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Quotes: DC Wink Martindale, OC Mike Kafka, STC Thomas McGaughey, RB Saquon Barkley, S Xavier McKinney, OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux, CB Adoree' Jackson, WR Isaiah Hodgins

Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale

Martindale: What a great time to be a Giant, to be a fan of the Giants. I'm so happy and proud of the defense and the way we played in Minnesota. The two fourth-quarter stops at the end of the game, it was just great to see. And I tell you guys all the time about how much I care about these guys and how close they are and selfless they are. And you saw that Sunday in that game with all those players; whatever they had to do to win the game, and that's what they did. So, with that, I'll open it up to questions.

Q: You guys shut down (Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin) Jefferson. Can you guys shut down (Eagles wide receivers Devonta) Smith and (A.J.) Brown?

A: That's tough. The more there are, the tougher it is. I think they got six Pro Bowlers on the offense and probably three snubs. And it's a talented group we're getting ready to face. It's going to be a challenge for us.

Q: What changed from that first meeting against the Vikings where Jefferson was kind of able to get off a little bit? What changed in the rematch there where you shut him down?

A: I think it's a few things. We came at full strength finally, and it was a total team effort. To be able to do that and play some different coverages to try to take him away and the way the guys rushed up front. And what you can't forget is what the other guys are doing. When you're doubling a receiver or you're moving coverage over the top of him, the other guys are winning their one-on-one situations as well. Fabe (cornerback Fabian Moreau) had a great game the entire time. You saw (cornerback Cor'Dale) Flott come in and have the big pass breakup on third down. I'm just so proud of them because of the work and execution and concentration and studying and all the things that they've done has paid off for them. And that's rookie or a veteran that hasn't played in a playoff game yet like Leo (defensive lineman Leonard Williams). I thought he played lights out. The guys up front played lights out. Obviously, Dex (defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence), you saw what he did; he took the game over in that last series of the fourth quarter. And when you have guys playing like that, it's a lot of fun to watch.

Q: You didn't complain when all these guys were hurt. You didn't like it, but you just kept going. In the first game against the Eagles, there was no (safety Xavier) McKinney. There was no (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson). And there was no Leo. Do you think the Eagles have really seen what this defense is all about here?

A: I didn't complain to you (Laughs). My wife, on the other hand, Laura, she heard some complaints. We'll wait and see how they view us. I'm just worried about how we view ourselves and going to win this game. In the long-run now at the end of it, being in the playoffs, what it's done is help prepare our younger guys like (safety) Dane (Belton) coming in the game. (He) didn't flinch and played three different spots because I told you it's a position-less defense. Credit to him and the way he studies the game, and he studies our package and their package. And he executed flawlessly. Credit to Rome (defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson) and (assistant defensive backs coach) Mike (Trier), the way they have all those guys prepared.

Q: How much can you do differently, add to? McKinney talked about being dropped into the box in the second half there, more. How much more flexibility, as a coordinator, does it give you to have him and Adoree', specifically, back?

A: The more players you have, the better it is. And you can be flexible that way. That was an adjustment that we made. It was part of our counterpunch there at the end with putting X (Xavier McKinney in the box). That's somebody I didn't bring up. He played fantastic. He ran the post route before Justin Jefferson on that long ball that you guys were all telling me was offensive pass interference, but I can't comment on it. (Laughs)

Q: How did Flott end up in that spot late in the game? Was that intentional?

A: Fabe needed a blow.

Q: So, he was in that spot?

A: Yeah, he just went right out on the field. There was no hesitation, no nothing, because they've been rotating before. And they'll still rotate in this game. Flott's come a long way. I'm really happy to see it.

Q: Did he gain a lot from your regular season finale when he was out there battling with A.J. Brown essentially?

A: I think that any experience people gain, you'd have to ask him that probably. But I just know that he's playing good football for us.

Q: You go from a quarterback, who is really a pocket quarterback (Vikings Kirk Cousins), to this week, the guy who's got wheels (Eagles Jalen Hurts). How much different is it, and how much more of a challenge is it to stop Hurts?

A: Everybody's saying he's having an MVP season, and I agree because he can beat you with his legs. He can beat you with just being a dropback quarterback. He can beat you with a sore shoulder. He can beat you a lot of different ways, and that's a great challenge because there's just a few quarterbacks that can do it that way. And you can have him dead to rights back there n the pocket, and he's a magician. He'll get out of it. I'm not happy for the guy right now because I'm preparing for him. But you can see the work that he put in the past offseason. And where he's at today is, to me, two completely different quarterbacks. Out of respect of the game, you respect that. You can see the hard work that he put in. It's going to be a tremendous challenge.

Q: What about from Week 18 just until now? How much of a different quarterback do you expect? It looked like they were using him differently in that game. He seems to be healthier.

A: He's off the injury report, so I'm expecting Jalen Hurts the MVP candidate. I think if you expect anything less, you're kidding yourself because the guy's definitely a competitor.

Q: How did you approach that Week 18 game because obviously you're playing to win. But you didn't have your full personnel. Did you hold anything back? Did you have to do things differently? Or you were just calling it as you were calling it?

A: We were trying to win the game.

Q: No, I'm saying like schematically, did you call it the same way you'd call it if Adoree' and Zay (Xavier McKinney) all those guys were out there?

A: Maybe. It's one of those things that it gets into the punch and counterpunch. Just same thing we gave the Vikings was a counterpunch, something that they weren't ready for. So, I think you do the same thing when you play an opponent. And now, this is the third time we've played them. We know them. They know us. It's going to be a fun football game.

Q: How impressed were you with Adoree' Jackson? To be away for seven weeks to jump back into the fold and draw Justin Jefferson is no easy task.

A: You know, he shadowed him the whole game. That's the beginning of the team effort, aside from the rush and the other guys holding up and everything else. I am happy for the player, the same reason what I told you all before, and maybe you weren't here. I'm happy for the person because he's worked his tail off. It's fun seeing him smile out on the field again. And he's the number one corner. It was huge for him to come back. It was a big reason. It builds confidence in your entire defense and your coordinator when you have him out on the field. I was really happy for him.

Q: This is something that predates your arrival here, but why has (Eagles running back) Boston Scott been able to basically be a Hall of Famer against the Giants?

A: If it predates my time here, I can't answer that. He's a good running back. They've got a stable of good running backs. I can't answer it.

Q: He scored against you guys in the first game.

A: I know. Just because he scored, I don't think he's a Giant killer.

