Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Good afternoon. We met this morning with the players and we did talk about the game yesterday and about getting the tenth win as we talked about last night, but we're not in the playoffs, we're not happy about that at all and that's kind of been the mood at the latter part of the meetings, the individual meetings with the coaches, the session that I had with the team this morning and I know that the players are disappointed, the coaches are disappointed, we're all disappointed, ownership is disappointed and we're 10-6, but we're not in the playoffs.
Q: 10-6 – do you look and say you don't need to change much?
A: We'll do all of that. That will be forthcoming. We'll do all of the work, all of the research that is necessary to try to determine how we can help ourselves, where we needed the help, what needs to be changed, what needs to be fixed – we'll do all of that within the next couple of weeks.
Q: Will you consider any staff changes?
A: Right now, I'm not. We're just starting that part of it, but right now I have to say no.
Q: How does labor uncertainty affect your planning?
A: Well, there isn't any question that it's very difficult to do anything more other than plan because of the uncertainty. We have to have faith in the fact that we have a great game, we have a great fan base, we're very, very popular, the National Football League is extremely popular and you'd like to think that that would be the motivating factor that makes sure that everything is settled so that we could go forward. We all believe and hope that that will be the case and we're going to plan accordingly, we just have to be prepared if there's something that does not allow us to start our normal process.
Q: Are there any free agents that you have now that you'd like to lock up?
A: Well, that is a discussion that has to be had, but there are certainly people here that we want here, that's for sure. How we go about it…I'm not exactly sure what the strategy will be.
Q: You dealt with Tiki's fumble issue and corrected it. Can you do the same thing with Eli's interceptions?
A: I think we can. I thought that Eli last night was – he was so aware of the consequences of turning the ball over that he was acutely alert to the fact that he wasn't going to let that happen last night. Now, we did get one off of a tipped ball, which was unfortunately a recurring issue, but I thought he did an outstanding job mentally trying to make sure that there were no mistakes made with the ball. Now, having said that, he also pulled the ball down and ran last night in a typical coverage situation with the underneath coverage locked on to people. It opened up for him and it really should have been the play that allowed us to get the ball in the end zone. The next play obviously was dropped, but it should have been a touchdown. I think we can and I think we can do something with design, we can do something with individuals, there may be certain things that have to be accomplished by just knowing who is doing what and where and when, so I think that we can.
Q: Do fumbles come on the coach – do you need to do something to get that number down?
A: No question. We all need to do a better job to get that number down. That number has cost us football games. I've said it all year long and that's the reality of it. You just look at our takeaways, you look and say my God, in other years with the job that we've done in terms of taking care of the ball, the difference might have been plus-15, plus-18.
Q: Is that the most frustrating part of this season?
A: Well, it's definitely a big part of the frustration. The other part of that that leads you to think further is that you're not really complimenting your offense, defense, and special teams by turning the ball over. You're not playing with the kind of control that is necessary and I think that is the direction that I'm going is that when you're really in control of the game – in the Washington games this year, we were plus-eight – plus-five the first time, plus-three last night and there isn't any question how that contributed to the wins. Just look at last night, we had forced fumbles of plus-30, plus-17, plus-20, we had an interception and gave the ball to the offense on the 27-yard line, we had a fourth-and-one stop. We turned it over one time ourselves, so there isn't any question that you have to work in concert with each other and you have to be able to control the game at this level. There's going to be an occasion when turnovers take place, whether it be a big time hit or just an outstanding athlete timing up the interception, it's going to happen. It doesn't have to happen at the numbers that it did though.
Q: What is your reaction saying goodbye to the players knowing how supportive they've been of you recently?
A: I said it the other day and I didn't even mince my words or anything. I love this team, I love these guys, I think they're strong character people, we work together on everything, we're all in it together, we're all for one, one for all and that's the way that it has to be. It's a group of guys that don't make excuses for anything, they accept responsibility, they accept whatever takes place. They've done an outstanding job this year of adjusting to some very unusual circumstances that surround the game. They've done a good job of that. We've had a couple of huge disappointments, emotionally we weren't to where we should have been. We did come back to a certain level last night, but it's an outstanding group of guys who by and large are on the same page, they're focused, they come to work, they prepare themselves, they play hard, there are all kinds of personalities just like there always is, but as I said, I'm very, very appreciative of the kind of effort, the attitude, the enthusiasm, and the fact that this year's team was a very responsive team.
Q: When a 7-win team gets in the playoffs over a 10-win team, does that system need to be changed?
A: I think by and large the system has been a good one because of the reinforcement it provides within your own division. In our game you focus on winning your division. That's the direct route to the playoffs. This is an unusual year in which a team won the division with a not outstanding record. Well, maybe it's just a different and unusual year. I don't know. From a standpoint of the league and the overall, I don't have any complaints with the system. From a standpoint of being selfish right now, yeah, we'd like to be playing, sure.
Q: Would you like a contract extension?
