Any update on Brandon Jacobs?
They are doing all the medical tests today and he is sore etc. We are going to wait until I get some more information than what I have right now. It is a left hamstring and we will just have to wait and see. Mathias (Kiwanuka) is going to have his surgery this afternoon to stabilize the fibula and the ankle so that will take place this afternoon.
You have confirmed that the fibula is not something he can come back from this season?
The doctors don’t believe it is. They just think the recovery time is too great for this year.
Are you a little concerned about your running back situation with Derrick Ward still banged up?
It went from a deep, strong position to a position now that has a couple of injuries. We are trying to figure out just exactly where Ward is and it probably would take through tomorrow to figure that out. Yeah, it is a definite concern.
How ready is Ahmad Bradshaw to shoulder some of the load?
He would be ready. We have used him in certain situations even more than you have seen in the game. We have had things ready from a practice standpoint that haven’t been used. He is ready and he seems to be very aware of pass protection as well. He would right now at this point in time have to be looked at as the second guy to go in the game.
Are you looking at any other solutions for Mathias Kiwanuka’s position other than Reggie Torbor?
We haven’t discussed a whole lot about that. Reggie came into the game and completed the game. He played well enough for us to win. As you know, Mathias had many situation defensive positions that he played as well, and we will have to work out how we are going to deal with that as well.
Would this cause you to eliminate some of those situations?
Is Chase Blackburn an option at strongside linebacker?
Well, he certainly would be one option, Torbor is an option, (Gerris) Wilkinson is an option. We have some guys that have played and Chase basically has concentrated at the MIKE position and took many reps last week at that spot. Reggie has taken the SAM snaps and Gerris has been both a WILL and a SAM in his assignments during the course of the week, so we will see how that works out as well.
Heading into the stretch run do you like where your team is positioned?
I am still looking at this thing one week at a time. We won a big game in the NFC yesterday, played very well on defense, played very well on special teams. We were not very opportunistic on the offensive side. We had fumbles in deep territory with opportunities to maybe kick field goals at the very least, so I was disappointed in that. We went into the game knowing full well that this was a very, very good ball-stripping team and we got pick-pocketed twice. It was the wrong spot to have that happen and on the other hand, it wasn’t putting our defense in a bad position, which is another way of looking at it. Not enough production on offense, not very good to be honest with you, not enough production in the fourth quarter. As any competitor would tell you, there isn’t anybody on the offensive side that liked the way the game finished from that standpoint in terms of not having the ball in our hands and having to put our defense back on the field. We have at times demonstrated very, very good play in all phases and did not have as good a game as we expected to have offensively, but we had a very good game on special teams. We thought that would have to be our edge. Our defense with the ability to hold a team that had been averaging 31 points at home to 10 points, which was a very big plus. We are excited and looking forward, as I said, one game at a time, but very much aware of the fact that we have played 10 and we have a six-game schedule.
What do you see from Reuben Droughns if he has to take over as the number one running back? He did not get a lot of yards on the ground when he took over yesterday?
He has played well for us now in the situations where he has had an opportunity. I think that at the time of the game where I am referring to, late in the game, Detroit was very much aware of the situation as well. There was going to be eight people in the box, there wasn’t going to be as much of a chance to run. If you were going to take a chance, it was going to have to be with a ball in the air, and because of the nature of the game, we certainly weren’t going to do anything to create a problem for ourselves. Other than that, Reuben has run the ball well when called upon and did a nice job with a screen and so on and so forth. He is a proven rusher in this league and we have great confidence in him.
Do you think these last few injuries (ankle, hamstring) to Brandon Jacobs have anything to do with his running style?
I don’t think so, and as a matter of fact, I am not even sure how this hamstring came about. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him today. He has been in, he has been in the training room, he got in his strength work, and he has been with Jerald (Ingram) and they have looked at the tape. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him today. It is a hard thing. These soft tissue things pop up and I am not sure why or how this occurred and I do want to know more about this, but I don’t think it has anything to do with his style.
Do you have any experience with a bigger guy with longer legs being more affected by a hamstring injury?
No. I would say the opposite. I have not seen that to be the case.
Without Kiwanuka in the four defensive end front does Fred Robins get the bulk of those snaps?
Well, Freddie will certainly be a bigger part of the package, yes. We will take a look at some other people in various spots in depth as well. There will be some maneuvering around for sure.
The past three games you got the ball to start the second half and have gone three-and-out; is there some kind of a problem there?
The problem was that yesterday there were two dropped balls. You can take each game and look at it and there is a different reason for it. There is an issue with the fact that we have really looked forward to having the ball at the start of the second half in terms of letting it allow us to create some momentum and we haven’t been able to do that or accomplish that. We are again disappointed, we are looking at that, however yesterday we certainly did have opportunities to at least let that drive go beyond one first down and we weren’t able to do it.
Do you like the way Eli Manning played yesterday?
I thought Eli, as I looked at the tape, I thought he did a very good job again of his percentage pass was higher, he did not throw an interception, he was very smart with the ball, he got us in very good shape before the half. We were trying to not only score but bleed the clock and we got the clock down to 23 seconds and he read the coverage extremely well, dropped the ball exactly where he should, and got a touchdown out of that. The one that we kicked the field goal from very close he was able to make a couple of plays after the penalty to get us very, very close in position there and again do so by doing a nice job with the coverage reads and distributing the ball where it should go. I thought he did a very nice job from that standpoint and certainly was very consistent.
Is it a cause for alarm that the downfield passing didn’t seem to be there yesterday and that you didn’t seem to throw the ball in the end zone at all?
I don’t know if it is a cause for alarm. We have all those things in place, we have our shots, we have our green area throws which take the ball into the end zone, we have those things and sometimes they get called, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes there are circumstances in the game which don’t allow you to. Certainly I would like to be more aggressive, to have a situation occur where we had more points on the board at halftime. We felt like we left some points on the field that could have been taken advantage of. We will continue to look at that.
How important was the win yesterday from a psychological standpoint after the loss to Dallas and the talk about another potential second half collapse?
I think it was, I don’t know that the players dwelled on it. I think it was a good thing for us as we approached it to be playing in a big game, to try to be a team that didn’t hurt ourselves. We had talked so much about the week before that I am sure the players were starting to get a little closed-eared about the idea of not beating ourselves with the penalties, turnovers, and what have you. To go on the road to a place where many people had gone into, Tampa Bay being one and gotten beat to a team that was 4-0 and have as much riding on the game as we did, to win a game is a good confidence boost now for us I think. As long as we apply the same formula, which basically is ‘talk is cheap, play the game’ and put yourself in a position where you give yourself a chance to win, I think some real good can come out of this game.
Have you seen Michael Strahan’s overall game get better and get into his normal regular season form in the past few weeks?
You have to go back a ways, probably three or four games into the season, we talked about Michael having himself and his timing being such that he felt good about the way he was playing. Yesterday he was very good, he was very steady, he made some key, key plays against the run as well when they did try to run, and he certainly put the pressure on the quarterback with sacks and also had some pressures and forced a couple hurries. He played very well and he certainly took advantage of the opportunities that he did have when he did get singled and so on and so forth. He played well and he played well consistently and he was a source of pressure all day.