Q: There has been a lot of talk here about the Giants using more no-huddle offense than they have, and there's been a differentiation between the type of no-huddle they use and the kind you use on the fast snap. What are the advantages to the way you guys use it?
A: I actually read what you're talking about, and I don't even know if that's true. We're not a hurry-up offense. I read where we supposedly snap the ball around 18 seconds on the play clock. I wish that were true. That's sort of my goal. If I could get the guys into the huddle and the play called and get to the line of scrimmage by that time. I would love to do that. That just gives the quarterback more time at the line of scrimmage. I don't know if that's really accurate. It's not something we coach, it's not something we really talk about. Mike Holmgren will always say, â€˜Hey, tempo, tempo, tempo.' He wants us to practice with tempo, he wants us to practice fast and quick, be on the field for not a very long period of time, get on the field, get off the field. I think he wants those same things on game day. After a play, he wants the guys up off the ground and back in the huddle, those kinds of things. I think the hype that our offense has gotten in terms of a hurry up or anything like that, that's not at all what we try to do. I guess there are some teams that go to the line of scrimmage withâ€¦They don't have a play when they get to the line of scrimmage. They have maybe three or four plays and then they make calls at the line of scrimmage. They take their time, they use all of the play clock. That's not what we do. We call the play and we're going to run the play regardless. Sometimes we line up a certain way and people will say, â€˜We know what play you're about to run.' Our coaches, they don't care. They say, â€˜We don't care. Run it anyway, and just run it hard, run it fast,' and that's the general philosophy we have.
Q: How much do you miss Steve Hutchinson on your offensive line?
A: He's a great player. There's no arguing that. He's a great player and it was a tough loss. He's a great teammate. I think we have some great talent at offensive line on our team, (Floyd) Pork Chop Womack, who's hurt right now, but he's a good player. Chris Spencer, a kid we drafted in the first round, excellent, excellent football player. We signed Tom Ashworth from the New England Patriots, good player. Rob Sims, good player for us. We have some talent there. I think it's a loss that we can overcome, but at the same time, there are some things that Hutch brought to our team in terms of leadership and intensity in the locker room, and also maybe even a little bit of a nasty streak, an intimidation factor that he brought just because of the kind of Pro Bowl player that he was. You can't really replace that. You look for other guys on your team, whether it be Chris Gray or Walter Jones, to step up a little bit in a leadership way on the offensive line, along with Robbie Tobeck. I think we're getting that from those guys, but it takes a little while. It maybe takes a couple of weeks to find your groove with your new set of guys.
Q: How much are you looking forward to incorporating Deion Branch into your scheme?
A: He's a great player. We had him last week for practice and he wasn't able to play in the game, but it sounds like Coach is going to play him this week, so that's a good thing. Our other guys have accepted him with open arms and he's come in and done a great job of learning our stuff and working hard. Obviously he's a good football player.
Q: You had a deep receiving corps last year, but now with the addition of Branch, would you say this is the deepest you've ever worked with?
A: From an experience standpoint, absolutely. Last year we had Joe Jurevicius who stepped up and played great for us, but then we had young guys in Jeremy Urban and D.J. Hackett come in and play pretty well for us, too. But this right from the get-go gives us, with Hackett and (Darrell) Jackson and Branch, and (Bobby) Engram and (Nate) Burleson, those five guys right there, that's a great group. I'm spoiled.
Q: What does Branch give you that you might not have had with the other guys?
A: This guy's played in a bunch of big games. I think he's a four-year guy, probably started every one of those games. He's won two Super Bowls. He was the MVP of one of those Super Bowls. Whatever critical situation we may put him into this season, he's been in bigger games and had bigger plays. I just think experience, and then obviously the talent's there. He reminds me a lot of, I should say, when we brought him in, it reminds me a lot of when we brought Jerry Rice in. There are certain things that are just extra, they just come with the package, and that's a guy who studies really hard, and a guy who's out there on Tuesdays, the off day, having an equipment guy throw him balls, because he feels like catching more balls. During the week, he's getting loose an hour before practice. He's working out an hour after practice. Some of that stuff is just contagious. It's great not only for the wide receiver group, but the entire team, to see someone with that kind of work ethic and dedication. It's just a contagious thing. The more guys you get on your team that have that kind of an attitude, I think that's just good for your football team.
