Q: What is the biggest danger for your team when you go up against an injury depleted roster like the Giants?
A: I'd say we have more injuries than they do. I think last week somebody counted up that we have more of our payroll sitting on the bench than we have playing, so we're substituting people like mad. We're trying to replace people, and I don't care if you're talking about LaVar Arrington or Jon Jansen or Chad Morton. We've got 12 surgeries right now. I know Coach Coughlin's group has been hurt, too. Both of these teams are depleted in a lot of ways and neither one of us like it, but we both have just an unreal number of injuries, and we certainly have a lot of guys that won't be able to play this game.
RE: The story last week about you considering being only the GM because of your health?
A: I don't know how all of that starts. I guess somebody grabbed something and makes it up or whatever, but that's what happened in this case. I don't know where that came from.
Q: There's no truth to that?
A: There's no truth. The fact is that I came here as a coach and my plans are, Lord willing, I want to coach.
Q: How much have you enjoyed this return to coaching?
A: Not much. This has not been something that you enjoy. I think obviously I'm excited about trying to do something for the franchise. I came here knowing that the past buys you nothing, I talked extensively about that and I also said that I feel like this is where I'm supposed to be, but I also said at the same time maybe in life it's to go through a lot of adversity, so whether we can get things going in the right direction or not remains to be seen, so that's part of life, and I don't particularly like it but lots of times in life that's what happens. I came back with the intent to try and help the franchise. I'd love to have us in a position where we're winning football games and everybody feels good about it.
Q: Can you see yourself sometime in the future stepping aside and becoming just a GM? Is that a role that interests you down the line?
A: I would say that for me my number one thing right now, my focus is, I came back as the coach. That's the role that I see myself in, and I would do anything to help the franchise. So from that standpoint, I'll do anything, but my feelings are that I can do the best job coaching.
Q: Has this year worn you down more than you expected, mentally and physically?
A: No, I wouldn't think so. This is a grinding deal. You stay after it. I feel great and having said that, you don't like going through all of the stuff that we've gone through and there's no fun being here 20 hours a day and not winning football games, but that's part of life here, and Coach Coughlin will tell you the same thing. The thrill of all of the fun things about this job and the great highs…the other side of it you can have some real lows, so that's a part of life.
Q: Are you surprised with the trouble your offense has had…18 points used to be a bad half for you, now that's a high score for a game?
A: The offense…that's my responsibility, and I'd say that I have to shoulder the responsibility there. I'd say that the good thing about being in the NFL is you either get it done or you don't. We haven't up to this point. It's been a real discouragement for me and I think it starts with me and I think that's my responsibility, so I think our defense has played extremely well and our teams have shown improvement. We didn't do a very good job last week on punt coverage and stuff, but in general we've worked real hard there and made some improvement. Offensively up to this point, I don't think we have.
Q: With your defense playing well it seems that it would be a good area for you because the Giants offensive line has had trouble and Eli Manning is only making his third start?
A: The thing that you have to remember about Eli Manning is everybody feels like he is the best player in the country. You've got a quarterback that last year certainly everybody had high hopes for. I know everybody in New York is excited about it. Our quarterback is also young, so that's going to be an interesting battle. I also think that like we've talked about both of the teams have gone through a lot of really devastating injuries, which you hate to see happen, but I think both teams are desperate for a win. Both teams are going to go after this, I would imagine, very hard.
Q: Back to the offense. You say that you take responsibility. Is it just a matter that the things that you used to do in your first stint just don't work any more or you're having trouble getting your players to buy into it…what has been the problem?
A: First of all, that was 12 years ago and very little of what we're doing today was what we were doing then. I mean you've got 12 years that have past and most of the concepts and the things that we do today evolved. Some of the plays that you're doing…there is an evolution that takes place on a lot of them. The counter right now is a totally different ball game in the way you run it. So the concepts and everything I think are…the tough thing about not moving the football and not scoring points is in general when people look at it you know a lot of statements are made. I've had people say to me: why don't you use three wide receivers and stuff like that. Roughly a third of the time we are using three wide receivers and it just doesn't look good, so when it doesn't look good and you're not getting the job done I think lots of times people look at it…for instance the comments you made, 12 years ago, very little of what we're doing today we did 12 years ago.
