Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Q: Do you go with Louis Murphy if Rueben Randle can’t go?
A: Well, he’d certainly… Yeah, he was taking most of the reps today, but (Julian) Talley can play out there, too, and so on.
Q: Did Rueben’s knee not respond?
A: Well, it’s not that it didn’t respond, but it’s still sore.
Q: What have you liked about this team after the slow start?
A: Yeah, but they fight. They persevere. They’re resilient. They’ve stuck together. That’s the number one thing, is they stayed together as a team. They believed in each other and so there’s an awful lot of outstanding team values that have come forward through the adversity and the difficulties that we’ve had this year, but it is, to be honest with you, a very, very coachable and likeable group.
Q: Do you say anything given it’s the last regular season practice?
A: I don’t like the word “last.” I actually told them today I’d like to slow it down. I’m not one that’s in favor of the sixteenth game of the year being this weekend. I wish we had some more to play.
Q: For Justin Tuck to put the kind of season he did individually, has that been acknowledged in terms of what he was able to accomplish?
A: By who?
Q: By you and other coaches.
A: Sure, absolutely.
Q: What does it say for him?
A: I think I’ve tried to say it before that he’s done a good job from the standpoint of he came in, he worked hard, he got elected captain and he continued to work hard. He really has done more to demonstrate and show a good example than he has to say anything at any time, I think, except for something good about others and other members of this team. He’s had a good season and he’s also been a good example.
DT Linval Joseph
Q: This weekend and what’s coming up after Sunday, do you…
A: You’re going too far. Right now I’m focusing on Sunday. After that, it goes from there. Right now, the Washington Redskins, we have to get another win and end on a good note.
Q: How have you dealt with the future this season? Have you thought about it at all?
A: I really haven’t thought about it at all. I just take it one game at a time. I’m trying to do the best that I can do and try to help the Giants any way that I can.
Q: Are you happy with the run defense this year?
A: It’s better than last year, but at the end of the day you still want to be better. We were much better than last year and I think we accomplished all of the good things, the No. 10 ranked defense in the league right now.
Q: How hard is it to separate your feelings for these guys from the business aspect of what’s going to come?
A: Like I said, I don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s another part of it, that’s going to be hard. Right now we just have one last war with my brothers and we’ll go from there.
Q: Is that where you sort of set the bar? You want to be a top 10 defense?
A: I mean, that wasn’t the bar. You want to be the best but at this point, how we started and just trying to just… from the bottom up. To come from an 0-6 start and be in the top 10, I feel like that’s pretty good. We could at least say we did something that we didn’t do last year.
Q: Are you hoping to stay here?
A: I would love to stay here. We’ll see what happens.
Q: What is it about this situation that makes you want to come back?
A: This is where I started. I love this organization and I love it here. It’s home.
Q: Obviously there are bigger personalities than you in this locker room, one being Justin Tuck. You’ve been here, you’ve seen him as a leader and as a teammate. He’s also in the situation that you are with the contract. Can you imagine, taking yourself out of the mix, what this would be without No. 91 here?
A: That’s another person. He’s a great person. He came on at the end of the season, he’s in the same boat that I am.
WR Hakeem Nicks
Q: Victor was talking to us and he said, selfishly, he hopes you’re coming back. Do you have any…
A: Well, you know what, man, like I always say, we know that I want to be here. I understand the business side of things. I’m sure we’re going to talk. We’re going to talk next week from my understanding, but we still have one game left to play, that’s all I’m focused on, putting this uniform on and going out there and competing with my teammates and having fun.
Q: You said you’re going to talk next week as far as what?
A: As far as business, the business side of things.
Q: You’ve been a Giant your whole career, how important is that game to you knowing what the possibilities could be?
A: It’s very important, man. I can’t really get into any details but it means a lot. I’m going to go out there and compete with my teammates. I’m looking forward to it, just going out there, competing and just playing and having fun.
Q: Have you thought about the fact that you and Victor may not play again at all if things don’t go well?
