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Amani Toomer National Conference Call Transcript - Jan. 16


(As a veteran you know better than anyone how to savor the moment this deep in the playoffs because it certainly isn't guaranteed every season. Would you please talk about being in this position?)

It's definitely special. I've been in the league for like 12 years, and I've been in this situation twice. It's one of those things that you never really can take for granted because it might be everybody's last time doing this no matter what year it is for you.

(It seemed like about a month ago, there was some question about whether your future with the Giants might be coming to an end this season. Your recent strong play obviously has spoken volumes. Can you talk about whether you feel like your play in the last month or so has changed anything about your future in New York?)

I never really worry about that. If you play the game, you can't sit back and worry about what's going to happen. The only way you can assure anything is to go out there and play well, and that's it.

(Could you talk about Eli's performance the last few weeks? Obviously down the stretch you guys -- he was struggling in the game against Minnesota, his numbers weren't great, the usual criticism was happening, and then it seems like all of a sudden in that Patriots game you guys in the passing game really turned things on.)

I think for some reason everything just settled down for him. I thought he played well during most of the season. I thought he had a good season. I don't think it's that surprising for anybody on our team to see how well he has played.

(No reason why he maybe settled down?)

No, I have no idea. It's like the same thing, why do we play so well on the road? Nobody really knows. We just kind of do, you know?

(I was going to ask you, is there anything in particular that you see as an explanation why the Giants are playing so well on the road? The road record is extraordinary.)

Yeah, I know. I have no idea. It's just one of those things that happens. Just be glad that it happens and not try to analyze it and figure out the reasons why.

(Is this the best Eli has ever played for three straight games?)

I don't know. I've always seen him at a high level, so it doesn't really surprise me how he's playing.

(Normally a team going into Lambeau against Brett Favre in that environment is going to be at a disadvantage. But with your road record and being on a roll like you are right now, do you even look at this game as going in and being an underdog?)

It doesn't matter what everybody else thinks. The only thing that matters is what happens when we get out there and play. That's the only thing that matters. People can say what they want to say, but the last two weeks, that goes to show that the experts don't always know what they're talking about.

(Can you talk about their cornerbacks a little bit and the challenges that they pose for you guys?)

They're definitely physical corners that we're looking forward to playing. I think they're guys that we respect a lot, and hopefully they have respect for us and we can just go out there and try to figure out technique going into the cold weather, whose technique is going to prevail.

(How good has Plaxico been this year, and is he now ascended to become one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL?)

I don't know if that's something to discuss with me. I don't know that I'm a candidate to give an opinion.

(As a veteran do you put more pressure on yourself to make plays in this situation, in this type of game?)

You can't worry about trying to make plays and all that stuff. You've just got to go out there and play. The only thing you can really control is your preparation and your effort, and everything else has kind of got to be in the cards.

All you can do is control what you're going to control, and that's the only thing you can control.

(Talk about Steve the last month or so, he's coming off an injury, a plagued rookie season, being able to contribute like he has recently?)

Who are you talking about, Steve?

(Steve Smith, sorry.)

Yeah, he's definitely excited about how he's playing, and I know he's a lot better than I was when I was a rookie. He's been able to take advantage of some opportunities.

(Coughlin spoke earlier today about sitting near you and Michael Strahan on the flight home and just listening to you two talk. What does it mean to you two, and what was that flight like home from last weekend's game?)

We kind of reminisced over the game and reminisced about what happened. Guys get together and talk about what they did. And then talking about some of the energies afterwards, those types of things. It wasn't anything like about football.

(Do you tend to appreciate this a little bit more at this stage of your career maybe than early on when young guys think this is just going to just keep happening?)

Yeah, if I heard anybody in the locker room that thought oh, this is going to happen every year, I would tell them that there's only one team a year that goes this far in our conference and the percentages of getting back here are pretty small, so they better take this like I take it. You can't take it for granted.

(Could you talk a little bit about what identifies you guys as a receiver group? What are the qualities that would identify the Giants' wide receivers?)

I think we're a very diverse group. We have big guys on the outside and inside and we've got the guys that have quickness. I think that I really wouldn't want to sit back and try to define what we are and what we do. I think the best thing for us to do is go out and play, keep it simple, and that's kind of how I've been doing it my whole career.

