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Tom Coughlin, 08.03.09, morning practice

Good morning, good morning. It is a nice beautiful day and everybody decided to come out. No umbrellas? What can I do for you?

Q. Coach, how did the first practice go?

A. It went. Like I told the players, it is a process. Everybody was excited about being out here. Everybody was out early. I think defensively it started out okay, offensively a little slow. I think as practice went on it got a little better on both sides. You know, there are an awful lot of things I wanted to tell them about, which is normal after the first practice. We are out here and thank God we are on the field. That is all we were concerned about, obviously to have a day like this. We got chased off those bottom fields, but we may get down there this afternoon.

Q. How important is it to get some of these young players experience so they can help this team come September?

A. It is important that they all get reps right now, and they do. Everybody has reps and everybody is working. That is the only way we can evaluate and see how things will all fit together. Then, of course, those young guys have to learn. I just told them this morning, I said it is great, the enthusiasm, but it has to be maintained. They are going to have to show that stay-power to stay out here, and that is the only way to improve.

Q. You said that every team is different. I suppose then every unit and every position is group is different every single year. Out of your wide receiver unit this year what do you expect and what do you think of them?

A. I expect them, even with the influx of the younger guys, I expect them to come along. They need to make a contribution. I think we have some players that have been here, that have proven that they can play. They are solid players, we certainly need more out of all of those guys. We need some of these younger guys who we have invested in to step up and be contributors.

Q. Are you comfortable that you did enough in the off-season at wide receiver without bringing in a veteran?

A. I think so. We’ll see how we work. After going through the spring with these guys I became more comfortable. Also, don’t forget, Sinorce ( Moss) had a nice spring. Steve Smith knows exactly what he is being asked to do at this point in time. Mario Manningham had a nice off-season. We are going to have to see the continued growth of those guys, but they were all brought here. They were high draft choices. They were brought here for a reason. We were encouraged by the spring.

Q. The fact that you didn’t bring in anybody that would fit the same mold as Burress in terms of height?

A. I think Ramses Barden is that guy, I am hoping. He is going to have to learn on the fly. A lot of these guys are going to have to learn on the fly. Hopefully, with the team that we have and our ability to run the ball, then we can learn how to complement each other. We need to take full advantage of that. Like I said, a lot of these guys have done a good job and performed better in the spring. I am looking to forward to that.

Q. Do you like the high expectations and the idea of setting the bar high?

A. I think that is a good thing. I like to be in that position.

Q. Justin Tuck sitting out this morning. Are you planning on one a days?

A. Right now that’s it.

Q. Whats the next step in deciding whether you will be back in Albany next year?

A. Did you ask me that question yesterday? You are all over that one, aren’t you? Can we have this camp here, please, and see how that goes. Let’s leave that up to the owners. That is probably going to be more of a decision on part of ownership.

Q. Tom, is Osi (Umenyiora) going to practice in the afternoon?

A. No, today he won’t, and (Barry) Cofield will not practice this afternoon either.

Q. What do you look at in a practice like that Tom? Are you more focused on some of those drops or some of the nice big plays?

A. I am more focused on the center-quarterback exchange, to be honest with you. Holy smokes. It is not exactly very fitting to have that take place. It seems as if that combination did have a little problem this spring, and they still do. Andre (Woodson) had a little problem with it, as well.

Q. Chris Canty played a lot of defensive tackle today. Is that where we will see him this season?

A. That is where he will start out.

Q. This wide receiver group, what does this group mean to Eli (Manning), if anything, going into this season?

A. What does it mean?

Q. Yes, having this group of players, as opposed to having an Amani Toomer who was so reliable in the past?

A. Well they have to work their way through that knowledge of each other and that is an ongoing thing. You are not going to answer that in one practice. We did have a spring, and it was encouraging. I think Eli feels the same way. Let’s get these guys out here and get them going. Get communicating with the quarterback, make sure the quarterback understands how they interact. Make sure the receiver understands what his adjustments are, what his responsibilities are. Push this down the road a ways before we draw any conclusions.

Q. Do you see Eli taking more of a leadership role with those receivers now that he is the veteran guy of that combination?

A. Well, he has taken a leadership role with those guys, no matter if he was a veteran or not. That is his job. With each year, he shows more ownership, if that is what you are asking.

Q. How impressed are you with Kenny Phillips two picks today?

A. Yeah, I was. Those were two outstanding plays, too. I was back here cheering, keep it up, keep it up.

Q. A question about Antonio Pierce. Given what he is going through today, how would you assess his mood and performance?

A. Outstanding. He couldn’t wait to get here to practice. He couldn’t wait to get into the football environment.

Q. Have you been able to talk to him one-on-one about the situation?

A. Nope, I don’t have to. I did all that talking in the spring. I talked to him, I believe, just prior to his going before the grand jury and wished him well.

Q. Are you concerned about Tuck being able to go one a day now?

A. No, as far as just going one a day. Certainly I am concerned any time that a guy is held out for whatever reason, but I think this is more precautionary than anything else.

Q. Coach, you mentioned Pierce’s mood, what was your mood seeing him out on the field, instead of all the other distractions?

A. My mood is always very mellow.

Q. Tom, what would you say to Hakeem Nicks as far as expectations, first round pick, everybody is kind of expecting a lot of him. Do you take him aside and talk to him about that?

A. Not in those words. But you are certainly very encouraging with the young guys. For example, he came back in outstanding shape. So we were encouraged. We acknowledged that. You know, he is a kid who always has a smile on his face, which is a really good thing. He is kind of a happy guy, who has gotten himself in good condition. He wanted definitely to be here. He didn’t want to miss that first practice. As we move forward here, and camp unfolds I think on a daily basis, there will be more information shared with him about what the expectation level is. Right now, those guys are up to here trying to learn what to do. That is the first thing, let’s see if they can comprehend all the things we are asking them to do.

Q. What are the specifics of Tuck’s injury?

A. There is no injury. We are just being precautionary.