Jan 062016
Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (August 22, 2015)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Here is the latest on the New York Giants search for a new head coach:

  • CBS Sports reports that the Giants will interview Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on Thursday.
  • According to FOXSports, the Giants will meet with Chicago Bears Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase on Friday. Gase interviewed with the Eagles for their head coaching vacancy on Tuesday and will reportedly meet with the Eagles again this weekend. The Browns and Dolphins are also said to be interested in Gase.
  • NFL.com reports that Jacksonville Jaguars Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach Doug Marrone will interview with the Giants on Saturday. The Eagles, Dolphins, and Browns are also said to be interested in Marrone.
  • The New York Daily News reports the Giants plan to interview Carolina Panthers Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott, but The New York Post reports that meeting has not yet been set up. Since the Panthers have a playoff bye, the Giants are allowed to interview McDermott this week, but not next week.
  • The New York Daily News reports that the Giants are “considering” interviewing Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson. But Jackson is not currently allowed to interview with other teams this week because the Bengals play this weekend.
  • There have been some press reports linking New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton with the Giants, but the Saints have announced that Payton is remaining with the team.

As previously reported, New York Giants Assistant General Manager Kevin Abrams will reportedly interview with the Detroit Lions for their general manager vacancy. Former New York Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi (1998-2007) is serving as a consultant for the Lions and he has ties to Abrams.


Jan 042016
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (January 3, 2016)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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In a move that was somewhat expected, Tom Coughlin is stepping down as head coach of the New York Giants. Coughlin served as head coach of the team for 12 seasons, guiding the franchise to five playoff berths, three division titles, two NFC Championships, and two NFL Championships. He coached the Giants to a 102-90 regular season record and 8-3 post-season record. Coughlin had more wins in franchise history of any coach except for Steve Owen. However, the team has had three losing seasons in a row and has missed the playoffs six times out of the last seven years.

The Giants will hold a press conference on Tuesday morning at 10:30AM with Coughlin, team president/CEO John Mara, team chairman/executive vice president Steve Tisch, and team general manager Jerry Reese.

“I met with John Mara and Steve Tisch this afternoon, and I informed them that it is in the best interest of the organization that I step down as head coach. I strongly believe the time is right for me and my family, and as I said, the Giants organization,” said Coughlin in a prepared press release.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as head coach of the New York Football Giants. This is a not a sad occasion for me. I have spent 15 years with this organization as an assistant and head coach and was fortunate to be part of three Super Bowl winning teams. A Lombardi Trophy every five years is an achievement in which we all take great pride.

“Obviously, the past three years have not been what any of us expect, and as head coach, I accept the responsibility for those seasons.

“I think it has been evident these last 12 years here how much pride I take in representing this franchise. I am gratified and proud that we were able to deliver two more Lombardi trophies to the display case in our lobby during that time. That is a tribute to our players and staff, and it was truly fulfilling to be the leader of those teams.

“I appreciate the support of John and his family and Steve and his family, and of Jerry Reese and his staff. I think our organization is a great representation of what I mean when I talk about ‘team’.

“Finally, I would be remiss if I did not thank my wife Judy and our four children and their spouses and our 11 (soon to be 12) grandchildren. None of this would have been possible without their unconditional love and support.”

Mara, Tisch, and Reese also commented by press release.

“It is difficult to come up with words adequate to describe the appreciation we have for everything Tom Coughlin has done for our franchise,” Mara said. “In addition to delivering two Super Bowl titles, Tom represented us with class and dignity, and restored the pride to our entire organization. He has all the qualities you could ever ask for in a head coach, and set very high standards for whoever will succeed him.”

“On behalf of my family, I want to thank Coach Coughlin for how he has represented our franchise for the past 12 years,” said Tisch. “He embodies the beliefs of this organization and everything the New York Giants stand for. I respect his decision, and while I appreciate Tom’s perspective and attitude, at the same time, I am a bit saddened today because we are losing a man who is just as good a person as he is a coach. He is a Hall of Famer in every regard.”

