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Coach Tom Coughlin's conference call (11/10)

Head Coach Tom Coughlin

What I would start out by saying is that when you look at the tape, you are still very much impressed with the first half. We had the momentum going in at halftime with the field goal to give us the lead. It wasn't perfect, but there were some good things that did happen, both offensively and defensively. The one thing we did do was, it was 16 minutes to 13 something and we did have the ball for a reasonable amount of time in the first half as well. Even though we didn't rush the ball, we were able to do some good things with the passing game and utilize that tactic to move the ball, and to keep it away from Seattle.

We did some good things in the first half. It wasn't, as I said, perfect, but it gave us a chance. We had good momentum in the locker room at halftime, we had good energy. Guys were with their coaches and we were straightening some things out. It was good interest on both the defense and the offensive sides, special teams were grabbing guys. From that standpoint, coming back out in the second half kickoff, they drive it, we intercept the ball on the 10-yard line. It is an exciting time, we take the ball in both times in the third quarter and move the ball down. We punt from the 40-yard line, the plus 40-yard line with our first drive, we only had it twice. We drive it down to first and ten on the 39-yard line and we have an interception, an unfortunate interception when we have been playing so well and done a great job of decision-making and keeping the ball away from them. A ball that actually, Odell Beckham Jr. going up for the ball, trying to tip it to himself, I think, tipped it up in the air and Earl Thomas made the interception. Really, the thought at that point was to really have more people involved in tackling at that point in time, because they did achieve great field position following that. My point is through the end of the third quarter, it is a 17-17 game. Even when they make a big play with a 60-yarder, we stop them and they kick a field and it is 17-17. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, it is still just 24-17 and there is plenty of time, plenty of opportunities. That is where the nature of the fourth quarter just was awful from our standpoint. They had the ball, they scored, they put the ball on the ground twice in one segment, we had people right there for the ball and didn't get the ball, which would have definitely denied the opportunity for them to score as many points as they did. The other thing is when we went for it when it was in the five, five and a half minute range when I went for it on fourth down, had we been able to do something there. We were again at midfield, had we been able to do something there as far as putting the ball in the end zone, we might have gained some momentum back, and we have done a good job with our must onside stuff, had people in position to recover. Despite the fact that we gave up so much rushing yardage, and from time to time had different errors in assignment or an inability to tackle a very strong runner who is very good, very powerful, or contain the quarterback… despite all that, we did have our opportunities, we were in good position and we were controlling, for a long time, the game without turnovers. We threw the interception and later had the ball slip out of Eli Manning's hands when it was very wet and saturated as time went on. Even the fourth down throw probably slipped out of his hand a little bit. It was a very, very, good game. I think our team handled the traveling across country, coming off the Monday night loss, lining up and playing with great energy and really enthusiasm and matching the great home team 12th man issue that they present in Seattle. Handling the silent counts and all that stuff well, we did a have a couple of penalties that hurt us with the holding penalties by the young rookie and that hurt, and set us back. Even in the one situation I talked about punting from the 40, but having said all that, we were not able to finish the job. It is a four-quarter game and whether it is three quarters or four quarters, that was always our mantra, and we always talked about winning the fourth quarter. We did not do that, we were not able to come away with a win, and we were very disappointed and frustrated by the way in which we finished the game and lost the game, never thinking that the point differential should have been that much.

Q: How would you characterize the mood of the team?
A: I think it is what you would expect. They are human, they are emotionally drained by losing a game like that, and having, quite frankly, how do you explain that particular thing after a game that is just as disappointing as that was. You are so excited, thinking legitimately that you have a real good chance to win. I think that the meetings, as far going over the tape, went well. I think the guys were attentive and they were good about adjustments and corrections and owning up to errors and all of that. They did a good job with all of that today. The point of the matter is what we have to do is we have to stick together as a team and continue to work hard. I talked a lot about improvement last week. Obviously, there is more that has to be done. We need to find a way to win a game.

Q: Are you optimistic that Rashad Jennings will be back for Sunday, and how much can he mean?
A: I think he will, I'm hoping that he will. He did have a good week of practice last week for what we asked him to do. He had a weekend to continue to rehab and strengthen, so he has worked hard at that. I am going to say that we certainly do expect that he will be ready at the end of this week, but who knows? I can't tell you 100 percent, but I think he will, and if he is ready, then obviously he will have a big share of the load.

