Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme
December 6, 2006
Q: I got a chance to see some of your post-game press conference the other night after the Eagles loss and you looked like you had really been shaken by this one. I wonder about your mentality as you try to bounce back from that and get things together against the Giants?
A: Mentally, I'm fine now. Certainly at the time it was a just a frustrating loss. Offensively, we kind of showed a few signs of life. We were doing some good things and to go down and be where we were with the time left and the two timeouts, I just kind of thought for sure we'd win it. I was pretty down, certainly, but you know, the good thing about it is it was Monday night, so you couldn't think about it too long. (We have to) come back to work to get ready for this week.
Q: Last week the Giants were in a similar situation, trying to circle the wagons and get out of a rough slide. What is the technique or philosophy that your team has used to turn around all of these bad slides at the end of games?
A: I think the biggest thing we're kind of focusing on is trying to finish games. We put ourselves in some opportunities, it's just for one reason or another we haven't. Going into last week's game, we were just coming off of one tough loss because we had won the two before that. We just wanted to play well and we did, for the most part. On offense, we just didn't make a play at the end.
Q: You didn't practice today, correct?
A: Right, I did not.
Q: Do you have a sprained thumb?
A: Yeah, the thumb hit somebody's helmet in the first quarter the other night and it was a little stiff. It's just better having an extra day, so it's just a day-to-day thing.
Q: Are you going to play on Sunday?
A: It's just seeing how it feels and go from there.
Q: Can you pinpoint anything as to what the issue is on offense?
A: I think the thing is that we're just trying to find out who we are. We lost two offensive linemen the first game of the season and moved our starting right tackle over to left tackle. We've had some injury issues there, so we're trying to search for our running game and find out who we are. Certainly in our passing game we're a little different, just trying to, like I keep saying, find out who we are and what we do well. Certain games we do some things well and then we won't do it other game, but hopefully after last week (when) we did some decent things against Philadelphia offensively – running and throwing – maybe we're starting to turn the corner. At least we're hoping so.
Q: Are you concerned that it's Week 14 and you're still looking for that identity? It's getting late.
A: Certainly it is, but the good thing about the NFC this year is everyone is still in it. Right now, I mean, it's playoffs. It's one week at a time. This season – it's long. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. Usually it's not how you start, it's how you finish. So we're looking to try to play well and go one game at a time, because all you need is to get your foot in the door in the tournament. You don't have to be seeded any other way. You just need to get your foot in the door.
Q: Do you sense that this team has the same mental toughness as some of the other Panthers teams that preceded you?
A: Yes, I do. Certainly we have some different players, but I think for the most part the core group is here. You have guys in certain positions – leadership positions – that won't let guys slide and whatnot. Our coaches have been here and we've been through tough times, but our coach stays the same guy and I think that helps.
Q: Can you tell on film how different the Giants are without Michael Strahan?
A: Well, he didn't play last week and they certainly played pretty well on defense. The Cowboys made a couple of great plays, but I still think they're an extremely talented defense. Up front, they can rush the passer and they do a good job with their linebackers and in the secondary. And they've had some injury issues, but they're starting to get some guys back. When Michael Strahan is in the game, he's a force. He's a difference-maker. Everybody knows that, so certainly when you lose someone like that it probably does take its toll. You might do some things differently or whatnot, but he is a great player – great football player – and it might be a little different, but they still have a ton of talent and they still do a good job.
Q: When a team loses a playoff game the way the Giants did to you last year, they can use it as a motivational tool. Is there an advantage to having won that game?
A: I'd like to say yeah, but we're a different team. We have some different players and I know they're a different team. They were extremely thin at the linebacker position last year. We were playing well at that time. We were really kind of hitting our stride at that time. I'm assuming they possibly could, but for us that's something we can't really bring (up) because that's so long ago and it's different players.
Q: Where do you think the mindsets of these teams are? You have two 6-6 teams coming off losing streaks. Like you said, everyone is in it in the NFC, but a couple more losses and one of these teams is going to drop out.
A: The mindset it you have to get a win by any means necessary. That's what is has to be and I believe that's what it will be. I'm sure that's what the Giants are thinking. We're thinking the same thing. It's try to get a win by any means necessary.
Q: Do you think in a way the fact that the NFC is so jumbled up right now has caused teams to feel not as urgent?
A: I know certainly we don't feel that way, and I don't feel that way. It's a one-game-at-a-time league. It's what have you done for me lately, and it just so happens that we have a bunch of teams just feeling like they're beating up on each other. One team is rolling and then they fall back down, so you just never know. I think it's a good thing. I'm glad there's a lot of teams stuck in this little area that we're stuck in. The best thing about it is that you make who you are. You define who you are. As a team, you're going to decide if you get out of it or not.
Q: What is the rehab you have to do for this thumb? Are you expecting to practice tomorrow? How do you think not practicing a full week will affect you?
A: I don't know. I've been practicing the full week all 12 games this season and we're only at 50 percent, so I don't know. (I'll) just try to get a little swelling out of the thumb and just try to go from there and take that approach. Certainly I don't think a Monday night games helps at all. If that had been on Sunday, who's to say I wouldn't have been out there maybe today with an extra day's rest. But (I'll) just treat it and kind of go from there.
Q: So they've told you'll practice tomorrow?
A: We'll see. I haven't been told anything. We're just going to play it by ear.
Q: Have the media and the fans been tough on you guys?
A: I guess somewhat, because there was a lot of high expectations, but their expectations weren't nearly as high as ours. We're kind of going through some rough times – up and down, up and down – not a steady course. I would assume on the outside there's some ruffling of the feathers, but there's so many other things we have to worry about as a team, like getting ready for the Giants, that you can't really pay attention to a lot of things like that.