Coach Tom Coughlin
Coughlin: Morning. Exciting week, divisional week preparing for coach Chip Kelly and his staff. Outstanding Philadelphia Eagles football team, 4-1 team that could be 5-0. Scored 156 points, 88 in the second half, 31.2 per game. They've overcome double-digit deficits in the second half of the first three weeks. They're a team that's scored on seven returns, which is amazing. You're talking about being at this point, five games into the season, they have a punt return for a touchdown, a kickoff return for a touchdown, they have two blocked punts for touchdowns, they have three defensive touchdowns, so they've done an outstanding job in that area. They've added outstanding players through the draft and in the offseason. Just to name a couple of them – Darren Sproles, who plays an outstanding role as their punt returner as well; Malcolm Jenkins, who has a 53-yard interception return; David Molk, who is currently their starting center; Chris Maragos is an outstanding special teamer, so they do have a solid special teams unit. They have a defensive team that has given up some points, given up some yards, but I'll tell you what, in the fourth quarter when they have to make a play, they've been able to do that and that's one of the reasons why they have the record that they do. They are a very, very good football team, obviously an exciting football team, very talented football team and we look forward to this challenge this week, getting our team and our players prepared to go down and face a team that has a very talented and a very good scheme. We have two players that won't practice today – Spencer Paysinger will not practice nor will Rashad Jennings. I know you have no questions for me today.
Q: Did you get any further information on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie?
A: No, not really.
Q: The ankle…?
A: Ankle, hamstring, IT band, whatever you want to call it.
Q: Do you do give extra attention to special teams when you're playing against a team that good on special teams?
A: Extra special teams? Devoting the same amount of time, the same amount of meeting time, but obviously doing a good job of recognizing what they've accomplished. They've won games on special teams. You look at the San Francisco game, it's amazing, punt return, blocked punt, interception return and being in a position where they really didn't have much offense that day but they had four shots at the end of the game to win the game. That's what I mean, they've battled and they've scraped and they've been in every game and had a chance to really be 5-0.
Q: What do you think about the potency of their offense right now since so much of their scoring has come from special teams, defense and they're not completing as many balls downfield?
A: I see the talent, I see the scheme, I see (LeSean) McCoy, the outstanding personnel. They've had some injuries in the offensive line, let's face it, they have, but I still see the production. We look at last year's games, games from years past when we study them in the offseason, so that's what I look at.
Q: You don't have Odell Beckham on the injury list.
A: Beckham, why does he have to be on that list?
Q: He's been there before.
A: He played in the game.
Q: Will you let me finish my question?
A: You didn't start the question very well. Go ahead.
Q: Since he's not on the list, I assume he's going to be a full participant in practice today? It's not something he's done at all here since the beginning of training camp. **
A: Well, he's… let's put it this way – we'll still bring him along, increasing his number of snaps, but he no longer is required to… we're going to be very sure that we don't do something foolish with him, but as far as I'm concerned he's ready to practice.
Q: Nick Foles has five interceptions, only had two a year ago, he's struggling with the deep ball. Last year his percentage went up on deeper throws, it's been significantly down this year. What do you see different about him?
A: I don't see a whole lot different, I really don't. I see a guy who has control of his offensive team, does a real good job of getting in the right play. I've read what you've read and see what you've seen, but I think he's playing well and he is the captain of that ship, no doubt.
Q: What kind of dimension has Darren Sproles brought to that offense?
A: Well, he's brought the big play, there's no doubt about that. He's used in the backfield, coming out of the backfield, whether he be a runner, pass receiver. Of course, by taking the majority of the punt returns, he gives them an extra chance to make a play right there.
Q: Can you talk about the opportunity that Andre Williams has against the Eagles rush defense, which is 24th, and also what you're looking for with him in terms of still trying to improve his receiving game?
A: He made a couple catches last week, which was good. We expect him to be what he was a week ago, a downhill, north-south runner, which is what he does very, very well. I see improvement in the Eagles defense, I really do. I watched them from their first preseason game on, their sophistication, their scheme, the whole deal that has improved. We depend on the run, let's face it, we depend heavily on the run and the balance has been good. Last week we had 34 runs and 30 passes.
