Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Coach Coughlin: We want to acknowledge Veteran's Day and thank our veterans for their diligent service to our country. Also recognizing our military throughout the world and thank them for their vigilance and all that they provide, the safety that they provide for us. We prepare ourselves now to play a very, very good New England Patriot team. They're plus-seven in turnover ratio. They only have five giveaways, they've only thrown two interceptions. They're third in the NFL on offense. They're averaging 34.5 points per game, which is the most in the NFL. They're first in third down percentage conversions, they're third in touchdowns in the green zone. They have an outstanding cast of players, as you know. Defensively, they're eighth in the league—third versus the run, 17th versus the pass. They're second in sacks as a team with 27. Chandler Jones has 9.5, their team has 27 of them, as I mentioned. (Jamie) Collins, the linebacker, the outstanding linebacker, has 4.5 as well. On third down, they're 24th in the league at 41 percent and they are 22nd in the league in the green zone giving up touchdowns against. Special teams is outstanding. They have an outstanding coverage unit, they're energetic. They are third in the league in covering punts, they're 10th in the league in covering kickoffs. They have an outstanding punter in (Ryan) Allen and they have an outstanding kicker in (Stephen) Gostkowski. I'm sure you have absolutely no questions.
Q: When you face a team this explosive, is it more about your defense or your offense?
A: More about all three teams, thank you. Field position and trying to keep the ball away, trying to do things with your offense, and it's trying to find a way to control a team that's a high-flying team that has scored an awful lot of points. They have been in some tight balls games. The Jets gave them a good game, Indianapolis, a good game. So there have been some games that have been relatively close, at least for a while. But they're a good football team and you've got to play your best, there's no other way around it, in all phases because of their ability to score, their ability on defense to rush the passer. They do mix pressures in, but primarily they get after it with their rush group. That's a good football team.
Q: You mentioned keeping the ball away…it's obviously a little harder to do running the no-huddle in a fast-paced offense. Do you change anything with that strategy or do you just do what you do?
A: No, we will do what we do. That's always a consideration but the thing you have to realize, again, is that although we do have a relatively fast pace as the league goes percentage-wise, we are out over the ball quite extensively. And the reason for that is obvious, the quarterback has an opportunity to evaluate what the defense is doing and that's important to us.
Q: Are there any players around the league that you can look to as a parallel for Rob Gronkowski and how you might go about covering him?
A: He's a rare athlete, let's face it. And they use him a lot of different ways and they try to get the isolation look and they try to use him among others, the running back, to determine whether it's man or zone. And you've seen them over the years, whenever the circumstance allows, whether it's a linebacker or safety or whoever it is, goes out on the big, tall tight end, the ball goes up in the air. He's also kind of an effortless back-shoulder receiver, which is really interesting for a big man, and the ball is thrown in that capacity
Q: How do you determine how you treat him, as a receiver with a cornerback or linebacker, safety? You'll mix it up, I'm sure.
A: You have to mix. You've got to mix because you have to have your entire defensive package available. If you start cutting down on that part of it, then it's pretty obvious what you're doing for the majority of the day.
Q: You've had success against them in the past, does that figure here at all?
A: No, it's a new year, new scheme, it's a new team, all of those things. We have some ideas that carry over, but by in large, as you said, that's in the past.
Q: You and Eli have enjoyed success against them. Do you show them, this young team, some of the success to say, "Look, they're perfect, but we have beaten them."
A: Well you might mention it, but as I said, it's a whole new ballgame.
Q: Every week brings its own challenges but when you face a team with a coach as accomplished as Bill Belichick, does that stir your own competitive juices a little bit more than usual?
A: I think for our team playing against their team, a very, very good team, it's exciting. Let's face it, accomplished is the right word, but also remember, they are undefeated. In this day and age, being undefeated at this point of the season is quite an accomplishment in itself. We know the quality of the team. Excitement is a good word for us, energy in the room kind of thing, is a very positive thing for us. We simply have to take care of our process, our production, better than we've ever done it before. That's really what the challenge is for our players, both in the classroom and on the field.
