Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Good afternoon. The players reported this morning in a timely fashion. I think we're all eager to take a look at the tape and try to make the best as we can out of yesterday's game and then move on. I think it's very difficult for any team to win a game with all of the penalties, the turnovers, the timing of the turnovers. You can simply take the fact that we had an interception returned 101 yards for a touchdown and a touchdown in the end zone that would have brought us to within six points with seven minutes to go and have that called back as well. We kept battling, we kept fighting, but we just weren't able to overcome the margin and, again, to go back to the penalties, which, again, were very costly and there were way too many. Opportunities to have the ball in the end zone twice and then to have the scores taken down….That's very frustrating and we were all frustrated by that, but nevertheless, give credit to the Cowboys, who did execute. They did make some outstanding plays. I would add also that the number of big plays also obviously contributed.
Q: Were the big plays schemed or did they come off of mistakes?
A: On occasion it was communication issues, but two of the touchdowns were off of some kind of post move, where they tried to hold the safety inside as well, worked us a little bit on the outside shoulder, and were able to make a great throw and catch – it was an outstanding throw and catch there. We did have some communication issues with some of the balls down the sideline – not just communication, but whether you got a good enough hit on the receiver as he was coming off the line of scrimmage to disrupt the throw, hopefully to put the safety in a position where he might be able to come over the top. That didn't happen either. We gave up those long plays, which we haven't been doing. We've been in games – in any two games, there might be three big plays against, so some things occurred yesterday. Just as a comparison, I think that two weeks ago, the execution of our team was as good as you can imagine and then yesterday, the execution was nowhere near that, so back to work and we do have some new individuals that are being fitted in here that we've got to get acclimated to the game, to build the trust factor between, for example, the quarterback and the receiver or the protection and how that goes. We've got some of that we've got to accomplish right away as well.
Q: Ramses Barden is in a hard cast?
A: He's got a significant ligament injury in the ankle and he does have a fracture as well.
Q: In the ankle?
A: Fracture down there, yeah.
Q: Time frame?
A: More than you'd like.
Q: Any news on Steve Smith?
A: No. Not significant to report.
Q: What is the plan for that position?
A: Go to one receiver. We'll have to do some work on that.
Q: Are you going to go out and sign someone?
A: There's a chance.
Q: Will Barden be back this year?
A: That is unlikely right now.
Q: Any word on Diehl or O'Hara?
A: Not the word we want to hear. Both guys are feeling better, but how that figures into our plans for this week, I'm not sure.
Q: Are we likely to see the line we saw yesterday next week at Philadelphia?
Q: How do you assess them? It seemed like they were unable to open up the running game.
A: I think that when you start down that road, I think that the penalties were just as big a factor in our inability to consistently move the ball, whether it was throw or run. We didn't have any of the long runs like you've been seeing. Again, give some credit to the Dallas defense, but we kept pounding away. We didn't obviously have equal distribution yesterday because we were coming from behind, but we did have 28 runs in the game and as I said, we weren't able to just go out and run, run, run, run, run, but when you're coming from behind and the other guy has the lead, it's a little bit different situation.
Q: What did you see on the Kevin Boothe hold that called back the touchdown?
A: I didn't see one.
Q: There's a lot of football left to be played and a lot of teams are still in this. What's your mindset going forward?
A: That's what it is. We've got to re-establish who we are, sink our feet into the sand a little bit and come out swinging. We've got a lot of issues that have got to be straightened out. Just stop and think about 480 yards, taking the 50 yards on the Nicks throw, and 20 points? It doesn't add up. I think that you have to understand, as I mentioned to you yesterday, a big part of our thoughts were to turn the ball over and score by virtue of that. The previous two ballgames, 42 points had come off of turnovers for the opposition and that didn't happen either. Obviously we never got the quarterback out of a rhythm like we planned on doing. They did a good job on some of their formations, they blocked it up pretty good and got the ball thrown down field and kept the risk of the inside stuff, a lot of inside balls – they didn't throw them. They did a good job with it. But we've got to re-establish who we are. We've got to clean up these penalties, the missed assignments – all of that stuff has got to get cleaned up. Regardless of how we figure the chemistry of the groups on either side of the ball or with special teams, that's all got to get cleaned up and cleaned up fast.
