Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Good afternoon. Just to reiterate what I said last night, we've been talking about this turnover business for an entire season and last night, unfortunately, in a very hard fought game, once again it reared its ugly head and the turnovers put our defense in very, very bad position in the first half. Fortunately, they rallied, held the Eagles to only field goals, which gave us a chance to come back and we did and then we got the game at 17-16 and had our opportunities and again, turned the ball over in that situation as well and didn't give ourselves a chance to win the game or to put ourselves in a position where we might have forced it into overtime. We're very disappointed. I told the players today, there is no feeling sorry for ourselves. We're not one of those outfits. We're going to remain very positive and we're going to indicate that if we would stop being our own worst enemy, then we would have a chance to go forward here and win some football games. I know you've all heard about Hakeem. I'm waiting to hear – late afternoon here – exactly how he is doing, etc. I have not been able to talk to him. That having been said, again, other people are going to have to do the job for us and step up and play and perform and at the highest level and as I looked at yesterday and I told you that I thought the defense really accepted the challenge. I thought we had a good plan and we had enough aggressiveness, we pressured, we forced some things to happen, we defended – certainly we gave up some big plays, we gave up those two long runs that were in the fourth quarter. I'm not even going to…there's no excuse for that, but I thought that our defense played well and certainly was forced to be on the field a lot and still managed – against a team that had 600 yards the week before – managed to play well enough to put our team in a position to win. I thought our special teams…we did have outstanding kickoff coverage, we did have, finally, late in the game, some kickoff returns that were worthwhile that gave us the field position. We thought we needed the ball at the 35-yard line on kickoff return to help ourselves offensively. Toward the end of the game we got three kickoffs that were in that area. We had one punt return. We had an exceptional play on the blocked field goal, which created a momentum changing play for us. The ball did not quite bounce with the scoop and score idea – it did not quite bounce into Corey's hands – however, I think that everybody in seeing the tape today again saw the facemask, which meant that the half shouldn't have ended right there. We should have advanced a 15-yard penalty and had a chance for a field goal right there, so that was an exceptional play in the game. I was disappointed that when we do get it to 17-16, we kicked the ball out of bounds and gave them the ball at the 40-yard line. Our first punt was not a good punt and we were fortunate at the end of the game that we didn't have a block on one when the ball was mishandled. He did finally get the ball away and kick it a long distance. I thought that our offense was very sporadic. We didn't run the ball the way we thought we would be able to. We had a couple of drives that were worthwhile, but basically for the night we did not do the things that we intended to do. Offensively, we ended up, again, being our own worst enemy, but even at the end of the game when it was 27-17, we should have done a better job with the ball and put ourselves in position to at least have a chance to tie the game.
Q: How does the offense compensate for the loss of Nicks?
A: We will have an answer for you by Wednesday, but the guys that are on the current roster will have to step up and play and play better than we did the other night.
Q: Is Derek Hagan far enough along that he knows all the spots?
A: Well, he knows all the spots. He's rusty, there's no doubt. He did some things on special teams that would give you the idea he was right up to par. Offensively, it's a little bit different. He needs some work there, but as far as knowing and learning, he can do that very well. He's done that before. He's been the guy that has played all three spots before.
Q: Would you consider converting anyone on your roster to receiver?
A: Not to the point where it's any further than just thought. Again, there are some other things mixing in here that…it could be a possibility, but I wouldn't be able to talk about that until maybe Wednesday.
Q: Will Travis Beckum take some reps there?
A: If you've been astute and you've noticed how he's been used, when he comes in the game, he draws the nickel, so he is playing like that right now really. Have we overextended that personnel combination? No.
Q: I mean more.
A: Perhaps. Perhaps that would be an answer.
Q: Are you going to be trying guys out?
A: There will be a tryout.
Q: What about Samuel Giguere?
A: Everyone here will be considered. It's just, again, until we see them all and what's available, there's really no sense commenting.
Q: You talk about remaining positive, but how do you keep the team's spirits up?
A: Well, they're men and they're going to have to handle this just like all of us. Everybody in this league experiences injuries and how you deal with them is as important as anything else. We'll have to do some things offensively to pull all of this under control, to be aware of what we have and what we don't have and hopefully the burden will go on – let's do a better job up front. We didn't run the ball well yesterday. We didn't create a whole lot of openings. We had one or two runs that were significant, but a lot of them were not and hopefully everybody is going to accept the challenge.