Q: How about you personally, though, as a coach facing somebody like Bill? Does that do something for you?
A: Certainly I have great, great respect for Bill. But their team, and they are very-well coached, and as I study the tape and I see the various aspects of the way in which they play, it does get your motor running, no question about it.
Q: You've been honoring around here the Super Bowl team that both of you were a part of. Bill has gotten a lot of credit over the years for being the defensive mastermind of that team, especially in the Super Bowl. Looking back, is all that well-deserved? Is he as good of a defensive coordinator?
A: No question. No question. He's obviously much more than a defensive coordinator now and has been for a long, long time.
Q: What made him so special as a defensive coordinator?
A: He's smart, he's good. He's thorough, he's detailed, he's disciplined.
Q: Did you know back then when you were on the field with him that he was doing something special with that defense and those schemes?
A: You're talking about back in the 80's?
A: Sure. I also looked around and saw the players, they weren't bad either.
Q: What is it about Tom Brady, how's he progressed? You haven't faced him in a few years. What's the difference in him maybe as a player, if there is?
A: Nothing. He gets better.
Q: You don't pick the schedule obviously, but you've got the bye coming up next week, you're coming off a win. Is this a good time for this kind of a test for your team?
A: You're right, I don't pick the schedule. I very rarely think about things of that nature once the schedule comes out. I shut the door, blow a little steam off, open the door, this is what it is. We're going into our 10th game. It's against a very, very good football team. That's where all our energy goes, as it does every week for the next opponent.
Q: You got JPP on the field back last week. How much more do you expect to get from him this week?
A: He was on the field for some 46 snaps and proved that he's a highly-conditioned athlete and was at his best probably when his best was needed at the end of the game. So I expect that he'll rev it up and be ready to go for even more.
Q: What did you like about Devon Kennard calling the plays? I guess he had the radio on.
A: I thought the communication was good. And I thought they worked together to get that done.
Q: Is that something you stick with moving forward here because he plays the most snaps of the linebackers?
A: We'll see. A lot depends on the plan.
Q: In terms of pressure, it's almost like the ingredient that can get to Brady if you can do it. Is that something you kind of game plan for here or is it difficult to get this guy?
A: Oh, it's difficult. He's the quickest in the league getting rid of the ball, that's a fact. But you have to try. Whether you try with four, five, six, whatever…at certain points of the game you got to try.
PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Coach Belichick: I just wanted to say that in watching the Giants, kind of one of the first things that I noticed was the patch on the jersey and the number 16. I know that Ann Mara and Frank have meant so much to the great tradition of the New York Giants, and I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to get to know and work with in varying degrees both people. The recognition of Ann and Frank to me just really touches the great tradition that the Giants have, have always had and how important those two people were and the part that they played in that. That's a part of this season for them and certainly for me as well. I've recognized it and I know all the fans and all the people that know what those two people have done for our league as well as that team respect and appreciate their contributions. So, fire away.
Q: The last time you faced the Giants and you were undefeated, in 2007, things didn't turn out in your favor. What is it about the Giants that your teams have struggled against them?
A: Those games were a long time ago. I don't think it really has any bearing or influence on what happens this week. I think this week is about the matchups with these two teams, and so that's what we're really focused on.
Q: What have you seen from Eli Manning and the Giants offense this year that can make them a dangerous team?
A: They're a really good football team. They do a lot of things well. Manning is obviously having another outstanding year in terms of high completion percentage, a lot of production, uses all of his weapons, handles the line of scrimmage, no-huddle operation well. They run a lot of the right plays you want to run to attack the defensive looks that they get. They're well coached. They have good players. They're a good football team.
Q: What do you see that's different about Eli Manning in this offense compared to past years?
A: I mean, he's been a good player. He's still a good player. The offensive system has been modified a little bit. We saw that system in preseason, different players, but still their basic system and basic plays. He continues to do a good job, and as I said, he has got a lot of good players around him and they're very productive.
Q: Is it weird for you to come back to New York and play in a different stadium? I know Giants Stadium held a special place in your heart.
A: Yeah, but time marches on. Things change for all of us. It's been several times I've been back there, so the newness has kind of worn off.