Q: That sounds like a lot of focus stuff. You mentioned that you weren't happy with how the team practiced on Wednesday…
A: Preparation. That's where it was. It was in the preparation. We do have to get back to the real solid, solid preparations, which quite frankly we had seen all year long. That really was the first Wednesday practice or Thursday practice that I had been disappointed in in a long time.
Q: Before Barden went down, it looked like he was playing well.
A: Yeah, he contributed well.
Q: How disappointing is it to lose him then?
A: Extremely. Extremely. Let's think of the player first, okay? He had gained some confidence, he was making a strong contribution. As far as I could tell yesterday, he did a pretty good job on kickoff return, blocking from that front, the spot he manned. What Ramses needed to do was play, get out there and play, get the ball down in the green zone, throw it up high – just like the one he didn't come down with – but put him in that situation, put him out there against really outstanding competition, let him compete, let him perform, let him play. That's exactly what was going to happen and it's unfortunate that he will not be able to continue.
Q: How concerned are you that all of this stuff comes up the week before a big division game?
A: Well, we do have things to straighten around, but that's nothing different than following up any loss, to be honest with you. If you're asking from a standpoint of making sure what our personnel situations are, yeah, there's a little bit up in the air about that. As I told the players, Wednesday we'll be right back at it.
Q: What has been different with the pass rush? It hasn't really shown up the past two games.
A: The other two teams. I think I would go here with…If you looked at the tape, you could see it – a lot of three step drops, a lot of max protections, get the ball out of the quarterback's hand, keep it short, don't allow the rush to get to him – some of that was featured yesterday, too. Obviously, there were some three step drops, the ball came out of his hand quickly, there were some designed routes with protection involved. The balls of any kind of risk were up on the outside and a lot of times they ended up one on one, but they blocked us up pretty well and we didn't get home with any kind of consistency. We only got one solid hit on the quarterback – it was the situation down on the goal line – but we weren't able to disrupt his rhythm. That's probably the simplest way I can say it.
Q: Is that because of what they did or a disappointing showing from your guys?
A: No…It's a little bit both ways. Obviously, you like to see the numbers up there, but also they did a good job preparing.
Q: With depleted numbers at receiver, is Duke Calhoun really a viable option to play on offense?
A: You said it. Yes. He has to be. He has to be. We've brought him along little by little every week and we used him in the four-wide package thinking that was going to be the extent of it yesterday. Little did anybody know he would be the third wide before long. He has great energy, he has great stamina. If you remember back to preseason, he had at least one outstanding game. I think you saw late in the game when he came down and made that real nice crack block on the safety on the third or fourth run before the end of the game. He's physical, he's tough, he's got the experience factor working against him, he's got an awful lot to learn and he's got to learn fast.
Q: Were you limited at all yesterday after Ramses went down?
A: Yeah, we were limited. Sure we were, but until we got to the two minute mode, we just kept working our way through it.
Q: Do you remind your guys of the way they collapsed in the second half of last season after a loss like that?
A: No, but I'll remind them of what you're all saying today.
Q: Have you seen a trend or a pattern to your interceptions this season?
A: Well, you have to take them turnover by turnover. We had the ball on the ground a couple of times yesterday and a helmet hit the ball and it came out on Bradshaw. Bear Pascoe got it back, thank goodness, but we've seen a little too much of that. The interception for the touchdown was a guy not sticking with the route that was called and the worst possible result came about, but that's our fault. There's nobody to blame but us. Finish the route. At least it's a broken up ball, it goes out of the end zone or something of that nature. Is there any one pattern? No. Other than tipped balls. Tipped balls and fumbles by the runner, but other than that there's no real pattern that I can tell you about. It's just happening way too many times. Yesterday, there was a bad snap from center. That came about I think because of the hurried nature of…the clock was working against us there and I think that may have contributed some, although the snap was really errant.