Q: How do you explain some of the struggles defending the run? You mentioned things in the fourth started to unravel. Do you contribute it to missed assignments?
A: You have to look at a couple of things. First of all, you have a very powerful back, there were times where we didn't tackle as well as we would've liked to, and there were times when he ran right through the tackles. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that. On other occasions, there were in particular, for example, when you assigned people to the dive, on occasion he did cut it all the way back outside the guy responsible for the dive, some of that did occur. Then we were out of position and didn't react well enough in containment or a leverage position to the quarterback when he kept the ball. We had people, it's option football, assignment football, we had some different varieties of ways in which to try to handle the dive and the quarterback. There were occasions where we didn't have anybody in position to contain the quarterback. He got the ball outside too easily and made yardage. When they did go conventional, they made some yards in their conventional lead blocker concept-type of runs. The ones that hurt us, I think, are the quarterback keeps and the option dives. In the fourth quarter, there was one series in which there were three lengthy runs right off the bat, and one right after the other, I think maybe one of them was an option. One right after the other, and I think only one of them was an option, so we didn't do a good of that either. Right after the final turnover, the first play was 44-45 yards. We just didn't get it done at that point in time. I would say a combination of the things I just mentioned.

Q: Is this a teaching point for you going forward in how you are going to be facing a mobile quarterback in Colin Kapernick?
A: That is what I am hoping. That will be a positive thing for us in terms of learning from the experience we just had, knowing full well what they are capable of doing in the style of offense and the quarterback being involved as much as he is. Perhaps we will learn something that can really benefit us going forward.

Q: Do you think the defensive coaching staff properly prepared the team for the option attack?
A: I do think that they worked as hard as they possibly could. I think we took every moment of jog through and practice time and saw the option, the dive, and the quarterback from many different circumstances, from different formations, etc. I don't think we executed it very well, and we needed to make sure that when you have something as important to their style of attack as that particular keeper and option are, that you have to spend all of your time doing that and you can't assume that anyone understands everything. You have to stay on that and harp on that. Sometimes, to be honest, you do that at the expense of other things. Trying to cover the whole of what we were going to defend. We didn't not prepare for their entire offensive scheme, but we spent a lot of time on the option, but it didn't show.

Q: There were times where you didn't have anybody in position to contain the quarterback. Was that a disconnect from what they were taught during the week?
A: I think there isn't any doubt that being out of position is not going to give you much of a chance there. At times, there were leverage issues and actually sometimes the eyes went with the dive instead of being in position on the quarterback when you knew you had him.

Q: At 3-6 and having lost to most of the teams in front of you, how difficult is it going to be to convince your team that there is still something to play for?
A: I think they are competitors, I think that they want to win, I think they are disappointed in the situation we are in, I think there is a lot of pride in the room, I think there is a lot of pride in them being Giants, and I think we all feel the same about the losing aspect of it. Somehow, some way, you have to gather strength and stick together and understand every aspect of improvement starts with me. If I want my team to improve, I have got to improve first. I think we do have that kind of attitude and I think the guys will hang in there and battle, scrap and scratch until we do get a win, and now I think we will be fortified by the win to go forward.

Q: You were 3-6 last year at this time, made a lot of changes, and now you are 3-6 again. How is this 3-6 different to you in terms of how it feels versus where you were this time last year?
A: I don't know. I can't even talk about that because all I am engrossed in is this year. It doesn't feel good, there is progress that has been made, there are lots of things that you can point to that are good, but we are not finishing the job. That dominates all of our thinking. We all know what this game is about, you have to win.

Q: Is there a conscious effort to allow Eli Manning to take a few more risks? It seems like even beyond the interception there were some passes that he hadn't really been attempting earlier this season.
A: No, I don't think so. I mean, conscious? It is all game planned. I hope you are not saying that it's high risk by throwing the ball down the field to Odell Beckham, when we did have the big play made off of that. We consciously game planned in order to create whatever opportunities we can as we study the opponent to try to get the ball in the end zone. If you are saying the ball down the field a few times, obviously it was down the field, we were trying also to control the ball as we have been, whether it is run or pass.

Q: Actually, I was thinking more about the one along the sideline when he [Eli Manning] threw it underhand.
A: I think he wanted nothing more than to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage, I am sure. He was outside the tackle box, you can go ahead and second-guess that, it is dangerous, it was dangerous. Would I recommend it? No. On the other hand, Odell Beckham did almost catch the ball.

Q: What did you make of Odell Beckham Jr.'s performance against Richard Sherman?
A: I think he certainly learned a lot, he competed and he worked hard. What I really liked is whether you take Preston Parker, or whether Odell Beckham, they both tried to block the best they could out in front or for each other, on the run, or on the pass. That was solid as well. Odell Beckham did make any number of plays and certainly has given us a spark and we need more.

Q: It has been a long time since your team has put together a real good run of football. How are you handling that?
A: I am disappointed. I expected more and I continue to expect more, but my concern is for my team. You can blame it all on me. This is our team. I am the head coach, and I am responsible for everything. That is where it starts and I will continue to feel that way. This is our football team; we can play better than we played. It is frustrating because words don't always cover everything, and I do want our players to understand that I think they are very close. I think that in order to accomplish what we say, now we are talking about four quarters. That was never an issue. We put together some wins at the end of last year, which gave a little respectability to where we were and we've got to do the same thing here.

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