Q: We've been honoring this year the 1990 Super Bowl Champions that you were a part of. When you think back to that team, what comes to mind?
A: Well I mean there were a lot of great things about that team, but for me it was really about the defensive players that I was most closely associated with. And that's not taking anything away from Phil [Simms] and the job that Jeff [Hostetler] did and all the other great players and great plays that came from that season on offense and special teams. But the group that I was with defensively was really a special group. They worked well together and we got a lot of leadership in the secondary from Everson Walls – I mean, the tackle he made on [Thurman] Thomas in the Super Bowl was a huge play. But [Carl] Banks and Pepper [Johnson] and L.T. [Lawrence Taylor] and our front, we had a lot of good days defensively that year and particularly in the postseason. I was proud to coach that group and we had a good coaching staff, guys I really enjoyed coaching with, and the players, it was good chemistry. It was an amazing year.
Q: Your game plan from that Super Bowl went to the Hall of Fame and has gotten a lot of credit over the years. Do you feel your game plan got too much credit or the right amount of credit? How do you feel about that?
A: I think games are won by players. Players are the ones that go out there and make plays, so it's always about the players. As a coach you try to put the players in a position where they have a chance to compete, but players are the ones that make the plays, absolutely. We have a lot of great players and they're the ones that made the plays, and that's why we won. You can put anything you want down on a piece of paper, but you've got to have players go out and make them and we had it.
Q: How would you describe Tom Coughlin as a coach?
A: Tom is very intense, smart, obviously offensive oriented. He always has a good plan of attack and he does a good job of making the defenses work and attacking the weak points of whatever the defensive scheme or personnel is. They're sound. Their blitz pickup is always good. They have a good balance with the running game and the passing game. They always have a lot of big players on the field – full backs tight ends – guys like that that force you defensively to defend everything. They've used all their backs this year, so there are a lot of different matchups even though it could be the same formation on paper, but it could be a big difference between [Andre] Williams, [Shane] Vereen, [Rashad] Jennings, which guy is in there. Same thing with tight ends and skill players – they move them around, put them in different spots. The matchups, the schemes and I'd say the overall soundness there in their system – they don't run a lot of bad plays.
Q: I know it's only been one game, but what have you seen from Jason Pierre-Paul and how he's come back from his injury?
A: In the Tampa game, on the road, on grass, I'm sure he'll be faster and quicker and more explosive at home. But he's obviously very athletic and has great length, balance, speed, quickness, good motor, so he's a tough guy to block in any situation and I'm sure he'll be better this week than last week with another week of practice and that first game under his belt. We'll expect his best and try to prepare as best we can to handle him, but he's a great player.
Q: You guys defer the coin toss and the Giants have followed suit. Does that overall trend surprise you, considering that offenses have become more and more important?
A: Yeah, I mean, I don't know. I can't speak to what other teams are doing or what they think. I don't know about that. We do what we think is best for each individual game. We talk about it before the game as a staff and depending on what all the circumstances and factors are that play into the game, based on all that, taking everything into consideration then if we have the option, which a lot of times we don't, we decide what we want to do. We've done all the above – some more than others, but it all depends on the individual game and situation and how those factors, once we weigh them all out, what our decision is. So, I'm just saying it's not a cut-and-dry thing for us.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul**
Q: A big ingredient for beating the Patriots in the past was getting to the quarterback. Do you guys think you can get to [Tom] Brady?
A: We just have to see. He's a good quarterback, can get the ball out fast, and we're just going to have to see.
Q: What's the key to getting pressure on him? Is it a collective effort?
A: The obvious thing is working together as one, as a unit on the d-line, and it starts up front, so we have to get there.
Q: As a defense, how much do you guys enjoy a challenge like this to show what you can do against some of the best in the game?
A: It's a big challenge. He's a great quarterback, pretty soon he'll be in the Hall of Fame when he retires or whatever, but it's going to be a big challenge and we're up for a challenge.
Q: What do you think from yourself this week? You think you're ready to take the next step?
