Head Coach Tom Couglin
Our first half was very, very well played. I was disappointed with the turnover at the very start of the game. We were in position to have an opportunity to move the ball and then we fumbled the ball away. The ball was in the outside arm, and had it been protected, I don't think that would've occurred. Our defense did a nice job, and following that, we took the ball down and scored quite a few times in a row. We had a nice mix, and Seattle had been number two in the league against the run and number 10 when we played them. They were formidable, despite the fact that they had a couple people missing from their defensive team. I thought our execution was good, and our defense made the timely interceptions in the game to keep Seattle out of the end zone. I thought that our kicking game, our strategic ability to not put the ball in a position where Leon Washington could hurt us helped us tremendously. We were not concerned about the starting point as much as just trying to keep him from taking the ball the distance and I thought that was very effective. When we did kick the ball down with a deep kick, we didn't have a lot of hang time on the ball and Chase made a really nice tackle in the open field that had Leon been able to get to sideline, it might have been problem. They had one breakout run that should have been eliminated but we didn't squeeze it well enough. That would've been controlled as well. I think that our second half, obviously, was not as outstanding from a couple of standpoints. We did drive the ball down off them and we did kick field goals. We did find a way to not score touchdowns but we really do have some areas there where we can teach from and study, and I think improve ourselves in that respect down in that part of the field. We had been the number two team in the green zone in terms of touchdown percentage, and we did take a little bit of a step back on that. The one thing that I think was disappointing was the one drive with the breakout run and the double-move for the touchdown that Seattle got. I thought that Seattle came in and did a very good job of protecting their quarterback. Neither team had a sack. The young quarterback really did not…had the two interceptions, but really they did a good job of protecting him and controlling the pass game. They ran the ball and tried to run the ball and take the pressure off him, and that's what we expect there that they would try to do with the young quarterback in the game and that's having all his tools available to him. I thought we did finish the game the way we wanted to finish the game. We took the ball with 13:34 left in the fourth quarter, and eventually gave it back to Seattle with 34 seconds left. We ate up really the entire fourth quarter and I thought that was a positive. We did not throw the ball, we ran the ball, and Danny Ware played well in that scheme. Petrus had an opportunity to play, Ramses Barden was one receiver and Duke Calhoun was the other, and we had an opportunity to see those guys in action as blockers. Sage Rosenfels was our quarterback for almost the entire fourth quarter, and it was good to have an opportunity to have Sage play as well. We had many people involved, and to travel out there where we hadn't had a lot of success to play the game we played I thought was a positive thing. Hopefully, we can build from there. We came off the bye week and accomplished some of the things that we said we wanted to accomplish.
We are disappointed in the loss of Adam Koets, who hurt his ACL. Adam was running out to the right sideline right in front of our bench and all of the sudden went down. Apparently it caught his shoe, his cleat, and he just twisted the wrong way. When we got to him, the doctors were just in the process of evaluating him but he told me he felt good and I didn't think it was anything. Naturally, with all the different types of MRIs, etc., the ACL was shown to be an issue. David Diehl, we don't know anything back on, hopefully we'll get some positive news there. Hakeem did have a lateral ankle sprain, but seemed to be doing pretty well today.
Q: What are the issues with Diehl?
A: I think you were told that he came out of the game. At first, I thought it was an ankle or a knee, he got kind of bowled over backwards. It's in the isolated areas up in the hip area, exactly what it is, I'm not sure. We're waiting to find out.
Q: That was on the extra point play?
Q: What does that 13-minute drive at the end of regulation say about your offense?
A: That we can take the ball and put the ball on the ground when the opponent knew what our objective was, which was to go into a four-minute mode with an entire quarter left. Just to be able to handle the eight and nine man fronts and be able to do that, and then penetrate and puncture the line of scrimmage, and make first downs under those circumstances. That's a huge plus for a team to think that you can take time off the clock like that. Sure, the situation wasn't the exact four-minute or wasn't a few points or the offense in the lead trying to preserve the lead and the defense trying to preserve the lead and the defense trying to get the ball back. It wasn't one of those, but it was a good thing for us because that's what the intent was of trying to finish the game that way, and we were able to do it.
Q: How does Wade Phillips being out affect your planning for the game? What's your reaction to that news?
