Head Coach Ben McAdoo
No official statement today. Quick turnaround against a division rival on the road. Our focus is Philadelphia. I’ll do as best I can to help answer your questions about Detroit, but our focus is on Philly. Q: Obviously your defense has been playing exceptionally well. Where do they stack up with the rest of the league?
A: That’s a great question, but we don’t look at it like that. We focus on the week of preparation and executing the game plan, taking things week by week and not necessarily comparing ourselves to other teams in the league defensively. I’m not sure where that gets us. Q: Any update on Janoris Jenkins?
A: It was a nasty collision. We took every precaution we could afterwards. Everything checked out. Right now it’s a painful bruised back. Q: Will he be OK for Philadelphia?
A: Right now, it’s too early to tell. Q: Did Shane Vereen re-tear his triceps?
A: Yes, he re-injured his triceps. It’s unfortunate. He worked his tail off to get back to where he was. I’m disappointed for Shane. Q: By re-injured, you’re saying he re-tore it?
A: He re-injured his triceps, yes. Q: What are the challenges of this quick turnaround?
A: It’s a divisional opponent. We know them and they know us. That helps and makes it very competitive. The challenges are trying to get the reps physically so guys can see it and take a look at it on their feet. You want to be smart with how much they get on their feet. We will do some things and dial the speed down a little bit. We need to make sure we put our preparation in off the field, on the film as much as possible. Different guys learn different ways, so we need to do the best we can in tailoring the plan to the players and their learning styles. We’ll keep them sticking and moving as much as we can. In and out of the meeting rooms with film and slides. Whatever we can do to help them learn. Q: With a chance to clinch on Thursday with a win, do you use that as a carrot for them?
A: We’re excited for the game this week. It’s a division rival. You could throw the records out the window. It’s going to be a physical game on a short week. We need to focus on taking care of the task at hand and focus on taking care of each day and the plan for each day. Then going out and kicking the ball off on Thursday night. Q: What do you see out of the Eagles? They’ve struggled a lot the past few weeks. Are they doing some things on film that do concern you though?
A: I think it is a team that looks like they are getting healthy at the right time here at the end of the season. They are running the ball fairly well on offense. They had some success yesterday running the football and we will have to be ready to stop the run. They are possessing the ball for a good amount of time per ballgame. They are one of the best teams in the league, if not the best team in the league. Defensively, their defensive line makes everything go for them. It seems like we have said that a lot as of late. But their defensive line is playing well. They have Bennie (Logan) back. He didn’t play the first time against them and they have some talented playmakers there and their special teams always makes it go for them. Their special teams provide a lot of juice, a very talented group there. Q: Damon Harrison said that not only did you bring up winning the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season, but that you bring it up every meeting. How do you go about that?
A: Well, we talk about everything is out in front of us and we have to make sure we are taking care of the task at hand and that is the important thing for us. We make sure that we focus our attention and we have to be where our feet are, especially in a week like this where every second counts and we can’t waste a second of any day leading up to the ball game. We have to make sure we are where our feet are and dial into our preparation. Q: How do you feel about the running back time share? Is that something where Perkins can become the number one back or are you happy with having it split?
A: Yeah, we are confident in all our backs. We feel that they are a little different as far as running styles go. Perkins is a guy that is playing some good special teams for us and when he gets an opportunity to get the ball, he is doing a nice job there and he is growing. Q: How do you approach the short week for the first time as a head coach. Will you go about it any different than maybe Tom Coughlin would?
A: Yeah, we are going to stick and move. We have had some success here the last couple years on the Thursday night game. It is a little bit later in the year, it is an opponent that we are familiar with, they are familiar with us. But we just need to stick and move. That is the most important thing that we can do. Keep things as fresh as we can keep them for the players, make sure we get them up and down, they can’t be in their seats all the time, we can’t have them on their feet all the time. We have to stick and move there. Q: Odell tweeted that he thought if he had done what Ezekiel Elliott did last night that he would have been fined. Do you agree with him on that?
A: I'm not sure what you're referring to, so I don't have any comment on that. Q: You didn't watch the Dallas game last night?
