COACH JOHN FOX
December 6, 2006
Q: Could you give us an update on exactly how you are going to proceed this week with Delhomme and his sprained thumb?
A: Well, just really the old football adage, ‘day-to-day.' It is kind of what it is. It is a sprained thumb. He couldn't take any snaps today so Chris Weinke went.
Q: How much does that worry you and how much do you think it will affect Jake on Sunday if he doesn't get even another day of practice?
A: He is definitely comfortable in the offense. So it is not going to be a mental thing with him. We don't reinvent the wheel every week. So it is not like we change everything we do. Mike Wahle started for us last week and he didn't get any reps until Friday. He is our left guard. So I think Jake will be fine. As a coach I would prefer he got the reps. But if he doesn't we will be fine, too.
Q: Is it almost like misery loves company here with this game; two teams coming off losing streaks, battling at 6-6 for a playoff spot?
A: Yeah, you know it is – I can only speak for our group – it has been a frustrating year just because we have just been a little bit off. We have been competitive in every game. We have had a chance to win them all or lose them all. And so we are 6-6. We have won half of them and lost half of them. We hope to change those fortunes in the fourth quarter of the season.
Q: Blowing five fourth-quarter leads, is that really what galls the coach?
A: The reality is that you want it to be close. You had rather lose it in the fourth maybe than the first. But there are all ………., but we don't have many blowouts. That has not been us historically. We have won half of them, too. So it's not like we don't how to do it. It is the difference between 10-2 and 6-6. That's just the way this league is. When you win your close ones your high percentage - you are going to have that good looking record. Right now we don't.
Q: How do you read the mind-set of our team coming off this loss in Philly?
A: Our guys battle. We battled in Philly. That is the disheartening part. It wasn't like it wasn't a good game. To go in there – that's not an easy place to play. Our guys fought their rear ends off. And we just came up short. We had an opportunity at the end and we didn't make it happen. So if you look back through our season that's kind of what's happened to us. We have been 2-2 in every quarter this season. And we have to change those fortunes or we're going to be sitting home for the holidays.
Q: Your defense suffocated the Giants in the January playoff game. How similar is your defense and the Giants offense, so that if you wanted to draw upon that you could do so this week?
A: You always go back and look. So will they. So I don't know that that is any advantage. We executed our game plan. I think what gets lost in that a little bit is our offense had a pretty good day. They were banged up on defense, particularly at the linebacker position. So it is two different teams, yet two similar teams. And so it real simple – the team that executes the best and plays the best is going to win. That's what I'm sure Tom and myself are trying to prepare our teams for.
Q: Any thread to all of the inconsistencies on offense, particularly the kind of lack of third-down production this year?
A: Well even their third-down production has been – we were so miserable early I'm not sure we'll ever recovery. I think we have recovered some, though, as far as looking at what we have been able to do. It is like our fourth-quarter scoring. We got zipped 21-0 late in the Dallas game. That is hard to overcome, with four games left in the season or not. Like last week I thought our offense played better. We moved the ball; we scored points. We made steps and then we didn't play as good in the second-half defensively. So that has been kind of the story of us. I have been encouraged – at least last week I was encouraged by what our offense did.
Q: What is the story with your running backs now? Is Foster going to play?
A: Well, his likelihood is a lot better this week than it was a week ago. He has been out the last two games. And again, he will be much like Jake – day to day.
Q: Could you talk about Julius Peppers and how he is playing this year?
A: Julius has had a good season. It gets lost in it when you are sitting at 6-6 but last week he missed an opportunity to sack – he didn't get any sacks. But he was pretty consistent most of the game. He has had a pretty consistent season.
Q: Right before Keyshawn signed with you guys he came up here for a visit; he was actually ready to sign here. How much of a difference has he made for you guys down there?
A: I think he has been a big presence. That is his body type as far as the blocking and doing the things that some guys aren't interested in doing. I think he has been a positive addition. So I can't speak for what went on there in New York but I know we are pleased to have him. And he has helped us.