“My years with Coach Coughlin have been an amazing opportunity to work with one on the best coaches the NFL has seen and one of the best people that I’ve met in my lifetime,” Reese said. “The GM/Coach relationship is of the utmost importance in this business, and I’m grateful for the relationship we had.”

FOXSports is reporting that Coughin is not retiring and remains interested in coaching if the right opportunity presents itself.

According to press reports, team ownership met in the morning before meeting with Coughlin at 1:00PM. Coughlin met with staff and players in the morning but did not share any insights about his status. He then met with the coaching staff after his early afternoon meeting with ownership.

According to NFL.com, New York Giants General Manger Jerry Reese’s job is safe. He will not be fired.

According to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, the New York Giants are said to be one of several teams interested in interviewing Chip Kelly for their head coaching vacancy. Kelly, who served as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 2013-2015, was recently fired by the team. The other teams reported to be interested in Kelly include the 49ers, Browns, and Titans.

According to FOXSports, New York Giants Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo is one of several potential head coaching candidates for the Philadelphia Eagles. Chicago Bears Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase and Detroit Lions Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin are also said to be drawing interest from the Eagles.

According to CBS Sports, New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton is interested in becoming the Giants next head coach. Payton served as the offensive coordinator with the Giants under Jim Fassel from 2000-2002. However, the Saints are reportedly seeking a second-round draft pick for Payton.

The following transcripts and video of player media sessions on Monday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:


Dec 302015

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RT Marshall Newhouse (concussion), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (ankle), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle), S Craig Dahl (concussion), and S Cooper Taylor (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.

Pierre-Paul said he will have additional surgery after the season on the right hand that he originally injured during a July 4th fireworks accident. Pierre-Paul lost his right index finger (amputated) and seriously damaged his right thumb and middle finger in the accident. The goal of the surgery is to improve flexibility in his middle finger so he can grip better and rid himself of his protective club.

“On film, you can see the club is preventing me from making tackles,” Pierre-Paul said. “People see it, I see it, and once I can move away from the club, I’ll be perfectly fine.”

WR Dwayne Harris (back and shoulder) practiced on a limited basis.

The New York Giants have signed linebacker Glenn Carson and cornerback T.J. Heath to the team’s Practice Squad.

Carson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in five games as a rookie and finished the season with 11 tackles. The Cardinals waived him in August 2015. Carson is a an instinctive, intense, blue collar player who lacks ideal athleticism.

Heath was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2011 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Jaguars (2011), Bengals (2012), Bills (2012-13), Browns (2013-14), Dolphins (2014), Panthers (2015), and Falcons (2015). Heath has only played in seven NFL games.

According to NJ.com, the following players worked out for the New York Giants on Tuesday: QB Pete Thomas, WR Aldrick Robinson, TE Mike McFarland, LB Glenn Carson, LB Cole Farrand, S Tyrequek Zimmerman, PK Quinn Sharp, and P Spencer Roth.

Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

The following transcripts and video of player media sessions on Wednesday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:


The Giants practice on Thursday and hold physical recovery cycles on Friday in advance of Sunday’s home finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jan 122014
Jon Beason, New York Giants (October 27, 2013)

Jon Beason – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Meeting with Ben McAdoo Rescheduled for Monday: Due to inclement weather disrupting travel plans, the New York Giants meeting with Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo was rescheduled for Monday according to The Bergen Record. McAdoo, who is interviewing for the Giants vacant offensive coordinator position, was originally scheduled to meet with the team on Saturday.

The Giants have already met with Mike Sullivan (ex-Tampa Bay offensive coordinator), Dowell Loggains (ex-Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator), and Karl Dorrell (ex-Houston Texans quarterbacks coach). The Giants may also interview other candidates for offensive coordinator.

