Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Just to again draw together yesterday afternoon, by looking again at the numbers between the first and second half, you can see the quality of the improvement from 92 yards gained by a good Jaguars team in the second half compared to what they did in the first half. I think that we did not stop the run, and for that being our number one objective, that was disappointing. In the first half, I didn't think we got an awful lot done there. We had some miscommunications. We had some alignments that were designed to stop specific runs that we didn't quite get communicated. That was disappointing.
We had a couple of opportunities on special teams yesterday, which was a good thing. We had the opportunity to break out on kickoff returns. Danny Ware had a really nice return that perhaps could've been even better, and then one later on that also could've been a little bit better, actually it was well blocked. I was really glad to see that. Our punter had the outstanding distances but two of the three punts were, I'm sure, ones that he would like to improve upon, and we would like him to. We did a good job of covering kickoffs, not as good as we've been. The ball perhaps not settling as far because of the weather or this time of year or whatever, but we didn't get the goal line kicks with the ball in the end zone type of thing. We probably averaged the four to the seven, which was fine because we had good hang. The ball came out from the 24 to the 31 or so. We did that alright, we've done better the last few weeks in that regard. In regards to that, we were steady on special teams.
Offensively, I think there were a lot of good things done. We returned to being able to make some big plays. I think we had eight big plays in the game. On the third down deal where we were only two for 10, and then the inability to score touchdowns in the green zone, I was very glad that didn't haunt us. We were down there with opportunities deep. We had a ball in the end zone called back for holding. We had another chance to run the ball in, and that didn't work out as well up front as we would like. There wasn't any place to go. We were basically 0-for-3 down there.
Our two scores in the second half were long range, and well done at that. An outstanding play by Kevin Boss on a hot right there, made the safety miss and was able to stay up and go in. Mario had the outstanding play down the sidelines where Eli looked the safety off of him and came to the near sideline, where he was able to catch the ball and score.
The two-point play was outstanding. Ahmad Bradshaw did an outstanding job of power running right there and refusing to be tackled outside of the end zone right there. Both backs gave us good efforts, and we made some yardage in the run game. Our guys knew going in that was the way it was going to be, that we would establish the run and stick with it. We all hoped that would have given us some kind of time of possession ratio in our favor, it didn't work that way. I think they had 72 plays where we had 50. Our efficicency for the 50 plays was pretty good.
The left side of our offensive line with Kevin Boothe was more physical, did a good job and had a few things that he would like to clean up, but overall he did an outstanding job and so did Will Beatty. I thought their contributions yesterday were outstanding and they gave us close to a chance to win.
Two things we talked about were winning the physical battle, and by the end of the game we had established that. We did not turn the ball over. Kevin Gilbride and I told this to the team pre-game that you have to remain faithful to the little things that you do and the values that you believe in. And with Giants football, that's one, win the physical battle, and two, don't turn the ball over, and win the turnover battle. Our percentage of wins when we do win the turnover battle is very, very high. We were able to accomplish that, and it was a game where the fans were into the game. They wanted to help and be a part of it. They weren't real pleased in the first half, and they came alive in the second half. I'm glad we could give them a win at home.
Q: What was the difference yesterday with the turnovers?
A: I think there was a good concentration on ball security. I thought guys did get both hands up on the ball. Certainly that wasn't the example on the first drive with Derek, who was still bobbling that ball and didn't ever get it secured. It's just mental, and it is an alertness thing. It's instinctive, and it has get to be instinctive. We made some progress in that direction yesterday.
Q: By cutting back, does that limit the offense in any way and make it easier to defend? Are you going to have to do that until the reinforcements come back?