Q: Will it be harder to run the ball now?
A: Might be, but it also might give us some big plays.
Q: Nicks is three weeks?
A: I don't know. That's what the initial thought was – perhaps that long. Until I talk to the doctors myself I don't know.
Q: Did you suspect this last night?
A: Well, we knew he had a little something last night. I didn't know what it was. He was limping a little bit, but I did not know what it was and I don't know that…perhaps the doctors suspected something. It acted like he had a kick – someone may have kicked him in the lower leg area and it caused him to limp and he felt as if he could continue.
Q: Is this like a blood clot or something?
A: I don't know what it amounts to. All I know is what the term that was used and they did feel like they had to take immediate action.
Q: Are Ahmad's fumbles all similar or connected in any way?
A: Well, there are obvious similarities. Do you have two hands on the ball? When you are hit and you are in trouble and you are beginning that spin thing, does the ball come immediately into your body and do you cover it up with two hands? He's fighting for yardage every step of the way, but people in this league are not naïve, they study too and they see and when the ball carrier goes into that position, then they're trying to get somebody with a hand on the ball.
Q: How do you deal with that and keep his confidence up but hold him accountable?
A: Well, he feels very badly today, obviously and the stressing of being accountable has gone on here for quite some time. To his credit and to everyone's credit who has turned the ball over, they do come back the following week with the re-commitment to having it not happen again.
Q: What's the problem with Matt Dodge lately?
A: I don't know if I can answer that. I think he did put together a couple of solid weeks, but that part of the inexperience does rise up again and he's as conscientious as can be, it's just…the shank ball and not being able to place the ball exactly where he wants to place it – that does show up. He drove the ball deep and it would have been nice if they weren't touchbacks, but…
Q: When you were going for it on fourth down, did Dodge's punting factor into it?
A: No. It was what I thought we had to do and the amount of time we had to do it in.
Q: Are you restricted in limiting Bradshaw by injuries?
A: I think no matter how we would do it, there would be a sharing…we wouldn't change, we might do whatever we wanted with the order, but people are going to get their carries.
Q: Why hasn't he been able to get as much yardage lately?
A: I think we blocked – we had a couple of things last night and probably one other opportunity with the run that could have been a significant gain, but other than that, there was not a lot of daylight. The receivers didn't do the job down inside, we didn't always adjust to the speed and sometimes the intensity of the defense.
Q: Will you start giving Jacobs more carries than Bradshaw?
A: Options are all open.
Q: Are you going to bring in some punters tomorrow too?
Q: You said Nicks required immediate action. What does that mean?
A: Just this morning when he came in, the doctors were here and they thought that he needed to have that looked at right away.
Q: He was here this morning?
A: He was here this morning and then he went over to the hospital.
Q: How difficult is it as a coach and to see your fortunes turn so quickly in a span of two weeks?
A: I'd rather have it the other way around if that's what you're saying, but to a certain extent, you deal with what you have. This is the way it is. It's not going to change, but somehow, some way you've got to put all this together, come out swinging, which I'm confident we will, without a doubt, and find a way to get yourself a win.
Q: You've talked about resiliency and how much you like this team. What do you think now?
A: Well, I just told them the same thing – the same thing I'm telling you – I said that there would be some more disappointing news, but nevertheless, the guys that go on the field are going to give great effort, we're going to make sure they know exactly what they're doing, that they understand the responsibility and people have to do more. We have to have – perhaps our defense. We challenge the special teams and the defense every week – you've got to score, you've got to get the turnovers, you've got to get us in position to have some short fields. Last night we had a short field, boom boom, two plays later we're in the end zone. That'll be part of the challenge, but the other part of the challenge is that offense has to do their job as well.
Q: Any news on O'Hara or Diehl?
A: I don't know anything about that yet.
Q: Rolle said he would be willing to play wide receiver.
A: We're aware of Antrel's athletic skills and as I said, we'll take everything into consideration.
Q: What's the situation with Reynaud's health? Will he take snaps at wide receiver?
A: Oh yeah. He's done that on scout squad last week and he was actually healthier than I thought he would be.
Q: How did he look running routes?
