Head Coach Tom Coughlin**
Following a Monday night game, it's scramble, scramble. That is where you find yourself on Wednesday. In studying the Arizona Cardinals, they are a good team and they certainly did emerge last year, a team that beat Seattle late in the season and just barely lost to San Francisco. (A) 10-6 football team that is a very, very aggressive, physical, defensive team. Very good upfront, runs the ball. In Carson Palmer they have found the quarter that Bruce Arians indicated that he was looking for and take advantage of an outstanding receiving group and can throw the ball down the field. They do have a nice group of running backs that have played well in that system. They are a good team, and we look forward to playing them Sunday.
Q: Do you expect significant improvement in your team from game one to two?
A: I am certainly counting on it. I think the players are counting on the same thing. I think that there is great disappointment, even today. We tried to turn the corner on that, but a game like that lingers and we are trying to acknowledge again the errors that were made and teach and move on, and that is what we have to do.
Q: Can a short week almost help that?
A: I suppose if you are really looking for some way to gain an edge, I suppose you can do that, you can say that.
Q: Carson Palmer was talking about learning a new offense that he had to run last year. It took almost to week 8 before he got it down. Do you look at this as having to weather the storm now?
A: To be honest, I prefer not to do that. I stay away from that because it has to be sooner rather than later for all of us. Would I take the 10-6 record that they had last year, even if we had to go through some very impatient moments? We will have to see about that, too. You'd like it to come sooner than later. I think the players have had a very good attitude about this. They expressed the fact that they are closer together as a group. They acknowledge some of the problems and the issues that we are having and have had in all three phases. Let's face it, all three phases didn't play anywhere near like we anticipated playing based on our preseason. I think that the minds and attitudes are in the right place, and we've just got to work hard to try improve and do the best we can with it.
Q: Is being patient in a situation like that a difficult thing to do, knowing it might take some time for a new system?
A: Is it a difficult thing? I have never been very good at it. I've tried it. Some people are obviously better than others, and I am in the other category. We just have to keep swinging. That's all I am trying to do, is to continue to evaluate, be honest with everybody, but encourage. That's the best we can do right now.
Q: Back in 2007 when Steve Spagnola's defense…you put that defense in and it didn't work the first couple of games. His thing was always, "you just keep staying the course and believing." Is that the approach to whatever Ben McAdoo is trying to do?
A: That is a good analogy. I haven't thought about that analogy. I will have to use it tomorrow. You won't be writing anything before tomorrow morning, will you? I can use that one? I thought it was good. I think that is good. I would hope that's it. I remember being there for those first two games, too, and scratching my head, saying, "Okay, great, here we are. Why at….40"
Q: With all the change you have, all of the new faces, new people. Do you keep trying to find the right combinations or would you rather keep it so you have continuity?
A: I think you are always going to look for the combination. Or better yet, it's how to use everybody that you have to the best of the team's ability. I think you have got to go through that. You have got to be able to utilize people to the best of their ability. How can they help the team, and that is really where we are.
Q: Josh Brown is telling us about how confident he is punting. He has done it a few times in his career. Is that something you consider this week?
A: Well I hope it doesn't get to that, but certainly. He was out there today, there he was. I was watching him swing his leg. No ball, so every one went 50 yards that I can tell.
Q: What is your opinion on Ray Rice being released?
A: My opinion about domestic violence? Very troubling, very tragic, no place for it in society, and no place for it in the National Football League.
Q: Bruce Arians also spoke of taking until midseason to start getting comfortable with an offense and starting to click. Is that the reality of the situation, that it does take that long?
A: Well, Bruce Arians has done it, most recently. I think it takes time when you evaluate to make sure that no matter what the situation is, that both the quarterback and the coaching staff are on the same page. Because it may have been a different interpretation in the previous 10 years, so there is a bit of that that takes place, as well. As I said, Eli Manning is very smart, he is a very fast learner, and I hope maybe the curve is a little on this side of the eight weeks.
Q: Would you say you and Ben McAdoo are kind of going through that right now? Talking about learning how to gel even as a coaching staff.
A: No. Don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say that. I am answering one specific question. So what is your question? Am I going through it?
Q: How long did that kind of take you to get through with Ben McAdoo when he first got here?
A: Get through what?
