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Quotes (12/03): Manning, Jennings, Pugh

QB Eli Manning

Q: When you look at this Titans defense, what do you see?
A: You know, they do a good job getting some pressure on the quarterback. They show a lot of different looks, a lot of different blitzes. They have some good players. They're sound in what they're doing, so it's something we… we have to have great preparation. We don't know them real well, it's not a team we face a whole lot. They've got pretty complex, a lot of personnel, a lot of different combinations of blitzes and coverage's and they've changed up from week-to-week some so we've got to be prepared for everything and expect there to be something new and react to that as well.

Q: For so many years here there was a mindset that if you guys were down in the fourth quarter it was okay because you'd come back and you'd win and more often than not, you did. That's not happening now. How does that affect the mindset or the confidence level of you guys being able to do that?
A: We still feel if we can get the ball with enough time we're going to be able to go down there and score. It's one of those deals where the last couple of weeks we have gone down to take the lead in the fourth quarter, we're just leaving too much time for the opposing team or getting a field goal instead of getting a touchdown. We still feel we can go score when we need to at times in some crucial moments. We just have to know if we get the opportunity, we'll make it happen and we'll get the win.


Q: With the turnovers, they've come in so many key spots. It's almost like not as many turnovers, it's when they've happened. Would you agree with that that's really been the killer? **
A: Yeah. I think turnovers in the second half are usually more costly than in the first half just because there's less time to overcome it. I think we've just got to still make plays and we've just got to be smart in those situations, especially when you have a lead. You can't afford to turn it over, you can't afford to give the opposing team a short field or give them touchdowns.

Q: You guys put five guys on injured reserve yesterday, which, even for this season, is a huge amount. How tough has it been to lose so many key guys and see guys constantly getting hurt?
A: Well, it's never what you want to see. I think from the offensive standpoint, it hasn't been too many guys. Our offensive line, the guys we'll have this week will be the guys we started Week 1 so we should have everybody healthy there. I don't know what Rashad's status is but obviously losing Victor Cruz and losing one of your best receivers is always tough. We're going to keep going. We still feel like we can move the ball and we can play well enough to win a game.

Q: How do you remedy the turnover situation? Is it more of a concentration thing? Is it just holding onto the ball tighter? Is it luck?
A: You've just got to be conscious of it and understand when there's, for me, when there's pressure. When things are getting around me I've got to… I knew there was. Like I said, I've got to do a great job of holding the ball with two hands and making sure whatever happens that I'm going to protect the ball. Some of them, it's hard to, you don't have much control. You can get a ball tipped or as you're throwing, the ball can get knocked out. Some of those that's just football but there are other ones where it's just, yeah, it's just making that conscious effort to have great ball security. That's the most important thing.

Q: In the second half of last week, did you find yourself at all shifting your eyes not downfield to see what's going on in front of you?
A: No. I don't think so. I think I trusted the guys upfront. They're going to do a good job and we're going to find completions, so no. I think I stayed strong in the pocket and found the receivers that were open and did fine in the pocket.

Q: You said a few times you don't notice who's in and who's out. Do you know every play who's in and who's out when they're changing or…?
A: It kind of depends how it happens. When Schwartz is on the ground, I understand he's going to be out of the game and you're going to have a new right tackle. Yeah, sometimes I don't know. If after a possession you have a new guy out there… I knew Brewer was out and Dallas was going to come in and John Jerry was going to play tackle. It doesn't affect my play. I trust those guys. They're going to do a good job, they're going to know what they're doing. Even when that happened we had a scoring drive with those guys in there.

Q: How nice would it be after this long losing streak to just get a win and try to finish strong?
A: Yeah, that's what we have to do. We have to try to figure out a way to get a win. That's what the mindset it. We have to have great preparation but we also have to prepare ourselves for this win, get mentally prepared that we're going to do everything and we're going to be successful this weekend.

Q: You see Mathias Kiwanuka had to go on IR. He's one of the few remaining who have the two rings. This could be the end of his Giants career. I guess it's always sad to see a guy that's been around a long time end it all like that, end the season like that.
A: Yeah, you don't like to see anybody go on IR or have to have a surgery or procedure. That's never, especially one of the leaders and veterans on the team, it's never a good thing. Hopefully it's to get him back healthy and he can come back better.

