Coach's Corner

Tom Coughlin seemed genuinely excited by his seven newest players. Coughlin met with the media following the weekend's draft and shared his thoughts on a multitude of players and other topics. Read on...

Just talking about the list as we went through it today. Of course we started the day with the eight picks. We made the trade up to make sure that the linebacker Bryan Kehl was there for us. The way that you go into a draft is you have some thoughts about exactly how you would like things to go. You position as you look at the board, you think about the spots you are going to be in, what players are going to be available there, therefore how can you shape your draft to go ahead and match up the value with the need. It works out to a certain extent sometimes and other times it doesn't, but as you look obviously there were more defensive players taken but the defensive players were lost in free agency so there is a little bit of a balancing act there. I think the wide receiver Mario Manningham gives us what we wanted, which was an ability to put the fear of the deep ball to try to do some things with our compensation for the way in which coverages occur as we play not only in this division but in this league. It gives us another young receiver who does have the ability to go deep and to be productive in terms of the deep ball. The linebacker situation; we lost two linebackers in free agency. We really did a good job here because these two young men, not only are they good football players but they are smart, they have been in sophisticated systems, and I think that both of these guys are going to come in and they are going to be people who will challenge because I think mentally they will be in good shape and they also are going to be outstanding special teams players because both of them have the ability to run. In Andre' Woodson, this was just too good a pick for us to pass up. This is a guy that was rated highly on our board. We found ourselves in a position where we felt like he was a guy we wanted to bring in as a young quarterback who could work in our system and be a guy who we could develop as we went forward. That was the idea as we made that pick in the sixth round. Robert Henderson is a guy that we brought in and visited. Manningham, as you know, was here, Henderson was here. We spent time with these guys and we really felt good about Henderson. We had him graded in a position on our board where in this last round it was a guy of value that we felt would help us because of the ability, again, to rush the passer, to be a strong guy who could play end, and also could maybe slide inside on third down in the pass situation. All in all, we feel good, or I feel good about this draft and as I always end up closing and saying is that now it is time to bring the players in and see exactly how fast they can be involved in our system. From a standpoint of the ability range we are excited about this group because last year's group came in and through a lot of work, obviously through our meetings in the spring and through our on the field sessions through training camp and through our coaches, our coaches who did an outstanding job with the young guys, but you really do have to pay tribute also to our veteran players, who I have given a lot of credit to many times, for the development of the young guys that were able to, I would say, from as early as the midpoint of the season to go forward and be key factors in allowing us to continue to play and play well. I expect and look forward to greeting this group in a couple of weeks' time and in the first opportunity of mini camp to get them on the field.

Are you concerned about the off the field issues with Mario Manningham?

Well you are always concerned but you also hope that as the individual matures and he looks at what he has to gain and what he has to lose that he makes some serious decisions about his life. We felt really good about talking with him. Mike Sullivan had some excellent sessions with him. Our offensive coaches visited with Mario. I had an opportunity to visit with him just briefly, but we felt that due to the fact that we obviously brought him in for a reason, we wanted to get to know him better. We felt like because of the support services that we can provide for him, because of our coaching staff, because of our veteran players, that we he would be a young man who would quickly recognize the fact that he can be a very successful player in this league, but it can be taken away very, very quickly if he would fall into some of these problems. He has assured me that he has learned from his mistakes and I think that with all of the support that we can give him that I think he will be a guy that will come in and hopefully do well.

What do you see from him that means that he will turn things around and listen whereas another guy maybe wouldn't?

I just think that you do your research, you spend your time, obviously he was here for a reason, and we talked to him exactly about the problems that he has had and recognized the fact that it is just is not something that he can do to participate at this level and to be in the good graces of the league and the New York Giants. You have to have some faith in him. We do have a very, very good communication with the people at Michigan and have some strong opinions about this young man going forward.

Do you think the character issues are why he dropped to the third round?

That would be for you to say and I have listened to all that stuff too. All I can tell you is he was there for our pick and we were glad to make that pick and we look forward to working with him to make sure that he understands how important it is for him to conduct himself the right way.

Is it a difficult call for a coach to draft a guy with character issues?

It is always a difficult call because you want the right people in your locker room. You want the influences to be strong and you want the individual to be pulled, if you will, in the right direction. I think we do have people in our locker room that will help us with regard to this. As I mentioned a minute ago, I think the leadership of the guys that we have in the locker room proved to be an important factor in the success we had a year ago and I expect it to be ongoing.

Is Manningham a true deep threat?

I think he has the speed, the elusiveness, the make-you-miss kind of ability, and I do think that he does have the long ball speed along with other things. He is a gifted receiver. His workout was very good. Mike Sullivan was there for his workout. Mike Sullivan was right there with the instructions about the routes, the sound that a receiver makes when he is a quality guy and catches the football, and he liked his board work. He put him on the board and the kid responded well. He responded well when he came in here so we believe and are willing to bring that young man here, surround him with good people, a good support system, and we believe that he will make the next step.

What about punt returns with him?

He did that but I don't believe he was ever the featured guy, he was in a backup capacity, but he has done it.

How are his hands?

I think the hands are good.

Soft hands?

Got that nice sound when the ball is caught. He is not small; he is just under six feet and 187, 188 pounds, so he is not a small guy by any means.

Jerry said you would try to bring Woodson along, does that mean you need to make a decision on some of the other QBs on the roster?

We will make those decisions going forward. For now we are okay because we can go ahead and have the numbers because the rookies are obviously not signed. For now we will do one day at a time. Let's take today and then digest some of this stuff. As soon as the seventh round is over we do have to jump hard into the free agency stuff. As you know we have had success doing that, we take great pride in that, our coaches are cranked and ready to go, all the instructions are given out a couple of weeks ahead of time. We look at the players that remain on the board, we know what our positional needs are, our numbers, we have had that all figured out in advance so that is a real important part of our day and a very, very serious part to the overall success of the draft; what you can do with the quality of players that you sign as free agents.

At the end of the draft last year you moved Mathias Kiwanuka to linebacker, any plans like that this year?

As of right now he would remain at linebacker.

Anyone else moving?

Not yet, let's take a look at the roster and see where we are when we start with our depth.

A lot of times when you see a team with an established quarterback take one in the later rounds they develop them and then trade them. Is that the situation with Woodson?

We are all aware, we are all aware of how these things are maneuvered. The Patriots taking O'Connell in the bottom of the third, which is almost like what we did when we had the break at the bottom of the third round and then the next day you worry about people going back into the room saying, ‘oh there is a player that we will take right here at the top,' so you have to take him in the bottom of the third. There are theories, there is practicality, there is the way in which things are done within a draft, and there is the way in which things are done within a roster. This is a good, young, and talented kid who we really were excited about and we drafted him for that purpose and we will see what the future holds.

Anything new with Michael Strahan and his decision to retire or not and how quickly would you like to know?

No. Well as soon as possible, but I would like to think that I will be able to speak with Michael here. Whether or not he has come to a decision completely yet we will try to start that dialogue now.

Were you concerned at all about Terrell Thomas' injury history?

We know he played through some things, the last year in particular with the shoulder, but we rely heavily on what our doctors tell us. His grade is more than acceptable.


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