A: I haven't even thought about that. That's one of those things that I haven't thought about. You keep asking me if I'm aware of the situation that I'm in. I never was aware of anything other than I'm the head coach of the New York Giants. That's all I cared about. This situation with the contract, that's the first time I've even heard anything about that and I'm sure, as everything else, it will be addressed at the proper time.
Q: Do you think at all about how long you want to do this?
A: Probably 70 or 72. One year at a time.
Q: I'll run with that.
A: I'm sure you will. You pretty much run with everything else.
Q: One year at a time?
A: I do one year at a time.
Q: How old do you feel?
Q: What does your wife think?
A: You'd have to ask her. I'm not touching that one.
Q: Do you have confidence that your offensive line can come back?
A: I'm confident that we can come back, but I also am aware of the fact that as deep as we were and as many people that contributed and that was a good thing and I think that Petrus is going to be a football player too now and I think that Beatty played well when he was given the opportunity and so on and so forth, but you always strive for continuity and you do have to have depth at this level. Our production wasn't as good the last couple of weeks and it's got to be better, so we'll evaluate that just like everything else.
Q: How would you evaluate this year's rookie class?
A: Well, you'd have to go one by one. JPP was a guy that emerged as a special teamer, drew double teaming most of the year, got a little bit better at the end of the season, started to make some plays on the defensive side of the ball and I think that because of his youth and his enthusiasm and the fact that he was able to stay healthy, for a young guy without a lot of experience in this game, he played his way right though a lot of the nicks and the soreness and the pain that comes with the job at this level and did a good job with that, so I think that we're looking forward to his development.
Q: Are you okay with the fact that you did not get much production from that group other than JPP and Dodge?
A: You say we didn't get much contribution, but there's an awful lot of developmental stuff going on that you don't see because they're not statistically related, so we'll see. It'll be a big jump. It'll have to be a big jump from year one to year two.
Q: Does this offseason feel different than last season?
A: 10 wins. We're a better team right now. Unfortunately we have a ton of injuries and the way that the injuries struck that one position is just…I don't even think…it's unheard of. To lose receivers like we did this year and to go back and forth like we did and to go back and forth even with the offensive line situation. Fortunately for the most part our defense stayed pretty solid, but in most years you're going to have injuries in this league, we all know that, and you're going to play through them and you have teams that have them and keep on going and we did too. We just hope that at the beginning of every year, what is your wish? You'd like to play the season with your players, the ones you put together in the beginning.
Q: Is it a worse feeling to win 10 games and not make the playoffs than to miss by a long shot?
A: It's bitter enough. Pick your poison.
Q: Are you concerned about where Eli is right now?
A: Well, the concern is correcting the obvious. If that number (of interceptions) is 10, you're talking about a guy that probably threw for 4,800 yards. Really whatever the touchdowns are – 30 or 31 – and the 4,000 yards… The last two games have not been that overly productive and could have been better and higher. I just think that you've got to get that other number down. You've got to get the other people back on the field. Don't forget, he's done a great job – Eli has done a great job with these receivers no matter what stage they're in. Seeing Hixon in here today…it was nice seeing Domenik and to see him in good spirits and feeling good. Steve was here today, Hakeem was here today, they were all here today and Eli has done a heck of a job working with those guys and continued to do so to make sure or try to make sure everybody was on the same page.
Q: With the impending lockout are there any special conversations you had about what you want them to do if they can't have access to you?
A: You can't ask that.
Q: Do you expect them to do that anyway?
A: Oh, absolutely.
Q: Special teams has to get better.
A: There's no question. We looked at a guy like Banks our first time around out here and we did a good job with our kickoff team and our kickoff coverage team and our variety was good. We didn't do a good job with our punt coverage or our punting. We didn't do a very good job last night. The inconsistency of placing the ball where we want it and then covering and the guy had a ton of yards – very dangerous and put the ball beyond midfield. We've got to improve that and I think it goes back to…I think that provided we can get this thing resolved so that Matt is in here, Matt needs to work almost situationally every day on it. The ball is at the plus-45, let's get it inside the 10, let's punt the ball out of bounds this time, let's go left, let's go right, let's hang the ball up this time, all of those things because they're so important in terms of trying to take the weapons that…we've faced a great returner almost every week now. You've got to take that weapon away from them. You can't let them have that kind of field position. You've got to be able to punt the ball long – one of his best punts was the ball on the sideline downed at the 11-yard line. People were wondering if – yeah, that was finally one that was put over in the corner. So, a young punter that has got to grow from the experiences that he's had and get better, that's going to help us a lot. Our return game: Danny Ware late in the year gave us a good spark to our kickoff return game and I was glad to see that happen. Aaron Ross last night did a nice job with our punt return game, so you continue to see that if you have a weapon like that. What a difference it makes and that would upgrade us right there.
Q: What's the latest on Seubert?
A: He's going to have surgery tomorrow.
Q: What's the extent of the damage?
A: Some injuries in his knee.
A: Tendon, yeah.
Q: What have you heard about his rehab and recovery?