Q: What's your level of confidence with Peyton Hillis?
A: Peyton's done the job for us a year ago, I feel good about him. He's extended himself into special teams. He's done a nice job when called upon, his four-minute runs and powerful runs and also pass protection. Over the years he's proven himself to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield, so we feel good about Peyton.
Q: With DeSean Jackson not being in Philadelphia anymore, are [the Eagles] much different or do they just find someone to step in and fill the role?
A: I don't think they're much different. They continue to expand their own scheme. They don't sit still.
Q: Do [the Eagles] run the screen pass as well as anybody?
A: Yes, they do. They have.
Q: What is the key to defending [the Eagles screen passes]?
A: They use misdirection along with it, so you have to stay home. You have to recognize it. They are very good at the rocket, the outside screen to the wide receiver. [Jeremy] Maclin does a great job of that. Their running backs, both running backs, are very, very good at the screen. They stick the tight end screen in there as well. They do a nice job of all these things.
Q: Do you think your defense working against the no-huddle so much in practice will help prepare them for the tempo?
A: I think it will. We have done that all summer. We've done it into the fall. We will continue to do it this week, as well, obviously. Hopefully it will.
Q: Larry [Donnell] scored the three touchdowns against Washington and was pretty much shut out last week, and you still scored 30 points…In terms of quantity, is this the most weapons you've had in a while?
A: I don't know. We will see. Going forward, we hope we can use everybody and everybody will step up to the task. It is a big one.
Q: You guys have a really strong October record… Do you see anything to that or is that just how it worked out?
A: Well, I planned that all out for years and years. I wanted to be known as 'Mr. October.' Reggie Jackson is a good friend of mine. Thanks for bringing that up. That is really what I would point it towards.
Q: Every game is a big game, but do you view a divisional game differently in terms of focus, importance and anything in that regard?
A: The most important game of the year is the next one. And the next one is a divisional game.
Q: Last year LeSean [McCoy] ran behind the same five guys on the offensive line…This year he is having to deal with a hodgepodge patch work there…How much do you really see that as impacting him or do you see any change in him as far as the decrease in production this year?
A: I don't view him that way. He is dynamic. He is looking for the big play every time he touches the ball, whether it is a screen or a run. He is the player I have always known him to be and he is outstanding.
Q: Do they move Zach Ertz around a lot in that offense?
Q: Do you think the record that your Giants teams have had in October is just a coincidence?
A: You hope to get better. Every time you play, you should get better. October comes along a few games into the season, and hopefully we are starting to play pretty good. That is what I look at.
Q: You have scored over 30 points in three straight games… In terms of your offense and the evolution, where do you think you are?
A: We are still a work in progress. We are getting there. We did some things the other day very well in a difficult circumstance, being behind as we were and having to come up with plays at that point in time. I gave credit to the Atlanta defense. They did a nice job. There is always something to learn from each game. Going forward, the challenge is great and people have to make the plays as they come down.
Q: With [Michael] Cox back on the roster, is he in the mix for kickoff return?
A: He could very well be, but he is also going to be utilized in other areas as well.
Q: Back in the draft, you guys talked about this class, especially, coming in and needing to ready to play and contribute…That seems to be the case the last two draft classes… Is that the message that was sent and why do you think that is?
A: This day and age in professional football, they have got to help [your team] early. That is the whole deal for us. We realizef that we needed help last year. We made a lot of changes, brought in a lot of new players, whether they be free agents or through the draft choices. They were all given basically the same amount of information. We had a new offense to teach. I think the nature of our game is you only have them for a short amount of time, so they have to make a contribution. Obviously they have to be prepared to help your team. We have had a few guys that have gotten a lot of playing time here early on and have started to step up.
Q: Is that a change you were comfortable with having… Being able to rely on younger players that early?
A: They have to prove they are trustworthy, no doubt.
