Coach Tom Coughlin
It is exciting to win at home and win in the division. They are never easy. Every game that we have with them seems to be right down to the wire. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but we are very happy to win. I thought that Mario Manningham made a very nice play. I thought that I was a little disappointed in the two for two turnover deal. But Osi (Umenyiora) came back and came back strong. Made a big play in the game, obvoiously with the run. The disappointing things obviously were how quickly they scored at the end. The fact that we had the ball most of the first half, they had it all of what seemed like the third quarter. It kind of swayed back and forth like that. The drive at the end for us using up the clock ended up being big. The penalities, you have trouble now. Penalities lose games, that's all there is to it. We have to eliminate that, we have to eliminate the obvious turnovers. A divisional game, a tough, hard fought game. There's no question the Redskins are a good football team. We are very happy to win.
Q. How frustrating was the fake field goal?
A. Very frustrating, obviously. You have to give them some credit for it, at that point in the game, going for that, because obviously if we stop them, there is nothing to be gained. They got momentum out of it with the score. We talked about that at the half with the players, the fact that they had some gas in their tank after that play and rightfully so. So we gave them life and that was obviously a huge factor in the game. Our defense came out after a turnover and did a nice job of shutting them down, keeping them out of the end zone, and then to have that happen. We were in an all-out block and we are one of the better teams in the league with that -- we had three blocks last year -- so you have to give them some credit.
Q. Can you talk about Hakeem's (Nicks) injury?
A. I really don't know what it is. I do know it is a foot, don't know how serious it is, he will have all the tests, etc. He couldn't go back in.
Q. You mentioned Manningham. What did you think you got out of all your receivers?
A. We got a big play out of him and we did have opportunities, we really did. I really don't know what our percentage will be, but I am thinking it will be pretty good. We did spread the ball around. Kevin Boss had a nice play. Steve Smith had a really, really nice play to get us out of the hole there on the long drive when we occupied over six minutes there in the fourth quarter. The ball was spread around, the guys seemed to come through against a good secondary. We will take a look at the tape and see. This will be a great teaching tool for us, because obviously, all three phases played lengthy, long football. Made mistakes, did some good things, it will be a nice way for us to teach tomorrow.
Q. Coach, you talked about improving your efficiency in the red zone after last year?
A. We are still talking about, obviously, we are still talking about it. One of the things I figured one of you would ask right away, the fourth and one. With our offensive line and our back and our fullback, you've got to go for that, in my opinion. That would have been a huge factor in the game and I thought it was worth the risk. They did a good job. I will take a look at this tape. They got up underneath us on a lot of our runs, particularly the runs to the perimeter. We had a few decent plays that had substantial gains with the running game. But the consistency certainly wasn't what we were looking for.
Q. What are you reminded of what you missed with Osi out last season and what is Osi (Umenyiora) capable of when he plays like he did this afternoon?
A. Well, no doubt, we are well aware of that. We are just getting started with our rotation and I am looking forward to seeing how the pitch count went, so to speak. Both with the tackle position and the end position. It is kind of the way the game went. We didn't have a lot of rush for us for a while and then all of a sudden we got some pressure and Osi got around the edge a lot of times. They did step up and get the ball off, but you saw his quickness off the ball. What a big play he made, knocking the ball out, picking it up and getting into the end zone.
Q. It looked like things could have turned there with the Eli interception. Are you happy your defense was able to respond there?
A. Well that is another thing about the sudden change aspect of it and the power of the will. Our guys weren't feeling sorry for themselves. They didn't hang their heads, they went out there and did a great job of stopping any kind of momentum that Washington could have taken out of that particular drive. You always lament when something like that happens but we have had balls in that area of the field that have come out of there. I feel badly that the ball got tipped. They did a nice job of being real close to whatever tipped balls there were and that is a good lesson for us as well. But yes, to answer your question, that could have been a huge factor in the game right there.
Q. Eli (Manning) seems very comfortable with Mario (Manningham). How big of a leap has Mario made since last year?
A. He has been very steady in terms of the progress that he has made. There have been some little, slight setbacks in training camp, but he comes right back. You saw the ability that he has to maneuver his feet as he really stepped in and out of the tackle, stepped in and out of the sideline and then was able to accelerate to top speed to get it in the endzone.
Q. What kind of explanation did you get on Eli's fumble?
A. I better be careful what I say. There were some real questionable things. I want to look at the tape and then I'll discuss it with Mike Pereira (NFL Dir. of Officiating).
Q. Danny Ware?
A. I don't know. He did dislocate the elbow. It did go right back in, evidently. Doctor Warren put it right back in.
Q. How good was it to see you guys go up 17-0 in the first half?
A. Yes, it was, no doubt about it. I am real happy to win the game. That was a good point there, 17-0. I only wish it would have stayed there and I think, for us to be able to be the kind of offensive team that we need to be, we have to have the balance. For a while there in the second half, we didn't. The runs weren't very successful and fortunately, the passes were. As I said, there is a lot to learn from this game and we will look forward to that.
Q. Is Nicks a mid-foot sprain?
A. I don't know what it is. They talked about it on the top of the foot and talked about it in the arch. I don't know, I can't tell you what it is until I see the medical people.
