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Quotes (12/23): Coughlin, Amukamara, Pugh

Posted Dec 23, 2013

Conference calls with Giants players a day after the Giants win over the Lions.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin

It’s a miserable looking day, so let’s get this part of it taken care of.  We looked at all the tape and the one thing I can say is that I was pleased with the effort and I was pleased with the focus and the resiliency and the idea, which we stressed all last week, about team and being as strong as our weakest link.  The fact that our strength is in team and not in individual, and I thought the guys demonstrated that.  We had an awful lot of snaps on defense.  We had a lot of snaps on offense, too, much more than we’ve been having, but certainly not what the defense had.  Detroit had time of possession and the numbers, except we were plus-one in the turnover category.  We shouldn’t have had either one of the two turnovers that we had.   Nevertheless, we were able to overcome them. 

I think the entire statement of the game could come down to the second and twenty, third and thirteen and fourth and seven, when we were in good position at the 45 and then went backward, as you know, with the penalty and then overcame that.  I thought that was a real indication of where the spirit was last night and the way in which our guys look forward to playing.  They had taken an awful lot of criticism from the week before and obviously the offensive line has been the (…) and the guys wanted to come out and play hard against a very good defensive front.  They are good.  They are physical and they come after you.  They do a great job of that.  I thought we had great competitiveness last night.  I thought Eli really competed well and focused and I thought that our guys battled.  We certainly had our share of non-plays offensively. 

Defensively we gave up more run yardage than we ever anticipated.  They did a very nice job in a short week of doing that.  Bell was a very physical runner. Of course the speed and ability of Bush has always been recognized and their special teams hurt us.  The one play by Ross really upset me because we go three and out.  I know we gave them the punt return at the 30-yard line to start the second half off with and none of that is what’s planned.  If you’re going to get the ball in the third quarter, you’d like to end it in the second quarter with positive plays, which we did and then you’d like to come out in the third quarter and continue that.  We struggled with that aspect of it this year.  They had the punt return on top of that, where the young gunner gave up leverage and we lost containment.  Ross, who is basically a north to south returner, bounced the ball outside on us and they made a nice play.   The only thing I can say to you is we countered it with our kickoff return in overtime, which was huge.  I really did believe we were going to go down and finish the game off right there because we had excellent field position and we continued to do a lot of good things there.  It’s a game where we’re really happy to have won against a team in playoff contention.  I think we played together as a team last night and we played hard. 

Q: Do you have any update on Adrien Robinson?
A: No, I don’t have anything yet.  

Q: You’re kind of getting short in numbers in a lot of places.  Are you concerned?
A: Naturally, I’m concerned.  Andre Brown, is he going to be able to work and play?  He felt pretty good on the plane last night.  Of course, that doesn’t mean anything.  The unfortunate injury to Mosley when had the chance to play.  We do know what that was and you do as well, the broken hand.  Sometimes you can play with those things, sometimes you can’t.  Last night they put a cast on him and said if we needed him in an emergency, to play him.  It wasn’t recommended, so Dallas Reynolds, of course, did an outstanding job, figuring he’d have to play some plays but not the entire game, and he basically played the entire game.  I don’t have anything for you just quite yet (on the injuries).

Q: Was Michael Cox supposed to take that kick return out?  I think he was five or six yards deep in the end zone there.
A: It was deeper than that.  They had four touchbacks, and I think he was anxious to contribute and he did.  If he doesn’t get to the 20-yard line, we’re all over him, and when he gets to the 49, we’re cheering. 

Q: Obviously you started 0-6.  Since then, you’ve gone 6-3.  Do you take any solace in the fact that you have gone 6-3 and you have the chance to go 7-3 in your final 10?
A: I think all you can do is focus one week at a time on the circumstances surrounding the team and where we are.  I think that when the season’s over and we evaluate, we’ll evaluate everything.  Of course, we’re going to be extremely critical of those first six.  We’ve played some good teams down the stretch.  A couple of games we didn’t match up well and that was the obvious.  We’ll take a look.  Again, we’ll look at it one at a time and we feel good about winning last night and the way the game was won and the fact that it went into overtime.  There were some times in the game when it didn’t look good for us.  The clock is running on us and Will Hill makes his interception touchdown off of the tipped ball, as was pointed out last night.  That was a wonderful thing for our team.  That was a huge lift and I think that probably provided us with that boost that we needed right then, to go into overtime and see it through.  We’ll take a look at each one.  We’re really going to focus hard in the division against Washington.  They played two really good football games in a row, just got nosed out on both, which can happen.  We’ll take a hard look at that and try to figure out where we are medically and hopefully make the decisions that have to be made in order to be in position to play a divisional game at home next weekend. 

Q: Have you had a chance to see much of Kirk Cousins?
A: No, I haven’t.  When I finish this I’ll start on the Redskins.  I mean, I know him from other years, in preseason and watching that type of thing, but not these two games that he’s started and played.  I’ll get into that here in a little bit. 