Jon Beason Wants to Return to the New York Giants: Linebacker Jon Beason, who will be an unrestricted free agent when free agency begins on March 11, told The New York Daily News on Friday that he wants to re-sign with the Giants. The Giants acquired Beason via trade on October 4th from the Carolina Panthers for a 7th round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

“I know it’s something that we both want to get done,” said Beason. “(The Giants) expressed interest that they want me back and I told them that we want to be back. The thing about it is, it’s got to work for both parties. Though you anticipate that it will, you never know. So for me right now it’s a waiting game. It’s early. The season is still going on and a lot of things will happen between now and March 11. So all is well. I’ll be playing ball next year and hopefully I’m a Giant.”

Article on PK Josh Brown: Giants free agents: Josh Brown kicks his way into Giants plans? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on Former Giants Director of Player Personnel David Gettleman: GM connection has Giants rooting for Panthers by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on Former Giants Offensive Coordinator Sean Payton: Saints coach Sean Payton showed innovation, conviction early in career with Giants by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on LB Jon Beason: Jon Beason still feels connection with Panthers by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Article on Former Giants WR Domenik Hixon and LB Chase Blackburn: Hixon, Blackburn give Panthers a Giant lift by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Aug 072002
Q&A: Offensive Coordinator Sean Payton

by BBI Reporter walterb

walterb: Are you going to try to build and mold more of a personality with your offense or are you going to be more diverse and rely on the situation and a selection of plays based down and situation ?

Sean Payton: Well always I think you start with your own personnel and you say lets make sure the playmakers are on the field – regardless of down or distance. Some schools of thought suggest that we need to get all of our receivers on the field on third down. But to take a player like Shockey out or third down would be ludicrous. So, we’ll build our offense around our talent. It’s an ongoing change and things are constantly changing because you want to keep up with what defenses are doing. Certainly we have a threat inside in Jeremy – and we feel like the receiver play has improved this year, so what we do down and distance wise opponent wise will be with our personnel and from there it is scheme versus defense.

walterb: Do you expect your wide receiver to be covered differently this year?

Sean Payton: Well I think the coverage might change because of a threat inside. So the coverage they see outside may change – by and large what defenses play are not going to drastically change in this league. The receivers are going to get plowed or they are going to get off coverage, or bump-and-run technique, and that’s not going to change 20 years from now. How much you get out of one or the other may change.

walterb: How do you envision using Tiki and Dayne in the backfield at the same time?

Sean Payton: Well a lot of people have asked about those two in the backfield and the key is what type of plays you are trying to run and what you are trying to get accomplished, besides having them both in the backfield. Like whose the lead blocker? And we’ll be specific about when they are in there together and when they are not – and make sure we look at their touches when they are on the field.

walterb: Will someone like Dan Campbell allow you to help one less fullback on the roster?

Sean Payton: Possibly. Dan is certainly one who is capable of being a lead back for us. And he did play some fullback or H-Back for us the other night. He is physical at the point of attack. He has had a very good camp – and as we get into this thing he will be someone who is on the field with two tight ends.

walterb: How much impact does coach Fassel have on game day play calling?

Sean Payton: He lets me call them. He has been great ever since he gave me this job two years ago. He has been a play caller before, and he’s been 100% supportive of me just calling the plays. And certainly he’ll see things at times just like any of the offensive coaches and he’ll bring up things. But when it comes to calling them, I think one guy does it and goes with it, and I’ve been fortunate to have someone like him as a head coach.

walterb: Are there special situations where he might step in – like a 3rd-and-1?

Sean Payton: Rarely, I think where he helps me tremendously is game management, clock management, and the end of the half and the end of the game.

walterb: How will Shockey and Bennett influence the red zone play this year?

Sean Payton: Shockey will affect it immensely. You know he is an inside threat versus all the red cover four you get. Bennett you know, there is still some sorting out to do as to where he fits into the backfield, or out in space. We utilize him according to his strengths and he is another receiver who can run. So we are anxious to see how we finish this training camp with him.

walterb: Do you make most of your adjustments during series, or the half?

