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Players Quotes - August 12: Manning, Cruz


Q: James Brewer, we noticed him leaving.
A: Yeah, he got tight in the back again. I'm trying to keep him out there. When he's out there, he actually looks pretty good. We're having trouble keeping him out there.Q: Shaun Rogers missing?
A: Shaun Rogers is. His leg swelled up on him, so we kept him inside.

Q: Hixon looked good but Douglas is still not ready to come back?
A: Wasn't ready today. We were going to run him. So I'll get a report on how far along he is, but they're trying to get him back.

Q: Have you looked at the film of the preseason game?
A: I have, and I thought that the first unit was pretty good. Obviously, there are some things that we can clean up but we were very close to being very good. I thought the guys were sharp and running around well and close to scoring on all three possessions that we had. I think overall it would be something to learn from and but we can improve on it though.

Q: Was that as sharp as you guys have been in a preseason game, as far as you can remember?
A: I can't recall every first preseason game but I thought overall that the first unit was good. From our first drive we went down there and at least got a few first downs and moved the ball. We didn't score on that one but after that we got a touchdown and a field goal and did really well. I thought that the second unit came in and did well also. They did some good things. Some of the young guys, the receivers and skill guys that will possibly be on the team got some stuff to learn and get better. I think the game is the best way to learn it because you don't know what play is going to be called next. You see different styles of defense, you see different techniques that defenses play that our defense doesn't, and you've got to adjust and know what to do; that's where you truly learn the concepts of what we have to do as an offense.

Q: Did you see some encouraging signs out of the running game?
A: I thought the running game had a couple big runs, which we've missed in the past, is getting those 10, 12, 15-yard runs and we had a few of those. We didn't have many runs where you're getting 1 yard or no yards. We were getting 3 and 4 yards, which is what you like to do to get yourselves in 3rd and manageable situations, so I thought that was a positive and every once in a while you break a long one. I thought it was a good start to our running game improving.

Q: Thoughts on the first preseason game:
A: You take a lot of the good things, a lot of the positive things. First live action. We're just getting used to getting hit again, catching the ball and expecting some contact. It was good to get our balance back as an offense, as a core, and as a team in general. You just learn from it. You watch the tape, get all the goods and bads, the positives and negatives, and just see what you need to get better at.

Q: Do you still feel like you have something to prove?
A: Most definitely. Every time I step on the field, I'm out to prove everybody wrong. No matter what happened last year, I still want to go out there and prove everybody wrong and be at the top of my game, being able to perform, continue to go out there and make plays, and play at a high level.

Q: Thoughts on upcoming Jets game
A: That's always a good game. That's always an interesting game for us. We're going to prepare accordingly like we do every week, and we'll see what happens.

Q: What do they say they like and what do they say that you like?
A: Pass rushes well. There's some things that I could have done better as far as moving my hips and recognizing quarterback depth. The other thing is playing against the run. But then again, things that were playing against the run. You got to be more stout when I get the double teams. Read and react and realize what the offense is trying to scheme against me and be able to play off of that. Pass rush… I mean for me personally, what I saw is that I can add a little bit to my arsenal. A lot of people think that I'm small and so we're just going to hit him with the speed rush, but I was able to use some power so hopefully I'll be able to use a combination of power and speed and be able to capitalize on passing situations.

Q: How much does it help to work with the guys that you're working with? You have a veteran defensive end when it comes to adding to that arsenal?
A: It helps a lot, and I think the biggest thing is that they have the experience and they've been to the top of the mountain. I'm always in Osi's and Tuck's ear asking them questions about run and pass plays and seeing what I can do better in both of those areas.

Q: You're really not much different, size wise, than Osi are you?
A: Not too much. Pretty much the same height and same build.


Q: How was your first experience in this offense? What did you think of the way you played?
A: I thought it was a decent start. There's a lot of things that I have to work on in my game and I'm just trying to make the perfect play – whether it's where I need to be and getting there the right way. I think there's a lot of room for growth in this offense for me. I think it's a great chance to get better and I'm happy. I'm happy being here, I'm happy with the things that we're doing. Happiness makes a big difference; the ultimate pursuit of happiness as well as the perfect place.

Q: How would you assess your blocking in the first game?
A: It was alright. That's still something I'm always working on, hands inside, better footwork. I had a couple of good blocks, had a couple things that I could have done better. For the most part, I held my own.

Q: What feedback did you hear from the coaches about what you did well out there and what you need to work on?
A: I tell Coach Pope I don't think that I'm ever going to be good enough playing this game, so everything single day is always something. He says, I do well on some things, I'm like 'Coach I should have…' He's like 'Well, you could have done that too. It's a great relationship that were developing and it's starting to grow and I think he wants me to be the best player I can possibly be and I'm trying to be great myself. Every little part of the game we try to work on.READ MORE >>

Q: Is the run defense that bad? Or is the team just missing tackles?
A: They had 156 yards rushing. No matter what the reason is behind it, it's 156 yards rushing, which is unacceptable for our defense. Some of it, we're definitely going to tackle. We're not expecting to have that within a week. We will clean that up.

Q: What did you think about how Prince played? He seemed a little shaky on the first series, then he came back and made a big play.
A: I think they came at him a little bit. They tried to test him out early, which we already told him that was going to be the case. He has to clean some things up, he's still fairly new. He's still new to the system, new to the game. We don't make any excuses for him. We told him, 'You're going to have to be that guy there,' and he understands that. He came back, and was smarter in the next series with an awesome play, forcing the turnover, and giving our offense a chance to score, which is always a good thing.

Q: I'm sure that's not going to be anything new. I'm sure the Cowboys on September 5th will probably go with the same approach?
A: I really don't know what their approach is going to be. He has to understand that he's that guy on the boundary. We're looking forward to him to go out there, make some great plays for us, and be an outstanding corner.

Q: In some ways you've been the forgotten back because when they draft a first round guy everybody thinks that he's automatically the backup. When they put out the depth chart you were behind Ahmad. What were you thinking when that happened?
A: I just try to make sure that I go out there and keep whatever Ahmad has going still going. If he's not doing too well, then I'll try to give us a spark. Going out there and running hard is my main objective right now. I'm trying to stay positive on my yardage and yards per carry and let the rest take care of itself.

Q: Is it a motivating thing when they draft a guy at your position in the first round?
A: It is because you know they're going to have to get him in the game sometime. You've got to make it a point that you're still working and staying positive and fighting forward. As long as I do that, I'll be in the mix.

Q: You want him to make sure that he knows that you want his job and much as he wants your job?
A: Most definitely.

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