Jonathan Gannon

Q. Considering the success that CB Darius Slay and CB James Bradberry have had prior to the season, what is it about their relationship with Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs coach Dennard Wilson that both parties are able to maximize that relationship? (Josh Tolentino)

JONATHAN GANNON: I think those guys, both of those guys have played at a high level for a long time, and all players want is to know how you can improve them as a coach. [Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs coach] Dennard [Wilson] holds a very high standard in that room, and they want to be held accountable because they know if the coach holds them accountable, they’re going to improve. That’s been a great room to be around. I love what Dennard does in there with them. He’s hard on those guys, and they know they have to be prepared when they walk into that meeting room or on the field or they will get exposed.

Those guys are high football character guys that want to be coached and want to do things the right way. That’s why you see them playing at a high level because they continually improve.

Q. As far as interviewing for head coaching jobs you got to because you were on a bye week, how difficult would that be doing that during a week of preparation – (Jimmy Kempski)

JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, [we’re focused on the] New York Giants.

Q. Speaking of the Giants, a lot of familiarity you guys have with them and vice versa. What are some of the positives and negatives of that? (John McMullen)

JONATHAN GANNON: Good question. Every game is different, but they are a familiar opponent.

We’re preparing like we do any other game, whether it’s a team that we’ve played a couple times or a team that we haven’t played. We go through our full process.

You can use the previous games as a tool but know that they’re going to have different things for us, and we’ll have some different things for them. It’s a new game, especially going into the playoffs it’s definitely a new game, a new season so we’ll be ready to go.

Q. Watching the Minnesota game, was that the best game you’ve seen Giants QB Daniel Jones play? (Merrill Reese)

JONATHAN GANNON: He played extremely well. Their offense was clicking on all cylinders. He made a lot of plays, a lot of throws. He used his legs at the right times to extend drives and get some first downs. We know just like anybody we go against that the skill set of everybody that we’re playing against, how they use those guys and what we have to be aware of and what we have to have a plan for. Yeah, he played extremely well that game, and it’s one of the major reasons why they’re playing us on Saturday night.

Q. What are some of the biggest differences you see from the Giants from week 14 to right now? (Dave Zangaro)

JONATHAN GANNON: They’re a good football team. They’re playing at a high level, and the offense, they do some unique things because of the quarterback skill set. It makes it hard for defenses to defend.

We have a big-time challenge versus them, and we have to be connected and stay connected and do a good job with our fundamentals and tackling and being on the same page and communicating the right way, and really then basically it becomes knowing what they like to do, and then ultimately executions at a premium.

Q. When you talked to S C.J. Gardner-Johnson about playing slot, how did that conversation go? How did he respond to it, both in terms of how he responded to it and how he performed? (Jeff McLane)

JONATHAN GANNON: Good question. He’s willing to do whatever we need him to do to win the game. He was excited about it, and he’s obviously played that spot before. It didn’t take too long. The conversation, ‘Hey, [S C.J.] Ceedy [Gardner-Johnson], you’re going to play nickel and safety,’ and he’s like, ‘Okay, cool, let’s go.’

Happy how he played and what he did, and just like we do any game, we’ll see who’s up and who’s down and try to fit people in accordingly.

Q. You couldn’t do that if you didn’t have faith in S Reed Blankenship playing the safety spot, what has he done to make you have that faith in him? (Dave Zangaro)

JONATHAN GANNON: I’ve got faith in that entire room. [S] Reed [Blankenship] has played at a high level for us, and someone asked me, you guys really didn’t change or skip a beat when Reed came in, and I said, we wouldn’t really change or skip a beat with any of those guys that come in because I’ve got complete confidence with those guys. They’ve continued to develop, and as a defense, we say, ‘Hey, here’s what we need to do to win a game, this is what you need to get done,’ and he’s doing it.

Q. Giants WR Isaiah Hodgins the last couple weeks has really emerged for the Giants as a receiver. What have you seen from him on tape, especially last week against the Vikings? (Chris Franklin)

JONATHAN GANNON: He’s a big guy, he’s got a big-time catch radius and he runs good routes. He makes a lot of contested catches in traffic or when he’s one-on-one and he’s covered pretty well. And [Giants QB] Daniel [Jones] is accurate, so that helps him, too.

But he’s a big guy that can run, and he’s got a big-time catch radius, so we’ve got to do a good job with him.

Q. Giants RB Saquon Barkley had 9 for 28 the first time you guys played. What was the key to holding him down a little bit, and what’s critical for this week? (Tim McManus)  

JONATHAN GANNON: Just playing the calls the correct way. We understand he’s going to make some plays because he’s a really unique player, and he’s a really good player. We have to do a good job. It’s not one or two guys, it’s all 11 guys being on the same page doing their job at a high level to be able to hold a player of that caliber down to where we need it to be to win the game.

Q. When you look at DT Jordan Davis and LB Nakobe Dean, obviously they haven’t played a whole lot this season, but what’s the value of having this playoff run for them as far as learning from guys and how they go about their business? (Martin Frank)

JONATHAN GANNON: Any experience that you can get as a young guy as you go through the season is good experience for those guys. But they know that this is just like any other week, and they have to prepare and study just like it’s a regular season game.

