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Wade Phillips press conference 11/12/07

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How important are the next three games?
The next game is important, division games are most important. We’re 3-0 and have a chance at home this week. We haven’t accomplished anything yet, we haven’t secured anything including a playoff spot. But we have accomplished a lot by winning 8 games and putting ourselves in a good position.

Injuries from the game?
A few bumps and bruises, a few guys into today for treatment, but it won’t hold anyone back from practicing Weds.

Will Anthony Henry start this week?
I don’t know, we’ll wait and see. He looked a little bothered by the injury going into the game which worried me some. I didn’t get that feeling that he was quite as ready, but he played fine.

Is this a great team, not just a great offense?
At this point we’re playing really well. I said it’s a great offense because any time you score that many points over 9 games that’s a great offense. You can tell what your team is; this is a strong overall team. Tied for best record in the conference but it’s still one game at a time, and it’s the Redskins this week.

But can you dream big about other things down the line?
We have goals and we’re trying to accomplish them, one game at a time. We’re in the middle of the race. I told them we’re ahead in the race and you can either stop to sign some autographs and let others pass you or you can continue what you did to get ahead, do what you’ve been doing to get there.

Does this team have a swagger?
I think we have confidence, I don’t know the definition of swagger. We have confidence in each other, that’s a whole team, a good atmosphere in that they believe in each other. I like the camaraderie team aspect - no matter what happens they keep looking forward to making the next play. Defense and offense don’t worry about the other not making a certain play. If you snap it over Romo’s head he makes a play. You always have bad plays, you won’t shut everybody out, but it’s how they back bounce back. They remain steady on an even high-keel. It’s a team atmosphere. But you don’t get that without winning though, it’s a chicken and the egg thing. We’ve gotten it because we’ve been successful. If we were 4-5, I know who would get all the blame. (laughter)

Tank Johnson?
He did all right, he did fine. You could tell he was rusty, technique-wise he needs some work, some of our techniques we’re fitting to his talents. He helped us on the pass rush, he’s a stronger pass rusher that I thought until you see him play. He can help us in the rush, and in the run game, but we need him to play more shades and stunts in technique, he’ll be OK.

Does Greg Ellis’ recovery from the Achilles injury surprise you?
I think all along he was a good player and we were looking forward to having him. It doesn’t surprise me, he deserves the credit.

Ken Hamlin?
He’s played really well from the first day. He’s the defensive QB, it’s not just the plays he makes, it’s him helping other people with audibles and alerts. That’s a good group that studies hard and he’s the leader. (Is he another self-appointed captain?) We have some self-appointed captains but I like that, they stand up and try to do the right thing. They’re accountable to each other and the team. He will speak out.

Did you say anything to Kevin Burnett after his penalty?
I didn’t say anything. (Why not?) When he came off the field he was upset and knew what he did was wrong. If he didn’t know that then I would have said something. I did say something to him after the game. (What did you say?) That’s between he and I. (What about the penalties in general?) We’ll address it, it’s not acceptable. You have to be accountable to your teammates, some of those penalties cost points. I’m not happy and will tell them and I think they will respond. (Was there more trash-talking in this game than usual?) It did seem like there was more trash-talking this game. But anything we did to get a penalty is too much.

Where can this team improve?
Keep working on our techniques. We’re not making a lot of busts on assignments, we’re good at that, we want to continue that. When you do the right thing with the right technique, you can only get beat if the other team outplays you.

What did you say at halftime that got this team to stop making the mistakes?
We had some discussion at halftime. It’s not what I said, it was some of what my coaches said, they said some good things, poignant things, and the players talked about those things. We mainly go over corrections and adjustments. The coaches did a good job of that. I said at the end of halftime that we’ve done it all year in the 2nd half, its 0-0, so go out and do it. (Which coaches were vocal?) Paul was pretty vocal this week.

Did the Giants blitz more than usual, Witten talked about staying in to block a lot?
We wanted to protect the QB, we did block with Witten more because they blitzed some. But we beat the blitz like when Crayton was left one-on-one and he scored a TD.

Did Romo intentionally fake out the Giants defense on his TD throw to Tony Curtis?
I don’t know how he did it, I thought he was going to run. You’d have to ask him. It amazes me the things he sees.

Jerry said that Romo is exceeding expectations?
That’s because he’s got him signed now. (laughter) (Is he exceeding your expectations?) I don’t know, he did show enough talent to be in the Pro Bowl, in a short amount of time. Whatever Jerry says is right. (laughter)

How did Miles Austin do?
He did fine, he hit it up there good a couple of times. It was a little cold and hard to kick the ball deep. Both kickers had trouble. (Will Stanback be back this week?) I don’t know, he’s getting better.

O-line?
Tony Sparano has made a big difference in the whole scheme of things here, he’s getting the o-line to be solid. I’m glad we have him. They played well, competed well. The Giants lead the NFL in sacks and they only got one, and very few hits on Tony, they weren’t free to rush, they got pushed to a side and Tony would move to the other side. He had time to throw. We didn’t run the ball as well at the end as I’d hoped. They were coming off the ball well but we just didn’t mesh at the end.

Roy Williams?
He played well. We put him one-on-one with Shockey a few times. He also had help from LB’s but they didn’t help as much as we would have liked. He made some tackles and you could see his acceleration to the football. We haven’t given up big plays since early in the season. They threw short and intermediate, but we kept them from big plays. (Why didn’t they try more deep passes?) With our coverage, you’re going to get into trouble throwing deep. You don’t want to get beat for easy TD’s and that’s been an emphasis from the start for us. (Plaxico shut down?) A combination of things, we had him doubled, we tried to keep him down, we thought he was the biggest TD threat. And the pass rush was good. Their guy had only been sacked 8 times, we sacked him 5, and hit him a bunch more.

DeMarcus Ware against run?
He makes as many tackle as any OLB I’ve ever had. They can run away from you at OLB. ILB can go to the ball on both sides. He makes more tackles than any OLB, he plays the run well. He can play at any LB’er position.

Is giving them Monday off again a reward?
Partly because of the season and partly because of two consecutive road games. We still go over the mistakes on Weds. We don’t go over the great plays as much, maybe that’s a good thing.

(Disclaimer: These press conference recaps are just paraphrases of what Wade Phillips says and aren’t vetted for total accuracy on quotes. I shorten and condense things he says but try to get across the intended meaning. Occasionally, what I post loses the context of something Wade said and may appear counter-intuitive. If you have questions about something from the press conference, feel free to ask in the comments.)