A: I think that going forward, we knew the kind of game that it would be. It would be a very physical game, and we knew that we would be involved with some guys that hadn't had preseason, training camp, and therefore, we were going to have to put these people in a position where in a very short amount of time, we could ask them to do certain things and they could make that contribution. Basically, it's the second week for Derek and he was better. You have to admire the way that Michael Clayton was able to work not only on special teams, but on the offensive side of the ball to be in a position where he knew the patterns and what was expected of him in terms of the adjustments to those patterns. For the most part, that held true. He did contribute and do a good job. He blocked well in terms of the kick return and that type of thing. I don't know that it's any different than anything else that you do in terms of who you decide on, who gets the ball and how they get it, and how many times, etc., how the people are going to be used. I think that we were very specific with that, knowing full well that we gave ourselves plenty of offense to win with, but I don't think we overdid it.
Q: Was it gratifying for you to see a couple of players step up and make a pep talk at halftime yesterday?
A: Well, we've had that really on numerous occasions. I'm not sure why it's being so heavily publicized now. It was a good thing, yes. I think that Osi originally began to talk in a very businesslike fashion at halftime with the defensive team and I think his message was that we had to communicate and line up and play the defense called and let's get that straightened around and then I think Justin came on and I think Justin was – I caught maybe half of it, but he was very emotional and he did a great job of using himself as an example. He said, "I'm not satisfied with the way I'm playing and I'm tired of looking around and seeing them run the ball or the quarterback keep the ball and we're not doing much about it and this is something that has to be corrected, we can't put up with this any longer." I think that the defensive guys did rally and then we came together really just before we went out and a few comments were made and we talked about how if we shut them out in the second half, we would have a great chance to win it and we didn't quite shut them out, but it was close.
Q: How much do you have to expand your plays and how much are you going to be able to do that now that your upcoming opponents have seen what you were able to do yesterday?
A: You can expand – there's no question – once a guy has been here. Just as much as Derek has had past experience so you do recognize that, but still once a guy has had some degree of familiarity with your offense and what you plan on doing, you can expand some and it's always determined naturally by game plan and it becomes the idea of how to structure how far out to go and what do you need to win and what within the framework of the offense do you need to win and who is going to be able to execute it? It grows and it develops and that will be the case this week.
Q: How much of the physical effect of Jacobs did you see yesterday?
A: Well, the physical nature of Brandon and the ability to pound it up in there – both backs. I mean, Ahmad is very physical. Everybody knows that. You're talking about a guy who is a punishing runner and he does enjoy that part of the game and he's not an easy guy to tackle. Brandon is a bigger, stronger running back who really does function in that regard as well. Sometimes you see him get so far extended over his legs that if they don't hit him, he's inclined to lose his balance, but both guys are physical. We got some plays in for Danny Ware and we liked that very much and so the combination of guys has proven again to be a good formula for us.
Q: What prompted you to put Ware back there on kickoff returns yesterday?
A: Well, we at first thought that Will Blackmon would be able to come back and then it didn't look like he was going to make it, so we utilized some different people. Darius was doing the punt returning with our backups being guys that had done it before. We've had two or three guys back there – Corey Webster and Aaron Ross – and then on the kickoff return side, Darius was back and Danny was back for most of the week and then we just made the decision that we would split the duties and go from there. Danny has done the kickoff return before.
Q: What does it mean to the team to have a fourth quarter comeback like that?
A: Well, I think that it is a plus provided that it is kept in the right perspective. You come back and win a football game that you've been down at the half and really not having a whole lot of success stopping the other guy when in fact, to be honest with you, the plan was built around being able to stop them, so there were a few things that had to be overcome there mentally, psychologically, the whole bit. So I think it is a huge plus for us because of the goal that we set for ourselves in terms of trying to keep pace here and having responded and played well under those circumstances, at least to come back to play well in some circumstances is a positive and it can be built on.
Q: Do you monitor the standings?
A: Well, like every other football lover in America I certainly – from the standpoint of being a fan – try to keep track of what's happening in the National Football League and certainly I was aware of the games that were played and the games in our conference that were big games, so we do keep track of that, sure.
Q: How does Devin Thomas figure into the mix this week?
A: Well, he came in late in the week and really didn't have much of a chance to get a whole lot of coach time, so we'll be able to spend a little bit more time with him and then try to bring him along.
