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Postgame Quotes (10/6): Coughlin, Cruz, Eli

Posted Oct 6, 2013

Giants.com brings you inside the locker room for exclusive quotes from Giants players postgame

Coach Tom Coughlin

Twenty-two to twenty-one and it’s a good football game. We just started the third quarter and there’s no reason to believe that we can’t continue that kind of play. Then the turnovers started to come.  That gave them the short field and easy scores.  It was very demoralizing for the sideline.  The guys did a good job of trying to stay up, but we created a situation for ourselves.  I thought it was kind of the same in the first half where offensively I didn’t think they stopped us. I thought we stopped ourselves.  We did some good things. The defense did some good things.  The punter did some good things. The field position part of it.  The young corner, McBride, went into the ball game as a starter and really did some good things. He gave up a play when we thought we might’ve had an interception.  It all comes down to the interceptions.  Two of them were just… almost unbelievable.

Q: After the first interception, was there any conversation about Eli getting hit in the helmet?

A: We were on the sideline, but there was obviously nothing coming from the field.

Q: What about the fact that ball hit an offensive lineman in the head first?
A: There was no conversation about that at all.

Q: What do you do with or say to Eli at this point?
A: I honestly believe that he’s trying so hard to get us a win, he‘s almost put too much on himself.  He keeps it all pretty much inside.  I’m not making excuses.  There were a couple of those plays that were terrible. The intentional grounding penalties hurt so badly because not only distance, but to lose the down.  At one point in the first half we were down in there deep in their territory, then we get an intentional grounding and another penalty on top of that, so we’re out of field goal range.  I think we can make some progress with regard to preventing that.  I think we do have to sometimes just cover the ball and go down.  I don’t know what else we can do.  Sometimes in trying to make a play without both feet underneath you, you throw a ball that you regret you even threw.  That’s what happened a couple of times today.  I felt that the first drive was good.  The second drive was good.  Then we slowed ourselves down and we came out in the third quarter and did nothing for the first drive.  Then, we caught fire, took the ball down, made some nice plays, got the ball in the end zone and handled the pressure well, etc… to the point where I was very excited and confident that we were in a position to win the game.  Then we started giving them the ball in way deep territory.

Q: Early on you got them into a 4th and 4 situation.  There was a holding penalty that sent them back. What was your thought there?  Did you think they would go for it?
A: I knew they would go for it.  There was no question in our minds that they would go for it. The consensus there on the sideline was that we would take them back. We were doing a pretty good job with him at that time.  Then, of course, the next play he runs for what would have been that first down and a first down from the 47, wherever the ball was.

Q: What happened on the instant replay challenge when you called the timeout first?
A: The way it was on the field, the confusion, I just settled everybody down by taking the time out.  I didn’t expect to lose the next one, obviously.  The challenge, we were very sure at the top that the play would be reversed.  I decided that that was the route to take. Didn’t get the affirmation right away, but when I did, I just took a timeout to settle them down.  Then the challenge came and I was shocked when we didn’t get it.  I just put that on myself.

Q: Did you not decide to challenge until after you took the timeout so they could review it?
A: Actually, the affirmation that we should challenge until… When I saw the players on the field, they were trying to get my attention to go ahead and challenge. The clock, obviously, was way down.  So, I just instinctively just took a timeout.  Obviously if I had known in advance from upstairs exactly what I was going to do, I would’ve challenged first, but I didn’t.  Of course, then I immediately asked them for the timeout back if, in fact, they did reverse it.  That wasn’t going to be the case either.  But, I was very surprised, as was our sideline and upstairs, when they did not reverse it.

Q: Was the challenge about his feet being in or not having possession?
A: We thought he stepped on the line.  We didn’t think he had possession.  We thought we had two of them.

Q: Over the years, Eli’s been praised a lot for never letting anything affect his play.  Is this the first time you’ve seen him adversely impacted by the circumstances around him like it has gotten to him a little bit?