We talk to our guys about it’s heightened because you have the extra external factor of if you lose, you go home, but that doesn’t change how you prepare your mind and your body and how you need to get yourself ready to play.

Also, with saying that, going out on game day, you don’t have to do anything different than what you’ve been doing. If you just do your job, we’ll be okay.

Q. A question was posed to Head Coach Nick Sirianni yesterday how he’s different compared to his first playoff game last year. How are you different compared to your first playoff game as a coordinator last year? (Zach Berman)

JONATHAN GANNON: You try to improve, playoff game, regular season game, OTAs, training camp, you try to continually improve with what you’re doing in your process all the time.

Really that was just another opportunity to play another game, and we knew that it wasn’t good enough, and then when we got done with that game, we said, ‘Hey, here’s how we need to adjust moving forward.’

Again, we go through our full process just like we’re doing, and we’ll be ready to go.

Q. When you play a team for the third time here in six, seven weeks, could there be any danger in overthinking and building a game plan, that we’ve got to find a different way to do something rather than saying this is what we do, come and stop it? (Ed Kracz)

JONATHAN GANNON: The head coach does a very good job with that because he’s very aware of that being some people — through your experiences maybe you’ve been on a staff or been around some coaches that have done that, and he gave a very clear vision of how he wants this game played by all three sides, all three phases and we’ll follow that vision.

Q. Why do you think Giants QB Daniel Jones had probably his best game passing last week? (Jeff McLane)

JONATHAN GANNON: Coaches put him in good spots, and he executed at a high level.

Q. When you look at Head Coach Nick Sirianni’s training camp and walk-throughs on Wednesdays later in the year and all that stuff, shorter practices, when you look at your group now, what’s the payoff? How much do you think that’s contributed to their health? (Reuben Frank)

JONATHAN GANNON: I mean, huge. I think we’re in the top tier of games missed by starters, so obviously the plan worked because we’ve had — everyone gets nicked up, but we’ve been pretty healthy for the whole year.

I think our guys will be energetic, and we’re healthy, and we’ll have some fresh legs. The bye kind of helped that. But they’ll be ready to go.

Like I said way back when, [Head Coach] Nick [Sirianni] had a very short and long-term vision of what he wanted to get done with how he structured the entire year, and I think you’re seeing the benefit of it now as we play here in mid-January, that we’re a healthy, fresh football team ready to go.

Q. With DE Josh Sweat’s absence, what did this team miss and what’s the value of getting him back? (Zach Berman)

JONATHAN GANNON: I think the guys that played for him did a good job. It’s just like when Reed goes in, I didn’t fear anybody that went in and played that they couldn’t get the job done within what we’re asking them to do. But obviously having [DE Josh] Sweaty [Sweat] back is a huge advantage for us because he’s one of our premier players, and I think he’s ready to go.

Q. Home playoff games are loud and communication is a premium, especially in the secondary. Why is the secondary doing a decent job when it comes to communications and being in the right coverages and everything else? (Chris Franklin)

JONATHAN GANNON: I think they’ve been coached the right way, and they know what they’ve got to be [in]. I always say, you’ve got to be ahead of the play, so what that means is you’ve got to be thinking pre-snap, if they do this, we have to make this adjustment and this communication needs to happen.

We’ve had continuity in that back end. I know we’ve had a couple guys bounce in and out of the lineup, but for the most part they’ve played together throughout the entire year, so they’re on the same page. They know it’ll be loud, but I always say, there’s communication that needs to happen, but if we have eyes, we should know what we’re doing.

What I mean by that is if you can see, you know what you need to check to. To that point, ’17 I was here in playoff game and it was loud, so I expect it to be rowdy.

Q. People ask me what the vibe is – (Howard Eskin)

JONATHAN GANNON: The vibe is awesome.

Q. That’s a good thing. But is there a danger, or how much of a danger is players get too hyped and too emotional and you’re just trying to keep them obviously — (Howard Eskin)

JONATHAN GANNON: That’s kind of what we talked about with our team. That’s part of what goes into every week. You hear me say psychological prep. We talk to our players about certain things that are going on. We don’t run away from that. We acknowledge that there’s different things going on, and this is just like another game. There’s a different set of factors that are going into that.

But ultimately our guys know if we execute and do our job, we’ll put ourselves in a chance to win the game. That’s what they’ll do.

Q. Yesterday Head Coach Nick Sirianni was asked about what has changed since Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen took over the play calling, and Nick said it also gives him an opportunity to work with the defense. Have you seen the benefits of that? (Gabriella DiGiovanni)

JONATHAN GANNON: 100 percent. I use the head coach throughout the week and on game day, and he’s a huge resource because he understands the game at a very high level. He’s helped me tremendously. He helped me last year even when he was calling plays. But we have a very unique and good relationship during the week, as you would want with your head coach, because I use that resource, and he’s excellent for us on game day.