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NY Giants @ New Orleans Saints: Transcripts Galore

Sean Payton

From the New Orleans Saints official website

Opening Statement:

"Let me first go through our injury report for today: Jahri Evans did not practice with a big toe;Leigh Torrence (hamstring) did not practice; Malcolm Jenkins (ankle) did not practice; Rod Harper(foot) did not practice; Pierre Thomas (hamstring) was limited; Kendrick Clancy (knee) was full;Darnell Dinkins (foot) was full; Mike Bell (knee) was full; Jermon Bushrod (knee and ankle) was full; Jason Kyle (knee and ankle) was full. Garrett Hartley is back with his suspension being lifted and we waived quarterback Chase Daniel and that leaves us with our correct number count. Mostly today was base for us with some third down."

How will you handle the kicking situation going forward?

"We'll see. Obviously we have two kickers and a punter now. We'll see as the week goes on. John (Carney) has done a good job with location. We're not announcing anything yet, but we feel good about the combination that we've been working with so we'll see as this week progresses."

What was Garrett doing during his suspension and what contact were you allowed to have with him?

"None really. I think he traveled some and stayed in shape and worked on his kicking, but that's really on the player's own time."

What entered into your thought process to keep both kickers?

"Just with the way that John was performing, we felt that his consistency and Thomas (Morstead's) kickoffs have been encouraging."

With having your running backs all healthy now, will you work out a rotation before the game or kind of ride the hot hand?

"That's a good question. Mike Bell is back and we want to see the progress of how he's doing, and how Pierre (Thomas) is doing. Lynell Hamilton has been healthy and doing a good job. It's unlikely that we'll take four running backs into the game, yet this is the first week where all of them are healthy."

Did Pierre Thomas' hamstring injury come before the bye?

"He's had it nagging for a little bit, but he got work today and he looked pretty good but we limited the amount of snaps that he had."

When did Jahri Evans hurt his toe?

"His turf toe was from the Jets game. We'll see where he's at tomorrow. We held him out today."

Is this going to be the best defense that you've faced this year?

"They're certainly right up there. We played a good Jets defense last week and these guys have played real good football. We do a pretty extensive study on the opponent and when you look at all the categories that lend themselves to winning, this is a team that has done most of those things real well. This is a good challenge for us and a real good football team. Not only looking at the film and looking at all the numbers in all phases, they're very well-coached and very talented."

Is there any concern in coming off the bye week that the rhythm you had going could be interrupted?

"We haven't done real well off the bye week so we tried to change the routine up a little bit. That being said, we had good work today and I think our players will be ready."

What did you feel that you needed to do differently from previous bye weeks?

"Really the routine just changed up a little bit. We got a lot of film work done on ourselves and then we got an advance day on New York. Some of these guys needed to get healed up on some nicks and hopefully we've been able to do that. We probably practiced less than in years past."

Do you see yourself having to possibly tone down Jeremy Shockey as he's going against his former team?

"I think everyone gets excited to play each weekend. Every weekend with the way the rosters are now, there's somebody who has been with the other team. Last week it was Jon Vilma with the Jets and the same thing takes place with the opponent. The rosters change so much now that it's fairly common. It gets back really to the team thing and getting prepared and getting ready to play a good team and eliminating mistakes. That's really the focal point."

How can having two big games back to back like this help you out later on in the season?

"I've said before that in each week you play, they're all big. You want to play well each week. The second week of the season after we played Detroit, the Philadelphia game was a big week and then last week against the Jets and hopefully there will be more games like this. I think the interest level is generated with two teams that haven't lost a game yet, and I said the same thing a few weeks ago as it pertained to the Jets game. For us, it's our fifth opportunity and that's really how we're looking at it."

Would you consider the Giants one of the standard-bearers in the NFC? Could this game be a measuring stick for your team?

"Having come off a Super Bowl not too long ago, they're certainly one of the teams and they have been a playoff team and a team that has had a lot of success when you look at their record from the last three or four years. It's a real good challenge for us."

What have your impressions been of Eli Manning, both early in his career and now?

"I think with any real good quarterback, there have always been growing pains. I think he's playing at an extremely high level in the system now. He knows exactly what to do with his protections and what to do with his run checks. He does a great job of really orchestrating the offense. He's very accurate and he does a great job as well in the two-minute. He's had a lot of two-minute success. He has certainly established himself through a lot of hard work; you can just look at the numbers. The most important job for the quarterback is to win games and he has been able to do that as their starter."

Would you say this is the most physical running team you've faced?

"They are certainly one of them. They take pride in running the football. It's an offensive line that has been together for a long time and you can see a lot of cohesiveness in this group. The backs run hard and that's something that has been part of their success, not only as a team but also offensively."

How would you assess Shockey's season so far?

"I the key is his health now. A year ago he had some nagging injuries with the sports hernia and then recovering from the injury he had when he arrived here. His health has been a plus for us and he's a big part of what we do, not only as a receiver but as someone who blocks for us. Those are all pluses."

Some fans view the team's success as a metaphor for the city's recovery. Is there any added pressure that it might feel like more than just a game you guys are playing out there?

"There has always been a unique relationship between the fan base here and this team. Following

 Katrina that attachment grew some. In a lot of NFL cities, there's always a better Monday for people at work after their team wins a big game and certainly that's the case here. I think our players understand that and they feed off that. Our support at home has been outstanding. The environment that we play in here is significant."

How do you think Eli Manning will be treated in his first game here in his hometown as a pro quarterback?

