Coach Tom Coughlin
Good Afternoon. Obviously we’re very disappointed and still feeling the remorse from the opportunity that we had and let slip through our hands. There are reasons for that, but there are plusses as well as minuses. I think you start with the plusses, and I thought special teams did a very good job. The punter had a 51.6 net punt. We did a very good job against an outstanding special teams outfit. We did change the field twice with a 68-yard punt and a 67-yard punt. We had a 16-yard punt return of our own. Our field position after kickoff was better than theirs. Their one play, obviously, was the field goal at the end of the game that proved to be the winner.
We did some good things defensively and offensively. Offensively we had nine runs of 10 yards or more, five passes of 20 yards or more, but 21 points. Twenty-one points is not enough. It’s basically going to be very difficult to win a football game with that. Of course we had the big turnover, which allowed them to score on defense again, yet again.
Defensively we gave up 17 points. They had seven big plays. We had some difficulty stopping the run, but we rose up and had a nice interception. I think indicative of the way the game went, we intercepted a ball and the very next series was the Cruz fumble touchdown. We drove the ball at the start of the third quarter to the 35-yard line. I was not in a position there where I thought a 53-yard field goal was a good idea. I thought it was too close to even consider punting, so we went for it on third down and went for it on fourth down and didn’t make it. They took the ball down. That was the series where we had the fumble, but we also had the Kiwanuka personal foul. So they finished that drive with a touchdown there and then of course we were all confident and excited about the opportunity after the last touchdown and two-point play that we might get the ball back, and in truth they were one for eight on third down and three for three on third down on that drive with relatively long yardage, the last being third and 10. That would not have been an automatic field goal. If you looked at it, that was in the neighborhood of a 45-yard field goal had we stopped them there.
So all those things being considered; the one area that I’m most concerned and disappointed with were the penalties. Quite frankly, we had one penalty and three penalties in the two previous games and somewhat out of character, had 12 penalties last night, 11 being accepted and just whereas in the first game it was the turnovers and this game it was penalties and I just feel like you’re not going to win a tight football game against two teams competing and playing very hard when you have that kind of actual disregard for the rules and what have you. So I was upset with that and we talked about that in our meeting today. You’ve got to have poise. You’ve got to be able to control your emotions when things go against you. You’re not going to change that and you’ve got to be able to deal with and move on to the next play, control your emotions, let your feelings erupt when the ball is snapped, otherwise refrain from anything which would cause the nature of the three personal fouls that we had and any number of other type fouls. So I was very disappointed in that and hopefully we’ll get that under control.
Q: Three personal fouls is unusual. Do you think there was too much energy in your team that led to those?
A: You saw it exactly as I did. There was obviously some frustration and some retaliation in one of them, maybe two of them, but you’re not going to get away with that, regardless of what happened previously. If it wasn’t called, you’re not going to get away with it, and then I think there was a legitimate attempt to get at the quarterback, but anytime you touch the quarterback from the neck up you’re going to get a foul and that’s exactly what happened.
Q: What’s your policy on trash talk?
A: ‘Talk is cheap, play the game’ is my policy and I, quite frankly, was unaware of the two that were made and people made a big deal about that. I don’t believe in that stuff. I think you play the game. Talk is cheap. Play the game. I don’t see anything that gets accomplished by the verbalization part of it. We’ve never been a team that has been one to provide bulletin board material. I understand there was a little bit of that last week and I don’t believe in any of that. As a matter of fact, I speak out very strongly against it.
Q: Is that something you mentioned to the players?
A: I did not because I’m, quite frankly, just finding out about it, but I will mention it on Wednesday.
Q: How close was Hakeem Nicks to playing on Sunday and did he fight you guys to play?
A: No. Not really.
Q: Do you expect him to be fine going forward this week?
A: We’ll see. I really don’t have any other information to give you. He’s being treated and hopefully we’ll be able to see where he’s at come Wednesday.
Q: Usually guys listed as questionable go out on the field and warm up. There was no thought in doing that with Hakeem?
Q: Is there anything else going on with him?
Q: He told us he’s been frustrated because of not scoring a touchdown.
A: There’s a lot of frustration today.
