Coughlin*: Good afternoon. Not as much fun today, but you look at the tape, you see the good, you see the bad, you obviously spend more time thinking about the bad than you do the good. The only thing I'll say to you in getting started is, 17-6, ball is first and 10 at the 27, quarterback makes an excellent check, you get a full effort out of the runner, he gains 11 yards, but he gets stripped. The ball comes out. That play, and the next four offensive plays are three turnovers. There's a team that goes into the game 14 (turnover differential) against a team that was -5. That's an indication of how we played. We didn't play well enough to win. The game started out in a bizarre fashion, if you will. I chose obviously to have the ball in the second half, I deferred. I deferred for a bunch of reasons, which was: I wanted the ball in the second half. We were 52 over our opposition in the second half, and they were the team, with the exception of one game, that did not score a lot of points in the second half. The wind was a factor, especially kicking toward the tunnel that we came out of. I felt like we would drive the ball out. We didn't do that. I didn't want to defend against those returners, as little as I could. They did return that ball. Anyway, we got the ball in the second half the way we wanted it, and we had opportunities, we just didn't take advantage of them. The game started out as I said, in a bizarre fashion with the breakdown in coverage, an error in coverage. They got an easy touchdown, then the fiasco with the punt return, where we kick a ball 61 yards out of bounds, it's a great punt. The gunner goes out of bounds, determined by the official of his own volition. The penalty is there. The next punt is down the middle of the field, we miss two tackles, we don't get ourselves in position and the change in that was: they would have had the ball at the -14, instead they had it at the 11. That's kind of the way the game went. I thought if we scored a touchdown before the half and went in 17-10, we could've righted the ship. We could've gotten it right. We ended up (with a) field goal in that situation as well, which was discouraging, but nevertheless, coming out at the half, we felt, we have the ball, let's go. We always felt like we do better with our kickoff return team, because we had seen a great example the week before, they were able to run a kickoff back 105 yards. We thought we could do the same. That didn't happen. We got a little bit more out of punt return than we have had in the past. He (Rueben Randle) did a good job with that. The turnover situation, the failure to score, the easy touchdowns…They had the ball first and 10 on our 11, our 12 and our 16. On each of those occasions, it took them third down before they scored, but they scored each time on third down. We didn't stop them on third down at all. They had a high percentage on third down. Our third down percentage was a little bit better, but it wasn't great. Our first downs…we did have 21 first downs, which at least got us a little bit more of an opportunity to play-call. Very, very disappointing loss. However, you have to look at the objectives now this week. You can't do much about yesterday, but what we can do is we'll have our coaches in this afternoon, once we take care of the business at hand, the coaches will be started on our research and studying ourselves. We call it a worst-to-best. We'll look at that. We'll look at ourselves, we'll self-scout, then we'll go on to looking at some of the teams that are very good in the league in those particular situations. We have a big medical day today with our players. Today and tomorrow, they'll be visiting the hospital and getting the MRIs and whatever and the whole goal right now is to rest and to have people healthy so we can come back and be prepared to practice fully next week when we prepare for the Packers. Questions?
Q: You said that you are confused with how Eli Manning and your team is playing right now?A: Well, he's not alone. He's not alone. We have a lot of people that aren't playing as well as they're capable of playing. That's got to change, obviously.
Q: Why is that, do you think?A: I don't know. I'm not going to suggest anything. You'd have to ask me a question, so I can say "no."
Q: Do you think mental or physical fatigue is a factor?A: No. No, I don't. I'm not going there. You're a pro. That's the schedule we've been handed. You play the schedule, you do the best you can with it. The last two weeks haven't been very good. That's not saying that we're not going to benefit from the bye, don't get me wrong.
Q: How much do you need this opportunity to self-scout?A: I think we need the opportunity. We'll take full advantage of that, don't get me wrong, but we really need the opportunity to regroup, get some people as healthy as we can at this time of the year and then looking at it now, we have a six-game schedule ahead of us.
Q: How beneficial is it to have the opportunity to sit back and look at this team as a whole, when you don't get to do that on a weekly basis?A: That's part of it. I think the number one purpose of the bye, depending on when it happens, for us, right now it's to get as healthy as we can get. Rest, get as healthy as we can get, get fresh…You know, be anxious, be hungry, be rested when you come in next week so that all the details involved in preparation sink in. I really didn't have a problem with our physical practices last week. I didn't. I almost had to back them off a little bit. They did practice hard. We're just not making anything happen for ourselves that we can build momentum on. It goes the other way. You start the game off with a coverage breakdown and then you give them a punt return. We are a resilient, tough group, but we haven't been able to overcome those things the last couple weeks.