A: The doctors think that knowing this young guy and what he has been through that he'll make the recovery.
Q: How much time will you give yourself off before you start preparing for next year?
A: This afternoon.
Q: How much would a lockout derail your plans and preparation?
A: I've done this once before without a team and you still prepare. You've got to do it all. That won't change how we approach it. I hope it doesn't get to that.
Q: Will you watch the playoffs?
A: I'll watch them for sure. I'm a fan. I love it and I'll watch it for sure. I'll usually have that pad right next to me, I'll make some notes for myself and so on and so forth, but I won't be a happy camper.
Q: Would it be similar to your first year in Jacksonville?
A: I hope not.
Q: Any way that you think you can figure out why the team was so streaky this year?
A: I said a mouthful earlier. Why didn't all three phases play together more consistently? Why did one team like last night play as well as the defense did? There are some numbers there, don't get me wrong, but to hold somebody to 14 points in this league, that's hard. And then we had no offense in the second half.
Q: Do you know who you want back next year?
A: There'll be discussion. I think everybody who will be involved in that discussion has a pretty good sense of who the vital players are, but still it's all got to be discussed and that's what'll go on here in the last few days.
Q: Will you evaluate your staff in the next few days?
A: In the next couple of weeks.
General Manager Jerry Reese
10-6, it's really not where we want to be. I'm really disappointed to be here talking to you guys about 10-6. I really felt like we had an opportunity to go further into the playoffs, get into the playoffs I should say, and really do some damage when we got there, but it didn't work out that way. I'm really disappointed, even more so than last year because we put ourselves in position and that's what our goal is every year, to put ourselves in a position and we put ourselves in position and we just did not finish the job and that's very disappointing.
Q: Do you want Tom to make changes to his coaching staff?
A: Well, that's part of the evaluation process. We start evaluating the players, we evaluate the staff, we evaluate the front office, we evaluate everything. We want to get better, we're all a team, we want to see where we made mistakes and get better.
Q: The uncertainty of the CBA, how will that affect your preparation?
A: The CBA is what it is. We're hopeful that things are going to be resolved and we have contingency plans if there is a strike or a lockout, we'll be ready either way. I talked to all of the potential UFAs this morning and everybody has got a good attitude about it and we'll see after we know what the new agreement is and we'll move forward and who to sign and who not to sign. Obviously there will be changes, like every year, so we'll move forward and see what happens.
Q: Guys that would be unrestricted free agents?
Q: Will you sign any of them before the CBA?
A: Nope. It's a hurry up and wait deal. We've got to see where we are and we're not really sure what we're dealing with right now.
Q: The owners disagreed with you and said they were more disappointed last year. Why do you think this year?
A: Well, we just put ourselves in position. If you just look at where we were with seven minutes left in the Philadelphia game, you guys would have been writing about how great we were and we let that game slip away and we were fighting for our lives and we go to Green Bay and for whatever reason – I can't put my finger on that, why we don't go there and play better than we did – and then scramble around yesterday and get a win, but you can't depend on other people helping you get to the playoffs, you have to do it yourself and we were right there on the doorstep to do that and we didn't do it, so it's disappointing.
Q: Do you think this team was good enough this year that you don't have to make too many changes?
A: There are going to be changes, for sure. I don't know that we have to do a lot of wholesale changes, but there definitely will be changes. There were some positive things that came out of the season for sure and there were some negative things as well. The positive things: the young receivers, Hakeem when he was healthy played really well, Mario stepped up and played well, some more young guys we feel like can come in and do a good job at receiver as well, hopefully Steve Smith will make it back with a full recovery from his injury. We had to shuffle the offensive line a bunch, we were able to do that – some young guys got to play quite a bit. I really feel bad for Richie because really to me he is the MVP of the team, but I feel bad for how he went down yesterday because he really kind of saved it for us along with everybody else. Everybody was in it together, but Richie has really held that offensive line together for the most part. On the defense some positive things: we were really good on third down for a lot of the season, we were really dominant at times with the pass rush. The disappointing things are, for me: the coverage on the back end of the defense. We have to make more plays on the back end. We gave up too many explosive plays on the back end of the defense and we've got to get that corrected. Offensively, the thing that jumps out at me on the negative end is that we turned the ball over too much. Defensively we were up there in sacks – I think we may be either number two or three in sacks in the league – and we were number one in takeaways I believe. Offensively, what jumps out at me is that we turned the ball over too much, we had too many giveaways. Those are things that can be corrected and I believe that Tom Coughlin will correct those things.
Q: Do you think Eli had a sub-par year? What happened there? What he trying too hard to make plays?
A: I think it's a combination of all of that – I think he did try to do too much, I think some of the bad decisions that he made he was trying to do too much. Again, it's the combination of having a different offensive line in front of you and a combination of different receivers most of the season, so I think it's a combination of all of those things, but this is a business about making decisions and making adjustments and he has to make the adjustments and we expect him to do that. I don't care who is in there – Fooch, we could put you in there and we expect him to make the adjustments. Stat-wise most people would be pretty happy with 31 touchdowns and 4,000 yards, but you judge quarterbacks on wins and losses and we only got 10 wins and that didn't qualify us for the tournament so that wasn't good enough.
