Conference Call with Keyshawn Johnson

Q: I think I read a quote that came out of the papers yesterday. You said the Giants are a better team than the Cowboys are. Could you explain or elaborate on that? A: I just think that they are. I think they are a much better football team right now. When you look at the teams that they have beaten and the way we have beaten those teams, you have to factor that into the equation. This guy makes just a field goal, they beat the Seattle Seahawks. They beat the Washington Redskins.

 What was it, 36-0?  Washington beat us.  They had no problem handling the Philadelphia Eagles where we had to come from behind to try to beat the Eagles.  They beat the Denver Broncos; we didn't beat the Denver Broncos.  When you start to factor into all of those things, then they are a better football team than us.
Q:  You do remember you beat the Giants in overtime, right?
A:  Yeah, but the Giants had four or five turnovers.  And if they didn't have those four or five turnovers then the game may have been different.
Q:  How much fun is this game going to be with so much on the line as far as the division lead and the playoff implications?  Is this what you had hoped to get involved in in Dallas?
A:  Oh, yeah, definitely.  This is a type of game that I live for. I like big-time games and big-time atmosphere so that I can perform at a higher level and do what I do best - play football and get on this stage that I was born for. 
Q:  The Giants felt in that first game that had the coin flip turned out differently they might have won because they had all of the momentum going into overtime.  Do you guys feel they had the momentum and do you feel a little fortunate to get out of there with a win?
A:  I think you do feel fortunate to get out of there with a win.  Like I said before, they are a better team and Tom Coughlin has surely gotten them on the right track.  He may have put the season at a loss last year to get them ready for this year with the young quarterback.  But they are doing a good job.
Q:  (Does) the comparison with Terrell Owens bother you when it happened last week, or did you expect it would happen?
A:  I don't even concern myself with that situation.  I play for the Dallas Cowboys and Bill Parcells.  It is not my problem.
Q:  I am guessing by that that it frustrated you a little bit, then?
A:  It's not my problem.  I have my own problems to worry about.  I don't worry about others.
Q:  What would be your biggest problem this week?
A:  The Giants.
Q:  Specifically, the secondary?
A:  ..  when you are talking about the defensive schemes; those two ends that are bastards and they come up the field, they can really cause some havoc.  I can't pronounce that one guy's name - I just have to say '72' and then obviously Michael over on the other side.  And then their secondary is playing pretty good; those two safeties Alexander and Wilson.  And then they bring in this young kid, Webster, who is playing solid at the corner.  And Deloatch is another solid corner.  And Will Allen has always been a solid corner in this League.
Q:  We miss you Keyshawn.  How much do you miss us?
A:  Well, I have been gone from that place for a long time.  Those were good memories but for me now I have to move forward and look forward to the Dallas media.
Q:  A lot of people didn't think you would be a good fit with Parcells, but it looks like you sure are.  What is it about it that makes it work for the two of you?
A:  I think I could fit with anybody if they could fit with me.  The bottom line is this coach gets along with me; I get along with him.  I do everything that is asked of me for every coach that I have every played for, every single one.  I think I have had four pro coaches in my 10 years in the National Football League and I have done everything that has ever been asked of me.  So as long as they can respect that, then they will never get any problems out of me.
Q:  You said that T.O. is not your problem, which I respect.  But do you think when your owner was quoted saying he would be interested in him in the future?
A:  The owner can say whatever he wants to say.  I am playing this year and worried about this year, and this year only. 
Q:  You and Drew Bledsoe, Terry Glenn, Aaron Glenn, Jason Ferguson, ex-patriarch, or ex-Jets under Parcells, now you are all together.  What is that like?
A:  It is fun.  I think all of us know what makes this guy tick; what makes him go.  We go out on the football field and we try and give him what he has gotten out of us before, which is competitive players that compete to try and make this football team a winning football team.  And so far we have done that.  We are over .500, but we are not finished.  There is a lot more football to go.  And at the end of the day I would like to see ourselves, hopefully, in the Super Bowl.
