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Quotes (12/26): Gilbride, Manning, Tuck

Posted Dec 26, 2013

Go inside the locker room with quotes from Giants coaches and players ahead of their matchup with the Washington Redskins.


Coach Tom Coughlin


Q: What happened to Rueben Randle?

A: Rueben has a little bit of swelling in his knee, so they want to take a look at it. Hopefully it’s not going to be much. Time to time he has some issues.

Q: How did Peyton Hillis and Andre Brown look?
A: They did well, both of them. There didn’t seem to be any issues.

Q: When did Rueben Randle’s injury develop?
A: You know what, it was yesterday. In our work yesterday he kind of limped around a little bit, so they took him in and looked at it and it was a little bit swollen this morning.

Q: Victor Cruz has been around the last day or so. How did things go with him?
A: It seems like he did well. We saw him when he first came back. I didn’t see him yesterday, but it seemed like he’s doing well. He was in good spirits.

Q: This is a game between the last two division champions. What does that say about how easy it is to go from the top to the bottom?
A: You could speculate on it as well as I… It speaks to what the NFL is all about in terms of the parity issues that we continuously operate under and the fact that you have from year to year things happen and teams can play well, as you well know, at the end of the year and be the strongest team and teams can get off to a bad start, as we know, and be scrambling around at the end.

Q: How much different is their offense with Kirk Cousins in there as opposed to Robert Griffin III?
A: Well, the natural is they’re not featuring the option. I’m not telling you that they wouldn’t run it, but you don’t see that. You see the traditional two-back runs. You see the two-tight end, two receiver runs. You see the three-wide runs. They’re diversified. They have some four wide receivers. They have a number of receivers that play and have different responsibilities and they are throwing the ball a lot.

Q: Any chance you get David Diehl back this weekend?
A: There’s a chance, yeah. He’s practiced.

Q: Will you talk to some guys who are in the last year of their contract? Do you make a point before a last game?
A: Not really. I just continue to talk about team and how important it is to win and how important it is to play well.

Q: When does the preparation for 2014 start for you? Sunday night or are you going to give yourself a little break?
A: The evaluation of the current team will be right away.

Q: With Ryan Nassib, is there a desire to try and get him in a game to get him some game action in his rookie year, even if it were at the end of this week’s game?
A: All things being considered, that wouldn’t be the number one priority. Offseason… yeah, ask me again about it when we get started.

Q: The Pro Bowl teams get announced tomorrow. If you were to get a guy like Antrel Rolle on the team, would it be meaningful?
A: Sure it would be. He deserves to be a Pro Bowler the way he’s played. He’s had an outstanding season. It’s a source of pride and an honor to the organization to have a player recognized like that, and he is deserving.

Q: There are guys who have been around here for a long time who will probably play in their last game for the Giants. Do you say anything to them?
A: Yeah, but I don’t make those decisions and I don’t know that those decisions are made by the player yet either. That would be presumptuous of me. We try to win every game and we’ll do the same thing here.


Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride

Q: Even within games, half to half, they’re good one half and then they struggle the next?
A: It’s hard for me to understand it because I look at them and they’ve got a lot of talent and those two outside linebackers gave us all we could handle last time.  Barry (Cofield) does a nice job on the nose, you’ve got a couple of experienced linebackers, you’ve got a Pro Bowl corner, the safeties will hit and do a lot of great things, so I can’t understand it.  I know they give us all we can handle and we’re going to have to be at our best to have a chance to beat them.  They do a great job with their pressure package.  As soon as you get into a substituted offense, where you have three or four wides, they do a tremendous job of giving you the illusion of what we call a moss blitz, where they’re going to blitz one more defender than you have blockers, and then pulling off and dropping into coverage.  They do a nice job.  They really do.  Their base stuff, they take their ends, they move them into an inside alignment and then they take their outside backers and you have to match up with them in order to run the ball, because they’re trying push it out to that matchup and those matchups are hard for tight ends and backs. 

