|Five Players that stood out
These players made the biggest impact on Sunday
Instant Analysis NYG 15, PHI 7
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Good afternoon. It’s nice to win in the division. It was a very good football game, but it certainly leaves us with a lot of stuff we can do better, let’s put it that way. I thought our defense was outstanding. Six tackles for a loss. Four sacks. Two interceptions. Five pass deflections. 10 quarterback hits. McCoy was 15 (carries) for 48 (yards). That’s a pretty good effort. 58 snaps is all they had. Special teams was five for five in field goals. Two punts of 50-plus in the third quarter. That was huge. Just to see that ball out of bounds at the five and ball out of bounds at the three. Now they’re forced to drive the whole length of the field, which is something they forced us to do the first game as we had very poor field position and, of course, we had four touchbacks on kickoffs. Offensively, zero turnovers, which was outstanding. 38:05 time of possession. 71 plays. 31 runs. Four good drives, but unfortunately the drives did not finish the way we wanted them to with touchdowns. But we did put ourselves in position, particularly in the first half, where I felt we had the ball pretty much the whole first half and had we come away with a couple of touchdowns there, I’m sure we would have felt a little bit better about ourselves.
Finishing the game… it wasn’t quite as smooth as I would like it to be. We’ll get better at that, hopefully, but we did pin them back deep and forced them to have to drive a long way and we accomplished that. We have given up two special teams touchdowns the last two weekends and that’s got to cease right there and, as I mentioned yesterday, it was very uncharacteristic of our long snapper to have a play of that nature in a game, particularly at that time. We’re pleased to win. We know we have a long way to go. We know we have a lot of things that can be improved upon, but it’s nice to win in the division.
Q: Is there anything schematically with special teams or is it freak things that are happening?
A: No. I don’t think schematically, I don’t believe, is the answer. We’ve had the punt returns, which unfortunately sometimes we’ve out-punted the coverage and there’s no more explanation than that. A couple of weeks ago, I discussed thoroughly on. I don’t need to go there any longer, but hopefully we’ve gotten that part of it under control. Quite frankly, the longer we can kick the ball out of the end zone (on kickoffs)… If the ball is nine yards deep in the end zone now, it’s customary for the ball to come out. So you’ve taken the 35-yard line and eliminated that part of it and you saw it last night again when Minnesota returned a long one for a touchdown right off the bat in the game.
Q: Almost every year you’ve been here has been a good year. The team has always had a good record going into the bye. What was your challenge today to the guys with a 2-6 record going into the bye?
A: It’s been a challenge every week to our guys and their attitude has been great. As I’ve mentioned over and over, they’ve come in here on Wednesdays and they’re excited about getting started again on the next opponent. That’s been very consistent. We knew full well that this was a really, really important game for us, not only because we had the bye following but because if we were going to have any chance to make a run in a very, let’s be frank, difficult schedule in the second half of the year, we had to put ourselves in position here. We had not won in the division. So by winning in the division, that was an important thing. I think there’s some excitement. We’re certainly not blind to the issues that we do have, but by the same token we’re excited about having an opportunity to improve on those areas and excited about the second half of the year.
Q: It seems like you’ve got things going in the right direction. Is there a part of you that’s frustrated that you have to stop because of the bye?
A: I don’t know. That question always comes up one way or the other. I have not heard it from this end, thank goodness. Let’s face it, when I look at the schedule, you have things something you can do about and those you don’t have any control over. Let’s take advantage of it. We’ve played 12 straight games. Yes. Your point is well taken. We probably came out of the game as clean as we’ve come out of a game, too and so maybe that concept, too… We’re playing our way into (it) and we are more physical now. There’s no question we’re more physical than we were a few weeks ago. I just believe we’ll maintain. We’re going to have to maintain. And so the theme was, yes, this is the time for a break and there’s no question they need that. But while we’re having this rest and downtime get us healthy as we possibly can and come back with that great energy.
Q: Talk about Antrel Rolle’s leadership role and what kind of effect he’s had on the guys around him?
A: Antrel takes his captaincy very seriously and he has complete ownership and so he’s very energetic. He’s a very energetic individual. He’s very positive. He’s very uplifting. He’s upbeat all the time. He’s not afraid of reality, so there definitely has been an impact by his personality alone on our team and it’s a very good thing.
Q: Some of your defensive players said they had a meeting with Perry Fewell. Justin Tuck said some things were simplified on the defense. What do you make of that and the effect it’s had on the way the defense has performed?
A: The only thing I make of it is people trying to be the best they can be and the voice, the honesty, the openness about being able to discuss those kinds of things with your coach and the coach making a very serious attempt, without putting us in a position where we’re not doing enough, to do some things to help simplify.
Q: Is Andre Brown at the point where he might be able to play?
