Head Coach Tom Coughlin
It's a historic first win for the New York Giants franchise here in the brand new stadium. We talked definitely about that. I thought that it is an outstanding win for our team. I thought our defense played the run very well. We gave up some yards in the pass, gave up some yards on third down, but the turnovers were huge and the ability to get the interceptions and to turn them back. Unfortunately we made turnovers on the offensive side of the ball. We didn't run the ball very well. Their defense was very good and always has been a very good defense against the run. We made some plays. We got some points on the board. I thought that no one is very happy about the way we finished the game. We do have a ways to go. We've got a lot of things to work on. I was not pleased with our kicking game – our kickoffs, our coverage team, and obviously the breakdown in the punt protection at the end of the game, which, in circumstances other than these could cost you the football game, so I'm very happy about the win. The players are very happy about the win. There was a lot said going in about this game and about what happened last year and I'm just happy that we could win this game, the first game in this stadium.
Q: You had several sacks at the end of the game, but none in the beginning. What do you attribute that shift to?
A: Well, I think the one thing that you've got to remember is that the plan was set primarily for the run and play action and until it got to be where they were behind by a couple of scores and they were throwing the ball every down, we were pretty much still in the mode of trying to defend against what we set out to defend at the beginning of the ball game, which was the run and play action, et cetera. Now, once they had to throw the ball to get back in it, then we were able to pin our ears back and those combinations of different personnel groups that we played in the game started to get some pressure.
Q: How encouraging was the red zone play today?
A: Well, we've had some good goes in the green and the red zone during the preseason and it carried over. Today we turned them away is the big thing and I think that the interceptions in the end zone when they were pressing so hard to get back in the game were huge as far as our ability to take a deep breath, particularly after that last interception (we threw), which, you know, third and five, you're calling something basically as safe as you can call it and we got a tipped ball – we had three tipped ball interceptions today. Any time you tip the ball in the middle of the field it's going to end up that way. Unfortunately, that's what happened, but the defense came back and bailed us out on that it. It was good. The sudden change idea – they went out, they weren't wagging their tails, they went right to work and they got the turnovers again.
Q: How much did it hurt to lose Kevin Boss so early?
A: Obviously, we've got two tight ends on the roster. And he goes out, right away in the game…we had prepared different combinations with Will Beatty at tight end. It could have been Boss at the backside or Travis, et cetera, and we were forced to use those combinations much earlier than we would have hoped. We also came out of some things that we just weren't able to do so we had to scramble a little bit to get back and narrow in on what we could and couldn't do but we made a nice adjustment there. The offensive coaches did a real nice job of adjusting and I think we were able to go forward.
Q: How is Kevin Boss?
A: I really don't know.
Q: What did you see different in the defense today from the end of last season?
A: What we did was we played the run much better. We were very conscious of gap control. We didn't lose sight of our gap responsibilities. We tackled better. There were some occasions where we were a little frustrated that in the open field we didn't get the tackle the way we thought we would but I think that our people – there is a lot of pride here and I think we prepared well. That's an outstanding running scheme, it really is. That division features an outstanding running game, but we were able to defeat some blocks, to hold our gaps and to get good pressure. When we brought our pressure out of the secondary, I thought that did help today as well.
Q: What are some differences from the old stadium?
A: I think it's a magnificent place. It's a wonderful stadium. Everyone who comes here and visits here and who we played in the preseason or even today with John Fox, they speak extremely highly of our new home and it's a wonderful place to play. It's a little bit different in terms of – the wind was a factor earlier in the game today and it was the first time that we've actually seen that type of wind. We didn't see that in preseason, so it was a good learning experience for us to play.
Q: Which end was the wind coming from?
A: It was swirling, as it normally does here. It was more of a crosswind.
Q: Talk about the special teams play.
A: I did speak of special teams play and I was quick to get off of the subject. We didn't cover kicks very well. We didn't kick the ball very well. Our punter was not good until after the kickoff after the safety, which we did hit the ball the way we've been the majority of the time as he's improved, he did, but we've got a lot of work to do there. We didn't tackle well. We, again, got into some missed tackles on coverage. On the other hand, I thought that Darius Reynaud did a good job and played a couple of those natural things like the bouncing ball, he didn't just get out of the way and let the ball roll to down inside the five yard line. He did a good job of having a feel for where the coverage team was and whether or not he could be safe in fielding the ball and he did stick it up in there too.
