Q. What have you seen on tape from the Giants defense the last few weeks? Do you see anything different on film that may be causing the problems?
A. When you are struggling or things change, obviously they were playing as well as anyone early, it looks to me as just giving up big plays. Some of those are results of playing against real good players and some of them are breakdowns.
Q. You have been hurt by injuries on the offensive line. How is that unit doing?
A. Well, we had a rookie at right guard to start the season and we lost our center and then the rookie right guard got hurt so we are playing with a backup center and we put the young player in at right guard who didn’t have much experience. We played that way for two weeks and then we got Luis Vasquez back and I think we have had good continuity over the last three games. You can see it in the way we are executing. Sometimes it doesn’t happen as quickly as you would like but I really believe starting after the bye when we got those guys in there together and they have been able to play together that we have gotten better.
Q. Your quarterback Philip Rivers will always be associated with Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger from their draft class. Do you think that is a burden to him or an incentive?
A. I don’t think it is a burden. I think it is a motivating factor. I think when you have guys who come out together like that at any position, there is a sense of motivation about it. I just think that all three of them have played at such a high level. Obviously Eli winning the Super Bowl two years ago and what Ben’s done is pretty amazing. I think what Philip has done is equally as amazing. Hopefully at some point he gets his chance to go win a championship.
Q. What is it that we missed that we don’t know about him and should know about him?
A. When I came in here there was some changes in terms of our style, philosophy and not that we wanted to make dramatic changes, but I think if you’re going to be successful and going to be a team that can go win playoff games then you have to have great balance. No question we want to run the ball, but you have to rely on your quarterback to make plays that are those types of plays against the best teams. I think about halfway through that first year that we were together that this thing really clicked in. If you look at his numbers and what he has done, that run we had two years where we won nine straight and went to the (AFC) championship game. Look at his performance last year when he led the league in quarterback rating, led the league in touchdown passes, threw for four thousand yards, I think it speaks volumes. We’ve had some injuries, we’ve lost some guys on defense so he isn’t doing it with a top-ten rated defense right now. I think we are improving on defense and we are on our way to being that type of defense again. It is a little different when you’re not getting as many opportunities, not getting the three and outs, not creating the turnovers. More of the burden does go on the quarterback.
Q. What has been the problem with the rush defense, you guys are in the lower half of the league stopping the run?
A. It’s what happens to you when you lose two or three defensive linemen. We lost a starter in training camp, we lost Jamal Williams in the first game, the guys who are playing for us now weren’t on our roster, three of them weren’t on our roster when the season started, they were not on our 53-man roster, actually two of them weren’t and one of them was inactive. What we have done is found a way to get a six-man rotation. I think each week since the bye we have played the run better. We have had continuity in there. Statistics are great but when I start looking at a team, I always look at the team statistics over the last three or four weeks because in a sixteen-game season, obviously those things can change. Certainly early we weren’t defending the run the way we wanted to. I think we have made progress.
Q. There seems to be some sentiment nationally that LaDainian Tomlinson has lost a step. What is your interpretation of where he is in his playing career?
A. Along with four or five other guys in that Oakland game, LT got hurt. He sprained his ankle in the opening game and he missed the second game against Baltimore and the third game against Miami. He played in the Pittsburgh game, he was less than 100 percent and we got behind so fast I think he had eight carries in the game. Since then I think he has shown that he is making progress. I thought he ran the ball well in the Denver game, he had explosive runs in the Kansas City game, and I thought he had his best game against the Raiders the other day. Obviously we are rolling him and Darren Sproles in there so he is not getting as many carries where he can get that long run that makes those numbers look better. But, he is making good runs and I think each week he has gotten better. I think he is returning to that form.
Q. You and the Giants are both in second place in your respective divisions. You have won two straight while they have lost three straight. What message are you sending to your team going into this game?
A. You go back and look at all the tape, I know how talented the Giants are. Our guys, we went into Pittsburgh and they had lost two straight. They are a very good football team. I know how well prepared for. I know how important this game is to them. So, we are getting ready to play the Giants at their best. We need to be prepared to play our best game.