Q: He talked about getting on the same page even as a coaching staff and viewing things in the same way.
A: The coach and the player is what I am referring to, the coach and the player being able to communicate the same way. One being from one system, one being from the other. Hopefully that will work in speedier fashion.
Q: Another home opener for you. How important is it to give the fans something to get them behind you early in the game?
A: It's very important. It's very important to get that feeling when we come into the stadium that the support is there and it's loud, and it will be there and be consistent. That is always a great feeling for a coach and a player to come into the stadium, be welcomed, and to know that your fans are there and they are behind your team and they believe in what you are doing.
Q: With Brandon Mosley, he worked with the first team at right guard pretty much all training camp. How is he doing physically and has anything changed? Does he sort of go back in that role?
A: Nothing has changed as of yet. We are going to see how he does, but as he comes, we will try to figure out this particular week, even, what's the best combination for us.
Q: Is part of the challenge offensively wanting to add new things, calling things, but you are trying to master what you do best, to find what you do best?
A: You've got it. Plus, it's not just what you do best. It's what your identity is. Where would you go to hang your hat?
Q: Do you have one right now in your mind?
A: Hat's don't really look that good on me, no. Do we have it? I don't think that has been established just yet.
Q: Do you usually have that established at this point? Or is it something that always takes time into each season?
A: It hasn't been that way for a few years because we have had the same system. We know exactly what we want and where we want it. I think that we do know exactly what we want, we are just not there yet.
Q: Cullen Jenkins on the injury report with a hip is new.
A: Yeah. I hope it's not much.
Q: You are starting to get a little thin there with him and Markus Kuhn. Is that something you look at or bring guys in. How is that for you?
A: Well, we have a little depth there, too. Re: Identity of offense
A: No. Not yet. Touchdowns, I would like. I like to have those.
Q: Were there torn ligaments with Steve Weatherford's ankle at all?
A: He did have some ligament damage, according to the swelling. His ankle actually looks better today than it did yesterday and he's doing jumping jacks and stuff in there now. Hopefully that will continue.
Q: Do you think that his fitness will really help him?
A: Definitely, absolutely, no question. He is a phenom with training. He works hard. If you can stand the music, you can go in the weight room and watch him. He's something.
Q: Going back to the Ray Rice situation. A couple years ago you brought in two players who had domestic violence issues. Has the stance change? How do you evaluate? Case by case?
A: Just the way you are saying. You can't trivialize it. You have to be specific, exactly what the circumstance is, who the individual is, and I wouldn't ever want to generalize something as serious as that.
QB Eli Manning**
Q: When you see Arizona on tape what do you see?
A: They're talented. They do a good job doing some good blitzes. They try to get pressure on quarterbacks, they're going to have a full box and not just let you run the ball. They're confident in their corners and they play a lot of press, a lot of man-to-man and make you earn everything that you get.
Q: Bruce Arians was actually just saying how it took Carson Palmer until Week 8 to get comfortable in their new offense last season. Are you getting a feeling it might take you that long or do you think it will be quicker on this end?
A: Each week we're going to keep working to get as ready as we can for the upcoming game. I think it's just a matter of it clicking for everybody where we're playing fast and making the big plays and getting to all of our answers. I felt we didn't make mental mistakes really last week. I thought there were some good things, we just have to make a few more plays and we'll be OK.
Q: Has this process been more challenging than you might have expected it to be?
A: It was all new, so I think you go in and try to learn. I felt my rhythm in the passing game in the pocket was better than it's been all season, so I feel good about that. Just have to keep that going and hopefully we'll be able to make some plays.
Q: When so many things appear to have broken down with the offense, is it unrealistic to try to fix them all at once? Do you have to look at one or two things and isolate small bites to try to get them fixed first?
A: I don't know if there are things that are broken. I think it's just a matter of we've got to find out what we do well, what all we can handle as an offensive group, not throw more on our plate than we can eat and just go out there, make sure what we're doing we can do efficiently and do soundly to be able to make plays.
Q: Carson Palmer was talking today, he's been in a new system like he was last year. Sometimes it takes until midseason until you feel right. Until then, you kind of have to weather the storm. Is that what this is now, do you think?