A: I just heard that myself, and I feel very badly for Wade, to be honest with you. It's a highly competitive business that we're in, and we want to win and we want to win every game. That's the nature of our profession. No one wants to see a coach dismissed or have his family go through what they're going through, so from a professional standpoint and someone that's one of the 32, we extend our best to Wade and his family. Our preparation, which begins this afternoon, this will be taken into consideration, but as far as us looking at the tape and studying again the Dallas team and knowing it's a divisional game, they should know very well the talent level of their team. We'll be focused on this as a divisional game at home.
Q: You're off to a really hot start right now. Do you have any concerns about how your team may play down the stretch?
A: We're going one game at a time. The next game is our total concern, and that's as far as our thinking goes. It's right there.
Q: Can you recall Eli playing with as much confidence as he is now?
A: Well, he's playing with confidence, he's playing very well. He's very accurate with his passes. He's communicating well with his receivers and the receivers with the quarterback. The protection was very good yesterday against a very sophisticated scheme. I don't know if you realized the number of personnel combinations that Seattle had utilized in their games that we had to prepare for and I thought that the players handled it very well and the credit goes to them and to the coaches. Eli made an awful lot of big plays and the sustaining of all of these drives and finishing the drives with touchdowns in the first half was a real positive.
Q: Is there any decision on Kevin Boothe yet?
A: He's been practicing for two weeks and the decision will be forthcoming, and of course, it's necessitated now by the injury to Adam Koets, so Kevin will be activated.
Q: A lot of people are starting to anoint you guys as favorites for the Super Bowl. Do you think this team is playing as well as it can?
A: I'm really not interested in all of the anointing and all of that stuff. At the beginning of the season, the anointing was the other way. All we're concerned about, again, is our team, the way we're playing, trying to be as good as we can be, our personnel being as good as we can be. I think that everyone in this league tries to be the best that they can be. You're praying that none of your injuries are significant injuries so that you can keep your team together and that is as much of a concern as anybody. We all have to play through no matter what the circumstances are, which obviously will be a challenge right away for us.
Q: Any word on Shaun O'Hara?
A: I have nothing to report on that.
Q: Do you expect the line to be the same this week? Do you like Shawn Andrews at left tackle?
A: Shawn played well at left tackle. He did a good job and was energetic and enthusiastic about playing and for a guy that has played 17, 18, 19 snaps, he played 79 yesterday and responded very well, so I thought that the group played well together and certainly these things are pretty much week to week depending on who is available and who isn't, but I certainly did like the way in which our group yesterday played.
Q: Who else besides Rich can play center?
A: Boothe can play center. Snee can play center. We have a couple of guys who do all of the center-quarterback exchange stuff, so we do have some depth there. Boothe worked at center last week.
Q: How did Blackmon do in the return game? He got some snaps in the secondary as well.
A: Yes he did. He had the one really good punt return. He showed courage in coming up and not letting the ball bounce, utilizing the fair catch sometimes and other times not and the one opportunity that he had on kickoff return, we again didn't do a very good job of giving him a place to go and that continues to be a little concern for me, but I thought Will did a really good job for a guy coming right off the street, just made healthy. He showed the competitive aspect of him as an individual and really the courage to step right in there when his team needed him as the returner.
Q: Do you expect the Cowboys to change much with Jason Garrett in charge?
A: I really don't know about that. Jason has been extremely involved and instrumental in the direction of the Cowboy offense for quite some years, so I would expect that that influence would remain and whether or not there is any significance to the defense, we're just going to have to see if there are any changes there. I couldn't comment.
Q: Your offense has been clicking all around since Houston. What has changed?
A: I don't think anything changed. It's just the fact that with the opportunity to continue to practice and play and it's the ability to make the corrections and the ability to take a group of outstanding players and allow them to grow together. It's a matter of seeing the execution and the performance improve and that's what we strive to do on a weekly basis – to lengthen out each time we play and to stretch ourselves to four quarters of production instead of the spotty way in which we had been performing earlier in the year.
Q: What does it say that you've had some opportunities slip by in the last two games, yet you've scored over 40 points in back to back games?