Q: How much of it is just a function of the whole salary cap era…having to use younger players earlier than perhaps you'd like to?
A: I don't really buy into that. I think first of all the statement that you have to tear your team up every year, that's not true and I don't think that's true. I don't think that I would've come back if I thought it was true. When you look at the salary cap, yes it's restrictive and you only have a certain amount of money to spend and everybody had got the same amount, so it's how do you use it, but the fact that everything we do we have a three-year financial layout, so every time you make a decision you see how it impacts you over three years. You're not making a decision based on today, but I really don't think…everybody has got the same amount of money and it's just how you're going to use it and I really feel that that's probably really overstated how much that's going to hurt you and everything.
Q: Could you talk a bit about Cornelius Griffin?
A: I would say that I can't imagine anybody playing better than he has played for us this year. He's missed one game. He's been a rock in there for us and he's a terrific person, and I just think the world of him and I think he had played very, very well for us, and I've got to tell you it's a sad thing that we're not winning games or I think he would have a chance to go to the Pro Bowl and do some other things, and he still may have if people really look at his play.
Q: When you look at the Giants receivers, these are guys that have put up some pretty good numbers over the years. So far this year no touchdowns and looks like they may be setting career lows. Have they taken a step backwards? Have they lost a step?
A: I think they're probably a little bit like us, our receivers. Certainly the same thing could be said, so these two teams are a lot alike and what happens is that when you're off on offense, it's not one thing. It's not the quarterback, receivers or the pass protection. It's probably a little bit of everything and with offense the bad thing about it is that you have to have every person on the same page and operating and that's hard to do. Defense, lots of times you can have one player bail you out and on offense that's rarely going to happen. So it's a consequence when you struggle so much with what's happening to us. I'm not talking about the Giants struggle because obviously Tiki Barber is playing extremely well and they have a lot of good things going on. For us I can only say that it's hard to get everybody on the same page. It's hard to get everybody operating. We've had drops or a bust on pass protection. We have a missed throw at the wrong time and so as a consequence you're not smooth…and so it's easy to be off on offense.
Q: What does it say about the profession in that it seems to be that you're either winning or you're miserable…is there some type of sadness in that…that coaches work so hard and put in so many hours but only a certain few win?
A: Here's the way that I look at it and I talk to our players the same way. I thought when I came out of school, certainly with my intelligence, a physical education major and a very low IQ, I felt like I was going to spend my life probably and I was hoping to do that, coaching in junior high some place, and for me to get an opportunity to do the things that I've done and to get a chance to come here and coach here and make the money and get paid hundreds of times more than I thought I'd ever get paid, that is such a thrill in life that I don't even know how you describe it. And the chance to win and go to Super Bowls and things like that. When you have any kind of chance to have those kinds of fun things and those rewards there is going to be a downside to it and I think you know that when you get into it. I think it's extreme highs and extreme lows and up here there are no ties, so every week you're either on a high on Monday or you're on a low. Now that's the downside of it, but I think we all know that. In my life I've spent about 35 years in it and my family kind of understands it, so I think you have to look at it and say, ‘Hey look, I've been blessed beyond belief in the things that I get to do,' so I think you look at all of those things now with a good outlook on it. You have to understand if you lose up here, there's going to be a lot of tough things said. I learned a long time ago that I quit worrying about that as best I can. It still hurts and you don't like it, but you just have to win. If you win, things are going to come out right. If you lose, you just have to understand that that's going to be a part of it.
Q: In addition to Eli Manning being the new Giants quarterback, they've gone through a lot of problems with the center where O'Hara was out and they were alternating between Whittle and Lucier and now finally O'Hara may be back in there this week; when you try to attack an offensive line that is suspect like the Giants does that center spot become really dangerous for them?
A: I really don't obviously look at it that way. Like I said, we've had so many players out ourselves, and I don't think they'd be rushing the ball the way they are doing some of the other things that they're doing if they weren't very proficient there and each one of those guys that you talked about are just like the guys on our team. There's nobody on this roster that we don't think are good football players, so our deal right now, we're just trying to do anything we can to get a win. We've been kicked around and it's been a tough deal for us, so our focus is just on ourselves and trying to find a way to win a ballgame, so I don't know how the Giants are approaching it, but that's our approach.
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