A: I know we're going to have to grind through some times. It's not always going to be perfect and easy. I think each game you're going to get better. Each game, things are going to come up that you're going to learn from. You might not always be ahead of the game on some things, that's just part of it, but you can still go out there and be efficient, you can make improvements, hit some big plays, do some good things, and I think as long as guys are on the same page, everybody's blocking the same thing the right way, you're not leaving guys unblocked, you're not having wrong routes, those types of things, which we didn't have. We didn't have those things last week, so that's good. We'll hopefully continue that this week to give yourself a chance to make some plays.
Q: What's your opinion on Ray Rice being released?
A: I think it was probably the right thing to be done. I think, obviously, as players in the NFL and the league, you have to take a strong stance against domestic violence and the NFL has done that.
Q: You guys haven't been to the playoffs in two years and for the first time your fans are talking about, 'Is Eli hitting the other side of his career?' Do you have any doubts about yourself at this point?
A: No, no doubts. I feel confident we can play at a high level and this offense can score points and we can make plays and I can be a good leader and a good player. I'm going to keep working. I'm going to be 100% committed to go out there and try to put this team in a situation to win.
Q: Would you have any trouble accepting or welcoming back a teammate who did what Ray Rice is shown on the video doing?
A: It's a tough situation. You try to stand up for your teammates, you try to give guys second chances, but obviously I don't know that situation. It was tough; I've seen a little bit of the video, tough to watch the video.
Q: Victor on Monday said he and other playmakers need to get more targets to get this thing going?
A: I think every receiver wants more targets, that's just part of being a receiver. We have to do a good job getting more completions to all our guys. We had a few opportunities to get him the ball, we had a pass interference, a couple that we were close to completing, but he's a playmaker for us, we've got to find ways to get him some big plays.
Q: A couple drops in there, too, I think. It's not all just targets, right?
A: Yeah, there were… he's one of our playmakers so we have to figure out a way to get him the ball, for sure.
Q: You said about the way they run their defense, they are very confident in their two cornerbacks, aren't they?
A: Very confident, yeah. They're confident and they've got two good players so you have to find ways to win on the outside and also just kind of find your matchups and go there. They do a good job. They like to bring a lot of pressure, play a lot of man-to-man, single high and see if you can get the ball out on time and beat them one-on-one.
Q: Do they keep an extra man in against the run?
A: Yeah, it's always a stacked box, so you're never going to have just clean, great running deals. You've got to run the ball and you've got to run tough and run on a safety sometimes and find ways to get receivers down to get good extra hats on their safeties. They're going to challenge you to throw the ball.
Q: In the past you have had no problem with that, not always doing it but you had no problem with that mindset going into a game. I think you probably like it when they challenged you. Do you still feel that same spirit?
A: Yeah. I think when you're watching film, you see opportunities to throw the ball when they're staying back, two shell all day and dropping eight. It can be tough to find what throws you want but there are opportunities to throw it, it's just a matter of can you block it up and get enough time to get to those opportunities.
Q: So when people on the outside look and they say, 'Well, your tight end had eight targets and Jernigan had a lot of targets.' Sometimes that's where the ball has to go.
A: Yeah, it just depends on what the defense is doing. Sometimes the guys were targets but pressure happens or they're playing a linebacker in the spot or trying to take away a person, so it's just all a matter of what the coverage is based on the play and all of those things.
Q: Were the Lions doing anything in particular to kind of take Victor away?
A: No, not particularly. It's not like we weren't targeting him. I don't know how many targets he had.
A: So it's not like we didn't go his way. It's just the way it goes sometimes. I just try to go through the reads and find the open guy.
Q: When you look at the Cardinals, how much do they trust in those two cornerbacks in one-on-one?
A: Yeah, they trust those guys and put a lot on them. They're going to be matched up one-on-one a lot and be pressed up and count that they are going to try to be able to get some pressure before you have had some stuff develop to get them open, get the receivers open.
Q: How much will having Odell Beckham, even as a threat, open things up for the playmakers like Cruz?
A: Well, we've got to hopefully get him back on the field, get him back practicing just so he can get familiar with the offense. He hasn't been around a whole lot running everything and everything that goes into knowing what to do for me to get on the same page with him, so hopefully we get him back soon and see if he can make some plays for us.
Q: When you watch the tape, how much of the problem from the other night had to do with timing and footwork and stuff that's new to this new offense?
