Q: What’s your level of concern about the way things are going for yourself and the team?
A: I think we’ll bounce back and I thought there were some good things. The first half I thought we had a lot of opportunities. I think that’s where we did some really good things. We just didn’t get touchdowns. We got field goals and in the second half we had a weird interception off of a foot and we tried to fight back. When we got down a couple of scores and tried to press, it could go either way. You could make some plays hopefully and also make some mistakes. We were in a bind. The offense, we have to get a little more balanced. We have to run the ball better and we have to eliminate the turnovers. I think we’ll keep fighting and get back on track. I know everybody in our division lost today, so the way we can look at it, we’re one game back in the division. We’ve got to get back to winning some games.
Q: What was the deal on third down? You guys went 3 for 12. How would you analyze it from what you experienced?
A: We’ll have to look. Just had a couple … I can think of one drop, some misfires, I got pressured on a few things. I think a couple were down in the red zone that were unfortunate. If we could have converted on those, they could have led to scoring touchdowns and not field goals.
Q: Does it feel similar to ’07, or is that too much of a reach for you?
A: We just have to play better. I’m not trying to make comparisons to years obviously … You can look at it the same, but we have to find a way to play better. Better offense, better defense. I thought the defense played really well that last two weeks, so we have to help them out by scoring some more points and putting the opposing offense in a bind.
RE: Red zone scoring
A: The week before I think we went three-for-five in the red zone. That’s not terrible. You’re not going to score every time you get down there. You would like to, but this week … The first one I threw a little high to
Q: Down the road, do you see Peyton teasing you about 3-0?
A: I don’t think so. I think this is something that we’re both passionate about. What we’re doing is our job. It’s my concern to this team and getting back to winning right now.
Q: If you would, could you share any of the interaction that you did end up having with Peyton?
A: We got to talk a little bit before the game and just chatted for ten minutes. Nothing specific, just brotherly talk. Not a whole lot of interaction.
Q: Is it any more disappointing because it’s him?
A: It’s all team-related. You want to go out there and play well, so you’re frustrated that you lost another game. We had some opportunities early on. Their offense started clicking and making some plays. We had turnovers and we just couldn’t catch any breaks. We just really want to get back to where we’re playing better football offensively and get back on track.
Q: The play at the end of the half with Nicks going one way and you threw the other?
A: Just a bad decision by me. I was really just trying to kind of … in a little … on a blitz and trying to throw the ball away, where we wouldn’t get an intentional grounding, but we would get it close. It was unfortunate that I threw it in a spot where their guy could make a play.
Q: Eli, the last interception?
A: The last one was on me. Rueben did the right thing, he ran the right route and I threw the wrong route.
Q: You threw the long pass to Cruz to start the game…
A: It was honestly a great way to start the game. Our defense got us a turnover and to hit Cruz on a big one down the field on the first play and then got another first down running with Brandon, it was a good drive. We had a third and long and weren’t able to convert on that one, had to settle for a field goal, but it was a good start. First half there was really good things going on, we just didn’t finish some drives as well as we needed to.
Q: Is it hard to imagine that in two games you have seven interceptions?
A: Yeah, that’s never a goal. Before the season I like to set goals, keeping interceptions in the single digits. I kind of have to start over here. Obviously, some of them happen and you have to look at decisions and you get some bad breaks. Sometimes you get late in games, 4th and 10 and we have to make a play and force something here and whether it’s intercepted or incomplete, an interception probably ends up being better right there for us field position-wise. At the end of games or when you’re competing, I’m going to be aggressive and not worry about the stats or quarterback rating at the end. Honestly I’m not trying to throw interceptions, but obviously I’m just worried about getting back to playing well offensively and eliminating some of these turnovers.
Q: You talked about running the ball and more balance, how do you go about making running be part of the offense?