Q: Are you especially proud of seeing all of the work Jerrel Jenigan’s put in kind of come to fruition last week when he finally had an opportunity to play extended snaps?
A: He’s played well the past couple of chances we’ve given him.  He has made some terrific catches.  The great thing is he made a touchdown catch that we got called for delay of game and came right back and threw it to him and made a tremendous catch.  He’s a terrific kid that’s been working hard, very patient, and it’s hard to get into his natural spot, which is inside, and Victor has been playing very well, so he doesn’t get as many reps as most guys would have gotten.  When the opportunity has arisen, he certainly has taken full advantage of it.

Q: Is it encouraging that he said he had two options on that route, so him and Eli must have had to see the same thing.
A: Well, that’s how we teach our offense.

Q: Is that encouraging that with limited reps he’s also seeing the same thing?
A: Let’s say this, if it didn’t happen, I’d be discouraged.  I teach that every day.  That’s all we talk about.  That’s why there’s one voice in those meetings, me.  When this happens, you do this; when that happens, you do this, so everybody sees it the same way and reacts the same way.  When you have some latitude with your receiving corps, it can be disastrous if everybody’s not looking the same way.  If somebody’s setting it down and somebody is taking off, or someone’s breaking in when they should be breaking out.  That’s the essence of what we do.

Q: How surprised are you that 15 games into the season, Hakeem Nicks has just one catch in the red zone?
A: You would have never thought it.

Q: Is this anything the defenses have done?
A: No, not at all.  Even the game Sunday we had a shot, it hit him right in the chest.  He’s had some chances, sometimes the ball’s going other ways, sometimes the coverage dictated that it goes to somebody else, but there’s been opportunities.  It’s unfortunate that on Sunday we misfired on one, he was wide open down the sidelines, so it just hasn’t worked out.  Am I surprised?  Yeah, no question. 


DC Perry Fewell

Q: Do you have a gut feeling on Rolle, Tuck, guys like that, and whether they should make the Pro Bowl?  Do they deserve it?
A: I definitely have a gut feeling.  I think Antrel Rolle has performed at that level.  I think Justin Tuck has definitely performed at that level.  Right off the top of my head, those two guys are deserving.  Could there be more?  I don’t know. 

Q: Tuck, he’ll get attention obviously because of his sack numbers the last five or six games are up there.  Overall, has he been pretty solid or consistent all year long with his play?
A: I think he has.  I think he’s played the run well, I think he’s much improved over a year ago.  I think he’s played with greater edge and greater purpose.  I’m very pleased with the things he’s done for us. 

Q: Is that simply a matter of him being healthy or is it something else?
A: I think it’s a matter of him being healthy this year.  He struggled the last couple of years with his health and I know he spent almost every day in the offseason in the training room, trying to get healthy, doing the things he needed to do in order to come back and play football in 2013.  I think it is a matter of health. 

Q: As a coach, is it tough emotionally to think about guys like that, who might not be back or might be playing their last game as a Giant?  I mean you’ve developed a relationship with all of these guys I’m sure. 
A: It’s tough as a coach emotionally when you’re playing your last game, period.  When you couple that with free agency, yeah, it’s a difficult thing.  You try to take that out of it because it is a business, but the human side of it tells you that you have developed a relationship, you love these guys, they’ve gone to war for you and they’ve gone through some things with their bodies with the pains and the aches that normal people don’t see.  It’s a tough thing. 

Q: Do you ever go in there and say, we’d like to have him back, please?
A: Yeah, there’s no doubt about it.  Here, management and ownership and the coaching staff, we have a very good dialogue.  Sometimes it comes down to numbers, sometimes it comes down to player preference, but I think in this organization we do a very good job of communicating with each other and working with each other and if you’re a Giant, trying to keep guys as Giants. 