Q: Last night you said you didn’t like people telling the players they had nothing to play for and that they have everything to play for.  What did you mean by that and what are some of the things that they are playing for at this point?
A: You asked the question.  Everyone wants to know.  It’s almost like the media has a series of questions ready to go and as soon as you’re out of contention for that playoff spot, the questions turn to how you have to motivate your team, how are you going to inspire your team, what does your team have to play for.  The point that I make is that you have everything to play for.  You’re being heavily scrutinized by the powers that be within your own organization.  The coaches want to know what you’re made out of.  The former players, I talked to Antonio Pierce and Jesse Armstead and the experiences they had and the way in which you can tell when a teammate is really zoomed in and maintains that intensity about his current season and his current standings versus drifting off and losing focus.  For me, it’s a matter of pride, it’s a matter of who you represent, it’s a matter of your teammates depending on you, it’s a matter of your character and who you are.  You’re making a strong statement about who you are, whether you’re a fighter or a competitor, how you’re going to be influenced.  Competitive greatness is something that we talk about and it starts deep within and it’s the nature of the game.  Men are lured to the most difficult of challenges and that’s the game of football completely.  In this day and age, the way in which the media and the video world, and the way in which you can have information so quickly at your disposal, a man is who he is.  I think that’s an important thing, too.  Your family is involved.  Your family name is involved.  Who you are and what you represent and what your character is and how you stand as a man, in the most difficult of times, in the best of times.  We’ve had it both ways around here.  We’ve had people in that Super Bowl locker room and we’ve had people in our locker room after we’ve had disappointing losses.  How do we handle it and what kind of men are we if we are completely opposite and don’t rise to the occasion and meet the bell when things aren’t going well.  I take that stuff very seriously. 

Q: Have you been influenced by anyone in your career aligned with that kind of thinking?
A: I’ve been influenced by me and my experiences mostly, by my background, my character, my family and the way in which I approach things.  That’s basically been it.  I’ve done a lot of reading of Vince Lombardi and John Wooden and those types of things. 

Q: Those guys are mostly tied to success.  Where in their careers did you see they had to fight and persevere like that?
A: I think everybody has those situations in life.  It doesn’t all go the easy way or one way.  There are some things that we’re not privileged to know about.  It doesn’t mean through their personality and philosophy in what they’re thinking is, that you can anticipate what the answers are.  If you want to talk about John Wooden, it’s all about effort.  The effort never changes.  The competitiveness is with yourself, trying to be the best you can be.  That’s what we preach here, be the best that you can be. 

Q: Do you talk to Antonio regularly?
A: No.  He just happened to be at the game. 

Q: It seemed like you had a lot of plays to be made in the passing game, but for some reason it just wasn’t happening with consistency yesterday.  A lot of the throws seemed to be sailing a little bit.  Eli was high with a bunch of throws.  Was there anything you saw when watching the tape?
A: I wouldn’t put the ‘lot’ on there.  There you go again, generalizing.  I don’t think there were a lot of those types of throws.  It was the high, overthrown ball that was the interception and we didn’t hit the ball early on to Nicks, but there were a lot of timely balls as well and balls that should have been caught.  I thought the deep ball to Rueben had a chance to be a beautiful throw and catch.  There were some plays that weren’t made, yeah.  I don’t think that you can generalize and say there were a lot of them.  There were a lot of balls that were thrown very well also. 

Q: That deep ball to Rueben Randle that you mentioned, it looked like it dropped in there pretty well.  He went for it with one hand. Was his other arm engaged?
A: I can’t tell.  It looked like there was an initial pull and his shoulders kind of turned that way, but he continued to think he could gauge it and stretch out with one (hand) rather than two.  I really don’t know where that comes from.  We have to get that straightened out, but he made a great play there on the big third down that put us over the 50-yard line and got us in a position.  That was an excellent throw by Eli and a very, very well run route by Rueben.

Q: The throw that Rueben took over the 50, is that one of those throws where Eli really stepped into and it was a full body throw? Is that what you’re looking from out of Eli?
A: Sure, but sometimes you can’t. Sometimes there are those different jerseys and they’re right in your face and you can’t step in there. There were a number of times last night where I felt we had a nice formed pocket and Eli was able to operate moving up into the pocket, stepping forward and there were a few that he wasn’t, but that happens pretty much in every game for every quarterback. So there’s certainly the ideal when you’re out on the practice field and there’s no rush and that type of thing where you stress all the fundamentals. That’s why the fundamentals have to be so grooved because it doesn’t happen that way a lot and the slightest little adjustment may cause you to be inconsistent and so you really do have to master not only the fundamentals but the pressure and the position that the defense can get in many times.

Q: If Andre Brown can’t go, is Michael Cox ready to take the majority of the snaps? You haven’t really used him in that way yet.
A: Well, he’s had games where he’s shared the role on first and second down, and he certainly will have to again.     


CB Prince Amukamara 


Q: Can you talk about the impact of Will Hill’s interception return and the effect it had on the mood of the team?
A: Of course that’s huge anytime us as a defense can turn over the ball and get it back to the offense, especially with great football position. That’s huge for our team and it’s even more of a plus when we put it in the end zone and we did it yesterday. Will has always come up big for us in games and that’s just another example of it.