(What are your impressions of Lambeau Field? Is there anything comparable to that?)

Actually I played up there before. The only thing different is that it's going to be Lambeau and all the history about it. But it's the same dimensions and same two teams that played earlier in the year.

(What do you think about playing against the home team and Ryan Grant who just had a career game against Seattle?)

Yeah, I was definitely happy to see him do as well as he has. I was one of his biggest fans in the looker room. I was really surprised that he got traded, but I'm real happy for him.

I've always been a supporter of his, always in his abilities, and I'm glad he finally got a chance. There's a lot of guys in the NFL who have ability that just never get the chance to play.

(Last year starting out, considering that you had a serious knee injury, did you give any thought to not coming back or any consideration to retiring after last season?)

No, not really. I feel like there's stuff I really want -- I really want to win a Super Bowl and that type of thing. I think if I can still go, why not play?

(What is the difference between the week two Giants and the postseason Giants?)

I think back then we hadn't won a game and we were kind of really trying to find ourselves and find our identity, and I think now we have an identity as a resilient group that will fight until the end.

(How has that developed over this season, that resiliency that this team has?)

You know what, a lot of the stuff that you talk about when you talk about football is really indescribable. It's just a feeling you get, and it's hard to put into words and not sound corny, you know what I mean?

(Describe how over the last couple of games you've got the offensive rhythm back a little bit to sort of balance things out? It seems like you guys have a pretty good thing going offensively right now.)

Yeah, I think it's everybody. I think, from play calling on down to the players out there on the field. I think we've found a rhythm and we're on a wave and we're just going to ride it instead of wondering and analyzing and all that stuff. We've just got to keep going and doing what we're doing and have our way.

(Obviously losing Jeremy Shockey was a huge blow to the offense. How has Kevin Boss replaced him and what does he do differently as a tight end?)

I don't know, I think they're pretty similar. I mean, they both catch the ball really well, and I think they both block pretty well. They're both really similar players in the sense that they're very good pass catchers and they're definitely a match-up problem when they try matching up with safeties and whatnot.

(Is anything different at all in the passing game because of that? I mean, do you go to the tight end differently now in any way?)

I don't know. I really don't call the plays so I really couldn't tell you. I don't know what is different that they do, that we're doing. But whatever their doing, it seems to be working. Our offense is getting on pretty well.

{sportsad300}(How different are you now as a player and as a person than you were maybe 10, 11 years ago when you were making your first playoff appearances?)

I guess when I was younger I didn't really appreciate what was going on. Things happen so fast when you're playing. The finality of the playoffs is something that you don't really understand as a young player because there's very few times you get into a situation where if you don't win, you're done, the season is over. You're packing your bags and talking about what you're going to do in the off-season.

It's just one of those things that once it happens to you a couple times, you lose a couple playoff games, you're like, oh, wow, this is important, this is serious, and there is a finality aspect to it that I don't think people really understand.

(Do you think Coach Coughlin related to the players better this season? There have been a lot of stories about how he's sort of connected with you guys a little bit better.)

I don't know, I think he made more of an effort, and I think him making an effort was enough to win over most of the players.

(What is the biggest challenge that Al Harris and Charles Woodson present as cornerbacks that maybe you haven't faced or seen that much from other cornerbacks?)

They play differently than most cornerbacks. They are the macho, showdown type, I'm-going-to-beat-you type of players. They're standing right in front of you, they're not going anywhere, they're not backing off.

(How different is it being a team elder? You and Michael Strahan are really some of the last guys standing from when you first came in the league. How different is it being such an elder now?)

I don't really think about it that much, try not to. The guys look at it a little different. I think they really kind of respect me a little bit more.

(When you talk about the play of this team this year, and you said it's kind of hard to explain without sounding corny. Being on a roll as you are, is it the feel that you spoke of? Is it an unspoken thing in the locker room?)

Yeah, I think when we're in the locker room we very rarely talk about it. We're not really talking about football. We're mostly talking about stuff that you'd talk about -- around-the-water-cooler talk. We don't talk much football.

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