Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Conference Call from Appleton, Wisc.
We met this morning and reflected on the game last night. I will simply say that I was pleased with the special teams play. I thought that our kickoff return was much better than it had been prior to this and I thought (D.J.) Ware did a nice job. He got the ball over the 30-yard line a number of times to give us good field position. Our punt coverage was much better last night, we did a good job of that. Our punt returns were secure with Aaron Ross, although we did not get any numbers to speak of. I thought that aspect of the game would have been plenty good enough to win had we had played better on the other two sides of the ball.
I still say that it was a very sloppy game offensively. Way, way, far and away, you can't win at any level if you turn the ball over like that, letting the opponent - even in the second half with our first drive, thinking that it's 21-14 and we'll drive and score there. Not only is it a terrible, tragic error, but it provides them with excellent field position and a chance to build on a lead. We didn't run the ball and we weren't as physical as I would like to think we should be. We didn't have any real consistency.
I thought defensively that we didn't play the run well. We got blocked with their running game, and it wasn't really a complex scheme. They ran the ball when there was seven, and they threw the ball when there were eight. They were able to be efficient on the outside with their throwing game, and they were able to gain yardage with their running game with their backs doing a nice job with their power after the first contact. We didn't defend the pass well with the one-on-one situations we didn't defend well. It proves that they were to rush as well as they wanted to and pass also.
We're disappointed. I think the players are very disappointed and unsure of how this came about, as many of us are. I think that the players have conducted themselves well here with the idea of not being able to get home. They've tried to do the best they can with that. The coaches have gone from the early morning to get started with Washington even though they're not at home. The offense, defense, special teams coaches got on the laptop. I have a laptop. So we're able to push on and we're awaiting some kind of news here today whether or not we're going to be able to leave and that's our present status.
Q: So do you think there is still a chance you can fly out tonight?
A: We're not sure. I think that at an earlier time, and this may not be the case at this point, but a few hours earlier, the captain was still concerned with the wind and the fact that there were still a lot of gusting winds up to a very high mile per hour. He was concerned about that, and we're all going simply by visualization right now. I mean I really don't know a whole lot more. We have a five o'clock update and we're all grinding away at our work with regard to Washington. I was asked a couple of questions last night and I really wasn't thinking beyond that game and didn't really have an answer for anybody. I wasn't being resourceful or anything of that nature. I was just commenting on an honest approach, and I didn't think beyond last night. I was asked, I think by you Ralph, about what is going to be your approach this week. There is a chance and we do have to have a little bit of help but there is a chance. That's the incentive for us to regroup and try to put together the kind of game we can be proud of.
Q: Do you have any sense for what tomorrow brings, whether you're home or not. Will you have meetings, would you have practice since you lost a day here?
A: Well, practice would still be Wednesday. I don't see that as any different. I think that our study would continue here, for example if in fact we can't get out tonight, the coaches will go into our first stage which would be, for example, an early Tuesday morning stage of game planning. If in fact we do get to leave, there will be a block of time whenever that is which really will take a half a day by the time you figure on traveling over two hours back to the offices. You will probably lose about half a day if that happens, so we would go ahead tonight and get to work.
Q: Are you more prepared for this type of scenario now than you were during the Minnesota trip?
A: Yeah, we've been through it so we quickly adapted and went right to work. We did that last time as well. There really is not much down time. This morning, the first buses were to go at 9:00 and 9:15, just reporting for the travel. When we found out the news, we quickly changed back to being in the hotel. The first information we had as far as the updates were that it'd be at noon, so we went to work and got that update, and then it became five so we went back to work and that's where we are right now. Are we more prepared? We're simply just as prepared. We do have the ability through new technology to take the games that have been taken off, which would have been the game yesterday against Jacksonville. That would've been done this morning by our coaches and verified. Then, we would have the total package. In the meantime, the guys who are not taking it off or verifying are looking at all the games, including ours the last time we played and now.
Q: Are the players able to get their necessary treatments?
A: We had two treatments here, and whatever we've needed, we've had to go and get. The medical people are here and they're stuck as we are so they're right here with us. We've had the opportunity for the doctors to be involved with the two treatments so we're doing the best we can with that as well.
Q: Do you have a sense of the players' mood? Have they been able to escape from what happened last night?
