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Justin Tuck, 09.23.10

<strong>Justin Tuck</strong>.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Justin Tuck. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Q: What was the talk with Tom on the field with the other captains? How important is that for you to kind of carry his tone to the rest of the locker room?
A: I mean that's what I think when you look at the word "captain," you can usually replace that word with "middle man" because we're basically just an extension of the coaching staff or the head coach. So basically what we talked about are things that you guys have already heard in the media and how we can better ourselves from it. I mean we've already been down this road so I'm not going to start saying things to the media and give you all easy work for the next week. What goes on in this locker room should stay in this locker room, and we'll get everything straightened out. It's easy to be a leader when you're winning football games, but you go out on a Sunday night and get embarrassed on TV-that's when your real character starts to show. So it's all about what we do from here on out.

Q: Do you think there's enough leadership with you three captains or does it have to be from other people, too?
A: I think that's what we've always been even when (Michael Strahan) was here, even when A.P. was here. They weren't just leaders by themselves even though they were great leaders. They couldn't watch over the whole locker room. I think all the guys stepped up. We had veteran leadership everywhere. I'm not deferring the responsibilities. I'm a captain. That's what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to listen to the voice of this football team and figure out ways how to get it right. And right now, that's what we're doing. We're getting it right.

Q: Coughlin said that with you as far as leadership and embracing it, it has been an evolution type of thing. Is that a fair assessment?
A: Yeah. I think a lot of people would love to be a leader, but they don't realize-I look at it like this: In order to be a great leader, you have to be a follower first. You've got to put yourself into other people's shoes. Without doing that, you don't know what they're going through. You don't know how to respond to them. So for me, I think my evolution has been a good one because I've seen it in different lights. I've seen it when I first got here with (Strahan). I've seen it when (he) retired and A.P. was here, or when they were both together. I've seen it in different ways so we'll find a way. We'll find the right way to lead this football team. Every year is not going to be the same thing. So you definitely have to have, I guess, a different approach sometimes.

Q: Antrel Rolle didn't mention anybody by name, but he talked about leadership. You're the defensive captain as voted. When he says something like that, does it sting you? Did you have to go talk to him?
A: The only thing I was upset about was he didn't come to me first, and we're a team. So we'll talk. We haven't talked. We will talk, and I'll figure out what exactly he meant by what he did. If he's got a problem with how I lead, that's fine. That's his opinion. I mean, none of us are perfect. I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm the best leader. When I make a mistake, I own up to it. And obviously against the Colts, we didn't do a good job in leadership because the score reflected that.

Q: We know Strahan was a leader here, but he also had Antonio here. Can you have more than one leader? Can he be an ally for you?
A: Absolutely. The simple fact is this: We have a lot of guys in this locker room that have been in a lot of wars and being on all those teams and seeing it like that. I've been on this team when we've been dominant. I've been on this team when we looked like crap. And I can see the difference. So every year leadership is going to be created in a different form. You get new players and they've seen it work one way and like an old person, they kind of get stuck in their ways. But it's a Giant way, and we're going to do it the Giants way. And we're going to figure out that way this year because Super Bowl year it was one way. We went 11-1, that was another way. We'll figure it out. I mean we'll be OK. We're 1-1. It's been two games so I'm not really-it's kind of comical to me that we're discussing this right now, but I'm a leader and I'm a captain and I'll address it and I'll do my best to rectify the wrong.

Q: You talk about the Giant way. When R.W. (McQuarters) and Sam (Madison) joined this team, they were veterans but didn't go out of the circle. Do you need to talk to the new guys on this team to show them what the Giant way is?
A: I definitely do. And again, that's not a fault to Antrel or whoever else. It's because like he said, he won a lot of games in Arizona. They did well out there, and they did it a certain way. And you can't fault him for believing in a certain way, but the simple fact is this: we've won a lot of games here, too, and it's a Giant way. I think coach Coughlin did a great job of trying to get everybody on the same page. We went down this road before and this locker room had been divided. And we know it happened. We went down the road together, and we came together and you stop talking about "91" and you start talking about the entire team. So that's what it is. It's a team effort. I'm going to get together with my defense. I'm going to get together with the offense. I'm going to get together with special teams. We're going to go over some things as far as getting more ideas as what might be wrong or what they think can help and things like that. I mean that's what I need to do a better job of.

Q: How much more physical does the team have to be against a Tennessee team that likes to play physical? Do you think you'll be ready for that?
A: I think it fits very well with what we want to do. I think we kind of lost our game a little bit there in Indianapolis and kind of started thinking about Peyton running that offense at a quick pace. And we kind of forgot about what makes us tick and we started to worry about them. So I think this week we can definitely find a way to get back on the same page and play our style of defense.

Q: The Super Bowl year the defense was getting shredded the first two games and then you had a goal line stand in Washington and everything changed. It became more apparent that you guys were getting used to a new coordinator. Are there any parallels to that?
A: I hope so. I mean I think those first two games we did a great job of being individuals and not really understanding what our defensive coordinator wanted from us. I don't know if we knew what he wanted from us after the Washington game, but it just happened to happen so dramatically that we started looking at each other like, ‘We've got an opportunity to do something special here.' We started believing in each other. I think after the Carolina game, maybe we got a little high on our horse a little bit thinking that maybe we can put this together right now. But we've still got some learning to do. We've still got some defenses that we haven't dialed in and made it 100-percent yet. So hopefully this week can be that Washington game for us. Hopefully we can get on a run here and start understanding what this team has and playing together as a football team.