Q: How do you feel about your tight end, Cooley? What kind of person is he; what kind of demeanor does he have?
A: He is a fun guy – he has great sense or humor. He’s always kind of got something going on at practice – he wears different kinds of socks and shoes and pants. He is always jerking around with people. I think he is kind of loosey-goosey. So he is one of those kinds of guys. But one of the things that I appreciate most about him is that he has never missed a practice since he has been here. He is one of our leaders and one of our playmakers.
Q: When you see what the Giants have done the last couple of games where the tight ends have been very effective against them – do you have to be careful not to sort of just call every play as a pass to Cooley?
A: I don’t think you can do that and I think what we are talking about is a team with a lot of the same players last year that beat us twice. And so I think up there we couldn’t scratch a lick against them at their place. Down here they handled us at our place. I think for our football players and for our coaching staff, we have nothing but great respect for them. We know what this is going to be. And I don’t think there is any one thing that you could say that I would say that we would be leaning towards. I think you have to be totally balanced and try and play a good game all the way across the board for us. This is a team that has been real tough against us.
Q: How has the development of your quarterback been?
A: He is young, of course. I think last year, getting him in there for the last six games – he played against some real good defenses and he played in tough environments on the road. I thought that was good for him. And I think this year, he is a young guy, but he had made his mistakes like a lot of young guys do, but I think he is also improving week by week and we see some good things there. We like everything about him. He worked extremely hard in the offseason. He was in the meeting room every day. He worked hard on the field. He is somebody that we think – we have a lot invested in.
Q: How has it been balancing the carries between Portis and Betts and managing those two guys, who obviously probably want to carry 25 times a game?
A: Actually those two guys have kind of been that way from 3 ½ years ago. Clinton has probably got the most respect for Betts. He thinks the world of him. Both of them are real good teammates. Both of them kind of realize that by keeping them fresh it takes a load off of just one guy. …. Awful tough, I think, for one guy to carry the load. And so most of the teams down the stretch last year had two running backs that were in the playoffs. But I think these two guys really cooperated with each other and you will kind of see them – they will turn to the sideline. They have no problem signaling for the other guy to come in if they get winded or hit particularly hard. And they will call on the other guy. And I think it is their friendship there. And I think that they are real good teammates adds to our football team.
Q: Are they pretty much interchangeable or do you have packages for each guy?
A: No, they are pretty much – I think they are both similar type runners. We don’t major in one thing with the other and I think they both get real comfortable with anything that we have.
Q: ’05 and ’06 seem to have been very different seasons for you team. Did you know what to expect coming into this year?
A: I think in the NFL you never know what to expect. Some of our best football seasons have been followed by disasters. ’87 when we went to a Super Bowl and won it and ’88 we had a nightmare. It was our worst season from our go-around when I was here before. Then, of course, last year was just a real, real tough thing for us to live through. It was strictly on me. I felt bad for our owner, our fans, and everybody suffered through an extremely tough year. We got off to a horrible start in preseason and it stayed with us almost all of the way through the year. It’s ….. here – it swings from year to year. It swings from week to week. Now some weeks you see somebody score 10 points, the next week they score 51. This thing can go anywhere at any time and I think it is week to week. It’s a full-blown war and you have 16 battles in there and you don’t know how they are going to go or who is going to make plays and who is not going to make plays. A lot of things can change your football team from injuries. So I think the NFL is extremely close right now. It is hard to predict from week to week what is going to happen.
Q: So the Giants defense is going to look like the Bear defense?
A: I think that what we have – I would say this – here is what you have to be aware of – I know the Giants attitude right now, I know how they are going to come down here, and I have, from last year, bad experiences against the Giants. They kicked our rear and I know what to expect. I think I know what kind of Giant team is coming down here. And I know a lot of those players and have been up against a lot of those players. We have great respect for them and I think we know what kind of game this is going to be.
Q: Why isn’t Tony Stewart signed for 2008 yet?
A: Because he wants more money. I made a big mistake down there. I became the owner. That’s not the place you want to be. We win a race each weekend and the driver gets half and the race team gets half. I pay 440 people to work on the race cars and they pay four people to fly their jets and drive their motor homes. That’s how stupid I am. That’s how stupid I am – a PE major. I flunked the test on that one. Hopefully we will get things worked out with him.