October 3, 2002
Last week you said, ĎSooner or later, we need to start scoring.í Is that still the case?
Yeah, itís not a new theme. Obviously, we are not scoring as many points as we need to. We are well aware of it and we are trying to take steps to correct it.
Does that make you pressÖand can pressing cause mistakes?
Thatís the whole key. We canít get uptight about it. We canít worry about it. We canít let it paralyze us. And I donít think it will. I think weíve got the right attitude. I think we are practicing well. It will come, hopefully, sooner rather than later.
So you have trimmed down the playbook a little and trimmed some of the excess fat. Will that help?
Weíve cut it down, and I think it will help. Anytime you are more concise with your plan and you have your game plan exactly where you want it, itís going to help. But really, I donít know how much of a difference it is going to make if we donít execute. And we havenít executed well on the plays that we have run. Weíve known our game plan. It all comes down to execution and we didnít do that very well last week.
Re: red zone issues.
I think the running game is part of it. We have missed some opportunities in the passing game as well. But we are going to get it figured out. I firmly believe we are going to get figured it out, and like I said, hopefully it will be sooner rather than later because we canít keep scoring seven points, nine points, single-digit points. Thatís just not going to get it done, obviously. But we have good guys and we are working hard. Iím sure we will come out the other end.
Re: Dallas and it being a division game.
Itís a division game on the road against a team that had a big win last week. If you look at them on film, they are playing great. Their defense is playing great. They are attacking, they are getting after the quarterback, and they are stopping people. So, it is going to be a tough game. We know that. We have to go down there and be ready to go.
Did you discuss with Fassel and Payton the plays that were not as effective and were cut from the gameplan? And, how instrumental are you in play calling?
They certainly know what I like. We meet every week and discuss those things and weíll do it again this week. Weíre on the same page a lot of the time, and I donít forsee that as something that has held us back in the past. I feel comfortable with what we are doing. I have felt comfortable all year. I think weíll progress. We are getting better. And I think itís going to show. It is going to have to happen this week. We are going against a tough team and itís going to be a big test for us.
Explain the importance of repetition in practice the week before a game?
Itís one thing to look at a play on paper and say, ĎOK, this is what we want to do.í So many times we make adjustments, just because the on-field execution is so much different than what you perceive it to be in a playbook or in meetings during the week. Certainly, we have trimmed down some stuff and I think itís going to help.
Is there any extra anger or fire going into Dallas, with what happened in Arizona last week?
Certainly. We are all disappointed by the way we played. We are disappointed by the outcome of that game. I donít think we will let it affect the way we play. I donít think we can let it affect the way we practice or prepare. You have to be able to put things behind you in the NFL, and I think weíve done that. Having said that, I think everyone has a little chip on his shoulder from the way we played last week. We definitely want to play better this week and try to get a win.
Is this a must-win for the psyche of the team?
I think they are all must-win games. Itís a division game, an opponent that we know well and have played against twice a year ever since we have been here, but itís going to be a big test for us. You hate to say itís a must-win for us this early in the season. Itís only the fifth game, but these are games where if you are trying to get where you want to go, you have to find a way to win.
Do you think that when people look at this team, itís a gimme on the schedule?
I have gotten that feeling from people and it is, by far, anything but a gimme. They are a tough team. They play good defense. Itís a tough place to play, down there. Just because they have been down a little bit from their usual high standard doesnít mean that they are not a tough team and a good football team. They have proved that in the last couple of weeks in beating two good football teams, the Rams and Titans, but we know what they are all about. We donít listen to what anybody tries to tell us about them.
Re: the collective chip on the teamís shoulders.
I was as disappointed as anybody. Certainly, I think last week was the first time that I kind of felt out of sync with the game and the way I played. I really was not happy with the way I played last week. But, I have had a good week of practice and I will play better this week.
When Troy Aikman called the Rams game, he said that he thought the difference in your better play was decision-making. Is that also a matter of confidence?
Yeah, the confidence can come from a few different areas. You are talking about being in an offense for three years now. You are talking about just maturing and knowing the game better and understanding the game better. Sometimes we all have bad days. That is part of it.
When people look at the Giants, what do they see?
People probably see the ability to move the ball, certainly not one that can score a lot of points. They see a good defense, solid special teams. You talk about the offense, they say they can move the ball but struggle scoring.