Q: What about Deon Grant and the rotation of the safeties?
A: I like the fact that they're out there playing. I like the fact that they've had a chance and an opportunity to play together and communicate throughout the entire game and have some combinations where Grant was able to be out there too with the three safety set, a very wise and intelligent player that has been in the game and with both Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle and the way they came down today, they gave us a little pressure in the running game.
Q: How big of a difference do you see in this team from last year to today?
A: I saw a huge difference. As I said, they've kind of pointed towards how badly we all felt by the way they worked in the offseason and the way we came through the summer sessions, et cetera, so there wasn't any question about people focused and coming to play and staying with it even when things didn't necessarily go our way. It was kind of a real difficult first half to get going.
Q: You had three tipped interceptions. Eli didn't let that ruin his day. What does that say about him?
A: That really shows the confidence that he has in himself. He was upset about – Eli knows football very well – he was upset about the last one really, but he continued to stay focused and not to let the last play determine the outcome of the next play, which is very important.
Q: What did you think of the atmosphere here? Do you think this will turn into a real home field advantage?
A: I do. I do feel that way. I do think that the fans received us well today. They were a little upset with some things that went on in the first half but I think they were into the game, they were focused, they were in a position to support our team. I like the enthusiasm and I hope that it grows and continues to improve and we're all hoping that this becomes a very, very difficult place for people to come and play.
Q: Do you have high expectations for Hakeem Nicks this year?
A: Well, he came back. He didn't start the game as well as we had hoped but he did come back and he did play through. He got his ankle rolled up a little bit. He went in and did a nice job. He concentrated on the sideline, caught the deep ball, made the nice maneuver on the back side and got himself open for a touchdown there, so it was real important that he come back and play.
Q: How did you guys memorialize 9/11?
A: Well, we don't ever want to forget 9/11. We talked about it throughout the course of the week, what was coming up. We knew about the historic significance of this game here for us, but we also paid homage to those who died in September 11th and we told the players and the players responded very well. We had a two-fold idea. One was to win this game and two was to honor America and honor our city and I think the guys did that today.
Q: What did you think about the pass protection?
A: I did think that although we didn't run the ball very well today, I thought we did protect the passer.
Q: How is Chase Blackburn doing?
A: I really don't know. I haven't talked to anybody medically.
New York Giants Player Quotes
QB ELI MANNING
Your thoughts on the tipped ball interceptions?
A couple tips, those things happen sometimes. It is a part of football and you just have to fight through them. Our receivers made some huge plays for us and that is what we have to do offensively in the pass game. We have to eliminate the bad plays, the interceptions, because we have the talent and the explosiveness to make those big plays, which basically we did, and score enough points to win the game.
What does it mean to you to win the first game in the new stadium?
It is definitely what you want to do. It is a brand new stadium and with the crowd and everybody here you want to go out there and play well. To start the season 1-0 in a brand new stadium it was very important for us to come out and get a win. I thought we did a good job. We fought through some things early on in the game. Offensively we didn't get ourselves in a good synch, put ourselves in a hole a bunch with penalties and things, but we stayed positive, we stayed confident, fought through, and made some great plays.
What does it mean to the offense when the defense plays so well?
Obviously offensively when you turn the ball over four times you don't expect to win many games. Our defense did a great job, especially down in the red zone getting a couple turnovers to keep our lead so we could run out the clock. They did a great job all day just keeping us in the game where we didn't get down too much and have to get out of our whole offense and have to go to hurry-up throwing it all the time. That is when you can get in a bind and defenses have an advantage with the pass rush so I thought they really helped us out getting turnovers, holding them to field goals early on, and finally when the offense got in a rhythm in the second quarter, end of the third quarter, and played some good football.
