Goldson on Eli Manning: “He can pull a rabbit out of a hat at any time.”

SANTA CLARA – Dashon Goldson spoke in the media tent Wednesday afternoon and he wore Patrick Willis’ jersey as he answered questions at the podium. Here’s everything Goldson said.

Q: How much of a threat is Eli Manning?

GOLDSON: Eli’s a very good quarterback, very accurate, tough guy. We faced him twice last year, and what I got out of those games is he’s really tough. He’s tougher than he looks. We’ve definitely got our work cut out this week. They’ve got a good wide receiver corps, and their quarterback is a machine back there. We’ve got to get people in his face.

Q: Does he make more hard throws than anyone in the league?

GOLDSON: Definitely. He throws when corners are on top of (receivers). They do a lot of back-shoulder stuff. He works good with Victor Cruz. It will be another tough challenge for us.

Q: Why are you wearing Willis’ jersey?

GOLDSON: That’s our captain. He had a real good game last week and we’re going to get another one of those from him this week. I’m just representing.

Q: How much does the defense feed off of Willis’ energy?

GOLDSON: A lot. We feed off each other, from coaching staff to players. The energy around here is good. We’re always happy for the next guy’s success.

Q: How good was your offense last week?

GOLDSON: They’ve been playing good football since the season started. I’m very happy for those guys. Our offense is getting better week in and week out. It’s starting on this practice field. We see the work they’re putting in every day at practice, and we’re doing a good job giving them looks. It’s paying off for them on Sundays.

Q: The Giants have good receivers, but they also have a good running back in Ahmad Bradshaw. What’s the focus for you and Donte Whitner?

GOLDSON: Just to continue being smart back there and reading our keys from a blocking standpoint and recognizing the formation. We just have to continue to tackle.

Q: How do you keep Victor Cruz’s salsa dancing to a minimum?

GOLDSON: Tight coverage. Our corners have a good challenge this week. It’s going to start with the pass rush of course. We’re going to have to get hands on them at the line of scrimmage and play tight coverage.

Q: Cruz had a big first half in the NFC Championship game but only two catches in the second half. What did you guys do differently against him?

GOLDSON: We made our corrections in the second half. They were trying to get him open underneath with rub routes, so we just made sure we tightened up our coverage.

Q: Do you ask Mario Manningham for tips on how to defend the Giants’ receivers?

GOLDSON: We haven’t. We trust our coaches. Our coaching staff does a good job of getting us prepared every week. I’m sure he knows a lot, but you don’t want to hear it out of two different people’s mouths.

Q: Harbaugh called Eli Manning a magician. Do you agree?

GOLDSON: Definitely, just watch the film. He’s moving back there – he’s not staying in one spot. He can pull a rabbit out of a hat at any time. He’s got a good receiving corps. Those guys do a good job of getting open and allowing him to make those throws.

Q: Did it impress you how he kept getting up after taking hits in the NFC Championship game?

GOLDSON: It did. A lot of quarterbacks would get fazed after we got on them a little bit.

Q: Victor Cruz said this game probably has been circled on your team’s calendar for a long time. Is that true?

GOLDSON: Not at all. It’s not true. A lot of people think so because of what happened in the NFC Championship, but we’ve moved on from that. We just focus on one game at a time.

Q: Is it kind of a benchmark game to see how much you guys have improved since the NFC Championship?

GOLDSON: Probably certain guys are thinking that way, but I think it’s just another game for us, another challenge. We’ve just got to continue what we’re doing.

Q: Would you call this the biggest challenge you’ve had all season?

GOLDSON: I won’t know until we finish that game. They’re pretty good, but we’ve played some pretty good teams leading up to this point. We had Detroit, we faced Green Bay, Minnesota – those teams are pretty good too. This is another good challenge for us.

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