Q: How are Goff, Boss, and Boothe?
A: Kevin [Boothe] at this point in time, it's just a patella tendonitis issue. Boss is very sore. They called it a lumbar sprain, whatever that means, but I would hope that he works his way through that and I think Jonathan hyper-extended his elbow and hopefully that's not an issue.
Q: Do Boss' and Beckum's roles change with the limited numbers at receiver?
Q: Looking back now, do you regret your decision to IR Victor Cruz?
A: No. I don't really think that…those decisions are…in many ways you see where we have looked to the future to try to have people back and other times you don't have that luxury. That was one of them. I don't think you can look back on that one.
Q: Are you more likely to try to bring guys in who have been here before?
A: Part of the package may be that, although whatever is available will probably get looked at.
Q: Is Darius Reynaud a factor?
A: Well, he is on paper. Now, he's returning from a hamstring and I'm not sure how he's going to… if he comes back this week, he comes back just a little bit earlier than they projected. I'm hoping that he does. That gives us one more option, obviously.
Q: Do you feel like you exposed weaknesses last night or do you feel like it was uncharacteristic and there were too many mistakes?
A: I think that the one part of me, which is normally the old school stickler, we played poorly. We played poorly in a lot of areas and gave up too many big plays as a result of it. Things we hadn't done all season long, so correct that. I'm not going to go the route of it was uncharacteristic. You deal with the facts and the facts are that we did not play very well.
Q: How dangerous would that blackout have been if it had happened during a play?
A: Well, in my mind it was that whole cycle. First of all, "this is a new one." This is a new experience. And then the idea of going ahead and continuing to play the first time. The second time the discussion was, I know that the referee would prefer to play, Jason Garrett preferred to play, I was the stickler saying slow down a little and I asked a couple of the players – Eli thought it was okay, one of the receivers did and one was not so sure and then before anything else could take place, the league moved in. Yeah, you could imagine that if that one time…of course you can think back to your days as a young man out in the yard playing football after dark and guys used to run into the trees and the fences and all that stuff, but that could have happened.
QB Eli Manning
Q: The day after the loss, how frustrating is it?
A: I was more frustrated yesterday. You see the film and you see a lot of missed opportunities. You can look at it both ways. You're doing a lot of good things, and if we don't hurt ourselves – you can't jump offsides on the two-yard line. Because of that, we get an interception and a few plays later, they go 101 yards. That's a 14-point swing. There are a few other things down in the red zone, just not productive early in the game. It's hard to come back from some of those plays. We fought back, hung in there, kept competing and going down, and hoping in the second half being down twenty points that we'd score and get back things. It's kind of tight going back down twenty but we kept fighting, and we had some chances. That holding call, if that doesn't get called, then we're down by six with seven minutes left in the game. We kind of feel like we're going to win this game, but a couple bad plays here and there hurt us.
Q: As it stands now, there are only three healthy receivers. What happens now going forward here?
A: Guys have to stay healthy. We need those three to stay healthy. Hakeem is playing great, Mario played well in the game. He's got some explosiveness and some playing experience, but we're moving him around. Obviously Duke Calhoun is talented and he's a guy who we have been giving him playing time these last couple of weeks because he's earned that job and that privilege to get in there. A lot of it has been on running plays, so he's a rookie getting his feet wet a little bit. He can run routes, he's fast, he's got good hands, and he's going to be thrown to the wolves a little bit. He's got to step up and he has to play well for us.
Q: Pretty tough divisional stretch coming up, what's the team's approach?
A: When you play Philly, you have to play perfect. Everybody has to be on the same page and everybody has to see things the same way. Routes have to be perfect, and the offensive line has to know who they're blocking and be ready for their blitz packages and everything they're doing. You can't afford to make mistakes, and when we get opportunities, we have to run with them and take advantage.
Q: A lot of guys chock this loss up to a 'bad day', do you think there should be more anger or disgust?
