Head Coach Tom Coughlin
It was an honor to have General Odierno with us yesterday along with Colonel Gadson as we saluted and celebrated the men and women who serve in our armed forces, and today on Veterans Day, it’s important for all of us to remember how much we owe to these men and woman, past and present, who have made so many sacrifices so that we can live in freedom and safety. It was great to see the General there yesterday. Nobody can miss him on the sideline. He’s as tall as the players, so it was just great seeing him.
Now yesterday’s game, I think I said most of what I need to say last night. It’s always wonderful to win. There are always plenty of things you can do to fix to be better. I liked our resiliency. I liked the way we came back in the second half after we handed them 17 points in the first half. I didn’t expect that. Some of the negatives that have happened this year, I did not expect, but nevertheless the way we came out… We had the goal line stand. We held them to the field goal. That was really critical and then we had some opportunities to move the ball, to drive the ball 90 yards, as you saw, to do some good things. (We) finished the game with a four-minute drive, which is very important from my standpoint, to see us rush the ball when everybody in the stadium knows what’s going to happen and you’re not going to throw the ball unless you absolutely have to. Andre Brown’s game has been well documented. He played very, very well. I think trying to assess the sense of accomplishment that this young man should have and deserves is something that I probably would be unable to do. To miss all the time that he’s missed and to come out and play like he did and to be able to protect the ball and to run with power and to have… That defense was ninth in the league the week before the Philadelphia game. They’re a good defensive team. They are multiple. They have a lot of looks. We went 50 percent on third down against a team that’s done a superb job against everybody on third down, to be honest with you. The turnovers are haunting. We had done some things to control that.
You can imagine the opening kickoff and a fumble right into the hands of the defender, who runs down inside the five yard line, and that’s the way we started the game, but nevertheless we were able to come back to win a game under those type of circumstances. We were minus-one (in the turnover ratio), but I liked what I saw and the positiveness that I spoke to our team about today… If you really looked at the last eight plays of the game on defense, you can get a sense of how things can change so rapidly in the National Football League. Mathias Kiwanuka did have a documented sack-fumble recovered by Cullen Jenkins. We had our hands on two balls that we should have intercepted. Jacquian had a ball right here in his hands and wasn’t able to handle it and Justin Tuck, when they were trying to run the swing route to the running back, literally reaches out with his left hand and under normal circumstances he probably would have tipped it up in the air a little bit, but for one reason or another he wasn’t able to do that. But that’s how fast things can change in our game. You find yourself holding your breath in some of those situations, but that could have been three turnovers bang, bang, bang at the end of a game that could have made a significant difference in the outcome. When we drove it all the way down and didn’t score and kicked a field goal, there was no question the game was still very much in balance. It was very disappointing that we didn’t score at that point, but nevertheless we were able to play good defense to get field position.
I was pleased with the way Rueben Randle handled the punt return aspect, averaging 10 yards, but handling the ball in the air even on the last one, moving it into our territory. Certainly we can do some discussing again about making good judgment calls fielding a ball at the three and then letting a ball at the five bounce that didn’t go into the end zone, but I’m taking my hat off to him with the wind the way it was with the way he was able to catch the ball and take care of the football. He got two hands on the ball, as he did when he was in traffic as a receiver as well. I wasn’t pleased with our kickoff coverage. Obviously, not pleased with our punt protection. We didn’t punt the ball at all. There’s not one punt there that I… We did get a nice roll at one time, but that was something that we’ve got to address. Our punt block team did a nice job with that first one and that was a time when we needed a boost and we got it from Damontre Moore with the block and being able to pick that thing up with Cooper Taylor running it into the end zone.
Q: Will you give Jernigan another shot at kick return?
A: We’ll see.
Q: You said punting is something you will address. Does that mean maybe bringing in some punters?
A: No, not necessarily. Under circumstances like that, you can’t slow things down. I thought probably the last punt was too slow as well. All we have to do is punt the ball down there, even if it goes in the end zone, which you’re not looking for. They’ve got to take it 80 (yards) instead of what they ended up with. The tipped ball should never have happened. We’ve had too many situations with that team this year that bother me, whether they be a return or something of that nature. They came with the same rush that they had earlier and we were able to handle it earlier. We should have been able to handle it again.
