Q: As a competitor, as someone who likes a challenge - I don't know if "relish" is the right word -- what are your thoughts about playing an undefeated team this late in the season?
Coughlin: "It's an opportunity, that's what it is. You have to look at it as an opportunity. You've got to be bold. You're coming off a bad loss, everybody is down on you, which is not the first time that's happened to us. But this is about being a competitor, about a team that's coming in here 11-0, a very good football team, a team that's had some close games on the road that they've managed to win. When you really study them, the fact of the matter is they lead the league in points scored. You watch games in which people play them tough like Tampa Bay in Green Bay - they go for a surprise onside and don't get it, it's a touchdown. Later on, they kick a must-onside, they don't get it, touchdown. That's why the scores look like they do. San Diego throws two picks for touchdowns against them and loses, 45-38. But, yes, the thing I want to make sure our team knows is that Green Bay has a Super Bowl MVP quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) – and so do we (Eli Manning). And our guy is having a very good year, too. So this is one of those games that nobody ever expects you to win, and we've had them before. It's at home and we're excited. I'm excited very much about the opportunity to play this team and our team is, too. Hey, give it everything you've got, go out and give everything you've got. It's not that dissimilar to other situations we've been in. Play your butt off. There is a formula. That formula works. You do those kinds of things, anything is possible. That's why they play the games."
Q: Whenever the team loses, you're asked about the players' confidence. Is that something you spend a lot of time thinking about, and as a coach, how do you gauge where the confidence is? Do you do it on a daily basis?
Coughlin: "I do it on an all-the-time basis. But the first thing that happens is when you lose a game – now I didn't spend a lot of time on this game (Monday's loss in New Orleans) because of the short week – but I did spend some time on four or five things. Then I have various means of people, my coaching staff, the people that are in constant touch with them – how are they in meetings, how are they in the weight room, how are they doing, how were they today? Because I really do believe, number one, I don't like the idea of people who start with that 'woe-is-me' business, because I don't deal with that at all. So when we talk about there's no feeling sorry for yourself, that does not absolve people. That doesn't do that. I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying deal with it like a man. You didn't play very well and we got beat, and again we did the one side of the ball thing. The offense played well, the defense didn't. Two weeks ago, the defense played well, the offense didn't. It's about time all three phases played together. And special teams had a chance. We had a kickoff return that should have been a touchdown. We had a blocker on the safety, and the safety made the play. It begs of 'play to the whistle, play the play to the completeness of the play, finish the play.'"
Q: Two weeks ago, defense. Last week, the offense had a lot of yards. Is the most difficult challenge for a coach getting all three phases of his team playing well at the same time?
Coughlin: "Quite frankly, when you build a team up and you rely on all your sources, your penalties for the week, your mental errors for the week, your preparation time, what your coaches think – hey, we didn't even have many penalties. Two weeks ago, getting ready to play the Eagles, we had some penalties during the week and that bothered me. That set me off a little bit. Last week, we didn't have any penalties during the week. The coaches felt pretty good. We really felt we had a pretty good game plan, thought we had a good plan. So you do come to the end of the week and you're doing this all the time and you're trying to bring it right to the end, right to this spot (brings his hands up and together). And then you've got to go play according to the way that you've been prepared. And it falls short. Now the other team has good players. That's not the point. The point is you do feel like you put your team in a great position to win, and naturally it comes right back to the coach – why didn't we play better? I can give you all the arithmetic in the world, but I didn't think it was a 49-point game. We gave them a couple scores. The rookie (Da'Rel Scott) fumbled the ball and they score and they score at the end of the game, which shouldn't have happened. But, nevertheless, that's it."
Q: You had an interception in the end zone on the first offensive series and now you haven't scored a first-half touchdown in four games. Are you frustrated by the lack of production in the first half?
Coughlin: "That's a constant question. That would have answered that question right then. We take it the length of the field, throw a touchdown pass, up 7-0 against this team at home. But it didn't happen. It's just as frustrating as looking like it might be 14-3 when they're on the minus-12 (late in the half). It's either going to be 14-3 or it's going to be 14-6. We should have held them, get the ball back with reasonable field position. Of course, they drive it and score. That's frustrating. That's, quite frankly, difficult."
Q: People look at the margin, but if you get that first touchdown, it could snowball a little bit, give you a little momentum and confidence.
Coughlin: "Sure it could. But let's face it, when you're playing against the number one offense in the league, playing at home, very similar to this (Green Bay) team, all kinds of firsts and seconds (in the league rankings), you've got to stop them. You do have to have stops in order for it to apply, even if it's going to be a momentum, momentum, momentum, momentum type game. You've got to be in position to do that. We did stop them after the (fake) punt debacle, but not enough. Then, when we come out in the second half and drive and score, it's 21-10. It's 21-10, come on, get a stop, let's go."
Q: With the short week, did you watch as much Green Bay tape as you would in a normal week?