Q: Do you think you had the talent to be better than 10-6?
A: I think we could have won a couple more games that we did. If you take away 10 of the turnovers right there, there's probably two games there – the second Philadelphia game. If you stay in this business long enough you find out that some of those games happen. Every now and then you're going to have one of those. How could we lose the game? Then on the other hand, you're going to have a couple of those games that you won, how did we win that game? It happens. If you're fortunate enough to stay in this business that long that kind of thing happens to you, so it is what it is.
Q: Are the explosive plays allowed on defense the coaches' fault or the players' fault?
A: I'm not sure what it is. We're trying to figure that out during the off season. I just know that there were some explosive plays that happened on the back end and we've got to prevent that. It's going to happen sometimes, there's always going to be explosive plays on the back end, but I think we gave up too many explosive plays. I'm not calling anybody out because we're all part of it – the defense in the front, the linebackers, everybody, the calls, whatever, but I just felt that that jumps out at me that there were too many explosive plays that we gave up.
Q: That wasn't the case until late in the season. Why?
A: I'm not sure what happened. Again, that's what we'll try to figure out. We'll evaluate that and see what went wrong and we'll definitely have to get that corrected because you can't give up explosive plays in this league and expect to win a lot of football games.
Q: Some of the coaches might have opportunities coming at the college level. Especially with the CBA uncertainty, what do you say to them?
A: We don't want to hold anybody back. We like our coaching staff and everybody gets evaluated – I get evaluated, the coaching staff gets evaluated, the players get evaluated, the whole front office – everybody gets evaluated, it's an evaluation process and we're right at the beginning of the evaluation process. If guys get an opportunity to move on to a better opportunity, we're happy for them if that comes along, but we like our coaching staff right now.
Q: Do you believe in your young punter and do you think he'll be here for years to come?
A: Well, we hope so. We think he's talented, but we always try to create competition and we aren't just going to lay dead and think well, he's going to be the guy. At every position we try to bring in competition and he'll have some competition moving forward.
Q: How do you evaluate this year's draft class?
A: Well, JPP came on and did some nice things. I think he's going to be a terrific player and Linval got in a little bit yesterday. We were healthy though. We usually have some injuries in the defensive front, but we were pretty healthy for the most part during the season. Really the only injuries came on the offensive line and the receiver corps. That's where we had the injuries this past season, so Linval didn't get a jersey a lot of the season, but we think he's going to be a terrific player as well. Chad got hurt in the car accident, Phillip (Dillard) played some on special teams, Dodge played some – obviously he punted through the season and did a good job at times. We think he has great potential, so it's hard to judge a draft class after one season, so a couple of years we'll know where they are.
Q: If you don't sign your unrestricted free agents, is it possible they might sign with another team?
A: I think when the CBA is over I think that it's possible, but I don't think anybody is going to jump right in and not know what they're working with right away, so we're not sure what the rules are right now.
Q: What did you think of your linebackers this year?
A: Our linebackers did okay. Jon Goff was steady in there for the most part, Michael Boley was steady and Keith Bulluck was in and out of the game a lot, so they were steady. We really only used two linebackers for the most part – we had that three safety rotation going on, but the guys were steady. They did a good enough job for us to win a lot of games.
Q: Do you feel this team had more depth than last year?
A: We had some depth. The offensive line for instance, we shuffled them back three or four times and were able to get through with it and the receivers – we scrambled with the receivers two or three times. Those really were our spots where we got banged up the most and we got through it good enough to get us where we wanted to be, but it just didn't happen for us.
Q: You made a commitment to Shawn Andrews. Are you concerned about his back?
A: Sure. Obviously he's got some back issues and we'll evaluate that, we'll have our medical staff take a look at that, see where he is and we'll move forward with that process as well. There are a lot of injuries that we have to get resolved: Steve Smith is going to be coming off of a significant injury, Shawn Andrews has the back problem and there's more. Richie is coming off of a major knee situation right now, Hakeem's got the toe thing going, so there are a lot of uncertainties and injuries that we have to sift through during the offseason, but we'll get to that.
Q: What about Chad Jones?
A: Well, Chad is improving. I still think he has a long way to go. We get videotape of his rehab sessions and I'm not a doctor, but it looks like he has a long way to go still.
A: Kiwi as well. Kiwi has a significant neck issue and right now he's just trying to see if he can resolve it with rest and hopefully that'll be the case and we'll see more of what kind of contract we can offer him. Do we offer him a one year deal so that he can re-establish his value or do we go in a different direction? We'll see.
Q: Has anything changed with him?
A: Right now I don't think he's even gone back. I think that the time slot that he was supposed to wait and see – I don't think he's even reached that time yet, so I don't think he's gone back to the doctor to see. I think it's probably in January – the end of January – when they'll take a look at that.
