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Bill Sheridan, 12.18.09

Q. As a defensive coach, how do you go about containing Santana Moss?

A. Well even when we had the normal starters in there, you still have to account for him, you don’t want to put guys on him and isolate him. A lot of our coverages are set up where we have a half field safety on top of a corner and we will do the same kind of stuff with the guys that will be playing.

Q. Do you feel a little bit for Aaron Ross that he has re-injured his hamstring for a third time?

A. Absolutely. I am sure he is incredibly frustrated. He is a competitive kid and I don’t think there is anything he likes more than playing football. So it’s been another tough break but hopefully he won’t be out very long. I don’t think that has been determined yet.

Q. It seems like Bruce Johnson would be the guy that would slide in. How comfortable would you be with him in that role?

A. Bruce and Kevin Dockery will play. Really, I am confident in all those guys. You have your starters and they are starters for a reason. They are perceived as further along and developed and better players. But those guys have played well and we are going to be confident with Dock or Bruce in there.

Q. I know Bruce has had a couple ups and downs. Has he responded well and worked to fix those things?

A. You know I know we have talked a little bit about some of those things happening to Corey and inevitably if you are a corner, you are going to be covering good wide receivers, they are going to throw and balls are going to be caught. I think Bruce does a good job of handling that, he moves on, he is a competitive kid, he is not overwhelmed at being a rookie in the NFL and I think he has responded real well to those situations and he comes back and competes.

Q. You made the change at safety last week. Now he is not there at all and your corners are gone, so how does this meshwith what you are trying to accomplish in the backfield?

A. Well the thing about it is you have a system set up of coverages and a defensive package. So you have some new pieces that you are going to fit in, but those guys have been taught the principles of the coverages from the get-go, so it’s not like they are starting from scratch. But yeah, we have a couple guys nicked up and it’s not the same as having the guys you have been playing.

Q. It was obviously a feeling that the safety play hasn’t been sufficient for you to make the change with Ross, so now you have to presumably go back to the same guys. Are you worried about their ability to give you what you need there?  

A. It’s a good question and to go back to your earlier point, the reason we played Aaron at safety was an attempt to get him on the field. We thought our corners had played solid, Bruce Johnson, Terrell and Corey. We didn’t think we should take any of those guys out and put Aaron in because he has been out for so long. So when he first came back our decision was to put him in at safety. In our minds, that was a chance to get him on the field because we think he is one of our better players. It wasn’t so much that we thought we were deficient at safety play.

Q. You obviously played a very physical game against the Cowboys, but was there a dropoff in that context against Philly,and if so, what specifically was the problem?

A.  In the grand scheme of it, just looking at last week’s game to address what you are talking about, they ‘big-played’ us, that’s what happened, and they are a big play team. We knew that going in. They did not methodically pound the ball down our throat running ball. They had some success, the first play of the game they ran the ball for ten yards. But in the grand scheme of things in our minds they weren’t successful running the ball. They ‘big-played’ us. They had six 20-plus (yard) passes, which is a shame to say, but it wasn’t so much that I thought we had a huge drop off in the physical play. You can always play more physical. Our problem last week was they had several big passes at very critical times that came back to haunt us.

Q. You had mentioned earlier that there was an issue with not being consistent with physicality. So did you think that was at least maintained last week even though you gave up big plays?

A. Somewhat, yes. I would say that. We didn’t come in the next day and watch the Philly game and think, ‘Wow, they knocked us off the ball.’ They had some runs on us, but I didn’t think that is why we lost because they were more physical than us. They just hit some big shot passes at really critical times and it came back to haunt us.

Q: On the subject of big passes, with the DBs as nicked up as they are, how important is it to get a big pass rush from your front four?

A. It’s really important and especially with the last couple of developments here in the last day or so, I am thinking the same thing. How much do you want to try to have those guys play base coverages with a four man rush? As you know, you can’t do anything all the time because they will beat you the other way and have answers for pressure, but it definitely makes you think that way. Are we better off trying to increase the pressure and having the ball come out quicker and not ask those guys to play coverage for so long is definitely an issue.

Q. Tom Coughlin said the other day that he told you he supports you but also that he is disappointed with the results and it needs to get better. How did you take his message?

A. Kind just for what it is. We, as a defense, are certainly disappointed in our performance. We certainly don’t expect to be giving up 25, 30 points a game. That is not the M.O around here and never has been. So really we are as disappointed in ourselves as anybody else. Tom is just very matter of fact about bottom line and what is expected of our defense. Just like what is expected of our offense and special teams. In several of the last couple games, we have not met those expectations in the grand scheme of things and that has to improve.