Good morning, it is an exciting week for us with the Giants as we prepare for the divisional round of the playoffs and traveling to Green Bay, the reigning world champions. They are a team that is 8-0 at home, plus-24 in the turnover column, the least penalized team in the National Football League. They really have outstanding statistics in all three phases with the offensive team with Rodgers having the year he has had, the defensive team with the 31 interceptions and the takeaways and their aggressive style. Of course, special teams with the outstanding punter and kicker. It is a game that we are excited to get prepared for and we look forward to the trip to Green Bay this weekend.
Q: With the takeaways and being ranked last in the league, how do you interpret their defense?
A: They take the ball away from people. People are getting started and they have the 31 interceptions and fumbles so it has not taken away from their aggressiveness. They have lost players from time-to-time, when they came here the two inside starting backers didn't play and they have been able to overcome that as well. They are averaging 35 points a game so that is a pretty good start.
Q: What is the mindset of the team having to go on the road after three home games?
A: Road warriors, coming out of the woodwork. it is time to go out the road. It is time to renew some of those thoughts about playing on the road, the togetherness, the team being all for one and one for all, the mental toughness. You are going to need all those things there.
Q: As a coach, what is it like to see JPP come together and have a season like this one?
A: It is a very satisfying and very rewarding feeling because when a young man like that is drafted and there is so much speculation about play time, etc. but you know the talent is there and you see the young man develop mentally. This is a mental game. It is a long, long season, but you see a young man develop and focus better at his assignments and know exactly what is expected of him. To play so well against the outstanding players in this league like the left tackles that he goes against week in and week out. To be able to move him around the way we have been able to move him around and put him against different people and have him perform at the level that he has performed at, it is not a surprise to any of us, but we are very grateful and thankful that it has come as fast as it has.
Q: What was your favorite play of his?
A: I like the blocked field goal myself.
Re: Aaron Rodgers
A: Athleticism and he moves well. You can see the rhythm in which he operates. He is very accurate, he has great velocity on the ball, he has great accuracy and good vision. He sees people from the corner of his eye. He moves the ball around and has large contributions from a whole bunch of players so the distribution of the ball is handled very, very well. He was able to avoid and ran out of the pocket here twice for big gains so it is a combination of all those things. He does have outstanding arm strength and a quick release and good vision.
Q: What did Eli show you in that game in 2007?
A: His completion percentage for a day like that was incredible and the way he played but that was 07 and this is 2011.
Q: What is the status of Aaron Ross?
A: Aaron has been cleared. He will be able to practice, Ware is not and he won't. Bradshaw won't work today, Herzlich won't work.
Q: Did Ross have a concussion?
A: He has passed all the protocol. That is all I can tell you.
Q: How many players came up to you during the 2007 game and ask about your face?
A: I don't think anybody. Seriously, if you look at the guys' eyes on the sidelines, they were looking at the field like I was. I don't think anybody mentioned it or mentioned it afterwards either. Somebody told me and I think it was somebody watching the game on TV.
Q: Did you watch the re-airing of the 2007 NFC Championship Game on Monday night?
A: I was busy. I was kind of busy Monday night. Thanks for asking.
Q: Will you queue up any of that game for the team?
A: I don't think so.
Q: What has to come together for a team to improve its defensive performance the way this one has over the last month?
A: Persistence - number one - and the ability to ride the ups and the downs and stay together. The development of the feeling of ‘team.' The confidence that grows from a little bit of success. The ability to put some of the pieces to the puzzle together that haven't been there, that weren't there, that do breed the confidence. But when you talk about things such as we're definitely going to be tested in the secondary, obviously, there has been improvement, a plastering effect if you will - much better than it was just a few short weeks ago. I think that, again, the growth of the confidence that comes from the pass-rush to the ability to go against some very, very good running teams and stop the run and then to be able to execute in the backend as well knowing full-well that naturally there's yardage that will be gained, but nevertheless, we stay away from the big play, that type of thing. I think that's where it comes from. But the number one thing, you have to stay the course. Even when it doesn't look very good you have to hang in there and you have to battle. You have to believe in yourself and you have to really believe that from the competitive aspect of that, things are going to get better.
Q: How does Aaron Rodgers' mobility change the equation?
A: You know that from the athletic standpoint you have to try to keep him contained. Your pressure has to push up and you have to try to keep him from bouncing to the outside. He makes many plays after extending.
Q: Does the defense still have a chance to improve?
A: Yes. Definitely. There are many, many areas that we can [improve] and we focus on and attempt to continue to get better.
Q: Why is Green Bay so good at throwing the back-shoulder ball?
A: They're good at it. They've obviously practiced it. It's a primary objective of theirs to be able to do that. The receivers and the quarterback on are the same page. We saw it up there last year against us.
Q: Green Bay has not played a high-pressure game in some time, and you have. Is that to your advantage?
A: I'm only concerned about what we're doing. We've had a lot of games that we've had to win the game or we wouldn't be in the position that we're in. I think that's a good thing and it has built some momentum for us. But to say that a 15-1 team hasn't played pressure games, I don't know if I can totally go along with that one.
Q: The last two weeks you haven't turned the ball over. Are you doing anything differently?
A: We've taken care of the ball. We know how important that is. In the playoffs you have to take really good care of the ball and I think Eli's done a very good job of making sure that the opportunities that we've had to advance the ball with the pass, at least the percentages have been in our favor.
Q: Did you have to reign Eli in at all or tell him to take fewer gambles?
A: No. He's very intelligent. He's very smart. He knows exactly what he's doing and we have all of the trust and faith in him and he has to go out and do that for us.
Q: How often does a second level guy step up and makes the big plays in a game like this? You have to spread the ball around.
A: We do, but it takes everybody every week. Some of the things that people don't see - the special teams plays, the blocking downfield, that type of thing - it has to happen at the highest level to create some of the things that have happened - the Travis Beckum play in the first game. Those kinds of things that you're talking to and referring to, I think you have to have those. Somebody, and we say this quite frankly, somebody who perhaps no one is really aware of the fact of what they do or what their contribution is is going to have to step up and make a play to help us win.
Q: Do you appreciate being one of eight teams remaining?
A: I can count. I know there's eight left and I know there's four in our conference, I know there's four in [the AFC].
Q: Are they going to change their offense if Philbin is not there?
A: First things first, our heart goes out to the Philbin family. When we first heard this the other night, the whole coaching staff, the room went absolutely silent. Many guys know Joe Philbin. You have tremendous empathy, but you can't [have] anywhere near the feeling that his family's going through. Just tragic. The sympathy of the Giants organization goes out to the Philbin family.
But the offense will remain the same. That's Mike McCarthy.
Q: Will defenses change now that Mario Manningham is playing well?
A: They're aware of him. He's not a surprise. But the way he's played makes you a little bit more aware. That's what you need. You have to have all of the weapons firing.
Q: Was it difficult to go from the underdog mentality of 2007 to the number one seed in 2008? Does that change how you approach the playoffs?
A: It's a little bit different of an approach. Some of the motivational tools have to be maneuvered one way or the other if you're the top seed or somebody that's not thought of in that respect. But there are still many, many opportunities to create inspiration and motivation.
Q: What did Kansas City do to beat Green Bay?
A: They held them to 315 total yards. They ran the ball. When Green Bay went through here they had time of possession on us. Kansas City had way [more] time of possession on Green Bay. Green Bay had some things that occurred in the game where they weren't as efficient, let's put it that way, as they might have been in other situations. I think Kansas City was very physical in that game.