Q: With all the weapons you have, would it be fair to say that it's the defense which is carrying you guys early?
A: Absolutely. Our defense has played, they've just played great football, and our offense has kind of sputtered so far, which is not that unusual for us. For whatever reason, we don't play our best football the first two weeks of the season. I wish I had an answer why, but we're working hard. Obviously we have an offensive head coach in Mike Holmgren, and he's on us very hard. He's watching us very closely, being very critical of every little thing that we do. I'm confident that we'll get that turned around. I'm just happy that our defense has played so well so far.
Q: Have defenses been ganging up on Shaun Alexander, or is it just part of the entire offense thing that he hasn't gotten it going yet.
A: If I knew the answer we probably wouldn't have the problem, but I don't know. Different things. I think more than anything, it's just us making mistakes. If you look at the Detroit game, we had five sacks, and all five were very preventable. If you look at our rushing statistics, I think in the first game we were held under 100 yards and if one guy gets his block that he was supposed to, a three-yard gain turns into a 12-yard gain. And that happens five or six times in the game. Penalties have hurt us, things like that. Just very correctable stuff. Sloppy football is how I would describe it. I think we've played like we've practiced. We haven't practiced all that well through the preseason and through training camp and it's just taking us a little while. For whatever reason, we seem to do it this way. Hopefully, we can get our acts together real soon.
Q: When you beat the Giants last year, it was viewed as a big win for you and a tough loss for them. Now, with hindsight, what did that victory do for you guys?
A: It was a huge win for us. The Giants were a very, very good team last year. I think they were probably the favorite in their division, the NFC East, which is looked at, I think, by most people as one of the stronger divisions in football. It was a game that we very easily could have lost. There were so many opportunities for that game to be over and the Giants to go home with a win. I think that really got our crowd into it for the first time last year, and we kind of had that home-field advantage from that point on because such an emphasis was made on our crowd noise. It was one of many games that could have gone either way for us last year, and we were fortunate enough to squeak it out. I just feel like we got some good bounces last year, and that was one of them.
Q: Speaking of your crowd noise, is there any truth to the report that the league is looking to see if you guys pipe in sound?
A: I had heard that today, that the league was looking into that. I obviously don't know. I'm on the field. But I do know that we have the loudest stadium that I've played in, and that's great. It's a huge advantage for our team.
Q: The Giants had this much-heralded pass rush coming into the season and they haven't gotten a lot of sacks in these first two games. What are your thoughts on what they're doing with their pass rush, specifically LaVar Arrington, who seems to be playing a lot of coverage?
A: I really respect the Giants defense. I think they have a great defensive coordinator in Tim Lewis, and as I look at the front seven especially, there are some great players on the Giants defense. Obviously, when any team goes into a game and they have Michael Strahan on one side and Osi Umenyiora on the other, you're going to be thinking extra protection. You're not going to be leaving your guys one-on-one very often unless you absolutely have to. And then they use Mathias Kiwanuka a little bit. They use everybody, they really do. They give you a bunch of different looks. As I look around the NFL, I think of the games on our schedule and the teams that I'm not looking forward to preparing for, the Giants are one of those teams. I don't look forward to getting ready to play these guys. They have a great defense, they have a good player, Antonio Pierce is one of the best middle linebackers in the game, and I just think that, much like our offense, it will come. It will come, you just have to keep practicing hard, keep working, keep doing what your coaches are asking you to do, and the statistics and those kinds of things will come. Hopefully for us, they don't come this week, but I'd be very surprised if the Giants don't end the season with one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Q: What are you and your brother Tim betting on the game?
A: We don't really bet. In fact, we usually don't talk much trash either, but Tim's feeling confident right now. He's talking a lot of smack. He told me to tell Seneca Wallace that he'd better be ready to play. I don't know if that means he put a bounty out on me or what, but that's not good.
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