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Coughlin and Manning Preview Monday Night Game with Saints

Posted Nov 23, 2011

Giants HC and QB talk with New Orleans media about the primetime game against the Saints

New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How concerned are you that the team might be in the midst of another second half collapse?

That is not my concern. My concern is one game at a time. It’s interesting that after a couple of seven point losses we are going to talk about that. It’s difficult for me to understand why there’s nothing more prevalent to talk about than that. I do understand where you’re coming from. My team and our team are interested in concentrating on one game at a time. We have a very difficult game this weekend. We’re coming off a very difficult loss and I look forward to us regrouping and coming down to New Orleans and playing well.

I know you like to take it one game at a time but the bigger perspective people are talking about is that you have Green Bay and Dallas following this. Obviously this is a critical stretch. The Saints have emphasized November and done well in November. I assume you’ve marked it on your calendar here. Is there anything you’ve done to emphasize that and what you’ve done to maybe fight struggles?

We haven’t done anything different. We’ve basically done things the same. Before we even start, we evaluate everything we do. I evaluated everything on the basis of no CBA. I think we have an excellent working schedule for our players. We’re fully committed to that. Our preparation is a key for us. We didn’t do quite as well as I hoped. That’s my fault last weekend. But, the San Francisco game, we’re on the five-yard line, had a chance to score, done it many times before. It just didn’t happen this time. The other day we had the ball inside the 20-yard line, same thing, 1:25 to play. We had an opportunity, got stripped and the football game out. We didn’t play the way we wanted to play, but nevertheless the point is , we were in position. Nothing in terms of how we prepare or the work day has anything to do with that part of it. I think our schedule is a good one.

How banged up are you at running back this week?

At running back? I think we’ll be fine. If DJ Ware is not cleared today, it will soon be clear. I think we’ll be in pretty good shape there.

What about Ahmad Bradshaw?

He’s actually feeling better. I don’t know that we’re going to get a chance to work with him tomorrow, but I think the trainers are anxious to test him and push him a little bit.

What do you think can be done to slow down Drew Brees?

It’s very difficult to do. I think you have to have a little bit of the approach that the Rams used. They played very well against New Orleans and seemed to get to the quarterback a few times. It comes out very quick. It’s a nice up-tempo offense with good balance. Part of the game has always been based on the fact that we have been able to put some pressure on the quarterback and that’s where we start again.

In regards to Drew Brees, everyone is talking about Aaron Rodgers, but is Brees maybe having a better year than people are giving him credit for?

I don’t know. I’d be the last one to ask that question to. As I look at him on tape, it seems to me from the time when he was in college, he’s extremely accurate, does a great job with his team, the huddle, coming out of the huddle, gets them in the right play, delivers the ball on time. He takes care of the ball pretty well.

In your film study of the last couple games is there offensive line playing better and maybe gelling than maybe they did in the Rams game?

I think there’s definite progress. As any player or any team, you’re either going to go forward or go backwards. There’s no in between. They certainly have the makeup and have made progress. They’ve had some tough games in the division, played well and found a way to win them.

You mentioned a moment ago how your defense and front four is predicated on pressure. Was there something that the Eagles did to affect your defensive line?

Not necessarily. They certainly do what a lot of teams do. I think we did a pretty good job of stopping the run the other day with the exception of the very end of the game against a dynamic rusher. Not many times this year have we been given credit for that. I felt we did a good job of that.

Giants QB Eli Manning
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
11/23/11

What are your thoughts on your streak of games started?
“I always try to be healthy and I always try to work hard in the offseason to prepare myself physically and mentally so I am out there with my teammates every week. That’s really what it’s about. It’s not about a record or a streak. It’s about trying to be accountable and being there for your teammates. There have been close calls in the past but I always want to be out there if I feel like I can play and help out my team.

