A Conversation with Michael Strahan

For all Michael Strahan's accomplishments and accolades, he says he's never done any of it under Tom Coughlin's watch. As a result, Strahan said he hasn't even considered giving Coughlin less than his customary 100 percent. The six-time Pro Bowler simply has too much to prove to the new man in charge.

Q: Can you compare this camp to the previous camps you've gone through?

A: I'd say the intensity level is much higher. The time management of this camp seems to be a little more stringent. For me, the biggest difference is that the last five years I haven't had to think much when I came to camp. The biggest difference this year is that I've had to learn a new defense. It's difficult to learn it with new players. But it's going along pretty smoothly.

Q: A lot was made this offseason regarding you and Tom Coughlin. How is your relationship with Coach Coughlin?

A: Great. Seriously great. I do everything he asks me to do. I'm actually enjoying camp. It is what it is and what you make it. It's not like I'm being tortured to be here. I enjoy his intensity. I enjoy the fact that he demands the best out of you. He gives you everything that he has. You can definitely see that. I don't have a problem with him. I think he was and is the right coach for what we need to do right now. I'm behind him and will do whatever he asks me to do. You can see his intensity on the sideline. When we score he's excited and when we make a mistake he's excited the opposite way. It sounded like I was not a part of the program this offseason, which was dumb on my part. It sounded like I wasn't a part of what was going on when I actually was. He and I don't have any problems whatsoever.

Q: But couldn't you make the case that you can handle yourself, that you've done this long enough and well enough to know what you're doing? A: Yeah, but at the same time I haven't done it for him. That's the way I look at it. I could easily come in here and say, ‘Coach, I've been Player of the Year, six Pro Bowls, led the league in sacks…' I can do all that stuff, but what does he know? For all he knows that could have been me last year and this year I'm done. Maybe I just can't do it anymore. So I have to show him that I can still do it. I owe it to show him that he can trust me to put me out on the field. Not by reputation but by acts and how I do it in practice.

Q: Does he treat everybody equally?

A: Oh yes. I don't care if you've been here for 10 years or 20 years, you're going to get treated like the guy that just got here yesterday. That's another thing you can respect about him is that he's going to be fair to everybody.

Q: Tim Lewis mentioned before camp the possibility of moving you around on defense to better take advantage of some mismatches. Do you like the sound of that?

A: Whatever he wants me to do. Tim is a very smart guy. He knows defense as much as anyone I've ever been around. I'm sure he's going to put me in a position to make plays and I appreciate that. He's going to put everyone in position to make plays. I think we all have to be very conscious of what he wants. This is a trust defense, where you truly have to trust the guy next to you to be where he should be. One thing we're trying to build is learning to trust the guy next to you when you've never really played with him before. If Tim wants me to move to the moon and jump off to make a play, I'll do it.

See the rest of this Q&A in the latest issue of The Giant Insider.

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