Coach Tom Coughlin
November 6, 2006
Q: The news on Michael Strahan is obviously not good, but is the fact that it might not be the entire season with this type of injury any consolation at all?
A: As a matter of fact, we're still trying to understand exactly how we're going to see progress and when it will possibly take place and that type of thing. Obviously, I never thought of it as a season-ending. We knew that the x-ray did not show that anything was broken, so the other extent would have to be done through testing today. Of course, we're anticipating getting him back.
Q: What do you do now?
A: We just have to assess this thing day to day with the other injured guys and then get ready to play with our people.
Q: Strahan indicated in a report on-line that it could be eight weeks. Was that an exaggeration, or is it an outside possibility?
A: I don't know anything about that. The only thing I know is what our people are talking about.
Q: Do you start this week with Fred Robbins as one of your defensive ends?
A: Well, we have some flexibility there, as you know, with Fred having played on the outside before. We'll think that through completely here in the next day and decide how it is we're going to play.
A: Well, we don't know. It's going to be a day-to-day thing. If something looks good by Wednesday, we'll have something to talk about. Right now we don't.
Q: Do you need to look at outside players?
A: That's always a contemplation, and this is what this next 24 hours is all about. So we'll assess that.
Q: Like many teams, you are traditionally secretive about injuries. Why announce the timeline on Michael? Why is this different?
A: I think it's because of the nature of the player, and the fact that so many questions have been asked about this, and the fact that this information, hopefully, will allow us to focus on the players that will be ready to play.
Q: When you talk about the next 24 hours in answering the question about Tuck and Umenyiora, it sounds like there could be something positive on either of them. Is that legitimately a possibility?
A: All I said was that we'll see where we are on Wednesday when it comes time to practice. Otherwise, I don't have any information for you.
Q: How did Adrian Awasom play in relief of Strahan?
A: He did pretty well. For going into the game and playing on more than just a play here or a play there basis, he did pretty well. He did a nice job. He hustled, he gave good effort and certainly had some pressures. I thought he did, under those circumstances, a very good job.
Q: You signed him as a defensive end, but there's been talk about moving him to defensive tackle. Has he bulked up?
A: Not really bulked up. We just thought that at one point he could play inside and outside. His versatility, that would help us in terms of advancing his versatility. He's played pretty much exclusively at end.
A: I think we'll see again. There's really not a lot to report until Wednesday. We've speculated on players before and then had to turn around and tell you that it wasn't going to take place, so I think what I'll do is wait until we see how we're going to be in terms of practice and on Wednesday, after Wednesday's practice we'll talk about who practiced, who didn't and what we saw.
Q: How worried are you about the cumulative effect of the injuries? You were without five starters at one point on your defense on Sunday. No matter how deep you are, that's still tough to withstand.
A: You'd prefer to play, as I've always said, let us play with the team that we have when we come out of camp. That does not happen in this business. Every week you have to adjust. We've been trying to do that. We certainly would like to get some people back.
Q: Have they laid out a rehab schedule for Strahan, and when might he be able to begin that?
A: I imagine he'll begin that as soon as there would be benefit and not any type of setback. Right now it will be very minimal, but he'll have treatment each day and probably end up being all day. We're just looking for the soreness to go down so he can start to do some types of strength work, even though it might be minimal at first, just to get him started.
Q: He played pretty much every game for about six or seven years, and now this is two out of three years where he's suffered an injury. Do you worry about him breaking down?
A: I really have never seen that. This particular injury, you know, is not common. His description of how it happened, I think it was, unfortunately, something that occurs in this game. We'll just do the best we can to get him by it, get him through it.
Q: How did it happen?
A: You know what? I got second-hand information about him getting his foot caught and twisted, but I wouldn't even…I'm not going to tell you that that comes right from Michael, because that's not true. I didn't get the information right from him.
Q: What play was that on?
A: I don't have…I wouldn't be able to tell you that.
Q: Plaxico Burress seemed to be certain he'd be able to play this week. Do you agree with that?
A: We're going to see on Wednesday. He did some more work today. He feels better, and hopefully we'll make real good progress and be able to practice Wednesday.
Q: The statement from VP of medical services Ronnie Barnes said that Strahan would be in a boot and stay off it for a week. Am I to assume from that that there'll be a re-evaluation next week and that you're not necessarily ruling him out, best-case scenario, for the Jaguars game?
A: I think it goes week to week. I think that would be the best way to say it. I don't know – I know that he's in a boot and that crutches are necessary, but I don't know – Beyond that, we're going to have to take this literally days at a time and see how he is and what kind of progress there is. I know we waited until today, until we have information for you from today's examination and moving forward with the exact timetable as to the next time things are assessed other than the normal treatment. We'll have to wait and find out.