A: He looked alright.
Q: Where did you see the breakdowns from yesterday when you watched the tape?
A: It's little things all over the place. We had our opportunities. We had chances, even from early on like the third play of the game, I hit Hakeem down the sidelines and one foot gets out of bounds. On the next third down, Mario runs his route a little short to get a first down. It's just little things like that, it's how it's keeping it this way. We fought hard and had a great third quarter, get back in the game, fourth quarter take the lead, and just to end the game, we didn't play really well. The last two possessions, we had a penalty and a bad throw by me, a third down and we don't get it, a third-and-long. You don't want to be in that situation, but obviously we didn't finish the way we needed to win the game.
Q: How do you minimize the turnovers?
A: You have to be smarter. I don't think there is one thing that you say, "Oh, we just have to do this and it'll eliminate it." It's about just being conscious about it and being smart. We still have to compete, and we still have to go out there and play hard. You're going to have to make some throws that are tight but you don't have to force things that aren't there and you have no shot. For the most part, that's not the case. I don't think an interception – I'm throwing it into crowds and forcing things. You just have to be very accurate, put in the right spot, make my right reads, and just play smarter.
Q: Why is this still an issue for you in Week Ten?
A: I don't know. It's just happening. Sometimes you get in games in the end where you're down and you have to make some stuff happen and force some things. That's a situation where turnovers can happen. It's just how it happens. Hopefully if you have big leads, they don't usually become a problem. When you're fighting from behind, especially in the last two weeks, that's what will happen when you're forced to throw it a bunch and you're forced to try and make some plays.
Q: What is the fear factor for players when they are turnover prone to help stop it? You or Ahmad aren't going to be benched like other players around the league:
A: You just have to go out there and keep competing. I'm not scared of throwing interceptions. Like I said, I don't feel like I'm forcing balls into the wrong place. One, I shouldn't be working Samuel's side on that, but he jumped it and makes a good play. The other one was tipped off the back of a defender. Again, being smarter on some of them, but for the most part, you have to keep competing and you have to keep going out there trying to make plays, make throws, and that's all I can worry about. You can definitely stop them. We have had games where we haven't had turnovers. A lot of it is about being more consistent on first and second downs, and not getting into third-and-11 or 12 where you have to hold it a little longer. The defense is at an advantage there. A lot of it is taking care of business on the earlier downs, being more consistent there, and don't be in bad situations.
Q: How much do you worry about Ahmad's psyche?
A: I'm not worried about him. He runs hard and he makes a lot of plays for us. Every turnover is going to have its own excuse or own reason. He got kind of picked up in a pile, the guy did a good job of just getting his hands in there and ripping it out with a couple defenders around him. I think he's going to run hard and make plays for us. Right now, we have six games left and we have Jacksonville this week. They have some talent, and it's not a team we face very often so we have to have a great week of preparation, go out there, and see if we can play our best football.
Q: The numbers are mounting against the Giants in the second half, and this year you're 0-2. How do you stop that from snowballing?
A: We had a chance to win yesterday. It's not like we fell apart and got blown out. We had the lead in the fourth quarter and had some opportunities to win the game. We didn't play our best football at the end of that game. We have this week, and all we can worry about is Jacksonville. You all can worry about the rest.
Q: What's the confidence level that you guys can turn it around starting with this week?
A: Your confidence never changes as a team. You're always confident going into next week that you can go in there and win. It's about your preparation. It's about going in with a great attitude and knowing that if we play the way we know that we're capable of, we'll be in good shape.
Q: Is it difficult to have key people in the offense out for indefinite amounts of time?
A: No, with our offensive line, it is what it is. They have been playing the last three weeks almost, so those guys will hopefully have everyone for practice that's going to play in the game so everyone is getting their reps, working together and communicating. I think that's helpful. We're trying to get our receiver situation leveled out and everyone practicing where they're going to be so that everyone is in tune to what's going on. Having Hagan here another week, he'll get more reps and get our timing down. Sometimes you only get so many throws and you're throwing routes to him that you haven't thrown to him before. So that's just the way it goes sometimes, and we have to get as much work as we can.
Q: Have you talked to Hakeem?