Q: Do you know which free agents you want back and have you told them that yet?
A: Well, we have an idea, but the evaluation process is – we just started today to evaluate our players and we'll see moving forward, we'll try to project what the draft will look like, but there are several players that are doing things on our team that we like and we want them back.
Q: When you evaluate this team do you look at how they did against teams with winning records?
A: We evaluate them on every game. It's men against men, I don't care who you're playing against. It's any given Sunday you can get beat in this league. I don't care if your team has a winning record or not, so we'll evaluate everybody every week and put their quality of work together and see what we come up with at the end of the season.
Q: Do you have an idea of what your priorities are going to be in the draft?
A: Good players. That'll never change. We look for good players. Obviously if we have a position that is banged up, we'll look to that area, but the number one thing we look for is good players.
Q: How would you evaluate Antrel Rolle's performance given everything he was asked to do this season?
A: What we asked him to do was a little bit different from what he did at Arizona. He played in coverage a lot, he was down in the box a lot, around the line of scrimmage a lot for us and he did good in that role for us. He was around, he was tough down in the box, he made a lot of plays for us down in the box, so he ended up making the Pro Bowl but I think that he's not as happy as…I think he thinks he could have played better for us. I saw him this morning and he's really disappointed that we're not playing. I do think he can play better and he thinks he can play better.
Q: He said when he played down so low he had trouble going back in coverage and he needs to work on that. Does that excuse hold water with you?
A: I don't know if it's an excuse. It is what it is. That's one of the things that was the most disappointing for me is that we gave up too many plays on the back end of the defense and in this league you just can't give up explosive plays. A couple of games that gets you beat.
Q: Any thoughts on Plaxico when he is released from prison?
A: We investigate everything, so when that situation arises, we will investigate that.
Q: What's it like the morning after?
A: Bittersweet I guess. I'm happy about the win, and it would be worse if we didn't get the win yesterday. At least after two tough games, we responded back and won the last game of the season. We knew we had a chance. We needed some help, and we knew we had to handle our business and get a win. We accomplished that part of it, but overall, I'm disappointed in the outcome of the season. We thought we had potential. We thought we had players to make it in the playoffs and make a run, and we didn't accomplish that. We didn't play well enough at times of the season to make it into the playoffs.
Q: Looking back, was the biggest issue with protecting the ball?
A: No, I don't think that's – obviously we have to do a better job protecting the ball, I don't know if that was always the reason that we lost all our games. Some turnovers came at the end of games when you're trying to get back into it. I think obviously, yeah too many turnovers, that's definitely an area that we have to correct. There are other things that we have to correct that sometimes lead to turnovers, and that's something we'll look at in the offseason, why some of the turnovers and why, on my part, interceptions were occurring. I think it just comes down to playing better football and being in better situations when we were finding ways to finish games and finding ways to be more successful on third downs. We weren't very good at that throughout the season. I thought we did – our first down production, I think we were number one in the NFL in first down production whether we're running, play action, but on third down our passing game was not as effective. You can look at different reasoning for that. Obviously, going through a number of receivers, we had receivers in and out. We still did well. We had one receiver with 1,000 yards and Mario was about 50 yards short of having 1,000 yards. Our receiver that made the Pro Bowl last year wasn't one of those guys and was hurt. We dealt with some issues but I thought we responded well with some of the circumstances we were in.
Q: What's it like walking in today knowing that you're not going to be in the playoffs?
A: Compared to last year, the attitude is a little bit better this year than last year. We did finish with a win. We did win 10 games. Overall, it's still disappointing. When you think of the season, I think it will be a little bit easier. It won't feel as long of an offseason just because of the fact that you feel we were better and we got better than last year. We were improved. We were at least in some games and in some tight games, we just didn't pull out. That's the NFL, those games. You can look at both the Philadelphia games. Right there, it came down to the fourth quarter. We get a break or we play a little smarter and make a play here or there, you get some wins right there, it'd be a whole new season. You never know in the NFL and this league, you never know which games will be the difference maker, whether you make the playoffs or not. That's the thing you have to think about. It could be a game from week three or a game from week eight might be a difference on whether you make the playoffs or not. You have to take every game seriously, be prepared. You can't afford to have a mental lapse or a game where you take it for granted.
Q: Do you think there are flaws in the playoff system since a 7-9 team is in the playoffs and gets a home game?
A: No, I think obviously we made the playoffs one year being 8-8. That's the way it works. We knew our circumstances and we knew our situation, and you have to play to that situation. I don't look at it that way. You have your division, and you have to win your division. That's the ultimate goal. When you start the season, you keep track of what everybody else is doing and you see kind of where you line up and what you have to do to make it in the playoffs and what games you have to win. I think making it into the playoffs in the NFL is tough, it's not easy. That's what makes it special and what makes the game great. That's what makes the playoffs so exciting is the challenge not only to get in, but then you know once you get in, there aren't many teams and all these teams are playing good football.
Q: How much did the changing of receivers affect communication and limit the game plan?