What does it mean to the team's psyche to beat this team after what happened last time you played them?That is kind of what happened last time we did play. The offense took a while to get into a rhythm and we got down so much. We were down 24 at halftime, we were still moving the ball pretty well at times, but we just didn't have enough time to go and get enough points. Today was much better. Offensively, we got into our rhythm. Our defense played outstanding, gave us time to get back in the game, and make enough plays. The guys really stepped up. Offensive line really blocked well. We hit a couple big plays at the end with Ahmad running the ball and when we got in the red zone we scored touchdowns and that is what you have to do.
How important was Mario Manningham as your security blanket?
He had a lot of third down conversions. The first touchdown drive that we had had a third and 15 or so and I hit him down the sideline. That is huge. A big play. We had a couple others. We got another on a seam out to the outside where he broke a tackle and went down the field and got us down in the red zone. All of our receivers, I thought, played really, really well. With the tips I talked to him about what was happening and at times it is a mental mistake. We have to eliminate a lot of the mental mistakes with the receivers, but guys were sharp and knew what they were doing. Hakeem (Nicks) had a lot of big plays, being athletic, jumping over guys, so we are doing some really good things, but we have some things to build on.
Can you talk about what you and Hakeem Nicks were discussing on the sidelines after the tips?
Just saying that we are going to stick with you. Don't worry about the tips, those are over with, but you have to make up. You have to start making some plays and he definitely made up with a couple big time plays. That is what you have to do as a receiver and as a team. If things don't go perfectly, you just have to stay confident, keep fighting through it, stay sound, don't try to press things, but all the receivers did a great job. Hakeem made a lot of big plays and that is what we need. Carolina did a good job, they doubled Steve Smith a lot today and that leaves man to man on the outside and we need those guys to win for us.
Can you talk about your week two opponent and any impressions you might have on their quarterback?
Well we have the Colts next week and it is going to be a tough game. Going into their stadium is loud and they are coming off a loss so they are going to be fired up and ready to go. We need to have a great week of preparation. It is not a team that we play. We have only played them one time in the last seven years, it is not a team that we play very often. We have to watch a lot of film to try to get familiar with them. They are very talented. We have to get everybody prepared, get some guys going. Hopefully Kevin Boss will get back real quick, but if not Travis Beckum has to get in there, know everything, and make some plays for us.
Will you talk to Peyton at all this week?
I will try to talk to him. I think we will stick to our same schedule. I will probably talk to him today or tomorrow and then again on Friday. There won't be a whole lot of information… sometimes we talk a little game plan like we are going to try to do this or who you are playing so we won't have any of that going on this week. He is still my brother, I still talk to him, we have to keep our normal routine, but come Sunday we have to play the game.
Last year you opened the Cowboys' stadium with a win and you signed your name on the wall, will you do that in this stadium?
No that got played up a little bit. That was back in the little equipment room. I wouldn't do that to this stadium unless they asked me to.
How much fun was it to play your brother that one time?
I think the first time they made such a big fuss about it and how it is about the Manning Bowl and this or that. I probably didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. I think this next time you start to realize you don't know how many times it is going to happen. This might be the last one. You might get one more here or there. Obviously we have to both make it to the Super Bowl for it to happen again in the next four years. It is rare and you kind of appreciate the fact that when the National Anthem is being sung you are kind of looking over and you see your big brother there and it is pretty special. You have to try to enjoy it, have fun with it, and just understand that it is something that you don't know how many times you are going to get to do.
Have you ever had the discussion with him about what it would be like to play in the Super Bowl against each other?
We haven't. We have never talked about it. I don't know if we would want it. Obviously you want that opportunity to get to a Super Bowl. I really wouldn't like to play the Colts. I would like to be playing somebody not as good as them and my parents would probably hate it. We have a long way to go from there. We are going to worry about the game in Indianapolis and try to go in there and see if we can play well against them.
DE OSI UMENYIORA
Q: The pass rush seemed to really come together today…remind you of old times?
A: I mean we're not there yet. We just knew we had to get them into a situation where they were passing the football and we did that. We have the rushers to get after anybody.
Q: What was it like getting a win in the new stadium for the first time?
A: It was necessary. The way we closed out our last stadium was terrible, so we had to find a way to open up this one better.
Q: That first play where you got to Moore, were you mad that you missed him?
