Coach Tom Coughlin
Q: I guess you were braced for the news about Jon Beason?
A: Yeah, … that had to be… let's get him right.
Q: Is that something you were able to start planning for before this week, during the bye week, to kind of move forward without him?
A: Pretty much. Not until we talked with the doctors.
Q: How do you do that?
A: How do we do that? We move (Jameel) McClain in there and keep going.
Q: What do you lose?
A: Hopefully we're not going to lose anything in terms of his presence. I think he's probably going to have to be away a little bit but then he'll return and we'll have him in meetings, etcetera. I'm looking forward to that part, anyway.
Q: Obviously he didn't have the surgery the first time. Is that something that maybe could have been done the first time or should have been?
A: Why would you even want to go there? We got the guy on the field, he tried it, it actually became a little bit different kind of an injury but the same area. He gave it everything he had and he had the doctor's approval. Unfortunately, it didn't work.
Q: What's Devon Kennard's standing in your eyes?
A: He's ready.
Q: But not quite…? **
A: Well, he'll be a backup in there. He doesn't have to be the starter. McClain's played well when he's been in there.
Q: It seemed like you were sending a message to the team after practice.
A: I had some things that I wanted to tell them. Because of the structure of the morning, it was bang-bang-bang and I really didn't get a chance to go over a lot of things. Our day's not finished. We have some NFL directives going on and then we'll have our treatments later on, what we normally do today. Yoga and that type of thing will be available as well.
Q: We saw Geoff Schwartz out there.
A: Yeah, he started. It looks like the Queen Mary or something was wrapped around his toe when you look at that shoe. Take a look at his shoe.
Q: What about Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie?
A: He was out there. Last week we were encouraged because of the number of treatments that he got. We'll have to see.
Q: Is there any sort of improvement at this point with him?
A: I thought there was. He did some plays and took some plays where he didn't work. I think it's a little better than it was, but whether or not it's ready to be where we would want it to be, I don't know.
Q: How about Rashad Jennings?
A: He's not ready to go.
Q: Was the message to the team simply, 'There's a lot of football left. Play hard and…'?
A: That was part of it. I think the message also was that you look around the league and you see teams that are playing superbly that maybe hadn't been playing superbly, so to me, we've got to play above the Xs and Os. We've got nine games to play as well as we can possibly play. I think anybody in that locker room can do that. They just have to realize the amount of the season and the schedule that's gone by and yet we have nine opportunities. Let's go. One at a time.
Q: Jennings not ready to go, is that just today or will he be ready to go this week?
A: He's day-to-day.
Q: Peyton Hillis wasn't out there earlier.
A: He's sick. We've got a couple of guys. I'm telling you, these vacations are no good. They come back, they're throwing up. They probably caught it from the kids or something. We've got two or three of them that are… (Spencer) Paysinger same way. He's sick too.
Q: It looked like Antrel Rolle was having some problems.
A: He had a toe, a shoe that was too tight and he was out there trying to get that fixed and all of a sudden we started the team drills and he took every snap.
QB Eli Manning
Q: [Coach] Tom [Coughlin] sounded pretty animated today when he was talking to you guys after practice…?
A: This is exciting. We have a good opportunity ahead of us. The way we have played to start the year, we have made it tough on ourselves, but we have to get hot. All we can do is worry about this next game. We have to handle our business and start playing at a higher level.
Q: Did you watch the Colts [game] yesterday?
A: Yeah, Pittsburgh played really well. They did a great job in protection. Ben [Roethlisberger] threw some great balls, receivers were winning on routes, so that is just the way football goes sometimes. The week before, Indianapolis dominated Cincinnati. They had a great pass rush. It was hard for Cincinnati's offense to do anything. Then it kind of flip-flopped around the following week with Pittsburgh doing whatever they wanted. I think from watching those two games – those are the only two I have seen so far, you see a lot of talent and [the Colts defense] making a lot of plays. The scheme didn't really change. Pittsburgh just did a great job.
Q: Coming off the bye week, what are you most curious about in re-establishing the rhythm of this offense?