Q: How bad was the wind?
A: The wind was swirling. In pregame you could sense it as if it was going in one direction and then you might come out and walk a little bit and it’s going another way. To be honest with you, it was like the old stadium, a little bit more like it was in the old stadium than I had appreciated until yesterday. We didn’t think it was a factor throwing the ball, although the ball was high occasionally. You saw on a couple of their drives where a lower ball that looked like it was catchable they weren’t able to handle. Now whether the wind caught the ball and drove it down, I don’t know. But I know that in the kicking game, that’s where the factors are going to come in. They punted the ball very high and very deep and our first half was all backed up. We were not able to do that. They have Janikowski, a very strong-legged kicker for many years in this league, and his opening kickoff was a slap shot kick that wasn’t intended for us to handle or mishandle as they would have intended, but then he drove the ball out from whichever way he was kicking and we were able to do the same thing. Josh did the same thing with the exception of those two balls and the returns of those two balls did hurt us.
Q: We saw that Josh Brown had his shoulder wrapped up. Is he ok?
Q: Josh Brown.
Q: Josh Brown, your kicker had his shoulder wrapped up.
A: He was probably getting you to have some kind of attention. Might have been a sympathy wrap or something, I’m not sure.
Q: How’s Andre Brown doing?
Q: Is that a workload that you could see him having?
A: I’d like to get it up a little higher than that. Up around 40.
Q: How’s Jason Pierre-Paul?
A: He’s sore, but he was able to make it and he’ll need treatment all week long, but I think he will get better as the week goes on.
Q: You don’t see it as a thing that can cause him to miss any games?
A: I hope not.
Q: Do you need to treat Andre differently, considering his injury history, moving forward or is that just in the past?
A: Well I hope we don’t have to reflect on it, to be honest with you. I’m sure he wouldn’t want it that way and I wouldn’t want to, either, but we’ll see. His endurance was great yesterday for a guy who hadn’t played. I hope we can just continue that way. It’s a seven-game schedule and I’m hoping he can …
Q: How fair is it to say that Keith Rivers played his best game since he’s been a Giant and why do you suppose that he …?
A: The interesting thing about that was he practiced well. Really well, like to the point where I recognized, holy smokes, this guy is having a good week. He ran all over the place, he was very good with his assignments. I wasn’t surprised that he played well because he did practice very well.
Q: Do you detect much difference in the mood or attitude in your locker room versus a month ago?
A: This is a pretty serious bunch and they were like that today. The Mondays, with the exception of chin-up and chin-down, have been serious and fairly quiet, to be honest with you. They’re well aware, as I told them yesterday, the reason for the outcome was because we believed. We kept believing and that’s a process.
Q: Do you agree that your team has not played a complete game this season?
A: I think we’re capable of playing better, no question, and I think the contributions of all three have got to catch up. Our defense has been playing solid, the other two areas have been a little bit up and down, and we need to be a little more consistent that way. It’s good that the run game came along and it’s always nice to send a message with a punt block. I’m hoping those kinds of things will stimulate.
Q: Is it strange that when you guys were 0-6 there was a lot of talk about we’re still in this, the division isn’t getting away from us. Now that you’re 3-6 and probably a little closer and have a little more evidence to that, that’s fallen away, is that by design? Does that come from you or the team?
A: You mean the players are acting that way? It’s smart. It’s one game at a time. Where are you, you’re right where you are. Obviously you keep your dreams alive but you focus on the task at hand. I hope that’s what we’re doing. Plus there’s a gag rule, not to talk …
Q: Green Bay is set to start a third string quarterback. How do you make sure the team focuses on the task at hand and not overlook that just because they’re starting an unaccomplished player like Tolzien?
A: I really don’t think that will be an issue. Green Bay is a good football team. They’ve got some good players back now. They’re running the ball very well. They have a big, powerful runner that has kind of balanced things out for them. I’m sure they didn’t expect to get to Tolzien right away and Wallace had the unfortunate injury, I guess, but I think we have to be very much concerned about our team. We’ve got enough things that have to improve on our team than to worry about that right now. I think the building process, I think that’s going to continue to take place.
