Head Coach Tom Coughlin
We prepare ourselves to go to Washington, in the division. We have one thought in mind and that is to play the kind of game that we can all be proud of, to win our 10th game, to go 3-3 in the division and to at least get rid of the taste from the other night and give ourselves something to be proud of here as we finish the regular season and then whatever happens happens, so Washington is a much improved team. They actually should be 7-8. Anyone who follows them knows that – the Tampa game was a game that they could have and should have won and they played very well down in Jacksonville the other day. They played very well to score twice and two 2-point conversions against Dallas, so since Grossman has started, they've played well and defensively they've played well – they've increased their pressure, they come after the quarterback more, they make more things happen. They've had their injuries, just like anybody else in this business at this time of the year. They're playing with some guys that are getting an opportunity and playing well when given that opportunity. It'll be a divisional game, it'll be a physical game. It's one we look forward to because quite frankly we'd like to have some other memory of how we play than last weekend.
Q: You have a lot of injuries on the report. Can Nicks play with that broken toe?
A: Well, we're going to have to see how he does. He can't play today.
Q: On Sunday?
A: I doubt it.
A: He's sore today and won't work and he did see the doctor yesterday and we'll have to see.
Q: Webster's ribs?
A: He's sore but I think he'll be okay for tomorrow. He won't be able to work today but I think we'll get him for tomorrow. We have a few guys that won't work today. You see the list, so…
Q: How do you coach this game? Do you watch the scoreboard to see how Chicago-Green Bay is going?
A: No. Really, to be honest with you, we'll coach our guys to just play the game. Play this game, the game that we're in, pay no attention to anything else. All you can do is take care of your own business – there isn't a greater example than last night. That was one of my statements this morning. There were many, but that was one of them: that you take care of your own business, give yourself every opportunity, take care of your own business and good things can happen to you. We'll play the game, be focused on the Washington Redskins, be focused on a divisional game on the road and whatever transpires will transpire.
Q: What did you say to put Sunday's game in the rearview mirror?
A: I didn't try to put it in the rearview mirror. I talked more about different spots during the season where we discussed the fact that our offseason was pointed in a particular direction and we wanted to re-establish ourselves, our pride, our honor, which we didn't do last weekend, so therefore we have one game in order to do that. We talked a little bit more about that and tried to bridge from last week's game into this week's motivation and I think rather than just use the same strategy that we used the week before, which was basically the motivation involved was let's move forward. They were two totally different losses, if you know what I mean. We tried to bridge better from this one to the next one.
Q: Your offense looked like they were trying too hard to force a play. Anything you can do to turn that around?
A: Well, that's a common theme, but I think we have to play better football. That's all I think. I think that our game has to improve – the performance, the execution has to improve. That's exactly where I am. The individual battles have to be won. Stalemates and ties and almost being open and all of that stuff – no. Get the football right, that's what we're talking about. Pride is one word this week, but get the football right. Let's get real serious about the fact that we're football players, we've had this thing for the last two weeks set up the way we wanted it, did not get what we wanted, we have one game to re-establish ourselves.
Q: Are there too many excuses being made?
A: No. I don't think so. I don't think any of them are making excuses. I don't hear that.
Q: Well with guys saying how close and stuff?
A: No. I said that. This is in line with what the question was, not with what someone said from our locker room. No, I don't hear anybody saying anything. As a matter of fact, after the game when I circled around in the lunch room back there after we went back to eat, there weren't very many guys with any answers.
Q: You were in a similar situation in 2006 and you traveled to Washington for the last game – any thoughts back to that game from a personal standpoint?
A: Well, no, not really, just the fact that we had to go win and we did and we got in. We ran the ball really well that night, handled the blitz really well that night. There were a lot of them (blitzes).
Q: What made the offense successful in the games that you played without Smith and Nicks this season?
A: We rushed the ball. In the game that you're referring to – the first Washington game – I think there's two factors in that game: we were plus-five, we haven't been plus-five around here in a long time, but we were plus-five and we rushed for 197, we had time of possession at the 35 minute mark. Those were the difference makers.
Q: Is there something wrong with a system where a 10-win team doesn't get into the playoffs but a 7-win team does?
