As the San Francisco 49ers prepare for their NFC Championship matchup with the New York Giants, All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis spoke with the media Wednesday, discussing some of his thoughts on the Giants' offense as well as his time at Ole' Miss with Eli Manning.
Watching films on the Giants offense, any comments on which schemes and/or teams have worked best against the Giants offense?
"I don't know. I think they're on a winning streak, so I don't think too much has worked in other teams' favor. But they're going to be the Giants. They're going to run the ball. They're going to throw the ball. They've got three good receivers and I'm sure they're going to try to get the ball in their hands. But like I said, at the end of the day, we've just got to play and we'll see what happens from there."
Some of the offense that have challenged you over the middle with the tight end, are you expecting more of that against the Giants? Are you focusing on that as a defense?
"I'm sure that they'll look at film from the last game and they'll see something that they feel like they can get. It's the National Football League. Each play is a big play. I think they'll try what they will and it's up to us to stop it. It's up to me to do my job and I look forward to the challenge. Players are going to make plays. They're going to break tackles. That's part of the game but that doesn't mean you stop playing the game. It doesn't mean you stop believing in yourself. I still have just as confidence in my ability to cover, to tackle, to play this game than I did before. It doesn't matter to me what they try."
Willis certainly wasn't going to be divulging anything specific to the media folks in Santa Clara on Wednesday, especially when it comes to their preparation. I'm sure the 49ers have been preparing for a lot of the same they did for their regular season matchup at the 'stick, but there always will be some new wrinkles folded in during the playoffs.
Willis also spoke a bit about his time in college with current Giants QB Eli Manning:
How far has Giants QB Eli Manning come since your college days?
"As a freshman, I thought he was the greatest quarterback ever. That was the best season I'd ever had in football. To see the things that he's done, he's won a Super Bowl. That's the biggest accomplishment that we all try to go for, to win that. He's done that. He led his team back to being one game closer to that."
What did you like about him? To say he's the best quarterback you'd seen as a freshman, what were the things he was doing?