Q: The defense has given up one touchdown in the last 14 quarters or whatever. How different is the defense now when you look at it, compared to earlier in the year?
A: Well you’ve seen every game. They did get 107 yards on us yesterday, although Pryor didn’t hurt us the way he has hurt other teams. Jennings ran the ball very well. We’ve got work to do along those lines. I think we are building in our confidence. I think that’s a good thing. We’ve got some good physical play going on. Some of the guys that you’ve talked about, the pass rush week in and week out, I think that got better yesterday. We got four sacks yesterday. We continue to have a nice interception which was run back into point blank range and we did have a sack-forced fumble. We’re trying to get where we want to go. We’re trying to get better.
Q: Do Eli and his receivers have issues in practice, whether it’s those fade routes or any timing issues that you then see translate into game days?
A: No. I think if there’s something that takes place that isn’t as good as it should be in practice, we get together, talk about it and do it again and get it right. I don’t see that, no. I don’t see the misunderstanding or the miscommunication. There was a few of those earlier in the year, but I haven’t seen that recently.
Q: Where they’re not connecting, the way this group has in the past and we’re this far along in the season, to what do you attribute it?
A: Execution. We haven’t executed as well as we can. We’ve made a big push in this past week to have a superb level of execution. Some of the things you would say are not bad and others need to continue the work. You watch the last four-minute drive where people are coming off of the ball, the fullback, Ol’ John’s humming it up in there, banging some people around and Andre’s carrying some people. That execution was pretty good.
Q: Is he progressing as a receiver as well, Rueben Randle?
A: He made a couple of nice plays yesterday, he sure did.
Q: So are there things he’s doing now that he didn’t do quite as well six weeks ago?
A: Well again, let’s get better. He’s handled the deep ball well. He had the nice crossing pattern yesterday and he’s an excellent target for the fade ball when you’re down in close. He’s made plays along those lines pretty consistently and when given the opportunity, he’s done okay. Hopefully that will continue. As he says, “just trying to get better, coach”.
Q: Your defense has talked all year about identity, identity, identity. The offense really (…) was going to be Eli and the receivers, you always thought balance. Is it possible the identity of this offense now is the power run game and the passing game is scaled back a little bit?
A: I don’t look at it that way. I look at it from a balanced standpoint. We were having some success, we did run it 38 times yesterday, didn’t throw it as many times as we have. That really certainly wasn’t by design, it was kind of the way the game was going, but it will continue to be balanced. There’s going to be games where the passing game, the quarterback, the receivers, they’ll step up and have the production that you’re asking for going forward. That’s just the way I believe.
Q: You’ve talked about Eli’s durability in the past, is he 100 percent right now? It looked like he got hit a couple of times again.
A: He did. He gets knocked around and gets back up and plays again. He’s done it for a long time and it’s no different now.
S Antrel Rolle
Q: You always say one week at a time, is this especially key this week heading into a game where you’re facing a backup quarterback?
A: We take the same approach every week, no matter who we face. No matter who the opponent is, we take it one game at a time. That’s just our approach.
Q: Did you watch the Dallas game last night?
A: Yeah, I watched it.
Q: What’s going through your mind as you sit a game and a half out of first place?
A: Take it one game at a time. I’m not really worried about what Dallas does. The only think I’m concerned with is the New York Giants.
Q: Is it going to be tough to keep up that intensity with Aaron Rodgers not being there and you guys facing a third-string quarterback? That’s only human nature.
A: Absolutely not. We’re 3-6. We’re in no way, shape or form going to underestimate anyone. We know exactly who we have ahead of us. I think they have something that they haven’t had there in a long time, which is a run game, and we’re looking forward to playing those guys.
Q: You guys are 3-6, you’re not out of the basement yet, but do you feel like you’re a little more of a dangerous team now than you were a month ago?
A: We’re a team that’s going out there and we’re fighting extremely hard to get a win at all costs. It’s not always going to be pretty but we’re going out there and competing, we’re overcoming adversity. Have we yet to be in sync with all three phases of the game? Absolutely not. I think there’s still a lot of great ball that we’re leaving out there on the field but right now we’re winning and that’s the only thing we can ask for in this league.
