December 6, 2006
Good morning. Know what I think
when I walked in here, it’s different from when I came in here on
Monday. You have to get it up, guys. You have to get excited –
it’s a new week here. You’re all sitting here like this with your
heads down and I know you want to win just as bad as I want to
win. You have to get it going. The enthusiasm is…You have to get
yourself fired up a little bit for a new week and a new
Q: Is that what
you told the players?
A: That’s exactly what I told the
players. That was part of it. The reality-based introduction to
the opponent, the idea of what’s at stake – there are four teams,
obviously, that are 6-6. All of those things. The circumstances
surrounding the Carolina team – they’re a very, very
good football team. There isn’t any doubt about that. They’re
very solid in all areas. You talk about (Chris) Kasay and (Jason)
Baker, you’re talking about guys that are having great seasons.
You talk about their fire-power, talk about their defensive team,
talk about their front. They’re a very, very good football team.
They’ve had a different course, if you will, from ours, but a lot
of things are similar. The two games that you relate to right
away would be the most recent game – Philadelphia and then the
Dallas game, for example, the Washington game – whichever games
you want to look at in which we really know the opponents well.
You know how hard-fought those games were. Even the Dallas game
was 21-14 in the fourth quarter and the two turnovers put it at
the 35 number, but up until that point it certainly wasn’t that
type of score. Very, very good team. We’re going there, they’re
playing at home and we’re all in the same situation here, the four
teams that are 6-6. It’s a great opporuntity for us and what do
we do with it? That’s what remains to be seen. We start the week
off in a pretty good situation, from an injury standpoint. We
still have Michael (Strahan), who’s not going to be able to work,
and Corey Webster won’t – He’ll do some individual, but he
won’t…He probably won’t do any team. We’ll see how he does.
Obviously Luke (Petitgout) is not going to work, but hopefully
unless somebody has slipped my mind the rest of the players will
be – some are limited, but they’ll all practice. They’ll work,
and that’s a good thing.
Michael Strahan’s attempt
to do individual drills last week set him back?
A: I don’t think so, because he
came right back and felt better after doing it. He was sore the
next day, but then eventually he felt better after that. I
wouldn’t even say it’s day-to-day, but I would hope it would end
up being day-to-day. Now it’s probably not.
Q: Are you
concerned at all with the kickoff coverage?
A: On Monday, if you remember, I
said that. I was concerned. I started out by saying I didn’t
think either kicker kicked the ball well – Whether it was the
weather, whatever it was, the ball didn’t fly on kickoffs. But
their starting point was the 36, ours was 30. I didn’t think our
coverage was very good. The things that we had pointed out and
tried to recognize as the strength of their returns we were
allowing them to do and didn’t really have much of a solid answer
for. Obviously it’s an area of concern. They have some
outstanding returners. Goings is their kickoffs returner. He put
the ball out to the 40 the other day. Their punt returners,
although the numbers aren’t that good, (Chris) Gamble and (Steve)
Smith are both outstanding, elusive, fast people that can hurt you
at any time during the course of a game.
Q: Were there
signs in the Dallas
game that the pass-rush was getting any better?
A: It wasn’t as good as it could be
and it has to be better. I really would not like to go
backwards. I’d like to go forwards. But I will say this to you,
and you saw it. We had three people unblocked in the
quarterback’s face, and he avoided all three. So we can’t allow
that to happen. We have to position ourselves better, come to
balance better and make those plays when we’re there. They would
have been big plays in the game.
Q: With the kind
of receivers Carolina has, is it of the utmost importance to make
Jake Delhomme throw the ball not when he wants to?
A: It’s very important, because
really when he’s most effective is when the ball’s coming out of
his hands in a rhythmic fashion, in a timely fashion. He does
have the capability – as have the last two quarterbacks that we’ve
played – of moving out of there if he does want to throw the ball
down the field.
Q: Earlier this
season everyone was questioning if Tiki Barber’s retirement would
be a distraction. What do you feel like about the way he’s
playing, and is the hand playing a factor in that at all?
A: I think he’s playing well,
regardless of (the) announcement you’re referring to. He’s doing
a good job. It was never a factor with the thumb. He never lost
focus, he never missed anything during the course of the game.
When it happened, he was as focused as he’s ever been. There was
never any question about, ‘Can I do this? Can I do that?’ His
answer and responses were right away, ‘I’m able to secure the
ball.’ As far as I was concerned, he never missed a beat.
Q: Are there
marked differences between Foster and DeAngleo Williams in their
A: There are differences,
obviously, in their approach, their size, for example. Both are
very good, very elusive. (DeShaun) Foster can put it up in the
hole with power and you’re going to have trouble tackling him.
DeAngelo Williams is a guy who is really an outstanding scooter
and I think really, as I told the team this morning, the real
important thing for them to look at is 17 for 74 and seven catches
for 101 yards and a touchdown. That’s outstanding production in a
game against an Eagle defense. Because of the unfortunate injury
to Foster, they’ve had to play DeAngelo Williams, and he’s
Q: I know it’s
been almost a year since the playoff game and you’re trying to get
your own playoff berth here, but does the playoff loss, from a
motivational standpoint, still factor in here at all?
A: I think it does, but I didn’t
refer to it this morning with our team, I didn’t utilize it in any
way. I think that it’s something that will always be the dot on
the end of the season last year which nobody, nobody is happy
about that at all. No one was ever anything but disappointed and
it remains there.
sometimes go through peaks and valleys where they for whatever
reason they lose their confidence. Do coordinators go through the
A: I think that the only thing that
happens with a coach is that they’re constantly trying to figure
out a way to accomplish what perhaps didn’t get accomplished in
that last particular game. I think that’s exactly where it is for
all of us.