A: I’m going to have to wait and see. This will be a good week for him. He’s going to continue to be here. To rehab, to workout, condition. I’ve been impressed with this last couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to see where he is next week.
Q: Do you see the offensive line now starting to settle down a little bit and the cohesion starting to develop?
A: Yeah, but there’s more work to be done. There are some things going on sometimes that are a little bit unexplainable. Not that it’s easy, it’s not. We do see a lot of pressure, but we’re well prepared for it. We really are. Just on occasion, things are not as well communicated as they should be, so we’re working towards that end.
Q: Can you talk about Will Hill and you guys standing by him since he’s come back? It seems like he’s made contributions.
A: He’s made a strong contribution. He’s worked hard and he has tried to go about his business the right way. In other words, to prove the quality of person that he is, rather than talk about. He’s not one to volunteer a lot of verbal, but he loves football and he’s a very good football player. Interestingly enough, the more you ask him to do, the more he can handle. He doesn’t miss many special teams’ plays and he started and played the whole game, played very well, had the pick at the end when they were trying to get it to 10. He’s gone about his business and we’ll stand by him and we encourage him. I think he feels a great deal of responsibility to his teammates now and hopefully that will just continue to grow.
Q: I know Victor Cruz went back into the game yesterday. Are there any follow ups this morning?
A: They’ve assessed and looked at and that type of thing, but the fact that he came back in the game was a good sign.
Q: Do you have any issue with that hit on him?
A: Not that I would say, no.
Q: How does a player get traded during the season, for a late round pick by the way, and walk into a locker room and so quickly develop such respect and leadership qualities and essentially quarterback your defense like Jon Beason has?
A: He’s again upbeat, has that personality, an outgoing personality, a very confident personality. He’s had success in the game. He loves the game. He speaks with an aura of authority of having been there. I think the players have responded well to his aggressive style. Let’s face it, he’s an aggressive football player. He’s looking to make hits and tackles and I think the players have responded to that.
Q: How did the whole Beason thing come back to you guys? How does that work?
A: That’s basically what happened. (Jerry Reese) came forth and presented his thoughts on that and ownership was involved, but that credit goes to Jerry.
Q: We haven’t had a chance to speak to Jerry Reese. Can you just talk about how he’s handled this difficult period? Everybody has been taking a lot of shots about personnel moves and things like that.
A: My relationship has never changed. We’ve worked very hard together. Jerry is a very optimistic, solid guy that finds a way to put a positive spin pretty much on everything. He doesn’t deny, he doesn’t try to hide the issues and what’s not being done well and what is. When it’s all said and done, he is a standup guy that moves forward and does so with optimism.
Q: Coach, you had Jacquian Williams in the game a lot. I know he had some injury issues in the spring. Can you talk about how he’s progressed and what he can bring moving forward?
A: Right now, the other day, that’s probably as well as Jacquian has played. That fumble recovery that he made, that was as good a play. You talk about the timing and when you talk about that, you have to talk about Terrell (Thomas). The way I introduced it today, he was one of the Game Ball recipients, and it was, ‘Welcome back, Terrell.’ He played well. That play he made in that particular situation, knocking that ball out when they were in point blank range. That was a denial of touchdown, field goal, whatever it might be, and to have that ball recovered the way it was, an effort play like that was a very good thing.
Q: Is there any more clarity on David Wilson?
A: No. No one has provided me with anything.
Q: Any evaluations with him?
A: Not that I know of.
Q: Has Will Hill sort of leap frogged Ryan Mundy on the depth chart?
A: No, you look at the way in which the strategy involved in playing a team from a week in and a week out situation. We need everybody, without a doubt. Everybody gets involved.
Q: Will you take time off in this break?
A: Yeah, I will. Sure.
Q: Look at the leaves again?
A: Probably. Are they changing?
Q: I think they’ve already changed.
A: Are they?
Q: Sometimes they fall.
A: Are there any left? When I was a kid it was great because in those days you used to rake the leaves to the side of the road and you had the chestnuts and the leaves together. You knew it was fall.
Q: Tom, are you aware yesterday in your visiting locker room, there was great reaction, not just players, but some front office folks as well, when the Lions beat the Cowboys?
A: I wasn’t aware. I didn’t find that out until I came back in and Jerry told me about the end of the game.
Q: With the CBA limiting the amount of time you can have these guys, how do you do it in this time when you don’t have a lot of time with them?
A: Well the priority is getting them rested and healthy. That’s what is going to happen here.
Q: Do you do a lot of self-scouting on the bye?
A: We do. That’s what we do. We’ll be into that heavily and when the players come back, that’s the first thing they’ll be offered in the meeting, which will be a worst to best evaluation of where we are.
Q: You’ve missed the playoffs with a 10-6 record, do you kind of sit there and shake your head that you’re 2-6 and still there?
A: No, I’m not to that point yet. One at a time for me.