"I think there will always be an attachment to the Manning family, starting with Archie's success and then Peyton and Eli's success. For a city like New Orleans, when one of their own goes on to have success, I think people take pride in that."

Did you see anything from past bye weeks that you wanted to do differently this year?

"One difference is that it came after week four. So you have a limited amount and yet still enough to begin to look at yourself tendency-wise. We tried to focus on that and then get a jump-start on this game and then lastly get them away. Having four weeks - when opponents break you down, it's generally off of three or possibly four games - and we tried to pay attention to those tendencies and find the ones that jumped out at us and then get some advance work done on New York."

Did you get away at all?

"On the weekend. I just watched a little football and that was really about the extent of it."

Are you seeing that the Giants are able to bring a lot of pressure with only a four-man rush?

"They do a good job of mixing in the pressure with more than four players and certainly their front is very active and very athletic. They're a handful and that's going to be an important part of this game. Both with a four-man rush and then with additional players in their pressure packages, we'll have to do a good job with our protections and then do a good job with getting the ball out."


Drew Brees with NO Media

From the New Orleans Saints official website.

Q: Do you agree with Coach Payton's assertion that the protection scheme will be very important in this game?

A: Yes, they have a very good front four, as good as there is in the league, especially when you get into pass rush downs and they bring Mathias Kiwanuka and the gang. We need to make sure we have a plan for it and we do. They can change a game when you look at the number of sacks and forced fumbles they have. They're a great group that really gets after you.

Q: Do they bring a lot less pressure from their back seven than the Jets did?

A: Yes. You're going from the extreme being the Jets pressuring 70 percent of the time to a team that's a little bit more traditional but still has all that stuff in their package and it's just one of those things where if you look at the statistics they don't bring as much but you have to be ready for it.

Q: Do you look at the game in a context of tiebreakers or do you just play it like a game?

A: It's already a big game. The fact that it's two undefeated and a very good opponent. The Giants have been a playoff contender here for the last three or four years in a row. I think we all expect to be in the playoffs and I guess certainly there would be those implications, but let's just take it one game at a time and not take it too far ahead. It's only the fifth game of the season for us, the sixth for them. It's not like this is the week 12, 13 or 14 where you could very much see that on the horizon.

Q: Has the thought crossed your mind?

A: It's crossed my mind, but it doesn't change things. It doesn't mean I'm going to play a little extra harder. The fact is we're all going to be giving it our best because we want to win.

Q: Do the Giants have a built in advantage because they've played in so many of these big games for the last several years?

A: The more you play in big games whether it's prime time games television wise or tough opponents. They play in a very tough division where every game is a big game. It's been that way for a long time. That's not to discount our division or anyone else. I just think when you think about the NFC East and talk about Dallas and Philadelphia and the Giants and Washington especially as of late, within the last four years, all of those teams have been in the playoffs, gone pretty far in the playoffs and they have a Super Bowl as well, so you could argue that that's one of the better divisions in football and they're used to playing in those types of games. I'm sure it's something they talk about and it helps them, not to take anything away from us. We've played in big games over the last four years and they're only going to get bigger.

Q: Has Jeremy Shockey lobbied for the ball more?

A: He always lobbies for the ball.

Q: Any more this week?

A: No, but you can tell. I know the feeling. Jonathan Vilma knows the feeling from last week. For guys playing against your old team for the first time, I think any competitive person is going to have that little extra juice or that little extra fire. Jeremy Shockey's a guy who doesn't have any shortage of energy during the week or on gameday. For him, it's just going to be about kind of staying poised and composed while playing the kind of football he's been playing. He's got somewhat of a Wildman mentality, but very much within the scheme of what we're doing and I'm confident he's going to be just fine.

Q: Have you noticed any change in the schedule?

A: Yes, we changed the bye week scheme. It's just one of those things where if you continue to do things the same way, sometimes it's going to bet the same result. Certainly it's a new team, a new mentality. We've never gone into the bye week 4-0. We got some juice and momentum and have a lot of confidence. Hopefully we can continue to carry that into this game and go from there.

Q: Has the bye potentially taken away from some of that momentum?

A: It is what it is. Yes, anytime you're rolling and you want to keep rolling and feel you have a good routine, all of a sudden there's kind of a break in that routine, so I feel like we have the type of character guys on our team and leadership that took advantage of the off time in a very positive way, being with family, taking care of your body. There were plenty of guys here on the days we were getting off, getting worked on and continuing to try to get better and prepare themselves for this week.

Q: It sounds like you were in that number?

A: Yes, I was here.

Q: Is your shoulder better?

A: Yes it's good.

Q: How much time did you spend at the facility in the bye week?

A: I try not to a whole lot. I tried to when the baby was sleeping, so I would get as much time with him as I possibly could, but there are some things I wanted to take care of, working out, throwing, that kind of thing.

Q: Do you try to keep your routine all the time?

A: You try to, but the bye week is a time where Saturday and Sunday were the only times I didn't do anything football related except watch a lot and that's the only time the entire season where that happens. Every other day there's a lot of it, so you have to take advantage of that bye week and recharge the battery a little bit, because since training camp if you think about it, it really hasn't been four weeks, it's been more like close to ten weeks.

Q: How does Eli Manning impresses you from what you've seen of him?