Sean Payton: Well I think you make them between series and at halftime and during series in the second half. You are constantly looking at pictures because you get photos of plays that are run. So, it is important that you are staying up to speed with what you are seeing defensively. And if there are any changes, you can adjust and make them quickly.

walterb: Can we expect to see Dayne on the field more this year than last year?

Sean Payton: Well I think you’re speculating right now – I think a lot of that will be dependant on the situation. You need to find the magic formula between Tiki and Ron Dayne You could be taking out a ball carrier like Tiki Barber who is second in the NFL in yards per carry last year, so we need to be careful that you have the right mix there between those two guys.

walterb: Which offensive coordinator in the league do you look up to?

Sean Payton: Well I think one of the best play callers certainly is a guy I worked with in Philadelphia – John Gruden who is at Tampa Bay. He coordinates their offense and does a real great job. There are a lot of very good coaches. Moore from Indianapolis has done a great job for a long time in this league. Each one has their own style, but I think what they have in common is they build their packages around their strengths on personnel.

walterb: What is the thinking behind roll out plays with Kerry Collins? Is that designed? Or is it an option?

Sean Payton: There is never an option. Sometimes what appears to be a roll out is really a scramble. Designed sprint or roll plays are designed to get him outside the pocket to beat dog and pressure – and to give him the extra time to get the ball in space. We have actually had some success the past two years, if you were to grade the efficiency of those plays. They have been pretty solid for us – especially in the longer situations where it’s third and long and we are going to get a lot of pressure – Philadelphia comes to mind – in the last two years if you put up a cut up of one of those plays- it is something we evaluated and looked at. You just have to pick and choose your times to call them.

walterb: Previously there was a tendency with the offense to run a hurry up type play by spending less time in the huddle and getting to the line quickly. Has that changed?

Sean Payton: We have always taken the approach that we are going to get to the line of scrimmage with tempo and movement and shifts and get our plays run. And we are not going to meander out and kill the clock. We want to be up-tempo with our shifts and motion and that won’t change at all.

walterb: Please comment on the play of the offensive line during the Houston game.

Sean Payton: It was encouraging. Certainly for a group that has played a lot of positions. I think we were physical and there are some things we can correct. I think we were pleased with the ways the ones played – and the second and the third guys competed and played hard.

Sean Payton on OG Tam Hopkins: He was someone who was solid in there – he was impressive. He is a big body, solid, and he was thrown in there because of some inquiries We were pleased with his performance. He was solid in protection, solid in his run game. And don’t know if you can say he excelled at anything but at that position just being solid and stout with protection is playing a good game for an offensive guard. For a first time starter he was impressive and that was encouraging. Just to see him in there at that position and grading out will and being efficient and against a 3-4 defense…those are encouraging signs.

Apr 222000
Q&A: Offensive Coordinator Sean Payton

by David Oliver

Outside the bubble, it was cold and rainy. Inside, the rookies, new veterans and some returning veterans had just concluded their third day of drills, working on nomenclature, formations, blocking assignments and position workouts. By now everyone was tired. The coaching staff had more work to do reviewing the three days’ activities. Coach Payton graciously agreed to an interview. We stood there in the dome, empty now of all players, coaches and media, with the background hum of the work crew putting things in their proper order. Coach Payton patiently answered every question I asked, never said, “I have to go,” or let on how busy he was. He is an intense, excited and informative young coach from whom we can expect some new and dynamic offensive sets. The interview follows in a straight question and answer format. He had a lot of good things to say, so here it is, in his words:

Q. How has your professional life changes since your appointment as coordinator?

A. (The Coach started off in the “we” talking about the entire staff)…challenge for us an offensive staff is really to best utilize the players we have. We’ve got some different guys, certainly at the running back position; we’ve got a lot of talented players with various skills; the same way at receiver. The most important thing we can do is put these guys in the best position to do the things that they do well – multiple formations, multiple personnel groups. As far as the coordinator, I just think from an organizational standpoint, your time is taxed a little bit more in terms of preparing the overall plan, both run and pass. We’ve got a tremendous staff, I think, a lot of experience, guys like (Jim) McNally, Mike Pope, Jim Skipper, these guys have about 15-20 years apiece; Jimmy Robinson has 10 years in the league and Mike Gilhamer, so overall, I think, we’ve worked real well together and there’s been a lot of cohesiveness, so far. It’s been pretty good.