A: I think yeah, I'll be better this week than last week. I was a little bit rusty, but each day is a day for me to get better, so I'm up for the challenge.
Q: How did you feel coming out of the game?
A: I felt good. Like I said, I was rusty. I felt like I played okay, I've got some work to do, but I'll be okay.
Q: But physically, pain or soreness?
A: No, physically, I was good. Like I say, I trained all season even with my incident or whatever it is, it happened or whatever, but I trained my butt off, so it was okay for me.
Q: Coach [Coughlin] said there was a lot of electricity and energy in the locker room for this particular game.
A: It's a big game. They're undefeated, they haven't been beat yet, and it's going to be a big game. We're all up for the challenge. Like he said, we're just going to go out there and play some great football.
Q: You remember playing against Brady and the Patriots before, does he look any different to you even after all these years?
A: I really haven't studied him, to tell you the truth. Last week was my first game back, it was supposed to be this week, but I have to study him. I haven't really watched him.
Q: He's getting rid of the ball a lot quicker, I think it's less than two seconds per release. When you face a quarterback like that, what do you have to do?
A: I don't know. Like I say, he's a good quarterback, everybody knows about Tom Brady, he's coming through here, and it's an away game for them. Hopefully the crowd is in the game and we get some stops.
Q: You said you came through last week pretty good. You weren't sore? Your hand didn't hurt at all?
A: No, I wasn't sore, I wasn't anything. I came in Monday, I felt good, I felt great, and even after the game, I felt great. Like I say, I put in the work so it really wasn't anything to me. It was just getting the reps out and getting that conditioning in, that game mode, which I think I got in pretty good.
Q: Were there any points in the game where you hit your hand and it hurt?
A: No, not all. My hand doesn't hurt, guys, so let me just get that out there. It doesn't hurt, there's no pain, so I'm good.
Q: You've only had one game, but do you think this defensive unit can rise to the occasion this week?
A: Yeah, I think we're all coming along. We all have to play as one, no individuals, not saying I've seen individuals play or whatever, but if we come together as a unit, as a defense, we're good.
Q: …do you think you all have the determination and desire to do it?
A: Of course, I'm not going to say no. It's going to start up front with us guys on that defensive line and we have to get to the quarterback and stop the ball.
Q: Do you remember your sacks?
A: No, I never do.
Q: Do you know what I mean, like a particular one? Like do you know how many times you've gotten him [Brady]?
Q: You've played him twice.
A: Yeah, I don't remember.
Q: It's not like I remember a time when I got him?
A: No, none of that.
Q: So if I asked you how many times you've got him, you would not know?
A: No, I would not know.
Q: But you do know this, when you get to him, he does get affected. You guys beat him because your front four really got after him.
A: Yeah, it's a different group. It was me, [Justin] Tuck, Osi [Umenyiora], those are pass rushers. We have pass rushers but we have to work together and that's what we're doing now.
Q: Do you think the guys you have here can duplicate some of that?
A: Yeah, of course. We're going to get to the quarterback, I know I am, I know others guys as well. We have to do whatever it takes, it's a big game. Like I say, they're undefeated, but they have to come through here first.
Q: You guys are 5-4, I know you just got back, but going up against an undefeated team, how much do you feel like you as a team can learn about yourselves?
A: The team is the team. Any given day, you can be beat and any given day, you can win some. It all happens on Sundays. It's a big game, everybody knows that, and we're going to play the best we can.
Q: You say your hand doesn't hurt, are you going to do anything different, experimenting with different wraps or different things? Did you like how your protection felt in the first game back?
A: Sooner or later, I'm not going to use a club. It's just for protection but my hand didn't hurt. Like I said, it doesn't hurt, no pain, I'm just out there protecting myself. When I feel like I don't need it anymore, it'll be off.
Q: You'll wear it this week though?
A: Maybe, Maybe not.
Q: Maybe you get ticked off and take it off at halftime or something?
A: Yeah, maybe.
Q: Does it inhibit you?
A: No, not at all. It's a big adjustment to me, period. I'm doing good with it, so no need to change things if we're doing good.