A: Just the games I've seen, obviously we're going to be playing a lot of similar opponents, I think that he's one of the better quarterbacks in this league. It's from his first start until now he just continues to get better and better. He plays with a lot of confidence. I think he believes in those guys around him, those guys running the football, those guys catching the football. It seems like no matter who is in there system when Plaxico Burress went down, when (Jeremy) Shockey went down they had the other tight end (Kevin) Boss step up two years ago. They have other receivers they've drafted. It seems like it doesn't matter who's in there, the train keeps rolling. He's the conductor. He's the guy who drives the ship. I've been impressed with his development and I think he's one of the best quarterbacks in this league.

Q: What struck you about him when you guys spent time in the Pro Bowl week last year together?

A: That's very much a relaxed atmosphere. It was me, Kurt Warner and him. A lot of it's that we're there to relax and have a good time and enjoy. You enjoy talking football and picking people's brains about different things, maybe certain concepts and certain defenses. You talk about all kinds of stuff. He's just a pretty calm, mild mannered, easygoing guy, but when you get on the field and flip that switch, he's as competitive as anybody.

Q: Did you wonder about him when you watched him from afar and his approach?

A: No, everybody has a different demeanor and style. Some guys are more fiery than others or they wear their emotion on their sleeves more than others. He's defiantly one of those guys who doesn't show a lot of emotion, but that's his style. I'm not saying that's positive or negative. The fact is he is who he is and .he's really good, a Super Bowl champion. He led his team to the playoffs four years in a row. I think he's doing a pretty good job.

Q: Have some of your offensive struggles in the last two games been you guys or maybe defenses throwing something different at you?

A: No, I think it's our philosophy going into those games and the strategy was very much, not conservative but just understanding the type of game it was. You're playing two very physical teams, ones that definitely thrive on taking the ball away and getting you off the field. We went in wanting to take care of the football and run the ball efficiently, which is always what we want to do, but maybe more so against those teams, maybe knowing how our defense matched up against their offense, we just knew that maybe managing the game was maybe more important than trying to be super aggressive. I think maybe we understand what we got going defensively, taking the ball away, getting them off the field. We're running the ball well, using up clock, so I think when you look at it, maybe the outfit wasn't what it was in the past, but the fact that you win by 20 points and 14 points, who cares.

Q: Is that a maturity of the team and the offense?

A: Yes. I think so. Every time we step on the field we talk about scoring 40 regardless of who you're playing, but then again I think you have to have that confidence and that type of mentality and I think we do with the kind of guys we have. But you have to understand the type of game you're in and the type of team you have, how the defense is playing, how the special teams is playing. You just have to understand your role on that day might be a little different than it has in the past. It can change from week to week. I would say it's maturity.


Drew Brees with NY Media

Q. What have you seen from watching Corey Webster play on film?

A. I think he is a very good player. Regardless of what coverage they might have going on the other side of the field, he is kind of locked up on a guy. Obviously you will see him match the best receiver on the other team at times as well. Obviously they have a lot of confidence in him. He is a very good player. You don't see him giving up many big plays. He breaks up a lot of balls, he has good ball skills. Just one of the better corners in the league.

Q. Particular things about his technique that he does very well that you have seen?

A. I think the biggest thing is that he plays with a lot of confidence. There is a fine line for a corner of being aggressive and being overly aggressive, giving teams the opportunity to make big plays against you. With him, it just seems like he is not giving up many big plays, but then again he is breaking up a lot of balls as well. It is usually one or the other, but usually you don't see both.

Q. You are in a position to study a local debate here so to speak. You studied Darrelle Revis before your last game and now you have had the chance to study Webster. Who's the better corner?

A. I think they are both pretty similar in the fact they are kind of the guy who matches the other team's best receiver. They play a lot of man coverage. The style of man coverage they play is very similar in regards to a lot of press coverage, man to man, in your face. I would say they are both pretty similar but I haven't had a chance to play against Webster here in a while, so I will let you know later on. Here is the thing: I give them both a lot of respect so certainly you have to be aware of where he is at all times.

Q. Can you describe what kind of teammate Jeremy Shockey has been?

A. Shock's been great. Shock's been great. Coming here last year was tough for him because we signed him literally the day before training camp. He was just coming off that broken leg. He wasn't cleared to play fully yet, then five days into camp he hurts his groin, then he's got the sports hernia, ankle injury soon after that. It just never seemed like the guy was able to stay healthy. With him out, we just didn't get a whole lot of time to spend together on the field to get the timing down. This offseason we put in a lot of time together and with the preseason. I feel like now I am confident in everything that he does and I feel like we are very much on the same page. I just see him getting better every week.

Q. Sometimes he would get frustrated when he wasn't getting the ball when he was here in New York? Have you dealt with any of that?

A. I think what Shock understands about what we do here is e are going to go into games with play calls for everybody. Then it is a matter of who is getting open, who has the hot hand and how the defense is playing us. Inevitably, the ball is going to get spread around. I am going to find the open guy or do my best to find the open guy and get it to him. I think all of our guys, including Jeremy, understand that we are going to spread the ball around. Hey, there are going to be those games where he catches ten balls and two touchdowns. There might be other games when he catches two passes and that's it, but other guys are catching the touchdowns and all of the yardage. The fact is, everybody is going to get their opportunity. I think Jeremy, just like any competitive guy, wants to get the ball and feels like any safety or linebacker is a great matchup and that he is going to get open. Which the majority of the time he does, he is a great player. I think he fits very well into what we are trying to do.

Q. Both teams are undefeated, so this is clearly a big game. Given the fact that your head coach used to be with the Giants and Shockey spent the beginning of his career here, do you think there is a heightened level of intensity to the game?

