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SPOTLIGHT:
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PG Quotes (10/22): Manning, Hillis, Cruz

Posted Oct 21, 2013

Giants.com takes you inside the locker room for postgame reaction from Giants players


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Coach Tom Coughlin


We came into the game; obviously we had to stop the run. We did a good job of that. I think they had 30 yards rushing. We had 32 attempts, not a lot of yards, but we were able to continue to try and run the ball, which I think helps balance it out much better for us. We had the one turnover on the punt, which was just fundamentals. The ball was in the inside arm and the ball came out over there. We got one back, which was nice. It was a point blank type of a play. Peyton Hillis did an outstanding job of coming on right off of the workout, into a uniform, and right on the field. He did a good job. Michael Cox did his role and his part as well. We didn’t have the turnovers, we got a couple, we got the ball down inside, we’d like to score touchdowns there when we kicked field goals, but we were trying to get to a point where we were at least up two touchdowns. So, obviously it’s nice to win and hopefully it’ll give us some excitement, some enthusiasm, about coming to work this week, a short week preparing to play  in the division this weekend.

Q: Can you talk about the effort of the defense?
A: It was outstanding. It was an outstanding effort. Guys played hard, a lot of people to the ball,
which we knew we had to have. We did some good things in our coverage as well. I can’t say enough about our defense. They just kept playing. The only blemish was the punt return, which
drove us all crazy.

Q: How much did your team need this?
A: Do I have to describe that? We needed it all along. The guys have been really great. We take
a Monday, we look at the game and we don’t pull any punches and then we start to build it back up on Wednesday. It’ll be good to win and correct. That’s always been a much better way to teach.

Q: How much was this win a sense of relief for you?
A: I feel really good about our guys. I’m happy for our coaches, happy for our players, happy for
our owners. We’ve got to move on. Again, it’s not about me, but I sure do feel good winning
and it’s one of those, “oh this is what it feels like, huh?”

Q: What does it mean to you that Eli Manning didn’t turn the ball over?
A: He had good vision tonight, I thought. They came with a lot of pressure. They probably pressured two out of every three snaps. Don’t kid yourself, their front and those linebackers
are good. They’re physical, downhill players, good football players, but yeah, Eli saw the things
tonight very well. The vision was good. Obviously, he was very concerned about taking care of
the ball. He did a nice job of that. That’s a great plus-two.

Q: What did you see out of Peyton Hillis that made you use him frequently in the second half?
A: Well, he had some production. There were some plays where we thought he could’ve just run it up in there and gotten a little bit more. You go from scout squad to playing on Monday night, that’s quite an achievement.


QB Eli Manning

Q: Initially some of the passing wasn’t in sync, but as the game went on, things became more in sync.
A: I thought we got off to a good start on the opening drive with 17 plays and we ran out 10 minutes. I hated that we had to settle for a field goal because we just missed Hakeem there for a touchdown. It would have been a good way to start the game, but I thought we at least ran the clock and wore out their defense a little bit and did those things, but I thought we ran the ball well. It was efficient. We didn’t have limited yards and we were getting some positive yards. We got in some third-and-(manageable) situations and we were able to convert those. There were some good plays and some really good things, and most importantly, no turnovers on the offensive side. Defense played outstanding and continued to do their job, and we made enough plays to win the game.

Q: Does it feel good to be smiling after a game?
A: It’s good. It’s good to be smiling and have a little excitement in the locker room afterwards. Those things are fun. If you play and don’t win, after a while you kind of forget that winning feeling, so it’s good to get one right here and we needed it. Hopefully we keep it going.

Q: Is it a relief personally for you because you talked about how you were sort of taking this on yourself?
A: I just wanted to get that winning feeling back. You work so hard each and every week and you try to have a good game. You keep playing and you go and compete hard and try to make plays, and feel like you put a lot of work into it, and not always get the results that you want. We talked about it with our coaches that we’re doing all the right things. Our preparation has been good every week, we just have to keep doing it. If we do the right things, it will come around. You will start to play the way that we know you can.

