Full transcriptions from Friday's media hour
QB Eli Manning
Q: We all know that final cut down day is part of the business, but as a player in this locker room, how curious are you to find out who is going to be here and who’s not?
A: Yeah, it’s definitely… there’s always some surprises and that’s just part of the business. You’ll have some guys who have done good things and great things but it just won’t work. Hopefully you can get them back on the practice squad and let guys, your guys, mature within the program, within the system and they can find a way onto our team in the future or catch on with another team. You’d like to keep up obviously in the next day, find out who’s going to be a part of the team that’s going to help us win some games this year.
Q: Now that the preseason is over, how do you view it as an offense? Do you try to put it behind you or do you sort of keep it at the front of your mind and say, ‘Hey, this is what it was in the preseason and it needs to be a lot better in the regular season?’
A: Right. I think it’s still trying to get it exactly the way we want it. It’s a work in progress. It’s not the final product right now. It’s going to be, the more games, the more plays we get, the more practice… there’s definitely room for improvement and that will be a season-long situation, which is, I think, normal. That’s not a bad thing. I think we have to know what we do well and where we need to make our improvements and be dedicated to being harsh on ourselves to make those improvements.
Q: We had asked you a few weeks ago if you were worried that it would be a work in progress. You said you hoped that it wouldn’t. Why isn’t it a bad thing? Shouldn’t you be ready for Week 1?
A: Don’t get me wrong, we’re ready for Week 1, but I think as a season goes on, you’re always looking to improve, whether you’ve been in a system for 10 years or not, whether you have young guys and need guys to step up or you have new players, it’s still, there’s always room for improvement. You don’t want to alarm people and say, ‘We’ve got to get better, we’ve got to keep getting better.’ That’s just part of it. We’re going to keep getting better but we can still go out there and be successful and do good things and win games but still strive to make improvements within our offense.
Q: Obviously outside there’s been alarm, from us, from fans, about what the offense has done but you don’t sound like you have any…
A: No. I think we’ve done a good job protecting the ball. In the preseason we’ve won games. They don’t mean anything but it’s still about playing smart, putting yourself in the position to be in games and making key plays at the right time. We’re still, everybody’s trying to do everything perfect, do everything like it is in the book, do everything exactly how they’re being coached, instead of, ‘Hey, we’ve got to play some football. We’ve got to run around and we’ve got to just get back to playing football and making plays.’
Q: In the past this offense has maybe not played great in the summer and come out and scored a lot of points in the first game. Do you think you’re capable of that or do you kind of say, ‘Well maybe not that but we can do enough to win’?
A: I think we can score points. I think we’ve done some things. We haven’t shown everything in the book. We haven’t thrown the ball down the field a whole lot so I think there’s definitely room to score some points and to move the ball and be successful. It’s just a matter of doing it. We’ve got to get the work this week, get with coach McAdoo, get the game plan, see what we can do and start watching Detroit and see where are going to be our opportunities to find completions, to take our shots, to convert on third downs; what do we want to do and what do we want to try to accomplish.
Q: When will you get your hands on what coach McAdoo wants to do? Will it be Monday or later in the week?
A: I know Monday we have a practice. I don’t think it’s exactly a Detroit practice but I’m sure it will be some things that they’ve done in the games without totally game planning from a sense of knowing exactly what’s in a game plan book or anything. I think hopefully Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I’ll have to sit with coach McAdoo, get the game plan and kind of figure out what we’re thinking going into the game.
Q: Are you curious for that process? You’ve never gone through that with him.
A: Yeah, I am. I’m curious about the whole process with talking to him, getting his thoughts on the week, on what we want to try to do… what plays we like and what we’re thinking, what we’re going to try to do and just seeing how the week goes from third downs to green zone. I think I have a decent idea about it with training camp and everything going by but it will be interesting to see how things will flow this week.
Q: Do you expect to have a stronger voice in shaping those plays and picking those…?
A: I think coach McAdoo does a good job of asking me and asking all the quarterbacks what they like, what we’re thinking and kind of trying to run those plays first, the plays that we feel the most comfortable with or think is good. We try to do that and I try to, when making those decisions, try to talk to him also, see what he likes. It is his offense in a sense, get a good feel for what he’s thinking going in so we can be on the same page.
Q: How has it been in the games; it’s his first time calling plays.