A: I haven't even had one thought on that. Maybe in a couple of weeks I might have something to say about that, but right now the way our game is, we're all by division and you win the division, you're in and that's what we live by.
Q: Will anyone go on IR today?
A: Not yet, no.
QB Eli Manning
We've got to get back to playing good football. We haven't done it, we haven't finished these last couple of games. The Redskins are playing well. They've played well these last few weeks and so we've got to be able to match the intensity and go out there expecting to play our best.
Q: What is it like knowing that even if you go out and play well, destiny is not in your own hands?
A: No matter what, you want to try to end on a good note and I think that no matter what happens, all we can control is having a great week of practice, preparing ourselves to play well, go out there, play hard, give it our best effort and whatever happens after that happens. All we have to worry about is at least we'll know we gave it our all and that's all we can control.
Q: What is the key to beating them?
A: I think we've got to try to get the running game established, try to stay out of third and longs – they're very good on third down getting the opposing team off the field. They've been scoring points lately, so we've got to play smart football. We've got to stay out of bad situations and if we get into some, we can't turn the ball over. Protect the ball and play smart football.
Q: The Redskins seem to be playing better since you beat them. What do you see different?
A: Their defense seems to be making plays, offensively they're scoring some points, they're winning close games and that's what you see happening – even the games where they have lost, it's come down to the wire, it's come down to the fourth quarter, a play different, a field goal, an extra point goes the wrong way, little things like that. They've been playing teams tight, whether it's been high scoring or low scoring, they've gotten both of them. We've just got to be able to match whatever happens on Sunday and go out there with a great game plan expecting that we've got to play our best football.
Q: Will you peek at the scoreboard?
A: I don't know. I'm not going to be looking for it, I'm not going to be eyeing it every second because we've got to keep our focus on what's going on. It doesn't matter if one team is up by three points. It's not going to make a difference for us. The worst thing that could happen is all of the sudden we think we don't have a shot to make the playoffs and we don't prepare, we don't go and play our hardest and Chicago wins. That's what you can't let happen. We've got to go in expecting everything to work out for the best, feeling that Chicago is going to win for us. Go in with that attitude and if that doesn't work out, all we did was give it our best shot and it didn't work our way.
Q: Coughlin mentioned needing to restore pride and honor this week. Why do you think that's necessary?
A: I think we talked about last year in this offseason, just making sure that what happened last year doesn't happen again and you want to end at least playing – if it does end, you want to end playing well and give yourself a shot and feel like with what you had at this moment that you did the best that you could. We've had other opportunities here, we didn't come through, but now we've got a different opportunity and let's make the best of it.
Q: What do you guys want to establish?
A: I think you see the character of the players on the team and see if the guys who were here last year learned something and remember that feeling of the offseason and don't want to go through that again. See if we learned something, if we improved our character, if we grew up as players and individuals, so that's what I think we'll see this weekend.
Q: How difficult is it to go into this last game with Coach Coughlin facing so much fire?
A: We've all been under fire and as players we've got to go out there playing our best. The coaches are going to prepare us, we're going to be prepared to play, we're going to have a great game plan, now it's our job to go execute it, so that's all we focus on is the opposing team, focus on ourselves, what players we have, our plays and getting mentally and physically ready to play.
Q: You won two games without Nicks and Smith in the lineup. What did you take from those two games?
A: Well, those two games we ran the ball, we protected the football, we played smart, the defense played well, so we know we can win in those games, we've just got to try – a couple of them we scored early – we've got to execute. That's what it comes down to. Can you execute? Can you have a great game plan where guys know what's going on, where to line up, run routes and play good football?
Q: Do you operate differently?
A: Shouldn't operate differently, you should be able to operate on the same page and operate well.
Safety Antrel Rolle
Q: How were these past couple days getting stuck in Appleton?
A: It was whatever. There was a lot of time of sitting there and thinking to yourself, doing a lot of self reflecting. I took a lot of time to look at myself and try to realize things I can get better at and ways I can help the team just to put us in a better position mentally as well as physically.
Q: How do you feel about a coaching change if you don't make the playoffs? A lot of people have been writing about that:
A: That's not something I think that I really respond to. The outsiders don't matter at this point. They can say whatever they want to say. It's all about this organization and what happens here. If we go out and perform on the field, none of those questions will be brought up and that's the way I look at it. We have to do a better job of going down on the field and performing.
