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Quotes (9/4): Coughlin, Rolle, Thurmond



Good morning. As we get ready to play the Detroit Lions in our opener, we're excited. This is our Wednesday as you well know, our first day of the week when we're on the field. The Detroit Lions had a good preseason; they were 3-1, they played three very good, close games, which is good. Again, indicating the depth is there. They have a new coach, Jim Caldwell, at the helm in Detroit and with new coaches, new coordinators, we have spent a lot of time trying to study and predict, but here we go. So we're excited about it. What can I do for you?

Q: With the new coordinators and the new coaches, do you look back at their…?

A: Yes.

Q: How important is that?
A: You look at everything. You start that in the spring.

Q: Is there a point where maybe you don't want to go too far back? Because coaches kind of change.

A: Well, we looked up their birth dates.

Q: Could you talk about the challenge of facing that passing attack?

A: Well, it's very good. Very, very good. I think the number one thing they accomplished, and I'm sure it's one of their goals in the preseason, they were minus-12 last year and they were plus-four in the preseason. So I think that's something they probably set out as a goal and did a good job managing, but they still had their big plays throughout the preseason, we looked at that. Bush had the long, 86-yard run. Calvin didn't play that much, just that one game as he was coming off some surgeries, so we didn't see a whole lot of him in the preseason. Remember, we studied very thoroughly the personnel last year for our December 22 game.

Q: How big a challenge is it, you have three new guys on the offensive line. You've got guys like Ndamukong Suh, who's a pretty established player in this league. How big a challenge is that for them and what have you seen from Suh?

A: Obviously, it's a big challenge. They're an outstanding defensive team and an outstanding defensive front with exceptional players. That having been said, we're well-aware of that, we're preparing ourselves the best we can and I'm sure that our players will get ready and will be highly competitive.

Q: Do you need to get used to some noise this week?

A: Yes.

Q: That's another challenge obviously for young offensive linemen.

A: Yeah, it is. Hopefully we can do well with that. We will have, right away, an issue indoors with the excitement of the first game and Monday night and all of that stuff to deal with. Hopefully our guys will settle in.

Q: A lot has been made with the new offensive coordinator and the new system and whatnot. Is it fair to say that maybe the defense might be a little ahead of the offense just because the offense is still trying to get tuned in with everything and perhaps the defense…?

A: I'm not going to go in that direction now. We've had five games, we've had plenty of snaps on both sides of the ball. We've had some very, very close games to have to find a way to play well, so all of that stacked up, the idea of defense when you first report is usually ahead and may very well be. We have to find a way in all three phases, not just offense and defense but special teams. They have, with Ross, they have a very good return game. With Golden Tate, they've added to that so we've got our work cut out for us in that regard as well.

Q: Is Jon Beason still on track?

A: I think so.

Q: Is the plan the same for him, at least in terms of practice snaps the next couple days.

A: Yep.

Q: What about Brandon Mosley?

A: He's going to practice. We'll see how he is after he warms up as to how much, but he's going to.

Q: Where does Adam Snyder fit in, especially this week?

A: He'll he a good, solid offensive lineman; a veteran offensive lineman that's played in a lot of big games. Has versatility. We'll have to work some of those things out as to where. He'll probably have to play more than one position, to be honest with you.

Q: Is it realistic for him to play this week?

A: Sure, why not? He's a veteran.

Q: He's got to learn all the plays.

A: Learn the plays.

*Q: So it's possible. *
A: Yes.

Q: Are you curious to see how the offense responds in a situation where now that you… if they stumble a bit, they have the whole game to get it right. You have to let them be mindful of the fact that this is now a longer process, much longer process than you had in the preseason where its' very, very limited.

A: Yes, I mean, they're very aware of that. And you'll see a little bit of that today when they all find out, when they're looking for somebody to take their spot. They'll get all the snaps in practice too pretty much, so it's a nice opening and a nice way to get started. They understand that part of it. We have enough veteran people around to help share that.

Q: The officials were calling more penalties in the preseason to get you acclimated. Do you expect that to continue in the regular season? Or do you think it might level out a little bit? Most particular with the defensive backs.
A: First of all, one at a time. You expect that whatever the emphasis is, whatever the new rules are, they will implemented in preseason, and you can anticipate it in that holds true pretty much every year. How it goes beyond that, it's going to be an interesting thing to see. For example, nothing has happened with pass interference, except to say you grab the jersey, it's automatic. It doesn't make any difference, you are going to get called. So that is an issue, and then obviously the illegal contact, that is what we are tying to figure out right away as to what is going to be allowed, what isn't going to be allowed. Incidental in the beginning of the fall here, it's been incidental that has been called. Will it continue to be? I think that will all settle down.