Q. What about Eli's ability to spread the football around and how important of a component is that to your success?
A. I think it will be vital. It also shows that he has confidence in any number of people. I was glad to see Kevin Boss with that ball, he was probably one step away from taking that ball into the end zone. Steve Smith made a couple of great catches. Domenik (Hixon), it is just a shame because he laid out for that ball down the sideline and just couldn't quite bring it in. Nicks had a couple of plays. We were able to spread it around; the backs got involved. It is a good thing. He saw the secondary and he really did an excellent job, especially in the first when we had more continuity and more plays. Getting us in and out of plays, he actually checked to the ghost screen that was a touchdown with Mario.
Q. What do you think about more in this game, you had flashes of being good and bad? A. I think it is that we won the game. Everybody is aware of the fact that we have a long way to go to be the kind of team we want to be. But there are some positives things that we can build on. I think everybody should notice the game Bruce Johnson played for us today. I was very proud of that young man.
QB Eli Manning Can you talk about how much more comfortable you and Mario Manningham are now?
Mario did some really good things today. I hit him on an in-cut, that was good. He has a lot of talent, a lot of ability. Really the touchdown pass was all him. I checked to the play, it didn't work as planned, but he improvised and it turned out well, he made a guy miss and got the touchdown. That is something that it is good to see some of these receivers do. Make some plays after the catch, make some guys miss, and that was great to see that. I thought all the receivers played really well. Everybody was on the same page. We had a third down kind of late where we had a curl to Mario and it ended up being offside on the defense, but it would have been a tough catch. A guy was trying to sit on it. Besides that, I thought the receivers played really well and we just have to build from there.
What was the original call on the Manningham touchdown?
It was just a check. We had a run play. They came with the blitz, an all-out blitz, it was really a check that wasn't in the game plan. We went into the check and just kind of improvised. It popped into my head and he did a good job of seeing that. I think it is good that these young receivers are really in tune with what is going on. It was something that we hadn't really talked about in the past, it was something we did in training camp and we have in our package, but he got the call and made it work.
Is it always good to get that first divisional opponent out of the way early in the season?
Yeah. When you play Washington in the first game of the season it is always tough. We know the defense is going to be tough to play against. They are great at stopping the run, they are going to play a lot of man-to-man and mix up different coverages and different pass rushes. I like playing a good team to start the season because you know you have to come out and play great football from the get-go. You don't have time to mess around. We did a good job of starting fast. Really the first two drives were almost perfect. We got down there close, we had two third and shorts, and we couldn't convert. We had a fourth and short and couldn't convert so that is frustrating and that is something we have to fix. You convert those and hopefully you can score touchdowns and that was keeping us from getting in the end zone. We did a lot of things well. I thought the drive at the end of the game was really clutch. We needed to run off some clock, we needed to get some points on the board. I would liked to have gotten a touchdown, we had a penalty that kind of stopped us from getting a touchdown, but we got points on the board and also ran off about five or six minutes and that was nice.
Did you feel like your receivers wanted to come out and prove something?
Yeah, I think they wanted to come out and play well. They read the papers and see what all the reporters are talking about and what is on TV. They don't like hearing that, they want something to prove. I thought they did a great job all training camp of making plays and doing things well. Some guys really made some clutch plays. Steve Smith helped the team on the last drive with a huge catch, taking the hit. Kevin Boss on a scramble kept us going on the last drive. I was excited for them to come out and play well, but there are things we can improve on and we have to keep getting better.
Were you happy to get the receivers involved early in the game?
Yeah I think it was good to kind of get off to a fast start throwing the ball. The first play I hit Mario for a few yards, but then we had a third down and I hit Mario on an in cut and he made a guy miss and got up the field. We did some good things; we were very crisp, very sharp, to start the game, which was good to see. It was a great game plan, we started seeing what the Washington defense was doing, and they were throwing some different looks at us. We had to adjust and get in some good plays and guys were recognizing what was going on.
Is it important that some of the receivers build on this performance?
I think it is something we can build on. We can't start thinking we are invincible and everything. We have to keep working. There are things that can definitely get better. We have to look at the film and go from there, but they definitely did some very good things today and we just have to keep trying to get better.
What did you do differently on the interception?
You know, it was just tough. I can't roll right and then kind of throw. If I could have stepped up in the pocket and really gotten something on the ball, I maybe could have got it there in time. It was a thing where you are rolling right and throwing an in cut. I know Landry likes to sit on things. I can't afford to throw the ball there. Either throw the ball away or run or do something. When you have a lot of things going well you can't afford to give a turnover there. Our defense stepped up and held them to only three points and that was huge.
LB Antonio Pierce Q. Starting season off well?
A. Very huge. It's a new season, 2009 season got kicked off. It's great that we played very well as a team. Special teams, offense, defense, I thought all of them played well. I don't know how many goals we reached until after we look at the stats and meet with the coaches, but to go out there and get a win, our first win, and a win in the division is huge. One step towards what we want.