A. Maybe a little bit. I know what it is like to play against your old team. I played against San Diego last year and a lot of guys have been in that situation before. Jonathan Vilma played against the Jets two weeks ago, and that was a source of extra motivation for him. So, yeah, there might be a little extra juice for certain guys, but the fact is it is another game on your sixteen-game regular season schedule. The fact that we are both undefeated makes it even bigger, but when you win, every game is big and they just continue to get bigger as you go along.

Q. You have played four games and have been sacked four times. Is that because of the offensive line or the fact you are getting rid of the ball quickly?

A. I think they are doing a great job. I think we pride ourselves on pass protection and getting the ball out on time and throwing it away when nothing is there. Trying to avoid negative plays. We talk about those things, we study those things, and we try to execute that way.

Q. When you look at the Giants defensive line, is that going to be a bigger challenge this week?

A. Yeah, definitely, because they  got one of the better pass rushes in the NFL. No matter what the situation is with Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora on the ends and the two guys inside also getting great push, that front four is stout. Then in 'nickel' you bring in Kiwanuka and bring Justin Tuck inside and you got some really potent pass rushers on the field. We need to make sure we have a plan for them and we will. The fact is that they are great pass rushers and they are used to making plays. We have to be aware of where they are and what type of pass protection we have on.

Q. Having Gregg Williams and an aggressive defense, does that change your offensive philosophy at all?

A. I wouldn't say change our philopshy, but certainly we recognize it and are aware of it during the game. If our defense is playing lights out and getting us turnovers, then more so, you might try to play the field position game and be a little more conservative, no use being overly aggressive and putting them in a bad situation with a turnover. You always kind of gauge how your defense is playing but certainly we have a very aggressive offense and typically that doesn't change.

Q. When you think what it was like playing San Diego last season, can you relate to what Jeremy is feeling this week?

A. Absolutely, you want to go out there and play your best and beat your old team.

Q. Are you comfortable that he can manage those emotions?

A. Yeah, he wears his emotions on his sleeve, but that is what we all love about him and part of what makes him a great player, but no, I'm not worried about him, he will be fine.


Eli Manning with NO Media

From the New Orleans Saints official website

Q: How is your foot feeling?

A: The foot's feeling good. I took most of the reps today and I'm still trying to be smart with it and not overdo anything in practice and get the reps that I need. I'm not staying away from anything specific. Coach just wants to be smart with it.

Q: Can you talk about what the secret to the success your team is having on offense is this year?

A: I think our offensive line has done a great job of protecting me and giving us the chance to get it down the field. Our receivers have done well. They've made plays and they have a good idea for what's going on. I know we have a few playmakers and some more speed and some more explosiveness at receiver this year, so I'm trying to take advantage of that. They've made some mistakes and there are some things we need to improve on, but they don't repeat mistakes and they're learning quickly and trying to learn from every game experience. I think we've gotten better from every game we've played so far. We just have to continue that attitude and continue to work hard.

Q: Have you played in the Superdome at any level?

A: This is the first one. Both of my brothers got to play in high school. Newman where I went to high school set up a game every year when they were there. By the time I was there they no longer did that. I never made it to the state championships. In college I never got to play there. This is the first one and I'm looking forward to it.

Q: Did you think of that immediately when you saw the schedule?

A: Yes, when I saw we were playing the Saints and playing in New Orleans and that opportunity to go back to your hometown and be in the Superdome where my dad played so many games. He played most of his career in the Superdome where he has his number up on the ceiling there. It was something I was really looking forward to. A few years ago we had it marked on the calendar to play there, but Katrina messed that one up. I'm looking forward to this opportunity.

Q: Do you have any plans to get together with friends or family on Wednesday?

A: No, I'm kind of keeping my same routine that I do every week for an away game. I'm not going to go to my parent's house or anything, just kind of treat it like a business trip and keep my same routine.

Q: What do you guys need to prove at this stage of this season against another unbeaten team?

A: Obviously the Saints are a very talented team on both sides of the ball. Their offense has a lot of explosiveness and can score a lot of points and their defense can cause a lot of turnovers and making big plays on defense and playing very well. We just have to come in. It's going to be a loud environment. The fans will be screaming. It's going to be a tough place to play. We know we have to be at our best. We have to come in and play great, smart football and know we can't make mistakes. Everybody has to communicate very well at practice, everybody understanding some different stuff on defense. We have to be well prepared which I know we will be and have to execute very well also.

Q: Do you think the Giants might have an advantage because your team has more experience playing in big games over the past five years?

A: I don't think so. I know the Saints have played in big games in the past and are a very talented team. I think it's just a matter of us going in there and playing well.

Q: Are you in pain with the foot injury or is it more a threshold issue?

A: No, I don't feel like I'm in pain. I feel like I can do everything. I can run the offense. I'm not limited in what I can and can't do.

Q: Have the criticisms about your easygoing manner and your leadership role from certain players; is there any accuracy to any of those perceptions? Do you think you've grown to become a better quarterback the last two years?

A: I think I've grown as a quarterback over the years. I think every year you improve and learn something new, adjust to the NFL and what your offense is doing. I'm trying to improve from every year I've played. I don't think I've changed my attitude. I don't think I've changed my personality. I've always worked very hard. I might not get too fired up or too down, or scream or yell at my players. I get on them when something needs to be done. I try to lead by example. It's just kind of one of those things where if you're winning games, whatever you're doing is right. If you're not winning, whatever you're doing is wrong. That's kind of the way it is in New York. We've been winning games lately. They're supporting the way I act. That's just the way it is.

