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Coaching Confidential: Sticking Together


Coach Tom Coughlin**

Good afternoon.  Following a very disappointing evening, obviously last night, the one thing that I did stress with our team following the game was that what we really need to do during this point in time is to make sure we stick together, that we stay together.  That we act, that we speak, and that we are one.  We don't finger point.  We don't blame anybody either.  There is no excuse for what happened.  It happened.  We're a team and I think the stressing of remembering even in a situation such as yesterday's game is very important.  Today we talked in here and we don't try to soft pedal anything.  This was a very disappointing loss for us.  We didn't give ourselves a chance to compete, to be in a position to.  From the first snap of the game on we had in the first half, two opportunities with good field position, did not take advantage of either one.  We had the ball in the end zone with a penalty.  We had the ball set up in the middle for a field goal, missed the field goal.  We didn't give ourselves much of a chance to reinforce anything or excite our team, on the sidelines or in the locker room at halftime.  Having said that, the second half wasn't played very well by our defensive team either.  We gave up the two drives.  We gave up the long post touchdown.  You fight for 40-something plays, it's a long game.  It's a 60-minute game.  Nobody said it was going to be fair.  You have to battle all the way.  We also made two really ridiculous mistakes on special teams that cost us drastically.  We had the ball out of bounds at the nine-yard line and had to re-kick because of a holding penalty.  We had the fourth-and-one offside penalty, which gave them the ball back, as if they needed the ball anymore.  There were disappointments, there were mental errors.  We made mistakes that we should not be making.  When you get in a situation like that, in a game such as that, you look at last year's game and you study it and utilize that particular game as well, for the reinforcement part of what you're trying to accomplish.  I was impressed a year ago by the poise of our football team when we went down there and played in the Thursday night game and I tried to lean on that a little bit, during the course of our preparation.  We thought we were in good shape.  We thought we were all on the same page.   I was disappointed in the result.

Q: When you told the team to stick together, did you see anything leading you to believe they weren't?
A: No, this was right after the game.

Q: Yeah, so did you see any fighting or anything?
A: No.

Q: I only read this from up here, but there was a line from Hakeem, which said 'I can't throw it to myself.'  Are you concerned that there is a little bit of a fault line?
A: No.  I'll talk to him.  That's not a smart thing to say.  He's on the field, the quarterback was sacked seven times, hit fifteen times.  Not a very smart thing to say.

Q: But it's something you'll address then?
A: I'll talk to him about it.  Sure.  

Q: Is there anything you could have done from a playcalling standpoint to change the rush?  Maybe quick passes to the backs in the flat.  Is there anything …?
A: There wasn't any question we thought we needed to go to the quick game.  We did throw the quick game, we also threw a couple of things that were five-step drops that the ball came out, or had to come out relatively quickly.  We did utilize some of that.  We did get into some down and distance situations, where we couldn't pick it up that way and had to comeback further.  The result wasn't very good when we did that either.  All of that was discussed.  

Q: Are you contemplating any changes to the offensive line?
A: We'll see.  Your team is your team.  If there is something that we think can do, can help, then I would consider it.  

Q: Are you someone who believes in a change for the sake of sending a message?
A: No, I think you have to deal with reality.  I think the messages are very strongly presented.  I don't need that kind of an example, however, if it is something that can make us better, then I have no issue with that either.  That's been done in the past as well.

Q: Toward the end of last season there were a couple of lopsided losses, now you've had a couple at the beginning of the season.  Are you concerned your message is not getting through?
A: I'm concerned that what we talk about in here and the response are not necessarily the same.  That's as far as I will go with that.  

Q: Does Chris Snee look totally healthy to you?
A: I think he's got some issues.  We're trying to figure out where that is right now.  He and David Baas also have some issues.  

Q: Issues that may affect their availability this week?
A: I don't know.  I hope not, but we'll see.  There are things that have to be looked at.

Q: Carl Banks on the radio thought the team quit.  How do you feel about that?
A: I don't like that.  That is a very strong thing for someone to say.  It wasn't pretty, I will say that, but I don't believe they quit.  

Q: He also said that he thought this team isn't fighting, that they didn't like each other, didn't want to fight for each other.  Do you sense any of that?
A: No.