Q. Who actually designs the plays?

A. Well, it comes from the group. When you talk about putting together your run plan or you’re putting together your pass plan, we meet. We spent the last 4 weeks, the last month and a half this off season researching various teams in the league…there are trends that take place during the course of a 2 or 3 year period; it’s important to stay on top of those trends, to see where the offenses are going. So I told our players when we met for the first time (this season) that we were going to have the best plan, the best script going in football, and I believe that. We’ll do a good job as coaches of putting them in the position; we’ll give them the right scheme, so collectively as a group, to answer your question, we sit down and we go through the run and the pass and guys have suggestions. We’re all guys who have seen a lot of tape and been in a lot of offenses. The key is putting it all together.

Q. The NFL is known as a “copycat” league. The Rams have been very successful with a particular type of offense, something the Giants have never utilized. Can we expect more Rams type offensive sets?

A. At the same time the biggest mistake you can make is try to be something that you aren’t, unless your personnel is such. The greatest thing they did is they utilized their personnel well, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Holt and those guys. They did a tremendous job of getting it to their skill guys. Hopefully, we can do the same thing with our guys, whether it’s Ike Hilliard, Amani Toomer, Tiki Barber, Ron Dayne, our tight ends, Pete Mitchell, Howard (Cross). We’ve got a unique set of players, so each team is a little different and I think there needs to be a personality about ourselves. I don’t promise we’re going to be like St. Louis, I don’t promise we’re going to be like a West Coast team, or Washington Redskins; we’re going to be like the NY Giants, but there’s going to be a personality about us that’s unique because of the chemistry of our guys. We have different players, it’s important to utilize their skills in the best possible way.

Q. The Giants have never had an offensive personality. Most critics use terms like boring or inconsistent to describe our game planning. This year are we actually going to see something a little different?

A. Hopefully a year from now they’ll feel good about where we’ve come. We’ve got a lot of steps to make, we’ve got a lot of improvement to make. The off-season has been great, we’ve been here the whole time. (The players) they’re hungry to do well and we’ll take it one step at a time. I’m excited about who we have. I like our players, I like our makeup. I think we really helped ourselves in the off season with the acquisition in the offensive line, with the acquisition of a number of players, including the draft. We’re fired up about the guys we drafted offensively, I like them a lot.

Q. Last year we had problems with the offensive line. Brown (Lomas) and Parker (Glenn) are men, not boys. But the Giants run a lot to the left side. If you run behind Brown and Parker, they’re not the youngest guys. Can they go?

A. You certainly design your running game around the strengths of your offensive line and at the same time, there will be an “attitude” that those guys have already shown, a commitment. Lomas Brown is an ex-Pro Bowl player, Parker is a veteran guy, ‘Zig’ Ziegler, I call him Zig, is coming in and he has shown leadership at center. So with these new additions, there is a learning that takes place, but we’re fired up about their experience. Those are guys we liked and targeted and we’re glad to have them here.

Q. Are you going to be upstairs or downstairs during games?

A. Probably downstairs again. The benefit of getting a play to the QB as quickly as we can, removing a guy from the loop, is a positive for me. As fast as he can get the play, where he can audible or check at the line of scrimmage, the better off we are. If I’m upstairs, the problem is we’ve got to go through somebody to the QB. So I prefer to be downstairs, and I plan to be downstairs.