Q: Five guys on IR in one day, four need surgery, that's extreme.
A: Yeah, that's not exactly what you're looking for but we still have guys. We have, as I said, our offensive line. Obviously Schwartz came in to be the starter and has been hurt most of the season then gets re-hurt. Unfortunate there. Bad luck with him. We have our five original starters on that offensive line back this week so we should be good there. Receivers are playing well, tight ends are good. Andre's been playing a lot at running back so we shouldn't miss a beat.

Q: You haven't been through really many seasons with this much losing in it but I'm sure you've seen from other teams that when the losing comes, players get frustrated, the media swirls and it can be chaotic sometimes. How do you guard against that here?
A: Guys just have to stick together. Guys just have to keep working hard. They've got to practice hard. I think we are getting good practices. Guys have great effort. We know we've got to get better. We know we've got to play better and guys want to do that. There is no quit in this group. We're going to work out tails off to get that win.

Q: Do you guys talk amongst yourselves or does Coach talk to you guys, 'Don't let your frustrations boil over publically, don't say anything stupid,' or that type of thing?
A: We talk about just sticking together, just sticking together as a team between the coaches, between the players. We've got to listen to the coaches, we've got to do our job, we've got to do what's in the game plan and have great mental focus for each week and go out there and enjoy the games. That's the exciting time, that's the fun time when we get to go out there, make plays and enjoy that experience.

Q: You guys obviously haven't given up if you look at the scores early on. Would it almost be easier to accept the losing if you had quit?
A: No. That would not be easier. We don't want that. That's not good for anybody. We're not going to have that. We're going to keep fighting and we're going to keep working and improving and find a way to get this win.

Q: Larry Donnell had a big fumble on Sunday. Has his progress generally been encouraging?
A: Yeah, Larry's really doing some good things. He's got some playmaking ability so he's just got to, as any young player, you've got to learn all the aspects of being a starter and making plays and with that, some bad plays are going to happen. You learn from it, you get better from it. A lot of times that's the only way to learn is to go through those experiences and feel the kind of pain that goes with that. Then you make a change.

Q: He really hasn't' play a lot at tight end. Does he show that at times?
A: No. He's doing a lot of good things in the passing game, in the blocking. As you said, he's still a young player and it's kind of the first time experience. We're moving him around a lot, putting him in different positions in the backfield. He's able to block like a fullback sometimes in protection. The more experience, the better he'll get. Yeah, as any young guy there's going to be some growing pains. That's just part of football.

Q: With his ability to go up for the ball, is that a big deal for a quarterback?
A: yeah, just having that big area for him to catch the ball. Throw it high, big target, big body so it's always a good feeling for a quarterback knowing you've got a big area you can put the ball up for.

Q: What kind of advice do you give him with the fumbles and getting his body parallel to the ground? What do you say to him as a quarterback?
A: I think you look at some of the plays, I'm more worried about his health than the football. Some of the ways he kind of jumps up and goes down, he seems to kind of land on top of his head. I think you've just got to, I don't think I'm the real one to teach how to take a hit running, I haven't done it a whole lot myself. I don't think I can tell him to slide. I think you've got to have a way to go off to the side or just eliminate that type of fall.

Q: They're effort things, right?
A: Right, it's not a lack of effort. It's not a lack of trying. Some of his have been because he's trying to get an extra yard, trying to get more. That's something he'll learn over the years, when you get in that situation, how to take hits. People are going to go low on him just because he's tall and big. They're not going to take him up high so you just have to learn how to take those hits for your safety and also protecting the football.

RB Rashad Jennings

Q: Where does the motivation come at this point? Does it come from within or does it come from just trying to be responsible to your teammates?
A: All of it, I think, collectively brings fourth the best player. Like I said before, you've got to find a different motivation outside this game regardless what the record is. Remember why you started. Everybody plays this game for a different reason and I'm not one to try to force why you should play. Remind yourself of that, remember that this is a privilege and go about your craft, man. We're professionals.

Q: What's your physical status for this week? You didn't practice today?
A: No, I didn't. I'm just trying to heal as quick as I can. I think it should be good.