Q: He told us that he was going to play yesterday and that’s why we’re confused. How could those two things be happening at the same time?
A: Because on Wednesday, as you’ve tracked it, he had an issue with the abdominal area. He thought it might have been a hernia. So he went through all the tests and then did not practice, was not able to practice. You asked me the question late in the week and I answer ‘what would be the issue?’ ‘Speed. He probably can’t be full speed.’
Q: He said it later in the week that he thought he could play.
A: You’ll have to ask him.
Q: You were always kind of doubtful because he was unable to practice?
A: That’s usually the way it is. Yeah.
Q: The offense had to settle for field goals in the red zone yesterday.
A: I did not mention that. I should have mentioned it. The two drives into the green zone with field goals… It’s the second week in a row, I think, we’re one for three in the green zone and as you are on the sideline, you’re holding your breath hoping that doesn’t come back to haunt you, but obviously it did and it does, and when you get down there you’ve got to put the ball in the end zone. You’ve got to score. Even when you get into that close area like that, you’ve got to put the ball in the end zone. We had one drive in which the first running play was minus-six yards and it’s very difficult to make up, another drive where we got one yard on a run and a couple of passes that were incomplete. So back to the drawing board.
Q: What do you attribute the lack of red zone touchdowns to? I’m guessing execution figures in somewhere.
A: That’s for sure.
Q: Was it maybe the defense showing you a look you didn’t see?
A: Most of the calls have been options, various options involved. Like when we drive it down there and we’re running the ball well and then don’t make the yardage we would like to make on the run… We went to the pass and obviously didn’t have a good look at the pass either. We’re frustrated as well.
Q: After watching the film of Cruz’s fumble, do you still feel as strongly as you did last night?
A: From what I understand, there’s been some misunderstanding in what I felt. When I looked at the tape today, the forward progress is not stopped, so that was not even an issue when you looked at the tape and that’s exactly what the official told me. Forward progress had not been stopped. We all would have loved to have had the whistle blow in that case, but it didn’t and Victor was driving as hard as he could to get more yardage and there were three or four Dallas defenders that were flying to the ball there and in one desperate effort, I think, to get further up the field, the ball gets ripped out and right into someone’s hands and he takes it and runs it into the end zone. So no, there wasn’t anything to discuss there after watching the tape.
Q: The locker room was pretty down today. What do you need to see Wednesday from the players?
A: Big game in Washington this weekend. We’ve got to come back up. We play Washington a couple of times here in real short close range and both games will be divisional games. They’re very important games for us, so as disappointed and as badly as everyone feels today, you’ve got to get it back up and get going again.
Q: Are there signs you’ll look for from the team?
A: I’ll look for them to share with me the excitement and the idea of the competitive nature of another divisional game.
Q: We asked you how you kept the team focused when the team was 0-6. Now that it’s pretty close to being over…
A: It’s not going to be over until the five games are over. The one thing that all of you would like to try to figure into this is you don’t have anything to play for. We’ve got a lot to play for. We have a five-game schedule. We’re playing against some outstanding football teams. We’re trying to assert ourselves. We’re not executing as well as we can and in all three phases at the same time, for sure. I’m looking for that. I’m always searching for perfection, the perfect game. We can’t get it, perhaps, because we’re human, but that’s the objective and that’s the goal and that’s what we’ll continue to fight for. It is the competitive nature of the player, of the coach and that’s where we are.
Q: Do you think that’s enough for the players, who obviously had Super Bowl aspirations in the beginning of the season?
A: It’s going to have to be. You’re going to have to deal with reality. We are what we are. We’ve created this situation for ourselves. We’ve also created the opportunity that took place yesterday, that we weren’t quite able to take advantage of, but we did come back from a big time deficit, tie the game, make a two-point conversion, and sit there as excited as we could be, with the opportunity perhaps with 4:45 to go to get the ball back again and see if we could do something about the outcome of the game. That didn’t happen. I feel very badly about that, but again, I’m not going to change what happened yesterday. We can do something about now and about going forward.
Q: Was JPP’s health more of a factor in terms of what he was able to do in the game?
A: I think there’s no doubt it’s a factor, no doubt.
Q: Did he hurt it during the game?