A: I didn't think there was a whole lot of timing issues. I thought we were close on a couple big plays, one down the sideline to Jernigan. Detroit, they were good. They did a good job getting some pressure and causing some problems on some third downs so we didn't have the opportunity for routes to develop. I think it's just a matter of just keep working and keep trying to find positive plays.
Q: You did mention that earlier, how big of a deal is it to focus on stuff you guys can do? Like, 'Hey, this is a play we know we can do. We've run it in practice, we feel good about it.'
A: I think it's always going to be plays that you've run the most or things you're going to feel most comfortable with. Whatever coverage, whatever technique you've gone through it, you've seen it, you've repped it a bunch but you also want to put in new things every week to attack the defense for certain looks. The more games, practice that we can have running certain plays and getting great looks, the better off we'll be.
Q: You had used Cruz outside a little bit more last year. Would you welcome that, maybe to switch it up and have him run some of the outside stuff or would you prefer him to stay in the slot if you were doing a three wide receiver set?
A: Yeah, for the most part last year he was in the slot when you had three receivers. We didn't get into much of our two receiver packages the other night and so he'll be on the outside at that point. It's kind of what we've normally done. We'll move him around some and try to create matchups.
LB Devon Kennard**
Q: Have you dealt with a hamstring injury before?
A: No, I have never had a hamstring injury before.
Q: How did you injure your hamstring?
A: It was my first defensive play and my foot got stuck in the turf and got overextended. It was kind of a freak accident. It was a routine play for me, but I just tweaked it.
Q: How bad is the injury?
A: I do not think it is too bad. A mild strain… It could have been a lot worse. It is just one of those things you have to be careful with because with hamstrings you can't go back out there until you are one hundred percent or you will tear it all the way or hurt it more.
Q: Did [the team] had a good package for you in the game?
A: It was my first [defensive] play, so I was just about to start playing more at that point in the beginning of the second quarter. It was definitely frustrating, but before that I was playing on specials teams. It was just one of those deals.
Q: Where are you percentage-wise right now?
A: I am two days out, so I am not sure. I just am going to take it day by day. I will rest it a lot and ice it to calm [my hamstring] down before we get aggressive with it.
S Stevie Brown
Q: …. What has got to happen to fix [giving up big plays]?
A: We have to be ourselves out there. A couple of the mistakes that happened out there on Monday, we just were not being ourselves. That was out of characteristic for all of us. It led to big plays. If we settle in early in the game and be ourselves, then we can definitely eliminate the big plays.
Q: How concerned are you about Michael Floyd?
A: Very concerned. I played against him in college for two or three years. He had big play capability when he was at Notre Dame and he has carried it over to the league. I am someone who is familiar with him and everybody is, especially after you watch his game against San Diego. He played well.
Q: How much of a concern is Carson Palmer's ability to move around in the pocket and buy time to make the big throws?
A: It is not too much of a concern. I just feel that if we play characteristic to ourselves and our defense, then those big plays will be eliminated. There are a few things we did [against Detroit] that we normally don't do. We just keep playing like we are supposed to play and we will be alright.
Q: When it comes to offense, we talk about guys getting used to each other and building chemistry… Does it take time to build chemistry in a defensive backfield?
A: Oh yeah, it definitely does. Everybody else has to get used to the person playing next to them and their strengths and their weaknesses and how they see certain routes or formations. You get used to all that. It develops over time.
Q: What do you see when you see this Cardinals team on tape?
A: It is kind of like the offense we saw last week. They do not have the running back that is as explosive as [Reggie] Bush, but they definitely have a couple good running backs that can go out there and get good yardage. They have two very talented receivers with an emerging slot receiver who is very quick and able to do good things. They have a group of tight ends that can block and go out and catch balls, so it is definitely going to be an explosive offense.
Q: How would you rate the secondary's performance against Detroit?
A: I can't really put a number on it. I just know it was not our best performance.
Q: Do you feel that was because that you have such a new group and that it was expected?
A: No, I do not feel that way at all. Like I have been saying, we did uncharacteristic traits that we normally don't do. That is all that was going on out there.
Q: Were there communication breakdowns at certain spots [against Detroit]?
A: No, there were not too many communication breakdowns. I think, for the most part, we were all on the same page.