“In this league, there are always some injuries that you can’t avoid. They happen. Weird hits or the way you fall and there is not much you can do about it. I think a lot can be prevented through your workouts, conditioning, stretching and flexibility. Also, I think in your preparation and knowing your protections and not taking unnecessary hits. Knowing when guys are running free. All of a sudden, you think things are protected and you are sitting in the pocket feeling like everything is good and you have a guy who is unblocked running at your back and taking free shots at you. You try to avoid those types of hits.”

What do you credit your reason for being able to stay healthy?
“I think all of our players try to be accountable to each other. I think that is what it comes down to. Our offensive linemen want to be in there each week. They are getting in the training room if they get banged up and doing everything possible to get healthy. That should be the mentality of all the players. Obviously, with our training staff I always listen to a doctor’s opinion and he might say ‘you are going to be out to 2-3 weeks.’ That’s his opinion and it doesn’t mean you have to believe that. I respect the doctors and listen to them but it’s your job to get back healthy as soon possible. It’s having that mentality believing that you are a fast healer and that you can be back on the field as soon as possible.”

Are you going to buy the offensive line dinner at Commander's Palace if the Saints don’t get a hand on you Monday night?
“(Laughter) that would be a good treat and (Saints) do a good job of getting pressure with good blitz packages and good players when they don’t blitz. If we can go through a game with no sacks that would probably mean good things for the Giants.” 

What are you doing to prevent the late season collapse that has seemed to plague the team the last two seasons?
“You prepare for this game. You get ready for the Saints. That’s all you can do. You have to keep your focus and mindset on the goal and that is to just win this game. It’s not about who our next opponent is or what the standings are in the division. All we can worry about is the New York Giants and get ready to play the next game. That has to be the mindset for the rest of the season. When you start looking ahead or trying to calculate other teams that teams in our division are playing and wins and losses or how many games you have to win to get in the playoffs that’s when you lose focus. The Saints are our focus right now. We have to have a good week of practice, we go prepare and you go out there and you play your best.”

Have you guys talked about the last time you all played in New Orleans?
“We haven’t. It was a couple years ago. It’s a new season. They had a great day. It’s one of those days that haven’t happened against us many times. It’s happened for us where everything is clicking. You are hitting offensively and having great play calling and guys are getting open. It’s one of the days where it feels easy out there. That’s one of the days their offense had. With our offense we really had opportunities in the game to hit some go routes. I overthrew Steve Smith and I missed a post route. So there were opportunities to hit some big plays and to match them for a while we were just a little off. All of a sudden then the game got out of hand. We just have to know it’s a new season. We know they are a talented team but we feel we are talented also and that we can go in there and play a good game.”

Have you guys been off the last three days?
“We came in on Monday to work out and watch the film. We were off yesterday and today.”

How do you think the team will respond to the challenge that Head Coach Tom Coughlin issued to you guys after the Eagles game?
“We know it’s a big game. As I said earlier, it’s about getting focused physically and mentally ready and going to play to our potential and play to the best of our ability. That’s what we have to do. We have to get back to playing good football and winning. We haven’t done our best the last two weeks and there is definitely room for improvement.”

I know you guys prepare for the noise level at the Superdome but how hard is it to prepare for?
“Each away game is loud. You prepare for crowd noise. Obviously we have to be great. We know the Superdome is loud. We have to be great with our calls, make sure everybody is on the same page and avoid false starts where you are going backwards. It shouldn’t be something we can’t accomplish - being on the same page and being sound in our communication and making sure we are not making mistakes that will lead into big plays for the Saints.”

Are you looking forward to returning to your hometown of New Orleans? Will you get to get away from the game at all to see family members?
“No. It’s a business trip. I won’t see any family or anybody. I will keep my normal routine that I do for any away game. It’s always a special trip coming back to New Orleans and playing in the Superdome where I have seen many games. I have been there before. This will be my second trip. I should be able to just come in and focus on playing a good game.”

You aren’t going to check out your dad’s new restaurant “Manning's” and its progress?
“I don’t think so. I don’t think I will make it by on this trip.”

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