Q: How did you come out of the game this week as far as injuries?
A: Well, you all know that at one point we did have a couple of things – Brian Jackson broke his left hand and he'll have to play in a splint. He did come back in and seemed to perform very well with that. Dave Tollefson had a little burner and hopefully he'll be able to come back strong with regard to that. Aaron Ross seemed to have some discomfort that was a result of some of the intestinal issues that he had been having and so we'll continue to hopefully clear that up and get that taken care of and at this point in time that is all I have.
Q: Any update on Shawn Andrews?
A: No. I don't have any more information for you on that. The way it worked a week ago was one day he felt good and the next day he didn't, so until there is some real concrete evidence that he can maneuver and that he is pain-free, there won't be a whole lot to say.
Q: Bradshaw seemed to limp off the field at the end. Anything there?
A: No. I don't think so. He is a guy that plays through pretty much anything, so I don't think there's any issue there at all. Nothing was brought to my attention.
Q: Any updates on Diehl or Smith?
A: No. I don't have anything today.
Q: Do you think everything is going to go down to the last week in the conference and division this year?
A: I really don't know about that. I do know that we're in this stage of the season – from Thanksgiving until the end of the season is pretty much where you try to put yourself in position. It's an exciting time and it's exciting to be involved in it, so we'll go ahead. We're in the division again this week with a Washington team that has played very well with the exception of the one week that Philadelphia was playing incredibly well and we'll try to get ourselves ready for another game and it's at home.
QB Eli Manning
Q: How much did you have to change the offense this week?
A: It wasn't a change in the offense. It's really just kind of getting down the stuff that we really knew. We didn't do as much three wide receiver stuff as we might do in a normal game if everybody was healthy. We kept it to more tight end, two receiver, two back stuff or two tight ends, two receiver, one back and just running plays that we normally run, we just stayed in our base personnel a little bit more than normal. We did a little bit more of that on third down – two tight ends on third down and just having the guys in there who have been here for a couple of years who know the offense and we feel comfortable with what we were doing. We ran the ball a little bit better than we have in the past, we hit some big plays with our play action to the tight end, so that was good. I think we just didn't do quite as much and it helped us execute a little bit better.
Q: Is it hard for you as a quarterback who seems to like to have everything at his disposal cut back that much?
A: No, I don't think so. I think in a sense it kind of makes it easier to prepare because you don't have to look at all of these different – watching film you don't have to prepare as much for like four wides. Well, we don't have any four wides, so if four wides comes up…you don't have to watch that. You can see their looks or blitzes versus regular personnel, so you kind of just prepare for those things. In a sense, if you simplify your offense, you simplify your personnel, you simplify what the defense can do also. It's not that you're simplifying things, you're just not changing personnel quite as much. You're putting your best players on the field and that's what you want. We do three wides because we figure that we have three really talented receivers and want to get those guys on the field as much as possible. All of the sudden you're short receivers, so let's get Travis Beckum on the field more, let's see Kevin Boss – put him in a situation to win for us. You kind of want your guys that present the best matchups against a defense and that's what we did and I think that's just being smart and you've got to give yourself the best chance for success. I'm more comfortable with these guys than a guy that has been here for five days and so that's just putting us in the best position to run our offense.
Q: Will Steve Smith be back this week?
A: I hope so. We'll see if he can get back. If not, then I think we've got to keep getting some of these new receivers into the mix, get them comfortable, keep getting better with Travis Beckum and getting him more into the mix and just keep working and keep improving.
Q: How much do you need to expand and how much can you expand in a week's time?