Q: Has the atmosphere in the huddle changed since a certain fiery tight end has moved down to New Orleans?

A: No, Shockey was a tremendous player for us. He got fired up. A lot of times he us fired up, got our team going and got the crowd into it. My first touchdown pass was to Jeremy. I only have good things to say about him. I've been hearing the media say a lot of stuff about me and what was going on. They kind of said the same thing with Jeremy. We did good things when he was here and big reason for us even making it into the playoffs that year (2007) was because of the games that he played in early in the season where he made big plays to help us win.

Q: Have you guys been in contact since the trade?

A: I haven't' talked to him this year or this season. I've probably seen him around since he was traded. I can't recall exactly. I have no ill feelings or ill blood with Jeremy. By all means, he was a great teammate of mind while he was here.

Q: How have Jabari Greer and Darren Sharper helped the Saints secondary?

A: Both of them are talented and make plays. That's what you see. They're making plays. They're either getting interceptions or breaking up balls. They're just playing aggressive. That's what you see. You see on defense when you get turnovers and interceptions and return them for touchdowns and an explosive offense, it just makes them stronger.

Q: Did your new contract change you at all or did you buy anything extravagant?

A: No, I didn't celebrate it. I tried to come out and earn it, play my best and have a good season. It's a good start, but we have a long season ahead of us with a lot of tough games, especially this one, playing the Saints, who are playing probably better than anyone and I work hard every week and just do my job.

Q: How critical is your offensive line to what you've been able to do and what you've been able to accomplish?

A: Our offensive line has been a strong point in our offense's success. I've really had them for the last five years playing. They work well. They communicate well. They run block. They are the strength of our team and have been since then. They're a reason for any success we have as a team and as an offense.

Q: Are you going to get to see your folks at all?

A: I saw them last weekend. They came up there for the game so it's not like I haven't seen them lately. I don't think I'll see them on Saturday and I'll probably see them after the game.

Q: Is there anything you have to eat when you get down here?

A: No, I don't think some of that Cajun food is the best thing to eat right before a game, so I know its great food and I miss it a lot. I don't think eating oysters right before a game will help out anything.


Eli Manning with NY Media

Q. How are you feeling this week compared to how you were feeling at this time last week?

A. I feel a lot better. Great practice today, did everything I wanted to do, so I'm feeling a lot better and moving around and excited about where I am.

Q. Two undefeated teams and also talk about going to your hometown of New Orleans?

A. It is a great setup; should be a great game. New Orleans is playing really well, got a lot of great players, offensively, defensively. We know we have to get out there and play our best football. My first time playing in the Superdome, been in there many, many times and looking forward to that experience.

Q. How important was it for you to go out last week and be able to play the first half?

A. I think it was important for me to go out there and just play and get used to being on it and just going out there and really trying to go about my business and seeing how it feels. It felt good. I felt I could make all the plays, I could move around the pocket and do everything that I need to do to execute the offense and put us in a good situation.

Q. Your relationship with your wide receivers, it just seems to build each week...

A. I think the guys are getting better each week. They are learning. There are still some things that we could improve on. That is including myself. We continue to grow as a unit and as an offense. That's their work ethic, what they do everyday, asking questions, learning and they are not making the same mistake twice, which is what you want to see from a young receiving corps.

Q. Everyone has been talking about the Saints offense, but what about their defense?

A. Their defense is playing really well. They cause a lot of turnovers, a lot of interceptions, they make a lot of big plays defensively. They are very sound. They mix it up, they play a lot of different looks. We have to be very well prepared offensively. They have gone into some games and shown some different things. They had a whole new game plan kind of depending on who they were playing. There is going to be some new stuff, I assume, that we haven't seen yet but we have to be prepared for all the looks they have given so far and be prepared for something new. They are very talented and they make a lot of big plays. We've got to take care of the ball and play great on offense.

Q. How about the acoustics of the Superdome?

A. Yeah, it's loud. I expect it to be very loud and the fans to be fired up for the game. I have been a part of the screaming and yelling and trying to make it hard on other quarterbacks. So, I know how the fans think and they are going to be loud. We have played in loud places before, we just have to get out there and communicate very well this week, make sure we are on the same page and go out there and do the same on Sunday.

Q. How does it feel to be going home?

A. I am excited about it. First time playing in the Superdome, ever, for any level of football. I am excited about getting the opportunity to play where my father spent most of his career, going to back to New Orleans and playing New Orleans, who is playing very well this year. Two undefeated teams. It should be a great atmosphere.

Q. Do you think any of the fans down there will be pulling for you?

A. No, I don't think so. They will be rooting for the home team. I have to go out there and do the best I can do and try to play good football.

Q. Has the trip back to New Orleans been a blip on the radar?

A. Ever since I have been in the NFL, the opportunity to play in the Superdome and go back to New Orleans. It's been a long wait, usually you don't have to wait this long to play an NFC team. We missed an opportunity a few years ago due to Katrina. I'm excited about going back there and playing in the Superdome, but also the environment of the game. It is going to be a good game, the fans are going to be fired up for it, so I am looking forward to it.

Q. Have you been swamped with ticket requests?

A. Yeah, quite a few tickets. My dad has kind of been in charge of that. That's his job this week, he is handling all ticket requests. I have a few that I have to take care of, but we have quite a few people going.

Q. Coach Coughlin is saying that he is going to 'manage' your injury. How are you going to 'manage' your injury?

A. You just have to be smart. I am communicating with Coach Coughlin, communicating with Coach Palmer. Just on being smart about the plays and what I want to do and how much I want to push it. Make sure I don't overdue things and make it worse and make it more sore the next day. Everyday I believe it has improved and I want to keep continuing  to do that.