A: I don’t know what the answer is to that question.  He never changes throughout the course of the week.  As a matter of fact, he’s practiced really well for the last couple of weeks, very much in control of everything.  But I do think that he’s trying so hard to make something happen that it’s going out the other end.

Q: Have you communicated that with him, or do you plan to?

A: I just grabbed him a moment in the locker room.  He’s way, way too good a player to have these kinds of things happen.

Q: How would you assess the mental state of the team?
A: Very frustrated, very down. The guys have stayed together. They’ve worked very hard.  They’ve put pretty much everything into our meetings throughout the week, our practices.  They build themselves back up to a really good approach, then the frustration of not getting the win.  They’re doing the best they can, even right now.  They are doing the best they can. They’re standing up.  They’re supporting each other.  That’s the way it has to be for a team to carry on.  I think if we can get beyond this third quarter thing… I did think there was improvement tonight.  I felt good about that part of it.  We’re just going to have to line up and do it again in a very short week.

Q: How bad is David Wilson?
A: I really don’t know.  They held him out of the ball game, so I’m sure there will be a bunch of tests run.

Q: How much is this getting you?
A: It’s no fun.  But, I’m not concerned about me.  I’m concerned about those players in the locker room. Whatever I can do to defer whatever to myself.  I lose the games and they win them.  The disappointment is very obvious and it’s very frustrating.  We didn’t expect to be in this situation. We dug our own hole and here we are.


QB Eli Manning

Q: After the first interception, were you surprised at the no-call when you continued to get hit in the helmet and the ball seemed to hit off the offensive lineman before they intercepted the ball?

A: I didn’t know exactly how it happened. It came out of my hand funny and the offensive lineman was kind of fighting for it, and then the hit to the helmet, but that’s on me. I’ve got to be smarter and if I feel pressure, I can’t throw the ball in there. It’s just unfortunate that it gets tipped up and intercepted.

Q: Did you start to feel like the offense was more in a rhythm?
A: The third quarter and even the start to the game, we had some good drives and I thought we had a good plan of what they were doing. We just left some plays out there – some deep plays down the field and some third down conversions. Then, obviously through the third quarter we had some good drives and take the lead, but then the fourth quarter we just didn’t play well. We obviously had three turnovers and that pretty much triggered them to win the game.

Q: Tom [Coughlin] said that you’re trying so hard to get a win that you might be putting too much on yourself. Do you feel yourself pressing out there to make a play?
A: Well, you’re trying to make plays and you’re trying to win. Obviously in the fourth quarter we’re down and on third down had pressure and thought I could get the throw in to Cruz there on third down with guys grabbing me and so I’ve just got to play smarter right there and tuck that one away or throw it in the ground. You can’t afford to have any interceptions back there and put our defense in a bind. We could punt and the defense could get a stop and we’ll have another drive.

Q: How important is it to stay positive now?
A: We have to stay positive. We have a short week and we play on Thursday night, so we’ve just got to keep working and I’ve got to start playing better football and making better throws, and putting our team in a better situation to win some games.

Q: Do you think these losses have affected the confidence of the team?
A: I think there are guys that are having good weeks at practice. I think they have good energy and guys are running around and I think it doesn’t seem like it is. I still feel guys are hanging in there tough and hanging in there strong and doing all the preparations and everything that we need to do to go out there and try to play well, but we’re just having some mistakes, they’re having some bad plays and doing too many things that are costing us games.

Q: What about you? Is it affecting your confidence?
A: No. I know we can play better. I know I can play better. I’ve just got to keep working and have a great game plan and just try to make good decisions. Sometimes in a game, things are going to go wrong and you have to make the best decisions, whatever that is – throw it away, take a sack. But I know I can’t keep turning the ball over in those times.

