Q: Did you get your quarterback back today?
A: My quarterback is back today. He came out and made some great throws in practice. It’s going to be a good and exciting Friday tomorrow and a great, exciting trip to San Fran and a great, exciting game.
Q: How did Eli look?
A: He looked good. It’s nothing to say about Eli. He’s as good as they come. It’s an honor to be on this team and I enjoy every minute of it.
Q: Can you speak to the balance you’ve had offensively between the run and passing game?
A: I think the key is staying with it. I know we haven’t been running the ball as great as we have in the past but I think the best thing we’re doing is staying with it. Keeping guys honest and they can’t switch up things on us and realize we’re not running the ball as well. They still come out pressuring the same way, which helps the wide receivers get off. Lately we have been moving the ball pretty well on the ground and we expect to keep doing that.
Q: Seems like the run has come on better late in games. Have you had to learn to be patient for the run to pay off?
A: You know, we knew at this time of the year people are throwing their best at you. You just have to be patient and stay with it. Coach Gilbride has been staying with it and keeps calling the runs. We keep going out and doing our best to execute it the best we can. That’s the key, that we’re not just going to come out here and run for 200 yards at this time of year on teams. It’s not going to happen. So you’ve got to stay with it. You’ve got to stay with it. You’ve got to stay and be faithful, be patient, and sooner or later something will pop for you.
Q: How do you feel about the possibility of playing in bad weather?
A: It’s fine. We never really change our approach according to the weather anyway. I don’t think it’s going to stop us from doing what we want to do. The weather is the weather. It’s going to be out there for them too. It’s not like their side is going to be sunny and dry. We all, we’ll both be playing in it. The men who want it the most will come out with it.
Q: Last game, the 49ers knocked out Pierre Thomas pretty early. Does it look like they really try to get some big hits on guys? They say they like to set a tone that way.
A: To get knocked out, that means they hit you on the head. I wish like hell one of them would try to hit me in my head. That means they’re staying up, not trying to hit in the legs.
Q: They did that with a helmet-to-helmet hit, though…
A: That was a helmet-to-helmet hit.
Q: But it’s legal.
A: I want one of those [laughs]. That means they’re staying high, they’re not digging in the ground trying to make tackles at the shoestring.
Q: Do you notice if they try to do that more? Guys either stay high or set a real tone by hitting guys downfield?
A: It’s not really a thing they do on purpose. Guys are out there playing off instincts. It just so happens it went that way. And everyone tries to set a tone for their team - offense, defense, it doesn’t matter. It’s a bunch of guys playing for the right to go to the Super Bowl. They went out there and played lights out. I’m looking forward to that challenge this week.
Q: Do you think you can set a tone?
A: Oh, no question. Every week I think I can come out and set a tone if the chance is given. We know they’re a great football team. They have a great defense, the best in the league, just got to go out and do the best we can.
Q: What is it about Eli that makes you honored to play with him?
A: Do you not see what he’s doing on the football field?
Q: Have you felt that way the last four years, or more so now?
A: I’ve felt that way ever since I’ve been in the league because all I’ve ever heard was about Eli Manning, growing up, playing in high school, all the way through college. So for me being from Louisiana, and playing, while he dominated in high school, it was an honor for me to be on the football team with him and have watched him grow from his rookie year to now.
Q: San Francisco is one of the best at stopping the run. What can you do to get the rush going?
A: Stay with it. You know, like I said, they come out, their guys are disciplined, they hold their gaps, guys don’t just vacate areas. You’ve got to come out and stay with it and just trust your line and do the best you can.
Q: They’re a big, physical defense and it could be bad weather. Is this what you’re built for, that kind of big, physical game and challenge?
A: I don’t care what the weather’s like, and I really don’t care how physical they are. It’s going to be a football game. They’re a physical bunch, we’re a physical bunch, we’re going to be out there playing ball and that’s just about where I leave it. I’m not afraid of them, I’m not afraid of anybody on their team, I’m not afraid of anybody in their organization. I’m ready to play football.
Q: What do you think about Jerry Rice and what he said about you?
A: I’ve grown up a San Francisco 49er fan. I’ve loved Jerry Rice, I still love Jerry Rice, I give him a lot of credit for the game being the way it is today. I have nothing negative to say about Jerry. If he feels that way, he feels that way. I bet you he won’t tackle me [laughter].