Coughlin: "You have to do work on the road, preparing and waiting to play a Monday night game. I did a bunch of stuff on the plane on special teams. I did some things on offense and defense on Monday morning. We met all Monday morning, put together some first and second down thoughts. It didn't help us to arrive an hour later than than we thought we were going to arrive (on Tuesday morning). But anyway, that's the way it is."
Q: Michael Strahan was here Wednesday and talked to the defensive line…
Coughlin: "We all like to see him."
Q: Were you glad to see him come in and rally the troops a little bit?
Coughlin: "He's a Giant. He'll always be a Giant. It doesn't matter what he's doing for a living at this point in time. He's still a Giant, and he still has tremendous care and concern for what goes on and the players here. He's always interested in our players and wanting to see them, talk to them. Of course, he's very close to some of the defensive linemen, so he wants to get in there and talk to those guys, try to give them some of the thoughts he has or he had along the way in his career. One year he talked to me about how he didn't think he was getting any better and he only had a few sacks – so he tries to draw parallels like that. It's always good to see Michael because he's energetic and he's a natural, let's face it."
Q: People are pointing to the number of sacks you've had lately. Have teams used more max protections against you?
Coughlin: "Sure. You can see it, but it's expected. You can't talk about that. We still had plenty of pressures. Pressures are designed to create the one-on-ones. So if the pressures create the one-on-ones, even if they're not max pressure, we should be getting home. You bring five, how many guys can they keep in? There were occasions where they blocked stuff up and threw the ball down the field with play-action, sure. They go empty, and the two outside, the two people adjacent to the tackle, would chip release. But that's part of the game. That's what people do. They do the same thing."
Q: So you're saying even though they are…
Coughlin: "You've got to get home. You've got to get home. No matter what they do, you've got to get home. That's what you're paid to do – get home. It all starts up front, whether you're talking defense or offense. For the New York Giants, it starts up front -- offensive line, defensive line."
Q: You brought back Chase Blackburn this week. What do you see him doing?
Coughlin: "I see him coming back being a little bit of a spark right now. We need a spark. Our (roster) numbers are down. (Michael) Boley and (Mark) Herzlich (are injured). Quite frankly, our numbers need help."
Q: Chase has had a nice career after signing as a rookie free agent a month before training camp in 2005.
Coughlin: "What he is, is a guy who is a tremendous example. He's overcome everything I can think of. When we picked him up, he was on the street. And he plays hard. He goes for it. He understands his role. He studies. He works. He'll be the first one to do this, the first one to do that, and he'll enjoy it. He'll have a smile on his face when he's doing it, because he's grateful. He sees it better than a lot of them. Some of these guys believe that, hey, life in the cocoon, this is the way it is in the world. It isn't like that in the world. Grow up."
Q: Ahmad Bradshaw had an interesting take on his status this week. First, he all but guaranteed he's going to play. But he said, "I don't want practice because I want to be as healthy as I can for Sunday."
Coughlin: "He'll do some things (in practice). He can't overdo it, but he'll do some things. I mean, the guy hasn't been hit in forever. You've got to get in there, pass protect, you've got to see things. He's been in meetings and all that, but it's a lot different when you're going 100 miles an hour."
Q: As a rule, are you reluctant to play someone on Sunday who hasn't worked at all during the week?
Coughlin: "If he's ready to play, if he's mentally and physically got the green light and he's done some things during the course of the week, we'll see."
Q: Aaron Ross had a tough game the other night – allowing two touchdowns, dropping an interception and fumbling a punt. He's a five-year veteran. Cornerbacks have to have the mentality to move on to the next play. With a guy like that, do you talk to him and say, "We need you?"
Coughlin: "You can't ignore the facts. 'Encouraging' would be the word. We encourage. We're encouraging everybody. We've got to pick ourselves up. What we did yesterday we have no control over. We do have this moment, and we can create the future by how well we do right now. So, mentally, we have to give ourselves every opportunity to succeed. And one area is our mentality. Obviously, we've had a blow to our self-esteem, but we've got to come roaring back as individuals and as a team."
Q: Are the Packers similar to the Saints in that they have a hot quarterback, multiple receivers, more than one running back?
Coughlin: "It's not the same offense, but the ability range of the players and personnel involved remind you a lot. You have a quarterback again that's what, 127-point-something in quarterback rating and you're facing them week to week. But you know what, that's part of the business, too. As I said, we've got a guy that's playing pretty well, too."
Q: When you look at them defensively, I know they've given up 47 20-yard passes. Or do you focus more on the 22 interceptions? Are they baiting teams?
Coughlin: "Well, they do. They bait you. They go for the interception. They go for the turnover. They go for the score off of it, and that's what they play for. They understand what they've got. They play with the lead a lot. People do have to try to match, and when they do try to match, you extend yourself. And when you extend yourself, they're a big pressure package and they're coming after the quarterback and they get people. Some of their disguises are very good and they bait you into making a bad throw and not recognizing the coverage. So all of that goes into it."
Q: Another week, another great returner in Randall Cobb.
Coughlin: "Everybody's got them. This kid has done really well. Of course, they started the season out so they knew what they had and they drafted him for that role and he's fulfilled it. He's done very well with it."
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