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Coughlin's Corner Week 6

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Q: You've coached long enough to know you're going to have games like last week's loss to
Seattle – games you could and probably should have won. Your ability to break from those disappointments and move on to the next game, is it any easier because of your experience as a coach?

Coughlin: "You'd rather be talking in a different vain than following a game like that where, to be honest with you, there were so many things that occurred in the game which were – I use the word – uncontrollable. They don't allow you to coach or put your team in position where they can, even though at the end of the game we were in position and we could have won the game, but I'm talking about the overall continuity, the way in which your team performs according to the image that you prepare in your own mind as to how you know or think you know that they're going to play. So you do have to deal with yourself first, as a coach. You have to go through the checklist about things I trust in my team. I believe that they had prepared. I thought they had great energy during the end of the week and so on and so forth. We just didn't play the way we thought we were going to play. So you have to work hard at that, you do have to, because it's not easy. Monday is a bad day when you lose like that. You have to just tell the players that it's over, there's nothing you can do about it, what you have to do is learn from it and move on. You have to lecture yourself, too, because there's always the inclination to want to, on Wednesday for example, make a reference to that game. So you have to be careful."

Q: Do you guard against doing that?

Coughlin: "You do. Except for the concrete, fundamental things that we believe in that got tossed aside."

Q: In your career as a head coach, your teams have never averaged less than 100 rushing yards a game over a full season. This year, the offense isn't running the ball as well as it normally does. Do you look at that and say, "We have to do a better job rushing?" or "We have to find some other way to move the ball, because we're not rushing as well as we need to?"

Coughlin: "We do both. But I do say that we have to run the ball and I do say we're going to keep pounding away and I do say we've got to, because there are many, many games to play. Just from my purpose, from a mental toughness type of purpose, I think that stopping the run and running the ball are fundamental to giving yourself a chance to win."

Q: You were one-for-12 on third down last week, but nine of the 12 opportunities were third-and-seven or longer. Do you view that more as a first and second down problem than a third down problem?

Coughlin: "Absolutely, absolutely. There were major first and second down problems because, quite frankly, we didn't rush the ball. Although the first series was not that way. We didn't rush the ball after that first series on first down, nor did we make anything when we did throw the ball with any kind of consistency. So, yes, we do look at that."

Q: Dave Tollefson was saying that with Jimmy Kennedy out he will play more tackle. He just seems like the type of guy that if you asked him to return punts, he'd probably do it. Is he up for anything you ask him to do?

Coughlin: "He is. He is willing to do anything. He is willing to volunteer. He wants to help any way that he can. He's an outstanding example for both young and old of a guy who has played very well from scrimmage, but he is still very interested in helping in any way he can."

Q: He said he is about 260 or 265 pounds. The offensive linemen he plays against are about 300 or 320. How does he succeed when there is such a big weight difference?

Coughlin: "It's all part of the pass type schemes. He's used in different ways. You don't expect him to just run straight ahead into a block of granite. He has some maneuverability."

Q: You mentioned Jim Cordle in your news conference on Monday and the contributions he made in last week's game. When we talked the day of the final cut downs, you mentioned that he was one of the guys who took it hard. Then he was signed to the practice squad. Did you ever say to him, "We still like you, we still think you can play?"

Coughlin: "Oh yes, always, always. He knows it. Always he's been told that. (Offensive line coach) Pat Flaherty has told him that always, too. We like everything about him. It's just that our job is one of being objective and trying to complement our team the best way we possibly can. And to be able to get him back on the practice squad was a great thing. That was a win for us."

Q: He's like Kevin Boothe, one of those versatile linemen that can play several positions.

Coughlin: "He's a versatile guy. He can play guard and center. He plays on the kickoff return team, things of that nature. He's another guy that'll do whatever you want him to do. He has a great attitude."

Q: Chris Snee suffered a concussion the other day. It's his first serious medical issue since he had an inflamed gland as a rookie in 2004. I know you have compassion for all of your injured players, but do you have trouble separating Chris Snee, the player, and Chris Snee, your son-in-law, when he has something serious like that?

Coughlin: "I don't have any trouble separating it. Obviously, I keep tabs on him, whether it is just through my daughter (Kate) or whether it be a phone call, or in this situation, find out if he's resting or sleeping well, whatever. No, not really. It's just that we've had some of these (concussions) this year. We've had the (Mario) Manningham thing. We've had some of these that if a guy's not passing a test, then obviously he shouldn't be put on the field. It's strictly a doctor's call from that standpoint."

Q: Victor Cruz has become something of an overnight sensation with all the big plays he's made. He's a local product, with a lot of friends and family in this area. A lot of media want to spend time with him, so a lot of people are pulling at him. Do you say to him, "Keep your focus on your job?"

Coughlin: "He's the kind of kid that you don't worry about from the standpoint of reliability or his maturity, or from the standpoint of knowing that this is his job. And these things can change overnight, just as they changed since he's come on the scene and done very, very well. You've got to continue to perform, and the only way you're going to do that is to be prepared. And there are so many things for a young player in that position to learn that are still out in front of him. You just continually remind him of that. He's trying the best he can to be a sponge and learn as much as he can and he's had a chance. He's worked with Eli (Manning) and he's got a chance to continue that."

Q: You must have had a great view of his one-handed touchdown catch on your sideline.

Coughlin: "Both of them. They were both some kind of catches. The other one was down on his knees. The thing that's amazing to me about what he did was that when that ball was being tipped around, he chose to catch it with one hand."

Q: This week you play the Bills, who operate exclusively out of a shotgun on offense. Are they a different kind of team to prepare for because they are in shotgun all the time?

Coughlin: "Yes, they are. It's not as if we haven't seen this. We've seen it pretty much every week as a dominant plan. Their effectiveness is what is very good. They do balance the run with it extremely well. (Running back Fred) Jackson, of course, is having a huge year. (Quarterback Ryan) Fitzpatrick is having a great year. Anytime you have a team that's had, what, five turnovers, plus-11 (differential), they're doing some very good things to help themselves win."

Q: When you see a team that's at plus-11 and has 16 takeaways, including 12 interceptions, as a coach what do you think of and have to emphasize to the players?

Coughlin: "Ball security is a huge issue. They've got a ton of interceptions off tipped balls. So you've got to be very careful what kind of situations you're getting yourself into. The big one against the Patriots was a jammed up receiver on the outside and the receiver breaking inside out, collision, there it is. There's the ball."

Q: Have they run a lot of gadget plays with Brad Smith?

Coughlin: 'They run wildcat, but it hasn't been a real elaborate thing. It's been basically runs. But he does throw, you can't forget that."

Q: He scored on a run last week.

Coughlin: "He did, a very powerful run from the five- or six-yard line."

Q: Their defense apparently will not have Kyle Williams or Chris Kelsay, but with Marcell Dareus, their first-round draft choice…

Coughlin: "He's playing very well. They're physical. They're a good front group no matter who's in there – whether it's (Danny) Batten, Kelsay – certainly they will miss Williams at nose. But they've got some depth in there. Those guys all get to play and they do have high motors and they play hard."

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