Q. What have you already told Tom about how much you want to push it at this point?

A. It is really just on my call. I kind of see the plays and we have a script. I go over the plays with Coach Palmer, what I want to get, what I need to do. A new play, I might want to run, something that I feel I don't need to run, I'll sit out and have David (Carr) take it.

Q:  Just given your personality, do you actually have to be careful (?) a little bit emotionally?

A:  Emotionally?

Q:  Because of where you are playing?

A:  No, I don't think so.  I don't think it is going to be any different emotionally for me.  I think once you get out there on the field and get your settings and your surrounding, I think it is just about going out there and playing good football.  I don't think I'll be crying or anything before the game.

Q: Darren Sharper?

A:  I've kept him in the Pro Bowl many years.  I know he likes facing me.  But he is a good player.  Obviously I'm not the only one who he has made plays against.  He has got four or five interceptions this year, a couple for touchdowns. He is a smart player. He reads and reacts and he will guess and he will take some chances. You have to keep your eye on him and try to play smart.

Q. Has the city recovered from Katrina?

A. I was back a good bit in the offseason. My parents still live there, my older brother Cooper and his family are there and I have a lot of friends still. I go back and visit a good bit. I was there probably in July the last time. The city is, from what I see when I go back home, the city has a great personality, always a good time, great restaurants and very entertaining.

Q. How big of a Saints fan were you growing up?

A. I was a big Saints fan. I pretty much went to every home game there was. I traveled with my dad when I was younger. I rooted for the Saints every week, went to a lot of games. I was at their first playoff win. I have been to a lot of their big games and have been a big fan for a long time.

Q. Who were your favorite players growing up?

A. Quarterback Bobby Hebert, John Fourcade. They had great defenses then. Sam Mills, Vaughan Johnson, Rickey Jackson. Great linebackers, the Dome Patrol.

Q. Did you ever dream of playing for the Saints one day?

A. Not really.

Q. How far is your parents' house from the Superdome?

A. Probably ten minutes away, not far.

Q. So you are basing your practice off of 'do I need to work on this play or not'?

A. Yeah, it's based by the play. I would like to get all the plays. But some of it is Coach Palmer saying 'Hey, take a break.' If it is a play I really want to get, then I'll go get it. If it is something that isn't going to do me any good to get, then I will let David get it and just try to be smart about managing and not push too much and don't make it anymore swollen.

Q. Now that you have seen the film of the Saints defense, how much does Gregg Williams influence that?

A. Yeah, it's his defense. A lot of different schemes based by the game and some of it is the stuff he ran back at Washington and some of it is new stuff. But they can be very aggressive. I am sure they will have something new, something different that we have to be prepared for and make adjustments when it comes in the game. We have to have great communication throughout the whole game.

Q. Is it a blitz heavy defense?

A. Yeah, it is. Again, they have had a different scheme for each game. They do like to bring pressure and different stuff, not stuff you see every week. You really have to prepare for it and have the whole team keyed in on what is going on.


Tom Coughlin with NO Media

From the New Orleans Saints official website

Q: Can you give us your impression of what you've seen of the Saints on tape so far?

Coughlin: "They're a good football team. Anybody that's doing the things that they're doing and has a 4-0 record with the third offense, the seventh defense, outstanding returners, outstanding kickers, physical, aggressive defensive team, an offensive team that's averaged 166 yards a game rushing. They were leading the league in point production at 36 points a game. Anytime you have a team producing at that level, it's an impressive team to watch."

Q: Can you talk about how Eli Manning has grown since your team's Super Bowl victory?

Coughlin: "I think he continues to grow and he always has. He applies himself. He works diligently at his craft. He loves the game. He loves the opportunity to play and be involved with his teammates. He's constantly from the day he's been here a guy who studies on the day off. He's in here on Tuesday in the film room. He spends it in the weight room. He takes tape home with him. In every area, he's grown and of course his grasp of what's happening on the other side of the ball, the fact that he's really done an outstanding job along with the coaches of preparing him to understand defensive football and what he can and cannot do, according to what he sees. He handles the clock well. He's done a nice job with our two minute offense and so there is not in one any area he has improved in over the others. He's done it all at the same time."

Q: Is there a perception that he grew into his own when team leaders such as (Michael) Strahan, Tiki (Barber) and Jeremy Shockey left? Is there any truth to that that he became more of a leader?

Coughlin: "The young players as they develop and grow when they become in a position of leadership, they naturally if they're so inclined, take that spot and I think that for sure has taken place with a lot of our younger players, who some of them came in with Eli. Eli's always been a leader. He's always been strong in his own convictions. We've had some outstanding personalities here, some outstanding leaders. You mentioned Strahan was an exceptional leader, did a very good job with our team, of course our defensive side of the ball. The offensive side of the ball has grown. Eli has been an elected captain here for three straight years. That tells you a little bit about what the players think of him."

Q: Does he deserve some of the credit for the development of your young receivers?

Coughlin: "Yes he does, for taking the time, spending a lot of time with them both on the practice field and off in terms of their development, what he sees, what they should do, what he expects from them in terms of their adjustments. He's done a really good job with that."

Q: What was the thought process of trading Jeremy Shockey?