A: I think you need to have a little success in it. We have to run the ball better. A lot of our runs early on weren’t getting much yardage, if not losing yardage, so we eventually said alright, we’re going to get into three and four wide stuff and see if we can back them up and hopefully that would help the run game. It’s just a combination of having some success with it, getting better down and distance, so that should slow down the pass rush and should help out with the play action and help out our offense.
Coughlin’s opening statement: I thought it was a very good football game. Even despite the interception right before the half, which we would’ve counted on the field goal being made there, if we didn’t score. Which would’ve given us the lead at halftime. We come back out in the middle of the third quarter, and have that other interception to give them the ball in that position on the field. I mean, that was, in my opinion, a huge, huge turning point in the game. Quite frankly, to not be able to run the ball, to have so few attempts at rushing the ball, it’s just not our style. We haven’t had a lot of success with it, and to see that ball thrown that many times, and some of the results, are very difficult to explain. I thought that our defense played hard. I thought they handled the tempo that the Denver offense was trying to utilize, whether it was hurried up or it was slowed down, I thought we did well with that. They made some plays, no doubt, but we made some plays, too. We kept a very high-powered offense under control. If we would’ve had some consistency over four quarters on offense, even if it were kicking field goals, it would’ve been a decision that we made in the fourth quarter. We’re disappointed, frustrated, and I can understand how some of the players feel. The whole point is, we have to hang in there. We have 14 games to go, we’ve been 0-2 before, we’ve dug ourselves into a hole before, and been able to fight our way out of it, and we did it with ‘team.’ But the performance level has to come up. Our punting game was not up to standards tonight. We had talked all week about not punting the ball down the middle of the field, and that’s pretty much all it was, down the middle of the field. The last one, which was a poorly punted ball, really rose up to bite us in the tail. Lots of work to be done, but as I said, into the middle of the third quarter, the game was being played the way we wanted it to be played. The defense was doing some good things. They were kicking field goals, rather than scoring touchdowns. A highly competitive game turned into the kind of sloppy finish, with the couple of interceptions at the end, and the punt return.
Q: What’s your assessment of what’s wrong with the running game?
A: Without looking at the tape, we’re not running through very many arms, and we don’t have a lot of clear paths.
Q: What’s your level of concern with Eli?
A: Well, I think Eli would be the first to say that he’s not the way we want him to be. Somehow, someway, we’ve got to stop the interceptions. You’re looking at a two-edge sword. You’ve put yourself in a position where you are throwing it and not running it. Now, if you’re going to try to tighten it up a little bit, we’re going to have to have some run game to go with it.
Q: What was your plan with the running backs? You had
A: They both basically had plays, if you will. Things that they were going to be utilized for, and Da’Rel (Scott) was pretty much the third-down guy. Brandon was to be the short-yardage, goal line guy. David had his special plays, as well.
Q: When you opened, you said ‘I understand how the players feel.’ What was the sense like in the locker room?
A: Well, you put an awful lot into it. It was a good week. They worked hard this week. They came in, and it was that they were going to prepare harder, work harder and I thought they did. It’s frustrating not to win.
Q: What was the problem on third down?
A: I don’t know. I didn’t see the numbers.
Q: You went 3-for-12 on third down.
A: We didn’t keep the ball very long. I would say on some occasions, it was pressure. Other occasions, it was coverage. Without looking at the tape.
Q: The assessment of Hakeem (Nicks’) finger?
A: I think he’s fine. He dislocated it, they put it back in, and he came back into the game.
Q: After your first game, you were a lot more fiery. Do you think the play tonight was better, or are you trying not to show any desperation?
A: I can stand up here and be fiery, if that’s what everybody wants. There’s a little bit of a hole in my stomach, too. I am very disappointed. What can I tell you?
Q: Are you concerned with the offensive line?
A: Any time you don’t have any statistics to show for it, we’re certainly not knocking them back off the ball. Give credit where credit is due, they have a good defensive team. They have a very good defensive team. If you ask about third down, they were what, third in the league in third-down defense last year? Their front is big and strong and powerful. They’re a good defensive team. You’ve got to have a better run result than we’re having.