Q: Is the fact that the running game is not what you’re used to causing you to try to do a little bit more than you normally would?
A: Well, we’re throwing the ball a lot and we’re obviously low on running backs right now. I thought if we had some runs called, in this defense, they were trying to take that away. They were going to stack the box and make us throw the ball, and we feel good about that, and we did some good things. There were some good plays. I thought we left some plays out there, some balls down the field. I missed a couple – a couple that were very close to being made. We just have to keep finding ways to make those plays. You don’t get a whole lot of second chances in this league and when you have a shot to get the ball down the field and hit a game-changing play, you’ve got to make it, and I thought we left some of those plays behind.

Q: You had said you had some opportunities down the field. Did they do anything from a schematic standpoint during the game that surprised you, that you hadn’t seen or weren’t ready for?
A: They had a couple new looks, but nothing we weren’t ready for and didn’t have an answer for. We knew they were going to do some doubles, like double Cruz or double some outside receivers, and they did some of that. We had some answers to try and get guys through the double team and we just didn’t hit many of them. You can have a great scheme and the perfect play, but it’s about execution. You’ve got to execute – the line’s got to block, I’ve got to make the good throw, the receiver has to make the catch in order to have success.

Q: On that second pick to Cruz, you saw the throw the whole way and thought you could get it to him even as you were kind of leaning to your right and going down?
A: I guess if I had it again I probably wouldn’t make the throw. I knew it was going to be tight. I knew it was man coverage. I saw him get a step and knew a guy was on me and probably couldn’t get everything on the ball that I’d like to get and step into the throw. That’s the game of football. You’re in those situations a number of times as the quarterback. It’s not always a clean pocket or you get to step into every throw. You’ve got to make that final decision of ‘can you get it in or is it too risky.’ Unfortunately, I made the wrong decision there.

Q: You had success with multiple tight ends earlier in the game and then it looked like it got away from you. Was it something they did?
A: We had some runs with multiple tight ends. On the second play of the game I think there was multiple tight ends, but we didn’t do a ton of them there.

Q: How hard is it for you to dial it back and take the sack?
A: It’s tough, and sometimes you have to play it to the certain extent of the game. As a competitor, though, you know that’s how you’re making plays. You’re throwing the ball and sometimes you have to scramble around and you’re running around and you make plays, and sometimes it hurts you. It’s hard, as a competitor, to go out and to win, to turn off your competitive edge and play smart. You’re going to get into those situations where you can’t quite step into it. Sometimes you get away with it and you have to make those throws. To be in the NFL, you’re not going to be able to have a clean pocket and you’ve got to be able to be sure that you can put it in a spot where it’s not going to be trouble.

Q: Players talk about looking deeper inside to figure out what they can do, but is this also a situation where you can look outside for perspective to give you something to think about to get out of this hole that you all are in?
A: The only people that can change it are the players and coaches in here. We’ve just got to find a way to compete and be better. We have to find a way to get better with each individual and so we’re going to keep working on that. We do have some new guys and some young guys playing, so we’ve just got to keep working. Unfortunately, some of the mistakes are being magnified and we’re not overcoming them.

Q: One thing that’s been consistent about your career is that you never let the pressure of the job or the marketplace affect your play.  Do you feel like that’s still true or has that changed this season, given the start?
A: No, I don’t think anything is affecting my play. I think I’m competing and I’m trying to make plays to put us in a situation to win games. I don’t think anything has changed in that manner.

WR Victor Cruz

Q: At 0-5, where does this team go?
A: Up. That's the only way we can can, just keep plugging away, learn from the things we can learn from and just keep moving forward.

Q: At what point does this season become lost?
A: We can't think like that. We can't think about the season becoming lost, we can't think about anything like that. We have to think about it one week at a time and that's the only thing we can control.

Q: You took a lead and it looked like you had a spark. Were you surprised how it turned against you?
A: I did. I thought that was when we got our swagger back and we got our momentum back and the crowd was into it and the defense was riled up. We got them off the field on that specific series. Offensively, we just have to take care of the ball better. It's as simple as that. We make plays when we have the ball in our hands and we are pitching and catching, moving the ball up the field and when we turn the ball over that's when things go awry. We’ve got to focus on that and hone in on that specific aspect of our offense and we'll be ok.