A: Well, if you take a look at the number of drives that eventually ended up with touchdowns, that's basically where you are. If you cite the Dallas game, you talk about facing adversity, coming from behind, creating our own problems, putting our defense in a very bad situation, but being able to climb out of that hole and not lose confidence and not lose faith in each other, support one another and find a way to scramble to get back in it and this week we just took the ball and following that first turnover, were able to drive the ball on a consistent basis in the first half and put points on the board. I hope we're getting better and I hope we're ascending and it certainly is the time of the year when it is necessary for us to ascend.
Q: Was Wilkinson inactive because of his injury or other reasons?
A: In order to tackle and do the things you have to do as a linebacker, you really have to have some way to wrap and what he's being forced to wear right now is very similar to what Rich Seubert wore, except Rich didn't have to tackle anybody, so it's difficult for Gerris to wrap under the circumstances and with a little bit more healing, perhaps they can make that cast not quite as awkward to him as he attempts to use his fingers and hands in tackling.
Q: Do you have any concerns about Bradshaw wearing down as the season goes on?
A: Ahmad wants the ball more than he's getting it, so I think that's a very positive thing. He's a battler and a fighter and I was impressed by the way Danny Ware came in the game and perhaps we can balance this thing out to where all of our runners can finish the season on a very high level because they've had a chance to carry the ball in each and every game, but we've been able to go ahead and utilize all three of them and they've all been able to share in the ball carrying and the protecting and that type of thing. Don't forget that Ahmad does an outstanding job as a pass protector. That is very, very important to him – it's high on his list of priorities. He is physical. He does that as well as anybody, to be honest with you, and so that solidifies the way in which he plays and contributes.
Q: Do you expect Beatty to be able to do some more this week?
A: It's like I said last week. I told you that we expect him to be in the individual and until we get the green light beyond that, I won't be able to respond, but we're going to put him in individual and see where that goes.
OL Rich Seubert
Q: The offensive line seemed very cohesive yesterday despite the changes:
A: Yeah, we had guys play different spots, and the thing that we can do is move around. We all know what we're doing at different positions, so that makes us versatile. Whatever the coaches want us to do, we're going to go in and do it, and we're going to give it all we've got.
Q: How hard is it to make changes like that on the fly?
A: I've played guard basically my whole career, and I've played center, too, a few times. It's not that big of a deal to go from center to guard or guard to center. We want to guys to get out on the field at the best position to make us the best, and when something happened, Koets just played center. We stuck him in there and moved me back to guard where I've been playing. It's what happens in the game, and you have to go with it and keep on going.
Q: Do you guys feel that you made a statement to the rest of the league with this win?
A: I don't think…we just worry about our team. What the league wants to think is what people want to think. We just know that we have a good football team, and we want to go out there every week and play to our best, whether it's offense, defense, special teams. When we play together as a team, we have something special. We just have to keep it going.
Q: How have you seen the offense develop so far this season?
A: We have some work to do on offense. We have the running game going and have some receivers who can make plays downfield for us. It's exciting to be out there, and whatever the defense can stop, we can beat them other ways. It's exciting. It's fun where a team just can't put eight or nine guys in the box and stop the run knowing that we can spread it out and get the ball to our guys and they're going to make plays for us. When we're clicking on all cylinders, we're a tough offense to stop. We just have to keep fighting and keep getting better every week.
Q: Is Eli playing with a higher level of confidence than ever before?
A: The thing with Eli is that no matter what happens, he is always the same guy. He makes special passes, but when something happens or we turn the ball over, he's always back in the huddle and we're going back at it. Nothing gets to him, and he gets us in the right places. He knows when to do plays, and he gives us the best possibility to win on every play. We all have confidence on what he sees and what he does. We're all in the same place together.
Q: Have you regained the physical level of play that was lost last year?
A: Yeah, it's always nice to be physical on the field and to run the ball, and have the run set up the pass. From last year to this year, and this year to last year, it's week to week. We just have to keep going out there and doing what we know how to do and that's be physical with Ahmad and Brandon behind us running the ball. We know that we have two backs that are going to go through fire for us. We just have to give them a little gap, and we know they're going to hit it. They make us look good.
Q: Do you think this team has learned its lesson from the last season and does it remain with the team to not make the same mishaps?
A: I think we're different because we're a different football team. We're just playing well right now, and we need to keep that going. It's a long season and we still have eight games left. We need to keep plugging away and keep on getting better. We have the Cowboys coming in this week, and they're a dangerous team. Everybody knows their record and that doesn't matter, they have a good defense and we have to find a way to beat them.