A: Obviously it affects your game plan. You're trying to move receivers around, and it's tough. You kind of have some guys, evidently it was Steve Smith. Hey, he was our slot guy. Third down and he's our slot guy. He has a great feel and he's been doing it for four years, and that's kind of what you practice. You keep working with him, and then all of the sudden you lose a guy like him. You bring in Derek Hagan, and he's playing the slot, he does a great job but hey let's mix it up and put Manningham in the slot some. Let's put Hakeem in there. On paper, you kind of draw it up and you think they know what they're doing, but all of the sudden, you get to rep it one or two times in practice, but a game comes up and you get different coverage and you have a little pressure and you have to move around and your timing is just off. There is only so much time you have to rep those things. So yeah, it definitely affects those things and we weren't as sharp as we needed to be on some of our route running and decision making just because we're having different guys move around each week. Every week, it seemed like Manningham was playing a new spot. Hey, Hakeem is back so Manningham you're back to the Z. Hakeem is hurt, and you're back to the X. Both Steve and Hakeem are back healthy, so you'll be playing both a little bit this week. On three wides, you guys are playing here. So it's just guys moving around, and that's tough. Obviously injuries are part of it and you have to adjust sometimes, but we just kind of had a roller coaster of different receivers in and out. It can be difficult and I thought we did some things really well. When we had both Hakeem and Steve Smith out in games, they were 3-0 in those games. We adjusted well under some of those circumstances.
Q: Could the offense have been streamlined to minimize those miscommunications?
A: No, and we did that. We took that into account, but you still have to run your offense. You still have to put guys in circumstances where they have to make good decisions and you have to see what they can do. Sometimes you're not going to know that until you try it out in game-like situations. A lot of times you do that in preseason and do that in games and you hope they get better, but all of the sudden, you get late in the season and you don't have time to try things out. You have to make a decision and give it a shot. If it doesn't work one or two times in a game, that was a bad idea and we have to try someone else. You want to try to, when you have the young guys, you put them in there and give them time early in the season to learn and adjust and hope they get better. When you get into the end of the season and you're talking playoffs, you don't have a whole lot of time to give guys the ability to learn and improve. They have to come in and do it well right away.
Q: Do you look at Tom Coughlin and say he has enough left in the tank to put together a nice little run?
A: Definitely. Coach Coughlin is one of the most prepared and energetic coaches. He loves being the coach of the New York Giants. He loves football, loves coming in every day and the excitement of preparing, practicing, and playing the games. The players feel that energy and that passion and it rubs off on us. I think guys have a lot of respect for him, trust him, and know that he's going to get us prepared to play.
Q: How much do you take on your shoulders going into the offseason?
A: A lot of it. I put a lot on my shoulders and I have to get better. I'm not a 25-interception quarterback. I think obviously that's got to be fixed. We have to fix that. That's on me, the receivers, and everybody doing that, but most of it's on me. I can't dwell just on that, you have to look at some positives. I also threw for 31 touchdowns and threw for over 4,000 yards and those are some good things. Those are some positives to build off, and so we had a lot of big plays in the pass game. We were explosive and led the league in touchdowns over 20 yards. Those things are good things to do. As a receiving corps, hopefully we can get things going. We have some guys injured right now, get them back and get back to working out and having a great offseason. Get back, fix some things, get better, and see where we can improve. How do we improve? A lot of my interceptions came on third down. On first and second down with our play action stuff, we were really good hitting big plays, not turning the ball over, and being successful. On third down, we weren't as sharp. It's something I have to look at and get with the coaches and see how we're going to get better converting and also not turning the ball over.
Q: Do you find yourself sometimes doing too much in those situations and that resulted in a turnover?
A: Probably sometimes. I think a lot of it was late in games. If you look at some of them, Green Bay for example, we were down 21 and that's when the interceptions start coming. I don't think the interceptions were a reason that we lost that game. They were kind of the result of being behind. There are other games where they came early in the game or in the red zone so there is room for improvement. I have to play smarter at times and be careful with the ball.
Q: How hard is it going to be if there is a lockout and you're unable to come in here and work?
A: I guess you hope for the best. I hope to be back here when we start the offseason training, whether it's in March or April or as soon as we can possibly get back. If it is delayed, then we'll make adjustments. I think if it is delayed, I think the team that handles their business and if the season starts later or the offseason is shorter, the team that is working out and the team that can get guys who are in this area to work out and be together and go over things and find a place to practice or find a place to run some routes every once in a while and work as a group. The team that can kind of stick together has a great advantage next year to have success. * *
DE JUSTIN TUCK
Q: Talk about the frustration and how it was last night when you found out the season was over?
A: Bittersweet moments. Obviously I was hoping Chicago helped us out, but we had opportunities earlier in the year to seal our own fate. One thing you always learn in this league is to handle your own business and don't get in the situation where you have to rely on somebody else. We have to win, and it didn't work out as far as the playoffs go. You come back next year and hopefully you take advantage of the missed opportunities we had this year.