Q: Did you see the catch Randle made in the corner? When did you see it, if at any point?
A: I didn’t quite see it. I know he had to go up over the defender to make the catch. I kind of saw a glimpse of it between some defensive linemen, but I know that’s something he can do. He can go up and make some plays and sometimes that’s what you need from your receivers – to go up and make a play for you at times. That was a big touchdown right there.

Q: Peyton Hillis seems like a really good checkdown option for a quarterback.
A: I thought Peyton played really well. Coming in here on a week’s notice, he did a good job just understanding protections, blocking when you had to, getting out on the routes, a couple big completions and third down conversions. He did a good job and he got out at times and ran the ball hard. He’s going to be a help for us. He’s a big, strong, athletic running back, and that will be good on third downs. So it was good getting him and I think he’ll be good for us down the road.

Q: Tom Coughlin said that he thought your vision was as good as it’s been all season long, if not better. Did you feel that way out there?
A: Yeah, I saw some things well and saw the coverages. I made throws where I had to and moved through the pocket some. I thought there were some good things, but we’ve got to get better in some things. There were too many third and longs. We get into some bad situations, but we were able to convert a couple of them this game and that was good.

Q: The first possession, you’re faced with a third down and you end up scrambling up the middle, which is the difference between a first down and a three and out. When you think about that on a night like this, is that a big play for you?
A: Yeah, I think the first drive of the game, you don’t want to go three and out. Having third and six or so, stepped up in the pocket and they’re in man coverage, I saw a window and took it inside and got the first down. It’s good and you get the crowd and the sideline fired up a little bit. Obviously again we put together that drive and take ten minutes off the clock – that’s a good start.

Q: There were only two deep shots all game. Is that the approach you were looking for?
A: No, we thought we might have an opportunity to take a few more. They were playing off-coverage a little bit and playing two safeties high to try and make us keep the ball underneath. We did a good job taking what they gave us. They’re a good defense. They’ve got a good front four, good pressure, had some good blitzes, but again we didn’t let any of that cause any mistakes for us.

Q: How much of the win was how the defense played tonight?
A: The defense was outstanding. When they’re dominating, the line of scrimmage and the game, and the offense can’t get much going, it does help the offense. We built a little bit of a lead and said we can be patient. Let’s not give their offense a short field. Let’s not force anything. If we’ve got to punt and back them up, it’s going to be tough for them to go 80 yards for a touchdown. It does make a difference for us and change our game plan a little bit with how we’re pressing and what we need to do.

Q: What was Tom Coughlin’s speech to the team during halftime?
A: I’d like to say I remember exactly every speech coach Coughlin says. I’m sure it was “let’s keep it going” and “let’s go win one.” That was the thing. I think we played pretty well in the first half, but obviously gave them a punt return. Offensively we had some good drives and had to settle for a field goal. The defense was playing outstanding. We knew we had to keep doing what we were doing and just execute a little better, but we had a good thing going.

Q: How cool was it that Mariano Rivera was wearing your jersey beforehand?
A: He’s been the best for a long time. Just the way he goes about it every night – closing games and always ready. He obviously had an unbelievable career here in New York and it was a pleasure to get to talk to him a second before the game and it was an honor that he was wearing my jersey.


WR Victor Cruz


Our first victory and our defense played great. They played great as a team. Got the victory done and it feels good.

Q: (…) took this long?
A: I guess I have to at this point. We let a few go, finish another few and finally pulled this one out from the very beginning. It feels good.

Q: It wasn’t always pretty, what does it say about the team that you guys were able to keep going at it?
A: This is a resilient bunch, I’ve been saying that all year long. We fight, scratch and we’re going to do everything we can to kind of be in that game right at the very end and try to be in the position to win this thing. We just pulled through, fought through every play, every time. Even when things weren’t going our way a couple of times throughout the game, we just kept fighting.

Q: You guys have been saying all along that all you need is one and then things could roll from there. Now that you have it, do you really feel that’s possible?
A: I do. I think you see a renewed energy from this team and guys kind of feel that first win and want to continue to feel that. I think our momentum and our energy is in the right direction and we just have to keep it going and keep flowing off week to week.