Q: Is it hard to push back thinking about the playoffs at this point of the season?
A: No, you go week to week. Playoffs are a long ways off. We have to worry about next Sunday, and when the end of the season comes, we need to see where we're at. We've started off the season like this before, and it didn't go together, so we have to keep it going in the right direction.
Q: Did we see the best performance from the line yesterday?
A: I don't know. Things were going right. Eli was giving us the right calls and we were picking up their pressure in the running game. When things are going right, everything goes right. Yesterday was one of those games where it seemed like everything we did in the first half went the way we wanted them to. It's fun to be out there playing when things are going like that. When you have a good team, it helps a lot. We're going to go out there and just play game to game, and fight.
Q: What does Shawn Andrews bring to the line and how did he factor in yesterday?
A: Shawn has a great attitude. From day one when he got here, he's been working hard in our offense. He had been out of football for a couple years, you know. I'm sure his first start was something special to him, to be back out there and playing what he loves to do. It's fun to have him out there playing. I know Shawn is going to go 110 percent and bust his tail off to get the job done. You have to give him credit for going out there and playing hard yesterday.
Q: Is it hard to ignore the "anointed ones" talk?
A: We don't pay attention to that. We know that over the next eight games, we play a lot of teams in the east. We have Philly twice, Washington twice, and Dallas this week. We haven't really played in the NFC East yet, and it's going to be a tough road but we have the team to handle it. We're just going to go out there and take care of our own business.
Q: Did Coach Coughlin really tell you to celebrate this win for only 30 minutes?
A: Yeah, that's how it is every week. Once the game is over, you enjoy the win but then again, you have to get back on the horse and get ready for the next week. The weeks go fast, and you have to get back to working Wednesday and putting your time in and getting ready for the next week. Win or lose, you have to put it behind you and start over on Wednesday and get ready to face the next opponent.
Q: You expecting to play center this week?
A: We'll find out when we go back to work on Wednesday. Whatever they ask me to play, I will. Like I said, I love playing football and being on the field playing guard or center. It doesn't make much difference, and I'm really looking forward to the opportunity.
Q: Could you see the lineup you had yesterday being permanent?
A: With a couple of nicks and dings we have up front, that's the only way to go at it this week. When you have a guy on the sideline that can be the swing guy and play multiple positions, and you saw yesterday that Shawn came off for a play and we did the switch, and Koets got dinged up and Mitch had to come in and play. Being an offensive lineman, if you don't know what the guy's doing next to you, you're not going to be out there doing that well. You really have to know what everyone is doing. I think Coach Flaherty and Coach Bicknell have really been good coaches as far as teaching us what everyone is doing. No matter what position we're playing, we all know what we're doing together.
Q: You were still able to run the ball down their throats with Sage and DJ in on the last drive that was 13 minutes long, does that show how good this unit is?
A: We just have determination. There was a lot of time on that clock, and we knew we were going to go out there and run the ball. That's what being an offensive lineman is all about. We want to keep the ball and move it downfield. If we don't kill the clock, they can score a touchdown. We took all the time off the clock and won the game. It was tough sledding, and Danny came in and ran hard for us. It was good to see him out there and get some carries, running through tackles, and showing that if we need him, he's going to be a valuable asset for us.
Q: Do you know how David Diehl is doing?
A: No. I came in today and watched the game tape, and guys were in and out. I didn't get a chance to call him but I will in a little bit. I'm sure he'll do everything he can to be out there on Sunday.
CB Terrell Thomas
Q: Talk about how the defensive backs have been playing.
A: It's all just sticking together. We all just work together. Some games it's the secondary, some games it's the linebackers and the D line. We had a bet going to see how many sacks we could get – we didn't reach that number, but they were actually complaining that Corey and I didn't do a good enough job allowing them to get to the quarterback and we were selfish getting interceptions, but right now we don't care who gets the credit, we're just worried about getting the win. That's the great thing about this defensive unit right now.
Q: What was the number of sacks that you guessed?
A: I think it was around five or something. I don't know. We were just joking around. We were trying to get the D line's first class seats on the way home, so we were trying to work out a deal and see if we can get that in upcoming weeks.
