No one seemed more surprised to see Osi Umenyiora standing at his locker talking to the media today than Keith Bulluck. The veteran linebacker usually has the neighborhood pretty much to himself, what with Umenyiora seldom addressing reporters. Today, though, Bulluck came in and had to make his way through the crowd.
“You decided to talk to the media this week, bro?” Bulluck asked.
Umenyiora spoke about a number of topics. Including:
* Why he is playing so well after seeming to be so upset during the offseason. “Sometimes things happen, sometimes they don’t,” he said. “So far this year things have gone pretty well … My mind is always in the right place. I’ve been playing more plays, I think, than I played last year. That’s been a factor in what’s going on.”
* How this year’s 5-2 feels compared to last year when the Giants were 5-2. “We’re a much better football team this year than we were last year,” he said. “We’re a lot more confident, we’ve played better teams so far and we’ve beaten them. We like each other. We’re just having fun and enjoying ourselves.
“We just know that no matter what happens we can stick together and play. Look at what happened last week, we had all of those turnovers and we were still able to get back on track and win the football game. We know the offense is going to play well, they know we’re going to stop people. It’s just a feeling of a complete team.
“I don’t see that happening this year,” he said when reminded that other teams in the Giants’ recent past have had 5-2 records at this point – six of seven years under Tom Coughlin, in fact – but have swooned down the stretch. “I’m not saying we’re going to win the rest of our games, but I don’t see a situation in which we just collapse like we’ve done in the past a couple of times.”
* How he is feeling with his knee and hip injuries. “I need (the bye week), no question about it,” he said. “I need to rest up and get my body back relatively healthy. It’s not going to be all the way, but I can get a little bit better than I am.”
He also said that he hasn’t had an injection in his knees in about three weeks and that the injury and the pain it causes is not getting any worse. “I definitely feel a lot better than I ever have on Sundays,” he said, thanks to the schedule he is on where he basically rests Monday through Wednesday and is limited on Thursday and Friday.
“I wouldn’t say it’s mentally draining because I know what the endgame is,” he said. “I know exactly what I have to do and I know I’m going to be on that football field no matter what. I just prepare myself. They’re doing a good job of keeping me on a schedule so I am able to play on Sunday. It’s been good.”
* How the Giants defense has been able to turn five NFL quarterbacks into roadkill so far this season, knocking them out of games. “It’s just bad breaks for them,” he said. “We’re getting there, we’re making plays, we’re hitting them. They’ve all been legal hits, there’s no malicious intent there. Bad breaks for them.
“I don’t know if they’re going to be thinking about it,” Umenyiora said of opposing quarterbacks and offenses getting gunshy. “We’re not going into the game to knock anyone out. We’re just going in to play good physical football. If that happens, then we’ll pray for him.”