HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN
Good morning. Let's talk about the Tennessee Titans, the fourth member of the AFC South division that we will play. As you look at their schedule and their season, a couple of things jumped right out at me. First, they won their opener against Kansas City in Kansas City. They lost a very close game to the Cleveland Browns mid-schedule, they defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars but a very close score mid-schedule. They lost to the Redskins, again, end-of-game… they played Pittsburgh in a very good game, everyone saw that, it was a Monday night game. It was a highly, highly competitive game. They had a 24-13 lead in that game. Pittsburgh came right back, they rushed the ball very well, but it was a game in which I think everybody saw the way in which Tennessee's defensive package was highly, highly pressure-oriented and they are, they're an outstanding pressure football team.
They are a football team that has an offense with three young players that are making outstanding contributions. Mettenberger, the quarterback, was a sixth-round pick. Lewan, the left tackle, athletic left tackle from Michigan that was taken in the first round. Bishop Sankey, the running back, who is a starting running back in a cast of very good runners. Greene, McCluster… Leon Washington, you see them all participate game-to-game. They also feature Delanie Walker, the outstanding tight end, the receiving tight end. Chance Warmack, the right guard, and Kendall Wright, who is having an outstanding year as one of the outstanding receivers.
Their defense is led by Jurrell Casey, an outstanding rush defender up front. Derrick Morgan, Jason McCourty is having an outstanding year. You can't help but noticing him on tape. And the two inside backers, Woodyard and the rookie, Williamson, and also Griffin, the safety, are doing an outstanding job.
Their special teams outfit, they have outstanding name returners in Dexter McCluster, as I've mentioned, on punt return, Leon Washington on punt returns. Leon Washington and Sankey on kickoff returns. Brett Kern, the outstanding punter. And Ryan Succop, who has done a nice job, (is) five-for-five from 30 to 39, four-of-six from 40 to 49. We prepare ourselves for a team, which is a good thing in a way again, a team from the AFC South division that we don't know very well, so we have to dive in and really work hard at understanding this team and what they're all about and what they're capable of doing. Our football team, we are very much interested in, number one, first and foremost, being our team. Our team goes about their business.
I'll just mention to you that Rashad Jennings will not practice today, James Brewer will not practice, Mark Herzlich will not practice, but Cullen Jenkins, Jacquian Williams, Justin Pugh, they will practice today. We'll have an opportunity to see those guys on the field again and hopefully we'll get some of these others back toward the end of the week.
As we mentioned, the IRs of yesterday, Geoff Schwartz, Robert Ayers, Terrell Manning, Adam Snyder, Mathias Kiwanuka, the only one of those that will not have surgery is Robert Ayers. What can I do for you this morning?
Q: When you have so many guys in and out of the lineup, what's the message now?
A: What do you mean in and out?
Q: The injuries. You have new guys coming in.
A: That's the way, that's the game. We had a couple that were held over that ended up having to have surgery that did not play in the game and then three that did. The message is keep fighting, that's what the message has been all along. The message is we've gotten the game into a position where the critical aspect of the game was on the line. Someone has to make a play or somebody, some group, some people collectively, have to make a play for us to win. The message is, quite frankly, that we're going to continue to work, we're going to continue to support one another. We're going to fight as hard as we can, prepare as well as we possibly can, and that's the message. The other message is opportunity. Guys who come along who have a chance at this point in the season to perform, to play and they go into games and have an opportunity to participate at this level when perhaps they had no snaps coming in before. Now they're going to get snaps and they have a chance to prove their ability, not only to the New York Giants but to the entire NFL.
Q: In you entire coaching career, have you ever put five guys on IR in one day?
Q: How was that? You knew some of these guys might have injuries, some of then were brand new injuries. Was this...?