A: He’s been injured and he’s been playing injured, he’s been playing with it.
Q: Can you talk about the red zone and how to put the ball in the end zone?
A: The green zone.
Q: What’s the thinking on third and goal from the ten, what’s the thinking for you guys to run the draw there?
A: That was another one of those alert kind of deals where you have something called and you also have a run built in. We ended up going to the run. If that’s the way that goes, that’s ours. That’s our fault. The thinking is to get the ball into the end zone. That’s what the thinking is.
QB Eli Manning
Q: Is today a tough day to be around here?
A: Obviously it was a tough loss. I think just because there were a lot of good things that we did. We ran the ball really well, responded well kind of when we needed a touchdown at the end, we had a good drive and got a touchdown and the two-point conversion. Obviously you kind of feel the worst. There were some opportunities and some bad plays that kept us from being better than we were.
Q: Eli, what is the best way to put air back into the balloon after a very painful loss like that?
A: You come back to practice and we’ll be back here on Wednesday. We’ll start our preparation tomorrow and have a great week of practice, get ready for another big game in the division against Washington; we haven’t played them yet this year. The only way to fix it is just get back to work and try to go get another win.
Q: Is that easier said than done though?
A: No, obviously we’ve dealt with some losses here before and responded. I think we’ll be able to respond well and come back to work knowing that we can play better.
Q: Did you like the balance yesterday?
A: Yeah. At times, you kind of say, let’s just keep running it. We were getting 9 to 10 yards a pop, let’s just keep doing it. We needed to throw the ball better. I think our passing game wasn’t where it needed to be, a lot of it versus man coverage. We didn’t take advantage of that like we needed to.
Q: That was the secondary that had been ravaged some games and they were giving you man coverage. Was it just guys not winning?
A: We just didn’t make some plays. Missed Jernigan on a little wheel route, I had Cruz on another wheel route. I missed those guys by a little bit. They made some plays, they covered us pretty well at times and we didn’t win some of the battles.
Q: Was there any point in the game yesterday where you said, let’s keep running it.
A: I thought we did. We were running and running it well. We got through some third downs. We needed to throw, we tried to mix in some play action and hit a couple of in cuts on some play action. I thought we had a good mix and again we had some chances. We got down in the red zone a few times and tried to run it, that one time losing 5 yards on a run hurt us on one green zone trip, then we had a fourth down we didn’t convert, some third downs where we got into the green zone that we didn’t convert. A few of those things hurt us and our execution wasn’t as good as it needed to be. That’s kind of what the game came down to.
Q: You had the third and goal, you said maybe you lost yards on the run at the beginning of that, but you get third and 10 from the 10. You run a draw there. Was that something you check into, or was that something that was called?
A: That was the call if they were single-high. We had a pass when they were playing Tampa 2, we thought maybe we could get them with the draw. Obviously third and goal from the 10 is not really the ideal situation and I thought maybe a draw might get us a chance to get a one on one with the safety and maybe get a touchdown.
Q: When you guys were 0-6, you were able to say the division isn’t getting away from us. Is it a little different vibe now?
A: I think we know we have to win these next five games to give ourselves a shot. It’s still just a shot, nothing is guaranteed, but there’s still hope and we know all we can do is worry about us trying to win each game and win the next game and that’s what we’re going to do.
Q: Do you notice anything different? You had to switch around the line a little bit, a new center, it seemed to go pretty well. What was the…?
A: I thought the offensive line did very well Running the ball after Jimmy (Cordle) went down and Boothy moved over to center and snaps were good, Shotgun snaps and guys did a good job with protections. Not many mental mistakes or anything like that. They did a really good job upfront.
Q: Is there any pattern to what is going wrong inside the 10 on those plays? Across the season is there any one thing that you see?
A: No. I think some of it is execution. We’ve had some chances to hit a couple of fades and things, we just had a couple guys catch it, but out of bounds, or just haven’t been as good as we need to there. I thought yesterday we just didn’t’ quite get the looks that we wanted. Played things a little bit differently and they did a good job on some things that prevented us from being as good as we needed to be.
Q: You played some things differently or they played some things differently?
A: They played some things differently than what we expected.