A: Yeah, I was sick to my stomach. It happens. As long as I keep putting pressure on the quarterback, it'll come.
S KENNY PHILLIPS
Q: There were some questions about how you'd respond when you came back, how do you feel you answered those?
A: I feel good. They really doubted me, but my teammates didn't, coaches didn't , trainers didn't. Everybody around me believed in me, and I think that's what kept me going.
Q: Is it gratifying to have a performance like that after all you've been through physically?
A: I think so. There are some things I need to work on, but the defense played great. I'm just glad to be a part of it.
Q: Do you feel the way you did a year ago, or two years ago?
A: I feel better, especially with the guys I have around me. They make it really easy for me.
WR HAKEEM NICKS
Q: Having that kind of a game in the first game here with the way the last year ended, how does it feel?
A: It's really big. We wanted to go out there today and start the tone off right this season. I feel our defense did a good job, and our offense did a good job, special teams as well. I think we came together as a team and that's the main thing.
Q: What's it like for a guy to catch three touchdowns in the first game of the new season?
A: It's great, but I want to keep going up from here.
Q: What does it mean for you to be the guy that Eli is looking for in big scenarios:
A: It means a lot. I definitely want to be that guy that he can depend on. My goal this year is to be more consistent than last year, so I want to keep on pushing it and keep on working hard.
S DEON GRANT
Q: Talk about the interception play and how it unfolded:
A: The motion of the back turned my head, man on man. The tight end was riding up the seam, and I saw the running back even up, so I left my man. He was covered by the MIKE but I saw it and knew it was going to be a high throw because he was kind of tall. I just went up and got the ball.
Q: Coach talked about the tackling today, what do you think was the key to this game?
A: Turnovers, and getting that pressure on the quarterback. Getting that pressure on the quarterback is number one. If he's out there and he has to release the ball, we have a lot of speed on our back end. We have a lot on that front four also, but when it comes to the linebackers and our backs, we have a lot of speed. They put the pressure on the quarterback, and we're going to come up with a lot of turnovers so I would have to say that it's being able to create turnovers, and our defensive coordinator calling a great game.
RB BRANDON JACOBS
Q: How'd you feel the game went today?
A: I thought it went fine. I had a chance to get in and get some carries, and had a chance to make some blocks in the pass protection. I thought it was fine. It's just low key for me.
Q: Do you think that it's going to be a hot hands kind of thing of who gets the carries?
A: No, I just think there are different times where plays were called in for me as well. I'm a big rider, and I get into somebody and I make something happen the best I can. Ahmad, on the other hand, is shifty and a runner. He runs hard, but sometimes when it's just not there, it's not there. That's the same thing that goes for me. You have to get in there and try your best to make it happen just let them play another play.
Q: You ran that flip play the second half and that's something that Ahmad might do. Was it done for an element of surprise thing?
A: We both do that. There's not really anything to that. You just take a step and run as fast as you can and that's easy. I've run that before. It's a change of pace for me but I can get it done. I can run whatever is in our playbook, that's not an issue.
DE JUSTIN TUCK
Q: What did you say to the team before the game?
A: Every game the offensive line and defensive line get together, after we do our drills we talk about the keys to this team on this day. Today it was about stopping the run and create holes for our running backs to run. So I told them that we could definitely beat this team up front. We didn't need the secondary, we didn't need the quarterback, we didn't need the running back, it was all about us up front. The D-line needed to stay square. We need to get some penetration. They weren't going to rush for however many yards they did last year. I told our offensive line that we're bigger and better than them. Go out there, make some holes. Go out there and open up holes for Bradshaw and Jacobs to run through. I get kind of emotional. I'm not going to tell you what else I said.
Q: How different is this team today than it was at the end of last year?
A: I think last year we kind of got in a funk. And with the injuries we had, it was hard, hard to get the ball rolling in the right direction. But last year was last year, and we'll leave it be. But this year, we started off right. I told our group that we started off last year 5-0, we just have to keep pressing, it doesn't matter what we do. For us, this Carolina game, we'll watch it again, but it's over with, we've got to move on. Every week guys have got to pull their weight, never get stagnant, never get excited about what we did in the past. We have on tape that we started the season 5-0 and we know how that ended. Every week we've got to come in and work.