Q: (...)?
A: It feels good. Everybody was excited. Everybody was (…). Coaches had a smile on their face, it feels good man. That’s what we’ve been missing. It feels like a party in here after we won today. It just feels good to get off that slump we were on and finally get one under our belt. Hopefully we can build off it.

Q: Do you want to talk about that one in the end zone?
A: Yeah. I’m beating myself up over it but he pushed me right at the very last minute and made the ball hit my shoulder pad before it hit my arms. It’s unfortunate, but I have to come down with that.


Safety Antrel Rolle


Q: Is it a relief or is it just that you finally did all the right things or what?
A: A relief? No, we went out there and won this game. We won this game as a team, it was a well-deserved win and we definitely are going to embrace it and move on from it and get ready for Philly.
 
Q: What was it like coming off the field having that win?
A: It was a great feeling. It was a feeling of something being well-deserved. It’s something that we work hard for. We didn’t start out with the best of the best seasons, we didn’t start off the way we wanted to, but we keep believing in each other, we kept fighting with one another and we were able to go out there and get a win today.
 
Q: Everybody’s excited and laughing and everything.
A: That’s what it’s about. It’s about getting back to having fun. Obviously things have been a little tense around here starting 0-6 but we never gave up on one another. We’ve kept pushing each other, we’ve kept moving each other along… it’s just about getting back to having fun. That’s what this game is about, that’s what it was about when we were little kids and that’s what it’s about now.
 
Q: In the third quarter they forced a turnover and got in great field position. What happened on the play you made the interception?
A: I’m not sure. I think the defensive lineman, someone, hit the guy and kind of maybe threw him off balance a little bit and the ball was able to drift. It was quite high, I thought it was going to go over my head for a second but I just tried to do my best to hit the ball, tip in it any which way I can and I was able to come down with it. It’s a great defensive effort from the front line and from the guys covering. I’m sure someone tied him up, I’m not sure who it was. We were ready to make a play off of it.


DE Justin Tuck


Q: Is this a pivotal point in turning the season around.
A: You know, we hope so. Obviously, we needed to get one on the board. Hopefully, tonight is something we can build on. Still a long way to climb out this hole. But this is a good start and hopefully something that can get the ball rolling.

Q: Can you talk about how the defense played?
A: I thought we played pretty good. It's funny, it's never as good as you think it is, it's never as bad as you think it is. We'll watch the film tomorrow and I'm sure we'll have a lot of corrections. But to hold that team to zero points on defense, who I think is the best back in the league to 28 yards, that's a good start. We had a lot of pressure on the quarterback tonight. It didn't show up in sacks but I think we had double-digit quarterback hits. He was under pressure all night, so, that's something I think we can continue to build on. Our secondary played well, they a got turnover and just had tight coverage all night and hopefully it's something we'll see more of around here.

Q: Were you surprised they went away from Peterson and went more with Freeman?
A: A little bit. A little bit, especially with Josh just being there for a couple weeks. We were really prepared to see a lot of 28, but our offense did a good job of kind of setting the tone on the first drive, putting points on the board. We got a little lead there and they felt they needed to throw the ball and that kind of played into our hands. 

Q: What has Beason meant to the defense?
A: He's been a Godsend for us. That guy, just his passion for the game and the knowledge. There is so many times out there on the football field he sees things before they happen. He is getting guys in the right spots and he is very vocal. That leadership is something we needed and he's done a great job. I think he's brought our young linebackers with him, too. So, it seems like every week he's starting he's getting a little better, a little more comfortable, a little bit more aware of how we play and he's taken that and made it his own and he's really helped our defense a lot.

Q: You had an unusual line with two ends and three tackles. Was that special for this game?
A: We've ran it before, we've ran it before. You know, anytime, good and bad, we've gotten the opportunity to play some pretty good backs so you’ve got to be creative and not show them the same thing and kind of mess up some of their reads up front. We had a little success with that tonight and hopefully you'll see a little bit more of that.

Q: What did you hurt?
A: I popped one of my fingers out of place, that's all. It went right back in.


