Good afternoon. We’re excited about the start of the regular season, excited to begin our practice preparation for the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas had a very good preseason; they were 3-1. They averaged 355 yards per game, their first defense gave up six points. They rushed the ball for 119 yards per game and passed for 233. They have outstanding special teams personnel, so we have a solid week of preparation here in front of us. We have been eagerly awaiting upstairs the word on putting our practice squad together. It just started coming in when I came downstairs, so I don’t really have anything of that nature to share with you at this time. The whole emphasis, of course, for the last couple days has been with regard to our roster and our practice squad. We spent an awful lot of time on this subject and really, quite frankly, are ready to get to the practice field and move on. No one has any questions? I’ll go to practice.
Q: Thoughts on putting Terrell Thomas on the extended injured reserve list and not using the short-term exemption on him:
Coughlin: I’m just going to make a simple statement, which is not an answer to something as complex as this. Medically speaking, I don’t feel like I’m qualified to give all the information that has been shared. We felt that in the best interest of the player and the team that this was the direction that we should go with both Shaun Rogers and Terrell Thomas. It certainly is a difficult thing. You’re looking at a team that, again, started the season off looking pretty good in terms of the number of defensive wings that we had on the field, and then all of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, we start having this type of circumstance confront us. Nevertheless, we have to think in the best long-term interest of not only the player but also the club and exactly where we’re at.
Q: Do you know who will be the short-term guy at this point?
Q: Update on Marvin Austin:
Coughlin: They feel like it started to be in the positive, that he was stronger this morning upon his examination than he was, for example, last week. We’re just trying to see on a day-by-day basis where he’s at, and if not this week, can we hope for next week. That’s where we’re at, nothing solid.
Q: In terms of your preparation time, what would you rate your comfort level for Wednesday’s game?
Coughlin: I don’t like that word. I don’t know if there is a comfort level. I think there’s a level of once you settle on the personnel…we have guys on our team that are hurt, we put guys on our 53 injured; there was no way around it. We’ve done the same thing the last couple years. We’re trying to piece together the group of young men that will take the field and represent the New York Giants. Once we get that settled, and we find out that yes, some of these people can play, we’ll certainly feel better. It’s nothing different than any other team in the league; Dallas is going through the same thing.
Q: Status on Prince Amukamara:
Coughlin: It doesn’t look like he’ll make this week.
Coughlin: We’re going to see what he’s like. We’re continuing to do that. It’s more like a test than anything else. Is there a level of pain tolerance here?
Q: Is it a good approach to talk to the team about defending the title, or do you leave that out?
Coughlin: ‘Build the Bridge,’ is the one way that we talk about it. Naturally, we just mean let’s bring all the good things forward. I don’t choose to use that language. What I do talk about to our team is to accept the challenge that the goal is to win Super Bowl XLVII, win the World Championship, win the division, which gives you the opportunity to take the direct route to the playoffs. That’s the way that I feel about it. We do talk about the fact that we have set the bar and, of course, once you do that, everyone you play feels as if they can play well against the team that won the Super Bowl the year before, they have to call themselves a contender. That adds to the motivation and the inspiration for people that play against us, and also gives us the idea about the pride with which we hope to play.
Q: Nine months ago you played them for the division title. How much have they changed in those nine months?
Coughlin: They’ve done some things with their personnel. They made some changes along those lines, their draft choices, what they’ve done in free agency, how they’ve gone about their business in terms of that - two guards, two corners, two guards, just to name a few. Murray being back healthy is a huge thing for them. They’ve looked at the areas that they felt needed to be addressed and they’ve gone ahead and addressed them.
Q: Do you have any doubt that you have the best quarterback in the division?
Q: How much more of a comfort level does that give you?
Coughlin: It sure helps. Thank you very much.
Q: What are your conversations with Eli like in terms of given everything he’s accomplished and what he means to your team, but believing that he can still improve and his career can be on the ascending arc?
Coughlin: That’s all fine. It’s behind us. We talk constantly about improvement, about getting better. Certainly there’s enough of that in preseason for our team that we don’t really have to talk about a whole lot else, to be honest with you. We’ve got new pieces to the puzzle. There’s always that… a little bit of where are you with certain players. Can we get Hakeem into a full mode practice now, so that we know that the timing is going to start to be there? Those are the kinds of things… looking forward, certainly recognizing and paying great tribute to the 2011 team, but nevertheless, this is not that team. This is the 2012 team and we’ve been handed a new set of issues and problems as you followed us and we’re in the process of trying to solve them.
Q: Coming into last season was very different for Victor Cruz than coming into this season in terms of where he is as a player and what he means to the team. What have you seen from him as he’s dealt with the differences in his life and his career versus where he was last year?
Coughlin: To his credit, the same mature approach, the same enthusiasm for the game, the same idea about going to practice, going to work and being the best that he can be. I haven’t seen anything that would cause me to think that any type of a conversation between me and Victor should’ve been conducted or needs to be. I haven’t seen anything except him work.
Q: Do you think that by the end of the year last year teams were playing him the way he’s going to be played this year? Or will there be a difference?
Coughlin: No. If you followed down the stretch, you see how teams played us.
Q: Are you going to practice Will Beatty today?
Coughlin: We’re going to give him some time, sure. Yes, move him along.
Q: What’s your impression of Tony Romo?
Coughlin: He had a very good year last year. Anytime you have a 102 quarterback rating, 31 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, you’ve had a pretty good year. They had two quarterbacks, Orton and Romo, both played well in the preseason. Their numbers are both good. Romo’s quarterback rating in the preseason was 117, so he’s done a lot of good things.
Q: Is he a guy that you can disrupt with more men?
Coughlin: I hope so. That’s the intent.
Q: Do you have a handle on any pain or soreness Hakeem Nicks will have to manage?
Coughlin: There’s some, but I’m hoping that it’s not an awful lot. I think there’s going to be discomfort as anybody that works their way back from an injury that has to do with their feet or whatever that makes their living running is probably going to fight their way through some issues and I think he’s fully intent on doing that.
Q: Does Martellus give you a different element on offense than you’ve had the last few years?
Coughlin: Well he’s a vertical threat and he can run up the field and he’s proven to be a good blocker. I would say for a man that size, it’s a different type of threat, yes.
Q: Usually the guys you had in the past were kind of sneaky at it.
Coughlin: They were good at it. They were very good at it.
Q: Do you expect more of him?
Coughlin: I would hope.
Q: Given Markus Kuhn’s inexperience and Marvin Austin’s back trouble, do you expect Justin Tuck to see more reps inside at defensive tackle?
Coughlin: Not necessarily. He comes down in there in certain substituted defensive situations. Not much against regular people.
Q: How’s Boley doing?
Coughlin: He’s going to practice.
Q: How about JPP?
Coughlin: He’s going to practice.