Q: Is it hard when you realize that you guys had everything wrapped five quarters ago and now certain scenarios need to play out that are out of your control?
A: Of course. It's devastating. At the same time, no one put us in this position but us. We can't fault anyone but ourselves. We had it in the grasp of our hands, and we didn't take advantage of the opportunities. Now, we have to leave it in the hands of something else. It's something in this league that you never, ever want to do. You don't ever want something else to try and control your destiny, you always want to have that control yourself.
Q: Last year ended so badly for this team that a lot of people just want to end the year on a positive note. Is there any way to look back on this season positively if you don't make the playoffs?
A: I think, as every season, there's going to be a lot of positives you can take from it but also a lot of negatives. The negatives, those are things you try to work on in the offseason as a team and get better at and make sure those things are focused upon come next season. This is a good team, and going out 10-6 if it happens on Sunday isn't necessarily a bad thing but it's not a good thing either because we're not where we wanted to be. That's just how you have to look at it.
Q: Will you be watching the scoreboard a lot on Sunday?
A: No, I won't spend any time watching the scoreboard. We had a chance to close it out on our own, and what happens with Chicago and Green Bay happens. I'm going out there and I'm playing. I'm trying to put on my best performance I've had all year and just try to be the player that I know I can be and make sure the troops are on board also. I know we're going to go out there and play great football.
Q: This locker room was tumultuous in the beginning, then settled down, and now things a little unsettled again. What's happened?
A: Things are going to take a course throughout the football season. There are going to be some ups, there are going to be some downs. Like I said, you can't pinpoint one particular thing and say 'this is the problem.' I think a lot of things are pretty much domino effects, and we just have to play our way out of it. We dug a hole for ourselves and we have to climb our way out. We'll do so. We're a great football team, and we have a lot of great things going on here and we're going to finish out with a bang.
Q: Is there any motivation to play to save Coughlin's job or anybody's job?
A: I don't think anyone is thinking about that. We're just playing to win and whatever the ramifications of this week's game are, that is completely out of our hands. We just need to go out there and play to win, play to get our tenth win, win a game in the division and just go on to whether it be a playoff run or the offseason, either way you want a good taste in your mouth and the only way you can do that is by winning this last game.
Q: If you don't make the playoffs, but you do get the win, will that be enough of a good taste in your mouth?
A: I think so. It's hard to have 10 wins in this league. We play in a tough division, so if we can get to .500 in the division and get a tenth win, I think that does matter. You play to win always, no matter what the circumstances are, so that's what you do as a pro and especially with the way we've played the last couple of games, we definitely have to do something to try to erase those memories.
Q: Are you going to sneak a couple of peeks at the scoreboard?
A: I am. I'm going to be looking at the scoreboard. If it's up there, I'm going to check it out. It's not going to affect the way I play, but I'm definitely interested to know what's going on in that other game.
Q: Do you have a message for Lovie?
A: No. I've actually got some friends on the team and they told me they're going out there to win. Their defense didn't play well last week – a lot like ours – so that's just the way this league is, teams have a lot of pride and if you don't play the way you expect to play one week, you definitely want to go out there and do better the next week.
Q: It helps that they hate the Packers, right?
A: That's a division rival. They're not going to want to go up to Lambeau Field – trust me, it's not a good feeling to go up there and get beat, and get beat badly. They know that better than we do, so I expect them to go out there and play their game and try to have some momentum.
Q: Who are your buddies out there?
A: I can't name them, but I think they made it clear that they want to play and they're a proud defense and the way they played last week, they're going to come out and try to erase some of those memories.
Q: Somebody said that the rest of the league owes you for what you did in '07. Time to cash in that favor?
A: No, no, no. The only thing that I can say is that the Eagles hurt us. They find a way to hurt us even when they don't play us. I definitely don't like the Eagles even more so than I didn't like them two nights ago. I definitely expected them to win last night, but that's this league and that's why I definitely think that Chicago has a great chance to go up there and beat Green Bay, so we just need to take care of our business and let yesterday prove that anybody can beat anybody. Regardless of what happens in the other game, we're going to do our best to win and play Giant football because we haven't done that the last couple of weeks.