Q: The interception in the third quarter, it hit off of the defensive back’s foot, is that indicative of when things just aren’t going right?
A: I don’t know about that. I wouldn’t even say that. It was just a play that we thought we should’ve made, but we didn’t. On a slant, the first indication that trouble is there, was that the defender’s arm was reaching in towards the ball as the receiver was doing the same thing. It wasn’t clean, the ball gets knocked down. When you see it bounce up in heavy traffic, that’s not a good sign.
Q: You were down one when you looked like you had forced the turnover, but they got it back. What did you think went wrong?
A: We always talk about getting the ball. When the ball is on the ground, it’s ours. We haven’t gotten many of them, and that one was in our hands and we didn’t even get it. That’s part of the frustration.
Q: What about their two touchdown runs?
A:There were contain issues on those two plays. There was no one up on the edge, nobody added a contain element to the defense, and I would have to look and see on that.
Q: Did you feel any momentum slip away with the interception right before the half and not scoring? And then having your offense go three-and-out on the first drive of the second half, after deferring to start the game?
A: We had obviously deferred so we would get the kickoff in the second half. That was just a strategic move on our part. It looked like it was going to work out. It worked out well when they fumbled on their opening drive. I thought we were in good shape, coming out of the half. We would’ve liked to have had the lead, but we didn’t. We were excited about coming out and getting the ball.
We’ve just got to go back to working, get that chemistry with our O-line and get things moving in the right direction.
Q: Is there concern through two games?
A: Like I said, we’ve just got to get back and have chemistry with our O-line. The running backs are working hard so eventually we’ll get on track.
Q: Do you feel like you’re better than an 0-2 record?
A: Yeah, most definitely. We’ve got a lot of playmakers on this team, a lot of guys that are used to winning, so we’re going back to practice and we’re going to get this thing back on the right path and go out there and execute the plays on gameday.
Q: Was it that you weren’t able to get into a rhythm without enough carries?
A: No. Like I said, we’ve just got to work hard and get back on track.
Q: Do you…
A: I don’t count the carries. I just got out there and, when I’m asked to make a play, execute.
Q: What was it like being back on kickoffs?
A: I really like being back there. I wish I could have gotten something to set a spark. This game we definitely needed it. I’ll get into a rhythm back there and hopefully I can keep it up.
Q: When you look at the second half scoring, it’s pretty lopsided, but does this really go back to some of the missed opportunities you had in the first half to put some touchdowns on the board?
A: Maybe so, but in a football game, once you miss an opportunity or somebody messes up, you can’t dwell on that play. You have to move forward and keep making plays. You can’t really look back and say we had missed opportunities and whatnot, probably did, but in a football game, in the heat of the moment, you have to keep it moving forward.
RE: Dislocated finger
A: It was bent the opposite way but the knuckle was facing down.
Q: Middle finger?
Q: That’s a lot of pain isn’t it?
A: Initially yeah, that hurt. But, as it went on, I took care of it. I’ve just got to keep playing.
Q: Did it affect you much when you were playing?
A: No, when I got back in the game it wasn’t affecting me at all.
Q: How disappointed are you now that this team’s 0-2?
A: Nobody wants to get off to this kind of start but it’s about how we respond, how we bounce back from it. I’m sure we’ll do that.
Q: Do you feel like maybe the offense is still out of sync?
A: No, I don’t want to say that because we hit some big ones and just didn’t capitalize on some. Like I said earlier, we just eliminate the turnovers and start capitalizing on certain plays, then we’ll be good.
Q: Is it too much of a strain now on the passing game because you just haven’t run the ball?
A: I don’t want to say it’s too much of a strain but I think we’ve just got to start taking care of ourselves on offense, capitalizing.
Q: The final play of the first half, one of the final plays, that was just a miscommunication between you and Eli?