Q: Were there any particular measures you took during camp?

A: No. We had one penalty from a linebacker for grabbing a shirt but that was all.

Q: Have you sensed at all that Eli Manning is motivated by trying to prove himself a little bit after what happened last year?

A: I don't think there is any question about that, I don't think there is any question about that. To come back and have a good, solid year is his goal and all of our goals.

Q: He doesn't necessarily need to prove himself to you, correct?

A: No, and he doesn't have to verbalize it to me either. I just look at his face.

Q: How do you evaluate Ben McAdoo? First-time playcaller and how that process worked this preseason.

A: Well, we are a work in progress, no doubt about it. We have done some good things and we have done some bad things. Ben McAdoo is a solid, solid football coach that knows what he is talking about. Has an excellent system, applies himself every day, very smart, we are doing okay there.

Q: The nuts and bolts of it, though, just from an efficiency standpoint, how is that?

A: Excellent. He has been very good at that.

Q: What do you see in Eli's face?

A: He's focused, he's focused, he's focused. It is serious business for him.

Q: This is the first week you got to put together a game plan. How did that process work with the new coordinator and offensive coaches?

A: Good. Process is the same process that we have followed for years. Everyone plugs themself into the schedule, to the way the New York Giants prepare. When, where, how, and so forth.

Q: Did you put yourself more into that?

A: No more than normal.

Q: Monday night will be a much bigger stage than you were used to in the preseason. What kind of advice can you offer Ben McAdoo on how to handle a full game and calling the plays? How much are you going to be involved in that, to be able to help him out in that regard?

A: Well, if he needs any help, I am there. I have been a playcaller. I'll be honest with you, I never liked anybody interrupting me. Between series is the best time to visit to talk about that. As far as the menu, I guess that is what you are saying. You may have observed what he carries around on the sideline. It looks like he needs help carrying it around. If it were me, I would have a sheet of paper in my back pocket, but this guy. Any circumstance or situation that we have discussed or practiced or whatever, he is prepared.

Q: For the most part, you tend to be hands off?

A: If I need to say something, I will. Let's put it that way.

Q: Can you a put number on the percentage of what you have actually shown in the preseason with the limited time…out there?

A: We take a full menu in. What we end up doing in the game is no more near what we carry in.

Q: Can you talk about what he is carrying around?

A: I am just kidding about what he has. What we prepare and what he has is a game plan card, which is a big card. Our cards in the past have been a bit smaller. Whether or not they are the same number of plays, it's close. But he likes a big handy card because that is what he is used to, that is what coach McCarthy used in Green Bay. If he is comfortable with that, then so be it.


Q: I'm sure you're confident in your abilities to shut Calvin Johnson down?

A: I mean, he's a tremendous athlete, for sure, a great competitor. It's going to be a great challenge for us as a whole, as a secondary. They have a great receiving corps out there with the addition of Golden Tate and Ogletree and everything. It's going to be a test to see where we can be at as a defensive back group.

Q: The makeup of their wide receiver corps, everybody knows about Meagtron being 6-5 and just a huge guy. The rest of the guys aren't huge, though, so it's a different mix, a different style of receiver, is it not, when you're going against these guys?

A: Most definitely. Everyone compliments each other, though. Especially adding Golden Tate out there, he's very versatile as an individual and an athlete. You can use him in the screen game, he has the ability to go deep and is a pretty good route runner as well. It's going to be a situation where we have to study film and pay attention to our keys and just go out there and play confident football.

Q: Not knowing what the new offensive coordinator is going to do, do you expect him to move Johnson around much and maybe even get him in the slot sometimes?

A: I think so. That's what they did in the past, though, really utilized him in the slot, really moved him around to get different matchups, different route combinations that they like, that's going to better fit them. The offensive coordinator is coming from New Orleans, so we watched a lot of that tape as well to see his style, how he calls his plays and everything. It's going to be an interesting situation.

Q: Not saying what you're going to do because I know you can't tell me, but what have other teams done to contain Johnson in the past?

A: You know, they usually try to put a double-team on him. He's really effective on the deeper passes. He's 6-5, he has a tremendous jumping ability to be able to go after the ball. Really just play sound technique, be disciplined in our keys and really just pay attention to detail and stopping the run and stopping the pass.

Q: You guys have been very vocal about wanting to be a top secondary, one of the best. Do you almost like the prospect of getting to face a receiving corps this deep and having the challenge of showing it against them in Game 1?

A: Most definitely. You always want to go against the best competition out there. You want to go against teams that have the most depth, who have great receivers out there, because it really shows where we are as a defensive back group. We're really confident in our room and our ability and what we're capable of doing. We just have to take it one day at a time, just really get better and progress ourselves each day.