Q: Is it still natural to want to rely more on the veterans?
A: That is the ideal. It doesn't always happen that way, as you know.
S Antrel Rolle
Q: Giants and Eagles… Need I say more to you?
A: No, it is what it is. It is going to be a great battle. We are looking forward to a great battle. Right now they are 4-1 and they are playing some good football. I am looking forward to the battle come Sunday.
Q: You played catch-up all last year in the division, so how important is it to continue what you did in Washington?
A: It is huge. This is a divisional game against a great opponent. This is a must-win game. We are trying to go out there and get a win at all costs, and I am sure they are going to be doing the same. We just have to buckle down, lock in and focus in on your keys and get things done.
Q: What about Nick Foles… How does he put pressure on a defense? **
A: He is an accurate thrower. More importantly, he is very good with his decision-making. He doesn't make many mistakes. I think he has been doing a great job of leading this offense and putting them in position. More importantly, they have had some great comebacks and he has been the leader of them a lot. I think he runs their offense very efficiently.
Q: Do you take some momentum into Philly with three straight wins?
A: It is what it is. Those three wins have nothing to do with this upcoming game. We take each game as its own new set of challenges and we are looking forward to Sunday.
Q: You said the other day that last year's division wasn't a lot to work with in it… Obviously in Philly they didn't take too kindly to it…?
A: I said what I said. That's no discredit to Philly. Obviously they were the best team in our division last year. They finished 10-6. That's an awesome record for any team in the NFL. I said what I said. Division was weak, in my opinion. That doesn't discredit Philly under any means. If they want to take it that way, then so be it. The game still has to be played come Sunday.
Q: Considering where you were two weeks ago, how excited are you for this opportunity?
A: I am extremely excited for this opportunity. I am excited to go out there and see how far we have come along as a team. Like I said, those guys are great opponents. They have been playing some pretty good football. It is going to be a great test for ourselves.
Q: You said Foles doesn't make a lot of mistakes, but he is making more this year than he did last year… Can you guys take advantage of some of that aggressiveness?
A: You can say that, but at the end of the day, the game has to be played. You never know how someone is going to come into the game. You never know what his mindset is going to be or how his reads are going to be. His reads are not going to be the same each and every week. We just have to do our best job of going out there and playing as poised as we can as a defense and play technically sound.
Q: Does their offense look different to you at all?
A: That is for us to know.
Q: You play in a lot of hostile environments… Describe how Philadelphia is different?
A: To be honest with you, I really don't pay attention to the crowd. The only way to silence the crowd is you go out there and play your ball and limit their success. That is the only way to silence the crowd. If we don't like how they are cheering, then don't give them anything to cheer about. That's how I look at it.
Q: How much are you looking forward to this game?
A: Right now, it is the biggest game of the year for us. It is the biggest game of the year because it is this week. That is how I look at it. I approach every game with the same mentality each and every week.
Q: LeSean McCoy doesn't have the same numbers [as last year], but do you see the same guy on tape when you watch him?
A: Absolutely. LeSean McCoy is still the number one guy in that offense. He can definitely hurt you. I feel like he is the hardest running back in football to tackle right now. He might not have the yards he is used to having or the break-out runs he is used to having, but LeSean is still LeSean.
Q: At safety how does it affect you when DRC [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] is out of the game?
A: It doesn't really affect me much as a safety. It doesn't matter who it is out there, I still have to make the same calls and be on the same communication and give the same looks. Obviously he is a phenomenal talent. It doesn't really affect me at all.
QB Eli Manning
Q: How much confidence do you have in Andre Williams?
A: Andre's played well for us. I thought he came in last week and played really well, ran the ball hard, ran over some guys, caught the ball well. It will be good getting a lot of reps in practice, but he'll be ready and I think he'll go out there and play well.
Q: What do you tell him? You've been to Philadelphia many times, a rough place to play. What do you tell him in his first start in such a hostile place like Philadelphia? **
A: You can't worry about the environment and the atmosphere. You've got to enjoy going into a place where they don't like you, so I think he's played in hostile environments before in college. I think he's just going to be worried about his assignment and going out there and playing good football.
