Q: What has these past couple of weeks been like for you?
A: Very, very emotional time. I think none of us have been through anything like this. I think it has been – that is probably the best of way putting it. I think there has been, obviously a lot of meetings, ………….. said the day of the memorial service is that…. It took 24 hours when we found out originally that Sean was shot. I think what has happened is that it has been kind of chaotic from an organizational standpoint, too, because you are in a groove – coaches and players are used to steady routines and because of everything that has happened we have been kind of here and there. So it has been – I have admired our players just from the standpoint of the way they have handled everything.
Q: How has that manifested itself as far as them handling everything?
A: I think they --- none of us – we just kind of have to live with it hour by hour. I don’t think any of us had a plan or anything because there was constantly change in all of the emotions that took place. But I think that what the players did, I think they have a great approach to it. Like I said, there were a lot of them caught up in it. And a lot of us here, obviously, … it meant a lot to a lot of people here -- ….. shock, somebody 24 years old. The last four years of his life – he was our first draft choice when I came back. And to see somebody that had made such a dramatic turn in his life, I felt like two years ago. The first two years Sean was kind of like a lot of young guys, kind of all over the place. And for the last two years I think he was at all of our chapel services. Brett Fuller, our chaplain, said his life really exemplified. He spent a lot of time talking to him about his personal relationship with the Lord. And I think he had changed in a lot of ways. And I think only the Lord can do that. We can’t do it as human beings. And so his life had kind of painted a picture of somebody that was so excited about life. He had his new 18-month old child; always around the complex with the baby. People would see him at the shopping centers. He would be there with his child overseeing that little gal playing. And for all of those reasons I think it was a traumatic time for everybody. I think everybody kind of looked at their own life and said, “Man, life if fragile.” And so I think it affected a lot of people that way.
Q: Were you surprised, considering everything that was going on and losing your quarterback early in the game, that your team played so well on Thursday night?
A: Yeah, …. I didn’t know what to expect. And so I think it is a tribute to the team – all of those guys – there were a lot of individual stories that took place during that game. Jason, obviously, going out was one of them. We had a number of other stories there. But I don’t think we knew what to expect; I didn’t. I thought it was extremely hard-fought and I was proud of our guys the way they played considering that it was a short work week and we had the memorial service on Monday.
Q: I guess it was just as surprising that you lost that game the day before the memorial service in such a gut-wrenching manner. I guess you didn’t know what to expect.
A: I think we had had four of those in a row, really. We had four games that came down to the last play of the game. They were all heart-breaking. I felt like we fought extremely hard and yet we had lost four in a row like that. I got to tell you, it was for us here, tough to go through. And so that is the reason why I appreciated the players so much and for us to be able to rally and play a good game on Thursday night against the Bears, which we have a lot of respect for. It was big deal for us.
Q: Just from a football perspective, are you planning this as though if you win the final three games, you still have life for the playoffs or is that something you can’t even think about right now?
A: I think it doesn’t do you any good not to think about it because it is printed in the papers every day. And all of the scenarios are there. So I think we are all very much aware of all of different scenarios and different things that could happen. I think the problem is for us, we have to go play the Giants in Giants Stadium. It has been a tough place for us to go and play. I think Coach Coughlin has done a terrific job there. They have a lot of weapons on offense. They have always done real well against us. Their defense has shot to the top of the league as far as defensive play. And then on special teams I think they won the last go-round, too. So it is a tough assignment for us. I think our approach is the only thing that we can do is to prepare for this game this week. But I don’t think it does -- in any NFL town you are going to have all of the scenarios printed and all of those kinds of things. So I think all of that is out there floating around. But I think that focus, I think, for every team is to try and find a way to get focused on the next game.
Q: That game that you played the Giants earlier this year, specifically the fourth-quarter…. It marked a turn around for the Giants’ season. In your perspective in a nut shell what went wrong for you and what went right for the Giants?
A: I think it was the second half period. We didn’t move the ball on offense. Their guys came out and started the second half with a real good kickoff return out to the 38. And they took the ball and drove it the length of the field into the end zone. I think it was the whole second half. We didn’t play well there. Offensively we just didn’t move the ball. You have to give them the credit. They did a great job. Jason got us down to the two-yard line late in the game. We don’t get it in from the two-yard line. I look at it as you have to give them a lot of respect and realize they played extremely hard. And so I think it was pretty much the whole second-half where we just didn’t get the job done.
Q: Have things kind of, I don’t want to say back to normal, but normalized a little bit this week?
A: I think I tried to give the players a long break. I don’t know. We are just getting ready to go to practice right now. So I haven’t had them on the field…… it would probably be hard for me to comment on that.
Q: Todd Collins, he had a pretty good game in place of Jason.
A: Yeah, we have two veteran quarterbacks in Todd and Mark (Brunell). I think Todd played extremely well in preseason. Ever since he has been here, he is one the brightest guys that I have been around; very, very smart. And what is kind of amazing is him being in that situation that he has been in for about seven years – you would think that somebody with all of that meeting time and all of the things sitting in those meetings and hearing all of those things, that the guy would just mentally just – it would be hard to stay mentally sharp. In his case he has always been very, very on top of everything. If you run a play in practice and it is the wrong formation, you will hear him go, “That’s the wrong formation.” He is mentally very sharp. But he is also a vet and when he jumped in there he did a heck of a job for us.
Q: How has all of this affected your own personal outlook and whether you want to continue doing this?
A: I think I have tried to answer that every way I can. I finally gave up. I don’t answer it any more, because no matter what I say people are going to put their own play on it. Basically for me it has been – this time for me has been like with all of the players. We have all been living through it. And it has been a – I think it gives you a life – a lot of us, we take for granted, probably some of us certainly as old as I am, don’t but I think for a lot of the young guys here and for me personally, too, you see a guy 24 years old and it makes you realize how fragile life is. So I think there has been a lot of things emotionally that affect me, just like it would affect anybody that is a coach going through this, but I hadn’t experienced anything like this in my years of coaching. I think it is something that – life is sometimes something we can’t predict or we can’t get and I think this is one we just had to all kind of live through. And it has probably changed all of us, including myself.
Q: How has Reed Doughty done?
A: Extremely well. He is a perfect example of a guy coming from a small school that has continued to grow and to step up. At first he was playing mostly on teams and he got better and better and better and became one of our key corps groups there. A guy that now is getting a chance to start, just from the same thing there. He is a young guy, obviously, small school. But I think he is extremely well-prepared. And I think he has made the most of his opportunity there.
Q: How did you handle him getting the job the way he did?
A: I think it was – I don’t know that anybody ever really talked to him about it. I think it is just one of those things where he was working as hard as he could. Certainly made big steps. He had played some here in packages. When he got a chance to do that – a young guy that is making the most of his opportunities. I don’t know that anybody ever really talked to him about it other than to just say, “Hey, you have to be a hero for us.”