A: We know we have to stop making mistakes. You are going to have some bad plays or some things go wrong. We are making some of the same mistakes over and over again that are preventing us from winning games. It is pretty obvious in the games where we don't make those mistakes, we dominate and play really well and do a lot of good things. When we have the turnovers, the penalties and those types of things, we don't play as well. We put ourselves in bad situations and our third down percentage goes down and everything that happens when you have penalties and turnovers keeps us from doing our job.
Q: Did you self-scout yourself during the off-week or did you just relax? **
A: I watched a little bit of film. We, as a unit on Monday, looked at some stuff. Today we looked at some things just trying to understand where we can make improvements. What are some of the reasons why we aren't as good on third down or not as good in some areas? You self-scout in that aspect, and see what we are doing well and what concepts and what plays that we run well and have success with and which ones that we did not run as well.
Q: Did you notice over the weekend, there were so many big quarterback games… 500- and 400-yard games, and yet Ben [Roethlisberger] is the only quarterback whose team won?
A: That is usually the case if you get down early, you abandon the run and go to the pass. The defense at that point will give up some yardage or give up some plays. A lot of times, they don't always lead to points. They don't always lead to touchdowns. I didn't see every game, so I don't know every circumstance if that was the case. For us, we still need to be able to stay pretty evenly dispersed between the pass and the run. Stay balanced. I think when you get late in the year in November, [you must] protect the football. The ball seems to be loose or a little slick. You have to protect the football. You can't afford to have turnovers.
Q: When you guys left here, your running game was not in great shape. If Rashad Jennings can't come back this week, where do you see the improvement coming from?
A: I think in execution. I think in the offensive line, obviously. When you talk running game, obviously, the offensive line just doing their job, opening up holes, the running back hitting the right holes, making their correct reads, being patient with the run and receivers making blocks. It is everybody doing their job, myself getting us into better runs. Early in the year, we ran it a little bit better, we just have to get back to being sound in what we are doing and we just have too many negative yard runs, which hurt you because now, especially on first down, now you are in 2nd and 12 and defense knows it's tougher to pass. We've just got to eliminate those runs where we run backwards.
Q: At the start of the season you said it would take time to get this system down. After seven games and a bye week, is all of that stuff now out of the way? Is it simply a matter of executing the offense properly?
A: Yeah, I think it is more execution now. We still have some new guys, some young guys playing some spots, but everybody should know their assignments. We still have some mental errors and too many mental errors happening in games. Even in the games that we win, there are still too many mental errors and you just never know when that mistake is going to hurt you. Sometimes it is away from the play, or it is a receiver on a route that I was working the other side. Sometimes it doesn't hurt every time but eventually those mistakes will catch up to you and will be the difference between a third down conversion and not. We are going into our eighth game into the season. We can't afford to have any more mental mistakes and mental errors.
Q: Do you know Andrew Luck very well?
A: I know him. He came down to our camp before. I have watched him in college and been around him a little bit. Just talked to him after some games. I don't know him extremely well. Been impressed with him and he is a good player.
Q: When he came out of college, everyone talked about how he was one of the more polished prospects. Is that something you can see at all when you worked with him?
A: Yeah, you can see it. Good fundamentals, throws the ball (with a) real clean delivery and real smooth. You can tell he's athletic on his feet, running around and extending some plays. He seemed to be real bright and picking up offenses and defense. So he seems to have a lot of good things, good quarterback qualities. He throws the ball well and makes a lot of big plays.
Q: As a quarterback who was a number one pick, can you tell when a guy is different in a special way?
A: Not necessarily in that atmosphere where you are just throwing routes. No defense. You see a lot of guys in that scenario who look great. This guy can really throw it. He's got the big arm. Sometimes those things are not all of the things you need to be a successful quarterback. It is a lot more kind of between the eyes and between the ears of making smart decisions, of having good feet in the pocket, feeling the rush and those things. That is what he does really well. Just from watching him in a couple of games he feels the rush well, he moves in the pocket, gets through progression, and extends on some plays with his feet running around scrambling around.