Coughlin: "You'd have to go somewhere else with that one. Jeremy was an outstanding football player. What I expressed what that I was impressed with his blocking ability. People always wanted to talk about him as a receiver. I thought he was an all around player and a very good one. I think it was a matter that the decision was made on the value for value opportunity that was there."

Q: Is it weird to see him on the other sideline?

Coughlin: "Weird's the right word. Jeremy's an exceptional football player and his career is ongoing. We wish him luck."

Q: In the case of Jeremy is it good sometimes for a change of scenery?

Coughlin: "Does anybody have anything else they'd like to talk about?"

Q: What's important for you guys to learn in this game? Obviously you guys have played in a lot of big games.

Coughlin: "It's a very, very important game. It's an NFC game. It's a game where you have two teams, one is 4-0, the other is 5-0 and it's a very talented New Orleans team. It's a game where the challenge is obvious, a team that has put the numbers up in so many different ways. It's an outstanding opportunity for us as well. We're playing against a very good opponent."

Q: Are there things you have to learn about your team in terms of how they react in certain circumstances?

Coughlin: "I think we've played in noise before. We've expected it to be noisy and communication is so important. Poise is so important. We did a good job in Dallas. It's probably as loud as it's going to be with over 100,000 people there that night. I would expect that hopefully we can to continue in that vein."

Q: What have you seen that has made this defense improve on the Saints side?

Coughlin: "Gregg's (Williams) a good football coach. He's always done an outstanding job no matter where he's been. His defenses are very aggressive. They are an attack style defense. He usually has something special planned for each opponent he plays. In the NFC East we saw him twice a year and those were classic battles, tough, hard nosed football games and that's the style he's brought to the table and he's done a really good job."

Q: Can you talk about John Carney and the job he did last year?

Coughlin: "John's a great guy. He's a great pro. He brings an awful lot to the program. He's very serious about his work. He's a guy who studies the game very well who's a good teammate. He knows his responsibilities and is very reliable. More than that he can be relied upon as a solid teammate and of everyone that is on the team. John when he was here was very well thought of and very, very well respected by his teammates."

Q: Did a numbers game preclude you from bringing him back?

Coughlin: "I think that's exactly what it was. We tried to be very honest and open about our situation when John was here. Of course, John performed at a Pro Bowl level as did Jeff Feagles. As we move forward, Lawrence (Tynes) was our kicker in 2007 and that's the direction we chose to stay with."

Q: Are you not surprised that he's still kicking in the NFL?

Coughlin: "No, not at all."

Q: What stands out with the Saints linebackers when you're watching film of their defense?

Coughlin: "Speed, cover ability, pressure when called upon. I think it's a good, solid corps.

Q: Does a lot of that have to do with Jonathan Vilma and getting people in the right position?

Coughlin: "An awful lot of responsibility goes to the mike backer for that and Jonathan's done a good job."

Q: With all due respect why are you so apt to talk about John Carney but not about Jeremy Shockey?

Coughlin: "I'm more than willing to talk about Jeremy, but I thought for sure there was something else you had in mind. I told you that Jeremy is an outstanding football player who played extremely well for us, did a great job as a blocker, an all around vertical receiver, was obviously a Pro Bowl player before I even got here. I'm more than willing to talk about that. I thought there may be something else."

Q: How's the tight end position in Jeremy's absence?

Coughlin: "We have Kevin Boss who's done a good job and progressed and gotten better each year. Darcy Johnson's done the same thing. We have a young guy in the name of Travis Beckum who we think is going to be a good player going forward."


Tom Coughlin with NY Media

There is an awful lot of excitement here this week generated by virtue of the New Orleans Saints and their football team.  They are third in the league on offense, seventh on defense, outstanding kicking game, return game. They are a team that has 13 turnovers, 10 interceptions already after only four games.  They are a team that has played well at home, they have played well on the road.  They went into Philadelphia and I don't think I would have ever imagined anyone scoring that number of points (48) - what they did.  They have outstanding firepower.  Their defensive team is playing very well.  So, no doubt a game in which tremendous excitement generated from just the idea of the quality of teams.

Q:  You always preach about the fourth quarter; they have outscored opponents, 45-2.  What kind of challenges does that present?

A:  The thought is that the entire game will be a challenge.  We do know notice that.  The second quarter they score a lot of points as well.  They are a team that has rushed the ball for 166 yards a game.  When you look - you put the numbers up side by side, it is pretty amazing - the two teams and their numbers. 

Q:  How has Gregg Williams changed the way they play defense?  Why has their blitz been so successful?

A:  That is Gregg's game.  That is the way he was in Washington.  The success that they generated was through pressure.  He has a diverse package.  He uses one or two things special for each opponent.  So it is just a combination of good players and a good scheme and I think .........

Q:  Is Eli going to practice today?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Full practice?

A:  No, we will take care of that; whatever we think is necessary .....

Q:  How will you manage him this week knowing that you want him to practice every single day and he will play a full game on Sunday?

A:  Well, we will manage him just as we manage anyone.  We are calling him limited only because he is going to take x amount of snaps and he is going to take the ones that we think are most important for him on a daily basis.  And supposedly and hopefully we can build up as we go along.  He may take x amount of snaps today, a little bit more tomorrow and a little bit more on Friday.

Q:  Were there any signs of swelling with the foot after Sunday?

A:  No.  He came out of the game no worse for wear.  We were able to, as I said, play him, get him in the game, he played well and get him out of the game.  He will continue to be in the training room but he is very, very positive about it and very optimistic.

Q:  What do you see of the role Jeremy Shockey plays in their offense?

