A Conversation with Nick Greisen

Nick Greisen finally got his big chance, filling in for Barrett Green against Detroit. And Greisen made the most of it, playing extremely well as New York's weak-side linebacker. Tom Coughlin announced that Green would return to New York's defense as the WLB in the base defense, but that Greisen would remain the man in the nickel packages, used more and more in today's NFL. <BR><BR>

Greisen, who was surprisingly beaten out by Kevin Lewis for the starting MLB job coming out of camp, could even conceivably regain that spot if he continues to play at a high level. Here's what New York's third-year LB out of Wisconsin had to say before New York headed to Minnesota to face the Vikings.

Q: How do you think you did finally getting in there against Detroit and getting to play some?

A: It was great. To go from coming into the preseason as the starter and losing your job to being a backup and finally getting the opportunity to go out and prove yourself. You can't really do that in practice during the season. To get a chance to show the coaches what you can do on a game day was a really good feeling for me. And I thought I made the most out of my opportunity.

Q: How tough was it playing out of position?

A: It was different. There are a lot of different responsibilities, different coverages and reads and keys, but football's football and playing linebacker's playing linebacker. I was comfortable with it. I guess it's good to pay attention to all the positions during training camp. It really helped me to know what the whole defensive scheme is. That helped me out quite a bit.

Q: Did it take you a couple plays to shake off the rust?

A: Actually I needed a couple plays to calm down a little bit. You know the nerves get going and you're anxious and all hyped up and pumped up to play. I just needed to relax and settle down and let the flow of the game come to me. That's all I really had to do.

Q: How do you prepare to play only in nickel situations?

A: Well, it's a plus for me because I'm getting more time than I did before the Detroit game. I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to get on the field regardless of whether it's nickel or base. Just being able to help and contribute to this team on defense is what I'm concerned with.

Q: How difficult was it when you found out you weren't going to be the starter?

A: It was difficult. I had my sights set high, and when I got injured, it all kind of came crashing down. I had to take a different approach to things. Then I took a different role. I accepted what had happened, but at the same time, I knew I had to keep fighting and studying. It is true that you're only one play away from being a starter at all times.

Q: Coach Coughlin said he was pleased with how you responded after you lost the job. Your thoughts?

A: Sure I worked harder. I had to. Obviously I wasn't doing something right for them to give Kevin the job, or for Kevin to earn the job and me not be able to win the job. I felt that I had to get going, work harder and become a better player. I wanted to study more and have every advantage that I could to be the starter. I wanted them to see that I'm the number one guy out there.

I didn't really work at any one thing in particular. I just went about my business as usual, ran to the ball every snap and kept playing hard.

Q: How different is this situation compared to backing up Micheal Barrow last year?

A: It's very different. Last year, I was strictly a backup and that was it. I didn't have a look for situations or what I was going to be doing. It's a good feeling for me right now.

Q: How much did the bye weekend help heal your aches and pains?

A: It was nice. I think the bye actually helped me more mentally to get ready to play Will linebacker. We had those two bye-week practices, and during those I focused mainly on Will. I didn't take any Mike (middle) reps. That really helped me out a lot.

Q: When exactly did you find out that you would be starting against the Lions?

A: I was working with the ones during the bye week on Wednesday and Thursday. At that point I still wasn't sure what was going to happen. When we came in the next week and started preparing for Detroit, I was still starting at Will. Throughout the week, I stayed with the ‘ones' and I was the guy on Sunday. I think it was Wednesday or Thursday when I found out for sure.

Q: Has getting the playing time put a little extra bounce in your step?

A: A little bit. You always want to be a starter and strive to be a starter. It gives you a little more confidence, that ‘hey we trust you. You're going to be our guy this week.' Especially when they have a healthy Barrett Green. Them having the confidence in me helps me have the confidence in myself. Maybe you'll get a little more respect from your teammates and the media, but it doesn't really change all that much. Being a starter in the NFL is a pretty big deal; it's a big accomplishment. It's something a lot of people are looking for, not only here, but also all around the league.

Q: It has to be safe to say that you think you're starting caliber, right?

A: I look at it that wherever I play I'm the starter. I have a starting mentality because I was coming into this year. I think I'm starting material. We have four guys that are starting material and only three spots. I'm just the odd man out right now. I just want to get another shot. But obviously I'm still playing. I don't want to leave that position. I want to be the best at whatever situation they put me in.

Q: You think you'll stay at Will or do you feel you'll end up back at Mike?

A: No clue. So much has already changed since the beginning of the year. If you asked me then what would happen, there's no way that I'd even be able to tell you to this point. It's difficult to say.

Q: Has the defensive success coming so quickly surprised you at all?

A: No, not at all. We have a lot of great players and a great scheme that the coaches have us in. For the way we work, I'm not surprised at all that we're doing this well.

Q: Is this team for real?

A: We really just take everything week by week. We take every game one by one, focus on that team and get a victory. By the end of the year, a lot will add up. You don't want to look to the future too much because you don't want to look past anybody.


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