Q: There's a report, obviously, you're going to be interviewed for a (head) coaching job. Just talk about what it would mean to you to be a head coach in this league.

A: It's one of those things – it's an honor when they put a slip in because I think it's harder to get a head coaching job in this league than being in the senate. And I'm not going to give you coach speak. It's an honor, but we're not interviewing this week. When I came here as a Giant, it wasn't a steppingstone for me. It was a destination. And I love it here in New York. I love the city. I think it's the greatest city in the world. I think it's the greatest fans in the world. And the ownership, the Maras and Tisches, have been great to my family. And honestly, I've been locked in on Philly. We're not interviewing this week. I think that when the time comes, if there's still time when we can do it, I'd love to sit down and talk with them because that's the same thing I did three years ago. And that's how I met (president and chief executive officer) Mr. (John) Mara the first time. I sat down with him, and after that time on, I felt like he was a mentor and a friend. You're talking about one of the titans in the league, and you're working here. You're working in, like I said, the greatest city and the greatest place in the world. It's not a slam dunk anywhere. You just weigh your options and make a decision.

Q: What did you think of the roughing the passer call with Dex?

A: It doesn't matter what I think. It doesn't matter. I had texts just as I'm sure you all had texts after that game. They weren't very complimentary of the call – the text – from all my buddies that were watching the game, coaches and stuff like that. It happens. It's a bang-bang play. The thing that I was proud of was that we just played the next play, like I've talked to you guys about before, and we weren't going to let that affect us. I think it made Dex rush harder.

Q: Did he explain to you that it was for hitting his face or for falling on him?

A: They didn't explain anything to me. They talk to (head coach) Brian (Daboll) about that because, as you know, I got to go to the next call. Like I said, (NFL Commissioner) Mr. (Roger) Goodell has never stopped a game and said, 'Hey, hold on. Wink's pissed. He wants to talk to the officials about something.' They're getting ready to go to the next play.

Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka

Q: Players have talked about your even demeanor in meetings, practices. Why do you think having that coaching style is important and how much of that is just a reflection of your personality?

A: I think what's important is just being yourself. Coaching, playing – I think that's important to show your personality and I think you have to be you whenever you're trying to give a message, be as positive and go through that process.

Q: Being even, how do you think it helps these guys get through a season?

A: Football could be chaotic at times. I think it's important to kind of keep your composure, understand where you're at in a given situation, find a way and be able to problem solve. For me, being in that demeanor allows me to problem solve, think clearly and get the guys the right information.

Q: Why did you decide not to take any interviews this week and do you plan to take them next week regardless?

A: Touched on that a little bit last week. We'll find the appropriate time that's best for myself and the team. I know (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs hit on that this week about not doing them this week during the game week - try to keep that as normal as possible and then we'll communicate and find a good time when that's right.

Q: Have you ever been angry? Have you ever lost your emotions?

A: Yeah, absolutely. There's times and places where that happens but you try and stay within it - figure out what went wrong, figure out how you can fix it. That's really all the players want is an answer. Just get back into a mentality where you can help find answers for them.

Q: Does being away from the sideline help that on Sundays or Saturdays, whenever you play?

A: Yeah, as far as being in the booth you're saying? (Yeah.) Being in the booth was definitely different. I spent the last several years on the field. Not good or (bad) – I think they're just different experiences. Down on the field, you get a little bit more of a feel of the players, being right next to them and being able to communicate it. When you're up in the booth, you get a bigger picture – kind of a bird's-eye view of the field. They're different. You have to have trust both ways. Whether you're on the field, trust upstairs in the booth, and when you're in the booth, trust downstairs on the field to get the right information.

Q: I guess what I'm asking is does it help you to disassociate yourself from the emotion, the passion and everything going on?

A: Definitely, definitely. You can definitely think a little bit. You have more time to think and kind of spread out. You have an area there to write some notes down. You don't really have that on the field, a desk and all that. It's definitely quieter so you don't have to worry about the crowd noise in between drives and stuff. That's probably the two major differences.

Q: When you're up there, the communication is the only thing that matters, right? Have there been either issues or is it something you have to train yourself? You got a lot of people in your ear also. You got to be clear, you can't mumble and that kind of stuff. It sounds maybe not important but it's crucial, isn't it?

A: Yeah. Those are things that you really practice in training camp and OTAs, the pronunciation of the plays and working through how I'm going to communicate this number or this set of plays and how the quarterback wants to hear it. That's really all that matters if I'm talking to the quarterback, that he gets the information quickly, concise, he can hear it and that way he can relay that information.

Q: Is (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) a good listener?

A: Daniel does a great job with the headset and communicating to the huddle, communicating what we want to get rolling with on offense.

Q: We haven't talked to you since the game. What did you think of Daniel's performance in his first playoff game?

A: Daniel did a nice job. Obviously, had some really good production with his legs, good production with his arm. He made good decisions from the quarterback position and eliminating those turnovers, which is big in really any game. In the playoffs, those type of things get elevated. I thought he did a nice job, he directed the offense and he did all the things that we ask him to do from the quarterback position.

Q: On game days, how do you see his demeanor change if at all from the (wide receiver Darius) Slayton drop versus the (wide receiver Isaiah) Hodgins pretty remarkable catch?

A: You guys see it on the TV and even when you guys are on the field – he's pretty much the same guy every day. He doesn't really sweat it either way, up or down, he kind of stays in the game, keeps fighting, keeps playing and I think that's where you see a guy like him – he's put us in position to be in those type of games.

Q: What do you think has made the Eagles so successful at rushing the quarterback?

A: I think the first thing starts with they're really talented players. They have a really talented group, their depth is super talented. It's not just like the front four, they got backups, guys that are perennial All-Pros and Pro Bowlers. They're well coached, right. They have a good scheme and they're sound with their scheme. They do a lot of good stuff on defense. We got to have a good week of prep.

Q: The first half of the year, the identity of the team was running through (running back) Saquon (Barkley), run heavy. It seems like it's shifted. What has enabled you guys to put more trust in the passing game, put more on Daniel's plate in that regard?

A: I think each week you just go through that process and evaluate how the scheme is looking, what we're seeing on defense – we can put our players in the best spot to be successful and execute. As the games go longer each season and as you get deeper and deeper into the season, those things just get magnified. We have to focus on our fundamentals and our techniques. All those things are super important.

Q: How far has (tight end) Daniel Bellinger come this year and how much did he have to reset after the eye injury?