Q: You know there are people who are going to say, "You know Drew Brees threw for 500 some odd yards and 7 touchdowns against the Giants, what's Brady going to do?"
A: I wasn't there.
Quarterback Eli Manning**
Q: Is this the ultimate when you go up against an undefeated team?
A: Yeah. That's a big game. We know they're a very good team coming off winning the Super Bowl last year, undefeated this year, playing great football. So we know we've got to play well. We've got to have a great game plan, great week of practice, and go out there and play a good game on Sunday.
Q: Are you thinking about this being a shootout the way it was against New Orleans?
A: I don't know. I don't know what it's going to play out to be. Offensively, we will have a game plan to try and score as many points. We know their offense is doing a good job scoring points and they have that ability, but we've just got to play smart, protect the football, and execute our game plan.
Q: Could this be a situation where the best defense against Tom Brady is for your offense to do well and keep the ball out of his hands?
A: Well, we have to control the ball, we've got to be smart with the ball, we can't afford turnovers, so we've got to be smart and hold on to it, but we have to convert third downs, we have to move the ball, and control the game clock a little bit. Hopefully we can manage that. It's going to come down to executing well and playing good football.
Q: The fact that you guys were able to put up so many points a couple of weeks ago against the Saints, does that give you more confidence that you have to try and outscore him and you know you can do it?
A: Each week's different, each game plan's different, each team you're going against is unique. We're just looking at film, we're going to run a good game plan and we've got to play well. Try to figure out how we think they may play us and what their scheme will be. Whatever they do, we'll have a plan and try to score as many points as we need to win the game.
Q: What is the most difficult thing to decipher about a Belichick defense, if there is such a thing?
A: I think they change up from week to week. They'll have a game plan for a certain team, whether they want to try and take away certain guys or double guys in certain situations of the game or the whole game. So just trying to figure out what their plan will be and then just still making good decisions. If they try to take away some of our guys, other guys will have opportunities to make plays for us.
Q: Going into the bye week, this would be a great win to finish strongly. You thinking about that?
A: Yeah, just thinking about this game. Obviously, you're going against the Patriots and they're a great team and excited about this opportunity and playing them at home and see if we can go out there and play good football.
Q: It's in the past and happened a while ago, but is there anything you can take from the success you guys had against them in the two Super Bowls? Maybe tell the younger guys, hey they might be undefeated, people think they're unbeatable, but anything can happen?
A: I think it's different teams from those games and over the past eight years, we've played them four times, a lot of new faces on their team and our team. You can look at the way the game was called a little bit or just a theme to what was going on, but not much in X's and O's and, hey, it's a game, we've got to go out there and we've got to play well.
Q: Coach Coughlin says there is definitely an electricity and energy in the room for this particular game. Do you feel that?
A: I think there's excitement. When you're going against a good team, you're going against a Super Bowl team, there's an excitement because you want to go out there and you want to play well. Many other teams have tried and have not succeeded. We've got an opportunity. Hopefully we can go out there and play well.
A: That's our job. Our job is to score points; the defense's is to slow their offense down and stop them. Everybody's got a job to do, and hopefully we can go out there and do it well.
Q: Tom Brady's having a good season even by his standards. Do you admire what he's done so far from afar?
A: Yeah, he's playing great. He's playing great football, throwing touchdowns, protecting the ball, not many interceptions, he's not turning the ball over. Some games he's throwing it 60 times, so they've got a good plan, a good scheme, he's getting the ball out quickly, and he's done a really good job getting their offense in a good place and throwing it accurately.
Q: What's the key to neutralizing their pass rush, if there is any?
A: They've done a great job getting a pass rush. A lot of times just bringing four guys, and they like to bring some linebackers and drop some ends. They have a good scheme, but sometimes they're getting good push into the quarterback's lap and disrupting the passing game. Not a whole lot of teams have run the ball well against them, so teams are getting a lot of third and longs and that pass rush can get amped up. So I think we've got to run the ball well, get in good third down situations, and then just block them up front and guys have got to get open in a timely manner.
Q: Playing an undefeated team, how much do you think you guys, who have been up and down, will learn about yourselves from this?