Q: I know it's hard to tell in a down time, after a loss, but do you sense the chemistry is there?
A: The locker room part of it, you want to see that gel on the field.  That's what we're all trying to do.  I think they're a very compatible group.  I think you need to win to get the thought that you're talking about.  

Q: As you look at heading into a really tough place to play on Sunday, against what appears to be a really good team, is there in your mind a list of … that would change everything?
A: There's things we can accomplish.  Can we accomplish everything at one time?  I'm not sure.  I can give you a laundry list of things.  We talked last week about playing four quarters.  That still is there.  We talked last week about supporting and being in harmony with one another.  That's not there, or that has to happen.  I think you get the response you want to get off the sideline when people make plays and they rally around each other.  I think there was plenty of enthusiasm when Aaron (Ross) picked the ball off.  There was plenty of enthusiasm when the ball went in the end zone.  Not much enthusiasm when it was brought back.  I think that's one of the things that we keep talking about, but it has not taken place at this point in time.  

**Q: It has been a long time for you personally since you've felt this challenged to fix your team as you do right now, right?

A: I would probably agree with that.  Each year is a new year.  Each situation is a totally different situation.  We're scratching and biting to try to find answers as well.  To see what we want to see in our team.  To be honest with you, I know Thursday's practice was pretty good.  Wednesday's practice was good, so it's not that part of it.  It's the transfer of that over into the game situation and then being hardened and mentally tough enough to withstand some things that don't go your way and come back and make something happen in a positive way.

Q: After the game Eli seemed to be dumbfounded that Carolina was getting through with the four-man rush.  Did you see anything from the film that maybe would explain that?
A: They're a good front, just like I said all week long.  They're a good front.  They rush basically four guys the whole ball game.  They created problems and havoc, if you will, just by bringing four.  They occasionally pressured and blitzed the first play of the second half, not a surprise it was pressure, but they did a nice job.  They rotated people in and, quite frankly, whoever was in there was still putting pressure on.

Q: After what you've seen in the first three weeks, are you concerned at all that there's not enough talent to get it turned around?
A: We're going to certainly find out.  We're certainly hoping to be able to find out.  To go to whatever extreme we have to try to uncover people and help us win.  

Q: At some point it's probably fair to ask questions about personnel.  Do you feel like you're putting them in the right situations?
A: I think we are.  I think we're putting them in the right positions right now to be able to perform and win.  It hasn't happened yet, but we're going to continue to try to put them in the right positions.

Q: Is there some acceptance at some point or …?
A: No, you can't put words in my mouth.  I'm not saying anything about personnel.  I'm saying that the personnel here has got to play better.  

Q: Do you think the makeup of this team offensively, the fact that you guys rely so heavily on the big play, does that invite slumps like this?
A: I don't know.  That's pretty deep for me.

Q: Do you have any updates on injured players?
A: Not really.  I haven't heard anything yet.  

Q: When you talk about a good practice or two and not translating, when you speak to the players you're in constant communication with, whether it's the leadership council or captains, is there any light shed on why a team during the week can seem to be preparing…?
A: No, but that is a good question.  That's maybe something that I would want to investigate.  

Q: Did you get a chance to look at the Kansas City front seven yet?
A: I'm getting into that right now.  They've done a nice job.  

Q: How much of a big picture concern do you have with a season that starts in a way that you're not really accustomed to.  Guys getting in their heads, it's one of those seasons.  Is…?
A: I don't know.  I'm so into Mondays being a horrible day anyway, win or lose.  I'm into where we are right not and trying to get this team together, if you will, to play well.  I am not looking down the road.  

Q: You've had situations in your first nine years here where things look bleak and you've got it turned around.  Is there a way to compare?  This is earlier in the year than you're used to.  Is there any way you prepare?  Like a crisis management operation?
A: Ours has always been 'damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.'  Basically the way we've tried to do it is to be more focused ourselves and more driven and try to transfer those objectives directly toward our players.  We've done nothing more than dive in and try to solve whatever issues we have and we'll continue to do that.

Q: When you took this job in '04 you said something, you must replace despair with Giants pride…
A: I know, I know.

Q: Is it back to square one though?
A: I hope not.  Let's see.  I did challenge our pride a little bit today.

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