A: Belly keeps growing every single week, you see improvement in the little things that we talk about with him. In the run game, he's showing up. He's showing up in the pass game. He's one of those guys that's just really good, he's a great teammate. Just the little things with Bellinger, you're seeing him really improve on.

Q: Did he have to reset after the eye injury and do you feel like he's gotten back to where he was before?

A: I've never had an injury like that, with the vision and trying to catch the football and stuff. I don't want to speak for him on it, but it was good to have him back. He had great energy, he was in all the meetings and he was still around so it didn't really feel like he lost anything. He kind of jumped right back into the flow of it and was right back where he left off.

Q: When the circumstances are what they are two weeks ago when you close out the regular season against Philadelphia, I'm sure there are things you can gain schematically with how you put together the game plan. Can you look at the personnel and think, alright – we had these guys out there but when we reinsert out guys, maybe this works differently or the game plan is even more enhanced because of what you're bringing now off the sideline?

A: Yeah, when you watch the tape – we look at all the matchups, all the personnel, all the formations and see how they want to align to it and see if we can find just a little bit of an edge to gain an advantage for the offense. Whether it was a motion, a formation, a shift, the personnel grouping – changing in and out of those with the run and the pass. Trying to tie all that stuff together, that's an extensive process that we go through each week.

Q: How long have you been waiting to unveil the statue of liberty?

A: That was a good one. That was a weekly add for that game. It worked out, it worked out nice. We only got a few yards out of it, but it looked sweet.

Q: It was handled correctly, right?

A: Yeah. Daniel (Jones) and (running back Matt) Breida did a nice job with the ball handling. They worked on it. You guys left and that's when we started pulling it out.

Q: Is that hard for a quarterback? You played the position, were you able to do that?

A: I mean, yeah. I think the creativity that the staff has bringing that to them, and the players love that kind of stuff. Giving it to those guys and letting them kind of run with it. I don't know the level of difficulty; I think Daniel handled it great on that particular one. Those are neat plays, you wish it would have gotten us a little bit more.

Q: Is that a Chiefs thing or did somebody else bring that?

A: No, it's a Giants thing. Those are things that we're building for our offense and want to continue to build on.

Q: Is that something you work on doing during the season or you just broke it out last week?

A: It was a play that we had talked about. There was an opportunity for it versus the look. There were a few things that had to happen right for the play to work. It was the right situation, I thought – just a tick off. But yeah, we just pulled it out for that game.

Q: Can you speak on Isaiah Hodgins' development? Obviously, Dabs and (general manager Joe) Schoen knew him, I'm sure you were less familiar with him. The way he's come on as rapidly as he has – I think it's five touchdowns in six games.

A: Not having much experience with him before that, he's been nothing but impressive coming in, studying the playbook, working his butt off - he's a great teammate. He does all the right things. He's a pro. He's one of those guys that jumped into that room and was able to add some value.

Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey

McGaughey: What's happening good people? How are y'all doing today? Fire away.

Q: What makes (cornerback) Nick McCloud a good gunner?

A: Nick can run. He's got really good speed, he's got length, and he just plays hard. He plays really, really hard, and he has a dog mentality. He is a very serious young man when you talk to him, and he takes his job really serious. So, he was a great addition to us at the 53 and it's been really good for him and us the whole year.

Q: You always talk about how you have to kind of work with what you have. When (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) was down, you didn't maybe have him as much, is it nice now to have him back?

A: Yeah, it's really good to have him back. Whenever you get that speed and length on the field, that's always huge.

Q: You talk and spend so much time talking about how good (kicker) Graham (Gano) is. Their guy (kicker) Jake (Elliott) has had a lot of big kicks against you guys.

A: Yeah, he has. He's done a nice job. Evaluating him coming out, I thought he'd be a really good kicker, coming out of Memphis and he's done that. He's made some key kicks for them over the years, and he's experienced. So, he does a good job of kicking off and he's a solid young kicker who's ascending in this league.

Q: What did you make of that report that there was an object under the ball when you played them earlier? Is that something you noticed?

A: It is what it is. I'll just leave it at that.

Q: Would that help, that helps a kicker?

A: Yeah, (laughs). You leave a visual spot down there, it helps.

Q: Is that something you'll be telling the officials to keep an eye on?

A: I'm going to let them do them and we're going to do us, I ain't going to worry about what they do. My primary focus is our guys, our battery, taking care of that. I'm not going to worry about that.

Q: When (wide receiver) Richie (James) had his problems and you guys went in a different direction, in your head, did you say you'll circle back to him, or did you not know that?

A: You never know. I'll always tell him that and I told him, 'we're going to come back to you at some point in time. So, you've just got to be ready.' And he has been. He's done a nice job making good decisions down there, fielding the ball and he's done a really good job being mentally tough down the stretch.

Q: He's feisty, isn't he?

A: Yeah.

Q: Dealing with us he is, I don't know if he is with you, on the field he seems to be.

A: He's a competitor and he wants to do well. These guys have professional pride. They don't want to go out and fail like anybody else in their line of work. So, when they make mistakes, they're chomping at the bit to go back and try and correct the mistakes.

Q: I know you pay attention closely around the league, I'm wondering what do you think when you see (Dallas kicker) Brett Maher on Monday night?

A: That situation, you feel for a guy going through stuff like that, but that's life in the NFL. We all have our situations we've all got to go through. Kickers, punters, quarterbacks, stuff like that happens. Some guys, it's ball security issues, fumbling with running backs. This league is made up of guys that are tough minded guys. Guys that have got to work through situations like that because we're all at some point in time, coaches and players, we're going to come across something like that we've got to work through. You wish him the best and you hate to see anybody go through any stuff like that. Like any of the yips.

Q: How would you handle it? Like if you had a kicker who's struggling like that during a game, are you of the belief like, 'hey, let's just scrap it for today'? We'll go back and worry about it during the week'? Or are you of the belief, 'hey, keep putting him out there for more opportunities to try and get it right.'?

A: For me, I would think that guy has made 1,000 extra points in his career. Sometimes you just go through those situations, and you've just got to work through it. Get in the net, figure out what you're doing and calm yourself down. More than anything, you've got to calm your brain down because if you miss four extra points, you've done it your whole life, so there's something there mentally that you're not doing correctly, and you've just got to work through it. Sometimes you've got to go sit down and you might have to go for two. You just hate to see anybody have to go through that.