Q: How much are you looking forward to facing off against Philly? They're 4-1, you guys are 3-2.
A: Any time you face a division team, it's always important. They're playing good football, they're winning games in different ways. Always talented, have good players and so we know we've got to play our best football and it's going to be Sunday night, it will be a wild atmosphere. We've got to get ready for that, but I'm looking forward to a big game. These ones are always important and always exciting games.
Q: They've scored defensive touchdowns the last two weeks. What are you seeing differently on tape from what they were like as a defense last year?
A: Well, they're doing a good job getting to the quarterback. They're getting sacks, they have a good pressure package, they're also having good coverage down the field and the quarterbacks are having to hold it some, so it's a combination of both those things, so we've got to have a great week of preparation just knowing what some of their blitzes are, what some of their looks are. They'll have something new for us, they'll have a new wrinkle. We've just got to stay within our rules and understand what they are and hope that we can get the ball out quickly and get it into our guys' hands and make some plays.
Q: What's your confidence level in Peyton Hillis and the combination with Andre and Peyton? Obviously you guys have been doing well with the combo of Rashad Jennings and Andre.
A: Yeah, Peyton, he's been in these situations before. He was here for us last year and played well, so he knows what he's doing, a veteran guy. He runs hard, he catches the ball well out of the backfield, he knows his protections and everything, so he'll do a good job and play well for us.
Q: You're taking what the defense is giving you and when you have as many options out there, it kind of makes it very difficult for the defense to stop. Can you talk about the comfort level that you guys have right now with the options you have?
A: Yeah, it's a good situation to be in. We feel like we've got a lot of receivers that can get open, tight ends, running backs. We try to find ways to give them the ball. Just going through my progressions and not trying to force the ball to one person, just trying to get to my reads and guys are doing a good job of getting open on the early reads.
Q: Has there been a situation in your career where you've had this many options?
A: We've had good receivers over the years and have had good runners, but I think we probably get to more sets where we do have four receivers on the field and a tight end. You kind of put all your weapons out there at the same time and so I think maybe that's just the combination of getting into more of those personnels where you have a lot of receivers on the field.
Q: Statistically, the improvement you're showing this year to last year is pretty stark. Is it the system? Is it the weapons? What do you attribute that to?
A: I think just playing better football. I think we've come in, we've shaken some things up. I think our guys are playing well, the offensive line's playing well, receivers are getting open, defense is doing a good job of getting us turnovers and we're staying in games and not falling behind and having to change the offense to get back into it. Worked hard this year and that's just football, every year's different. Every year, circumstances are different and you've just got to go out there and compete, work hard and hope to make the plays that are there.
Q: How much are you better, just mentally boosted, by things being cleaned up for you this year in terms of the way things are clicking offensively right now?
A: Well, each week you come in and you try to know the game plan, know what the defense is doing, have a plan for myself or where I'm going to be going with the ball, what my reads are. I feel good about what we're doing but we have to keep it going. We definitely have room for improvement, have to get better at some things.
Q: When you watch the number of returns Philly has had on defense, has there been a common factor?
A: Well, a couple of them have been sacks, the quarterback getting hit looking away, about to throw. Protection obviously leads to a lot of turnovers for the quarterback, whether it's interceptions or sacks and stuff, so you just have to make sure you have two hands on the ball. Hopefully we're not going to be in the situation where we're holding it too long, but if we are, just be aware of my surroundings and they have good players who do a good job swiping at the ball. In San Francisco there was an interception for a touchdown, just a really good play by the nickel. He just passed off an inside slant and went to the outside slant and just a good play by him and a good return. Every one's a little different, but they're doing a good job also getting them on special teams so they're finding ways to get touchdowns or punt returns. It's going to be a complete game. We need our offense, defense, special teams all to play well and make sure we're not giving up any easy touchdowns as a team.
Q: During the summer, when a lot of people were panicking about the offense, you were very insistent and patient that it would be fine. Is there any satisfaction? It looks like so far that you're right.