Q: Who got to sit up front?
A: The big guys. The big money guys. They put all of the secondary guys and the special teamers in the back, but that's okay. That's the way it goes.
Q: Is that how it normally is?
A: Yeah. They need more leg room. They need more space than we do. They deserve it.
Q: Do you guys feel you're playing as well as you have all season?
A: It's early on. We just hit the midpoint of the season and it's still early in the season. We're jelling. Obviously we weren't comfortable with each other in the [Indianapolis] game – no excuses, we got our butts kicked – but we're finding what each person likes to do. The coaches are definitely scheming a better scheme for each individual and putting us in better positions. We're just becoming very familiar with each other.
Q: What have you learned about Antrel?
A: He's a playmaker. If he sees it, he's going to go for it. Depending on the situation, I know sometimes I might want to play my guy a little tighter or be on top of my guy, because he might not be there. At the same time, he knows sometimes in certain coverages I might jump a route here or there, so we're constantly talking on the sidelines and throughout the week about how we're going to play this type of route or that kind of coverage and I think it's just great for our secondary that we're communicating so much, because it allows us to play a lot more aggressively in our coverage with a lot more confidence.
Q: How much does the pass rush make your job easier?
A: You pretty much took the words out of my mouth. Any type of pass rush with a good secondary or even an okay secondary is going to help the cornerbacks and safeties, but when you mix in a good pass rush and a good secondary with a great group of linebackers, it makes it easier out there. Sometimes we've got to go out there and just execute the defense and that's what we've been doing a great job of lately.
Q: How good can this team be?
A: All we're worrying about is Dallas next week. We don't know where the destination is going to end for us. We're worrying about winning the NFC East and getting into the playoffs and we'll worry about the playoffs and the Super Bowl when that time comes.
Q: Is it hard to get up for the Cowboys after they've been so bad?
A: Not at all. This is the NFL. Every team comes out to play. I think that if you look at a game like Cleveland, everybody shot them down and everyone was saying that the Patriots were the best team in the NFL and now Cleveland beat them at home. We're definitely going to be ready for the Cowboys. It's still an NFC East rivalry. It's one of the best rivalries in football and I'm going to hold on to this: I remember watching a clip of Emmitt Smith and he said that when the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants play, you can throw out the records, so that's what we're going to do. We're going to get back to work and try to get this win.
Q: Is it strange to play the Cowboys twice in four weeks?
A: Yeah. That happened my rookie year – we played Philly like back to back and I'm not used to that coming from college, so it's very familiar and it kind of makes it easier at times because you have the scheme that they were throwing at you in the back of your mind since it wasn't too far away. They didn't really change the offense too much, so it kind of helps out in a way too.
Q: How much could the Cowboys make changes that affect your team?
A: That has nothing to do with the New York Giants. That's the Dallas Cowboys. Coach Perry Fewell is going to give us a great defense and a great scheme going into the week and we're going to go out there and execute it.
Q: How will covering their receivers be a challenge?
A: They have great playmakers on their offense. They obviously haven't been the best that they could have been this season, but they're still making plays out there. Miles Austin had a good game against us, Dez Bryant had a great game against us. I know Witten had a couple of catches and a lot of yards, so we've got our hands full going into this week. We're not taking them lightly one bit. They're a talented group of guys whether their record is 1-7 or 7-1. This is the NFC East and that's all we care about.
Q: How does knowing the offense is clicking affect how the defense is playing?
A: It makes it a lot easier on us, especially when our special teams are playing the way they are right now. I think that is what people aren't saying – we're playing on all cylinders as a team. On defense now, we can think a lot about what we want them to do. We can stop the run and then put them in pass situations that maybe they don't want to be in. We can also jump some of their routes because they're playing from behind.
Q: Is it even with Mike Williams now?
A: Yeah. That's all I needed was an interception against him. It was a great play for our defense and I was happy to make it.
Q: Did you talk to him after?
A: No. He got out of there. The only person I got to talk to was one of my other guys – he's on the practice squad – but it was good seeing all of those guys, seeing Coach Carroll – my old position coach and the strength coordinator. It was a good trip up there.
Q: Did you talk to Pete Carroll?
A: No. I talked to Pete before the game. I just shook his hand after the game. Obviously he was disappointed in the loss – being at home and what not.