Q. What is your assessment of Kerry’s (Collins) leadership?

A. I’ve been impressed. He’s done a nice job in the off-season. He’s been out here, these guys have been in the bubble every day, whether we’re with them or not. He’s done a tremendous job of taking the initiative to do the little things. There’s so many things, especially with free agency. You can make an argument that you have a new offense, you really do, every year. Say you’ve got your same 11 guys every year coming back, and we’re going to make subtle changes, but there is a new look to the locker room, there is a new look both on offense and defense, in regards to the number of new people we brought in. We’re excited about it, but with that there entails some off-season work that maybe 15 years ago didn’t exist because of the continuity that teams had.

Q. How about Mike Cherry?

A. I like Mike. He’s been here, he’s worked hard at it, he’s got a big arm, he’s talented, he’s strong. The repetitions are going to be positive for him. This is the first year where, going in, he is going to be in a position where he can get some preseason game reps, and have some games and get some quality reps. It will be important for him in the pre season.

Q. Do you think Garrett can carry the team if Kerry goes down?

A. Sure do. We wouldn’t have brought him here if I didn’t. I think all of us starting with Ernie Accorsi, Jim Fassel, we were evaluating the back up position. We wanted to find a guy that was certainly capable of going in and winning games, and he’s proven he can do that. He did it in Dallas when Aikman went down throughout his career there. He’s a guy that’s a very intelligent guy that knows the game well. I think he’s a tremendous influence just in our meetings and in the locker room. He is very experienced and he has a sharp football mind. I like him.

Q. How about the big two draft choices…?

A. (Animated, even before I finished the question) Both those two, Dayne and Dixon, both Rons, I like them both. Ron (Dayne) came in here and in 3 days absorbed everything, picked it up fast. He’s a quick learner, he’s got very athletic feet, he’s gifted in his vision and I really like what I saw just in the 3 day period with him. I’m extremely pleased with him, extremely pleased with Dixon. I think you guys came out here and watched him run around. He is talented and he can fly. I think our guys did a great job of targeting a guy like him, who maybe a lot of people didn’t have, but as you talk, and more and more, you visit with people, most people did have him on their board, and a lot of them had him in that same round we did. Regardless, he’s a guy we’re fired up we got. I came in here, and you never know, you want to see him run around, and after the first practice all of us were giddy in the locker room. We’re excited.

Q. Now for your test question. I want to know about a mystery candidate, #15, the kid from Montana?

A. (Coach repeated the number and “kid from Montana” and before I gave him the name he said) Jeremy Watkins. He’s a guy that came in and actually did a pretty good job this week. If you watch some of the stuff on tape, he ran by a corner yesterday for a TD. He runs real good routes, he’s a smart kid. Shoot, I was excited to see him out here. We needed the numbers to help us and as we went through he started improving and really showed us something. He’ll have his work cut out for him, but at the same time he’s very attentive, smart and he does the right things. There’s something to be said for that.

Q. What is your general, overall philosophy of offense?

A. My general, overall philosophy of offense revolves around what players you have offensively. The greatest mistake a coach can make is to try to mold a group of players into a certain system that they’re not suited for. So, I guess if you said what was my upbringing, I was brought up in the West Coast system with Jon Gruden and the Philadelphia Eagles. At the same time I will pick and choose some spots from that system and also build around the strength of a good running game. We’ll run the football well this year. We’re going to make an emphasis on that. I think it’s important to our defense and the overall team. But at the same time, I think we’ve got some speed outside where we can take advantage of teams that are loading up against the run.

Q. Have there been any rough spots between you and Coach Fassel during the transition?

A. No. It’s been wonderful. He’s been fantastic, I mean that. He’s been tremendously supportive of what we’re trying to do and helpful at the same time.