A: I think each week you can get a little bit more. Again, in this league you want to be put in a situation where the plays you're running and the things you're doing, the guys are comfortable running it. They have a great feel for all of the different coverages and all of the different looks, so it's not really a matter of simplifying always, it's just a matter of having guys do what they know, so you're still running similar plays. It's not like we're cutting back on our plays, we're just doing it with some different personnel so we'll just have to see each week and hopefully we can get some guys comfortable and me comfortable with some new receivers, but I thought we did a good job of staying out of a whole lot of bad situations. We didn't have too many penalties, we ran the ball, we were getting positive yards on first down, we weren't getting a whole lot of third and long situations where we didn't have to go to three wides quite as much and get them into their sub-personnel, so I think that's the important thing. We ran the ball effectively. Everybody knew what was going on. Everybody knew the looks, the plays, knew what we were getting and did a good job of executing and that's the most important thing. It doesn't matter how many plays you have, how many new tricks or new plays or new ideas you have. It's about being effective with the plays that you're running so that you can get into a good situation and get first downs, you can move the ball and then you'll have more options and more plays to run.
Q: As patchwork as the offensive line has been, they've done very well. You haven't been sacked in four games. What do you attribute that to?
A: Well, it's a great job by our coaches, by the offensive line themselves – those guys work well together. They take great pride as a unit, so you get the older guys – Rich Seubert, Snee and McKenzie, those guys have been here a long time, Kevin Boothe has been here a few years. Obviously you've got a new guy in Will Beatty playing left tackle and they're going to work with him all week, they're going to get him in the film room, they're going to grind them during the week and make sure these guys are ready and whether they have to watch extra film or whether they have to talk things through in walk thrus or practice. It's a great job by our coaches getting everybody prepared. Like I've said, maybe not having as many run plays, not having as many calls in our protections – this might not be the perfect way to block it, but at least everybody will know what they're doing, we won't confuse things, so guys can play fast, they can play confident knowing exactly what is going on and sometimes that's the key to football. You can try to change things up and have certain calls and do things perfectly and sometimes you create a disaster. You overload some things instead of just blocking it up and being sound, have guys be able to play fast, play confident and sometimes that's the best way to play and I think that's what we did for having some new offensive linemen in there.
Q: You had no turnovers this week. Is limiting turnovers sometimes a matter of luck or is there more to it?
A: Sometimes luck is helpful. Sometimes being unlucky is kind of why some turnovers come up. You can always get a tipped ball, things like that, you can always get things that are funny bounces or things that just don't go your way sometimes, so that's the cause of some, but it's also being conscious of it. As the quarterback, you can't be worried about throwing interceptions, you can't say, "Alright, don't throw an interception here, whatever you do." You're not going to be able to play confidently. You've got to be able to make the throws. You have a couple of tight throws here and there and you have to have trust in your receivers that they're not going to let anything bad happen. I thought that was big for us. We needed to improve in that and hopefully we can build on that. No turnovers puts us in a situation to win games. We might have to win in the fourth quarter, but the way that things were going in the first half, we had to settle for some field goals, but at least it was three points on the board. We didn't hurt ourselves, we didn't put ourselves or our defense in a bind and take points off the board, so that's important, just knowing that we can play that way and we can play patiently and if things aren't there, we can punt and the defense can get us the ball back and we'll have chances down the road to win the game.
Q: How comfortable was it to know that you had Kevin Boss to rely on?
A: It's been good. We didn't get many series in the first half. We had three series. I guess we had a fourth – the one with 19 seconds left. I don't really count that one, so we didn't have many catches, but in the third and fourth quarter, we got a good feeling for what they were doing and had some matchups with him and a safety and it seems like every catch he hits is a big play for 19 or 20 yards – a great average on his catches, so a lot of big plays to Kevin and that's what he can do. For a big guy, he gets down the field well and it seems to be that his best routes are stuff down the field running corner routes and different things and he prepares hard, he works so hard during the week, you can tell him stuff that you don't even get to practice like, "Kev, if I do this or say this, watch out for these two guys blitzing. I know technically in the book we're not hot, but we've got to throw hot there," and he'll say "Okay, I got it." You only have to tell him something one time. He always seems like the guy to bail you out and he is a guy you can sometimes overload with stuff and he accepts it all and just has a great feel for the game and what is going on.
Q: Philadelphia lost, too – you guys are right back in the mix now.
