Opening comments: ML:
The task at hand is the Giants, and they're doing a great job of running the football, averaging 170-something yards a game. And defensively, they're giving up about 70 yards a game rushing. Passing it at about 220-something and they have seven sacks on defense. So they're playing pretty efficiently, running the ball, throwing the football and both defending the rush and defending the pass. They've been great on third down, (converting) almost 48 percent and allowing about 23 percent defensively.
They've been in semi-close games into the fourth quarter, and they've been able to distance themselves from their opponents, which—I told our team—is about the opposite of what we've done. So that's something we've got to understand and know, that these guys have been able to put the pedal to the metal, and make some plays to finish these games out. We've been unable to do that thus far this year. That's the task at hand. It's a great challenge, an exciting challenge for us, and it'll be a fun game to play in, so our guys are excited to go."
Q: You mentioned on Monday the problems with the passing game are due to the receivers lack of play together with Carson (Palmer):ML:
It's mostly the adjustments in timings.
Q: When will the wraps come off Jerome Simpson?ML:
Jerome's got a ways to go as far as understanding what to do, and for us to have some confidence in him being in the spots where he needs to be. Then he can maybe earn some more playing time. We've put him in. He's played in each of the games. But he's got to be right all the time in practice. You don't just throw a guy out there.
Q: What about injury updates?ML:
We sent home Ben (Utecht), who was sick today. Johnathan (Joseph) didn't work as well. Reggie Kelly was held out today. Herana-Daze (Jones) did not practice today, nor did Dexter Jackson. Other than that we're in pretty good health, pretty good shape.
Q: Talk about Keith Rivers and his progress in the first two games:ML:
Well, I think Keith's gotten an indoctrination by fire in the NFL, which is good. I'm pleased with the things he's doing. He wanted to tackle better after the first week, and he worked his tail off last week on the practice field, and did a much better job in the (Tennessee) game, and will continue, I think, to be a very conscientious player. He's having fun. He's being productive. He's making plays. And I think he'll just keep getting better and better.
Q: You said the team was going to work and go win in New York against the Giants. Is that a guarantee?ML:
I said that's what we're going to do. Are we going to go in there and put our tail between our legs?
Q: Do you know if Johnathan Joseph is going to play? ML:
I do not. We'll see where Johnathan is as we go through the week, and what work he's able to get down. I can't affect it one way or another.
Q: With Reggie (Kelly) and Ben Utecht out, what's the situation at TE?ML:
I think we'll be fine, but we'll play the guys we can dress and go and go at it. We'll be all right.
Q: Do you think we might see the new fullback (Reagan Maui'a) if Daniel (Coats) has to play TE?ML:
Possibly there's an opportunity for Reagan to get some playing time this week. That'll be good. That's why we brought him here.
Q: How are (Pat) Sims and (Jason) Shirley? Has their not playing been injury-related?ML:
Pat Sims was injured in training camp and didn't get to practice until last week, so I think he's got a ways to go conditioning-wise to play in an NFL game. We've got Orien Harris and John (Thornton) and Domata (Peko), ahead of him. Until he can prove through practice that he's a better option for me ... Jason's got a ways to go. I didn't envision Jason being a big part of what we're doing this year. I don't know if that will come. He's working at it, and maybe at some point he will. But at this point, that's where he is.
Q: Thornton and Peko have been on the field for a lot of snaps:ML:
Not necessarily. We've shared snaps pretty well. Orien (Harris) has gotten a good amount of snaps. I feel good about how we're getting that done. In our substitute defense, John's out of there some and Domata's out of there some. It's not too bad, and the guys have done a good job with it.
Q: Does the experience Geoff Pope had last year with the Giants make it a little easier for him to fit in here?ML:
Well, he's played in the NFC championship game. He's been on the team and they've won the Super Bowl, and he's had some snaps. So if he gets an opportunity to play come Sunday, he's got to be ready to go.
Q: What part does Carson (Palmer) share in the lack of timing with the receivers, and in the game management on Sundays?ML:
Carson's missed two practices since May, when we got started on the field. So I think as far as his time on task, that's been great. He's a guy who likes to take a lot of snaps. A lot of quarterbacks don't like to throw the ball as much as Carson does. He wants to be perfect in everything he does. He wants to see all the looks all the time. He doesn't want to shove somebody else in there. He continues to work very, very hard at it. But he can't control, at times, who's been out there around him. All's he can do is wait for them to get back up to speed and keep pushing the envelope.
Q: Everybody was talking about how Willie (Anderson) could have been a factor in the Baltimore game, with the things he would tell them. Now you've got Geoff Pope, who was with the Giants. Can he give you anything that you can't see on tape?ML:
I think a guy who's been with a team for a while has the ability to explain some things. But I don't think Pope has the time on task that Willie had, being a starting player.
Q: Chad (Ocho Cinco) said he thinks it's going to take a big run or catch to get things going:ML:
I think we've got to make some explosive plays, and right now we're getting outnumbered that way. And when we put an explosive play upon an explosive play, that'll make a big difference. Those plays change field position, they change the game, they change where you are, they change your call sheet. There's a lot of things they change. And we need to get some of those.