A: We'll be tested. We know we're going against a good team. We'll see where we stand. We've got to play well, we've got to play smart, and we've got to put everything together.
Q: When you look at a guy like Brady and his motivation level seems so unchanged over the years in his 15th year starting. Do you wonder when you get to that point if you're going to still be able to have the same kind of enthusiasm and desire for the game?
A: I think I would. Still enjoy the preparation, the work, everything that goes into it. Enjoy this season, learning a new offense last year, and going out there and each week having a new game plan and trying to play well. Tom's been doing it well for a long time and is playing at an extremely high level.
Q: At age 38 no less.
A: No less.
Q: Would that amaze you in itself?
A: Yeah. He's stayed healthy, had the one year that he missed with the knee injury, but besides that, he seems like he's been healthy and seems strong still and can make all the throws, he moves around. Yeah, he does a good job.
Q: Since Super Bowl 42, they've beaten every team in the league except for the Giants. Does that surprise you? I know you've only seen them three times since then.
A: Yeah, I haven't seen them a whole lot. We see them every four years and just kind of caught them on the right nights, I guess. They're always very good and talented teams. They're well-coached and good players. So hopefully we can play well and catch them on a good night again.
Q: The last two times you've played them in the regular season, you've gone on to win the Super Bowl. Do you take that as any kind of omen?
A: We'll see. We've got to win this one, we've got to play well, and still got a lot of football. But this a big one and we're worried about this one.
Running Back Shane Vereen**
Q: Have you been able to keep up with what they've been doing when you haven't been playing?
A: You mean with New England? Not really. I mean, I'll get into it this week and study them just like I would study any other team that we're going against. But no, I haven't really been keeping up with them that much.
Q: Do you find that you might have an advantage going against them since you practiced against that defense, same coach, probably the same coordinator?
A: Yes and no. Because yes, I have practiced against it but at the same time, Coach Belichick is known for switching things up on Sundays. So keeping my eyes open, just play the way I feel and see what I see and play off of that.
Q: Are you saying this is just another game even though you played for them and won a Super Bowl?
A: I mean I'm not saying it's just another game. Obviously, for those guys who were on the team last year, I'm sure it's a little more special. I know for me, it is. But we're going to go out, we're going to play Sunday just like we would any other Sunday. We've got to prepare, we've got to get ready to go this week more than ever.
Q: Is this a good place though to make a statement for you guys because a lot of people may not believe that you're as good as you think you are. You beat the Patriots and no one will doubt that.
A: Yeah, we're going up against the best team we've played so far this season, obviously undefeated. So it's a great test, a great opportunity, I think. Great chance for us to test what we've got up against an undefeated team.
Q: You mentioned they're pretty used to teams facing them and feeling that way though.
A: Yeah. I'm pretty sure they'll be well-prepared. If there's one thing I've learned, they'll be prepared on Sunday.
Q: Is this a different Patriots team in the sense that in the past they always had the offense but this year it seems like their defense is a little bit better, too?
A: Honestly you could look across the board and try and find a weakness and your guess is as good as mine. Defensively, offensively—I'm looking at the defense, they're strong. All the way around, they're strong. So we're going to have to play well.
Q: This might be one his better teams then?
A: I don't know where it ranks among the teams that he's had. They've contested ever since Coach Belichick has gotten there, really. So that's a good question. I know they're good, I know they're undefeated, and I know we're going to have to play well.
Q: If you were to put one label on what a Belichick defense is, what would you say?
A: Physical. They play physical, they play strong, they play tough and they try to come at you from all different angles.
Q: Has Spags pulled you aside this week and said, "Hey, give me something."
A: No, not at all. I'm pretty sure he's very confident in his coaching skills, as well.
Q: Have you heard from any former teammates?
A: Not yet, but I've always had contact with them throughout the year. So it wouldn't be nothing different.
Q: You know they know you better than anybody else and vice versa. Who do you think has an edge in a situation like that?
A: I guess we'll see on Sunday. That's a good question, I've been going back and forth with it. At the end of the day, just got to wait and see how it all plays out.
Q: But you know that he's probably not going to let you beat them.