A: It wasn’t me on the sight adjust I think he said, because I had a post route and Cruz was in the slot, so if we have a sight, it would have been Cruz. Like I said, we have to just look at it on film before we decide what the problem was.
A: It sucks. It’s bad not winning, of course. What are you going to do? Are you going to get down on yourself and not continue to work hard? Then you’re going to continue to lose. You’ve got to just keep your head up and keep working. We’ve got to keep that fire, we’ve got to work hard at practice, we’ve got to turn everything up a notch and stay positive about everything. I’m ready for the push. I know it can be tough, we’ve got a tough stretch coming, we’ve just got to keep working.
Q: You haven’t had a lot of time to work with the whole running game operation, but was it a little bit more of a struggle than you were expecting?
A: I mean, I didn’t think it was a struggle. It’s just, the other guys on the other side of the ball get paid as well and they have a job to do as well. We just have to win, that’s all we have to do. We have to have that mentality to go out and beat up on everybody and do whatever it takes. I’m ready to be a part of it. Of course taking a loss is terrible, it feels bad, I hate losing but it could be worse. For me, as an individual, I’m happy to be in this locker room, this is my team and we just have to push, just keep pushing.
Q: When you were here the first time it started with the run game. Do you guys need to get that going to start beating up on people the way you were?
A: We’ve got to get that going, of course. You can’t win with a closed playbook. When you get in certain situations on the football field. you close part of the playbook and that’s just the way it is. You’ve got to try to get back in the game, you’ve got to do it quickly and sometimes running isn’t the way to do it, you’ve got to close that out and stick to only one thing but when you’re running the ball well and you’re in the game and you’re doing it effectively, it’s going to be hard to stop a team. Like I said, you get behind and things sort of change.
Q: What were your thoughts, opening kickoff and you’re on the kick return team. Any thoughts?
A: I like that kind of stuff. That type of stuff never bothered me. That’s part of winning, you put your best players in the best position to do what you need them to do and I was willing to do whatever I had to do to come back here and be a part of this team and that’s one of them. It’s a four, five-second play. You run down there, you hit somebody in front of you, try to make the play and get off the field. I like it.
Q: Can you describe the emotion pregame in the huddle with everyone again, and then when you scored?
A: It’s emotional. I’m back, I’m a Giant, I got a chance to get into the end zone today, but you know, scoring that touchdown was very important but we didn’t win. It means nothing. I was happy I got it but it means nothing because we didn’t win.
Q: How important is next week?
A: It’s huge. It was always a big deal but I think that, with the position we put ourselves in, every game from here on out is going to be critical. That’s always how I like to play but now we’ve got to be able to go in and practice and make sure that we’re 100 percent focused on defense. Everybody shows up early, stays late and just gets all of the issues corrected so we don’t have this same kind of letdown.
Q: Was that not happening?
A: It was but you can always step it up a little bit more. We’ve got guys who are 100 percent into it and we’ve got guys who are 150 percent into it. So now everybody’s got to step it up to that next level. It’s just a matter of putting it together, putting a complete game together. We could play a good quarter here, we could play a good half here but if we don’t go out and play a complete game, things aren’t going to come out the way you want them to.
Q: What’s missing? Because it seemed unclear.
A: That’s what we’ve got to study on film. If there are little things, little assignments here and there, then we can get that corrected. If there are bigger things, then we’re going to have to address those issues. Right now, I think we’ve just got to stay calm, go back to the tape and watch it with a critical eye on ourselves and make sure that we get it done.
Q: You get a big gain down the field and it’s good, but I’m sure you wanted more on that play where you…?
A: Where I fell down? Yeah. That’s inexcusable. You’d like to have that back but you can’t, so you have to just continue to try to make plays and move the chains.
Q: Did you see clear sailing from there? You think you would have scored?
A: Yeah. That’s the last thing I wanted to happen obviously but it happens.