Q: With this being a season-opener Monday night in Detroit, are you expecting just from them offensively to try to throw everything they can at you, like an aerial assault?

A: I mean, it's the New Orleans offense. They're used to scoring big points. They have a great quarterback and they have a great receiving corps to be able to do that situation. We really have to minimize the explosive plays, really contain the running game to where you make them one-dimensional and you really have to go out there and just play our game at the end of the day.

Q: You said other teams use a lot of double teams on Johnson, do you feel like you guys need to do that or do you have enough talent to go one-on-one against him?

A: I think we have enough talent out here. We've been playing our defenses that we've been playing the whole preseason and everything like that. We're just going to go out there and compete, make it difficult, let the front four do what they do and get after the quarterback and put some pressure on Matt Stafford and really stop the run. Those are our main priorities this game.


Q: Do coaches ever encourage you to try to get in the huddle?

A: No. That is just me.

Q: Do you notice that it does help you pick up the offense and what they are trying to do more?

A: Yes sir. I can see what formation, what they are about to get into or whatever they are about to run versus sometimes when you get the call late and now you are running out late and pressuring yourself. I just want to be comfortable.

Q: Where did you pick that up from? Do other cornerbacks do that?

A: I always did it. No.


Q: We talk about cornerbacks being out there on an island… You are really out there on an island. **

A: The safety is going to communicate with us so you are going to get the signal. I just watch the signal.

Q: Antrel [Rolle] gives you the signal after [breaking the huddle]?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you relay any information that you've picked up on to 'Trel?

A: Yes sir. We signal back and forth. I look at Prince [Amukamara] on the other side and tell him to get up or to get off and he will do the same with me.

Q: How much of your experience having gone up against Calvin [Johnson] do you bring into Monday night?

A: Same thing you see every year from him. A bigger guy with a bigger body, but difference is he has the speed to beat you down the field, and big hands to go up and get the ball. A guy like that, you have to play physical with. You have to get up there and put your hands on him and try to disrupt him as much as you can.

Q: Do you relish the opportunity to go against a guy like that?

A: As a competitor, yes, because you know he is the best, but you have to look at it as just another guy you are going against.

Q: Do you think he is the best receiver?

A: Yes, no question.

Q: Is Detroit an offense where it is like you pick your poison… You have Golden Tate, [Calvin] Johnson, [Brandon] Pettigrew and Bush out of the backfield… How many places can you look?

A: It's a high offense. They definitely have guys that can beat you at every position so you have to get in and watch film and get a bead on what they are trying to do and how they are trying to use those guys.

Q: Is the key to get pressure on [Matthew] Stafford?

A: Yes sir. That is the main thing, rather than him getting off at his spot. We have to get him shaky back there and get up and get in these [receivers'] faces and challenge them.

Q: Talk about the challenge going up against that offense?

A: They definitely have weapons on the outside that can beat you at any time. With the backs that they have in the running game, it makes it hard for the game plan because now you have to worry about both pass and run. You definitely just have to get in the film room and study.

Q: Do you focus on the names of the guys you are going against… Do you worry about that?

A: No. One thing about the Lions, they are going to run what they put on film, so you try to get a feel for their tendencies and what they are going to do. At the end of the day, in certain formations, they are going to do this, but they have the ability to do this. So you can't focus on the talent too much, but you definitely don't overlook it because you know what they can do. At the end of the day, you still have to just go play.

Q: Do you get motivated by looking at the names?

A: No. Not really, I know as a competitor you get that you want to get hype, but you can't put too much energy towards it. You just have focus. Calvin, Calvin, Calvin.

Q: What are your thoughts on opening Monday night with the entire nation watching your game?

A: As a corner, that's some pressure. You know who you are facing, but it gives a chance to go out and showcase who we are as a team.

Q: Do you have to be very opportunistic against a quarterback of [Stafford's] nature?

A: A guy like that, you have to get after and pressure him. You have to get him off his spot and shake him a little bit [in the pocket]. Really just allow the front four to do what they do and go get him.

Q: With you, it is all about delaying the receivers to give [the front four] a chance?

A: Yes sir, you have to get up there and be physical with them and disrupt their timing and make [Stafford] go through all his reads, one, two and three so that will definitely help.


Q: The names on that Detroit offense, just knowing who you're going up against. How much of a motivating factor is that for you on top of the fact that it's the opener?

A: Well, I mean, I don't need names to be motivated. I've been playing this game for a long time, I'm a self-motivated kind of guy. I'm just trying to go out there and get a win at all costs and just trying to be a team player.

Q: Does it ever get old, playing on Monday night? Especially to start your season?