P Steve Weatherford
Q: Obviously today was a slow day for you.
A: It wasn't a slow day. I just didn't get any work in out on the field. Just trying to get healthy at this point, trying to reduce inflammation, get the range of motion back and get ready and try to go on Sunday.
Q: Have you ever had anything that resembled a badly sprained ankle before in your career and how have you dealt with it?
A: Not as a professional athlete. I ran track in college and tweaked it pretty good when I was high jumping, but it's been 10 years since I've had anything.
Q: That's a long time.
A: Yeah, oh yeah. It's been a while since I've been in the training room.
Q: Healing process-wise, I know there is optimism.
A: Why do you say that?
Q: Because you're still smiling. If you weren't smiling, I would probably say that there's not.
A: I'm going to be smiling until I'm dead, man.
Q: Knowing your body as well as you do, how do you feel about your chances?
A: I feel great. I take good care of my body and I think I don't necessarily need to train as hard as I do for the job that I have, but I think it will help me in situations like this as far as recovery and knowing your body well, knowing what it needs as far as rest and recovery. We've got an incredible training staff, Ronnie Barnes and Byron Hansen. They're the best in the business and I've been on five franchises, I feel very confident in them. The diagnosis wasn't great but it wasn't… I'm an optimist. It could have been a lot worse. It could have been a knee and it could have been season-ending, so for me I'm looking at the bright side and am very optimistic and hopeful that I'll be out there to join my family on Sunday.
Q: What would be the biggest inhibition with the sprained ankle as a punter?
A: It's my plant foot, so it's weight bearing. And obviously I was able to get through the game on Monday, so that is encouraging, knowing that worst case scenario I could get the ball off. Right now we're not looking for me to just get the ball off. I'm not going to tell Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin that I'm ready to go unless I know that I can help my team and I can be as good as I can be. At the same time you don't want to have another punter come in here that's not used to this stadium, it's not an easy place to play. I'm going to do what's in the best interest of the team and if I don't feel like I can help my team, I'm going to tell them that I need another week. It's progressing well. It actually felt better yesterday than it did on Monday night, so that's encouraging and I am a fast healer, at least I thought I was. I'm not getting any younger, but I feel I act young, so who knows, maybe I can fool my body.
Q: So you think you'll have to make a decent amount of progress from now until Sunday, though, right?
A: Yeah. I would like to think that I could play a game tomorrow but maybe that's just too much confidence or too much optimism. Yeah, I would like to see a lot more progress happen in between now and Sunday but I feel pretty confident that our training staff is going to be able to get me to where I need to be.
Q: With high ankle sprains and ligament damage people usually talk about weeks, not days.
A: I'm cut from a different cloth, though.
Q: We'll see, maybe because of the position, I guess.
A: Yeah, that's another thing that's going to go into it, I think. For the most part, ankles are more forgiving than knees are, just talking to the training staff and the fact that agility is not something that's high on the priority list for a punter. I think my agility with this ankle is probably the same as the rest of the 31 other punters, so we're on an even playing field now.
G Brandon Mosley
A: Every game is not going to be perfect. It is a lot of stuff that we need to work on and we know that, so that is what we are going to do this week.
Q: Everybody knew it would be a new offense. It would take time, but less than 200 yards is not….
A: It is not where we want to be right now, but we will get there.
Q: Eli Manning takes a lot of blame but you watch him going back to pass he's got like two second and he has people in his face.
A: Like I said, we've got things to work on, so that is what we will do this week.
Q: What do you see when you watch Arizona [Cardinals]? Have you looked at them at all? What do you see when you see their defense?
A: They have a good defense. They've got some good guys, a lot of older guys that are veterans. So we've just got to work on correcting stuff that we made last week.
Q: What do you see as their strength when you look at their defense?
A: Their defense is good. They've got a good front and their linebackers, they've got Larry Foote, who has been in the league 12 years now and a great linebacker, and their secondary, too. Their defense is a good defense.
Q: How are you feeling personally?
A: I feel good. I am going. I felt good.
Q: Was the beginning of the season was that almost more precautionary? You just wanted to make sure that your was okay than the last few weeks when it was acting up?
A: I came back last week. We are just trying to ease it back in. They don't want to jump back into things so I am going to continue doing the same thing.