A: I don't think they're even trying. There is a large eating area and that's where – if you're not in your room, that's where the guys are and they kind of linger there. Once they had breakfast, for example, they linger and they go back to their rooms and the same thing at lunch. You have to understand, if you can visualize, the whole travel party is here, so you have all of the people that are traveling with us on the same meal schedule, so the rooms are actually full of people each time that there is breakfast or lunch. There are a lot of people down there and there really has not been any occasion for anything. The tables – there are maybe eight people at a table and those guys are very much engaged with one another and I didn't sense any kind of change in tone. Most of the guys were talking about the game. A little bit later after lunch there was a change in that topic, but the weather, the restrictions, the families back there, the game, how and when we're going to be able to travel – those are the issues that dominate the conversations right now.
Q: Have you had any meetings with the players about the Washington game?
A: No, no, no. The players are normally off, except for looking at yesterday's game, they're off anyway, so the players are not involved; this is strictly coaches trying to get ready. Now, there will be one or two guys that will come by the meeting rooms where the coaches are and they may stand in the back a little bit or give a little bit of information, but by and large that information is not going forward until the players are gathered for an official meeting.
Q: In order to be successful in the NFL, do you have to be a little bit lucky, too?
A: Well, whatever that term is, there has to be some of that. That has to be involved. A lot of times the better team you are, the luckier you are, too.
Q: Are you surprised at the lack of the running game in the last two weeks?
A: I'm disappointed. I'm not surprised – well, surprised I guess yes, but being disappointed – I'm trying to make that statement all at once. Yeah, I am. It bothers me that the consistency is not there. We went through times where we had a lot of changes and we fought our way – I'm not saying anything about these last couple of opponents, who were obviously very good, but we're disappointed.
Q: Did you get a sense that the team was flat coming out of the gate yesterday?
A: There's no question that everyone knew exactly what – the flat term doesn't work. We had of course an emotional… With what we knew going into it, I have a hard time with that, with even acknowledging anything like that. We didn't play well and we got beat and you can take that one as many different ways as you want. I just don't think that that other aspect enters into it, not when you think about what was at stake.
Q: What did you see with Eli's interceptions?
A: Unfortunately there were bad throws, there were things you wish you had back that weren't real considerations, for example the football to the back that was intercepted. There were times where Eli has gotten away with that, where he's flipped the ball to the back and it has not been a sack and we haven't lost the yardage, but certainly we paid for that last night. I just think there were – not taking anything away from their secondary, but if the play is not there, if it isn't something that you think is going to give us an opportunity to keep the ball, then we've got to get rid of the ball and that probably is the one thing that I would say.
Q: How do you build the guys' confidence this week?
A: What I sense is that the guys would like to continue to deal with a dose of reality, so I think that that would have been the first way that I would have conducted today's meeting. Today's meeting would have been more of an expression of disappointment…wondering why and so on and so forth than trying to move beyond the game. If we expect to be able to take advantage of this opportunity, we have to play a heck of a lot better than we played last week. Now, we played for 52 minutes really, really well the week before, but, again, have nothing to show for that and can't hang our hat on anything. I just think the quality of our play has got to improve and I think that if there is a confidence issue, if there is a lack of bounce in our steps, some how, some way we've got to be able to transfer from practice to the field because I will say this, we upped the tempo last week. The guys responded well and I thought the practices were good and yet despite that fact, what I saw on the field – and I know I sound like a broken record – did not look like we practiced.
Q: Do you sense that in big games Eli presses too hard to make a play?
A: I don't think there's any question that he's trying like heck to make a play and I think he knows our circumstance. The only thing is, we're down 14-0, we come back and tie the game, they go up 21-14, it's halftime – I am really…the game is right there, it's on the field, one 30 minute part of the game is gone, now it's time to express ourselves in a different way. I think it lets the air out of our team a little bit when we turn the ball over and it's very difficult not to. We have a bunch of classy young men and they conduct themselves well, but if you're a true competitor, this is difficult now – the field position part of it, the fumble right away, the fumble on Brandon's fall – we're going down and will definitely be in field position, we did back the one score. These things hurt. You're in a game and you know it's going to be a very, very tight game and I've been saying this all year, but this is what I believe in, other than points scored, points against, it's turnovers and there's a lot of – the word psychological was mentioned earlier and let me tell you, there's a lot of psychological stuff that goes along with this, too.