Q: In relation to Justin, a couple of years ago, the question was always does he have anything left.  What has he shown you and how long do you think he can keep performing at this elite level that he has been?
A: I can’t tell you how long he can continue to do that.  I know that in his heart, he loves to play the game, so when you play from your heart, you’re able to do some things that you normally wouldn’t be able to do.  I think he can still play the run game very good for several more years and then just depending upon how healthy he stays, he’ll be effective in the pass game.  If you couple that with a healthy JPP, then maybe he doesn’t draw as much attention and he steals a couple more sacks. 

Q: There hasn’t been a losing season around here in a while.  Do you at all think about your future, the coaching staff’s future, or worry about how ownership might react to the losing record?
A: As a football coach, we know that’s part of the business.  It’s just like free agency, it’s part of the business for the players.  You just go work and coach every day and you do the best job you can every day.  Whatever happens will happen.  Every day is a blessed day when you’re able to coach football. 

Q: Usually you face a division opponent and you have a pretty good base of knowledge about them.  How much does that change now with the quarterback change in Washington?
A: I don’t think it does.  I’m impressed with Kirk Cousins and they’re not in the Pistol as much as he’s under center now.  Really, he’s changed from being in the Pistol or the Shotgun formation and they’re running their offense from under center now.  They still run the same type of plays, there’s not as much option, obviously, that you face when you have RG3.  He can pull the ball down, he can run the ball, there’s not as much speed on the field in that sense, but he might be a little more accurate as a passer, so I think there’s another dynamic that he brings that RG doesn’t bring, or didn’t bring last time. 

Q: Do you run the risk that they still might spring the no-huddle on you, even though it’s not RGIII?
A: Yeah, I think you always have to prepare for that and be ready for that because they opened the game last time with the no-huddle situation and they had success, so I think that’s a tool they can use at any point and time.

Q: Does everything still go through Alfred Morris, in the sense of that’s their bread and butter?
A: I think he’s the key to their offense, no doubt.  As you well know, if you can establish the run, then you can establish the play action pass, so everything does go through him. 


QB Eli Manning

Q: What do you see from Washington on tape?
A: They changed up a little bit since the last time we played them. They’re playing hard. The last two games they’ve had great opportunities to win the games at the very end and so they’re doing a little bit more blitzing and showing some different looks and so they’re playing good football and we’ve got to have a great week of preparation to go in there and play well.

Q: How important is it for this team to finish the regular season 7-3 in the final 10 games?
A: I think it’s just important to finish strong. We had a good win last week, which was nice. It was a close game that we were able to pull out at the end, so that was good and obviously you want to finish the season playing your best football so that’s our goal to make sure that we made strides and hopefully go out on top.

Q: Is what you saw from Jerrel Jernigan last week the type of stuff you see from him in practice?
A: Yeah. I thought JJ had a great week of practice. I thought the week versus Seattle he got some good reps and kind of got comfortable and came in and made some big catches for us last week. He did some good things, so hopefully he can continue to do that this week. We need him to play well.

Q: This could be the last game as a Giant for a lot of guys who have been here for a number of years. Will you take any time to think about that?
A: You know what, from year to year you never know what’s going to happen and so I think you go in and try to play your best and get a win and just take it as what it is. It’s the last game of this season and try to go out there and play well.

Q: Any concern about Rueben Randle’s knee and maybe having another receiver down?
A: Hopefully he can come back and then we’ll see, but we’ll have some guys who have been working these last few weeks, whether it’s Louis Murphy… So we’ve got a number of guys who can step in and play well if we need them to.

Q: Since your rookie season, we have not had the Giants around here with irrelevant games in December in terms of the playoff picture. How weird is it for you to end the season in this type of scenario?
A: Obviously it’s not the scenario that you want, but it is what it is. This is where we are right now and you try to make the best of it and, again, just keep playing, trying to make improvements to get better and see if you can figure out a way to get a win.