Q: When you looked at film of the game, considering your defense was without so many key players, were you still pleased with what you saw out of them?
A: I was pleased that we won the game. I think that there were times when we played well and times when we certainly didn't play as well as we had been playing. We did hold the opponent to 251 yards and 10 points, and in the National Football League that's an accomplishment unto itself. But certainly there's room for improvement.
Q: They seemed to have a lot of success with the spread formation on offense. What was it about the spread formation that gave you trouble?
A: They were able to get the ball primarily to number 80 whether we were in zone or in man, and most of the time we were in zone. He was able to work one side or the other on short, quick-throw routes, which were successful for them and had been coming in. The quarterback was at 70 percent when he came in and pretty much the long play of the game, I believe, was 22 yards. So you had a game of a lot of completions and fortunately not a lot of yardage.
Q: Does the fact that you were one ill-timed penalty away from keeping another team out of the end zone for the second straight week make you feel like this defense, regardless of who is in there, is certainly on the right track?
A: Oh, I think so. I think so. I think, as I said yesterday to you, I thought penalties played a role in all of the major outcomes, if you will, drive-wise in the game. When you look at us being on the two-yard line and being fourth-and-31, my goodness, that's hard to imagine. I'm not saying the penalty was wrong. I'm just saying what happened therein and what immediately followed was not very good. So I think that certainly from a defensive standpoint, again, 10 points – our goal -- we believe we are going to win when the other guy only gets 10 points, so I'm pleased with that part of it.
Q: Last year the linebacking corps had to be rebuilt; this year it's the ends. Is one position more problematic than the other?
A: I don't think…It's difficult to say how these things happen, why they happen, when they happen. As you know, defensive end was a strong point for us and we have some injuries there, and we just have to fight our way through it. That's all. We have to find a way to keep playing well and going despite these things. I anticipated this. I knew it would be the only thing that anyone wanted to talk about, and that's another reason why the statement was issued about Michael, was so that, hopefully, we could get to talk a little bit about the game itself. It's a…The injury to the particular position, again, we need to get some guys back.
Q: Coming into this season, did you make a conscious effort to get more first-team reps for back-up guys and younger guys during regular practice, just knowing that one position broke down so much last year that it was tough to get to do that with some guys?
A: You're always trying to enhance your depth and gain valuable snaps for guys that down the road you know are going to be involved because of the nature of our game. The importance of the 53 being a strong 53 is that people can be called upon in key situations to perform, to help your team win, to do their job. You're consciously trying to do that. I don't think the numbers are all that different from how we practiced or how we repped people. Just fortunately, we've had some people that have been able to do well, for example, in preseason (and) gain experience that way – understand the importance of practicing well, whether they're scout-squad or whether they're working with the first teams. Then when their opportunity came, they need to be able to take advantage of it.
Q: When you drafted Mathias Kiwanuka, you expected to work him in gradually. Now that he's had to play all the time, how do you think he's been holding up?
A: Oh, he's done well. He's been a strong point.
Q: Is there anything about being on the practice squad that can prepare a player to play a lot of reps in a game very quickly?
A: The thing about the practice squad, if you think about it you understand how important conditioning is. That, I think, is number one because those kids go both ways. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday they're working their butt off. They get an extra session in the strength program, which gives them three times a week, whereas the normal players are getting two (and some get a little bit more). I think that from the standpoint of conditioning and from strength, they're constantly working on that and they're in good shape and they're strong. I think those that are able to understand the game realize that they're only a snap or two away from being involved in the 53 – being activated, if you will – and then having an opportunity to perform, whether it be on special teams, which is normally the right of passage on special teams and then on to being involved in the core players that need all of the situational plays, whether it's offense or defense. I think what prepares them is a serious approach to their job, and the fact that they're constantly in motion and preparing themselves. If you're, for example, a wide receiver, you're playing defensive back and wide receiver. That would be the best way to look at that.
Q: Was Awasom one of those guys who was easy to convince of that, or did you have to reinforce it to him?
A: What exactly are you asking?
Q: In other words, understanding why you're on the practice squad –
A: Oh, I think he had a good understanding because when we made that decision, he was very much aware. And he also is very much aware of the fact that he's a snap away from being involved in our 53. I think the more a person takes that approach, the better off everyone is.
Q: With the number of linebackers you have, especially if Short gets back, could you use that to alleviate some of --
A: We've had some flexibility there. We've had some flexibility there and we've played some guys in situational defenses outside. We do have a little flexibility there.
Q: How is Kareem McKenzie today?
A: He's much improved from yesterday.
Q: Is this going to be something that keeps popping up?
A: I would hope not. I hope not.