Q: He had to replace your brother [Peyton Manning] in Indianapolis, which couldn't have been easy either… That takes a special quality as well, I assume?
A: Yeah, no doubt. Following Peyton in Indianapolis where they were used to winning and expecting to win. He has come in there and played great football and they have made the playoffs. He is doing a great job.
Q: How much is being the son of a quarterback play into anything?
A: I don't know. I don't know what is not like to be the son of a quarterback. I don't know how to compare it. My dad didn't talk a whole lot of football with us. I may have known a little bit more about some defenses and the coverages and some drills and what not. For the most part, it is what you learn from your coaches and your desire to be successful and working on the things your coaches teach you.
Q: Are you looking forward to seeing old friends Hakeem [Nicks] and Ahmad [Bradshaw]?
A: Yeah, I guess it's always good to see some former teammates and buddies. Ahmad was a good buddy of mine. Hakeem was a great friend of mine. It seems like they are playing well and making plays, so hopefully we will see them, but hopefully they won't have a big day against us.
Q: Does it surprise you with Bradshaw… Everyone had given up on him last year after his injuries?
A: He is playing well. I have seen him on a few games. He is catching the ball well and running hard. He looks like his old self. I know he has had some injuries and stuff with his neck and feet. It seems like he took the time and rehabbed those well and he has come back feeling fresh and is running hard and looks to be playing really well.
Q: You guys did a lot of things with him, but you didn't throw him the ball in the end zone…?
A: I have seen a couple of them. There is some goal line stuff with him in the flat. Some of them are check downs. He seems to have a lot of receiving touchdowns. – 'Yeah he has 6 TDs' – That's a lot. They are doing something right.
DE Mathias Kiwanuka
Q: You were very positive heading into the season. Do you remain as positive?
A: Absolutely. It's your guys' job to panic and you guys do that very well. For us, there's parity in the league, you can talk about all of those things, injuries or whatever. The fact remains that we have a lot of games left on the schedule, we've got championship caliber talent in here, I still believe that 100 percent, so we go out, we work, we put wins together and all of a sudden the perception changes.
Q: You stood here for many years and talked about how tough Ahmad Bradshaw was. Now you have to tackle him.
A: I know how to approach it, too. You've got to keep your eyes on him until the very last second because he will move, he will shift. Don't watch his head because that will get you in trouble. You've got to stay low and once you get his legs, you have to drive yours because he's got power below. Yeah, he's a former teammate, I wish him the best every week except this week. You never wish an injury on anybody, but if we can hold him to the worst outing of his year, that will be good for us.
Q: What have you seen from him this year?
A: Just toughness. I saw a couple games live and they're talking about his injury and coming back and the way he's running without any fear or with complete disregard for the fact that he had issues. It makes me respect him even more. When you approach a guy who's athletic, who's good in space, who blocks well, who runs the ball as hard as he can and who also has that passion and wants it, you've got to be able to match that intensity.
Q: Do you think Ahmad will be motivated coming in here?
A: Oh yeah. We know that. We're no stranger to players coming back here. It's part of the business, it's part of the league. He'll be fired up and ready to go but we're ready for anybody.
Q: Did you think he was done?
A: No. I never think anybody's done until they say that they're done and he never said that once. I saw him out a couples times and he was optimistic, so I was just hoping for the best.
Q: Can you talk about the loss of Jon Beason for the defense as a whole?
A: It's obviously tough when a leader and someone that's skilled goes off the field, but (Jameel) McClain, I've said this a number of times, has not gotten enough credit or respect for how much he has contributed to our team. Beason is now officially done but he's been in and out and Jameel's stepped in every single time, no questions asked. He's moved over from one side to the other when Jon was back in, so there's no doubt in my mind that he can get the job done. He's already gotten it done.
LB Jameel McClain
Q: How disappointing is the news that Jon Beason will be out for the rest of the season?