A: I did not, no. I'm focused on our football game and trying to put our players in the best position I can on Thursday night. Q: A couple of weeks ago after the Pittsburgh game you said you were going to send the tape to the league and I don't think we ever followed up with you. You said you were waiting to hear what they said about what you thought were some missed calls. Were you happy with what you heard back?
A: We had communication with the league office but we keep those communications internal. Q: Eli talked earlier today about having to take what the defense gives when they play to prevent the deeper passes. Is it an adjustment to play call against that defense? Has the team adjusted? Do you have to adjust to it and do you think it's just the reality that you have to deal with, maybe the rest of the season.
A: I think you go into each game and you plan for each game the way it looks on film. When you get to the game, you have to be able to adjust and improvise and at the end of the day, you can't go broke taking a profit. If it's a two-high shell game, all game, you have to find ways to complete the ball, find ways to run the ball and adjust as you go. Q: Back to Shane Vereen for a second, what's the next step in the process with him at this point?
A: I just got off the practice field and we're going to have more to talk about on Shane moving forward. It's too early, to my knowledge, I don't know of any surgical procedures or anything needed yet. I need to speak to the training room. Q: You had four rookies on the field late in the game yesterday. What does that say about your confidence to put those young guys out there in that spot?
A: Offense, defense or special teams? Q: Offense in the fourth quarter?
A: We have faith in our young players. We got them reps early in the season. This is why we did it, because we're going to trust them moving forward. QB Eli Manning Q: Do you feel like when it’s a new year the chemistry has to rebuild in an offense even though you have the same faces?
A: Definitely. You’re always going to have new guys also. You have Sterling Shepard; Victor Cruz is back. It’s how all those guys mix and mingle with the other guys. Offensive linemen and different guys playing throughout the course of the year. It seems like the better teams are always close-nit teams. It’s like a family and you have the ability to enjoy being around each other. Have fun times during the down parts of practice or traveling on the road, but also being able to turn that switch on and get focused and serious. Be able to depend and count on each other. Have each other’s backs during the games no matter what is going on after good and bad performances. Q: What’s it like in the fourth quarter when you look around the huddle and you have a bunch of rookies in there?
A: I have great confidence in all the guys. Whether it’s Sterling Shepard or (Paul) Perkins or Roger Lewis. All the offensive linemen, I have great confidence in. All these guys work extremely hard. We prepare for these situations and they’ll step up and make plays when we need them to. Q: How do you think that’s gone? Having a lot of veteran guys but still being able to work in guys like Perkins, Adams and Roger Lewis?
A: I think that’s been great. I think that’s what you have to do. When you get into the second half of the season you need those rookies to step up and have a greater role. They’re not really rookies anymore. You can’t have the mistakes. They know what they’re doing and they have to play well. I think we’ve done a great job slowly working them in and getting them some opportunities. Now, all of them are having a bigger role in the game plan and in the game. Q: There has been improvements in the running game. If you agree, what in your perspective has been the biggest factor in the running game?
A: I think we’re getting a lot of reps. Defenses are giving us good looks to run the ball and we’re taking advantage of that. The offensive line is doing a good job creating some holes. Running backs are also making some guys miss tackles. That’s usually how you get some big runs. Those running backs are going to have to make a safety or some of those big guys miss. The offensive line has to do their job in getting past the first and second line of defense. After that, that’s on the running back to make a guy miss and get that big play. Q: Snacks said that you guys talk about the Super Bowl being a goal and that it comes up in meetings. How would you describe how that works and how people talk about it?
A: That’s always the goal of every team. Each year the goal is to win a championship. That does not change. That’s kind of the far goal. Each week you have kind of a near-sighted goal. Something on the game in performance, making improvements in your own play and the offense and defensive play. It’s ultimately to give yourself an opportunity to win a championship. Q: Is it something that is talked about more or less than recent years?
A: I can’t recall if it’s talked about more or less. It doesn’t change. That’s the goal every year. Q: Do you think that you guys have the best defense in the NFL?