CB Terrell Thomas
RE: Changes that have been made to the defense in recent weeks
A: On defense, we were adjusting too much and just not playing fast and I think the second half of the Chicago game, we saw how good we can be if we simplify things. I think we were trying to do too much at times, as a coaching staff and as players. Once we got to a stage where we could simplify things and play a lot faster and play with our eyes and speed and talent, you could see the results on the field.
Q: There were 61 snaps on defense yesterday. You played 100%. At this stage, with what’s gone on with you, how much does that mean to you?
A: It’s good. I think Ronnie Barnes is doing a great job of managing me, along with the coaching staff, allowing me to rest during the week, at the same time, taking a game off here and there. I’m about 13 months post-surgery. I think with this coming (bye) weekend, the rest of the season should be good for me. I think I’m at a turning point with my knee that it’s adjusting, kind of getting my legs underneath me and knowing what to expect week in and week out.
Q: You felt that yesterday?
A: Yeah. I mean, it’s always sore and I’m still coming off of a knee injury, but it’s definitely feeling better and I’m able to play a lot more, to my old self in a way. Sometimes the knee gets stiff during the game from the wear and tear, or just a couple of games, but I’m feeling good.
Q: You felt like more of yourself? You had 11 tackles, a forced fumble, you had a bunch of things.
A: I think the coaches did a great job of putting me in a situation where I can just play football, utilizing my size and speed. I was able to make some plays for our defense and I thought Prince and Trumaine did a great job allowing me, Antrel, and Will, to just roam back there and make tackles. We just had a solid day of defense.
Q: How much do you wince that there is a bye week, now that you have two wins in a row and are kind of feeling good again?
A: It comes at a good time. We just finished the second quarter of our season. We’re 2-6. Now we need to keep getting healthier and get ready to get this thing rolling. Obviously by Week 10 we hope we’ll have a couple other wins, but we have a tough schedule coming up with the Raiders. They’re no joke and it doesn’t get any easier after that.
Q: Are you back in it or is it too far away…?
A: We haven’t done anything yet. We’re 2-6. It feels great to have two wins. The smiles around here, everybody is confident and this team has the make up to make a run like this. We’ve been in a position like this before and we’re better when our backs are against the wall, but it’s a good time for us to relax and get football off our mind and come back refreshed.
Q: How much further do you have to go in terms of your knee?
A: I think that was a good game, to say welcome back. I felt good. I had a great week of preparation. It was good to see my practice carry over to the game. I was excited with my play. It doesn’t mean anything if I can’t do it the following week and keep dealing on it.
Q: It was a short week too. Was that a struggle for you?
A: No, like I said, I’m feeling better every day, every week. It’s not getting as sore. I’m a lot looser during the week and my recovery aspect after the game is becoming faster.
Q: You would have been able to play this weekend?
A: Yeah. I think so. My swelling was minimal. Everything was good. I was able to lift on it today and walking fine. I’m just happy I get to take my daughter to school tomorrow.
Q: Would you do anything different in terms of rehab this week?
A: No. I’m going to stick to the schedule. I’m going to rehab in California. I’m going to rest as well, but I am going to rehab because I am still catching up. It’s just something I have to do.
RB Andre Brown
Q: How do you feel?
A: I feel great. Great, legs… I’m exploding, cutting, cutting really well and I’m ready to go.
Q: What have these past seven, eight weeks been like?
A: Very humbling. Especially with the slow start that we got off to. Mad a little bit because I couldn’t be out there to help them win. It was a process, fought through it and I’m ready to go.
Q: How tough has it been looking at the running back situation. They’ve been scrambling, bringing people in off the street?
A: It’s something that, as a running back, we know there are going to be injuries. That’s why we carry four guys. With us struggling like that, it was very difficult to watch. But we’re a bunch of fighters, we’re going to go out there and continue to fight and continue to win.
Q: Right now, you feel 100 percent?
A: Yeah. Just got to get a little contact, I haven’t had any contact in a while. And just really holding onto the ball. I’m looking forward to it, that’s all I can do.
Q: Coming off the two wins and now the bye, how anxious are you to get out there and really keep this thing going?
A: The morale around the team is very good right now. A break will definitely help us out. I see that we’re ready to come back out here and finish the second half of the season strong.
Q: What have the doctors told you about the leg? Is there a risk factor there?
A: It’s just a freak accident. I got hit right there where the plate was at. It just was a freak accident. Now I have a shin guard, I guess I’ll be wearing that for the rest of my career.
Q: You mentioned about the contact. Do you have a sense of when they are going to let you get back out there?
A: No. They’re going to let me know later in the week, I guess. They see that I’m ready to go. I was practicing well last week and after the bye, they’ll make decisions and we’ll go from there.
Q: You’ve said all along that you expect to be on the field playing against the Raiders. Has that changed?
