely well. I think it's more a matter of him earning that chance to get on the field. So far, every time we've given him chances, he's come through for us.
Q: Eli said he's going to step completely away from the game for a week; do you encourage that?
A: I think we're all frustrated. We haven't been doing well. If you're not careful, you beat yourself up so badly that you become the biggest problem to solving the problem. To get away, refresh yourself, come back with a renewed vigor; I won't say commitment because there's never been any wavering in his commitment. Just…"I got away from it for a few days, now I'm ready to delve back into it 100% again and get this thing taken care of."
Q: Is it weird for him to go a complete week without anything football related?
A: I don't know. I don't think they've ever had this much time before, but I think what he's always done, is fully taken advantage of whatever time he's had.
Q: What about not throwing for a full week?
A: I think that's good. He's not going to lose his mechanics throwing the ball in that short of a period of time. I think its all part of the comprehensive "let me get away from this thing."
Q: You think it will rejuvenate Eli and his arm?
A: Yeah. I haven't seen a deadening of the arm, to be honest with you. That's what's out there now, but I just heard that as I came in here. I don't think that's a problem at all. I haven't seen that.