Mooch talks Giants
January 02, 2003
By Craig Massei
"We go way back before this. He's a West Coast guy and he's very well respected and he does a heck of a job. I suppose we have similar situations in that we are coaching for organizations who have won Super Bowls and whose fan base loves winning. So the expectations can be similar. I suppose we know what each other go through." --- Steve Mariucci on Giants coach Jim Fassel
Q: How are things different in preparing to play the Giants this second time?
Mariucci: Well obviously we have regular season games to look at rather than the pre-season games and the prior years' games. So that is a difference. We started breaking the Giants down a week or two ago along with some other teams. We got a good jump on it. Needless to say they are playing very well.
Q: What are your impressions of Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber?
Mariucci: They are very good players. Jeremy Shockey was a first regular season game rookie when we played them the first time around. We certainly evaluated him high in the draft and felt that he was going to be a good player. But now he has certainly proved that. He is a dominating tight end in the league, he is very confident, he brings a lot to that team, not just in a production standpoint of catching and blocking. He has a certain swagger to him that I think adds to the chemistry of that team. He is much improved and doing a good job. Tiki Barber has become a dominating sort of back, an all-purpose back. He gets a lot of yards from scrimmage and is one of the fine backs in the league. We face a lot of good backs from Marshall Faulk to Priest Holmes to Deuce McAllister to LaDanian Tomlinson and Tiki Barber is right there with him. He is one of the fine backs in the league and I love his commercial too.
Q: Were you surprised about the way that the Giants were able to slow down Terrell (Owens) in the first game?
Mariucci: We didn't come away with as many catches and yards in the passing game as we would like in that game. There were a few missed throws and drops. Coupled with good coverage and all of that sort of thing the ball simple didn't go in T.O.'s hands as often as it has in the rest of the year. So I thought that they did a good job.
Q: What do you think of Will Peterson and Will Allen?
Mariucci: Good young corners. They are second year players that are really becoming veteran like and improving every week and becoming confident. When they get into their Nickel packages they don't seem to rely much on blitz and pressure. They like to cover and expect pressure with their front guys. I like their secondary. It is an aggressive secondary and is one of the finest secondaries that we are going to play against.
Q: How do you think that the Giants have changed since week 1?
Mariucci: We already spoke about Jeremy Shockey's contribution and development. Other than Hamilton they are relatively healthy and have developed some continuity and some play-togetherness, playing with confidence and that sort of thing. Kerry Collins has performed well and consistently throughout the season, relying on arm, accuracy, arm-strength and that sort of thing. Amani Toomer is coming up with big plays all over the place. It is just a solid football team in every area.
Q: Is there any validity to bulletin board fodder at this time of year?
Mariucci: No. (Jeremy Newberry's) a lineman. Their linemen are probably looking at that and going 'Boy this is going to excite this city.' If you don't get up for a playoff game, if you need something like this to get up then you are in it for the wrong reasons. It's just Newberry getting all excited.
Q: Is your best game still out there?
Mariucci: I'd like to think so. We've been less than whole with our personnel for almost all of the year. Even in our first game of the season we didn't have Jeff Ulbrich. We haven't been whole. I'd like to think our best football is in front of us. We need it to be. The best six teams are still standing and you have to be on top of your game in order to win these things.
Q: Do you feel kinship to Jim Fassel and him always being on the hot seat, no mater what his team does?
Mariucci: Jim and I came into the league at the same time. We both coached teams in fantastic cities with high expectations. I've never coached with Jim. Richard Smith and I rented a state car when we were coaching at Cal State Fullerton. We didn't rent it, we kind of borrowed it. We jumped in the car and we came up and visited the Raiders and with Stanford. I sat in with Jim Fassel's quarterbacks meeting. We were just young coaches learning football. I sat in when Jim was coaching at Stanford. We go way back before this. He's a West Coast guy and he's very well respected and he does a heck of a job. I suppose we have similar situations in that we are coaching for organizations who have won Super Bowls and whose fan base loves winning. So the expectations can be similar. I suppose we know what each other go through.
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