Q: Is this a step toward claiming identity?
A: I think so. Last year, in the last five games, I think that team averaged about 190 [rushing yards] or something like that, so holding them to 89 today really took them out of what they wanted to do offensively. That's huge. I don't care, that's a step. Turnovers have always been a big key, and our secondary did a great job. Osi did a great job coming across and stripping the ball. That's something that Perry's been preaching, and it's good to see us go out there and take the coaching and execute on the football field.
Q: How good does it feel to have a secondary like that?
A: We've got some ball hawks in the secondary from the number one secondary guy to the number seven, all those guys attacked the ball. For me and all our guys up front, I was kind of having more freedom. They are going to give us some time to get after the quarterback, so for us we go out here and say we've got the opportunity to go. I love it, I tell the guys that every time. We are going to try our best not to give them time, but if they max protect y'all cover it and they did that today. And that's the reason why later in the game when we got them out of what they wanted to do in running the ball we were able to rush them.
Q: Feel good to unleash pass rush in second half?A: Absolutely. Regardless of what a defensive end tells you, usually he loves a pass rush more than he does to stop the run. It was good to kind of get after them. I was mad at myself for missing a few, but it was fun. That second half was truly fun. And that's how I remember the Big Blue defense playing. That's what we need to get back to on a consistent basis.
RB AHMAD BRADSHAW
Q: How do you think that you and Brandon work together?
A: Well, we know how good we are together, and I think everyone else does. We just want to show everybody that we're a great duo.
Q: What was it like to seal the game with that touchdown run?
A: It took a lot off our shoulders. We fought all the way down to the one yard line, and two plays later we pushed into the end zone. It took a lot out of us, and we were excited to get it in.
Q: Considering how last season ended, how did it feel coming in here with this type of performance?
A: It's great for the atmosphere and the team, the fans, for the Giants, and for New York. This does great things for us and it starts us off with a new season, and a new attitude. I think it will help down the road.
DE MATHIAS KIWANUKA
Q: Overall performance of defense?
A: We spent the whole offseason putting the emphasis on defense. This just shows how well we prepared and how well our coaches prepared us, too. We executed really well today, and I'm proud of the way we played. We had a lot of different schemes today and hopefully that is just the beginning of it. We are going to mix it up a lot and it's going to give a lot of people the chance to get to the quarterback. It was a very important game, especially the way we ended last year. With all of the money that was spent on the stadium and knowing what our goal is, we had a lot of motivation to go out there and win this game.
Q: How is it to adjust to the linebackers and DB's behind you?
A: I think that it definitely is an adjustment but I think with the core group of guys that we have in here that we are used to adjustments and we have a new defensive coordinator in here now and we take that with player personnel changes as well.
Q: Could you talk about Coach Perry Fewell?
A: Everybody talks about his passion for the game and that's definitely there, that's what you see on the sidelines. His knowledge of the game and what he has in his heart as far as dedication, the guy genuinely cares whether there is a Super Bowl on the line or whether we're playing Pop Warner, he would care the same way.
Q: Do you feel you could be very comfortable in this system since you have seen so many changes since you have been here?
A: Starting out at linebacker fulltime helps me out as far as transitioning back and forth with it. This isn't the first time that I have done both and like I said there are a number of guys on this team that have been asked to do a lot of different things for this team. This is a very proven defense but the attitude that I have always taken is that whatever it takes for us to win, that's what I am going to do. If there's a position I need to be in that will help us win the game, then I'll be there.
Q: Did you carry the way the defense struggled late last season into the offseason and use that for some motivation?
A: Absolutely. I think the way that everybody approached the offseason was fantastic. Everybody came in with the same mentality, which was that this year is going to be a different story. Each game we have we play as if everything is on the line and I think we showed it out there today.
Q: Did this season opener feel different than previous season openers?
A: Definitely. The fact that we are in New York, one of the greatest cities in the world just after September 11th, there are a lot of things that play into this. For us to be able to go out there and play and fight in a football game is something that at the end of the day for us it is not as big of a deal than everything that is going on in the city. So for us to go in and do our part is something that maybe takes a little bit of pressure off of those people who are still feeling the losses that they suffered a few years ago and give them something to cheer about.