Q: Eli, for a quarterback, is it more frustrating to be on the field and not get it done, or to be on the sideline and not get the chance to get it done?
A: I don’t know. A loss is a loss. It’s frustrating either way. I guess when it’s all said and done, you’d like the opportunity for it to be in my hands. If we don’t win, it’s because we didn’t go get that last drive. You kind of want it on your terms, I guess, but each game is different. I was 100 percent expecting our defense to get a stop and we were going to get the ball back and go win the game.
Q: Are you worried about guys talking about playing for pride, being professionals?
A: I think we have good guys on this team and guys who want to get better and have something to prove. I think we’re going to keep grinding and we need some young guys and some new guys to step up and play well for us, We’ll see what Cordle’s situation is, or who is going to be playing center or left guard this week. We have some receivers who have to step up and play in different spots. We’ll see what our team’s situation is. We have some guys who need to step up and play well for us.
Q: What do you think Hakeem’s situation is?
A: Physically, it’s kind of what I don’t know. Hopefully he can get on the field soon and get back in the games.
Q: Did you expect him to play yesterday when you came here?
A: I didn’t know. He didn’t practice much all week, so I didn’t know what the situation was going to be.
CB Terrell Thomas
RE: Yesterday’s game
A: We resorted back to our old ways as far as giving our opponent a touchdown, not scoring in the red zone, not playing good red zone defense, penalties, we had 11 penalties. The last two games we had four so when you do stuff like that you lose football games.
Q: The whole team kind of reverted back? When you say old ways you mean like…?
A: When we were 0-6, yeah.
Q: You thought you were kind of beyond that at this point?
A: You would think so. Four wins in a row and Dallas is a big game and even more of a reason for you to be poised and to make sure that you’re honed in and you’re capitalizing on every opportunity. At times we didn’t do that.
Q: Before the game you talked about how great the week of preparation was and everything. Did that even cross your mind that something like this could happen, that you could revert back?
A: Not at all, but we knew it was going to be a close game at the end of the day. It wasn’t like we were sitting there saying that we were going to blow them out. We gave ourselves every opportunity and we came up a little short. Dallas was 1-for-8 on third down up until the last drive, we were killing them. We had them in favorable positions but they made plays and we didn’t. At the end of the game, as a defense we lost that, plain and simple. There’s no blame but me being a leader on this team and looking back it at, two-minute drill, we go over that situation all the time. We win those times. We had them in third and long a couple times and we just came up a little short. When you watch the film it’s just little techniques here and there from the coverage and pass rush that are the reasons that they were able to be successful.
Q: Did you guys think in that last drive that you were in the right coverage?
A: Yeah, put the game on us. As the season went on we found out that the defense is the leader of this team and we’re going to do our job and the offense just has to take care of the ball. They tied the game up and gave us an opportunity to… we had them pinned down and they just converted.
Q: The Cowboys had a lot of fun after the game at the expense of you and your guarantee and this team. Did you think their reaction was over the line at all?
A: Not at all. They won, that’s what you’re supposed to do. My statement, I stand by it. Our season was on the line and their season was on the line and they won the big game. They came into our house and won, the better team won.
Q: Back when you were 0-6 you guys came in here on Mondays and talked about staying together and how there was still something to play for and that you still had a chance. Can you compare what you felt then to maybe what you feel now?
A: Right now we’ve got to get over this loss, so thank God we have tomorrow off and Wednesday we’ll come in to prepare. We’re definitely not going to turn on each other, we’re definitely going to keep working together. We did some great things the last couple of weeks and even last week, we played really well as a team but we came up a little bit short against a very good team. It’s a tough loss because right now our season is looking a little diminished but you never know what can happen. We’ll regroup, we’ll work hard and have another great week of practice and get ready for the Washington Redskins.
Q: You talked about being a leader in here. Do the leaders in here have to do even more convincing than maybe you had to do earlier in the season?
A: Yeah, no doubt. We’ve got to keep these young guys in and we’ve got to make sure they keep doing their job. At the same time we’ve got to keep motivating each other like we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks. Even though we just took a loss, the season’s not over, we still can get 9-7. 9-7 has gotten to the playoffs plenty of times. We’re going to need some help but we’ve got to win out, plain and simple. When you start 0-6 you leave yourself no room for error. Obviously when you lose a close game like that, that’s what happens.
