Justin Tuck (91) and Osi Umenyiora (72) during practice on Monday. Farrell/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE
Q: Are you happy here?
A: I’m happy to be here, I can say that. I don’t derive all my happiness from football, but I’m happy to be here.
Q: Because last year every time we talked to you it was like, when are you getting a new contract? And now, you’ve got the new contract.
A: Yeah. Well I’m glad I don’t have to answer those questions. That’s pretty much where it ends.
Q: What were some of the keys to the defenses, improving the way it did during that stretch?
A: Well, I think everything came together for us. I think obviously the injury situation helped out. I think the calls were different. Everybody bought into the philosophy and we decided we had enough. We were going to perform to the level of our capabilities and that’s what we were able to do.
Q: When you got the game plan for the Super Bowl, what were some of the things that excited you about it?
A: It was nothing really different. It was basically the same thing we had been doing so, I don’t think we were really excited about any of the calls. We were just excited to go out and play in general.
Q: Your level of confidence was raised after Green Bay and the way you guys handled Rodgers...
A: I think we went into every game we played in the playoffs feeling very confident. I think basically, because we knew we were better. We just wanted to go out there and show that.
Q: Can the team carry it over this year?
A: I hope so. I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t. We have basically the same players, same coaching staff. I think it should be the same thing.
Q: You’ve obviously had some years, and a lot of people think that the fact that you have a contract will make an even bigger difference in the way you play. Do you think that matters that you don’t have that leaning over your head?
A: No, I don’t think so. I’ve never been one to focus on a contract situation when I’m actually out there on the football field, so I played for pride and I play for my teammates and for this coaching staff, and I think that is going to be the exact same. Now that I got a contract, when I stepped out there on the football field it was going to be the same thing.
Re: Being healthy…
A: I hope so because these last couple of years I’ve been playing with little things here and there, but now, for the first time in a while, I feel relatively healthy, and I hope I am just able to maintain that throughout the year.
Q: Do you remember the last time you came to camp actually feeling healthy?
A: Maybe, before 2006. Maybe. Because ’06 is when I had the little hip issue and since then it’s just been one thing or another, so it’s been maybe about six years.
Q: As it stands now, have the doctors told you that some of the things you’ve had in the past could come back and that you’ll have to manage them, or have they pretty much said to you, we’ve pretty much fixed this stuff and you just keep going until you start to hurt?
A: I haven’t even seen the doctors. I guess that’s the answer right there.
Q: You have pretty much played the last couple of years where you’ve had days off in practice. Do you want to continue that in the sense that it will keep you healthier?
A: No, not necessarily. I think for me, practice is a big part of my game. I love to do it and that’s why I get better, that’s why I work on things that I’m going to execute in the game. As much practice as I can get, I want to do that but these last couple of years I haven’t been able to because they try to keep me out before the games. I don’t think this would be a situation, obviously with the rotation that we have, whereas I’m going to be in there all the time. I don’t think there will be a need for me to take days off of practice, unless I absolutely have to.
Q: When you come to camp this year or knowing your future is not necessarily secure with this team, do you feel like, I wonder if this is my last time coming to Albany with these guys. Is it the last time I report to training camp with these guys?
A: No, I don’t do that anymore. The one thing I did learn about last year is that it doesn’t matter what you think. There’s really no telling in what is going to happen in the future, so it’s important that you just come in and show up and work as hard as you can and all of those other things will take care of themselves. I’m using my guys, they’re going to be my good friends and teammates no matter what happens and that’s just the approach I take.
Q: What do you think you’re still capable of as a player overall?
A: We’ll see. There’s really no telling. The sky’s the limit, at least I hope so. I’m just going to go out there and going to perform to the best of my abilities and hopefully I’ll be able to help this team win. I’m here, I’m in the building.
Q: How have you found the chemistry of the D-line and what your expectations are for you as a group this year?
A: I expect us to do well. Obviously, the talent that we have and the type of players that we have, where all of it looks good on paper, everybody has to come together. Linebackers and DBs have to tie into what it is that we’re doing and we have to perform in order for them to perform. We’re a team on defense and obviously we have the talent to be very, very good, but we have to wait to see what happens.
Q: Jason Pierre-Paul the other day said he thinks he’s tapped about 50% of his potential. Guy had 16 ½ sacks last year. Do you think that’s possible that he’s only half as good as he can be?
A: I think so. He’s still learning the game and the one thing I really like about him is when you watch him, he still wants to learn. He doesn’t feel like he’s arrived yet. He feels like he can still get better, so he works in the practice field, he takes notes in the classroom, and things that… He’s going to be a phenomenal player for a long time.
Q: Is there anything specific about his game that you think is different now than it was, when he first got here and it was on raw athletic ability?
A: I haven’t seen that yet. I think as camp goes on and when we put pads on, when the preseason games start to take place, then we’ll see how his game has evolved from there.
Q: Chris Canty said the other day that one of the things that annoys him is that a lot of people have written off this team – that the Giants are the best team in the NFC East. When you come to camp, what do you expect from this team?
A: I expect us to do well. When people say that, it’s funny. It’s almost as if we mistakenly won the Super Bowl. I don’t understand how you do that mistakenly. We caught a break here and there and we beat those teams – we beat them fair and square. All we need to do is carry over the focus and intensity from those past couple of games and link it up to what we’re trying to do this year, and I think we’ll be successful.