A: No. As football players, you never want to lose your confidence. That's something that's always very important. Sometimes you can say that and you can say 'Hey, they caught the breaks and they beat us' so you don't lose your confidence, but there is also a point of making corrections. They made some plays and Dallas did some good things, but we made too many bad pass plays with penalties, mental mistakes, and those will lose football games. So, we have to eliminate those, make corrections, be hard on ourselves, and fix those things.
Q: With the offensive line changes, how would you compare what was out there last night to what you usually have?
A: Our offensive line did a great job. You had some facemask penalty and a couple of things like that, but in pass protection, they did very well. They had a holding call a little late, which was dicey, but when you throw the ball 48 times and we didn't have sack. We had one intentional ground but that was really a coverage sack is what I'd call that. I thought they did a good job against a good pass rush scheme. Again, when you have 500 yards total offense that means you'll be doing good things up front and receivers are getting open. We had a lot of good things, but we have to fix up a few things.
Q: Did you ever think last night with all the injuries that you guys just need to get more bodies in here?
A: You can ask coach that. I'm so confident in the guys we have, and we have Will Beatty coming back and we have Mitch Petrus. We have seven or eight lineman dressed, so we have receivers on the practice squad, and we'll probably have to bring up a receiver this week to dress. You need probably about four dressed, so hopefully everybody stays healthy and we'll go from there.
Q: Can you attribute the lack of run game to the new people on the line?
A: Ask the coaches that. We weren't running particularly well, and we tried to establish the run and we had some success with it, but we didn't break many longs runs. We're okay with the run but didn't run probably as effective as we should've since they were playing a lot of two high-safeties.
Safety Deon Grant
Q: What'd you see on the interception?
A: When I saw the formation and the personnel right before the play, I told Kenny on a little push that I was coming over toward him. I thought it was going to be a throw-back screen to their tight end. Once I alert the cornerback that it was going to be the throwback screen, and it wasn't that, I knew they had to be taking a shot up-field. I vacated my area, went over there, and tried to make a play.
Q: You think that was going to be a turning point in the game?
A: Sure, yeah, I really did. You could tell I got up and headed right to the sidelines, looking to go back out there and line up again. The defense goes out there and lines up again, and get another takeaway to get the offense a chance to put some more points on the board. It didn't fall that way, though.
Q: What do you tell the guys after a game like that?
A: What I told them last night before we even broke, I said, 'If we don't hurry up and wash that out of our minds and get prepared for the rest of the season, it's going to be a long season.' That's the main thing. That's one loss, and we're still at the top of our division. We still have another team that if they win, we'll be tied. We're 1-1 right now, so we have a long season left, so at the end of the day, you have to let that go. The guys that had bad games, made a lot of mental mistakes, and just didn't play the game that they usually play, you just have to let them go and get back to basics. Keep this brotherhood that we have going, keep it together.
Q: Do you think it was overconfidence?
A: I don't know what that means. That isn't in our character. That isn't even in this locker room. I wouldn't even allow that. I'm one of the oldest guys in here and I won't even allow that. We work hard every day and we stay humble. We don't see us in the media with our chests out and with an S on our chest like Superman. That's not even in our character.
Q: Was it rough to see all the big plays again on film after you guys played so well on defense the past few games?
A: Not even watching the film, just witnessing it. We didn't even have to watch the film to know that we were getting outplayed and everything else. Of course it was difficult because we knew it wasn't there. We knew we weren't playing G-Men football defense at all. We were very disappointed.
Q: Does the winning streak after the Colts and Titans game reflect that you guys have the team who can bounce back from this?
A: Definitely. We knew what type of team we had before we even lost to the Colts. We just got away and tried something new against Peyton, a guy you don't try something new with. This team's offense, defense, and special teams all didn't have a good game against them. We didn't have a deep look down, and it's the same situation now. We look at the film and we know exactly what we messed up on. We just have to fix some things, and we know that we have a division opponent, go out there and get ready for Philly.