Q: Are you guys ready to make a run during the last quarter of the season here?
A: I like to think we started a run. Coach Coughlin had us looking at it where at a point, we were kind of down at the Philly game and he said we're going to look at it as a six-game season. So far in our six-game season, we're 2-0. Defensively, we didn't play our best football against Jacksonville in the first half but the last six quarters were pretty good and pretty representative of Giants football and the way we want to play. Offensively, we've fought through some injuries and we have some guys coming back here as December plays its way out, so I'm very excited about our prospects.
Q: Did you think that the team could stay afloat with all the injuries you guys have and that you'd be in this position?
A: Yeah, definitely. Defensively, we saw all the injuries that we had on the offensive side of the football, we knew that we had to take some responsibility. We definitely didn't do that in the first half of the Jacksonville game. The offense did a great job with fighting in that game and we were able to have a big second half. They carried us through that game and we were able to close it out. Last week, we knew we had to play some good defense, and we did that for the most part. We created a lot of turnovers, and the offense capitalized. The way they're playing now without some of the key pieces, I'm excited how well they're going to play when everyone's back.
Q: Surprised by the way they've played without their key players?
A: Pleasantly surprised, yes. You expect there to be a significant drop-off when you lose the quality of guys that we lost, but it's a testament to the coaching we have and a testament of the guys that we put in there. Some guys who hadn't played football in months stepped right in and did an admirable job. The best that we have in there, the mainstays like Kareem McKenzie, Chris Snee, Eli Manning, and all those guys stepped up their game and we were able to hold it together.
Q: How difficult is it to prepare against the Vikings when you don't know if Favre is going to be their starter?
A: It's going to be tougher for our coaches. It's going to be a little bit more difficult to think about for those guys and Coach Fewell, but they've done a great job all year. I'm sure they'll be prepared, and they'll have to spend a little bit more extra time studying as will we. We have actually played against Tavaris Jackson in the past, most of us. He's a different animal with his athleticism and his ability to create plays with his feet and prolong plays with his feet. They definitely do pose two different types of offense that you'd want to prepare for. They still have Adrian Peterson back there and they still have a great o-line. We're going to prepare for that, and in the passing game, in some ways we're going to have to let our ability and talent take over.
Q: What about this team makes you think this isn't a trap game?
A: I don't see a defeated team, though. I see a team that's won their last two games, and we have already seen how different a team can look after a new coach comes in and re-energizes their team. I hope we learn from that example. This Minnesota team, even though they're not in our division, we've seen them year in and year out since I've been here and they've beat us a couple times. I hope that last year's loss in Minnesota left a bad taste in a lot of guys mouths and the new guys I'm sure will get wind of the battles we've had with this Minnesota team. I would hope that everyone has all the motivation that they need, and if nothing else, you have to keep peace in this NFC. This NFC took a lot of criticism saying that the conference was mediocre, but it seems like a lot of teams are playing well. We have some good records, and you're going to have to finish with a strong record to be in the playoff hunt.
Q: How much pressure is the week-to-week grind knowing that now you can finish fairly strong but might not get you into the playoffs ?
A: I think that's what you live for and that's what you play for. That's exciting. You get to the end of a long, hard season and you're beat up and it's physically taxing, you want to have pressure and you want to have something to play for. You want to have excitement and things on the line at the end of the season and that's what you play for. I'd definitely rather be in this scenario than 2-10 and just packing up your stuff for the offseason.
Q: How much attention do you pay to the standings, playoff picture, and different scenarios?
A: I personally do pay a lot of attention to it. I'm aware of the good records that are out there. I'm aware that we need to pretty much treat every game like a must-win. It's kind of cliché but if you take that attitude and approach and go out there and win every game, that's really the only way to ensure that you're going to the playoffs and that's our goal. If nothing else, we know we have to keep pace with Philly and we know that we expect them to play at a high level, and our number one goal coming into the season is to win the NFC East. As long as they're playing good football, we have to play good football and obviously that's going to be a big game.
Q: You going to cheer for the Cowboys Sunday night?
A: Man, it's hard to say. I'm not going to lie, I was actually cheering for the Cowboys this week just so that they could stay as a cohesive unit and keep playing good football because I know they have Philly twice on their schedule. I'm definitely excited about the way they're playing and we're going to need their help and that's just the way it is. It's hard. I'm not going to say I was rooting for the Cowboys, I'm going to say I wasn't rooting against the Colts. I'll just say that.
Q: Do you like what the NFL has done with the schedule with these division games late in the season?
A: I think it definitely keeps it interesting, just not even with us but watching other games and seeing Baltimore and Pittsburgh playing and the Jets and the Patriots. That's what fans love, and that's what me being a big football fan myself, I love to watch these games at the end of the year. It seems like it did work out well, and there is definitely some competitive football being played down the stretch. I think it's what any fan would want to see and I think it's great for the game.
Q: What happened on the field goal attempt when you ran on the field late with that ski cap on?
A: I've been on the field goal team for a few weeks now so I'll take all the blame. When I first got on the team, I had someone grabbing me and say ‘Hey, make sure you're ready for field goal' because I wasn't accustomed to it but I was over there talking defense with a couple of my fellow d-lineman. Once you hear someone screaming your name and you look around and realize you did something wrong, you just try to get on the field as fast as possible. I didn't realize I had my ski hat on until it was too late, and I'm just glad I made that mistake in a game that we were in control of and not a game where that could've really cost us. Obviously that's something that I'm not going to let happen again.
Q: You going to have to pay for that in one way or another?
A: Yeah. I'm already taking verbal jabs from a bunch of guys and we'll see what Coach Coughlin has to say about it. We got the win and I'll take the win and the verbal abuse. It's all lighthearted, and I'm excited about getting ready for Minnesota and I'll definitely be out there on time for field goal.
Q: Does Coach Coughlin seem any different later in the season?
A: I don't know who he's comparing it to, with him joining the team late. Coughlin is himself and he's harped on a bunch of things and I think there is an improvement in those areas so it doesn't seem that he has to be as heavily difficult. He harped on forcing turnovers and then taking care of the ball and we've done a better job of that of late. We don't have to hear about that. I think guys have just been playing and practicing at a high level. When you're winning, everything runs a little more smooth. It's a matter of circumstance and he's going to be who he is. He preaches what he always preaches, and he's a highly energetic and passionate coach. Things are going well for us and I think his behavior reflects that.