A:I talked to him this morning. It was kind of before he knew everything was going to happen - I knew he was going to the hospital to just kind of get it looked at and then I got word he was going to be out for a little bit. So I have not - they just got that 30 minutes ago. So I haven't gotten to him yet, but I'm sure I'll talk to him later today.
Q: It's a big blow to have your top two guys seriously injured:
A: Yeah. You've got your top two receivers out, it's always a big blow. But we learn how to fight, learn how to fight through it and other guys have got to step up. We've got to run the ball, we've got to get guys open and get them keyed into what they've got do and I've got to play great football.
Q: When you get news like this about Hakeem, do you just go, 'We're undermanned?'
A: No. No. You just move on. You adjust, you think, 'Hey, who's going to fill that spot? How are you going to game plan and how are we going to go win this game?'
Q: Have you seen Hakeem really make a lot of strides this year?
A: Yeah. He's made great strides in just being a playmaker and cutting down on some of the errors, and hopefully we'll get him back soon to get everybody back for the end of the season when we need to be playing our best football.
WR DEREK HAGAN
Q: It looks like you'll be in the starting lineup, or at least get more playing time with Nicks being injured. After being out of football, how ready can you be?
A: Well, I've got to be ready. I have no choice. I have to be ready, I want to be ready, and I know I'm ready. I've been in this offense. I know what's going on. Some people, they're not sure how great of shape I'm in, but I know I'm in great shape. Just because I've been out doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything. I haven't just been sitting at home sitting on the couch and not doing much. I've been out running and doing what I've got to do to make sure I stay in shape. And like I said, the Giants gave me the call, I'm back and just out there trying to help this team and make plays.
Q: It was primarily the slot yesterday. How familiar are you with the other spots?
A: I think the other spots are a lot easier than playing in the slot. Obviously in the slot there's so much going on – you've got to know when you're hot, you've got to know when you've got to break a route off at a certain depth and that's definitely something I'm working on. I'll be putting in extra time with Eli to make sure we're on the same page. Sunday night we felt like we were on the same page, but there are some plays that we know we left out there, and hopefully come this week, we don't make those same mistakes.
Q: What kind of opportunity is this?
A: It's just one I definitely would love to take advantage of. Obviously we've lost two games in a row, and we're definitely looking to get back on a winning streak, and hopefully if we play well and execute and eliminate some of the mental mistakes and the turnovers, we'll be just fine.
Q: Is it hard?
A: No, not at all, because I always prepare myself like a starter. It doesn't matter what the situation is. Whether I'm running up and down the field on special teams or doing what I have to do on offense, you've got to prepare like you're going to go out there and play. This is not high school or college football. You've got to be prepared at all times, and they want me to get the job done and hopefully come Sunday I'll be ready to get the job done for them.
Q: Obviously you prepare, but can you believe it's actually going to come to fruition?
A: I can believe it. Obviously, like I said, even if I'm not the starter I still prepare like I'm a starter. We still all go out there and compete, and like I said, I'm definitely looking forward to this opportunity on Sunday.
Q: Is it hard to believe two weeks ago this was a full corps of receivers?
A: Right. It's strange. It's just crazy how this game of football works. Guys are here one minute and the next day guys are getting hurt. But we know those things may arise, and if something like that happens, the next man that's there has got to step up and fill that role.
Q: In those nine weeks back in California, did you consider it might be all over for you?
A: No. I never thought it would be over. I knew eventually some team was going to call. It didn't matter who it was, but it's just crazy how these things can work out. One day a team - they may need a receiver but the next day a different position gets hurt so they've got to bring in somebody else. So I just told myself just stay in shape and if things didn't happen this year, I definitely was looking forward to next year. But I'm in shape and I'm ready to go and I'm here now.
Q: Will this week of practice help because last week you didn't get many reps?
A: Well, I practiced all last week. I think having a second week under my belt, just to make sure everything is right, if I do have any rust, make sure I can rub that off and just be ready to go come Sunday.
Q: Eli said he was throwing some routes to you that he had never thrown to you in practice. How difficult is that?
A: Right. Well, we had chemistry over the summer, but obviously with me being gone for that time, obviously things changed and there were some certain routes out there that we didn't run last week in practice and it's just because of a certain look the defense gave us. Things change and you've just got to be able to adapt and adjust. We know we left some plays out there, but hopefully come this week we won't make those same mistakes.