Q: I know you don’t pay attention to the public discourse about the Giants. But prior to the Week 3 game in Philadelphia, everyone seemed to ask, “How are you ever going to beat this team?” Now the players are being asked “Are you going to bury this team?” For you, it’s the same Eagles team, isn’t it?
Coughlin: “Exactly. I’d just simply say 34-7, (Eagles victory over the) Dallas Cowboys. Let’s face it, they’ve had some reasons why their record is 3-6. But they’re still very, very talented and they’re very capable. They’ve increased the intensity of their play on defense, they pressure more. I would expect that it would return to a high number against us in terms of the amount of pressure. And for special teams, their cover teams are very good and they’re very physical. And their offensive team has lots of weapons. I expect (Michael) Vick to play. If he doesn’t trot out, then that’ll be the time when I’ll make the decision in my own mind that he’s not going to."
Q: If Vick doesn’t play, they’ll start Vince Young, and he’s a two-time Pro Bowler.
Coughlin: “You don’t have to tell me that. I’m well aware of that.”
Q: When you play a division opponent you have some advantage because you know that team so well. But is it also a challenge to come up with new strategies and different wrinkles every time you play a division opponent, because they know you so well?
Coughlin: “It is. It’s a matter of really trying to recognize what they’ve done to you, what you’ve done to them, and then figure out if this is the course that they take, then these are the adjustments we’ll make. And that’s kind of the way it works. It’s not a radical change. It’s always, ‘When.’ That is the key, when you do something. Be it defense, offense, special teams – when. It’s not ‘What.’ You can have a whole pot full of ‘what’s’ but it’s matching the ‘when’s’ up with the situation you want. And that’s not easy.”
Q: You are relying a lot on young players –
Coughlin: “That’s the whole purpose of the week. The whole week’s theme is the attention to detail – the most minute of detail. And we’re going to play hard, we’re going to fight hard, but our execution has got to reflect our level of intensity. So it is attention to details, the most minute of details.”
Q: Are those young players good about staying late and studying on their own?
Coughlin: “Yes. They’re also good about being with veteran players and asking questions. But remember now, for a young guy, sometimes they don’t know what questions to ask. So the coach has to pick and probe and try to figure out what it is they’re not quite clear about.”
Coughlin: “I think so. I think that’s a reflection of that. Hopefully, he’ll continue to do that, which I think he will. Actually, I’d like to see that be the end of the interceptions for the season.”
Coughlin: “Well, he’s talented. He’s a talented guy. He’s proven what he can do in Seattle a year ago (when he ran for 66 yards on 13 carries) and he’s really studied hard to try to be able to help us on third down. He’d like to be the kick returner once again. He has gone out and played his way into a position of opportunity for himself, and he’s earned it.”
Q: Last summer, when Barry Cofield signed with the Redskins, many questions were raised concerning
Coughlin: “If you’re going to compare it to just sacks, he’s not in there just to sack. He’s in there to stop the run. He’s in there to plug up holes and stop the run and if something happens and he penetrates and makes a play, so be it. He’s improved. You mentioned the last few weeks, he’s improved over the last few weeks.”
Q: I know you had a limited opportunity to look at him, but are you intrigued about what Da’Rel Scott might do on kickoff returns?
Coughlin: “We know he has speed. It’s a shame that we had the holding penalty and brought that one back (in San Francisco). What is happening in our games, the guy catches the ball six yards deep in the end zone and runs it out and run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run to the 30-yard line. And everybody goes, ‘Holy cow, that was a heck of a return.’ Where’s the ball? It’s at the 33-yard line. Oh, okay.’ You think it’s in the middle of the field.”
Q: The Eagles are a team that likes to run a lot of screens to the backs and tight end. Is that a big challenge to defend if you don’t normally see them?
Coughlin: “There are all kinds of screens – tight end screen, running back screen, screens to the wide receivers. There are all kinds of them. You’ve got to recognize them, first and foremost. You’ve got to study the guy across from you. A lot of these things are stopped by the defensive front.”
Q: They are?
Coughlin: “Oh yeah, they better be. And it’s how the offensive linemen treat the screen – what tips can you get as to if the screen is coming. When it’s (No.) 25 (LeSean McCoy) with the ball, lately it’s been a lot of (No.) 87 (Brent Celek), too. You have to make sure that you’re in good position, that you’ve got that thing hemmed in right away as soon as they catch the ball.”
Q: McCoy is second in the league in rushing. You played Fred Jackson, who leads the league, and Frank Gore, though he was hurt last week. Has your run defense improved?
Coughlin: “Last week the numbers were better. But they changed their whole plan last week. They went with a style that was different. So we still have to rise up and answer that question for ourselves, and we’re going to have to do it. They rushed for 177 yards against us the first game and they’re averaging 171. So they do a good job of that, and McCoy makes, I’ll tell you what, against NFC East opponents, he has six big play runs per game. Six. Six runs over 10 yards per game. Find me somebody throughout the whole history that has done that, per game.”
Q: I understand that you’re not particularly a reflective person, but this is your 250th regular season game as an NFL head coach. Can you tell me from your first game until now something that is significantly different about the NFL?
Coughlin: “I think the style of play has changed. I think the colleges have changed. The colleges have changed their style. Therefore, the players coming out of college football have grown under different systems, many times, than what we feature here in the NFL. So there is an adaptation, a training, a developmental period, with a lot of players that are coming out. And I think it’s, quite frankly, nothing to see 40 passes per game now. That’s changed a lot.”
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