A Conversation with Carlos Emmons

The Giants might not have signed a ton of big names during free agency this offseason, but there's no doubt the headliner of the group was LB Carlos Emmons. Philadelphia's MVP last season, the strong side 'backer was taken aback that the Birds didn't want to retain his services. <BR><BR>

Now he's ready to prove them wrong right off the bat when his new club visits his old team on opening day. Emmons shares with TGI his thoughts on all things football, his injury status and the fact that he had no involvement whatsoever in CoughlinGate.

Q: Are you excited to come here or disappointed the Eagles didn't want to keep you?

A: Anytime you come to a city like New York to play any kind of sports, it's a big thing. This is the Mecca of football. You know that if you win around here that things are going to be great for you. We're looking forward to turning this thing around.

Q: How is your leg? What's the timeframe there?

A: I'm supposed to be fully back by June. Right now it's looking good. I'm jogging around and doing a few things. I'm ahead of schedule and looking forward to getting back out there.

Q: Would you please set the record straight regarding your shoulder? There are a lot of rumors flying around.

A: I don't know where that came from. I haven't had a shoulder injury since 1997. People were calling me asking me about it. It was funny when I heard about it. Maybe I have a twin or something I don't know about.

Q: What are you going to add to this defense?

A: What they're going to get from me is a veteran player they know is going to show up every game. I'll bring leadership on the field and I'm going to show guys what it takes to win. I know what it takes to win. I know the things you need to do to win ballgames. Hopefully I can instill that in the guys here.

Q: What do you think your former Eagles teammates and coaches would say about you?

A: I think they viewed me as someone they could count on. They knew they didn't have to worry about me. They knew every Sunday that I was always going to be there. I was always going to make plays for them and always take care of my job.

Q: What did it mean to be named team MVP?

A: Any time you get an accolade or an award like that that's voted on by your teammates, it makes you feel real good. When they feel that highly about you, you're obviously doing some things to help your team win. Hopefully I can do the same thing here.

Q: So then why did they let you go?

A: They let the MVPs go on that team. (Jeremiah) Trotter was an MVP. Hugh Douglas was an MVP. Who knows why?

Q: Sure must give you a little added incentive to beat them, no?

A: I plan on proving to them that they screwed up. If I play the way I want to play, it will be proven. I think they know what they had and what they let go. It's a business decision and I have to get over it and move on.

Q: Why are you such a successful strongside linebacker?

A: Size. To be on the strong side, you have to take on a lot more blocks. On the weak side, you're unblocked a lot. You get to run around a lot and make plays out there. The guy on the strong side has to be able to take on the blocks and make the tackle. You need a guy with a little more size there.

Q: Is it tough to set numerical goals at such a stat-unfriendly position like SLB?

A: It's a new defense so you have to see how things play out. Usually the strong side linebacker has to fight for his stats. You really don't have as many opportunities as the other 'backers. It's a new defense and I think they're going to allow me to do a lot more things. We'll see how it plays out. Hopefully my stats will be up there so people will know that I'm doing a good job.

Q: You're joining a defense that didn't exactly set the league on fire last year. How can you help make more plays?

A: We definitely have to make plays. The first two games last year, they were Super Bowl favorites. Once things turn sour it's hard to turn it around. You keep saying, 'we're going to win next week, we're going to win next week.' The next thing you know, you've lost eight in a row. You start getting the feeling that once something goes wrong, 'here we go again.' That's what you have to avoid.

Q: Do you recall the huge fourth-down tackle you made on Tiki Barber last year in Philly?

A: I haven't messed with him about it. When he came back into the game we knew he wasn't coming in to run inside down near the goal line. I was expecting outside all the way. The key thing was to beat both blocks and get to him, and I did.

Q: What's stood out so far under Coach Coughlin?

A: I don't think there have been any surprises. I went through this once before when I left Pittsburgh to come to Philly (2000). It's an adjustment you have to make. You're coming in and learning a new system. You have to learn all the new players and try to form a bond with the older players that you're going to be playing with this season.

Q: Is Coughlin as tough as everyone says?

A: He's just a disciplinarian. He has his rules and he stays by them. As a player, this is our job. He sets the rules, we go out and handle them and take care of business. That's all he cares about.

Q: Were you one of the players that filed a complaint about the excessive working conditions during the offseason program?

A: No, the first time I even heard anything about any of these grievances was when you just told me. I knew nothing about it. I don't think there's anything to it.

Q: Do you have any problems with any of the ways that things are run here?

A: No, I'm fine.

Q: Fond memories of playing under Tim Lewis in Pittsburgh?

A: I'm familiar with him. I like the fact that he plans to attack on defense and get after guys; not just standing around. That's going to help us a lot.

Q: Not much is expected of this team this year. What are your thoughts on that?

A: Hopefully we'll come out early in the year and hit some people in the mouth and let them know early that we're not going to be sneaking up on anybody. We're going to be here from the start. Once you come out and play good football, all that other sneaking up on people and coming out of nowhere stuff goes out the window. People know that when they come to New York they better come to play.

Q: Are you actually as quiet as everyone says you are?

A: I think a lot of people, especially media-wise, get the impression that I don't talk and that I'm quiet. It's not like that at all. Guys on the team always laugh when they hear that. They say, 'they must not see what we see.' Once the media paints a certain picture of you they run with it. That's something people don't know about me.

Q: You plan on being a leader on this team this year?

A: I think everyone that steps on the field should be considered a leader. That's just the way I feel. Everyone leads in their own way. It might be a way that people don't even realize. But something someone may do one day could always help someone else out. You need to always take into account when you're doing something that you're always being looked at and someone's always looking to learn something from you.

Q: How's living in the tri-state area?

A: Great. I like the area. The area's fine. I'm living in North Jersey. You can live your life away from the City, but you're still close enough to go in whenever you want to. It's good living here.


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