Q: You glad to have Coach Coughlin back for next year?
A: Absolutely. Definitely.
Q: Any doubt that he wouldn't be back?
A: I told you last night that I didn't understand why it would be an issue. I said last night that I don't see where you upgrade because Coach Coughlin has been tremendous for us. He's been one of those coaches where you always know where he's coming from and you know what to expect from him. He knows exactly what he expects from you. I think he makes our job a whole lot easier with how professional he is in every situation.
Q: How difficult was it to come in today knowing the season was over?
A: I think the good thing is that you always come in here and see the guys' faces, and that's the uplifting part of it. If I had to come in here by myself and clean out my locker by myself, that would be a little tougher. We had a good year. 10-6 is nothing to hold your head down about. Obviously it wasn't good enough, and we always have a goal of reaching the playoffs and going deep in the playoffs and hopefully winning the Super Bowl. It didn't happen this year, but we're not going to hold our heads about it. We had opportunities, and you try your best to learn from them. Hopefully, that's being carried over to next year and it gets us to work a little harder in running and work a little harder in lifting and propel us to where we want to be next year.
Q: In the offseason, what do you think the team needs to add?
A: I don't think we're missing too much personnel-wise. I just think we didn't play consistent enough to be where we wanted to be. We were inconsistent in a lot of situations this year, and it came back to bite us. Obviously the Philly game comes to mind. The thing we really have to focus on this offseason is being consistent, finishing, and we'll be okay.
Q: Do you look at it like eight minutes ruined this team's season?
A: No. I look at a lot of issues that added into this factor. I know to a lot of people, it's the standout issue. It was resounding, I guess, but we lost other games, too. If we win some of the other games, that game isn't as important as it was. I don't think that ruined our season. It's high on the list of things that I wish I could take back for this year, but that one incident didn't ruin our year.
Q: How confident are you that there will be football next year?
A: There will be football next year. I don't know when it'll be, but this is a big business. A lot of people stand to lose a lot of money if we don't play, so we'll play.
Q: How will it affect the offseason programs and things, and will that affect the level of play?
A: I think it impacts the level of play on guys that have young teams. I think that we have a very good football team and understand how to get ourselves prepared to play the game. For me personally, I'm going to be working out regardless of if it's here or somewhere else. I think it comes down to those teams who have the veteran leadership who will call a rookie or a second year guy. Even if we're not working out here, I'll call JP or Linval and say, "Come work out with me here," and things like that. I think there are ways around it, and obviously you'd rather be here under the supervision of the coaches and the strength coach. There are ways around it. * *
GIANTS CHAIRMAN AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
My thoughts on this season were that I was rooting for two teams yesterday. The team that I wanted to win the most won, and the team that I was hoping to win did not win. We came out of this season 10-6, a good team, in many ways a better team than we've been the last few seasons. I'm proud of the players, proud of the job that Tom Coughlin and his coaches have done. I don't want to be watching the playoffs at home but that's the way it's gone down this year. We're a great organization, and I think we're really a team that embraces the word 'team' and the experience of team. I think Coach Coughlin has put a very diverse group of young, very talented athletes together. We're 10-6 and there are teams in the playoffs with losing records. I can't keep reading the newspapers and watching sports analysis on television. I hate using this expression, but 'it is what it is.' Personally, I'm very, very proud of the New York Giants: the players, the coaches, the staff. I'm looking forward to 2011. We're going to have some players that couldn't play this year because of injuries. Very important players who are going to be coming back, hopefully, for the 2011 season. It's been a very great season. I want to thank you guys, you're always there, good or bad news. You report it, I think, fairly. You report it with the passion that you bring to your business, and that to me is very important and I really do feel that it's the Big Apple and you guys appreciate what we do and I'm speaking personally, I really appreciate the job you have and what you do.
Q: Did you ever consider making a coaching change?
A: Never. I'm a big supporter of Tom. I don't want to speak for John Mara, but I think John has spoken for himself, and I think he's indicated to you guys that he's a supporter of Coach Coughlin. I believe Jerry (Reese) has indicated that to you also. A number of players have made their supportive opinions very public, to you specifically. I never felt during this season that changes had to be contemplated and after last night's win in Washington, I still don't think any change needs to be contemplated, discussed, or brought up in the next few weeks or months.
Q: What about his contract situation?
A: I'm very aware of the timing on Tom's contract, as is John and Jerry. I'm not sure 12 hours after coming back from Washington with the sort of mixed feelings we have that it is going to be an issue discussed today. I don't think John, Jerry, and I have ever let any of these issues linger on, and in fairness to Tom and the team, this is an issue that will be addressed very, very soon.
Q: Does the uncertainty of next season with the collective bargaining agreement play a factor also?
A: I wouldn't say it was an issue for discussion week after week. There is obviously a tremendous amount of uncertainty going forward in the league. As we get into the playoffs and on Super Bowl Sunday, it's going to be an issue that's going to be heavily discussed. It was really not a factor. We really focused on our schedule, our games, our wins, our losses, how to improve. I think we genuinely did improve as the season moved on. I'd have to say it really wasn't any real issue, real factor.