Q: How symbolic was that turnover when Eli Manning throws an interception off his own lineman's helmet?
A: Yeah, that one was tough. We were coming in, driving to score. I think we made one or two first downs. We were getting our momentum, we were moving the ball pretty well. And then right on that drive, the unfortunate happens and we get the tipped ball off the helmet or whatever it was and they get it. So, it's unfortunate. But we still had a shot after that and we didn't take advantage of it. It's a tough one to swallow.  

Q: The one that he threw to you, was he desperate and trying to force it in?
A: No, I was open when he looked at me. I was open. It was just he was getting dragged down on one side when he tried to throw the ball so it came out a little fluttery as he was trying to release the ball and that gave the defender a chance to put a hand on it and make a play on it. So, even me, I’ve got to do a better job of trying to rip it out. If I'm not going to get it, no one else gets it. But, the play is over with now.

Q: It looks like the key is turnovers.
A: There it is, you said it. I don't even need to say anything after that.

Q: Do you worry about the team getting discouraged?
A: No, we are a strong bunch, man. We are a strong bunch in this room and in this locker room. We have a strong group of core guys and a strong group of leaders that aren't going to let that happen. So, we just have to keep plugging away each and every week. Scratch, bite, claw for that first win and then take it from there. But we have to get it as soon as possible.

Q: The fact that you have to pass so much, how much pressure does that put on Eli?
A: I think Eli likes to throw. He likes to throw to us. We like having it on us. We like having the pressure on the receivers. But at the same time we have to have some balance. You need to have a good mix of run and pass and I think early on we had some good runs. We were getting four and five yards here and there, making it a manageable down and distances. I think as far as the passing game is concerned, receivers want it to be on us.


DE Justin Tuck

Q: Do you any have thoughts or answers now that you are 0-5?
A: We are 0-5. We lost another game that we felt like we could have won. You have to finish ball games. We couldn't do that today.

Q: What sort of pressure do all the turnovers put on the defense?
A: You know what? We’ve got a rule on defense, you give us a yard, you should stand. Regardless of where we get the ball at or what happens on O, that has nothing to do with us. We still have to play better on defense.

Q: How do you keep the confidence up?
A: What are you going to do? Sulk? Cry about it? You have to go out there and play. You have to go out there and find a way to work your way out of this hole. I know you heard me say that a couple of weeks in a row but that's the facts. There are only two ways to finish this season. And that's figuring some kind of way to right the ship and getting some positive momentum going here or you can sulk and feel sorry for yourself and have the worst season ever in Giants history.

Q: Just a couple of days to get ready for Chicago...
A: Might be a good thing. It might be, I hope so. We’ve got to find a way to get this, I choose to not use an adjective there, but this game out of our loins and find a way to get our spirits back up to go out and face a good Bears team.

Q: It's frustrating to stand here in your own stadium and get booed.
A: Well, we deserved to get booed. They come here to see a good product and right now we are not a good product.

Q: When you hold them to field goals and take the lead, are you feeling good there?
A: Sure we are. The crowd is electric there. We’ve got positive momentum and we’ve just got to figure out a way to finish that, to keep the momentum on our side.

Q: What do you feel on the sidelines when the ball goes off a helmet for an interception?
A: Our opposing defense creates a turnover, we say to ourselves as a defense, we have to figure out a way to get a turnover ourselves. We didn't do that today. I think you want me to say something negative about our offense. But I've been around here long enough to understand this: they go through their ups and downs, we go through our ups and downs. That offense has gotten us out of a lot of jams that the defense has put us in. Right now, it's time for our defense to get them out of a jam because they aren't playing well right now and obviously, we're not either. So, it's time for us to step up on defense and create some sort of positive swing here. As far as the offense, I have all the confidence in the world they are going to figure it out. I've seen it so many times with them. And that's pretty much it.

Q: You guys on defense have done little of that...
A: Very little. Not enough.