A: I thought about it. I thought about it, but at the end of the day it’s business and I understand the business side of things. I can’t really say too much right now, we still have a game left. I want to go out there and compete, I want to have fun and I want to fly around.
Q: When you said next week the business stuff is starting does that mean you speaking to the Giants or just with your own people?
A: Well, you know, both. When the season’s over with I’ll just take the next step and see where it goes from there.
Q: What are you going to tell them? That you want to stay or what’s the…?
A: I mean, they know that I want to stay. It’s just a matter of how things are going to work out. We’ll know that soon.
WR Victor Cruz
Q: How are you feeling? Did you realize in the game that this could end the season the way things went down?
A: After the game I didn’t. I just thought that I had a concussion and that I had bruised my knee up a little bit. I didn’t know that I would need any surgery. Obviously that’s why you go through the procedure and the MRI’s and do what the doctors tell you to do. I didn’t know right after that it would potentially end my season after it got hurt.
Q: Had the knee been bothering you at all during the season?
A: The knee wasn’t bothering me, it was basically on that play. Everything happened on that play. I got a mild concussion as well as a bruised MCL, on that specific play and then the MRI showed that I needed some extra clean up stuff in there as well. We just went and got it done and got it done as quickly as possible, so we can stay ahead of the rehab and make sure I’m ready to go for next year.
Q: What do you think about those types of hits? That was the second time you took that kind of hit.
A: Yeah, it was a tough one. Obviously, I jumped pretty high when I watched the replay. Anytime you jump that high and kind of get swept from under you, and it kind of looked like he threw me down on top of that, it’s tough. You’re just going out there to make a play and he’s going out there doing his job and trying to make a tackle and make sure I go down to the ground, or whatever the case may be. It’s just one of those unfortunate situations that happens when you’re up that high as well as the force from another guy sweeping his legs up under you and hitting the ground awkwardly. That’s all that was.
Q: It seems when you watch the replay, your head hits the ground but you never notice your knee hitting. Did the knee hit too?
A: Yeah. It kind of came down at an angle where the head hit and then my knee kind of just deadly hit the ground. It was just the multitude of the way I fell that kind of compounded the injuries.
Q: We were joking earlier, but what about those two yards that left you short of 1,000 yards for the season?
A: I wish I could go back and get them, but it’s okay. Things happen like that. When I was on the flight going to get my surgery, a fan came up to me and said, don’t worry about those two yards, you still got a thousand in my book. That sealed the deal for me. I knew I didn’t need them. Obviously as a competitor you want to go out there and get those two, but I just couldn’t this year, unfortunately, but it’s cool.
Q: Victor, what is the schedule of rehab? Do you expect to be at OTA’s? Do you expect to be just resting until the camp opens back up in July? What do you expect?
A: I expect to be fully healthy and getting after it during OTA’s. The expected rehab time should be about a month and a half to two months. We’ll see how it goes. I want to take it extremely slow and make sure I come back at 100 percent, not out there wary and kind of timid. I want to be confident when I’m back out there so I can continue to be the same player I’ve been for these past couple of years.
Q: What are your thoughts on the type of season you had?
A: Obviously, individually, I did some pretty good things. I wanted to get in the end zone more, that was one of the things that I wanted to do this year, continue to be that eight, nine, 10 touchdown guy a year. Unfortunately I couldn’t accomplish that. Individually, I still felt pretty good, pretty confident about the year I had. From a whole standpoint offensively, we weren’t near where we were supposed to be, what we’re accustomed to being and it’s unfortunate. Things happen, injuries happen, things happen from year to year from team to team that kind of adjust and shape the way your season is going to unfold, and I think that’s what kind of happened to us. It’s unfortunate, but it’s not something we want to grow accustomed to. We want to change that and continue to build a winning tradition here.
Q: Are you at all concerned about what you’re going to get coming next season? Obviously, the offense was like 30th in the league, so there could be changes. Are you sitting there going, wow, we could have a lot of different people here?
