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Coach Coughlin in winning NFC East


Opening Remarks:Good evening, NFC East champions. That is a great thing to hear and I won't get tired of hearing that over and over again. To be in a position where you are playing for this opportunity in the last three weeks of the season and to be able to determine your own destiny and to play good solid football. There were some times tonight where there was some nerve wracking, in particular the third quarter. We straightened it around and finished the game the way we wanted to finish it, finish the season the way we wanted to finish it and create an opportunity for ourselves to be in the playoffs and everything goes forward from here. Very, very exciting time for all of us and I congratulate the ownership, coaches and the players for an exceptional job. Dallas came in here with the same kind of goals and the same kind of objectives that we had. We were plus-two tonight (in turnovers) and a bunch of big plays from Victor Cruz. We took good care of the ball and had the plus-two, we didn't turn it over. We had Greg Jones save one for us and did an outstanding job in the middle of the field in the first half. Just a very solid game and Eli came through big time. They were doing a good job of rushing the passer and they did a good job stopping the run for a while. They are a good team, they are a good offensive team with a lot of skill players. In this division, to be able to be the NFC East champions is a very rewarding thing but as we stated from day one, we wanted to win the division so we could have the direct route into the playoffs and that is what has happened.

Q: How big were the plays by Victor Cruz?A: He just keeps doing it and thank God he does. I am cheering for him, doing cartwheels on the sidelines as he is running by. That was just trying to make a first down, to be honest with you. He was on the short end of the ball and where the ball was going to be directed and somehow he got outside and down the sideline and got us in the end zone and got us started. It was a really profitable first half for us as a result of him getting us started. The play he makes at the end of the game where he jumps over the top of the defender, the defender is in great shape. He is in outstanding position but the ball is thrown up high and Eli does a great job of avoiding the rush and throws the ball up and Cruz comes down with the ball. It was just a heck of a game and heck of a season by the kid. 

Q: Why did you defer after winning the toss?A: I told the coaches when we came in, if it was pouring rain, it was a good chance that I would defer. There was the speculation about Romo's hand, which wasn't very accurate, and we thought that if it was going to be rainy and wet, he has to be under the center and maybe we can create something for ourselves. It didn't work that way but that was the thinking.

Q: What did you get from Osi today?A: An outstanding game with outstanding effort. Here is a guy who hasn't played in quite some time and comes back and gives us a big lift. He plays very hard and is another outstanding player to add to the pass rush combinations that we have. I was really pleased with the way Osi came back and practiced this week and then played in the game tonight.

Q: How good was the defense tonight?A: It has been really great to see the way the defense has played the last couple weeks and that has given everyone a nice boost and a nice way of confidence. Special teams has put a lot more emphasis on our guys tackling better on teams and they have done a good job of that as well. The defense played well and gives us a chance to play some Giants football.

Q: Can you comment on the breaks that you got today?A: Breaks? Don't give me any breaks, we earned everything we got. Greg Jones jumped on the ball. Am I happy to see it? Yes, I am. I am happy to see the blue shirt with the ball.

Q: Have you had a chance to reflect on what this season has meant to you?A: No, not really because it is not a time for reflection. It is a time for looking forward and I am real happy tonight and I guess we play Atlanta Sunday at 1 so we are going to be getting ready for that one.

Q: Why did you call that timeout late in the first half?A: It was a dumb play by me and I out-smarted myself. I was trying to create another play but as it stood, it was a dumb play and thank God they didn't get any points out of it.

Q: Is this the best season Eli has had?A:  He has had a lot of good seasons; we will wait and see and talk about that one.

Q: Are you playing your best football right now?A: I hope so and there are areas that we can get better. I like to see the defense coming along, I wish we were rushing the ball a little bit better. We did go over the 100-yard mark which means we had a lot of snaps and I think we were 50 percent on third down as well. Hopefully, we are playing our best and there is always room for improvement. We are going to have to be at our very best versus Atlanta.

Q: What does it mean to end the game on a second-effort sack by Justin Tuck?A: It is indicative of the way we came into the game and the focus that the players had and the knowledge of the circumstances that we were in. We knew that it was going to be a game that we were going to play from the heart and try to be the most physical team and give great effort and I think we did.

Q: How much does it mean to have Tuck and Osi getting healthier?A: To be able to put those combinations together and feature those guys and the outstanding pass rushers that they are, it is going to give us a real good shot in the arm. We have had outstanding play out of Tollefson, Canty has given us a good shot and Jacquian Williams has done a good job when we rushed him and he got one tonight. The more that we can come into the game with weapons, you can't double everybody. Tonight, we were making a lot of headway and then all of a sudden we broke out again.  

Q: Can you talk about the way your team responded the last two weeks?A: As I said earlier, the knowledge of the circumstance that we are in and the ability to say to ourselves that this is ours for the taking. As I told you, when I walked into the team meeting before the Jets game, I simply said if we win two games, we are in the playoffs. That is basically the way we have approached it and I think the players have recognized that. It is one thing to be recognized for your toughness and the respect that goes along with that but also to go out and play well in big games, I like to see the fact that our guys rallied around and did that.

Q: It has to be gratifying to see your team respond in that fashion?A: That is exactly what I said and thank you for recapping.

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