Q: Do you believe more can be done?
A: Why wouldn't I believe that? I've seen it before. We’ve just got to figure out ways to make the plays that are there to be made. Obviously, their defense made them. We’ve got to figure out a way to make them.

Q: How do you as a leader keep the team together and not have the defense get upset at the offense?
A:  No, this is a close-knit team, man. We win and tie and lose together, regardless of what happens on either side of the ball. It's always been that way, and as far as I'm concerned, it always will. 

CB Prince Amukamara

RE: Being 0-5
A: It’s new to us but we’re not new to adversity. Like I said, everything’s getting repetitive, I mean, the energy before we go out to the game, it seems like everybody is all in, it seems like we’re about to go out and do something special but all three phases of the team have to play together and it doesn’t look like we did that today. It didn’t look like we finished. It was 22-21 in the third quarter. We just have to finish, man.
 
Q: Could you talk about the play of the secondary with all of the turmoil you had back there this week.
A: A lot of guys who got thrown in the fire, Charles James and Trumaine McBride, but I think they answered it pretty well. Trumaine almost had a nice play on that deep ball against DeSean, he just mistimed it. It should have been a pick. I think our guys did pretty well on the back end. We were manned up on the guys most of the day. It felt like a track meet but it was definitely good work for us.
 
Q: What about the tempo? Were you guys set? Were you able to get set back there?
A: I think our coaches and scout team did a great job in simulating that in practice and I definitely think that we were prepared for that. We were well conditioned coming into this game, but when Mike Vick got out, their whole game plan changed just because there aren’t two runners in the backfield; Foles does more passing.
 
Q: Did that bother you? Did that affect you?
A: It’s a midstream adjust. All week we prepared just for them to run the read option but it was just different.
 
Q: Can you talk about giving up 30-plus points in five straight games to start the year?
A: It’s definitely not acceptable. I know it’s getting repetitive but we just have to go back to work tomorrow. We have to learn from it, we have a game coming up in five days and I saw that (Chicago) lost, too, and I’m sure that they’re hungry for a win, so we just have to get prepared for Thursday. To answer your question, it’s definitely not acceptable, especially here.
 
Q: Obviously 0-5 is not something that anybody could have imagined.
A: No, it’s not. I was saying earlier that it’s definitely not something that any of us are used to but we have to deal with it. We just have to get ready for Thursday?

Q: You said their whole game plan changed, that they did more passing, did Foles surprise you at all with his accuracy?
A: We knew going in there that Foles was a precise passer, a pretty good quarterback. We were more focused on having Vick back there and having the read option. When Foles came in it was a whole new game plan.

LB Spencer Paysinger

Q: How hard is it to be in these games late and have them just spiral out of control?
A: It’s frustrating. I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s not frustrating. You play your heart out, this is your profession and the fact that it doesn’t go your way, as a team it just feels like we didn’t play a complete game. It kind of stings a little bit but like I said, you have a short mindset because now we have to go into Chicago. We’ve got a short turnaround. Tomorrow we’ve got to come in, probably watch this film a little bit and then turn our minds off of this and switch them on to Chicago. It hurts today but tomorrow’s a new day and you have to be ready.

Q: I’m sure you’re aware that no team’s ever started 0-5 and made the playoffs.
A: That’s not what I’m worried about. I’m not worried about history or anything like that. I’m worried about what I can control right now. I can’t control the past, I can’t control the future, I can just control right now.

Q: Through the first five games the defense has had trouble getting off the field in the second halves of these games. Is there a common string from week to week? Why have you been having issues in the fourth quarter?
A: Sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. One play here or there can decide a game and for us, we didn’t get off the field in times when we needed to get off the field.