A: As long as I'm playing the game, it's never going to get old. That's what you live for, that's what you dream of when you're a little kid. As a little kid, that's the only thing that really stands out to you, the Monday Night Football, everything that goes with it. It's a blessing to be playing in the first Monday Night Football game of the season and try to go out there and just play team ball and, like I said, get a win at all costs.


Q: They have a new offensive coordinator. When you look at them on film, do they tailor their schemes more to their strengths or is it totally brand new? Are you seeing similarities from the last time you saw them? **

A: Well, it's going to be a brand new scheme. We don't want to give away too much information but I think obviously any team is going to tailor towards their strengths. We know how their playmakers are and they have a lot of them. They added some key guys to their offense, so, like I said, we're looking to go out there and make plays and go play and compete against those guys. But they have some great playmakers on that side of the ball.

Q: You're one of the guys during last season when you started 0-6 that continued to have confidence. How important is it to get off to a good start this season?

A: I think that means everything. That means everything, especially with the season that we had last year, we got off to a horrible start. We just want to make sure we're not repeat offenders. Go out there and get off to a great start and just play hard-nosed football.

Q: You guys in the secondary have been pretty vocal about wanting to be one of the NFL's best secondaries. It has to feel cool getting to go on Monday night, prime time, against one of the best receivers in the NFL. It's a good test for you guys.

A: I only love to go up against the best. Clearly they have one of the best receivers, if not the best receiver, in the league on that side of the ball in Calvin Johnson. In addition they have Golden Tate, he's an extreme playmaker, returns punts and also is good for the quarterback. They have multiple weapons. They drafted a first-round tight end, we all know what he can do. They have Reggie Bush and they have Matt throwing the ball so those guys are going to go out there and be productive but it's our game plan to go out there and make sure that they're not so productive.

Q: Do you go into this game looking at it like it's a statement for you guys, you can show everybody that you are the best?

A: Absolutely. What better time to go out there and display it than Monday night? I think the ball is in our court, we just have to go out there and play team ball. We could talk about it all we want to, but unless we go out there and play it, talking is nothing.

Q: Do you see any extra passion in Tom Coughlin this season?

A: Extra passion? He's always been a passionate guy. I think Coach has a chip on his shoulder as well as we do. I'm sure last season was definitely bitter for him, as it should have been. It's our job as players to go out there and make sure that he doesn't feel that way. We've got to go out there and make sure that we don't feel like we've been letting him down as players. It works hand-in-hand, and together I think we make a great unit. Together, I think we make a great unit. Just trying to go out there and play ball, man, and get off to a great start.


A: It's important for me to spend as much time as possible in learning the offense. So I have a little bit of a sped-up process but I am up for the challenge and just here to help the team.

Q: Can you be ready by Monday?

A: Yeah. With the guys we have here and as much help as they're giving me, I would like to think I can be ready.

Q: Is there any similarities?

A: Yeah, in my career I have been through eight offenses so I can take bits and pieces from each one of those and tie it into what we do here and relay it in my mind that way. That helps to speed the process up.

Q: I guess the only thing would be the terminology?

A: Terminology. Yeah. that's the hardest part. Schemes are all the same throughout the league, majority of them. So terminology is something I have to learn.


Q: Does it make it more complicated? At first it sounds like you are going to be playing a couple of positions. **

A: For me, I have been doing that my whole career. I have been a versatile guy and played all five positions. Played a little tight end at some point, so I have done it all and I am up for the challenge.

Q: Have you played any quarterback at all?

A: I have not played quarterback. Although, I wish I could sometimes.

Q: Have you kind of perfected how you need to study that stuff to sort of compress?

A: Yeah, early in my career we switched offensive coordinators a bunch so I had to adjust and adapt quickly. So like I said, I take bits and pieces from what I have learned over the last nine years and try and get it to where I can understand and just ask as many questions as possible.

Q: Is it daunting at all to try to be ready for a game right away?

A: A little bit. Nerve-wrecking, but I am up for the challenge. Like I said, the guys that are here know the offense and I am picking their brain trying to get everything I can, as much information as possible. Coaches have done a great job. I am staying late and trying to learn the offense.

Q: I guess Monday night helps a little, too?

A: Monday night helps. Yeah, one more day.

Q: Are excited about the prospects of playing on Monday night opening the season with the Giants?

A: I would like to show them what I can do. If I get a chance to play on Monday night, I will do exactly that. Just do my best and help this team win.

Q: Are you surprised the way things have ended with the 49ers?

A: Surprised, no. It's the NFL. It's a business and I understand that, I am a pro about it. I understand that they have to make tough decisions. I had a good run. I played eight years there and I can hang my hat on the fact that I got to play through the ups and downs and I'm ready to close that chapter in my life and start this new one.

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