Q: You spent a couple years here, winning some playoff games. What was Sunday like for you?

A: It was awesome. Anytime you can win a playoff game is awesome. So, it was a fun experience for me, it was more for the guys. Seeing guys like (running back Saquon Barkley) Say and (quarterback Daniel Jones) DJ and (defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence) Dex go through the things that they went through as young players coming up, (Safety Xavier McKinney) X. Then to be able to experience a playoff victory is really fun to watch them celebrate and enjoy.

Q: (Kick returner) Boston's Scott had the long return here. What makes him so dangerous as a returner?

A: He's not small, he's just short. He's a strong runner, really good contact balance. You watch him, you hit him, and he just hits the ground, spins around, puts his hand on the ground because he's low to the ground already and he can run. He runs physical, he has really good short area quickness. A lot of times because he's shorter, he's behind the players and all of the sudden he just darts out and he comes up on you pretty quick. He's a pain to deal with. So, we've just got to do a good job of just leveraging the ball, keeping him inside in front and getting him on the ground.

Q: You've been around here for a while and you've seen what he's done against this team. Is it kind of hard to explain or understand?

A: It is what it is. That happens in sports sometimes, but he's a really good football player and he's done a good job against us over the years.

Q: You have plenty familiarity in that building down there as far as the kicking game goes. Obviously, you prepare the same way when you get out there pregame and stuff but night game, middle of January, I know the weather's not going to be too bad. But how do you guys approach that? Do you lean on the experience that you've had?

A: Yeah, just like every other game. We've got a veteran kicker and he gets out there, we'll survey the scene, the wind and all that stuff. He'll go through his normal routine like he does, and we'll just talk about the lines and which way we're going and how we want to kick in a certain direction or not want to kick in a certain direction, what direction we want to kick. We'll go through that whole process. That's the same stuff we do every week, it's no different.

Q: Their other returner (wide receiver Britain) Covey was like an all-American in college. How good was he and is he somebody you had any interest in bringing here?

A: I watched him. We evaluated him in college. Same thing he did in college is the same thing he's doing here. So, he's a hard, straight, fast guy, he's very tough. We call him demolition man. He's real tough and he's hard to get on the ground as small as he is. He's hard to get on the ground, he's slippery. He's a really good young player. I think it's his grandfather who writes really good books.

Q: Are you a little disappointed that Graham Gano didn't make All-Pro, did you feel he had a shot at that?

A: That's one of those deals, he has no control of it, we have no control over it. Just make our kicks. Whatever happens, happens. I feel a certain way about Graham, he's done a great job over the years and his numbers speak for themselves. You go back and you look at his numbers over the last four-five years, they speak for themselves.

Running Back Saquon Barkley

Q: Can you talk about the confidence level of this team right now?

A: Yeah, we're a very confident team. We've kind of been that way throughout the whole season. Had our ups and downs, faced adversity, but our mindset has kind of been the same – just continue to come out, go out there with a competitive mindset, believe in each other and that gives us the best opportunity.

Q: I know generally the rule in the NFL is what's in the past is in the past, move past it. With the way that first game went against Philadelphia, can you gain anything from pulling motivation from it getting out of hand?

A: Yeah, you can learn from the good, the bad, the ugly. Obviously, the first game they got up right away. Offensively, I think we did some pretty good stuff, but we could be a little more consistent. At the end of the day, we know they're a talented team. They have how many pro bowlers? How many all-pros? They're the number one team in the NFC for a reason. It's going to be a tough challenge, but you can definitely go back and look at film. Also, like I said, learn from the good, the bad and the ugly.

Q: What do you think about the narrative that the Giants are playing with house money as being a surprise in the playoffs?

A: I don't know. I don't really look at it that way. I don't think we look at it that way at all. We're here for a reason. You've got to win football games to get into the playoffs. No one is just invited, you've got to get in. We got in, to make it to where you want to go – you've got to win, or you go home. We did that the first round and now we've got another opportunity in the second round.

Q: You talked last week about studying the all-time great sat your position and someday, maybe being considered one of them. Do you think you have to do it in the postseason to become one of the all-time greats and is that something that you'll carry into this game?

A: Yeah, it's both. You've got to do it in both. Regular season, postseason, throughout your whole career. There's going to be ups, there's going to be downs, but you've got to try to be a consistent player. You want to create a legacy. You look at all the Giants greats – they did it in the postseason. Yeah, that's extra motivation, but when you're looking back and actually playing in my first playoff game – there's nothing that even comes to mind. You're just so locked in, so focused because every play, every quarter is so crucial. The situation becomes so critical because, like I said, it's one game, if you don't take care of one game you go home. That's really what pushes you – your competitive nature just goes to a whole another level. Your intensity just rises because of the nature of game.

Q: Was there ever a time here where you thought; I need to do everything, or I need to do almost everything? You had your first playoff game and you did a lot, but you didn't do everything. (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) had more carries than you. Is that maybe a change where you don't have to be superman, you can just be what you are?

A: No, I never thought I had to do everything. I think it speaks to the coaching staff, to the players. Our identity changed throughout the season. We're a team that can run the ball 30, 40 times. We've done that. We're a team that can throw the ball 40 times. I feel it speaks to myself as a versatile player; I can run in between the tackles; I feel like if you give me a space – I can be dangerous in space and help us out there. My touches weren't a crazy amount like it has been early in the season, but I think they were efficient touches. (Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka) Kaf and all those guys did a really good job of putting me in a position to be successful and make plays along with the offensive line. Speaking to that, you've got to give credit to the whole offensive coaching staff, the o-line, everyone. Not only myself, but you can see just how we evolve and adapt week by week and throughout the whole season.

Q: How much of your success as an athlete your competitiveness?

A: For me, I think that's where I am, where I'm at right now. I think that's how I got to this point. I've been that way since I was a little kid. I can't speak for everyone else but for me, that competitive nature drives me, and my work ethic drives me, being passionate and wanting to be one of the greats, wanting to be one of the best. For me, it helps me and is a big contribution to my success.

Q: What's the biggest difference that you've seen in Daniel in the way that he's either in the huddle or the way that he conducted the offense Sunday compared to when you first started playing together?

A: The biggest difference is that you grow, you mature, you have experience. I know we don't have playoff experience, but we've been through a lot. Not only myself but DJ, (center Nick Gates) Gatesy – there are so many guys in the locker room. You can just grow with each other. I would say that's the biggest thing from day one to now. The leadership, the determination, the play on the field – obviously all that, but I would say the biggest difference is you go through a lot. You can see that. He's calm, he's poised. When he's poised, he's decisive. He's doing everything that we need from him. We're going to need that again in a big week.