Q: Have you talked to him all about the end of the game the other night where he kind of threw his helmet and showed his frustration?
A: To be honest with you, I didn't hear about it until I was informed by the media. Apparently it was over on the sideline. I didn't know about it. But if I had had a helmet, I might have thrown it, too.
Q: What did you think about that last play – a bad throw or a bad call?
A: It was a good call. We scored on it earlier in the game right before halftime. Really I would have liked to see Keyshawn stay outside for the entire route. That was really what I would have like to have seen different. But the call was good for what they were playing. We didn't execute it as well and that guy made a good play.
Q: Have you changed the sign for the audibles for the fade?
A: Oh yeah, you can tell the Giants to look for that. It might even be a slant now.
Q: How difficult is that? Is that something you have to change every week?
A: Yeah, it is something you do change. Like I said, unfortunately we had run it earlier in the game. But regardless, with his size, if you stay the course, you have a chance to still out jump the guy. So that play, it is a high percentage pass that, unfortunately, wasn't a high percentage that night.
Q: You know the heat can get pretty hot in New York when things are tense and not going well. What is it like down there in terms of the heat with your inconsistent team? Do you think the players are feeling any tension about it?
A: We sign up for this so we understand the heat. Whether it is in New York or Charlotte, or you name the NFL city. We understand it, whether it is our team or any other team. What you try to do is work though it. You have each other and you rely on that locker room. The people inside that locker room define the team, and not people on the outside. So it not where you start – it is where you finish. And we are getting close to the end. So we have to start doing something. I'm sure it is the same feeling there in New York.
Q: Your team has shown a lot of mental toughness and character over the years, just by the way, for instance, you have won so many road playoff games. Do you sense that it is still there in this locker room this week?
A: Yeah, I'm hoping it is. Like I said, this season has been a test for everybody, whether it is players or coaches. It's what makes this game exciting. So you do need to find out. I'm looking forward to it, actually. I hope there are enough guys down there that feel the same way. I'm sure Tom is feeling the same thing about his group. That's why you play the game.
Q: What did you see in Shaun Williams? I know you had him here with the Giants. He had a lot of injuries here …. What did you see in him to bring him in and now he is starting?
A: He has done a job for us. He has had a couple of nicks, even this year since he has been here, but nothing serious. He has worked through it. I think he has been a good addition for us.
Q: Some of those comments made last year after the playoff game – what was your reaction to that – the out-coaching comments?
A: It was something I would have rather not have had to deal with. But I'm not sure why they were made. It made me actually feel a little uncomfortable. But any time you lose guys are frustrated in that locker room and you just work through it.
Q: I imagine it was less uncomfortable to be on the side of the out-coached side than the other side, I would imagine, if you have to be on one side of it?
Q: You would rather have been accused of out-coaching someone than being out-coached wouldn't you?
A: Well it is something you prefer not being said, actually – either way.
Q: Did your familiarity with some of the Giants players here enter a lot into your game plan in that game?
A: No, other than getting to see them before the game and saying hi. I have some close relationships there with a lot of people in that organization, not just players, but from people in the office – all of the way through the organization, even you guys. That part of it, hopefully …… we can have a working relationship. But it didn't come into play as far as comparative edge, or anything.
Q: Was that as good an execution of a game plan as you could have hoped for, coming off the field, having shut down Tiki and basically…?
A: I thought it was a team effort. And like most wins, they usually are. I thought our offense did a good job progressing the ball. Our defense was very opportunistic. Any time in a playoff game you can win, you are excited. So there is no question that was a big win. And I'm sure it will weigh heavy on minds of both sides.
Q: When you were here you benefited from having Michael Strahan on the field several times. What do see with the Giants now without him on the field?
A: Mike Strahan is a great player. You show me a great coach and I'll show you great players. And I was blessed to have Mike during my tenure there and watched him grow into a really a future Hall of Fame type of player. So they definitely miss him like we miss Dan Morgan. You are going to be better with a Mike Strahan on the field.