Q: Do you think you'll be OK for Sunday?
A: Yeah.

Q: I know you always think that.

A: Exactly.

Q: You said before you are what you earn. This team's gotten hit hard with injuries. Nobody earns that, let's be realistic. Is it taking more of a mental toll where a different mentality's setting in?
A: Dealing with injuries and the mentality, you can't ever let situations or a person dictate your attitude no matter what you're doing, especially when you're a professional athlete. That's always been my mentality ever since I've been in the league. Under the leadership of Tom Coughlin… from day it was that faces may change by expectations never do. Everybody in this locker room, since I've been here, has been capable of getting the job done. I wouldn't say it changes the mentality between the snaps. Obviously let's not overlook that, if somebody pinches you you're going to say, 'Ouch.' But how you respond to it is important. We come to work every single day and nobody's satisfied.

Q: When you have a situation like last week when you guys are up, 21-0, and then you fall down at the end there, I guess the question is why? What happens? Why do you suddenly let off? You guys were pedal to the metal and all of a sudden…?
A: Yeah, well, why – I don't think anybody could give you the right answer. I don't think there is a right answer. But at the end of the way, 11 men on the field collectively need to figure out how to make those plays to end the game with a victory. You cut on the tape and you watch how things started to unfold, it's correctable so you swallow the pill, you take the toll, you take the beating from the coaches, you take the beating from the media, you take the beating from your little nephew asking what's wrong with you and again, you go back to this being a privilege. I know myself and the rest of my teammates, we're just going to keep fighting and playing hard as a team.

OLJustin Pugh

Q: I know you are young, but a lot of these guys are playing for their jobs…
A: Of course. You see in the NFL at the start of camp there are 100 and whatever guys and end with [53]. Guys lose jobs. This is the time you have to go out there and make sure you are playing hard, but you don't want to think about it that way either. That is such a negative thought. You go out there and play hard and have fun with your teammates.

Q: How hard is it to watch and not play?
A: It is the first time I have had to do this since college, so it was definitely tough. Feeling like you can contribute and feeling like you can help out there and then not being able to go out there – it is something where I am getting back. My job is to get healthy and get back to 100 percent, so I can go out there and help this team.

Q: Were you close [to playing]?
A: Yeah I was close to playing, but we didn't want to re-aggravate [my quad] and to end up coming out like I did in San Fran and leaving somebody who hadn't prepared for that spot go in after me. I didn't want to hurt the team and go out there and do that, but at the same time it was close.

Q: I am sure it was frustrating then when the other offensive lineman started to get hurt..?
A: Honestly it was the worst-case scenario of what could happen when Geoff [Schwartz] went down right away and then James Brewer went down. In retrospect you wish you could have been suited up and ready to go just in case of emergencies like that.

Q: Was there a chance that you could have suited up and then not played. If you were going to be active you were going to be playing?
A: Yeah if I was suiting up I was going to play. Maybe roll me and Geoff in and try to get each other little breathers so you are not going the whole time. That way you can preserve having two of the right tackles in there. It just came down to my leg wasn't where it was supposed to be, and we wanted to make sure it was 100 percent so I didn't re-aggravate it.

Q: Do you feel that there is any doubt going forward this Sunday?
A: No doubt, I am playing this week.

Q: As a whole have you sat down and looked at the roster and seen 20 guys go on IR and wonder how the hell does this happen?
A: Every team deals with injuries. It is how you overcome the injuries. It is part of this game and I think it is something that we have to have guys step up and it is good for the young guys to get some chances to play and it is going to show us what we have here going forward,

Q: 20 is a crazy number…
A: It is a lot. You definitely feel bad losing guys on the offensive line…. Schwartz, [Adam] Snyder and it is tough seeing those guys go down, but at the same time now you have a chance for guys like Eric Herman who is going to be up and show guys what he's got.

Q: Is it strange that the IR has a lot of big names on it?
A: We have had a lot of injuries throughout the season, but I don't think that is an excuse. You can never use that as an excuse. We have to go out there and play. You have to put 11 guys on the field and 11 guys that are going to produce. At the end of the day whoever is out there still has an 'NY' on their helmet and you have to represent this organization the right way.

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