A beautiful day for practice today at QDTC, perhaps one of the best days of the year weather-wise. Several players did not practice today.
Naturally, OL David Diehl (Thumb) and TE Adrien Robinson (Foot) did not participate. OL Brandon Mosley (Back), QB Ryan Nassib (Ankle) and CB Corey Webster (Hip) joined them on the sidelines.
Safety Ryan Mundy will be charged with keeping an eye on Carolina’s Pro Bowl WR Steve Smith this Sunday. Mundy has been playing well and is looking forward to the challenge.
“You’ve got to compete with him. He’s a very fiery, feisty, competitive type of guy,” Mundy said today. “He’s going to be out on the field going hard every play so we have to match his energy. I’ve played against him before and in watching tape on him, he’s one of those guys that, when it’s time to play, he plays hard. You’ve just got to compete with him and go out there and execute the coverage.”
Reconverted DE Mathias Kiwanuka will be focusing on chasing down Panthers’ QB Cam Newton this week. He spoke to Newton’s athletic ability and how he’s progressed as a pro:
“I think year-to-year when you’re watching a quarterback, he’s definitely gained some ground and improved a bit. Everybody knows about his feet and when he escapes the pocket, that he can still look down the field and he can make people miss, so our job will be to push the pocket, get people up in his face and make sure we get him down on the ground.”
Tom Coughlin’s presser was little shorter than usual today. He ended yesterday’s session by stating “Is that fiery enough for you?” after angrily answering a question about the running game that was asked three times already.
Still reeling from the sudden death of his brother, Coughlin pushed forward and handled the media with his usual demeanor.
How closely are you monitoring the Panther’s secondary, their banged up cornerbacks and safeties?
How close? Whatever they tell us about how they practice. We take a look at it and record it. We don’t have a guy at their practices if that’s what you’re asking.
Your offensive line is a veteran group other than the right tackle. What is your level of confidence that they will get this right eventually?
I think I see us getting a little bit better each week. Is that fast enough? Of course not, but I do see progress. The more the communication goes, the better off we are. You say veteran, but take a look at the snaps and the amount of practice time that David Baas has had, for example. That’s almost like moving a new guy in, too, until he gets to where he feels good about it. I see a little progress every week.
For years, when you’ve had success, that group has had an identity. Not always the same players, but the same kind of guys.
No question. On both sides of the ball, both fronts.
Is it hard for them to get it right then even when they’re not playing as well?
I would say yes. That would be one of those you go anonymous until you make a statement. We need a statement. Your first question was, do I see it? Yes I do. Maybe small little moves, positive moves, but I do see it.
What kind of challenge do your cornerbacks and safeties face this week? Deciding whether to come up when Newton starts to act like he’s going to run and then …?
Everybody has a key that they look at for run or pass and you better believe what you see. That doesn’t account for scrambling, but if it’s run, it’ll bring them up.
This is the first of the scrambling/option quarterbacks you are going to face, so how much more prepared are you for them this year than you were last year?
We’ve studied in the offseason and studied a lot of these option-type quarterbacks and we have a plan. As you say, we haven’t really been tested in that area, but we have worked in training camp on responsibilities. I’m confident we’ll have a guy in the right place, hopefully at the right time. For as far as the ability of the quarterback to just pull it down and run, that’s another circumstance where, do you have him in the pocket? Does he stand in there? Are you putting pressure on him? Does he have time to stand there? All of those things are factors as well.
Did you do anything in the offseason to kind of prep for these types of quarterbacks?
Sure, we studied the heck out of it.
What have you seen from Steve Weatherford and the special teams this week?
He’s punted the ball better. We’ve worked hard at it just like we always do. The number one thing we always do is punt team. That’s the number one thing we do. The first thing we do is punt team. That sends that kind of message. That’s why it’s so disappointing from last week. He has worked hard. He’s been very serious about it, so we’ll see.
Could you see his punts slipping a little bit in practice last week, or was that just the game?
I don’t necessarily think he had a bad week. He might have had a bad day, or part of the day. Not anything where you could say, holy cow, the whole day was a waste of time.
There was a big trade last night. Why do you think those are so rare in the NFL during the season?
There was a trade? I’m worried about our team.
Does the fact that Cam holds onto the ball a little bit longer than the first two quarterbacks you faced, might that help the pass rush get going?
I think it depends on the type of pattern that they’re running. He has the quick game. He has the five-step. Occasionally if things are covered, it looks like he’s holding it a little bit longer but that’s not their intention.
What have you seen from Allen Bradford?
He’s worked hard. He’s caught our attention a few times. He’s willing and we’ve tried to get him involved as best we can and he’s made some progress.
Re: distribution of pass targets by Eli Manning
He has, according to coverage, a priority that he goes to. If he follows that progression, the ball goes to the guy that we want the ball to go to. Coverage dictates a lot of it. Sometimes there are individual matchups which we’ve already predetermined. You take advantage of that, but the distribution, in my opinion, is not out of sync.
Is it hard for the pass rush to get going in a game like this, when you face a quarterback who, when you face the option, you can’t be as decisive or aggressive?
I don’t know. If you read pass, you’re going to go. There are other people that take care of some of the other stuff you’re talking about, but you have to crank it against any quarterback. We’ve got to be improved in that area. We have to do a better job.