Q. What about the pressure on QB Jason Campbell?
A. I don't know many sacks we ended up with but it felt like we were getting to him. But he did break out of the pocket and made some great throws. I think everybody knows what the New York Giants defense is about, getting after the quarterback and applying pressure throughout the game. We did a pretty good job of doing that.
Q. Is there a big change or difference with a new defensive coordinator?
A. That decision got made, I believe, in January. Bill (Sheridan) has been here. All of the coaches have been together, putting the defense together. Minicamp, OTAs, training camp, first week of regular season, so guys get comfortable. It is very similar to what we ran last year. Different coach calling it, and he did a great job today. We gave him a little Gatorade bath afterwards, it wasn't a full one, but whatever was left in the bucket.
Q. What about losing the shutout?
A. Yeah that was our whole key all day. We were disappointed that we gave up the touchdown at the end of the game. We wanted to finish the game off without giving up any offensive points. But the whole thing is that after it doesn't matter where they put the ball at, wherever they get the ball, our job is to make sure they don't score and get into that endzone. Keep them to a field goal or less. Our guys responded very well. First play was negative yards. Guys do what we got to do. There are going to be some games where the defense is not playing all that well, and the offense is going to have to hold off and the same for special teams. That's what our team is all about.
Q. Good to come out fast and intense this week?
A. It is huge, it wasn't hard to come out with intensity the way our crowd was. The crowd was behind us the whole way, all the way through the fourth quarter until the end of the game. First it is getting that lead and then it is all about maintaining it.
Q. Even with missing key players and starters, you guys were still able to be successful?
A. I will say this, all 25 guys that made our roster defensively made it clear that they are starters. Everybody is talking about the defensive line and their depth, they are all starters and that is how they approach the game. Same thing with our linebackers and same thing with our defensive backs. So you get that kind of production when those guys, the back-ups, come in.
Q. All preseason people were talking about the lack of receivers. How do you feel they did?
A. I thought our receivers did a great job today against some great corners over there. Those guys playd man-to-man. They put eight or nine in the box, left those guys one-on-one. I thought Manningham played great. I thought Steve Smith made some big catches and Hixon did what he needed to do. That is not our concern. Obviously the media made a big deal out of it because none of those guys are quote all- stars yet. But eventually they will be Pro Bowl players.
Q. Do you feel this team is about what the defense does?
A. The New York Giants have always been about the defense, that is not a secret. That's who we are. But, at the same time, we are a family too. Like I said, in a game when the defense is struggling, the offense will go out there and they can score, Eli can do his no-huddle thing and they will go out there and score thirty points. At the end of the day it is all about winning.
DE Osi Umenyiora Q: You looked pretty good running with the football.
A: Thanks. I played a little running back in my dreams.
Q: How nice was it?
A: It was good. I'm just happy the Lord allowed me to make a play like that.
Q: After what you went through last year, I could almost see you saying this moment was special just to be back out there and make a big play.
A: It was unbelievable, but now all of that is in the past. We have a big game next week against Dallas and that's what I'm going to focus on. Hopefully I'll be able to make more plays like that.
Q: What about your defense today, were you happy?
A: Yeah, I think we played well. I think we gave up a touchdown late that we shouldn't have given up, but besides that, I think we did pretty well. There's always a lot of improvement to be made.
Q: What about just getting the W in the first game?
A: That was very, very important. Not only was it a W, but it was a W against an NFC East opponent, which is always big. It was a great game, they played hard, we played hard, and we're happy to get a win.
Q: The feeling to be back on the field during a game when it counts?
A: It felt good. I'm just happy I was able to make a play and I was happy this team won. We deserved it.
Q: How much did you miss that competitive part of football?
A: I can't even explain it to you. Sometimes when you're out there all the time, you kind of forget what it feels like to not be out there. Last year, I missed it and I'm happy I was able to come back this year.
Q: Can you describe what happened on the play?
A: To be honest with you, I don't know. I don't know what happened. That's the way most plays are made. You just go out there and sometimes good things happen if the Lord wills it.
WR Mario Manningham
Q: Is it nice to open the season and show that you're going to be a big factor?
A: Yeah, but it's only the first game. We still have a lot to work on after this.
Q: You said Eli checked out of the play that you scored the touchdown on. Was that because there was a blitz coming?
A: Yeah, it was the blitzer coming from the backside. He checked out of the play and that's what we got.
Q: A play or two play before, Eli had to call a timeout. Was there some miscommunication between you two?
A: No, I was in the right spot, but the tight end and I couldn't move at the same time, obviously, and he just called a timeout.
Q: Because you both thought you were going to move?
A: No. I was in the right alignment and [Eli] just called a timeout, because I guess he had seen something else.
Q: When you got by that first tackle, were you starting to think I'm going to take this to the end zone?
A: I was just trying not to get out of bounds and I was just trying to get to the end zone, trying not to get tackled.
DE Mathias Kiwanuka
Q: What Osi did today, is that equivalent to hitting for the cycle in baseball?
A: Yeah, absolutely. It's a cycle. It's a hat trick. Whatever you want to call it. For real , that is the holy grail for a defensive end in a game. I guess, no. I take it back. Ending a game on a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, touchdown in overtime would be the ultimate, but that's pretty good. That's close to as good as it gets.