A: We never felt we were out of the mix and that's just football. You're going to lose some games. There's going to be a big game in the season like last week that doesn't go your way, but it doesn't mean you're – there is still a lot of football left. A game in week ten of the season is never going to decide a season for you. There is going to be a lot of football left and we're going to have to play Philadelphia again and we've got Washington this week and they're a team that has beaten some good teams. We haven't played them this year. They have a new defensive coordinator, new looks on offense, so we've got to have a great week of preparation and just worry about us. We've got to worry about the Giants and continue to go out there and find ways to win.
Q: Did Brandon bring something new to the game?
A: No. I think that for me and for the offensive line, sometimes I don't notice who is in the game whether it is Brandon or Ahmad. Whoever starts, whoever is in there, they both run the ball well, they both have a great understanding of this offense and protection and running, so both of them played well yesterday. Both of them did a great job. Ahmad had a few receptions, I threw a screen to him, he had a big run on a second and 10, broke a couple of tackles for about 25 yards, so again, both of them are tremendous. I know we kind of went with the change with starting Brandon, but I talked to Ahmad this week and made sure it…it doesn't matter. Whoever is starting, whatever. You've kind of been in that backup role before and that's where you've had some of your best games is coming in and we got him in the game early. I think that's important – when that kind of change happens, all of the sudden players can get down, but that's when you've got to get him in the game early, get him the ball in his hands and say that you're still going to be playing a lot, you're still going to get the ball, you're going to have chances to make big plays and nothing has changed in the dynamic of this team.
LB Michael Boley
Q: What was the biggest difference between the first and second half as far as stopping the ball?
A: The biggest difference was our front seven. Early in the first half, we were getting out of our gaps and flowing too fast to the ball and they were cutting back on us and hitting holes. We kind of slowed down in the second half, and shutting their holes up better.
Q: Is it a must-win every week from here on out?
A: Most definitely, with the way teams are playing across the league. It's pretty important that we keep winning because there are some teams up there who are doing pretty good right now. It's simple, take every week and hopefully everything works out.
Q: At this point, do you pay attention to the standings?
A: I didn't look at the standings but we pretty much kind of know. It's kind of one of those things where you just might not pay attention to it, but you know. For most of us, we go home and we might have watched the Sunday night game last night and saw the scores pop up. I mean guys know, I'm not going to say that we don't notice it, but it's not like guys to go home and go on the internet, scrambling to see who won and who didn't.
Q: With leadership on the team having been a topic of discussion, was it good to see Tuck and Osi step up yesterday? Have you always been confident in the leadership of this team?
A: Yeah, we've always had those leaders. It doesn't stop with just Justin and Osi, there are a lot of guys who are great leaders on this team, not just the defense, who show that either by expressing it in words or just how they play. Some guys don't talk much but they lead by example.
Q: When key players step up and speak out, does that have a profound effect or do we make too much of that?
A: It has an effect. It lets you know where they're coming from in a sense. When those guys speak, they speak from the heart. It's not something to be taken lightly, and that's with any of us. When one of your fellow peers steps up and tells you what he sees from us that we're not doing or what we could be doing better, guys take heed of that.
Q: What was the feeling like when you found out that Philadelphia had lost?
A: It was pretty good. That was one that we were hoping for. Our mindset was to put ourselves back in the same position when we play them again. Whoever wins that game is going to be tops in the NFC East.
Q: What have the sacks done for the defense psychologically?
A: It does a lot. That stuff is a great uplift for us in general. It means we don't have to bring more than four guys. Those guys who are getting in there and putting pressure on him, guys have their heads held high the back here.
Q: Does it concern you that the defense needs these rousing speeches to become motivated?
A: No. I think something like that is needed, and it's always need for a leader to voice his opinion and say how he feels.
Q: Can this speech carry you on a little bit longer, too, like Armstead did earlier in the season when you guys went on to win five in a row?
A: We hope so. We hope that we don't need a speech to get us going. Hopefully things will be going and we keep things on the right track and not need someone to step up and say something just to get us going.