A: No, that hasn’t changed. I’m still looking forward to coming back against the Raiders.
DE Justin Tuck
I feel good about what we’ve been able to accomplish the last two and a half games on defense and hopefully it’s something that we continue to build on. But we have a long way to go obviously, not only just because of our record but on defense too. There are still things that we need to improve on and we’ll go through this bye, get a little bit healthier and hopefully come back and make sure we continue to improve.
Q: Does it come at the right time? You guys get on a little bit of a roll and before the stretch run you’ve got some time to really look at what you need to work on. And you’re going to take a little bit of a break from the day-to-day stuff.
A: I think it’s perfect actually in the sense that it does come right at halftime of the season. Once you get on a roll you want to keep playing though so I could see why guys would look at it that way. We’ve got to utilize this bye to our advantage and, like I said, come back ready to go next week.
Q: Antrel Rolle to this team, he seems like he’s really been stepping up and even when the team was 0-6 he was talking, had a real big voice in this locker room.
A: No different than what it has been for a few years now with Trel. He’s one of those guys that is so infectious to be around. He loves the game and it shows. He’s one of those guys that we put a lot of pressure on to go out there and play well for us, not only on the football but we put a lot of pressure on him to be in that leadership role that he’s in. He’s definitely stepped up for us. Like I said, it’s not like we’re surprised. He’s been doing it since he got here.
Q: He’s saying you’re going to win 12 in a row and then he’s saying you’re going to win 10 in a row. Do you guys like to hear that?
A: It doesn’t bother me much. If you asked me if I thought we were going to win every game we played, I’d say yes. That’s how competitors feel. He’s very confident in his team, we all are confident. Whatever he said, I guarantee there are 52 other guys in this locker room that are going to step up and try to back him up.
Q: Your team has been 6-2 almost every year you’ve been here.
A: Yeah, this is the complete opposite of where we’ve been normally at the break.
Q: How do you go into this mentally? You’ve won two in a row but you’re still in last place. Other years you’ve been 6-2 and everyone is talking about how you avoid the second half spin. It’s very different for a veteran who has been here for a long time.
A: For us I think we just have to continue to do what we’ve done the last two weeks and that’s work our butts off in practice, in this bye week get healthy obviously, do the self-scouting and make sure that we come back next week with that same hunger, with that same mentality going into practice and earn the right to win. It’s really that simple. We can’t allow ourselves to think about the past or future, all we can think about is what’s next. That’s the day-to-day life of a football player. We have to make sure once we get back in the swing of things that the only thing we’re thinking about is Oakland. Not thinking about what Dallas did or Philly or Washington or whoever else. We can control what we can control and that’s how we play.
S Antrel Rolle
We started out 0-6 but in the last couple of weeks I think we formed our identity as a team. We’re heading in the right direction and there’s a lot of room left for us to grow, a lot of room for us to get a whole lot better. But right now were just taking it one game at a time and just try to get away from the game, get guys back healthy so everyone can contribute to this win.
Q: Talk about some specifics, what you would like to concentrate on when you guys come back with for the second half, what you would like to improve on.
A: Just pretty much picking up what we’ve been doing the past couple of weeks. Meeting early in the morning, after practice. The communication’s been great, there are guys that are flying around. That communication between the coaches and players has been phenomenal. The player to coach contact has been phenomenal and we’re on the same page at the same time so it’s all good.
Q: Ending the first part of the season with two wins going into the bye week, there has to be a positive vibe here in the locker room.
A: Yeah, there’s definitely a positive vibe being that we are taking it one game at a time and we just beat a division opponent in Philadelphia. Right now we’re just looking to get better. Looking to get better, get away from the game. It’s been a rough eight weeks. It’s been extremely rough and, you know, we’re just looking to come back and go on this run.
Q: What are you going to be doing on the bye week?
A: I’m going home. I’m going back to Miami, chill out, relax with the family, catch the Heat game that’s opening against Chicago, so I’m going to see what Derrick Rose has got and if my Heat boys go ahead and stomp on them and, you know, just relax with the family. That’s pretty much it.
Q: You know how mood swings are in the NFL. You’re not good one week and now you guys are back supposedly but when you hear that, do you feel like this team is back or do you still feel like there’s some work to do before that’s really the case.
A: When it’s all said and done, we’re 2-6. We won our last couple of games, which is a great thing. Are we back? We’ll be back once we reach that postseason. That’s when I’ll say that we’re back. Right now we’re grinding. We’re grinding, we’re fighting extremely hard and, you know, being 0-6, like I said several times before, can do a lot of things to you. I’ve had to dig extremely deep, had to be so mentally tough to overcome it because I’ve never been in that stage in my life either. Right now, as a team, we’re grinding. We’re grinding and we’re pushing ahead and more importantly we’re staying together. Coaches, players, we’re just looking forward to better days.