A:  He is their tight end.  They have two good tight ends.  They obviously go to the tight ends.  He is their leading receiver.  He is the same vertical player that he has always been.  It looks to me like the quarterback and the receiver corps, the tight ends, are all working well together, and the distribution of packages reflects it.

Q:  Given the diversity of their passing attack and the number of weapons they have, are you more concerned about the depth of your secondary?

A:  Well I think it has been a team in terms of how we have gone about our business - team defense.  And it will continue to be that way.  So are we more concerned?  No, because they are a multiple formation team, too, and multiple personnel.  They are not just - they have virtually half a dozen to a dozen forms of personnel.  And they do run the ball very well as well.   

Q:  Is CC Brown okay? 

A:  He will practice, yeah.

Q:  Brandon Jacobs is openly down on himself a little bit.  How can you help him turn that around?

A:  I don't know what people keep talking about turning around.  The guy had some outstanding runs the other day.  He had the numbers in terms of rushes.  He had the usual number of power runs that he has.  I don't think there is anything for Brandon to be down on.  This keeps coming up.  I don't know what the expectations are.  He is a power runner and that is what he does.  If you are talking about the goal line - it was good penetration and he didn't get the opportunity to get into the end zone.  But he will continue to work at that and continue to study and continue to look at himself.  And he continues to be a vital part of our offensive team.

Q:  When you have one running back averaging three yards a carry and the others have five and six, there has to be something.

A:  Why not?  What is wrong with that?

Q:  Well the production just doesn't seem to be there. 

A:  Well, we are averaging 160 yards a game rushing, so some how, some way, the ball is moving down the field.

Q:  Brandon was the one who expressed that he was disappointed in his own performance. Have you talked to him about that?

A:  No, I haven't talked to him about that.  If he is anxious to make himself happy again, then I think that is a good thing.

Q:  With a QB like Drew Brees, is it more important to get pressure on him since he gets rid of the ball so fast? 

A:  I think that is the key with every quarterback.  You can't allow him to just stand back there.  He is too good of a player.  And that is the basic position that I think most defenses take - is that you have to have pressure on the quarterback.

Q:  Just from a technical aspect on Jacobs, Carl Banks said earlier that when he is making his run he is getting to the point of attack a little bit early.  He just needs to be a little more patient and then take the ball and then go.  Is there anything to that when you are studying film on him?

A:  I'm not going to comment on that.  There have been millions of opinions, I'm sure, about everything we do.  

Q:  From the coaches' analysis?

A:  That wouldn't be the number one thing that I would comment on.

Q: Are the number of carries as important as the yards? 

A:  I think we have run the ball - I think we had 41 runs the other day and we had 41 the week before. So we do have the number of runs.  And as such, Brandon usually averages right in there around 21, 20, 22 carries which is right about where it should be. 

Q:  Do the distinctions between number one and number two running back mean anything to you?  Does Brandon remain your number one running back?

A:  Yes.  And I think that what is understood is that they are all going to play.  They are all going to play.  They are all going to have an opportunity one way or the other.

Q:  Is Danny Ware a part of the mix?

A:  We'll see.  We'll see how he practices and how he does.
Q:  How is Kevin Boss doing? 

A:  He is going to practice.  We'll see when we get him on the field.

Q:  Domenik Hixon?

A:  Hixon is fine.

Q:  When Hixon is fully healthy does he get back to his starting role?

A:  He is always going to be involved and his special teams role will come back as well.   

Q:  New Orleans is the best rushing team you have faced since Dallas. Do you think the issues as far as the run defense have been resolved?

A:  We have played better against the run against some good football players.  This certainly presents a very real challenge.  Our guys have to rise up and play well against the run.  As I said, there are a lot of things to defend. But certainly that is where it all starts for us, is with the run. 

Q:  Do you feel that Lawrence Tynes has corrected his issues?

A:  There are a couple of things that we think can continue to improve. 

Q:  RE:  Their diversified running game.  Can you tell if they have a pattern?

A:  Well Reggie Bush has been out for a couple of weeks.  So Mike Bell has been substituting for a couple of weeks.  And that has probably disrupted the way in which they would play.

Q:  How did you feel about Sinorice Moss's fumbled punt return?

A:  I was disturbed because obviously a turnover is a turnover.  And the field position was .....  On the other hand, you do have to realize that it is a calculated risk to - when the ball is on the ground for the returner to try to exactly understand where the ball is going to go and be able to field it.  But on the other hand you don't want to stand back and allow for all of that yardage to take place.  I think the ball took a real severe bounce, caught him off guard when it hit the helmet.  If we could do it over, you would let it roll into end zone. But you don't know that beforehand.

Q:  Is the right play in that situation that once it bounces to get out of the way?

A:  Not necessarily, no.  It depends on the kick; depends on the punt.

Q:  RE:  Eli going back to his hometown to play for the first time?

A: I don't see him trying to do too much.  He is in the same mode that he is in all of the time - studying and preparing; studying and preparing.  

Q:  Do you have any update at all on Aaron Ross and Chris Canty?

A:  No.  I don't have anything for you.  I didn't say they were in, I didn't say they were out.  I don't have anything for you.

Q:  Are you at all to the point where you are considering shutting either one of them down?

A:  No.

Q:  Thirteen turnovers that they have created, is that a function of Gregg Williams' defense?  And Darren Sharper?

A:  ..... We have seen a little bit of that guy.

Q:  What does he do?

A:  He is ..........  He is very studious.  He zooms in on quarterbacks, gets the jump, tries to stop where he is going.