A: He’s been good. He’s been good getting the play in quickly, getting it to the quarterback so we can get it in the huddle, get on the line of scrimmage and see everything. If we have to change it to another play, we always have enough time so I think he’s been decisive, has had a plan and stuck to it and it’s been good.
CB Prince Amukamara
A: So last week I was only able to do individuals, but the doctor cleared me that I can do everything, so I am excited about that.
Q: So you anticipate you will be able to practice fully starting next week?
A: Of course. Fully, I am expected to play Monday.
Q: Could you have played if you had to?
A: Yeah. I definitely felt like I could but the trainers kept telling me they are looking more at the long term. So I’d rather get as much rest as I can than risk anything in 12-15 plays that the “ones” [first team defense] got.
Q: And you don’t think you have any mental limitations going out? Running full and everything.
A: No, I think all that will go away once I start practicing. I’ve got to do one on ones or just press release so that the first part of jamming and running with the receiver for a little bit and then after that you are done. That is actually how I injured it against the Colts. Once I got through that all that went away. I am sure the more I practice the more confident I will get.
Q: So you think you will have a full week of practice next week?
A: Yeah, for sure. That’s a definite. That is what they told me and that is what I am expecting to do.
Q: Are you ready for Megatron [Calvin Johnson]?
A: Yeah. I got the opportunity to face him last year and me and Dominque Rogers-Cromartie would know the game plan. I know I am giving you guys extra. We don’t know the game plan if we are matching this week or what the coach is going to do about that or if we are staying on one side. I am just going to study all of their guys, tape. Study Kevin Ogletree and just study all of them.
Q: I guess obviously you guys have a lot of confidence in your rebuilt secondary. You couldn’t ask for a better test. This team [Detroit Lions] can put the ball in the air pretty good.
A: Exactly. The Lions offense likes to sling it and they have their receivers, especially with their tight ends that they have, so it is definitely going to be a great challenge for us.
Q: From a veteran’s perspective, how exciting is to be done with the preseason and get to move on with the real business?
A: I mean, it is great. We played five games this year. I heard …..said as soon as we got done with practice on Wednesday Cullen [Jenkins] said, “Man, I just got done with 12 training camps,” I’m like “wow,” and he did it before the CBA so I am sure it was more tough. Just the fact to get through it and create an identity for a team, it was great for us.
Q: Have you felt more emotionally ready for a season than you are right now?
A: I have always been physically, but I would say mentally, this is the best I have felt since I’ve been in the NFL.
Q: Confidence-wise, I guess?
A: Yeah, confidence-wise, especially with just knowing what is expected of me and what the defense is trying to get done and what the offense on the other side is trying to get done. I think when you are prepared, all that nervousness and anxiety goes away.
Q: Do you think that is also a function of just not being a rookie anymore and really getting that totally behind you? Kind of absorbing yourself in the locker room a little bit, it’s got to be kind of a relaxing feeling.
A: Yeah. I would say it goes hand in hand, the more games you play, the more different offenses you see, the wide receivers you face. I think that all helps your confidence because you know what’s out there and nothing really surprises you.
Q: Health-wise, do you think you will be able to practice and play this week?
A: Yeah. Health-wise, I am expecting to play Monday night. I am expecting to do everything at practice, Iexpect for them to treat me as if I wasn’t injured. I am doing everything.
Q: Do you feel like you just got done talking about preparing for Calvin Johnson and that whole passing attack at the end of last year?
A: No. I feel like it’s been a while, but I am sure when I watch the film a whole bunch of memories will probably come like, “ok, we did just play them and this is what happened.”
Q: Do you think having a new tight end and some the changes they made will open up their offense a little more?
A: Yeah. I think since they do have more targets just with Golden Tate and the new tight end Eric Ebron. I think Matthew Stafford is going to have a couple of weapons to use out there.
OG Geoff Schwartz
Q: Is this whole thing pretty frustrating for you?
A: Of course it is frustrating; I have never really had an in-game injury before. It is definitely a disappointment. I will be back, hopefully soon enough.
Q: Have they given you any kind of idea [of return timetable]?
A: No idea. Just see how it goes. There is really no other way to put it. We will just have to see how the rehab goes.
Q: Is surgery completely ruled out?
A: Yeah, it is not happening.
Q: Was that a personal option [of not having surgery]?
A: Surgery was not even an option.
Q: Is the timetable still up in the air because it is such a different [injury], dependent on the person injured?