A: It's disappointing. Jon, he's amazing. First off, thinking about Jon, I know how much of a warrior he is and how competitive he is, so it's disappointing on that side of it, to be in his shoes, because I've been there before. As a team, we lose a great leader. We lose someone in a certain aspect because I know Jon and Jon will be here and will be coaching us all up and giving us all of the tips that he has because he's just a sharing person like that. We lose someone great in that aspect it.
Q: Obviously this isn't the way that you wanted to get the job, but how do you think that you'll be able to slide in and make up for his absence?
A: My role is my role. My role has been what it's always been – to go in there and play wherever necessary, to go in any position. I don't know what it changes in a leadership role for me. I think I'll just continue to be myself and continue to play linebacker. Who knows, next week they might say, 'Jameel, play SAM,' or ask me to play something else. That's just who I am and that's just what I'm accustomed to being. I don't how different football becomes for me.
Q: So when you say 53 isn't the MIKE, you're lying?
A: That was a good one. I was waiting for that one. I might be telling a small fib. I might have been telling a fib.
Q: Have you looked at the Colts at all yet? **
A: Yeah man. You know me, I'm a football guy. I've been breaking them down and getting into them. They're a good team, they're a good team obviously and that much everybody knows.
Q: Andrew Luck, we had a chance to see him in the preseason, but this is a guy who can really light in up in a hurry. What's the number one thing you've got to keep in mind when you try to get to him?
A: I don't even know if you can pick one thing right now at this point. The man can throw the ball. He's amazing with throwing the ball. He has great accuracy and he obviously can run, so you kind of have to pick your poison with him at some point with him. When you're going against one of these quarterbacks, I say it every week and I say it week in and week out, you have to be able to count on all 11 men on the field and know everybody knows where they're supposed to be because one small crack and this guy, he can throw the ball between two defenders and make it look easy, one of the most complicated passes to do in this league.
Q: So it's not just his physical traits, but mentally he's extremely sharp and will hurt you if you screw up?
A: Everybody in this league will hurt you if you screw up. This is the NFL, you get no days off. No mistake is unseen. Even if the quarterback misses it, I bet the coordinator upstairs sees it. This is the league and they have a great organization and a great team, great players and the coaches, I know (Chuck) Pagano personally. It will be interesting. This is different than the preseason, that much we do know. We did see them in the preseason but this is not the preseason on both ends.
Q: Is it a different type of team in the sense that they don't run the ball as much as some of the guys you've seen already, they throw the ball 61 percent of the time.
A: They're good at throwing the ball but they're good at running it. I've seen some successful runs. They have some good, hard, downhill, hard-nosed runners. Those are things that you have to defend, too. But like you did point out, they do pass the ball. They do have a good quarterback and good receivers so they will use that but let's not forget that the running backs that they have can be very dangerous, too, at the same token.
Q: What is it about specifically Ahmad Bradshaw that you've seen that they've had so much success in that regard? I think he has six receiving touchdowns.
A: When you can get running backs out of the backfield, you're doing something good. It means that your O-line is blocking, blocking really well when you're getting that many people out. The running backs are getting the ball in their hands and they're taking it up field trying to score. That's what everybody expects at this level but to be able to get it done on that type of basis is impressive. It's not anything that I want to play short.
Q: Have you had the opportunity to keep in touch with Jon Beason?
A: Jon, that's my dog. Of course I keep in contact.
Q: He obviously went to North Carolina, they had a decision to make. How has he been doing? When did you realize that this was going to be the…?
A: So what's the question? You asked me like five things.
Q: How is he doing and when did you realize that this was going to be the reality and you were going to…?
A: How is he doing? As far as how he's doing, Jon can speak more specifically on that but if I could put myself in Jon's shoes, because I've been there before, I could say that, for me, it'll be tough. It's hard because you're a competitor, you want to be out there, you want to go in. Jon, he's about as tough as I've seen in my experience. This guy, he's walking around like nothing is wrong with him. It's unfortunate but as far as his journey and how he went about it and who he's seen and what he did, he could give you much more, better detail than me. I'm just an observer.
Q: When did you come to the realization that you were going to have to move into that spot?
A: How long ago did we start this interview?