Ahmad Bradshaw is listed as the only player that will not practice today. We will have a good rotation.
Q: We talked with Eli and Justin on Monday about how they came back with their heads cleared a little bit and felt a little refreshed. Is that the sense you got from your guys?
A: That was the purpose, obviously, and they should certainly have done that. Before they left we told them to have a good vacation and spend some time with their families, relax and get away from football, get away from the routine. I find myself, though, that as soon as Sunday comes around you are stuck in front of that television watching every bit of football you can watch. So I’m sure they all did the same thing. But that’s OK because we had a nice break. We came back and had a little work. They had another day to themselves and now we are back to work.
Q: We talked to them about the division coming back to this team over the weekend with Dallas and Philadelphia losing. And I’m sure you have probably pointed that out to them. Have you made that an overriding ….?
A: The most important thing to me is our team, and the word "opportunity" and the fact that what we do is the most important thing of all. This is National Football League. It is mid to late November. Things happen in our league. It is just the nature of the business and the way in which with the caliber of teams, on a weekly basis anybody is capable of beating anybody else. And that is the way this is. And that is the way this is. So the most important thing to me is again, our team. And having an opportunity to have a bye week and now what can we do with the seven games remaining on our schedule.
Q: How excited are you, Coach, just to get back out there in the second half?
A: I’m excited every day I come to work. We are excited because we have an excellent football team in the Atlanta Falcons coming in here this weekend to Giants Stadium. There are many, many difficult games ahead, but we are excited about this opportunity.
Q: Brandon Jacobs hasn’t had a 100-yard rushing game yet this year. They are a defense that has given up some yards on the ground. Will you commit, finally, to the running game?
A: Commit? ……….
Q: Commit to Brandon Jacobs.
A: We are going to try to run the ball, and so is Atlanta. That is how that division plays and that is how we play.
Q: Are they a much different team, do you think, without Michael Turner?
A: I don’t think so. Whether or not Michael Turner plays or not, they have a style. They play the game a certain way. They do rush the football very well. If you watch the numbers, you see some of the common opponents that we have played and the fact that they rushed for 181, 161, and 124, I think it was, against the Cowboys. So they run the football and they do it very well. And they do have multiple threats.
Q: Except for Kenny Phillips, you pretty much have your whole defense really for the first time. Does that give you some optimism?
A: Well, obviously we have had some injuries and we have had guys we have had to get back. We have got them back. So we are excited about that. Now let’s hope we can build some endurance and some opportunities on the practice field to get these guys ready to play.
Q: What do you anticipate out of Michael Boley? You mentioned that he was rusty in his first game back.
A: He is going to be better. He has had that one game and he has practiced. And I expect that he will be very similar in the way that he advanced when he came back to us prior to this experience.
Q: And emotionally, obviously, going up against his former team?
A: It will probably get his attention.
Q: When he is healthy what does Boley do for the defense that maybe you were missing before?
A: Speed. I think the speed at the position and the ability to adjust. The ability to not only cover, but in pressure package he does get the chance to rush.
Q: With Tony Gonzalez obviously being good, is that ………
A: Not just that. He doesn’t just get matched up on the tight end.
Q: Do you have any sense if Aaron Ross will be limited today?
A: We are just trying to bring him along and give him more opportunities and trying to take off the straps of any kind of limitations that are there. It is his job to prove to us that there are no limitations. So right now he is still limited. And we go from there.
Q: Do you know if the week off did anything for Ahmad Bradshaw as far as making him feel better or heal at all?
A: Well, other than the fact that he didn’t have that Sunday – which can set you back – and put you in the same cycle you are in every week. He has had a different cycle. He has had an opportunity to really have the better part of 10 days, at least, to feel about as good as he is going to feel.
Q: But he hasn’t told you?
A: No, and I haven’t asked.
Q: What about the importance of establishing the home field advantage for your team?
A: The importance is winning. Obviously at home, this time of year, is very important for us to win. We want to win at home. We want to win for our fans. But we need to win a game, yes.
Q: Matt Ryan is in his second year. What do see from him?
A: You see the very things that you were attracted to when he came out or in his rookie year – the athleticism, the arm, the ability to make plays. I know what you know, but I see – the guy is in his second year. And sure, he has had some issues, but everyone goes through that.
Q: Jeff Feagles admitted that he needed a week off maybe more than he ever had in his career. Have you checked with him at all? Do you need to do anything just to kind of make sure that….?
A: We have a good schedule as far as the punter and the kicker and the amount of work that they do and when they work and so on. The schedule has been a very good one. The bye came at a good time for Jeff.
Q: I meant mentally more than anything.
A: He has been coaching, you know, and that is tough on him. I think his team is undefeated.
Q: Jerald Ingram said last week that Danny Ware – you guys expected him to be a big part of the offense. And maybe not having him forced Brandon into some roles that maybe he didn’t fit into. Do you (a) see Danny playing a big role and (b) do you think that will help?
A: We are trying to move Danny along and bring him back to the vision that we had for him earlier in the year. There is multiplicity for all of those backs, though. Brandon can handle all of the roles that we ask all of the backs to do. He is very good in the protection aspect of it, obviously. He can catch the football. He can be used on the screen game; all of those things. He can do that. Now, is there a spot to specialize with some people? Sure. Danny’s situation early prevented him from advancing. He has been on the field for a couple of weeks. Hopefully we can continue to move him along.
Q: Do you expect Clint Sintim to get more and more snaps?
A: I do expect him to be as involved as we can make that possible. It is good to have both of those guys on the strong side. And both contribute on special teams and on first and second downs.
Q: How did he do against San Diego?
A: He did OK. He improved the second time around. So we are looking for more improvement.