Q:  Do you think whoever wins this game is going to win this Division?
A:  I don't know.  I know that it is definitely a big step in the right direction with whom ever wins the game.  But there is a lot more football to go, like I said.  I don't think it is doomsday one way or another for either team.   But you have to worry about this game and then there are other games to be played.  So we will see what happens on Sunday.
Q:  You said what makes Bill tick that you guys understand it. What is it that makes him tick?
A:  I think - what side of the ticking measure do you want?  I know what makes him mad and I know what gets him happy.  When you are out there doing what you are suppose to do and you are playing and when he is calling your number and you are making the plays that he thinks you can make, it is going to put a smile on his face.  Vice versa, when you do something that is disruptive, that could cause a problem for our football team, fumbling the ball, throwing an interception, running bad routes, not picking up your blocking, not making your tackles, getting beat deep; that can cause a problem for him and put him on the negative side.  So you just don't do those things and you take care of the business that you are paid a lot of money to do, and then you will be okay.
Q:  Is he the same coach that he was with the Jets, or is there something different about him?
A:  Yeah, he is the same coach to me.  I really believe that he is.  I asked him a couple of weeks ago if he was still having fun coaching and if he enjoyed it.  And he told me he did.  There were one or two things that bothered him in coaching and that was pretty much it.  But other than that, he said that he enjoyed it.
Q:  Seems like this has been a very emotional year for him, though.  Have you noticed that with him since the deaths in his family and with Wellington Mara passing away?
A: No I haven't.  I haven't noticed any of that.  He has been quiet and to his self at times when things have happened like this.  You try not to read too much into it.  The last time I tried to read a whole lot into something was in '99 and he decided he wasn't going to coach anymore.  So I try not to read too much into it. 
Q:  You guys have lost a few games probably because of kicking.  Do kickers in this league have too big an influence in the outcome?
A:  No, I think that they are part of the team.  You would like for them to make their kicks.  But I'm pretty sure they would like for us to make our catches when they throw it to us.  So, it's a job that you would think is easy, but at the same time you never know what is going on in a guy's mind with the pressure on him and knowing that everybody is watching and they have to make a chip shot of 25 yards or whatever it is, and it goes wide left or right, or too short.
Q:  Is it difficult to play for 59 minutes and then have a guy run onto the field and kind of determine your fate?
A:  No, I don't look at it that way.  When you play 59 minutes I think he is involved in that, too.  He is kicking off and punting and doing all of those other things as well.  So he is involved in the game.  He may not take as many snaps out on the field but he surely isn't making the type of money that guys like myself and some of the other key positions are making, either. The way I look at it is that you should never put yourself in the position to have to rely on a field goal kicker in the first place.
Q:  Can you tell my Bill's demeanor this week that not only is it a big game, but it is a big game against his former team?
A:  No, not really.  He is coaching the same way that he has always coached, preparing for an opponent like this.  We know how tough the Giants are.  We know what they bring to the table.  We know how well Eli Manning is playing right now, and how exceptional he is.  He will be on his way to a Pro Bowl probably.  We know all of those things.  Our coach is excited to go back to New York and it is a big game.  It is a big game, whether it is the Giants or the Green Bay Packers; it will be a big game for us.
Q:  Are you expecting another one of the games that goes down to the wire?
A:  I hope not.  I hope not.  I hope not.
Q:  Have the last couple of seasons changed the way people see you, or perceive you?
A:  I don't know.  If I worry about the way you perceive me or see me, then I am really going to get old quickly.  I'm not into changing the minds of anyone.  The only thing that I ask is that you call it like you see it and not like you want it to be.  And if you need some interpretation to understand what exactly I mean by that, then just ask me. 
Q:  Did you ever doubt that Bill would turn it around with the Cowboys?
A:  No, I never doubted it.  That is why I came here.  That is one of the reasons.  I could have went to several other teams and played for them, believe it or.  I didn't have to come to the Dallas Cowboys; nothing said that I had to come play for Bill Parcells.  But knowing him and knowing that he was going to get this organization going in the right direction, is what was advantageous to me in saying to myself that I could be on a winning football team these next four, five or six years of my career that is left.