Q: You have not rushed for 100 yards against the Eagles since you were a rookie. What is it about them that is giving you and the Giants in particular trouble throughout the years?

A: They're a good team. They've been really good these last couple years. Ever since I've been in the league, my first year in the league was the year after they won the Super Bowl. They've been a really good team. That's really it.

Q: You've been there a couple of times now – what are you expecting from the crowd, the atmosphere now that it's the playoffs? (Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence II) Dex talked about not wanting his mother to come to the game. What do you expect?

A: Pretty much the same, but my mom and dad are definitely going to show up to that game (laughs). I'm not going to say it's going to be the same, but Philly is Philly. Their fan base is crazy. They're going to be loud, there's going to be cheers, there's going to be boos. There might be some double birds. That's Philly, you know? It's funny, when we were coming into the game last time, we were coming in and there was a little kid and his parent. I was just staring, and I was like, 'I'm going to see if he's going to flip us off.' He didn't, he just gave us a thumbs down and I was like, 'Okay, we're going in the right direction here.' Playoffs is definitely – I expect it to be a hostile environment. It's the playoffs. That's how it's going to be. You know how Philly fans are. Growing up in Pennsylvania, obviously I wasn't a Philly fan growing up, but had a lot of Philly fans – I know how passionate they are. It's going to be fun. This is the stuff that you dream about as a kid. That's what the atmosphere was like in Minnesota. Another great atmosphere going to Philadelphia.

Q: I'm sure you grew up and a lot of your friends were Eagles fans. Now that you're at this point and it is against the Eagles, does that mean anything to you?

A: No. I wouldn't say it means anything to me. I kind of got over that phase my first game at Penn State. That was the only time, because I played at Temple the first game and coming to Philly, but other than that – playing Philly means something because I represent the New York Giants. They're a tough opponent and if you want to get to where you want to go, you've got to get through a team like that.

Q: There was a stretch there earlier in the season where, it was after Week 1, where there was a significant number of loaded boxes that you were running against. As (wide receiver) Isaiah (Hodgins) has gotten going a little bit, (wide receiver) Richie (James), (wide receiver) Darius (Slayton) – have you noticed the last few weeks at all that teams are starting to respect the pass which would potentially open up more things for you?

A: Yeah, 100 percent. That's football. We're becoming more of a balanced attack. At the beginning of the season, everyone knew what we were doing. It was impressive because everyone knew what we were doing and we were still finding ways to win football games, still being successful in the run game. Now with Isaiah, Slay and Richie and (tight end Daniel Bellinger) Belly and the way Daniel (Jones) is playing – we're a balanced attack and that's what you need to make a run at it. That's what you saw early in the game or last week against Minnesota. Whether it was me running, whether it was Daniel (Jones) running, or whether it was me catching the ball in space, all those guys catching the ball in space and all those guys catching the ball in space and DJ making plays. Like I said, got to give credit to all the guys on offense and I think it speaks volumes to our team – especially on the offensive side to see how we are able to adapt throughout the season.

Q: You mentioned how it's hard to play in Philadelphia – you haven't played in every one but you guys have had some real heart-breaking loses there. Do those multiply? Do they stay with you at all? I think 2018, 2019 and 2020 blew double-digit leads. When you go back there, do those memories creep in at all?

A: No. I was a part of '18, '19 and I didn't play in '20 because of my knee but no, you don't. It's like a fresh start, it's a whole new season. I know everyone is like, 'Oh, when the playoffs start the season finally starts.' Yeah, it's a whole new season. Anything that happened earlier in the season does not have a correlation to what's going to happen throughout the game. Obviously, you can learn from it in film and can expect what's going to happen, but whatever happened two, four, five, eight – I saw a stat we haven't beat them (in Philadelphia) since whatever (Oct. 27, 2013) – that's all in the past. Only thing we've got is right now and this opportunity coming up on Saturday night against a really good team.

Q: How do you handle the emotions going into this game?

A: I'm chilling, I'm just locked in. That's really it.

Q: What's it like top hit somebody with your spin cycle? You've caught a few defenders on their feet and left them behind. Is that probably one of your favorite moves against somebody?

A: Is the spin my favorite move? No, I would say my jump cut is my favorite move. It's working, it's working right now. The o-line is doing a great job of getting me up to the safety. I feel like that's what I do best. I feel like making people miss. You've got to be above the X's and O's. They're going to scheme it up to get you one on one and you've got to find a way to create the extra yards. Whether it's the toss or spin or using speed or whatever – I feel like that's what separates me from a lot of other backs and hopefully I can continue to show that throughout the rest of the playoffs.

Safety Xavier McKinney

Q: How tough was it to be on the sideline when the Eagles scored 48 points here and how much are you injured guys looking forward to kind of showing that things are going to be different this time?

A: I mean it was tough to be on the sideline for every game that I was hurt. So, it was no different than all the other games that I missed. We know we've got a new opportunity going into this game, we've been preaching all week, 'we only get one chance, we only get one shot'. Obviously now, if you lose, you're out. So, I think everybody knows the magnitude of that, so we're just thinking of it that way and taking it day by day. Just trying to make sure we prepare the right way and make sure that we're ready on Saturday.

Q: Because you didn't play in that matchup and (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) was also sidelined, does the excitement level go up maybe a little bit higher knowing that you guys could have an impact and imprint on this game?

A: It's exciting for me every game, no matter the game. I've played in big games before, so I try not to be too high, I try not to be too low, but I try to be even the whole way through. I've played in big games and got beat bad before, so it makes no difference of being excited or not being excited, you've got to go in there and play, you've got to go in there and compete. So, that's how I see it.

Q: Is there something about their backup running back Boston Scott that gives you guys a hard time. I'll give you the stat, like 50 percent of his career rushing yards are against you, 50 percent of his career passing yards, receiving yards, and 10 of his 17 career touchdowns are against you. By 'you' I mean the Giants. Is there something about him that give this defense trouble?

A: No.

Q: How much more disciplined does the secondary, including you, have to be when you have a quarterback like Jalen (Hurts) that can throw off form and then he's going to scramble?