A: Yeah that is the way it is. This is a unique type of thing. Especially the toes, and with big guys, you just have to see how the rehab goes.
Q: You said on Twitter that you had some pretty gross pictures… ?
A: I knew it happened right away. When they took the shoe off, I figured it would look like it did. I don’t remember really if it hurt or not. I was just in a blur. It was gross looking.
Q: Has it happened before?
A: No. Never even heard of it before.
Q: Is it just about keeping weight off it for the time being and is there still pain?
A: It is just a matter of going through whatever rehab they want me to do, and I will go from there. There are a lot of different ways to approach it. Being a bigger guy, putting pressure on that toe is not going to help.
Q: It seems that even if they clear you that you will still need to take a little time to get back [to playing in games] because you will have to practice…?
A: With any injury, once they clear you, you still need time to practice. That is the way it is with every injury, not just mine. I am sure that will be the case. If you are out a couple of weeks, then you always end up needing some conditioning, which I am sure I will get. Then we will go from there.
Q: You are not able to do anything right now with the foot?
A: Yeah, this is the way I have been for the last week.
Q: Do you know if short-term IR is a possibility?
A: They haven’t mentioned it. That is upstairs. That is not any of my business.
Q: You know what that means though as far as time-wise?
Q: Is that something you would hope to avoid?
A: I hope to back before then.
Q: Do you feel that is reasonable?
A: I have never had this injury, so I have no idea what to expect. I just know what I have been told. We will just go from there.
Q: Do you know when you get [the boot] off?
A: No idea.
Q: Was it very painful?
A: Everyone asks me that question and I don’t remember. I am sure it was. I honestly don’t remember. When they put it back in, it hurt. I remember certain times it hurt, but to be honest with you, I am sure it did. I don’t remember.
Q: They put [your dislocated toe] back in on the field?
A: No. When I went back in [to the locker room].
Q: How did the injury happen?
A: I was just getting bull rushed, and I went to anchor and it came out. I have watched the film on it. I’ve watched the TV copy of it. Never happened before. I wish there was some other cooler way that it could have happened. I felt it right away. I went from there and called out the trainers.
Q: Did you toe stick in the turf?
A: I guess… I don’t know. I just remember it happening, it popped out and I knew what happened right away. I tried to get off the field and decided it was best to probably just take a knee.
Q: How bummed out are you?
A: I came here to play and to be ready to play Monday night. It is disappointing that is not going to happen. It gives me motivation to rehab and move on from there. I’ll be ready when it is time.
Q: You have never had this injury before but have you had other injuries?
A: I have had surgeries before but not this. Those are season-ending injuries. Two of them were. The other one wasn’t.
Q: This is not a textbook [injury] where they can tell you exactly what to do?
A: You know with certain foot injuries or ankle injuries, there is a timetable. This [injury] is unique because there is no surgery so we will just have to see how it goes.
Q: And the [rehab] should be hard to do?
A: Any rehab is hard to do. It doesn’t matter whether it is for a finger or an elbow. They all take their own course. We have a great staff and a great program set up for me so I am hoping to get back sooner rather than later.
LB Jacquian Williams
Q: Do you feel like what you’ve done this summer is kind of what you expected to do last year?
A: What I did this year is what I expected to do coming into my second year. That was something I looked forward to, my second year. Obviously there were some injuries and stuff that came along, so you know that stopped the process.
Q: Did you ever have any doubt that it would come?
A: No, with the development and the training, the offseason training, I was always confident that it would take place.
Q: What do you think was the biggest jump this summer?
A: The biggest jump is being healthy. Being able to be out there and take the reps, the reps are the most important thing and that is what I was missing due to injuries and stuff like that.
Q: This is probably the first training camp where you didn’t miss any practice time, right?
A: Yeah. This is my first training camp not missing….it was a great one.
Q: When does the excitement start to build for the regular season now that the preseason is over? Does that start today? Did it start last night? Does it start Monday?
A: That started last week, to be honest with you. We are already ready for them. We already started preparing for them, so yeah we are ready for them.
Q: So it’s time?
A: It’s already time. It’s definitely time, it’s been time.
Q: What’s your confidence level that your preseason production level will be able to carry over into the regular season?
A: My confidence level is at an all-time high. I am confident in myself, I am confident in the guys that are playing next to me, the rest of the defense and our new offense.