Q: You talked
about Will Demps on Monday. It seems like every time there’s a
big play against you, he’s involved.
A: I’m not going to put any added
blame on any one player, because we’re all at fault in everything
that we say and do. His play can be better. He can be in
position to play the ball better, for example, and I would hope
that he will improve.
Q: When he and
Gibril Wilson had a good stretch and the defense had a good
stretch, is that more a factor of having a good pass-rush?
A: Well, that certainly helps the
whole secondary. To have pressure on the quarterback, it makes
their job at least more timely. What happened the other night
with people getting out of the pocket and having all of that time,
that’s difficult. But we still can stay in better position than
Q: Are they a
similar team to prepare for as they were last year in the playoffs
and can you take anything from last year’s game plan?
A: I think you certainly can, but
all teams are different. All teams have changes – personnel
changes, where they are at this point in time, how they utilize
their personnel. How their kicking game affects their game. So I
think you certainly can look at the similarities in the people
that are there and the positions that they’re playing and how
they’re playing, but then I think you have to make adjustments for
where you are at this point.
Q: Obviously you
know what your team has gone through. Is
Carolina in a similar situation?
A: I think coming off a
disappointing loss would be an easy way to put it, yes. I think
that would be something that would be similar.
Q: The fact that
they’re both coming off two losses, they’re 6-6…
Q: You agree?
A: Very well said. Good
Q: Has Julius Peppers changed at all since the playoff game?
A: He’s changed. It’s been in the
wrong direction for us. No, he’s a good football player in all
respects, whether it be running, pass, chase the ball, long arms.
Sometimes he’s involved in coverage on the tight end – He looks
pretty good doing that, even.
what did they do to Eli Manning in that game and do you think he’s
learned from that?
A: I think the course of the
season, people having watched that game and what they did…he
certainly has had the experience of playing against similar things
and hopefully has grown from that as well. I don’t know that you
can be specific and apply it to what has he learned. Obviously
the fact that he’s played pretty much another 12 games is the
Q: Special teams
last year seemed to be more of a force, more of a positive. This
year, it seems like…
A: I think all you need to look at
when you’re talking about that is we haven’t really had a big
kickoff return, we haven’t had a big punt return. Our coverage
has been pretty solid and pretty physical. Last week was not a
very good example of that. Our punter has made strong
contributions to our punt-coverage because he’s been able to,
through his ability, put the ball on the sideline or almost out of
bounds. We’ve had some downs inside – That’s been pretty solid.
But the big plays that are very, very motivational to your team on
special teams, we haven’t had any of those.
Q: What’s your
report on Delhomme?
A: It’s just what I hear. I really
don’t know a lot about it. I’ll have to get some information on
that. I probably know what you know, or you may know a little
Q: He and Chris Weinke I would think would take different preparation?
A: I would think so, but I don’t…I
wouldn’t even start to speculate on who the quarterback will be,
because I know the type of competitor that Delhomme is.
Q: Do they still
use Steve Smith the same way, and is he as dangerous as ever?
A: As dangerous as ever.
Q: When you
worked Keyshawn Johnson out during the off-season, did you ever
think you would sign him?
A: Other than there was a visit.
There was a visit here and he moved on. I think he had five or
six places he was visiting. His visit here we thought was
productive, but it never got any further than that.
Q: How much did
you want him?
A: Any time we visit a player
there’s great interest, but it’s kind of a two-way thing. There’s
a lot that has to go into it from the standpoint of the club as
well as the player.
Q: You seem
upbeat. Is there a reenergizing around the team? Is it because
everyone is 6-6, or the fact that you played better…?
A: I think it’s time to get off the
last one and get into the new one, and the excitement of the new
game and what’s coming forward and still the opportunities that we
have. I try to make the players understand that – Not to be
distracted by what’s being said on the outside about our team or
whatever, and know what the reality of the situation is and what
opportunities there are. And win one game and it changes a lot of
things. It changes a lot of things. Win one game, get excited
about that…You know, we have a whole quarter of the season left to
go and it’s an exciting time. For anybody to say that it isn’t,
despite the disappointments, is foolish. You only go around this
thing one time.
Q: Is there any
part of you that worries that this message doesn’t get through to
A: Do you guys get it? I’m using
the same one in there, so…This is not an IQ test, now.
Q: I just
thought maybe there’s a cumulative effect after four losses –
A: I hope not. I hope we’re better
than that. I think you’re talking about gut-checks and
character-checks and toughness-checks and all kinds of things.
But I would hope that our mental toughness and the fact that
there’s been so much invested, and again, even though they’re
young they have to realize that you get opportunities and you
don’t have opportunities. Despite the disappointments, you still
have them and take advantage of them. Let’s make something good
happen. When you talk about, like I mentioned to them today – You
know, there’s one or two plays (that) make the difference in a lot
of these games that we’re looking at a four-game losing streak
here? How about if those one or two plays happen on our side?
Just one or two of them. That’s all. Then
we end up being the
winner. Then we’ve
got something to be happy about. That’s where it is. That’s what
we have to do. We have to make that happen. Some of the plays
that we’re not making – Let’s make them. And there’s a million of
them. There’s a ton of them. I know we all want to discuss two
or three of them, and that’s fine. You’re right, we should be.
But there’s about ten of them in each game that if it happened the
way you want it to go, you win the game. That’s where I am.
Q: Each week do
you discuss with them maintaining self control throughout the
A: Yes, I do.
penalties) keep jumping up and biting you.
A: Well, they hadn’t been jumping
up and biting, then all of a sudden they did. Unfortunately,
Q: How is Jeff Feagles?
A: He seems to be doing well.
Q: Is Sean
Landeta still here?
Q: Did you make
Q: Who did you
A: I’ll let you know later.