"I think it starts with hitting him, even when you don't actually get sacks, just keeping people around him so he can't step up," defensive end Justin Tuck said Tuesday at media day. "I think he gets a little frustrated when he has to go to his second or third receivers. You can kind of confuse him sometimes with our coverage. I think there are a lot of things that can get him rattled, but it just seems like not too many people are able to do that."
"To be honest, I think our confidence is very high," said second-year defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who led the Giants with 16 1/2 sacks in the regular season. "We know what we have to do and what's at stake. This is our last game, and we're in the Super Bowl. We have to go out and give it our all."
"We did some things that disrupted his timing," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "We caused him to stay jittery in the pocket. Hopefully we can do that again."
A lot of changed since that game. Tuck was playing hurt at the time. Osi Umenyiora was still not healthy after missing the start of the season with a knee injury and the defense was still giving up too many big plays.
Now, everyone on the defense is healthy. The secondary is covering receivers and the line has finally meshed and is playing its best.
"They're going to definitely do some things to keep us off of him, max protections, short throws, quick throws, but they can only do that for so long," Umenyiora said. "Whenever we have opportunities where he does hold the ball, we're going to have to get to the quarterback."
"Keeping him from being hit is our No. 1 goal," Connolly said. "If he can stand back there and do his job, we'll be OK."
"There is no way they can drop Tom Brady back 40 times and expose him to this rush," Sapp said. "Whoever controls the line of scrimmage wins this ballgame. It's always that simple. If New England can get a run game going, we have a ballgame, If they expose him to the rush when it's third-and-6, third-and-7 and third-and-8, look out. You can't let a defensive lineman pin your ears back."
"You know, the adrenaline is pumping," Pierre-Paul said. "You just have to get there, and like a dunk, you've just got to dunk the ball. Once you do it, you just want another one. Like a sack, once you get one sack, you just want more. The guys on my front line, if Osi gets a sack, I want two sacks, because if I get two sacks, Justin Tuck is going to want three sacks."
That's what happened in 2008 when a few of the names were different, with the obvious absence being Michael Strahan.
"This game will not be won off what we did in
07 or what we did earlier this year," Tuck said. "I hope we don't fall into that trap of believing that because that team has won 10 straight. They are playing, I think, better football - team football - than they played in07. But, I think we are playing better team football than we played in `07. It's going to be a fun matchup. It's going to be a fun atmosphere, and I am looking forward to it."