A: Playing against him, I've played with him before, so I know how much he brings to the table, I know how competitive he is as a player, as a person, and I know how great of a quarterback he is and the leader that he is. So, it's going to be a challenge for us, we all know that. Just him being out there for them, obviously elevates their game a lot, and it makes them that much better. Like I said we've just got to be prepared and be ready to compete. This is a competitive team; they've got a lot of talent. A lot of guys that can do a lot of different things, so we've just got to be ready to go because it's going to be a challenge.

Q: You're on opposing sidelines this week but is there a pride factor for you just to see how happy you are from him. His evolution form Bama to Oklahoma and now with Philly?

A: Yeah, it's not surprising though. Like I said, I know how he works, I know how he carries himself, on the field and off the field. He's a guy that inspired me when I was at Bama. Just being on the team and seeing how he worked and how he did things, went about things. So, it's not surprising the jumps that he's made, the progression that he's made and usually when you go to Bama you see a lot of guys, we can make those jumps, and we can progress and get better as we go.

Q: We talk a lot about Hurts, do you have a relationship with (wide receiver) DeVonta Smith at all?

A: Yeah, we were in the same class, so obviously we know each other really well. I was just talking to him last week before the Minnesota game. But like I said, another competitive guy, another guy that's super talented, he can do a lot of things well, but it's going to be a dog fight. He knows that, and we know that, so we'll be ready to go.

Q: Being viewed as an underdog, can you use that to an advantage at all? Emotionally during the week of preparation, can you spin that in your favor in any way?

A: No. Underdog means nothing. Like I said, you've got to go out there and play regardless of being excited, underdog, it doesn't matter. In this league anything can happen, obviously in the playoffs anything can happen, so really nobody's an underdog in the playoffs because you all got there. You're the top teams, so there's no underdogs. You've got to go out there and play, compete, and we'll be looking to do that, and we'll be looking to win.

Q: Have you experienced a Philly fan insulting you or insulting a relative?

A: No, I don't pay that much attention.

Q: How gratifying was it for you making that stop of (tight end T.J.) Hockenson at the last play of the game? How gratifying was that for you?

A: It was gratifying for my team and defensively. I knew we needed a stop, I knew that I was going to be one-on-one, so for me, I was just trying to make that stop. I was trying to have my best cover down, that down. But getting that stop got us off the field, and ultimately that's what won us the game. It was gratifying to me, it was gratifying to the team, and we got that one out the way, so we're onto the next one.

Outside Linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux

Q: How much are you looking forward to trying to get a little payback for what happened earlier in the year when you guys played these guys?

A: It's definitely a good opportunity when you get to see a team again. Seeing them a third time, it's definitely going to be a good game.

Q: What are you expecting to see from (quarterback) Jalen Hurts?

A: He's a great quarterback. He's in the MVP race, and it's the playoffs. So, I expect to see his best.

Q: He talked yesterday about every team kind of putting a bounty on him, basically about teams going after his shoulder or arm that he injured. What do you make of that?

A: He's a great player. So, just me being an edge rusher, you see just across the league, people scheme against the great players. So, of course, teams are going to scheme against him as being one of the best quarterbacks in the league. And I would say for us, we just got to do what we can to contain him.

Q: Are you made aware of that – that he might be favoring a specific side with an injury like that like you see with his shoulder?

A: No. I haven't really seen it. Quarterbacks, they're not really too ambidextrous when it comes to throwing. So, I'm pretty sure he can still throw the ball.

Q: But he runs, too. That's the thing.

A: I haven't really looked too much into that.

Q: That first game you played against them is not really the way this defense has played all year. What did you see in that game from them and maybe what you guys didn't do?

A: We didn't stop the run. Stopping the run is a pillar of football. Once you kind of lose that ideology, you kind of lose the core of your team. So, we have to really hone in on that and kind of get back to who we are.

Q: What do you think about when you think about your performance in that game specifically?

A: Just trying to bring more. It's the playoffs now. This week is all we got.

Q: While you have a different game plan, you're scheming different against this offense, how do you replicate the way you guys executed and just the intensity you brought against Minnesota now on Saturday?

A: It starts today. It starts in practice. It starts with recovery, maintaining our bodies. It's just about being a pro and doing that extra, whatever it is extra that you need individually, to play your best ball on Saturday.

Q: When you were along with (Vikings wide receiver Justin) Jefferson on that one play in particular, I think it was in the fourth quarter on Sunday, what are your responsibilities there? And did any part of being essentially matched up with him challenge you differently?

A: No, I consider myself one of the best coverage linebackers there is (laughs). No, he's definitely a great player. I actually don't remember that specific play, but I'd definitely say when you're going against somebody that's of that caliber, you definitely have to strap up and make sure that you hone in on your keys and what it takes to execute.

Q: Is it a blessing to be this late into the season and playing and to be fully healthy on your side of the ball?

A: Well, no one's fully healthy. Let's just start it out. I don't think there's a guy that's in a uniform that's fully healthy. But just to have the ability and to have the availability to play in a game and to have that will to keep going and to fight through all of those things, it's definitely hard. But I think that's the best part of being in this position.

Q: How much of a plus is it to have (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) and (safety Xavier) McKinney knowing what they were able to bring on Sunday?

A: Yeah, those two are our leaders. They've been playing great ball all year, so now just being able to have them with us and put it all together, it's going to be something to see.

Q: You've always talked about your mindset since you've gotten here and how important that is. Do you think you surprise people with how much you think the game as much as you attack the game?

A: Definitely, especially with how I come off because my personality is so big. And because I'm gregarious, it makes people uncertain about my intellect when it comes to football and the scheme of how it works. But I would say just that alongside, we talk about mindset, the ins and outs of the game and then that mindset when it comes to willpower and that next level of knowing what it takes to be great. That's what's been keeping me going.

Q: As a student of the game, is there a part of you that looks at the other side of the ball in terms of the Eagles and how they've been so successful at rushing the quarterback? Do you admire and try to pick that apart, maybe?

A: Of course. Just going back, way back in the season, we went against the Ravens and seeing how much he was able to do back then and now transitioning that to the Eagles, just seeing you got to be disciplined. Everybody wants to be Superman. Everybody wants to do everything, but you can't do that when you're playing with a guy who can make you pay. So, you got to stay true to your assignment.

Q: When you look at that first matchup with the Eagles, do you look at it as, 'They really beat us.' Or was it a game that just happened to get away from you?