A: Yeah. The thought has crossed my mind, but like I said, they've done so many different things on defense, you really don't know what you're going to get until you actually see it and you get it on Sunday. They've done it for however long, how many games they've played this year. They've always done something different. So we'll see how it plays out on Sunday.
Q: In that instance, though, is it easy enough to adjust to what you have to do in order to match them?
A: In a sense, yeah. I guess it kind of depends if throughout the week you were anticipating them going to a certain coverage, then yeah, it's not too difficult to adjust. But if they do something that you weren't expecting, then yeah, you have to figure out a way to beat it, you've got to go adjust, and that's a little bit more of a learning process.
Q: Dion Lewis had, in a lot of ways, your role in the offense. Is that tough to pick up for somebody new in a week?
A: The guys that they've got there have been there since I've been there, really. But the guys in the backfield there know the offense very well, so I doubt there'd be much of a drop off.
Q: Do you think the Giants have to use the running game to keep Tom Brady off the field?
A: I think we're going to have to get first downs to keep Tom Brady off the field. Whether we run it, whether we pass it, we're going to have to get first downs, stay on the field, convert the chains, and score points at the end of the day.
Q: How do you get the running game going against these guys, who are stout against the run?
A: Physical, physical and run it. You've got to stick with it and you've got to be physical. They're a great defense, especially the front seven is big and they play downhill. So it's going to a tough challenge for us, but we're going to accept it.
Q: Realistically, how much of an advantage can you have from the time you spent there? You spent a lot of time there.
A: Not much because of the game plan and because of the way their offense has progressed, I'm sure, from the time I left until now. I'm sure it's completely different—different words, different everything. So my information is probably only good up to a certain point. At some point, their new stuff takes over.
Q: What was it like to catch 11 passes in the Super Bowl? Did you feel at some point that they couldn't cover you anymore?
A: No, I just felt like we had a good handle on what they were going to do defensively, where the soft spots were in the defense, I had a good feeling of that. And then we just went out and played.
Q: To have the trust of a quarterback like Brady in such a big game, what did that mean to you and how has it helped you going forward?
A: Yeah, it's huge. That was my fourth year last year, so if we weren't on the same page then, it'd be an issue. But what it just says is once you get to know your quarterback, once you're on the same page, you kind of think the same and you can play fast and everyone is kind of clicking just a step faster.
Q: What was Brady like in the huddle in the fourth quarter? You guys were down by 10 in that game and he led two touchdown drives.
A: Encouraging. Focused—that'd probably be the biggest word, focused. And he came back and put two drives together, we put two drives together, and went down to win.
Q: Did he try to keep it light at all? Some quarterbacks joke around.
A: Yeah, some quarterbacks do that. He's not really that type, no. He's not going to keep it light in crunch time. He'll come in and he'll let you know exactly how he's feeling. "We've got to get a drive. We need this one," and go ahead and do it, and he'll stay focused and move on from there.
Q: How are Tom and Bill similar, I guess? Different?
A: Similar or different?
A: We'd be here all day. Similar, I guess they both want to win. They both put everything aside and do everything that they can to be perfectionists and to be winners. They both compete extremely hard and they're both exceptionally great at what they do.
Q: Was it similar in terms of the culture, maybe that's not the right word, to come from New England and be here? Obviously, Belichick and Coughlin coached together here.
A: It wasn't as much of a change as I thought it was going to be.
Q: It wasn't as much of a change as you thought it would be? What did you think?
A: I didn't know what to expect, to be honest. Just from what you hear from other guys around the league, you hear that New England is so much different, so you never really know. But being here, it's not too much different, it's really not.
Q: You talked about being on the same page with Tom Brady. Are you on the same page with Eli?
A: Getting there, getting there. Like I said, I had the same quarterback for four years. I haven't even gotten through one year here with this system. So I'm definitely learning, definitely getting to that point. Yeah, we'll get there.
Q: What have you learned about Eli?
A: That he's a competitor. He's not the most vibrant, he's not always the loudest speaker in the room, but he's a competitor. He's a great leader and he's who this team and this offense rally behind.