A: No, the only satisfaction is going out and playing well and winning. For us, the guys in the locker room, the fans, the coaches, we work hard each week to try to go out there… the coaches do a good job putting a plan together and we have to go out and execute it and have a good feel for it. We've got to keep working. We can't be satisfied, we're still in third place in the NFC East, so that's the mindset and we've got a chance to play a team that's in first place. It's a big game.
Q: Did you have a moment yourself where you wondered if it would click this quickly?
A: You hope it would and you just have to keep working. I knew it wouldn't come right away. It's got to take time. You've got to get a feel for everything, but I knew I worked my tail off to get there and to have an understanding, but it's also the coaches figuring out what plays you like, what kind of fits my style of playing and our offense's style of playing the best, and they've done a good job with that.
Q: Is there anything about the adjustment to the new system that's surprised you in yourself?
A: Nothing I can think of, sorry.
DE Mathias Kiwanuka
A: It's a division game and that's the easiest way to assure yourself a spot in the playoffs and that is what it is all about.
Q: You guys have some momentum going down there. How important is it to build off it.
A: It's huge. We are encouraged by the momentum we've got. We want to keep that stuff rolling so that we can put ourselves in the right position.
Q: What about their offense, starting with Nick Foles?
A: They are obviously a potent offense. They are able to hit the big play; that is what we've got to stop. They can stretch the field on the outside, but for us, it is mainly about gap assignment and alignment, making sure that everybody understands your job and the defense because that is key.
Q: Are you worried about LeSean McCoy breaking out at some point? **
A: I mean, of course. It's always got to be a point of emphasis, it's a cause for concern, but we know that if we do our job, we will bottle him up.
Q: You guys go against an up-tempo offense here with Giants at practice. How much does that help going into Philadelphia?
A: That is one of the most important things that we changed from last year to this year. Seeing that rally every day at practice has prepared us not just for the speed of the game in terms of your conditioning, but communication and understanding how to get lined up before you hear a call, so I think we are in a good spot.
Q: Do you see anything different on film from Nick Foles last year versus what he is doing this year? Not protecting the ball as well.
A: I don't know. I think as a whole they are pretty similar to the way they were last year. We will see how it goes.
Q: How up do you get, they are 4-1, you guys are 3-2. There is no love lost between the two teams.
A: No, definitely no love lost. It is what you live to play for when you are a little kid, these are the games that you want to be involved in because you know they are going to be remembered. Not just for a year or two, but remember them for years to come.
Q: Especially in prime time.
A: Of course, nothing better.
Q: You have played in a lot of hostile environments. What's different about Philadelphia and that environment?
A: It's the people, the people. We don't have to deal with is as much, but when you come back, your families tell you all the stories about stuff that happened in the stands. It is, hands down, a gritty, grimy city and they love their team and they are willing to support and they do it in their own special way.
Q: Talk about the versatility of their offense and what it takes to stop it, they have many different weapons.
A: Discipline. Hands down, discipline is one of the most important things. Gap assignment, your alignment, your pre-snap reads, those things are going to be key for us because it is a lot of different moving parts and you've got to make sure you are playing and doing your job, not trying to do too much.
Q: Year after year, you seem to go through a lull at some point of the season and you pull out of it. What is it?
A: It is love of the game, you are a professional. We have a lot of guys here who have been to the top. You understand what that feels like and you want to get back. We, as a group, especially last year, have been at the bottom, and we don't ever want to go back there. When it comes down to it, when you wake up in the morning, you get to a play a game as a professional and there is not a lot of jobs better than that.
Q: You have been a teammate of Eli Manning's for a long time. Do you think he gets satisfaction out of all the panic this summer, proving people wrong with the way this offense is playing?
A: I don't know, I can't speak for him. I think his satisfaction comes from doing well, performing on the field. He is the kind of guy that a win is good, but if there is no trophy involved, it is not what he is looking for.
