HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLINQ: What was your reaction to Jason-Pierre Paul's injury and needing a procedure? **
A: Surprised, I think. We were trying to manage it; seemed to be doing a pretty good job of it. All of a sudden there was a circumstance that he was in some pain. So he went through the normal procedure, which we have gone through many times. The doctors recommended the surgery. They got a second opinion and the doctor recommended the surgery as well. It wasn't anticipated, but it is a fact now. Surgery is completed and he will do the best job he can in rehab.
Q: He has obviously battled back issues before. Was that always a herniated disc or was that injury actually new?
A: You have the wrong guy. Medically, I'm not going to take a shot at that.
Q: Did the injury have any effect on his play last year at all, or is it two separate issues?
A: There were times when he was bothered by his back last year. But I'm sure there are an awful lot of people in the league that are that way from time to time.
Q: It looks like Jacquian Williams was able to get out there and do a little work.
A: A little bit of something. He is starting to do a little.
Q: It seems one of the things that you have done is move (Mathias) Kiwanuka back to the line. Is that permanent now?
A: For the time being. That was the intent at the beginning of the spring and there is no need to change that now.
Q: Do you have enough depth at that position?
A: We have to keep going. We have to advance some of these young guys. And the next guys have to come along. What I have seen has been a day here, a day there, where different people have stood out. Adrian Tracy has done a good job. The one kid who has been sick for a couple of days but he has had his flashes, too.
Q: Damontre Moore?
Q: Are you concerned about your pass rush if JPP isn't ready at the start of the season?
A: I think somebody else has got to come along and play.
Q: beginning of the year.
A: Beginning of the year – well – beginning of the year would be – like we would like to have him for the beginning of the year. That would be a good thing.
Q: Has anything changed with (Hakeem) Nicks? Have you spoken with anybody?
A: No, there is no change.
Q: You still haven't spoken with him; nobody has?
A: I have not spoken to him.
Q: Do you expect that he will be here next week?
A: We have a mandatory camp. I would expect that he would.
Q: Is that the same for (Victor) Cruz?
A: I think Cruz is a different category.
Q: With the mandatory camp, if Nicks is here, will you feel the need to kind of clear the air?
A: That might happen, yeah, I would think.
Q: I know you haven't spoken to him, but do you at least know the reason why he is not here?
A: I don't know. I don't know any more information that I did the day he went home for the weekend.
Q: Regarding JPP, where is he now?
A: Still in California.
Q: Will he come back here?
A: Oh yeah, he will be right here; he will come here.
Q: I know it is hard to tell from these workouts, but do you see anything with Damontre Moore that makes you think….?
A: I just mentioned that over there. But he did; he has had his days when he has practiced well.
Q: Has it been a smooth transition back for Kiwanuka?
A: That is a natural spot for him.
Q: OTAs are obviously winding to a close. But do you have a feel for where you are? Do you have a feel for what you are seeing?
A: It's like anything else, different spots I feel good about. Others, I'm not so in that position. But that is what this is for.
Re: the competition at linebacker
A: It is a good thing. It was real good timing. The other day Keith Rivers made a heck of a play…. (Mark) Herzlich has made some plays. Two days in a row now he has intercepted balls. So I think the guys – they are anxious to make the contribution. They know the position is open. And I think that has motivated them in a very positive way to have a good spring and to give us some strong feelings about where we are.
Q: How big is it to have Kiwanuka with his versatility?
A: Oh, it is large.
Re: JPP's ability to get back to full strength following back procedure
A: I have not talked to the doctor. But that is the full expectation. That is why they did it – so that he wouldn't - he was struggling and they thought they could eliminate the pain and perhaps gain some consistency for the season. And that is why the surgery was recommended.
Q: He was out of shape last year. Did that have anything to do with his back problem?
A: I really couldn't speculate on that. I don't know if he was out of shape. He was heavy. He is a big kid.
Re: any concerns about ongoing back issues with JPP
A: Anybody that has had a back here knows that that is a very difficult thing to deal with. Nothing feels good. Your whole body suffers under that circumstance. Sometimes it is longer to recover than some other injuries. There is concern, but we are anxious about getting him back here and seeing him and talking to him. Robert Nunn has talked to him. Ronnie (Barnes), I believe, has talked to him. So let's just get him back here and see where we are; see what he feels like. He may feel a lot better than he has, who knows.
Q: When you go into next week's mandatory minicamp, is it pretty much the same things that are you doing in OTAs?
A: It is all regulated. It can't be any different unless you want to start something new. Maybe goal line one of these days. Pads; come off the ball. We have a little problem with the definition of this time of year.
Q: Does your gut tell you that JPP will be ready for the opening game?
A: I don't know that. I wouldn't – I'm hoping, but I wouldn't say that. That is an aggressive position to take. If anybody can do it, it is him. But I would like to wait and see. And again, listen to what the professionals are telling him. That is the key right now.
Q: Are there similarities between the timing of JPP's situation this year and Hakeem Nicks' situation last year with the foot?
A: Yeah, but it wasn't the foot.
Q: What is the message for the guys that play on that defensive line with JPP out right now?
A: Let's go; let's go. We have plenty of talented guys. Let's step up and go. There are more opportunities for younger guys – we need them. There it is, you can see it. Competition is looking right at you. You don't even have to go any further than the first game. So that is the way I would look at it – opportunity.