Q: How have you guys changed since that Week 9 matchup versus the Giants?
JM: I think just getting guys back healthy, first and foremost. Getting [Patrick] Chung back, getting [Brandon] Spikes back; being able to play with the same group of guys for a couple weeks, which is an extended period for this team this year. I think that's the main thing for us.
Q: Do you guys feel like that stretch in the middle of the season where you guys struggled made you better?
JM: Yeah, it helped develop our mental toughness, all the stories that you guys wrote. Yeah, it helped build our mental toughness but at the same time it helped our versatility, being able to put different players into the game and doing things like that, I think it really helped.
Q: Have you guys benefitted from forcing guys to play because so many defensive guys got hurt?
JM: I think so. The postseason is all about keeping guys healthy and we've been fortunate enough to get those guys back and continue to get them healthy and at the same time have proven players who can come off the bench. I think it's been huge for us; kind of a blessing in disguise kind of thing.
Q: How much have you replayed that last drive Eli Manning had against you in Week 9?
JM: I've watched the film a couple times. I'm kind of over it now. These are two different teams. [Ahmad] Bradshaw didn't play in that game, [Hakeem] Nicks didn't play in that game. We didn't have a couple guys in that game. These are two different teams playing. The Giants are a better team than they were back then and I feel like we are too. I'm kind of over that game but at the same time, you have to take the lessons from that fourth quarter drive and apply it to this game.
Q: Are you healthier this time than the last time you played them?
JM: Yeah, across the board.
Q: You personally?
JM: Yeah. It's Week 35, I think everybody feels the same. Health isn't an issue.
Q: How much do you believe in momentum building? The Giants finished 9-7 and have steamrolled through the playoffs.
JM: Anytime you can develop confidence like that, it plays a huge role in the outcome of the game. Whether it's a drive, a single play or throughout the season, anytime you can get that ball rolling in a positive direction, you're going the right way. I think it's huge.
Q: Has Bill Belichick changed at all since you met him or is he the same guy you first met?
JM: One thing about Coach Belichick, he is who he is. He hasn't changed one bit. No matter how many games we win or lose, he's the same guy. That's what makes him a great coach, that consistency.
Q: Does he ever talk to you or call you in to get the pulse of the locker room or if he feels a situation is dicey?
JM: To be honest with you, he does a good job speaking to everyone, getting the vibe himself. He's always walking through the locker room. He's not one of those coaches where you don't ever get to see him. He's a very hands-on kind of guy, you feel like this is his team. He does a great job of getting the vibe and [knowing] the problems in the locker room.
Q: When will it set in for you that you're playing in the Super Bowl?
JM: It's already set in to be honest, getting out of here at 10 o'clock at night, a couple extra hours of film study. But it's set in and I'm sure when I get to Indy it will be another feeling. But at this point in time, it's a one game season and I think everyone has that sense of urgency on our team.
Q: Has the film study increased that much?
JM: Yeah, it has and it has to across the board. Our defense is trying to give our offense good looks; they're giving us good looks. Everyone is working with each other so we're well prepared for the game.
Q: Can you confuse or fool a quarterback that has been in the game as long as Eli Manning has?
JM: He's playing football as good as anyone right now. It's kind of hard to fool him, per se. You just have to try to go out there and limit him, to be honest with you. The way he's playing right now, he's on fire. You just have to go out there and try to contain him.
Q: Did you like going out there in pads? Did you guys crank it up?
JM: I love it. I love pads. Football is meant to be played in pads. I know a lot of guys are like, ‘Ahh, I hate pads,' but I like pads.