A: Well, what it was, as I mentioned, with Mathias, we were afraid it was going to come to this so we had some inclination. But those that came out of the game, obviously you go into the game thinking these guys are going to be able to continue to play. Most unfortunate. I feel badly for any player who has his heart and soul in what he's doing and is denied that because of an injury. I feel badly for them and, then again, we speak to the opportunity that comes to the next in line. And we've had a lot of next in lines, I'll say that.
Q: How do you view the situation as a whole? Twenty guys, last year you also had a ton of guys, is it just luck with these injuries?
A: You're asking me for a comment that has miffed me forever: why does it happen? We've jumped even further into the science of staying healthy in terms of what we've done this year with our soft tissue stuff and as you can see, it hasn't been that. It hasn't been the soft tissue; it's been the injuries, the surgical repairs, the things that have knocked people completely out of the game. I wish I had an answer for you. A lot of people want to go on and on about, 'Do we have enough offseason?' I think that might be a legitimate something to bring up at some point in time. We offer no excuses and we certainly have always maintained that position. As I said, I feel bad for the guys that are hurt. It is the nature of our business, unfortunately. We push forward.
Q: You talk about opportunity; can you talk about the way Larry Donnell has responded to his opportunity? Obviously we can't forget the fumbles Sunday, but in general, how is he responding?
A: He's obviously a young guy coming literally out of nowhere that is talented, that, quite frankly, we're trying to get more out of. We're trying to make him the best player he can possibly be. We want to see him step up in the areas that are not natural for him, the blocking areas, for example, and obviously ball security. We have one aspect of it, the stripping, which we attacked and he's done a pretty good job with that, but the nature of a tall tight end, a young man who understands that people go for the lower legs when a guy is that high cut and tall, but the instinctive thing is to put your hand out when you're on your way down and you've got the ball in that hand is maybe not a good idea.
Q: You had said when you first got here that there was a mental aspect to injuries. Is there still something to that…?
A: I don't think anybody is interested in surgical repairs. I just put that one way off to the side. I understand what you're asking, but you're asking me if it's a losing mentality and I'm saying to you that I don't see that. I don't see that on this team, I don't.
Q: With a guy like Kiwanuka, he's been here for nine years, his future is probably a little cloudy, do you take time at all at this point to sort of…?
A: I think once we find out exactly what the nature of the scope tells us, then that will be the time. Quite frankly, over the weekend, there wasn't time.
Q: Geoff Schwartz will need surgery?
A: I think he does, yeah. I understand he's let everybody know that, according to Mr. Hanlon.
Q: You had mentioned Rodgers-Cromartie…?
A: He's going to practice limited like he's been.
Q: The shoulder's a new thing from the game on Sunday?
A: That was from the game, yes.
Q: Jameel McClain is also on there.
A: Yeah, McClain's going to do some work. We'll see how far it goes. He probably won't get a full practice. He's a tough kid, he wants to work.
Q: With what frequency on game days have you seen the best of what Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie can be because of all the injuries? At what point…?
A: I was so excited in the preseason and I was so excited during camp and so excited at the beginning but, quite frankly, you haven't seen, because of the restrictions that he's had and the physical restrictions that have been placed on him due to injury, you really haven't. He tries to go now, give the guy credit. He wants to play, but for one thing or another, he gets in the game and then he ends up like with the shoulder now or the back, you can imagine. The collisions and all of a sudden the back begins to be an issue again.
Q: Any thought of shutting him down at this point?
A: That hasn't been talked about. I think he just wants to play.
Q: As you say, Larry Donnell kind of came out of nowhere.
A: Well, I shouldn't have said it that way. To the league, he has. He's been around here for a while and obviously we've seen talent in the spring or in training camp.
Q: Because of his circumstances, is there a lot more upside with him?
A: I think there's upside, I do.
Q: Damontre Moore, I assume now, would get more time with Kiwi down. Is he physically big enough for the position that he has been asked to play?
A: Coming out of camp, he had gotten his weight up. He dips a little bit and then comes back up. He's got long arms and this will