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Coughlin's Corner: Week 5


Q: You had a dramatic come-from-behind victory last week in Arizona. In your experience, can that momentum affect this week's game against Seattle or is every game such a separate entity that there is no carryover from one game to the next?

Coughlin: "It's hard to have a lot of carryover other than the fact that hopefully your confidence is up. Not much was going our way, and yet we were able to find a way to win. That's a huge confidence boost. However, you don't want to save it – under those circumstances – too many times. We scored 21 points in the fourth quarter. Our emphasis is to win and to finish, win the fourth quarter, finish the game. Of course, we were able to do that in dramatic fashion, but you certainly would like to play better in the first three quarters."


  is your kind of player. He quietly goes about his business and doesn't seek or get the attention someone with his talent might deserve. Is he your kind of player?

Coughlin: "He is. He's also certainly earned an awful lot of attention. But if he flies a little bit under the radar, that's okay."

Q: Is he as quiet and unassuming around the team as he is in public?

Coughlin: "When he's out on the field he is very aggressive, very aggressive, very aggressive. He's anxious to be a participant in affecting the outcome of games. That's how he plays. All those things are good. He's aggressive. He's competitive. He wants the ball. He can obviously catch the ball in very difficult circumstances."

Q: I don't recall many, if any, players with this kind of versatility, but can Kevin Boothe play all five positions on the offensive line?

Coughlin: "He can and he has. He's substituted at tackle. He's substituted at guard. He's substituted at center. He's a goal line tight end. He's done an awful lot of things for us while he's been here. And he can do those things because he is very smart and he is the kind of guy that's very, very team oriented. He utilizes what he has to the best of his ability."

Q: How valuable is it to have a guy you can plug in anywhere along the line?

Coughlin: "Extremely."

Q: When Jake Ballard arrived here, he was considered a blocking tight end, because that's what he did at Ohio State. But in high school he was primarily a receiver and he clearly has receiving skills. How do you look at Jake? Is he a blocker or a receiver or a guy that can eventually do both pretty well?

Coughlin: "We're trying to obviously develop him into an all-around tight end. He is more than one dimensional. He's proven that. You don't ever want to get too far away from the ability to block at the point. He is a big man and he can do that. But the more things that he can contribute in terms of being well-rounded at that position, the better off we're going to be. And he's demonstrated that."

Q: When players who don't normally get a lot of acclaim make big plays – as Ballard, Dave Tollefson and Victor Cruz did the other day – does it get everybody else on the team excited?

Coughlin: "I think it does. This team gets excited about that. I really think one of the major facets of a team is the ability to have joy and excitement for those who excel, who make the plays. Share in the excitement of the moment and share in the congratulations of those who do well and do it in a very unselfish way. And you see that when some of these guys make plays and the rest of the teammates get excited for them because they've been able to perform under pressure."

Q: You have done very well in the green zone this season (eight touchdowns in 10 opportunities, an NFL-best 80 percent success rate). Was that something you targeted in the offseason?

Coughlin: "It always is. I want to tell you that I think we were 11th last year offensively (that is correct, at 57.4 percent). It's an area where you want to lead the league because that is a reflection of the number of times you've scored touchdowns in there. So, obviously, points are based on that. It's a situational part of our game that we spend a lot of time on, and we're constantly trying to improve it."

Q: Seattle is almost a little unusual in that you just played them last year and they have the same coaches, but it's a very different team.

Coughlin: "I made that mistake this morning -- I was talking to the guys -- by saying something basically just like that. The point that's being made, though, is that they are a different team. They have five new starters on defense, 10 on offense. They have lots of different people in different roles from a year ago. So there is no question that we don't know this team. We've played against the coaches. We know some of what the coaches believe in and how they go about their business. But still it's the players we must be familiar with."

Q: You mentioned how you face a dangerous return specialist every game. This week it's Leon Washington, who followed Patrick Peterson, who followed DeSean Jackson. Are there fundamentals that your coverage teams use against each returner, or is every returner so different that you need much different game plans for each?

Coughlin: "No, they're different. They're very different. Very different in their style in their game and how the returns are set up for them. What circumstance you want them to have the ball in or don't want to have the ball in, where you want the ball placed, how you adjust your coverage to affect where the ball is placed and not allow that individual to get started. So every returner has his own style. And it's just a matter of fact, if you look ahead at our schedule, they're just lined right up. They're lined up all season."

Q: This is a little bit different, but I want to ask you about the passing of Steve Jobs. As a coach, you get ideas from many sources for motivational or strategic purposes. You go outside of football. The teachings of the late John Wooden are very important to you. How about going outside of sports altogether and using someone like Jobs, who was so innovative and obviously had great leadership qualities?

Coughlin: "There was an article that appeared in Fortune about the philosophy of Apple under Steve Jobs and how he ran his business, which basically is like a football operation with the way he ran it. We did a major presentation to the staff and we've used a lot of it with our team and shared it, really, around the building a little bit because it was so impressive. There's no other way to say it – a benevolent dictatorship is what he ran. And because of that, the values, the characteristics, the virtues that he brought to the table were allowed to rise. The way in which he dealt with people and the way in which they utilized the brain power of those that they hired and how they recognized them and how they tried to allow those people new to his team to grow and develop. And also the tremendous pride that he had in his work and the way in which he demonstrated disfavor if something wasn't up to the standards of Apple. So I just got a great kick out of reading about it, because, quite frankly, it's a lot of what I have researched from the time I was a young person, trying to figure out how I would want to run an organization that I was a part of by studying Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes and Ben Schwartzwalder and some of these people. And here it is. It's not all that different. When Vince Lombardi talked about armies and businesses and football teams, when you read something as I read last spring about Steve Jobs in Fortune magazine, there wasn't any question the guy could have been a football coach – probably a lot smarter than most of us. I'm not sure how the I-pad would have been in the huddle, but he probably would have figured out how to get it in."

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