RB Andre Williams
Re: playing in Philly
A: It is a tough stadium. The fans can be tough, but you know we are just preparing like it is another divison game.
Q: Your ears won't be too sensitive if you hear things that are not so nice.
A: No, I am not paying attention to that. I am going to be eyes on the field at all times.
Q: You've got a bunch of rookies who are put into pretty big roles. You've got a starter on the offensive line, you are going to have to start this week, Odell Beckham Jr. will be playing. Are you surprised this draft class is doing so much so quickly?
A: Well, I have faith that management really drafted a great class and I know that we are going to be able to contribute and I am just happy to see us all on the field.
Q: I am sure since we have talked to you last you have had more of a chance to look at the Philadelphia Eagles on tape. What is it that you see? I know you are not going to give me the game plan, but some impressions that you get of their front seven defensively against the run. **
A: I think they move well, they run to the ball, they have a lot of pressure looks that we are going to have to be prepared for.
Q: As you look at DeMeco Ryans, he is a mobile guy that stops the run well, actually does pretty well in coverage, too. He is an all-around good player.
A: That is true, but sometimes if you can't go this week, the next guy has to be ready to step up. I am sure that whoever is behind him is going to play a competitive game.
Q: How excited are you about the challenge this week and getting a big chance to be a part of this offense?
A: You know, I am very excited. It is going to be my first start, I just want to prepare as well as I can and make sure I am ready to compete at the highest level I can.
Q: Do you have to be a little different in terms of your focus because you are starting instead of coming off the bench? Do you have to do anything differently?
A: I don't think I have to do anything differently. I think it is going to be a good chance to get lathered up early in the game, rather than later.
Q: You are a rhythm type back, so that is good?
A: Yeah, that is good for me.
Q: Are you spending a lot of time with Rashad Jennings in terms of preparation for this responsibility.
A: Absolutely, I am glad that he is still around and attending all of the meetings so I can really lean on his experience.
Q: You talked about the great class that you felt management drafted. Rookies haven't always gotten a big opportunity here. When you came in, did you feel like there is a process to sort of earning the trust of the coaching staff so they would believe that you would be able to get on the field?
A: Absolutely, they know better than I do, how different the game is from college. There are certain things I have to display in practice and in games for them to have the confidence to really put me in difficult positions and have faith that I can get the job done.
Q: Was that a hard thing to do, to earn their trust?
A: It was pretty difficult. There was definitely a learning curve that I had to go through and I think I am still earning their trust.
Q: Is there a class pride? You got three guys on offense alone as rookies. Weston Richburg will be starting, Odell Beckham Jr. will be playing a lot. That is three guys out of a small number.
A: Class pride, I definitely say there is camaraderie when we are all on the field. We definitely get a sense of pride; I guess you can call it that. We are out here and able to contribute at such an early time in our careers.
Q: A big rivalry game like this, sometimes can be too much too soon for a rookie. Not for this group?
A: I don't think so; I think we are ready to go.
Q: What can Giants fans expect from you this weekend?
A: What can Giants fans expect from me? You know, I only know one way to run and so I am just going to run hard and make sure I compete at the highest level.
Q: With Rashad Jennings out with the injury, do you feel you are up for the challenge to carry the load this week?
A: Absolutely, I prepare every week like I am going to play a full game. This week I am actually going to be able to play a full game, so I think up to this point I have prepared enough to start the next game and compete at the highest level.
Q: Last week the way you performed, do you feel like that gave you confidence going into this week?
A: Absolutely, I built on a good week against the Redskins, with the Falcons, and I am hoping I can keep piling success on top of that.
Q: How excited are you to get the start, Sunday night football against an arch rival of the New York Giants?
A: I am very excited just to play a new team and compete with my teammates. The start, that is a bonus.
Q: What is the most carries you ever had in a game?
A: I think 42 or 43.
Q: Was that last year or was that..?
A: That was last year.
Q: Who was it against, do you remember?
A: I think I actually did it a couple of times. North Carolina State, I don't remember the other ones. I know my freshmen year I had 42 against Syracuse.