Giants coach Tom Coughlin met with reporters this morning for a breakfast session at the NFL owners meetings, and addressed a number of subjects, including the health of safety Kenny Phillips, his take on the new overtime rules, how Osi Umenyiora (pictured sacking Donovan McNabb) is approaching the off-season program, whether he thinks Plaxico Burress will ever play again, and much, much more.
ON OVERTIME: “I think the owners have spoken. The commissioner made one statement to us about it, which was very interesting, that as he travels around the country, that’s the No. 1 thing the fans want to talk about. When he said that, and you understand their vote, then I think it’s obviously going to be good for the game. What we have to do is figure out the right strategy. One thing that was interesting is that a statement was made in the meeting that probably people are going to take the ball, but some teams are going to kick off. I do know this: I know what the stats are, when you look at 34 percent of the time, the first guy gets the ball and goes and wins the game. 8 percent of the time, it’s a touchdown. People are going to take it and if they’re fortunate, they’ll kick a field goal and the other guy has 4 downs.”
ON HIS AND THE TEAM'S MINDSET AFTER FINISHING 8-8: "Everybody’s got a pretty good reason for what we’re doing. I know that I’m still — I’ll use the word upset — won’t do anything with Vice President Biden’s expression. Those things keep you motivated and excited about moving forward."
EMBARRASSED BY THE WAY THE SEASON ENDED? “Yeah I was. None of us were very happy about that.”
ON PHILLIPS' RECOVERY FROM KNEE SURGERY: "Kenny’s rehab is going well, but he’s in stages, [but] he can't even go out right now and just run. He’s still being very well structured. We need to play a lot better and a lot better at that position.”
MORE ON KENNY PHILLIPS KNEE INJURY: “It became something that Kenny or his parents or anyone knew … it would swell. They just got very concerned about that part of it. He has started to run, but it's not at matter of going ahead and doing anything he wants to do."
WILL PHILLIPS BE READY TO PLAY THIS YEAR? “I think so. I think there’s going to be like all people coming off that surgery, he has to be brought along. I don’t foresee them just saying go ahead. The restrictions could be one (practice) a day.”
DO YOU PLAN THAT HE WILL BE THE STARTING SAFETY? “We make plans to make sure that it what we would like to have happen, but if it doesn’t, we’ve got to do a better job of answering that than we did last year.”
WHO STEPS IN FOR PIERCE? “To sit there and say how we’re going to do it now, I can’t say that. I want to see it emerge. I’d like to see it in any number of ways. There are guys that have outstanding leadership potential. We’ll just see how that comes along. You also have a Canty, if he’s able to work and be the kind of player we know he is. Now maybe he emerges a little bit as he starts to take ownership.”
ON OSI UMENIORA: "I haven’t had a sit-down with Osi, but he came into the off-season program, a smile on his face, working his tail off. I think he’s in a good place.”
DID YOUR COMMENTS AT COMBINE THAT YOU CAN’T GUARANTEE A STARTING SPOT FOR OSI HAVE AN EFFECT? "Yes, I’m sure it did. It’s a competitive game. People earn what they have and Osi is an excellent football player. He has nothing to worry about as far as competing. It’s just a mindset. And I believe that he’s in a good spot right now. I don’t say this for any reason other than … in ’07, we played 3 guys all the time, sometimes four. We went out last year and got some other guys that could play. It’s 16 games. There’s an awful lot of football to be played.”
CONFIDENT THIS WILL BE A BOUNCE BACK YEAR? "I am, but I’m old school. Let’s not talk about this. Let’s do it. Last year, pronounced in the off-season was that we were the best defensive line in football, the best offensive line. I realize you guys got a job to do, but the nature of the game is you have to go do it and with consistency. You keep evolving because you have some confidence you’re doing some things very well."
ANY DECISION ON ALBANY TRAINING CAMP? “I don’t know that there’s one officially. I think we all think we’re going there. I want to go. I want for our team to be in that kind of an environment. I’ve done it both ways and there are plusses and minuses.”
ON WATCHING ALABAMA LB ROLANDO MCCLAIN: “I was over at his pro day, spent some time with Nick Saban and talked about Rolando. He worked out very well that day. He’s a very good player on film.”
ON WHETHER DIEHL MIGHT PLAY LG OR RT: "Hopefully with the continued development of the young guy — Will Beatty — is that we have a solid 6-7-8 that can all play and you just go play. I’m not going to talk about what can happen, but David Diehl has the mentality that you give him a job, he does it. You can do all the critiquing you want, but this guy is something. Totally reliable, totally dependable. He’s tough, can come back from a bad play. Whatever he’s asked to do, he does it with everything he’s got.”
ON PLAXICO BURRESS: “It’s very sad. I’m hoping that he has an opportunity to come home quickly. I hope he’s paid his dues and I hope all of those things have been … he does have a young boy and a young daughter. He’s needed. I just think that’s a real sad event that took place — not that it isn’t deserved — but when you think about a young guy with a young family been away this long, I’m hoping he comes out a better person and has the ability to see all that you have to in terms of doing the right things and making the right choices.”
WILL YOU VISIT HIM? “I don’t know. I saw where Micahel Strahan went to see him and I saw the piece that Cowher did and Mike Sullivan has gone up to see him.”
CORRESPONDED AT ALL? “No … perhaps I will. Pat Hanlon and I have talked about it.
WHEN HE GETS OUT NEXT MAY OR JUNE, WOULD YOU TAKE HIM BACK? “Never say never, but that part hasn’t been discussed … I would expect that he’d get a chance [with another team]. You’re talking about a rare talent.”