Coughlin, Giants Wrap Up Minicamp

As the Giants wrapped up mini-camp, Coach Tom Coughlin took some questions. Among the topics he discussed were the defense, Eli Manning, Jared Lorenzen, the QB's in general and vacation plans. Those include another grandchild on the near horizon.

Q:  How pleased were you with this week?

A:   I'm always glad.  What I told the players the other night is the real important thing about this is the fact that the whole idea of all of the work you do in the offseason as far as your personnel goes – your free agency period, your draft period, your college free agency, the addition of players even after that, the June 1 additions – this is an opportunity for us all to come together as a team, really for the first time.  And that is really significant to me and it is real important to me.  And then we talked about the fact those of us who bleed Giant blue, we need to look back at the last game only for one reason, and that is to motivate us as we go forward, to understand what this league is all about and what we have moving forward in terms of our 2006 season.  So, with all of that in mind, we had a typical mini camp and really training camp will be no different. On the one hand, you might have the offense do well one period or one morning and the afternoon the defense comes back and does very well.  And so it kind of goes back and forth like that.  Today was pretty spirited.  The reaction you normally get because the camp is over.  But I do think the players have seen enough and they have sensed enough and they are excited about it.  And that is the whole real purpose about it.  We throw an awful lot at them.  You see one of the rookie backs go the wrong way here at the end.  But there is a lot of stuff that has been thrown at them.  It is good because the number of times we can do that and then come back to it when we go to camp, I hope, will give them a chance to understand what we really want.

RE:  Jared Lorenzen

A:  He had a good camp.  I didn't think he was so good this morning.  But I think up until this point – the OTAs and his performance before today were good.

Q:  During the season we don't see much of him.  Did he improve during the season last year?

A:  He did.  He always gives you a good day's work.  He does have a strong arm.  He works the secondary and the defense very well.  He has worked hard in the offseason.  He has done a good job throughout this camp.  He has had good accuracy.  He has probably higher accuracy than we have had any time since I have been here.  Eli was very accurate; his numbers were very high.  I think Jared would probably be the next guy from an accuracy standpoint.  Rob Johnson had an accurate camp as well.  And everyone was really above 50% ……  But I think Jared had a good camp.

RE:  His weight – is that still an issue?

A:  He is going to have to be content with that always because he is just a big, big man.  But he is lower than he has ever been.  And that is a good sign.

Q:  Now that you have a few weeks off, what are your question marks with this team, or your concerns, if there are any? 

A:  We just talked about the normal things you talk about when you have a break, and that is to be safe, be careful.  We had our mandatory NFL meeting last night.  Just the essence of what the league is saying, what you have to be very careful of, and so on and so forth.  So we reminded them of those kinds of things.  But from the standpoint you are talking about, I'm anxious to get everybody healthy and on the field and hopefully without restrictions.  We talked about the fact that it is real important that everybody pass the conditioning test to show their fellow teammates that they have worked hard in this next five and a half week period.  So I'm excited and I'm looking forward to it.

Q:  Do you have any feeling on your quarterbacks?  Do you want to have Eli, a veteran and a young guy?

A:  Well, we'll see.  I think no matter what you say, if you say Eli and Jared, you are talking about two guys that have played – this is their third year.  If you are talking about Tim Hasselbeck, he has even more experience.  So we'll see how that is going to work out.  Rob has a got lot of experience. And so it will be interesting to see how far he can really come back.  I think his arm strength has improved in this camp and it has to continue.

RE:  Johnson's mobility.

A:  It gives us a different look, no doubt.  We saw it here two or three times in this camp.

RE:  Johnson picking things up in a short time.

A:  Fast, real fast.  He is sharp.  He is gym rat.

Q:  With 10 openings last year, were you kind of surprised that Tim Lewis came back this year?

A:  I don't know if it was a surprise.  I'm glad he did, to be honest with you.  But not that I would ever stand in the way of his advancement, but I think it has given us one more plus for this year.  And I think Tim knows that if he continues to work hard, and we succeed as a team, that he will have his opportunity.

Q:  You have seen the defense make some strides?  Do you expect them to make significant strides again this year?

A:  I hope so, I hope we can.  I think we can continue and hope we can do – I think you have to stop the run; that is where it starts in our league.  And then we certainly do have to become more consistent with our ability in the secondary.  Hopefully that is going to get better.

Q: With virtually everybody back on offense, when you go into training camp, are your expectations different for a group like that because you expect them to maybe hit the ground running?

A:  I think you do, yeah.  The thing about it is, of course, you are working against a pretty good group on the other side of the ball, too.  So I think from the ability to comprehend, I think there is no doubt we'll be advanced because it will be review.  But on the other hand, the actual execution of it is not going to be easy.  That is the challenge of camp.  That is the challenge.  What you really hope is that those groups on both sides of the ball kind of separate themselves from everybody else in terms of the quality of their play.

Q:  Would you anticipate that the defense, with all of the changes, will have more ‘growing pains' in camp than the offense because of that?

A:  They are picking it up fast right now.  They have a lot of veteran leadership over there.  So I think that if you were to take a guess at it, the norm is the defense comes out running and the offense has to catch up, just because of the 11-man execution.  So I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.

Q:  You have talked about using the last game to look back on and learn from.  Is it easy to be motivated by that, or is dangerous if they get down by what happened?

A:  It is all positive.  Use it.  Every time you have a tendency to start – in the next five and half weeks for example, you might want to take a day off and then you might want to reflect on that one and push yourself a little bit harder.  Because the point that I try to make with the players is that over the course of the next five and a half weeks, and I have really called it over the course of the next seven months, commitment, sacrifice, self-denial, all of those things are extremely important,; but they are just an entrance fee. At that point in time you have given yourself an opportunity, if you will, to compete against those teams that have also paid the price.  So that is what this thing is about.  It becomes not only a physical game, but a mental game as well.

Q:  With Amani Toomer, he is kind of a quiet veteran here and his role kind of changed last year but he accepted it.  This year there was the talk about Keyshawn Johnson; what is it with Amani?  At his age right now, do you feel that ….?

A:  He is a good football player.  He has had real good OTAs, he has done real well out here in the camp.  I always talk about just listening; you listen, listen to him catch the ball. He has done a good job with that; whereas, some of the guys are a little stiff when the ball hits their hands.  This guy is really functioning well.  He is a good football player.  His attitude is outstanding.  However you want to use him, he is ready for it.  He has been very impressive.

Q:  What are your vacation plans?

A:  Hopefully we will have another grandson here in a matter of days.  I'm sure it is going to center around that.

Q:  From who?

A:  Katie.

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