Q: Did you come out OK health wise?
A: Yeah. A few bumps and bruises, but yeah, for the most part.
Q: I’m sure the Raiders were 0-2 in a point in your career…
A: Many of times, yes.
Q: Is there a different vibe from…?
A: Yeah, this team doesn’t stop fighting. It’s a good locker room, we’ve got a lot of guys that have won a lot of games so that’s the big thing. That’s the difference. Everybody knows that we need to come back to work and keep grinding and having a positive attitude and staying together as a team. That’s the biggest thing that guys in this locker room do.
Come together, no time for pointing fingers. We’re all one, we just have to get together and play as a team, offensively, defensively and on special teams. That’s something right now that we’re not doing.
Q: So you feel like you’re much better than an 0-2 team right now?
A: I can say what we are, but the record shows otherwise. The record shows 0-2, so at this point, we’re an 0-2 team. It’s up to us what we’re going to do from this point on. We can either get in the tank, which is something that we will never, ever do, or we can go out and fight like I hope that we will do and like I see us going out there and doing. We have to pick it up. We have to pick it up in all three phases on the game, offensively, defensively and special teams and make sure you clear up certain things because there are a lot of things that need to be clear. It’s not bad football, not bad football defensively, there are just a lot of things we could clean up.
Q: When Perry talked to us during the week he said that when you guys first played Peyton in 2010 the game plan was very different from what it was today.
A: A great game plan, outstanding game plan. I think that’s two weeks in a row Perry has put something great together for us. As a defense we have to go out there and execute it. It’s just as simple as that.
Q: It’s just executing?
A: It’s just executing.
Q: How do you think you handled the pace?
A: The pace wasn’t much at all. It really wasn’t much at all. I think we anticipated a whole lot more. The pace didn’t throw us off balance at all. The pace wasn’t much."
RE: Defense’s play in two losses…
A: It’s a loss. Nobody cares about good enough. Good or close doesn’t count in anything but horseshoes and grenades. This is a game we needed to win and up until the third quarter had every opportunity to be up in the game. That’s a great football team. You can’t allow yourself to miss the opportunities we missed today. They took advantage of it, especially in the second half.
Q: What happened in the second half? It seemed like they kind of exploded just like they did against Baltimore.
A: You go back and look at them the last two seasons. They got their run last year. They outscored … in the second half, we knew that coming into it. This game was different from a lot of lows. We had opportunities, got the ball on the ground, could have stopped that drive there, the ball didn’t bounce our way there. That could have been a 14-point swing, but you can’t allow yourself to start thinking about ‘what if.’ We have to go out there and start taking advantage of opportunities and somebody had to step up and make a play. We didn’t make enough plays today.
Q: How frustrating is Peyton to deal with?
A: There’s a reason why he’ll be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He’s one of the best to ever do it and he figures out ways to get his offense in the right play most of the time. Even when you feel like you’re in the right coverage and right blitz, whatever defense, he finds a way. They don’t make a lot of negative plays. Even when they make positive plays, they didn’t make stupid plays. They didn’t turn the ball over. They didn’t have a lot of penalties that put them behind the down and distance. When they did that’s when we had pretty good defense. When you allow him to get to those second and two or third and two situations where they hurt you and stand up right in front of the ... You have a long day. In the second half, they kind of stayed in front of the …
Q: Is there anything they did to set up those two long touchdown runs, as far as putting them in the right position to …?
A: That’s on us. It was a good scheme play, but it’s still on us. We can stop those runs with a few adjustments.
Q: What about the pass rush?
A: It’s hard to rush Peyton Manning. I think we got pressure in spots, but he does a good job getting the ball out of his hands. I would doubt that we had a lot of times where he held the ball more than three seconds. That’s frustrating because after a while you start thinking, let me try to get my hand on a batted ball. You almost stop rushing a little bit. It’s frustrating. It’s hard to get to him, but obviously we have to do better than that, too.