Q: How much can you learn from very limited clips of this quarterback?
A: You just have to watch film.
Q: There’s not much.
A: Yeah, there’s not much but you have to go on what you see. You have to go on what you see. They’re not going to break too far away from their gameplan and at the end of the day, your technique, your keys, your assignments… it is what it is. You just make sure you execute those.
DT Cullen Jenkins
A:…going 0-6 to start the season. Three weeks later, four if you include the bye, you’re still so close to being in it, but the things that have gotten us where we are at now is doing it one week at a time. We’ve been taking advantage of opportunities and that’s what we have to keep doing.
Q: You were on that team when Matt Flynn was back at quarterback and came in and set that record?
A: I believe so.
Q: What do you remember about him? It sounds like they may sign him to play.
A: Matt is a pretty quiet guy. He sat behind Aaron, obviously got a lot of experience from him and just being in that whole system. I think if they do sign him and bring him in, that’s going to be a system that he’s probably a lot more comfortable in being in it for so many years.
Q: I’m sure you probably played against him a whole lot on the scout team too? What kind if quarterback is he? What kind of skills does he have?
A: Yeah. First and foremost, he can throw. He’s a real calm and collected person, not too much gets him rattled, he keeps the same demeanor and the same… just the way he carries himself. You’ve got a calm quarterback there and if he understands everything that’s going on with the system and his receivers, then he’s a heck of a quarterback.
Q: What do you imagine that that situation is like without Aaron for a couple weeks? You’re losing a perennial MVP candidate.
A: Yeah, it’s got to be tough. It’s one of those things in this game, injuries are part of it and the team has to rally together when you go through the experience.
Q: You’re going to be facing a team that’s starting a third-string quarterback, is it natural to feel some kind of a letdown or a relief?
A: Green Bay is still a good team. The defense, the defensive system that they run. They can bring a lot of different looks and a lot of different stunts, blitzes, things like that and the offense too. They still have Jordy out there, they still have Jones, I believe, is back and they’ve got a lot of weapons with the running game with Eddie Lacy. We can’t lose sight.
Q: If they bring in Flynn, does the dynamic change again?
A: It’s tough to say because the quarterback they have now, I have no idea of anything about him. I haven’t even seen one snap of him so I don’t even know… I have to start my scouting process with that to even know if it would be an adjustment between the two.
P Steve Weatherford
Q: What were you trying to do there? You’ve punted in the wind before.
A: You don’t normally punt in wind like that. That was 20-plus and gusty so it was difficult to make adjustments because the wind was also changing, which is not something I’m used to in that stadium. The old (Giants) Stadium, you’d get that a lot, with this… on Sunday it was weird because it would be shifting and at times it would be blowing in one direction and then change on top of the fact that it was gusting. It was tough conditions. Obviously we would have liked to perform better but I’m not going to dwell on it.
Q: So are you saying that’s the worst you’ve faced here?
A: That’s definitely the windiest I’ve ever seen that place. And it wasn’t like it was a sustained wind, it was really gusty so it could go from 15 to 28, it’s not like I had a windometer out there or whatever but it was difficult to make adjustments because you didn’t know how hard it was blowing or what direction it was blowing so it was definitely difficult for me because all of my punts were backed up into the teeth of it. I was just waiting for my chance to turn around and hit one with the wind so I could flip the field but I didn’t get that opportunity. But our defense played great.
Q: What about the block?
A: I guess that’s something you’re going to have to ask the coaches about. As far as protection, schemes and everything, it’s difficult for me to say because it’s not something that I necessarily study a lot.
Q: But it was right up the middle, right?
A: Yeah, I think it was ‘A’ gap pressure so as far as whose assignment that was, I’m not sure.
Q: Have you never had a blocked punt before?
A: I have not, so technically that wasn’t a blocked punt; that was a seven-yard punt. I guess when it rains it pours because the three punts I had previous to that obviously weren’t my best efforts considering it was into the wind and everything and then when I do get the wind at my back, I get a seven-yarder. Frustrating but that’s kind of been how it’s been for me. There have been lots of ups, lots of down, the previous game I had two punts that I really felt helped us win the game and then coming into this week, having lots of confidence going into the game and then… it’s just been tough.