Q: How much of this problem is that defenses are showing run-friendly looks and saying, "you're not going to beat us over the top?"A: It depends on the score, obviously. Why wouldn't you? You're going to defend the pass, and that's what they did. They got up there and defended the run a little bit, but if the score is 31-6, I think you're going to defend the pass.
Q: Have you seen that the last couple weeks?A: Not necessarily. Depends on, again, what's the score? What's the circumstance? We have to be effective when people do get back there in a two-deep, and that happened a couple of weeks ago more than it did yesterday.
Q: Do you look at your overall record in November and try to find common denominators?A: I haven't.
Q: Do you have any explanation for why it has been a trend for you?A: I'm sure it's me. My standard answer for last year was, 'It didn't come out too bad.' Regardless of what it was at what time, it didn't turn out too badly. So I'll stick with that one.
Q: You don't look at those things at all?A: I look at everything, but I'm not going to offer anything about that. Every year is a different year. Every situation is a different situation. Every team is a different team. Every circumstance with regards to health and well being and so on and so forth is a different situation. I think yesterday we had one 20-yard play. We have had a lot of those around here, so maybe that's a part of it. Maybe it's been the big plays that disappeared. We got some first downs yesterday. We had 21 first downs, but we didn't get the big plays we were looking for.
Q: The fact that it didn't turn out too badly last year, is that a good thing that these guys have had the experience of getting out of a big slump or is there any danger to the fact that they might say don't worry about it, we'll get there?A: I'm hoping that's not the case. I understand what you're saying, but I think when you look at the six-game schedule, if you can't get excited about playing this six-game schedule, wow.
Q: Would you characterize Eli as being in a slump right now?A: I don't like that word.
Q: What word would you use?A: I don't have one. We've got to play better.
Q: Going back to the game in San Francisco, does he look as different to you as he appears to be to us?A: In some situations, but I don't think it was… Again, I think yesterday there were signs that he's improving. He's getting back on track. There were some signs there that were good yesterday and we've just got to build on it.
Q: What about the two ill advised passes?A: That was terrible. He'd be the first one to tell you that. That was so foolish to try to make a play there. The one guy has got his shirt… Just go down and take care of the ball and let us have another snap. Just take care of the football. I know he's always trying to make a play and he has done things under those circumstances in the past that have worked out, but the percentages are just not with you when that happens.
Q: When it happens once, that's probably bad enough. But when it happens again, were you stunned?A: That's a pretty good word. To have it happen that quickly, yes. I know how hard he's pressing to make a play. That's what he's trying to do. He's trying to make a play. He's got people covered with one guy coming into the seam. He's trying to get the ball in there, but the inverted safety just gets in position there.
Q: What are the signs he's getting back on track?A: I thought he threw the ball better and many times yesterday, he zinged it in there. Had the ball down the seam to Victor that should have been a touchdown.
Q: So his arm doesn't look tired to you.A: Not to me.
Q: Do you have to evaluate certain guys that have been on a limited practice schedule? Do you have to evaluate players like Ahmad Bradshaw?A: We've been down this road with Bradshaw many, many times. So until I'm told any different and he tells me any different, we would just plan on having him play the same percentages going forward. We did want to get David (Wilson) a little bit more, but it became a different kind of a game yesterday.
Q: Will there be any consideration to any lineup changes?A: I'll consider everything, but I don't have anything to offer now
Q: On the touchdown plays by the Bengals, how many of those are the players just aren't doing the right thing? Instead of tackling the guy at the five, Hosley goes for the interception that leads to the touchdown.A: You can stop right there. That's good enough. He's supposed to be outside-in, too. Do you want to add that one? There were people leaving their feet when they shouldn't have. They should have run through the tackles as well. That happened a number of times yesterday. Just to be in the right position to deny the score, if you just take the leverage position you're taught to be in and don't lose it, you'll be okay. Trust me, you'll be okay.
Q: It seems like there were a few players on offense that showed some encouraging signs. Are there some positives that you take from this offensively going into the bye?A: I think when a guy makes a play it is noticeable. Hakeem made some plays yesterday. There's still more that he can make, but that was a good thing and Andre carried the ball and caught the ball out of the backfield. He did a pretty good job chipping.
Q: Is the pressure on the quarterback just one of those things you're trying to figure out?A: Our quarterback got hit too much and we didn't hit theirs enough, not anywhere near enough, and you can talk about all the three-step drop business, but we've got to get home. You've got to get there. That's our game and we didn't again yesterday.
Q: Bradshaw was having x-rays yesterday. How is he?A: He'll have probably every test known to man here in the next couple of days.
Q: Is Hixon OK?A: Got an ankle.
Q: What about Kuhn?A: That's sad. That poor kid has got an ACL, I believe. I haven't seen anything really official. I shouldn't have spoken. I haven't talked to the doctors or Ronnie, but he did just walk in and I believe that's what he mentioned to Pat.