A: You never know. Obviously in the back of your mind you think about things like that, but I feel like the group that’s here has been successful and has been influential in my career, guys like Coach Gilbride and Gilbride Jr. and the entire offensive staff have been instrumental in building me and building the type of player that I am today, so I wouldn’t want to see any of those guys go. You just never know in this business. Hopefully, those guys are still around and we can continue to build on the success that we’ve had in these years.
Q: To build off of that, you know what it’s like not to have Hakeem Nicks opposite you on the field. There’s a possibility that’s going to happen again. Have you given much thought to that?
A: A little bit. It’s tough to think about because Hakeem is such a fixture here for me for so many years and it’s tough to think about, but obviously I understand the business side of it. I just went through it myself a year ago. I understand exactly what he’s going through. Hopefully we can see him back. That’s definitely the plan that I want to see in my book, but obviously you have to deal with the business side of it and he has to take care of his family and do what he wants to do. You kind of give it thought, but you don’t give it too much thought. You just want him to do what he has to do for himself.
Q: As someone who went through it, what kind of advice do you give him for what he’s about to go through?
A: Just be patient. Understand that you’ve hired your agents and you’ve hired these people to do this job for you and you have to completely trust them and continue to be in conversations with them to make sure you’re all on the same page and that he’s not saying anything or there’s nothing that you don’t know. You want to be able to know everything that’s going on so you can go to sleep and have a peace of mind. I think that was the biggest thing that I did. I had an agency and a representative that were transparent with me with everything that was going on, so it made me sleep easier at night. I just want him to be patient. Everything that’s going to come to him is going to come. I always tell him God has a plan, every time he comes to me and wants to talk about something, I always tell him God has a plan and we’ll see how it goes for him.
Q: You went into last offseason with uncertainty about yourself and your future. Can you compare the uncertainty that maybe you’re going into this year in terms of what’s around you and what you’re going to be coming back to?
A: A little bit. The most you can do initially is just take care of yourself. Make sure you’re healthy. Make sure you’re good to go and hopefully everybody else can follow that motto, but it’s definitely… You just never know what’s going to happen in this business. You just want to be able to take care of what you can take care of and go from there. Having a year like this is new to me, so I don’t know what happens after things like that or what doesn’t happen. You just never know. You just want to come in mentally ready, mentally prepared to focus on things like that and see where it goes.
Q: So much was made last year about your time away from Eli and the offense. Do you take it upon yourself, once you’re healthy, to make sure that chemistry is there as early as you want it to be?
A: Absolutely. I think this year I’ll make it a point to get with Eli a little bit more and get with our quarterbacks a little bit more and get the receiving corps together as much as we can, to kind of build that more. I think that’s one thing we lacked, is kind of that continuity from a receiver standpoint with our quarterback and I want to build that earlier this year, whether we’ve got to set some time a part and get the receivers down with Eli whenever he’s ready and kind of just schedule it right so we can just build, not only on the field, but off the field. We want to get to know each other a little bit more. I feel like there was a little bit of a disconnect there that we want to get back into this football team.
Q: Statistically you’ve been the top receiver here, but if Hakeem is not here next year, you’ll be the focus point of the offense. Are you ready to handle that?
A: Absolutely. If something happens and Hakeem isn’t here, I’m ready to handle that load. I’m ready to be the guy that kind of steps up and makes those big plays and makes those big third down catches and touchdowns. I’ve been accustomed to doing it basically all my life. Mentally, I just want to continue to be focused and continue to build my body up to take that and to be ready for those type of circumstances that I’m going to be placed in this next year if Hakeem isn’t around.
Q: Hakeem seemed to have a gut feeling that you would be back. Do you kind of have a gut feeling about him coming back?
A: I do have a gut feeling that he’s coming back. I don’t know if that gut feeling is true, but I do have a gut feeling and it’s more so just me being selfish. That’s just what I want to see. I want to see him back here with us. I want to see him being his same old self, his same old calm, resolved self and hopefully that can happen, but if not, I wish him the absolute best and he knows that.
Q: Did you lose any money coming up two yards short?
A: I didn’t, thank God. My agent structured it the right way, so we’re good. It’s not the person to ask me that.