Q:  Is there any one or two things that you could pinpoint why he is able to turn around teams?
A:  I think he is just a good coach.  I think he has the desire to take a team and turn them into something positive.  People like working for him and playing for him.  The only people that I have ever known, and I have know Bill now for nine years, both when he has been coaching and when he hasn't coached, I remained close to him and the only people I have ever seen have a problem with him are the ones that have not had success underneath him, both players and coaches.  He demands a lot of the players and he demands a lot of the coaches.  And the ones that have had success and have went on to have success, and the ones that have been failures have went on to be failures. 
Q:  I assume, knowing him so well, and having been with him, guys like you, Jason and Drew are "his guys."  He always had his guys.  What do you guys do for him to help make this team successful, like off the field, what does he expect you to do?
A:  I think he just expects us to be leaders - being leaders meaning every man on this team is a grown man.  Everybody has a responsibility to their families and everything like that.  But I think the one that he knows, and he knows certain players aren't going to get into trouble off the field.  And that is important.  When I mean get into trouble off the field, I don't mean talking smart back to the media, that is not getting into trouble off the field.  I am talking about going out and getting caught with a gun in your car, or any of those sorts of things.  That is embarrassing to an organization and to a head coach that puts his trust into you.  Every now and then there is going to be things that ruffle feathers but I think when you do those sorts of things it shows some kind of leadership that he can trust in you and show these younger guys like a Barber, like a Julius Jones, like a Patrick Crayton, that you can go ahead and do these things and be successful at them.  You don't have to always want to be in the spotlight.  The media attention comes to you; you don't have to ask for media attention. 
Q:  How is your relationship with Bledsoe?  Has there been an improvement; what kind of rapport do you guys have right now?
A:  We have had the same rapport since day one.  When I am open he throws it. 
Q:  Is that all you need?
A:  Pretty much.  What else?  He drives my car during training camp.  We talked in the huddle, we talk off the field.  We have the same financial advisers.  I don't what else - we have a good working relationship. 
Q:  On the field do you feel like you are the guy that he can almost have like a security blanket?  That you are the guy he can always turn to, even if a situation breaks down, you can be that guy for him?
A:  I think I can be a guy.  I think he knows that we have a couple of guys that can be that guy. He has played with Terry, he has played with me. He has Jason Witten who he is comfortable with.  He throws the ball to Peerless when he needs to.  I just think he does what he needs to do to get the ball in the right people's hands at the right time.  There are plays that are called to go to me; there are plays that are called to go to Terry, Jason and any other person that is in the read. 
Q:  What more do you want to do in your career and how long do you see yourself playing?
A:  I will probably play another five years and be done.  Probably another four to five years and be done.  I would like to get to 1,000 catches; I would like to do it as a Dallas Cowboy.  I would like to get to a 1,000 catches and win another Super Bowl and be done.  So I am on pace to do all of that.  And if I can stay on track and do it, then I will have accomplished my individual goals, which is winning another Super Bowl and get to 1,000 catches.
Q:  You had talked at one point about retiring at age 30.  What changed that? 
A:  Just having fun, enjoying it, getting back with Bill. I had actually talked about retiring in my 10th year; and just having fun and getting back with Bill, enjoying the success that I have had.  I have had success in New York and in Tampa and I am having success here.  Success to me is being over .500.  Success to me is playing the playoffs; that is success.  I am always going to catch the ball; that is easy.  But the winning part of it is what is important to me.  When I know that in all of the games that I have played in, like 160 games or whatever it is, (170) games, that I have a very high winning percentage.  That is a plus to me.
Q:  Can you see the difference the Giants offense has made in adding such a good receiver as Burress?  Do you have any impressions with what he has accomplished?
A:  I think has done a good job.  I think he has done a terrific job in helping the young guy, Eli Manning, out.  He is a big target; a strong kid who is making plays down the field for them in key situations.  I think that is a plus for the New York Giants to have him. 

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