Q: Do you feel that the defensive swagger is back on this team?
A: Oh it's back. It's been back. The linebackers have it, the DB's have always had it and the offense definitely bring their own brand of swagger but as long as we show up and give a great performance, we'll have it every week.
Q: You were able to get a late fourth quarter pass rush, how important is it to have that?
A: It's very important. We would like to have that the first, second and third quarters as well but to be able to go out there with the game on the line and produce that kind of pressure, that's the difference between wins and losses.
Q: What's your impression of the new pressroom?
A: It's unbelievable. It falls in with the rest of this place. If you get a chance to walk around, there's definitely some great things here.
DT BARRY COFIELD
Q: How have you guys prepared for this game, did you guys watch a lot of film on the game from last year?
A: Absolutely, we have been watching that film on the game against them since last year, all offseason. That's the game that we always looked at and tried to learn from. I'm definitely excited about watching this one as opposed to watching that one again.
Barry Cofield on today's defensive performance:
That is what this defense is all about – making big plays. Big plays can cure a lot of other evils. One of the things that I am most proud about is that we held them to a lot of field goals. When teams score those 'sevens' and get ahead, you don't get a chance to get pressure on the quarterback. The fact that we were able to hold them to field goals it enabled us to turn our athletes loose. Our db's did a great job of getting interceptions today, and with the pressure that we got, it worked hand in hand. That is when we are at our best.
More Giants Player Quotes...
Shaun O'Hara on today's win:
There were just so many things that this game represented, and with yesterday being 9-11, obviously we felt like we represent the City. With today's game, with the new stadium, it was a huge day for the fans, for this organization, and everybody on this team. We couldn't have had it go any other way. This is the way that it was supposed to be.
Keith Bulluck on today's game:
What we have been saying all preseason is that when a team gets down in the red zone, green zone, doesn't mean they have to score. Our secondary did a great job of making plays in the end zone. They took 21 points off the board with those three interceptions in the end zone. The d-line did their job because they were harassing the quarterback all day, making him throw errant passes. It allowed our people to make plays. I think it was a great overall day. Due to the fact that it was the first game of the season, with the anniversary of 9-11, and the new stadium, it was definitely a huge day. And to walk away with an earned win makes it even better.
Mario Mannington on his performance today:
Our receiving corps has a new attitude this year – we are just trying to come out here and win every game. When we play good we win. We want it on our shoulders at the end of the game. Eli, Hakeem and Steve – they were sharp today. Defense set the table for us many times today. When we have an opportunity to capitalize on that, we just want to go out there and make as many plays as possible. I think we did that today, but we still left some plays on the field. We can definitely get better. And we will. The first game of the season is always real important. It can kind of set the tone of what is to come. We still remembered what happened last year.
Deon Grant on today's performance:
We definitely met our goals today, but we can definitely get better. We have to be happy with this one. We did a lot of good things today, and everybody contributed. We don't like a team to go down there and get any points. Obviously three is better than seven. Today we were able to shut them down with some huge turnovers. It is a huge, historic win today for this organization. We had a turnout crowd for the opening of our new stadium and what we wanted to do is put a smile on everybody's face. But because of the 9-11 Weekend, that made it bigger than anything. (On interception) I read the receiver, I read the tight end and I read the quarterback, and just went out there and made the play. It became one of many huge stops today.
Chris Snee on today's victory:
Today was very important, especially being the first game in our new stadium. As much as we didn't want to talk about it the whole week, the way we finished last year, today was a chance for us to regain our pride. There were a lot of errors today. The run game wasn't as good as it could have been and there is certainly a lot of room for improvement. That is the good thing though – we were able to put up 31 points with all of those errors.
Corey Webster to defensive performance today:
I think we did a great job today. We created havoc on the quarterback which enabled us to get some picks. I think we could have been a little smoother out there, but you have to remember that it is the first game and we have a long way to go. We played with a lot of enthusiasm today. It is a great place to start and we can definitely build on this.
Stay tuned to Giants.com for more postgame quotes.