Q: What kind of growth have you seen from Will Hill?
A: A lot of maturity and a lot of just him being relentless and not being easily shaken. When he came off his suspension he quickly contributed and it seemed like he never missed a beat and he’s learning the schemes very well and I think just his maturity and he’s rising as a leader.  In the huddle during the game, when it seemed like Detroit was doing whatever they wanted to do with the run game and moving the chains, Will told us to all huddle up and called us all up and said, ‘This isn’t us. Let us turn this around.’ And then a couple of plays later he made a big play and I think that speaks volumes.

Q: Is that normal for him? Is he an outspoken guy or is he usually more reserved?
A: I think he speaks when he has to and I think that makes it more meaningful and I think that’s great for our team. I remember him doing it against the Redskins, as a matter of fact, and now this game. I think if things aren’t looking like Giants’ defensive football, he’s definitely going to tell us about it and he’s been doing that.

Q: What kept you guys going yesterday? There were a lot of times where it seemed like everyone could have packed it in.
A: Just playing this game, a lot of us play with pride and just being competitors, so always wanting to beat the guy in front of us and Coach Coughlin has always been preaching finish, compete, always playing to win the game and that was our mindset going into Detroit, and you’re right. When things didn’t seem like it was going our way and it looked like it was about to be over, that’s just the Giants way of football. It’s always making a big play to turn things around.

Q: How tired were you guys in overtime? That stand kind of went overlooked a little bit that gave the offense the ball back. Were you sore or winded at that point?
A: Yeah. Just being inside that stadium, it felt like it was pretty humid. But yeah, I thought it was going into another overtime just because it looked like it was a standstill. The teams were just battling back and forth, but I’m glad that we prevailed.


OT Justin Pugh

Q: Tom Coughlin was saying that some of the criticism that the offensive line heard last week, you guys kind of took it personal. Was that the case?
A: Yeah, definitely. I think the way we played last week was something that affected the way that we prepared this week and making sure that we went out there and tried to prove people wrong and play physical, play with a lot of emotion and play with the effort that it takes to win a football game in the NFL. I think we went out there and played hard. I think the second half we could have done a better job, but overall I think we went out there and fought and that’s something that we were harping on all week.

Q: Tom Coughlin was telling us just a few minutes ago about when the playoffs are not in reach, you still have games to play that are very meaningful in a lot of ways for players. Has he shared that with the team and if so, what has he said and how do you feel about these games even though they don’t have playoff implications.
A: I mean, it’s still a job at the end of the day. You have to go out there and fight with your teammates and fight for the fans. There’s no quit in these guys, I think that would just be a negative thing, to say that we quit or we gave up on the season. That’s not something you want going into this offseason and trying to build off of. So I don’t think there’s ever been quit in this team or anyone’s ever giving up. Coach Coughlin’s real big on that, so I think we’ve done a good job of going out there and fighting week in and week out and we’re just going to continue to do that next week.

Q: What was going through your mind in the first quarter when Brandon Mosley went out. Obviously you’ve been working with Diehl and then you worked with Brandon all week and then in the first quarter, he goes out and Dallas Reynolds comes in, and you don’t even know his name; what was your thinking there?
A: I know his name, definitely. He’s been in the O-line room but I think it’s just a testament to how the offensive line has kind of been all year, the next guy up mentality. A lot of guys have gotten hurt and we’ve asked guys to step up and they’ve done that. Dallas was the next guy up and he came in and he played great. It’s just communicating and being on the same page and I think that was something that helped us out a lot.

Q: What did you think about going up against Ndamukong Suh? He was on your side, they run a lot of those quick games. What did you think about going up against him and how did that compare to what your expectations were?
A: I know he’s a great player so we went out there and just played physical and did what we had to do. I think that as offensive linemen, you can’t…you get to know who you’re going against obviously and their strengths and weaknesses, but just go out there and play physical. You can’t put too much on one guy. I know we wanted to focus on making sure we picked up all of our assignments. I think we could have done a better job with that in the second half. They did some twists and it was the same thing, we needed just to do better. He’s a great player, he definitely deserves all of the accolades that he gets but I think you have to go out there and stop all of their defensive linemen to have a successful day.

Q: Was there any one thing or any one criticism of the offensive line last week that really kind of got to you guys? And one thing you read or heard?
A: I didn’t’ really look into any of the reading or anything like that. I just know that as an offensive line, after that game, we felt that we could have played better. Obviously last night wasn’t perfect, we didn’t do everything that we wanted to do up front, but I think at the end of the day we went out there and fought. We gave it every single thing we had, had effort every play. There are going to be bad plays in the ball game, things aren’t going to go our way sometimes, like you saw in the second half, but to just keep battling, I think, it shows a great deal about this team, the way we went out there and fought.

Q: What’s the biggest thing you’re better at now than you were at the beginning of your rookie year?
A: I think my knowledge of the playbook has gotten better each and every week and I’m better at that. I have to keep working on my hands and doing the right things with my hands and my feet. That’s just something that you keep getting better at, to have that confidence to go out there and do those things. I just want to keep getting better each week. I have a lot to learn this offseason, I think it’s going to be a big offseason for me.