A: I don’t know. I haven’t seen every defense or played against every defense. I haven’t played against our defense aside from practice. I think our defense is playing extremely well. They’re holding teams to six, seven points the last two weeks. Getting turnovers and have been strong all year long. They’re playing good football. We have to do our part offensively. If we play smart and protect the football, make some plays when we have opportunities and our defense keeps playing the way that they’re playing, we’ll be a strong team. Q: Is this the best defense that you’ve had on a team with the Giants?
A: Again, I’ve been a part of some good teams and defenses that have gotten hot at the right time. Gotten after quarterbacks. Again, our defense is playing extremely well. It’s fun to watch them and great to have them on our side. Q: How do you think Ben has made the transition to becoming a head coach?
A: I think he’s done a great job of rallying the team. After each week just dealing with whether it’s the ups or downs and getting us prepared and ready to play the next week. I think he’s done a good job of keeping things fun and keeping things light. Also having a serious side. I think he’s handled the situation very well. Q: How difficult was it for the offense to just take it step by step and not try and over reach or press too hard so that things would ultimately fall into place in general?
A: The offense played better this past week. We protected the football. Had some good field position where we would’ve liked to score some good points but we didn’t make some plays. It’s a good defense. Detroit’s defense has been one of the best especially over the last 10 weeks or so. We did a great job just protecting the football and when we got down in the red zone, scoring. Teams are playing us a little different and forcing us to run the ball. Not giving us the big shots. We just have to be good at taking the underneath stuff and playing moving the chains football. Getting five and six yards here, getting a third and manageable. Just being better on third down. We have to be able to just take what the defense is giving us. If that’s what’s going to work, let us move the ball and score points then that’s how we have to play. Q: We don’t see a lot of Ben’s personality. How does he keep things light? What is he like behind the scenes?
A: He obviously takes his job very seriously but he doesn’t take himself too seriously at times. He’s willing to whether it’s making fun of himself, he keeps things light in the meetings. He is able to prove his point through humor. He’s done a good job understanding that for 20 minutes you can’t just sit there and talk to us about what we have to do. Guys minds will wander. He does a good job of getting the serious points across, but also keeping things fresh and fun. Q: Do you see your teammates responding in a way that you have found interesting that it’s working?
A: Yes. We’re winning football games and guys are getting to the point. Understanding the messages across. I think he’s done a good job. Q: You talked about taking what defenses give you. Are you seeing more cover two this year?
A: Yes, just more two-high or Tampa two. Just a two-man coverage. They do a good job of taking away a lot of the throws. Everything is going to be contested underneath. There are opportunities to get the ball down the field into some zones, but you have to hold the ball also. It’s kind of like can you hold the ball long enough to hit you on those plays in the zones and second level. You should be able to run the ball. Just having that mix and getting into different plays where teams need you on first and down play will play a little more of a one-high to slow down the run. We’re not getting that as much. Q: Why do you think you were able to have some success yesterday getting Odell out of the slot?
A: We’re going to move him around and get him in different spots just to try and get matchups. Some people can’t get the double and say he’s always going to be on the outside or in this position. People can’t always double-team him and if they are, it’s easy to spot it. Get other guys singled up in different spots. Q: With Odell’s ability to go get the ball with one hand, does that make him a bigger target?
A: I think just his athletic ability. Being able to jump, stop. His body control makes him a big target just because you have the athletic ability to turn on a second gear or stop and jump. Just react to a ball makes him a big target. Q: Have you made more of an effort to spread the ball around more instead of targeting Odell or is it just a matter of how the game unfolds?
A: It’s just a matter of how the game unfolds. What coverage you’re getting based on the play. Obviously we’re going to move Odell around to think about what coverage we might be getting to try and get him some catches especially because of his play making ability. If we get different coverages, other guys become the first read or second read and have opportunities to make plays. Q: What’s your take on the Thursday night game and how do you approach it?
