Q: I’m sure you got to watch some football on Thanksgiving. I know sometimes you see teaching points when you watch games. I was wondering what you picked up then, particularly regarding Miami’s inability to score on four trips inside the green zone vs. Dallas.
Coughlin: “For the last two weeks, as we’ve evaluated the teams that we’ve had to play, that’s been a key factor, scoring touchdowns in the green zone and preventing the other guy when he’s down there. There are a lot of different lessons from yesterday, to be honest with you. I watched the second half of Miami. (I) watched about a half of the one at night (between Baltimore and San Francisco). There’s a lot of stuff going on that’s very interesting.”
Q: You have talked about finishing all season. Everything you want to accomplish is still right there for you. Are you still hammering hard that you have to finish?
Coughlin: “Have to. But we have to play four quarters and we have to play consistent. We’ve been kind of slow dancing in the first half. But, to be honest with you, we go off the field (at halftime) in New England and we’re 0-0. You don’t want to get to the point where you…you just want to play four quarters of good, solid, opportunistic football. Such as, we get three interceptions (last week vs. Philadelphia). We get the ball off an interception in plus territory. ‘Hey fellas, we have to do something with the ball.’ Somehow, some way you have to do it. Better rise up and get it done.”
Q: The communal anger displayed by the players on Monday in the locker room - does that help going forward or do we go back to “talk is cheap, play the game”?
Coughlin: “You just have to play. I don’t know what they said. I know that they want to be more intense and they want to be more physical. And that’s true. That’s how we want to play. That’s the way we want to play. For the most part, we play that way. We've played most games where we won the physical battle or it’s been extremely close; too close to call. We want to get back to playing that way. That’s just the style we choose to play. Quite frankly, on the road, you better play that way.”
Q: Do you feel like you have a lot of holes in the dike to plug or will playing better on the offensive and defensive lines solve a lot of the ills?
Coughlin: “It will help it out. It’s a battle. Ours is a game, you don’t get far from it, I believe it starts up front. It starts up front and probably it ends up front, because all of the skill in the world can’t get it done if you can’t figure out how to stop the other guy from taking advantage of what he wants to do and you being able to do what you want to do.”
Q: You were asked about
Coughlin: “That wasn’t ever brought up with him (after the game Sunday). What I understand is, he started complaining about his peripheral vision. That’s when we sent him to the doctors and they determined he needed surgery.”
Q: Do you plan on moving Diehl to tackle and putting Boothe in at guard?
Coughlin: “You’ll have to watch practice.”
Q: As a rookie free agent who started at middle linebacker last week,
Coughlin: “He’s made constant progress in a lot of different ways. He’s played a game and the response is, let’s let him play a little bit more. Let’s see what happens. He’s physical. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s smart. He can make the calls.”
Coughlin: “It’s critical. It’s critical. Just stop and think of the rules. They’re the only guys that can leave right now (before the ball is kicked). As such, when you drive the ball down the field, you’re seeing it all over the league – you’re talking about people who drive it well down the field. Well, who gets down there 10 yards ahead of everybody else? Those guys are good football players and they can beat the double team, first and foremost. Then you’re talking about somebody who has a chance to make a play before it’s critical that everyone else arrives on the scene. That’s a very, very important job and vice-versa. When you’re holding those guys up, it’s a very important job. It has to be done properly. It’s not easy losing both gunners in the same game. One’s gone for the year (Coe) and the other one has a hamstring, so we don’t know how long he’s going to be.”
Q: And they had done well with getting down there?
Coughlin: “It’s inconsistent, but you take the first couple of plays the other night, they were outstanding. They were right there on the ball.”
Coughlin: “When he kicks it out of the end zone, that’s great. When we bring it out (from) five yards deep (in the end zone) and the ball is on the 13-, 14-yard line, I don’t like it. The idea is we’re not going to have as many kickoff returns, we’re not going to have as many injuries. Well, guys are bringing it out from eight, nine, seven yards deep in the end zone. We’re having as many major collisions as we’ve had and the ball starts deeper. You start celebrating when the ball’s at the 20. I said this to you a couple of weeks ago, here’s (Da’Rel Scott), his first time out. There’s a holding penalty along the way. But he runs it out to the 33- or 34-yard line and it looks like he’s been running forever. You look down and it says 33. Holy smokes.”
Q: You like the rule when you’re kicking off, but not so much when you’re receiving?
Coughlin: “I like it when it’s kicked out of the end zone and they have an outstanding returner. I don’t like anytime the ball doesn’t start at least at the 20. Put it that way.”
Q: You have a very good record indoors. What is the key to succeeding inside? Is the way you prepare for these silent counts important?
Coughlin: “It’s extremely important. You must be able to communicate. You have to be able to communicate a lot of times by looking at each other or signaling. We work hard at this. We do it every time we play away, whether it’s a dome or outside. We work hard at creating the kind of thing that the players have to contend with in every facet of the game. Of course, it’s different indoors. It’s difficult to play in a dome environment when it’s not something you see every day. But yes, we do work hard to do the best we can to put our players in every circumstance they’re going to run into during the game.”
Q: The Saints offense runs a lot of different formations. Do they spread you out?
Coughlin: “They use a lot of personnel. They don’t spread you out. To me, it’s the other way around. I think they use a lot of tighter formations. They put you in a position right away where you’re a lineman – your depth, your responsibilities, are a little different tight versus when you open and you now have a third. They do a lot of that and they do it for obvious reasons. It just depends on what they’re trying to get done. They’re very, very good at putting people in all kinds of spots. The ball comes out quickly. Whereas, you look at it and say they don’t run it all that much. They do. They run it with the short pass and they’re pretty good at it. And they also, as I’ve said in past, are very good at crossing, very good at levels and very good at the seam balls.”
Q: And Drew Brees is pretty good.
Coughlin: “You play that many games and you’re throwing 70 per cent. That’s pretty good.”
Q: You see so much defensive pressure in the NFL now, but do the Saints blitz as much as any team?
Coughlin: “More. That’s their game. In the noise, you have to communicate and pick it up and you have to make plays into it. There are plenty of chances. There are plenty of opportunities. People react, they’re on the same page, they know exactly what they’re doing. The ball comes out quickly when they do pressure. Block the majority of them so the ones furthest from the quarterback are the ones free. There’s a chance to get the ball off into a lot of these coverages, you have a chance.”
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