Q: Do you think the regular season starts on time next year?
A: My gut feeling is that I don't have enough information, and it would be misleading and somewhat pure speculation to answer that specific a question. And again, I don't want to get fined.
Q: How concerned are you about the prospect of a lockout?
A: I think I share my concerns with 31 other owners, hundreds of players, millions of fans. Meetings are taking place, discussions and conversations are being had with some frequency. I spent too much money on my kids' Christmas presents, so I can't risk any fines because I'd have to get another job to pay the fine. Look, it's on everybody's minds and I do think there will be a deal. I can't stand here and tell you when that deal is going to be closed and signed, but I think a lot of people are working very hard and taking the issue very, very seriously. Nobody wants to see a locked out season, especially the fans, ownership and the players.
Q: How do you feel about going home with 10 wins and watching the playoffs?
A: You know, I'd like to be going somewhere next weekend, but it didn't turn out that way. We did what we had to do yesterday. There were some disappointing games during the season, but you can't look back on those and blame any one situation, any one play. You can't look back and say that this game should have gone that way because it didn't. I'm really proud of the season we did have. 10-6 is a damn good record in the NFL, and if you look at some of the other teams' records that are in the playoffs or at least the first week of the playoffs, we did better than them. I can stand here and sort of intellectually and even emotionally try to explain and answer a question like that. I'm addressing all of you by saying that this is a football team and a football organization that on January 3rd I'm very proud of.
Q: Do you want to have Tom Coughlin for more than just one more year, maybe for the foreseeable future or for however long he wants to coach?
A: Again, these are conversations that John Mara and I are going to have soon. We're going to start these conversations soon. I think Tom's – we relieved a lot of Tom's anxiety the other day. I think Tom is an A-rated NFL football coach. He's coached many great seasons and got us to the Super Bowl. I'd like to feel that we can be back in Indianapolis next February. It's business, and John, I, and Jerry are going to have those conversations. I think the three of us going into those meetings have no set agenda. On matters like this, we usually really see things the same way, which is great and kind of unique about a two-team ownership relationship. I'm not stressed about the conversations regarding Tom. He is a great, great guy and a tremendous leader. The players play for him and respect him. You can't let a guy like that get too far away.
Q: What about changes elsewhere on the staff?
A: There may be other changes made. Jerry, John and I haven't discussed the changes, and Jerry, Tom, John, and I haven't discussed any changes. This is really in a way day one of the 2011 season, and we're in the process of getting over the 2010 season, and you can see our guys getting packed up and ready to take some time off. This is a great team that wants to play football, and hopefully we'll be playing football in 2011.
WR HAKEEM NICKS
Q: As you leave today, what are the emotions?
A: A little bit of a bitter taste. We definitely wanted to be in the playoffs, and my season didn't end up how I wanted to be personally. But just look at the positives and move forward.
Q: How much of these interceptions are on the receivers? Or can we not blame one person?
A: No. You definitely can't blame one person. It's a team game. As receivers, we've got to do our job of catching the ball, and once we touch it, we catch it. That's our job.
Q: Do you see that as something that can change radically next year?
A: Definitely. That's something that I think we can go into the offseason working on and hopefully it will be better for us next year.
Q: Is it frustrating to be here knowing how close you were?
A: Yeah. It's frustrating, but at the same time, like I said, you've got to look at the positives at this point now. There's nothing that we can do about it, but we've just got to dwell on the positives.
Q: How bad was that break in your toe?
A: It wasn't bad. It was like a slight fracture, but it was the same toe that they operated on. So I had to sit down for a while.
Q; Playoffs, would you have been back?
A: Yeah, I would have been back for the playoffs.
Q: This week coming up?
A: Probably the next week.
Q: Is surgery an option?
A: No. No surgery.
Q: When you look at the receiver injuries, did that have an impact on communication or cause game plans to be limited?
A: No. I don't think so. I think we went into every game with the same mentality, same game plan whether who was going to play or not. I think injuries happen. That's something that we couldn't control, but I think we did a good job at fighting it throughout the season.
Q: You talked about looking at the positives. What are some of the biggest positives?
A: Just offensively, coach pointed out the number of big plays we had this season in the pass game as well as the running game. We finished up, we got 10 wins. We didn't get where we wanted to go, but like I said, just got to hope for the best.
Q: What was your take when you heard Coughlin was coming back?
A: I wasn't shocked at all. I pretty much assumed that he wouldn't be going anywhere.
Q: When did you hear it?
A: Honestly, I didn't even give it any thought.
Q: Did you read about it this morning?
A: I saw it this morning in the paper, but I felt like his job was secure.
Q: There were times when Eli showed his frustration during games this year. Did you sense that from him at times?
A: I think playing this game you're going to get frustrated at times. That comes with the game. If you have a desire and you play the game with passion, that's going to happen. But I think he handled himself pretty well, in my opinion if you ask me.