WR Rueben Randle

Q: Is there a sense of relief that you finally got a win?
A: Yes.  It’s the most noise we’ve ever made, coming out of a win.  I’m glad to be able to have that feeling back and now we can get this train rolling and win a couple more in a row. 

Q: Three touchdowns, three straight games for you, can you just talk about that?
A: I just want to make plays.  It’s nothing special.  I just want to go out there and compete and perform at the best of my abilities and that what I’m trying to do.

Q: On that play, can you just take us through that play a little?  That ball, the DB had a good shot at it.
A: It was inside a little bit, but not going to make an excuse.  When the ball is in the air the ball is yours.  I just did my best to go out there and make a play. 

Q: Obviously not everything is fixed, but is it easier to go about the corrections with a win? 
A: Yes, I think so.  There’s a lot of good things we did, there’s also some things that we could erase.  Just going to go in this week and prepare.  It’s a short week for us, so we’ll continue to build and come out with another victory. 

Q: No turnovers for the passing game, what does that do for you confidence-wise?
A: We just have to continue to build.  No one’s taking any steps backwards.  See what we can correct from this game and go out and make more plays next week, so we can come out with another win. 


RB Peyton Hillis

A: I felt better than what I probably should have.  There’s a lot of room for improvement on my side.  I think that I did some things to help the team win and other things, I didn’t.  There’s a lot of room for improvement and I’m just glad that I can be with the organization and we can get the win tonight. 

Q: Physically you feel good?  I know it’s been a minute since you had game action.
A: Yeah. I think I’m going to be a little sore tomorrow, but it was great to get out there and run that football and play in front of the New York crowd like that, it was spectacular. 

Q: Could you imagine things going this way for you?  A week ago you don’t have a team and now you’re carrying the load for a team this week?
A: It was kind of like a blessing in disguise.  I’m very blessed and I’m very blessed to be on this team, in New York, with great fans, and anything I can do to help this team win.  I just feel very blessed.

Q: Did you have any idea you would have to carry this much of a workload?
A: I didn’t, but anything to help the team win.  Even though I didn’t do that great of a job on the ground, there’s still a lot of room for improvement and I’m (…) to get there.  Get my legs back and working good. 

Q: You being here for barely a week, did you have grasp for what you were doing out there?
A: A lot of things you just did on the move.  Sometimes it worked out.  There’s a couple plays out there where if I’d caught the ball, it could have been a long way running for me.  We got the win, that’s the important thing, and I know from week to week, I’ll get better. 

Q: That one third down conversion when you spun out of a tackle was a big play.  Did you have a feeling you were going to be able to keep your feet on that one?
A: I did, but going in tonight, my legs felt a lot like jello.  I can sense myself going out there and making cuts and falling on my face, but I didn’t.  I’m happy about that, too. 


DE Jason Pierre-Paul

Q: How did everything feel today? It looked like you guys were getting a lot of pressure. It seemed like a vintage Giants defense again for a little bit.
A: Everything was good. We needed this win under our belt. As a defense, we played well, we shut them out the second half and that’s what we needed. We have this win and we’re going to build on it and that’s it.

Q: I know that you said that everyone was sticking together but could you tell that you guys needed this pretty badly.
A: Of course. We needed it pretty badly but we got it. Everybody played as a team. At the end of the day, we’re good.

Q: Was there something that Minnesota was showing on the offense?
A: No, not at all. We just came in, did our job all week. I was there a couple times but all week, I studied at home. I was kind of sick, I had the flu. I got back today and talked to coach and went over things and it all played out for the best. It worked out for the best.

Q: How are you feeling now?
A: I’m a little under the weather but I’m good. I did have a practice this week. I thought I played very well. Could have done better but at the end of the day there’s always next time and always more games to play. We’re going to build on this week and hopefully we get back this week, we’ve got a short week, we turn around and play Philly. We’ll go from there.

Q: How big of a sigh of relief is it to finally get this win under your belt?
A: It’s a good win but we’re supposed to win, especially against an NFC team. At the end of the day things were working out for us. We’re going to build on this and hopefully everybody can stick together and continue practicing well. Let’s get on a roll.