Q: The last two division champions are playing in a game that doesn’t have any effect on the playoffs. What does that say about the fleeting nature of success in this league?
A: From one year to the next, it doesn’t mean much, whether you’ve had success the year before or you didn’t. You can make big turnarounds from year to year and it’s just a small difference between being a playoff team and not being one, and so in that sense, I guess it gives you hope for next year that we can get back to playing better football and get back to making the playoffs.


DE Justin Tuck

Q: Is it a different Washington Redskins team you’re facing?
A: Sure it is. Yeah, they’ve changed a few things. Their identity is still very, very familiar, we’re still familiar with that. It starts with that running back, it starts with Morris, and it starts with that zone scheme. Cousins comes in, he’s done a great job, that team has kind of rallied behind him. They’ve played well the last two games, had opportunities to win both of them, so we’re going to be in a dogfight. We know this team and they know us. It’s just going to come down to who executes the best.

Q: With the game that you had against them last time, are you expecting a little more attention? Some chipping, some doubles.
A: I hope not. I don’t know, I don’t know how they’re going to respond to it. I think Cousins does a great job… he’s not as fast and quick as RG3 but he does a great job eluding the rush and he gets the ball out of his hands pretty quickly. We’ll see what happens.

Q: What was the key to holding Morris down like you did the last time?
A: Eleven guys playing as one. I think whenever you do that, we have so much talent on defense that when we play together and play as far as not caring who gets the tackle or who gets all the pub, just making sure that every guy has his gap and every guy has his responsibility. Against him, you’ve got to stay square as long as you can. It seems like once someone gets turned in that zone scheme, he finds a way to find that gap and he’s so tough to bring down once he gets a head of steam that… you can hit him two yards behind the line of scrimmage and he still falls forward for six, seven yards. That’s how they bleed you, so just have to have 11 guys on the right page, on the same page.

Q: I know nothing’s going to take away the sting of missing the playoffs and losing, but would it mean something to you, to guys in here, if you got one or two guys into the Pro Bowl when those teams are announced tomorrow?
A: I hope so. I think we’ve got guys that have had years that warrant them an opportunity to go over there, and hopefully that happens for a couple guys.

Q: Is Antrel Rolle one of those guys?
A: I think he’s the top one, obviously. I think he’s our defensive MVP this year and I think he’s played Pro Bowl-ish. Absolutely.
 

RB Peyton Hillis

Q: What symptoms did you have and when did they start clearing up to get back out there?
A: Just a regular concussion. I was really foggy, dizzy, had some headaches. Really not throwing up or anything like that, I think I had my last headache on Friday and then they slowly progressed me along until yesterday. I started practice yesterday and haven’t had any symptoms since so I think I’m doing OK.

Q: Were you worried during this whole process that you wouldn’t get back out on the field?
A: My mindset was to get back on the field. Like I said earlier, it could be my last game so I’m not going to go out with a concussion. I’m here and I’m wanting to play and hoping that I do well.

Q: That’s out of your hands at that point…
A: It is. It’s more of a psychological thing. You tell yourself that you’re going to be okay and I think that kind of helps things.

Q: Since you got here you talked about how you faced the end, you didn’t think you were done but you knew the opportunities, if they were to come…. Do you go out there on Sunday and kind of take it all in even more so than maybe you did the last time because maybe you didn’t see that finish line? That finish line wasn’t put ahead of you?
A: No, I think it’s different this year because when I came here to this organization the people here were very loving with open arms. It’s very professional here. When you get to know the guys and get to know the coaches, you want to win for them. You know how good of a team you have but things haven’t exactly rolled our way this year. You want to end the season with a win, you want to leave a good taste in your mouth so that’s what I’m hoping for and that’s what I’m hoping for the team.

Q: If you have the opportunity to come back here, would you want to?
A: Most definitely. I’ve been in, as everybody already knows, I’ve been in a few organizations and this, by far, takes the cake. I think the Giants know how to handle their players, handle players’ families, everything is very family-oriented here and I love it.