Q. Has coach Coughlin changed anything up motivationally or psychologically this week?
A. I think there has been just a re-emphasis of let’s make sure we are doing everything right. We aren’t leaving anything unattended to in terms of our preparation, realizing that is how we have won in the past. Our workload in terms of getting ready for our opponent, we have been as good as anybody in terms of being professional and leaving no stone unturned, so to speak. I think if anything, that has been the emphasis. It is something he always does, but I think there has probably been a higher sense of urgency and maybe guys listen a little more attentively.
Q. What do you guys need to do this week to cut down on the amount of turnovers this team has given up over the past few weeks?
A. Nothing specific. I wish there was one thing. It would make it so much easier. You have to be really conscious of how important that ball is. Right now we are doing so many good things, if you can just stop doing some of those bad things, we are going to be difficult to contend with. We are leading the league in big plays, big pass plays over twenty, we’re doing a lot of good things, now just be more consistent. Certainly that consistency expresses itself in cutting down on mistakes and the biggest mistake of all is when you turn it over.
Q. The numbers in the run game aren’t as good as they have been the last couple of years. Is that a product of your guys not playing as well or the game situations?
A. I don’t know. Again, I wish we could figure that out. Certainly we are not as dominant as we have been. We are throwing the ball better, which you would think would actually lead us to have better chances to run the ball. It is certainly something we are emphasizing, something that we know is important to our game and how critical it is to our success. Not only for ourselves offensively, but again, we are second in the league in time of possession, so we are doing those types of things. Anything we can do to help the defense by holding onto the ball helps our team.
Q. San Diego’s defense is ranked pretty low in the league, but the last few weeks they have been better. Have you seen that improvement?
A. Unfortunately, yes. Unfortunately, they are playing much more aggressively, much more physical. (Shawne) Merriman looks, in particular, to be really raising his level. I don’t know if health-wise, it looks like he is getting back to where he was. So, yeah they are playing much better football over the last few weeks than they were earlier on.
Q. That being said, how important is it to get Brandon (Jacobs) going and set the tone and show how physical you guys can be?
A. Yeah, I think that is always critical. The better we can do in that it just helps set everything up. It establishes the tenor of the game. It gets everybody excited when they see him running the ball with physical force and the prowess that he has. It certainly sets up some opportunities for throwing the ball down the field for some big plays. If we can get that going, it certainly enhances everything, not only offensively, but I think the whole team benefits.
Q. He has started well the last couple of weeks, but when you guys have gotten down it seems hard to stick with the running game. If that situation presents itself again, are you more inclined to stick to the running game?
A. No, I think it has been just the opposite. We haven’t run the ball very well in the beginning. We have run the ball after we have started throwing it. That is really what has helped him. He has been a beneficiary of the throwing. What we would like to see is us to start off the game running the ball better and I think that would allow, again, it is hard to be too critical because we are second in the league in time of possession, it is not like we aren’t doing our fair share. But if we can do more, we are willing to do whatever it takes to get a ‘w’ so if that is a more effective component of what we are doing, I think it will enhance our chances of winning the game.
Q. How similar is this defense to the one you saw in Dallas in the beginning of the year?
A. That is a good question. There are definitely some similarities. They have obviously put their own stamp on it and he has tweaked it and moved in a different direction in a couple of different areas. But you can see the genesis is from the Dallas, the Wade Phillips tree. That is kind of the starting point, like all defenses or offenses, but then they have a tendency to veer off in their own direction based on the coordinator or other coaches that are there. But, there is definitely a similarity and that is definitely the starting point.