A: There's always two sides of any sport. There's the stat line and there's the numbers, and then there's how the games really went. I feel like that first game for me, it was an execution game. We played hard. We did a lot of good things, but we didn't execute to the level that they did. So, when it got to the end, they were able to pull it out. But when you talk about moving forward, I think minimizing those mistakes and minimizing places where we can beat ourselves, I think that will be one of the keys for us.

Q: At the start of the year and as the years went through, did Rookie of the Year ever enter your mind? Did you say, 'This is a goal I want to accomplish,'?

A: Yeah, that was a goal since I got drafted.

Q: I think that something came out. The NFL put six guys out. You're not on that list. Did you see the list? Are you aware of it?

A: No, I think I've just been focused on the Eagles, just having the opportunity to have another week. I couldn't care less about accolades at this point. At this point, it's about opportunity and getting another week.

Q: You're the only one of those six that are still playing. Is that important to you? You want accolades, but you want these accolades, too, I guess?

A: When is the ceremony? (laughs) Whenever the ceremony is, I probably won't watch it. But the next game, everybody that's not playing will be watching.

Q: What goes through your mind watching (defensive lineman) Dexter (Lawrence II)?

A: For me, it's so funny because you don't watch somebody during the play. When you're on the field, it's not like you can see them. If you see me, I'm always around the quarterback, get that kind of get that back sight line. I get the offensive line view of Dex every time after the play. Dex has tackled me. Dex has done just amazing. Just to see somebody that big be that fast, that explosive, that smart. It seems like he's right in the middle and there's not a lot for him to do and dissect, but just his ability to beat two people. There are plays that I laugh and joke with him because he scoots by two people. I call him, 'Scoot' because he just gets right past them. I try, but they just kind of pick me up and move me back. I told him before, I've never seen (Rams defensive tackle) Aaron Donald play in person, but he's the closest thing that I've seen.

Q: They caught you on film calling him the best player you've ever seen play.

A: Yeah, definitely.

Q: What goes into that? What went into that?

A: Like I said, every play he made, I was probably getting tossed around or something in the back. But I was seeing it. I was right next to him. I was seeing him destroy two people, and he's been doing it the whole season.

Q: If he can do that, does it make your life easier when you're lined up next to him and he can take that much attention?

A: We work in tandem. When he's got two people on him, I get the one-on-one or somebody else gets the one-on-one. When I got two people on me, he gets the one-on-one. So, it's just working as a unit.

Q: You play with a lot of confidence. Does a lot of that confidence come from the way you prepare each game?

A: That's the only place it comes from. This sport, it's so physical, so violent, so gruesome that there's no such thing as false confidence. Everything comes from preparation. Everything comes from what you do during the week. And I think that's what's separated us so far and what has continued us afloat.

Q: Does a guy like Leo (defensive lineman Leonard Williams) stressing to you as a rookie, 'Hey, take advantage of this situation because this doesn't come around much,'? He's been in the league eight years. This is his first playoff game. Does a veteran like that constantly tell a guy like yourself, 'Take advantage of the situation because it might not happen again,'?

A: No, because I'm a guy – and I don't say no in a sense where he's not being a leader – but I say no in a sense that I'm a guy who he's leading in other ways. We all know what's at stake. We all know what it's going to take. But it's about, 'How can you apply that extra? How can you get those words and wisdom and use it to your own life?' I think that's where he's been kind of that light to me and realizing what has helped me play my best games and how can I continue to emulate that and elevate that.

Q: You're an aggressive player. Obviously, you want to attack and get to the quarterback. When you play someone like Jalen, who has the ability to hurt you with his legs, do you have to be more disciplined or maybe cognizant of, 'Don't get too far up,' because maybe he can kind of squirt by you?

A: Definitely. What can be your strengths can also be your weaknesses. So, you never want to get outside of your frame of the game, and you want to use those tips and tools that you get throughout the week to kind of help you prepare.

Cornerback Adoree' Jackson

Q: How do you explain your first week back after seven weeks off, you're able to slow down one of the best wide receivers in the game?

A: Just thankful for the journey and the road to be able to come back and to play, and just be with the guys. I just think it was just that moment when you're out on the field you cherish it, a lot of people say you don't know when your last snap may be, I didn't know that my last snap was going to be right before Thanksgiving. To go through that process and then to finally be out there with everybody being in an atmosphere with them, it's different than just seeing it and watching them play. To be a collective as a team and be with your brothers, it's just a special feeling.

Q: Is there anything you can take from the (Vikings wide receiver) Justin Jefferson matchup to the potential (Eagles wide receiver) A.J. Brown one or are they just two totally different receivers?

A: I think just trying to keep stacking days, coming into work every day. Just trying to put your best foot forward and try to just win the day. I think that's the only thing you can do, you can't really focus on the past and what you did, it's about what you're trying to do and for us it's just get better every day and try to go win it all.

Q: What makes A.J. so good?

A: He is just a dog. I don't know any other way to explain it. A guy that gets after, attacks the ball, can run every route in the playbook; catch you with a screen go 80, a slant go 80 or hit you with a deep ball and go 80. A complete receiver, can block, can do all the things that you would want. That's truly a great player.

Q: During those seven weeks off, what was the validation for you to know that you were back? Was it on Sunday having good plays or was it sometime before than to really feel it? Sometimes seeing is believing.

A: It's really throughout practice, just preparing and just getting different reminders from different people. You're putting the work in then you hear little things, or it can be from your parents, or anybody may say something that gives your mind like, 'okay, you really are built for this, or you really did put in the work.' Sometimes you can say it, but sometimes hearing a little bit more reassurance is always clutch. I think throughout the week, just having the guys around me I think that helps a lot. It's cool if somebody else says it but to have your brothers, the guys that you put in that hard work with, not just from camp but in OTA's and just being around each other to make sure and to know that they have your back and they can trust and believe in you, that gives you all the reassurance you need right there.

Q: You were in Tennessee for A.J.'s first two years. What was he like as a rookie and did you guys go against each other a lot in practice? What were those matchup's like?

A: I think as a rookie he is what he is now. I think he always possessed that mentality to attack, to be different in this league and you can see that every week. I think he goes out and goes and sets that out every week. I feel like he's been doing that since his rookie year. That's a credit to him and his mentality to go out there and try to prove that he's the best regardless of situations. I know we go from a team that really doesn't throw the ball, to now he's getting like 1,000 yards every year. He's been very impactful and just proving that he's dominant in this league.

Q: I know you haven't been here very long, but what are your thoughts about Eagles fans and also what kind of atmosphere are you expecting on Saturday?