Guard David Diehl

Q: Can you describe how you felt when you got those two touchdown drives to go ahead, 21-19. Did you feel like you had things turned around?
A: Yeah, I did. Things were on the up, momentum was on our side. You’re fighting, you’re making big plays, running game is going, play action is going but when you turn over the ball you can’t fight possessions and you can’t continue to fight out of those things because you’re completely switching the momentum of the game. To do that, we have that interception and then what, three plays later, it converts into a touchdown and then you’re back behind again and you’re fighting your way back. You can’t do that. You can’t have those situations. You have to win these games in the fourth quarter. You’re right there, in our grip, it’s 22-21, you’re right in the midst of the game and then to have these turnovers, miscues, you can’t do that. You can’t have these things happen in a football game.

Q: Did any of the linemen say anything about getting hit in the head with the ball?
A: No, I didn’t even see what happened. I don’t even know what happened.

Q: How important is it for the veterans to rally these guys?
A: It’s very important. That’s what being a veteran and being a leader is all about. It’s what being a leader’s all about, when things are tough, when things are down, I know everybody in this locker room can look me in the eye and know that I’m going to fight and I’m going to continue to fight. I’m never going to quit, I’m going to bring the best  out of my teammates and I’ll do that until the day that I’m done playing. It’s up to us to step up, be the leaders, get everybody on board and get this ship steered right because we still have a lot of football left, things are within grip. As long as we take care of ourselves and take care of our football.

Q: If you look at it, those two touchdown drives included only one running play.
A: Ok, it’s a touchdown. It doesn’t matter if it’s one play, whatever, it’s a touchdown. We need to continue to move momentum. We need to control the time of possession. When a team like this has the ball like this and is up-tempo, it’s not just about having the ball it’s about having quality possessions, getting runs, making gains, having big plays and that’s what it’s about.

Q: How important is it to keep a positive attitude right now?
A: It’s very important. That’s what this is all about. This game’s about believing in one another, continuing to fight and, like I said, as a leader, I’m going to continue to do whatever I can to bring the best out of my teammates. We’ve got a lot of season left, I’m not going to waver in any way, I’m going to continue to approach the game the way that I always do and fight.

Safety Will Hill

Q: Did you feel like you just kind of picked up where you left off? Was there any rust or anything?
A: There wasn’t any rust, just a lot of excitement and enthusiasm.

Q: Kind of tempered by the final score?
A: Yeah, can’t do anything about it now. All I’ve got to do is just go back in tomorrow and go to work.

Q: With Vick out of the game, do you approach things differently?
A: No, it’s still the same. We just go out there, do our jobs, follow the game plan and try to get a W.

Q: So it doesn’t matter who’s at quarterback?
A: No, it doesn’t matter. Of course you have to play for Vick keeping the ball on the option. That’s probably the only thing that will change. Other than that, everything stayed the same.

Q: You didn’t think that threw you guys off at all? You prepare all week for a guy who’s going to…
A: No, no. It didn’t throw us off. We just knew that we had to keep our head in the game.

Safety Antrel Rolle

Q: How do you react when you see the team has 20 turnovers?
A: Can't have it. Turnovers lose games, we all understand that. But as a defense, turnovers do happen and we have to do a better job of going out there and stopping them. I think we played pretty good ball there today at times, but then at the end of the game, when the opportunity presented itself, they came down with the plays and we didn't come down with enough of them. So, this is the outcome.

Q: Are you feeling good about holding them to field goals?
A: I'm not feeling good about anything. We are 0-5 right now. I don't look at the little things that happen during the game. I look at W's. It doesn't matter what I do as an individual, it doesn't matter what anyone of us do as individuals. It's about team effort and right now we know we aren't putting it out there on the field.

Q: The whole time you've been feeling confident no matter how low things got. Do you feel like you could have been wrong about this team? Maybe it doesn't have...
A: I don't have an answer for a team. I'm one guy. I don't speak for a team. Am I confident in this team? I'm extremely confident in this team. But we have to be confident in ourselves. Like I said, I only speak for my guy. I'm always going to be confident. I'm always going to come out here fighting. I don't care if we are 0-15. You are always going to get the same fight out of myself. We just need to pick it up. We need to pick it up. Get our head out of our ass and pick it up. That's the reality of it. We are losing games around here and that's not Giants football we are playing.