A: It is what it is. For me, it’s just about getting mentally prepared, learning all the plays and seeing the defense and getting the preparation done. Obviously understanding for the offensive linemen, defensive linemen, running backs, linebackers, it’s about getting your body back. Just the soreness. It can depend on the week before. How many hits you take or how sore you are if you’re dealing with an injury. Right now, late in the year it’s a chance to earn a playoff spot. It’s a big one and it’s going to happen. No point in complaining about it. Q: Did you watch the Cowboys game last night? Were you bummed that they won?
A: I watched it. No, I wouldn’t say I was bummed. I would’ve liked to see Tampa win but I was excited about our win. We have to do what we can do and worry about our games and what’s ahead of us. DT Damon Harrison Q: This is your first year playing in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. What are your impressions of the job that he has done this year?
A: He’s done a really good job. Historically, the defense speaks for itself because it’s a Super Bowl-winning defense, championship defense. It was just a matter of getting everyone in the right position and getting everyone to buy in and used to playing with each other. That’s tough when you bring in a new group like we’ve done this offseason. It’s a credit to him in getting guys to buy in and play together. Q: I know you weren’t here last year but he was obviously the coordinator then, too. Are there things that Spags is doing to help turn this thing around?
A: I couldn’t exactly pinpoint any one thing or a couple things. It’s just the guys that are out there playing. They knew last year that they had some tough breaks that didn’t go their way. This year, we’re getting a lot of those tough breaks. It’s just a matter of getting guys to buy in and getting used to playing together. Q: Has the success of this defense exceeded what you thought it would be capable of with all the new faces?
A: Not at all. You hear me say it time and time again. We’re still not where we should be or where we want to be right now. We’ve had some really good moments and we’ve had some not-so-great moments. You can ask anyone around the defense, any players or coach and they’ll tell you. We’re still not where we need to be as a defense. It was great to have some successes every now and then, but we just want to be more consistent. Q: Are you the best defense in the NFL?
A: No sir, we’re not. Q: Who is better than you?
A: I don’t really watch any other defenses, to be honest with you. Q: How do you know that you’re not the best?
A: Because that’s a title for you guys to give out to some of the good defenses in this league. I don’t watch any other defenses, to be completely honest with you. I couldn’t tell you or even want to compare us to any other defense. I like our defense and think we’re doing a pretty good job. We’re just looking to continue to get better. Putting the ranking on it and saying we’re the best, that’s not what we’re about at all. Q: Is it something you can aspire to?
A: That’s not our goal. Our goal is obviously to make it to the playoffs and put a fifth trophy in the case. If that comes with it, then fine. That’s just not something that’s talked about. Q: How would you share the way that coach McAdoo has kept that message on point and just the tone that he has set as a first-year head coach?
A: It was talked about in the very first meeting and just about every meeting since then. If you don’t take anything from any meeting we have, you know the ultimate goal. It’s not about individuals or one side of the ball. It’s the ultimate team goal. He’s done a great job of preaching that message and instilling that in us. Every guy in this locker room knows exactly what the goal is. We work hard every day to try and achieve that. Q: Is it a specific reminder that the Super Bowl is the goal? Does he close meetings that way?
A: I really don’t want to get too in detail with it. It’s something that’s spoken a lot. Q: What are the specific improvements that you feel should be made on defense?
A: Everywhere. Run defense, pass defense, tackling, getting off the field on third down, allowing explosive plays in the run and pass game. It’s every area. We’ve done really good in some areas, but we’re not as consistent as we want to be. Those are just some areas that we see improvement in. Our coaches, they pay attention to detail. A lot of our work is detail oriented. They don’t allow anything to get swept under the rug. Everything is addressed. Q: What about the chemistry issue of that? At this point in the season, do you feel that you pretty much know each other so well that you could guess what the other guy is thinking and act accordingly?
A: Yes. That’s something that’s safe to say. Again, it’s still a process. There are still some kinks that need to be worked out. More so at the beginning of the year, but yes, I know how Hankins plays and how Olivier plays. The linebackers and the secondary, I know where all those guys are going to be. That’s probably why at this point in time we’re having some better defensive performances. Everyone is on the same page. Q: The idea of not being satisfied like you’re talking about, is that potentially what could make this a special defense?
