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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
A: He’s much improved from yesterday.
Q: Is this going to be something that keeps
A: I would hope not. I hope not.