Best of bye week: Offensive edition

In addition to our exclusive Question and Answer session with offensive coordinator John Hufnagel, here's what some of the other key Giants offensive assistants had to say during the bye week. <BR><BR>

OL coach Pat Flaherty

On how cancer surgery affected him: As I mentioned to you in training camp, as coaches you really…and not just coaches, in all professions…you're so used to having so much energy, you know you buzz here and buzz there…that was the biggest thing that I had to learn to adjust to. I didn't have the energy that I wanted. I'm getting it back each and every week though.

On future health: In the near future I'll go back and visit with the doctors and they'll decide what the next step is. I'll just keep my fingers crossed. You know from earlier reports after the surgery and everything was very positive so they wouldn't tell me on the phone when I tried to get them a couple of weeks ago. They want to set the game plan when I go and see them.

On progress and development of OL: We expect and I expected since the day I arrived here…I expected the group to come in here and be a physical group as an offensive line. They practice that way, their effort is directed towards being a physical group. We can be much more physical than what we are right now and that's what we expect as this coaching staff. We also have expectations of what we're going to do and how we're going to improve week by week. Their effort has been something that, in particular as an offensive line group, you continue to give the effort and you come out and do that each and every day at practice you will show improvement. How much improvement? Improvement is improvement and in offensive line play we'll see improvement that maybe other people won't see. We'll see some things that you don't see or that maybe are different from a standpoint. I don't want to say I'm a hard person to please because I'm not, but you can never become satisfied at that position…I don't think you can ever become satisfied with your play…once you do, as Joe Paterno said many, many years ago to me and many other people, "You either get better or you get worse each and every day at practice," and I firmly believe that also and have taken that from Joe.

TEs coach Mike Pope

On Jeremy Shockey questioning his different role: I think his motive is to just help his team. I don't think there is anything negative in that at all. I think if you ask him that question today it would be different. He missed so much of training camp that he did not have those opportunities to get involved in those different places. We've lined him up in, I think, nine different places. The reason for doing that, obviously, is to make it difficult for the defense to make a plan for him. Also, it's to conjunct him with the other receivers and with Tiki in the running game and in the passing game. At the time he said that, there probably was some confusion in his mind due to the absence of repetition in training camp. Right now, I see him coming out of the huddle and going where he should be. Three weeks ago he was coming out of the huddle and starting one way and then going another because we were using him in a lot of different positions. He was the X, the Y and the Z. He was a B, which is a fullback type spot. He wants to do the right thing, he wants to know what to do so he can play full speed and I think he's getting closer to being comfortable with those things. I even read one of your articles where he was saying he felt good now where he could get located and ‘it's harder for the defense' and ‘it is helping our offense.' All the things that we had as motives for moving him around now are becoming obvious to him and to us.

On the adjustment for Shockey: The adjustment period was when he couldn't practice in training camp. The late surgery was disconcerting and the fact that he was going to miss time for that and then he comes back and gets the hamstring. All of these players, no matter who they are, when you play multiple positions you have to rep those things and you have to see all the different looks that are involved with that. If you don't get those (reps), just standing behind the offensive huddle and watching is not enough. You have to physically do it. I think we've gone through those stumbling block areas and stepped over those potholes. I think we're to a point where the frustration level has diminished a great deal for both of us because now he's more comfortable with it.

QBs coach Kevin Gilbride

On what has gone right for Kurt Warner: The thing that I can say that has impressed me since he has been here is his professionalism. He is a tremendous competitor, even though he maybe doesn't project that immediately. It is a very strong overwhelming desire to be good. It bothers him when he does not do something real well, so that is a tremendous motivator and that plays out in everything he does. So his preparation is incredible, his readiness for a meeting is like none I have ever seen. When he comes into a meeting, he already has questions about what you are going to talk about, because he has already read the information.

That – as a coach, as a teacher, as an educator at your position – is fun for me. He is very much a guy that wants to know as much as he can and give himself the best chance to be successful. He does it with his hard work and his effort. That has been the single-most reason in my mind that he has been successful here. The courage, his accuracy as a thrower, his toughness in the pocket, his ability to slide around in the pocket and buy himself some time, those things I think I anticipated, but I am not sure I understood the work ethic that he possesses.

On the restoration of Warner's confidence: Human nature being the way it is, it is hard to imagine that there wasn't some loss of confidence, though he certainly never gave any indication, never discussed it, never acted as if there was a need for that to happen. But when you go through some tough times I am sure being human, there was some questioning going on. But he has certainly not brought it up. You can just see it now and I just think that as we have success as a team and he continues to be an important part of that, I think you will see him get more confident, both from familiarity and success.

On Warner's room for improvement: I think the biggest thing is you can put it on a black board and the environment of the meeting room or on the practice field, he knows exactly what to do when something appears. He knows it so well so it is just a reaction to what just happened. He can still get better in those areas. That goes through the full gambit in his response to a coverage, where to go with the ball, where to make the declaration of how our protection is going to line up, the adjustment you have to make during blitzes. Sometimes we are still a half a step slow in all those things and I think he knows that as well as anybody. Like I said, he is self-critical of those things. He knows those areas he has got to get better in, so I think if we keep doing it so many times more then eventually it will become like it was for him when he was in a system that he had down for five years.

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