Q: How do those leaders make that happen? Is it going out to practice on Wednesday and setting an example? Is it talking, is it verbally picking guys up? How do you do it?
A: It’s all the above. Don’t change anything that we haven’t been doing the last four weeks, it’s been working. Even last game it worked, we came up a little short and lost by three points at the end of the game, so it’s not like we got our butts kicked. It was a hard-fought game and we came up a little short, so we’re going to do the same things and probably do a little bit more, watch a little bit more film, work a little bit harder this week because we’re not feeling too good, but we’ll get this thing turned around.
Safety Antrel Rolle
Q: How do you keep the same focus and intensity here?
A: At the same time we’ve got to keep our heads held high, we’re still professionals and we still have a job to go out there and do. Nothing’s going to change around here, we’re still going to keep the same intensity, the same fire, the same drive, the same motivation and go out there and try to win five games.
Q: The expectations around here were obviously higher. How do you keep the fight going when you’ve got five weeks where you know that there’s really no playoff possibility.
A: It’s a part of the game. If we had a crystal ball and things worked out to our favor, then that’s one thing, but this game never works out the way any of us expect it to work out. We fought, we fought extremely hard. You can’t take anything away from those guys because I think they fought just as hard as we did. We’ve got five games left, we’re still taking it one game at a time, still keeping our heads held high and continuing to play ball.
Q: The Cowboys seemed to have a lot of fun after the game letting you guys know how much you talked and how much that motivated them. What did you think of their reaction?
A: That means nothing. The game still had to be played. They won the game, that’s that.
Q: 9-7 and not making the playoffs, would you be satisfied with that?
A: We’re just taking it one game at a time. We’re not really worried about any playoff contentions at this moment and we haven’t been worrying about that thus far. We just have always been taking it one game at a time and we’re going to continue to do the same thing. The season’s going to take care of itself.
Q: Do you think they went overboard, their reaction?
A: I don’t know what their reaction was. They won the game, they have the right to be as happy as they want to me. Had it been vice-versa, I’m sure we would have been just as happy. Like I said, it’s a division rival, Giants against Cowboys, you need to be ready to expect whatever. There’s nothing taken personally, there’s a lot of heat going on throughout the course of the game. We’re all football players, we’re all men, so we go out there and we just play the game as physical as we can play it.
RB Andre Brown
A: We’ve got five games left and I’m looking forward to going out there and finishing this season strong. We’ll see what happens.
Q: Emotionally, how devastating was this loss?
A: Yeah, it was tough. You could tell the whole locker room is really feeling the effects of it. You’re going to let it hurt and try not to let it happen again for the rest of the season.
Q: When a team puts so much into a game and says, “We have to win this game,” and you don’t win, do you leave yourself anywhere to go?
A: At the end of the day we’re still professionals and we’ve got to go out and play ball and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.
Q: This team has not been in this situation too often.
A: No, give or take some seasons. The way we look at it now is that we’ve got to go out and finish playing ball.
Q: As effective as the run game was yesterday and I know you carried it a lot, but do you look back and say, “We should have carried it more?”
A: I’m not going to question any calls or anything. We’re just going to go out there and play ball. When it’s called, go out there and run effectively and try to get in the end zone.
Q: Would it be easy to say, “Why bother continuing,” because I mean…
A: No, man. Don’t get me to say…no. We’re still going to go out here and we’re going to fight. You never know what’s going to happen at the end of the season. Go out there and get hot again and go out there and play games and win. Hopefully some things fall into our laps where we can go out there and play in the playoffs.
Q: So there is no…
A: No giving up over here, if that’s what you’re trying to say. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to go out here and we’re going to continue to fight.
Q: Was that about the best you’ve felt? You’ve had good games here but you really seemed to be taking advantage of what they gave you.
A: Yeah, I went out there and just ran hard. Everybody was feeding off of us, Brandon had a good game, too, and the offensive line was driving people back off the ball. You could see that we were out there running the ball. With the weather, it was a running game. We went out there and we ran the ball well.