A: Yes. Again, I’ve never been to the postseason or anything like that. As far as you talking about winning and what it takes to win, I really cannot comment on that because I haven’t experienced that to the next level. We just have a bunch of unselfish guys in the room. That’s one thing I like about our defensive room. There is not one guy that feels that he’s above anyone. Our team as a whole is so level-headed and grounded. It’s amazing. Q: When the three of you (Snacks, Olivier Vernon and Janoris Jenkins) came in as the big free agents, none of you had been to the postseason. Is that something that you talked about?
A: Not at all. We just really wanted to come in and contribute. Bring to the team what we talked about doing. Each one of us had our own individual meeting with the coaches, GM and owners. We were told what they think we can bring to the team and what was asked of us. We just wanted to do our job to the best of our ability. We knew if that was the case, then everything else will fall in place. Q: There’s a chance that the offense may not find it this season. Are you on defense just sitting there and saying no problem, we’ll take care of it?
A: Well, yes. Either way, no matter the situation, we feel that we can handle it. It’s just a matter of going out there and holding the team to something manageable. Anytime you have Eli Manning at quarterback and a guy like Odell, Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard, you always give your team a chance if you can play good, solid defense. That’s what we’ve been doing. RB Paul Perkins Q: Thoughts on the running game yesterday?
A: It was really good. The offensive line has been doing a tremendous job these past couple of weeks. All the running backs have been continuing to improve. Q: How has the game been slowing down for you? It looks like you’re getting more pass protection and what not. Does it slow down for you?
A: Definitely. The offensive line has been helping me out a lot. Definitely the game slowing down has been part of me just watching film and learning from the older guys. Q: When you say the offensive line has been helping you out a lot, do you watch film with them or do anything extra with them to understand the blocking scheme?
A: Yes. After one of our practices, the quarterbacks, running backs and offensive line all have a meeting to go over pass protection and how they’re going to fit all the runs and passes. Q: Your carries have jumped the past few weeks. How much more of a rhythm do you feel like you’re in?
A: Any running back gets more comfortable the more touches they get. It’s crucial for us to be able to run the ball in December. Q: Do you feel you are comfortable to take on even more carries?
A: Yes. That’s what we need. We need for the running game to step up and play as a big factor in December. Q: What are your thoughts on Christian McCaffrey not playing in this bowl game to focus on his pro career?
A: I didn’t even know until right now. It’s his decision. I can’t say one way or another. Q: Did you ever consider not playing in the bowl game?
A: No. It was the last game and opportunity to be able to play with my teammates. I thought it was going to be a tremendous opportunity to go out there and showcase my talents. Q: There is a theory that the more touches a running back gets, the better he gets in the game. Do you find that that is true?
A: Whenever any player is able to get in a rhythm, whether it’s running backs, receivers, whoever, the game starts to slow down and you get more comfortable. Q: How often do you talk about winning the Super Bowl?
A: Not at all. Coach McAdoo does a great job of keeping it one game at a time. One game mentality and just focusing on the week by week. Q: So it never comes up in meetings and things like that?
A: No. Q: How fresh does your body feel? You have not taken the pounding like you have in college. Do you think, personally, that if you get the ball more, you can be an impact player down the stretch and into the playoffs?
A: I definitely feel great right now. It’s up to everyone to step up. As the season goes on, it’s going to be crucial for everyone to improve and go above the X’s and O’s. Q: What do you think about playing two games within four days? How are you going to approach it?
A: I’ve done it before. I’ve done it in college one time. It’s a really hard thing to do, come back and play. Coach McAdoo has a great plan for us so we can be fresh for the game on Thursday. Q: When did you do it in college?
A: My senior year. We had a Saturday game and then a Thursday night game. Q: What do you remember from that experience?
A: It’s just a quick transition from one team to another team. For us, coming off of a win, we have to get this one out of our heads and focus on Philadelphia. Q: What are you guys doing today? What are you concentrating on today?
A: Just focused on Philadelphia, how we can scheme, and what they do well.