Conference Call with: Coach Spurrier

Coach Spurrier addresses the New York media. The New York Giants will play the Redskins this Sunday in Washington.

Q - When you look at Patrick Ramsey, what differences do you see between this year and his rookie season?

A - Well certainly he is more knowledgeable of what we are trying to do, he's played a little bit now, he is just better prepared. He had all summer to practice, take snaps, learn what we are trying to do. He is a second year player that had a chance to play about five games last year. He has a lot of talent, a lot of courage; he has a chance to be a really good quarterback in this league.

Q - What did you learn last year that you brought into the Redskins this year?

A - I think it has been written and I will repeat it, that in the NFL, it is pretty difficult to just come out and start throwing it all over the place, the Rams, they're even having trouble throwing it fifty or sixty times, we all have to balance the run in with the pass. So that is probably one thing that we are trying to do better and certainly most teams that win have a good balance between the run and the pass, so we are trying to do that a little bit better.

Q - How many players have you changed this year? How many do you still want to change?

A - We changed about a third of our team I would guess, probably about 15 of the 45 players, we still have a lot of players that we had here last year, most of them are defensive guys; Champ Bailey, LaVar, Jesse Armstead, Jeremiah and so forth. So our defense personnel hasn't changed all that much. Offensively of course adding Coles and Candidate gives us a little bit more speed on our offense team and so forth. But our kickers, John Hall has been obviously a wonderful addition also, Chad Morton catching punts and kickoffs also and Randy Thomas one of guards, so those four Jet players perform very well.

Q - Has Coles turned your whole passing game around?

A - Well certainly he is a player that as an offensive coach you figure out how we can get his hands on it as much as possible. So we've tried to do that but Rod Gardner and McCants, these other players are fine receivers also. We realize that we can't go to Laveranues all the time but certainly most of the balls; he should get more thrown at them than any of the other receivers put it that way.

Q - What did you make of the Giants on MNF?

A - That was a heartbreaker, man that was a heartbreaker. I mean to kick a field goal with eleven seconds left and still somehow not win the game. It is a heartbreaker, disappointing but it is a long season and I'm sure they know that. Coach Fassel I'm sure has got them ready to play. When that happens to you, you are sort of in the dumps for a day or two and then you realize hey, we have to go play, so I am sure that the Giants are feeling that way and come Sunday they will be rolling to go.

Q - What impresses you the most about this Giants team?

A - I have been mainly watching their defensive team which I think is very good. I know that they have given up some yards here and there but they are an outstanding team; pass rush, coverage, corners, linebackers, D-Line. They got good players who play extremely hard, put a lot of effort, they are well coached, all of those kinds of things.

Q - Was there a time last year when you tried maybe a little too hard to beat that theory of mixing the pass and the run?

A - Again, as a play caller, you sort of call plays on what's working. Some games, we seemed like we were running well early and maybe we left it too soon, maybe I had too much confidence that we could throw it and catch it and go down the field. So when that doesn't work you go and say hey, we can't throw it every down, it just doesn't work and then you go back and shoot for some more balance.

Q - You don't have a feature runner?

A - Well Trung Candidate and Ledell Betts have carried it a lot of times, I think they've got around 30 carries each in two games, sometimes that a lot for some teams, so we're averaging 30-31 runs and about that many passes a game.

Q - Do you use them as a hot hand thing?

A - Oh somewhat, actually I allow our running back's coach and offensive coordinator, Hugh Jackson to substitute those players. He watches them; I am sort of watching the receivers and the quarterback and trying to figure out what's a good path to run. He substitutes the running backs, so a lot of times I don't even know who is in there.

Q - Why did you use Cartwright last week in short yardage and goal line?

A - Yeah, he's been our third and one back; he is a little thicker, full back type guy that hopefully can play some tailback. So we've used him in short yardage, goal line situations.

Q - Jacobs has missed the first couple of games, do you expect him back?

A - I doubt he will be ready this week. He fell on a guy's foot in a preseason game down in Jacksonville and he sort of bruised his pancreas somehow and now he's walking around and he is able to practice but they do not want him to get hit. So I think he is still a week or so away.

Q - Against the Falcons you depended on your passing game, a year ago would you have been able to depend on Ramsey for that?

A - Well certainly Patrick Ramsey is a fine quarterback, he gives us more than our quarterback situation last year, certainly we all believe that. He is tough, he can make all the throws, he hangs in the pocket, he is a good player. But the thing about it was we got behind real early, I think it was in the first quarter we were down 17 points or early in the second. So we had a lot of time to get back and fortunately we had an interception that we almost ran in, got it down to the one yard line. I sort of call that a defensive score and then it was 17-14. Everybody knows that those leads can vanish so you just have to keep playing the game.

Q - Did you see anything in what Carter and the Cowboys did that exposed anything?

A - They just executed a few plays here and there, they seemed to have a pretty good plan, but their style is a little bit different than our style. I am sure that the Giants sort of have an idea of what we like to do and probably of what the Cowboys like to try to do too.

Q - What is the mood of your club?

A - I think the mood is that we feel certainly very happy to be 2-0. We realize we've not played extremely well. In Atlanta last week we had 12 penalties, our quarterback, we kind of got him in a bad position, he got hit and fumbled twice, sometimes that will cost you the game but it didn't cost us down there. We've not played extremely well, we are trying to improve, we realize that it is early in the year, anything can happen as you go down the stretch. Teams get some momentum going, we're going to try and continue with whatever momentum we've got right now. We've got two home games in a row, any game is very crucial especially division game here coming up for the Giants, I think the fans will be sky high. I think they are ready to make some noise and that should help us a little bit.

Q - With the Eagles getting off to a bad start, are your guys starting to think winning the division might be a real possibility?

A - Well we think we have a chance to win it, of course we do. We don't think we are going to win it; we're not out broadcasting we are going to do this, that and the other. We are going to play it one game at a time, we believe we have a team that is good enough to win the division, you're right and we're going to try to do it. Now if it doesn't work out, we're going to be disappointed but we are certainly going to try to do that.

Q - How would you describe the criteria you've established for a quarterback to run your team? And how close is Ramsey to meeting it?

A - He is fairly close but he is only a second year player and sometimes he gets caught in some bad situations, hopefully as a coach we can help him try to prevent getting in a bad situation where no one is open and maybe the protection is not what we need. But he learning, he's coming around.

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