A: I'm expecting a great environment. Obviously going down there, it's a division opponent but it's a playoff game so I expect them to be fired up and rowdy like I'd expect any team at home to be. Even when we were in Minnesota, they were out there turnt. You know the white-out game we had before Christmas was loud, but this game was different. Even when we were there two weeks ago, when we went down there it was loud then, but I expect it to be louder. Just expecting a great environment, something that you dream of playing in and having that moment.

Q: Do you prefer hearing the roar of the crowd when you make a big play, or do you like the silence when you make a big play?

A: I think they both go hand in hand, it just depends. When you do it at the crib it's something that you live for, the crowd cheering for you, but you can silence the crowd as well. I think that's the cool thing about playing defense because you get a little bit of bang for your buck. You can either silence them or you can turn up the crowd at home. I think they both go hand in hand.

Q: As someone who's spent time away because your injury and now, you're back into the fold, what has allowed this defense to peak at the right time and play so well?

A: I think we just always played together regardless of me being in or being out, we've all seen that throughout all the games. We all ride for each other and play for each other and understand that it's no 'I' it's 'we' when we're out there and 11 hats to the ball flying around. So, that's credit to (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) and the guys here buying in and understanding that we just want to write our own narrative, try to be special in our own eyes, and try to write our own history.

Wide Receiver Isaiah Hodgins

Q: If you remember on November 2, can you just speak about your mental state when you were claimed off the waivers to now, your confidence was unbroken to still be playing for the Giants?

A: On that day, it was definitely a roller coaster. I was just at home kind of relaxing thinking, 'Dang. I just got cut. Hopefully I get brought back onto the active in a couple of weeks. And I got to work my way back up.' And then I started getting all the Facetime calls and text from (Head Coach Brian) Daboll of like I was coming over here. And a couple hours later, I was on the flight, getting the playbook and learning any of the new stuff. It never really rattled my confidence, though. If anything, I think it helped just because the way that Daboll brought me in, I just knew that he was going to give me the opportunity. He wasn't going to hand me a job, but he was going to give me an opportunity and let me see what I could do with it. I think week by week and practice by practice, he continued to do that. I went out there and worked hard every day and tried to show my best of like, 'Hey, I want to be here, and I want to stay here.' And I think it's gone good so far. So, I'm just thankful for those guys for just bringing me in.

Q: You've only been teammates with (running back) Saquon (Barkley) for a couple of months now. What impressed you the most when you got in here and got to know him?

A: I would say just his hard work and just how he practices. A lot of times with superstar players, at least from – I've played with a couple before – but from what I've heard from guys is that 'Oh, this superstar doesn't practice. And they don't work hard. And they don't this.' But I had a real great example in Buffalo with (wide receiver Stefon) Diggs. Diggs was one of the most intense guys at practice every single practice. And I think Saquon follows that same way. We'll do a little inside zone, and he's finishing 60 yards down the field in the end zone. It sets a good example for young guys like me or younger guys on the practice squad or rookies and stuff like, 'Man this is how you're supposed to practice.' It doesn't just happen in the game. He gets these reps and looks in practice, so when it's in a game, it's natural for him. And it's easy.

Q: Did you view him as a superstar before you came in? Was that always your impression of him?

A: Yeah, I'm pretty sure everyone would view Saquon as a superstar, for sure. I remember him back in his Penn State days when he was going crazy out there, playing USC (the University of Southern California) in the Rose Bowl and scoring all those touchdowns. It's definitely cool now to be playing on the same team as him, thinking at one point in time, I was just in college watching him.

Q: The narrative of the Giants playing with house money, do you pay attention to it? Does it add fuel to the fire?

A: I try not to pay too much attention to that. I know that that narrative is going to be out there all the time, and not many people maybe expected us to be there. But I think the people within the locker room expected us to be here. And I think the team knew that at the beginning of the season. I wasn't here with them for then, but when I first came in here and I knew and I saw the pieces that were on this team, I just knew this is a talented roster. This is a talented team. And I feel like each week, they've done a good job of catching me up to speed. And they've done a good job of buying into Daboll and how he wants us to practice, how he wants us to play. And like, 'Hey, if we take this thing one week at a time, we could keep proving everybody wrong.' But it's a 'not looking too far ahead' mentality. One week at a time. Practice, hard work and just continue just to fight every game.

Q: You had a 100-yard game in the playoffs for the Giants. Have you talked to any of the former receivers here – guys like (Amani) Toomer hang around the building or what not. Have you talked to anybody? Have you heard from anybody? Has anybody reached out to you? Anybody tell you, 'I like your game?' Has anybody from Giants' past reached out to you now?

A: I haven't talked to any receivers, no. I actually got to – and not talking yet – but I think I'm going to do a little bit of talking with (former running back) Tiki Barber, which is kind of cool. He knows a couple of people that I know and reached out to me. So, it was kind of a surreal moment to have that happen. Not any wideouts, but if any of them are watching this, hit me up. I'm willing to learn anything. So, I'm here.

Q: Is it a 'pinch yourself' kind of moment? You were on the practice squad, and now you're like a legit number one receiver having 100-yard games, five touchdowns in six games for a playoff game?

A: I would definitely say it's a surreal moment. I never look past it. I knew that I could do this, but just to be there sitting back looking at a couple months ago, I was getting cut from one team. And now, I'm playing in the second round of the playoffs. Sometimes I get that overwhelming feeling of just like, 'Man, I'm so blessed to be here and I'm so thankful.' I just try to remind myself of that every day.

Q: How much have you guys just gained confidence in the last few weeks with the passing game really picking up? Is that something that kind of makes you guys realize, 'Hey, that first game when they came in, we really struggled against their defense. That's way in the past now because we've just made so many strides since then,'?

A: Yeah, I think it's good to look at that game because we did struggle that game, and as you said also, we have made strides since then. It's good to look at the good and the bad, to go back a day and look at that game and see what we could have done better and say, 'Hey if we would have done this or we ran routes how we do now and just the concepts, it might have turned out different.' But it was a good learning lesson, and I think sometimes you got to get smacked in the mouth like that to kind of have that bitter taste so, when you guys play next time that hopefully there's a different result. I think we're playing great football right now. I think the coaching staff has done a great job of just putting us in the right position. The players have done a great job of putting in that extra overtime work just knowing, 'Hey, this is week-by-week. Next week isn't promised. So, put in all the work this week, and we'll go execute on Saturday and see what happens.'

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