Q. Looking into the crystal ball, what kind of start to the season do you anticipate?

A. I think in this league any more, you look at the schedule and you begin to look at your games and where you are playing them. So much has to do with when you are playing a team. We open up with Arizona at home and they’re a team that beat us twice last year, and that will be a dogfight. They’ve improved themselves in the off season, they got a great running back in the draft. We go to Philadelphia and they’ve certainly improved a lot. We were barely able to get out of there last year. It will be their home opener and that game has always been a tough game. It’s a cliche I guess, but you’ve got to take it one game at a time. It’s so difficult to project how the start is going to be. Hell, I want to go 16 and 0, that’s what I want to do…but at the same time when you look at the schedule, we’re opening at home, then you look down at your traveling dates. If you have any where you are taking a long trip, coming back on a short week, those are the things that coaches look at. If you look at the schedule overall, we’re going to play Philadelphia’s home opener, the Bears’ home opener…early on that start is going to be difficult. I think it’s going to be tougher than people might think. I think the opener against Arizona will be a very competitive game, then when we go on the road to Philly and Chicago, those are 2 teams that people would all say and agree that they certainly have been on the rise and have improved and we’ve got to be able to match the same intensity that they will have playing at home.

Q. I would like some reassurance for BBI fans that we have improved, but at the same time it is good to hear you say that it might be a difficult start…

A. It’s going to be a challenge. I think in this league and every year is proof of it, week by week the difference is such a fine line and if you went back and charted how many games you played during the course of a 16 game season, how many of them didn’t finish in the final 2 minutes with a make or break field goal or TD, it’s really a small amount. So what it comes down to at the very end, the little things are going to be a big difference for us, for anybody. The kicking game, the special teams, turnovers, we’ve got to be a lot better offensively in the turnover ratio. We’ve really got to do a better job with that and protect the football. The turnover ratio for those teams that are in the plus category arrive in the playoffs every year. So there is an emphasis we’re going to place during our training camp, mini-camps, protecting the football and improve our take aways, that’s one area we really want to focus on. As the teams come, we’ll take them one at a time; it’s a long season and as you look at everyone’s schedule, as coach, from an unbiased opinion, look at as tough or challenging is when you have those 3 away games, 1 on Sunday night, the other back on the road, the logistical standpoint, everything seems pretty clear in regards to where we are traveling and it seems pretty fair. But it’s going to be a grind early on, and we’re going to have to be ready to play right from the get go.

Q. Coach, with the Damocles Sword hanging over the entire staff to “win now”, how do you think the pressure will be if you start, say 1-and-2?

A. I think, anymore, in this league, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure to begin with a win every year. Take any team you want to, there’s only a handful of teams that don’t have that pressure or the feeling that “our backs are against the wall” every season in this league. So that’s not going to change our approach at all as to how we coach. We’ve had tremendous support from the organization, from our fans, and we’ll continue to coach the same way we have, work hard at preparing our guys the best that we can. But honestly, the coaches in this have been around long enough to know that preparation is the most important thing. St. Louis last year they were getting ready to fire Dick Vermeil, they were getting ready to fire Jeff Fisher, both those guys went to the Super Bowl. That’s the business we are in and that’s what we’ve chosen to do. So there’s pressure on everyone. I don’t care if you are ahead in your Conference or you are coming up from behind, there’s pressure. There is pressure for every team to do well and the coaches feel that, at the same time that’s part of the business.

As you can see, I tool a lot of the Coach’s generous offer of time. I felt badly about asking any more so we agreed to follow up during training camp. If you aren’t impressed by his candor and straight-forward approach to football and to the questions, you are not reading him right. There is a new maturity around the giants this year. Everyone in the organization from General Manager Ernie Accorsi on down is accessible, and no one is pulling any punches. These guys want to win – they feel like we do and they know just how much we are hurting – because they are hurting the same way. I’m not going to editorialize here, and I didn’t edit Coach Payton’s answers. I wanted to try and convey his sense of excitement, his developing thought processes, I wanted to bring it to you IN HIS OWN WORDS.