Head Coach Ben McAdoo
NFC North-leading Lions coming to town. They're a well-coached team, very resilient. A lot of wins at the end of ballgames. Offensively, Stafford does a nice job dealing the football to all their play makers. He's highly skilled on the perimeter with Golden Tate, Jones, Boldin, and Ebron is playing well. Riddick has a complete skillset at the running back position, has a lot of targets out of the backfield. Their offensive line is gelling with the addition of Decker and Glasgow.
Defensively, they're playing well as of late. Last seven ballgames, they've given up about 16 points and have caused 10 turnovers. They have a high-motor operation upfront, led by Ansah, Ngata and Hyder, he's playing well for them. Levy is getting healthy and he's back in the groove as linebacker, and Whitehead is playing at a high level. Slay is coming into his own and Quin really holds it all together back there, he's a communicator. Special teams, they have a dangerous returner in Roberts and a strong kicker/punter combination in Prater and Martin.
Q: What makes them so good in the 4th quarter and late in the games?
A: I remember them always really being that way from my time in Green Bay. Stafford's a guy that can get a play on you and if you play soft coverage, at the end of ball games, he can get some numbers and get the team really moving at the end. They seem to be buying into everything. They're a talented team. They're built to rush the passer upfront on defense and they have solid return teams. That helps them get a quick score if they need one.
Q: How do you approach and look at Stafford's hand being the way it is?
A: Again, we all have to play in the same weather out there. From what I hear, he's a little bit dinged with his finger but we all have to handle the elements on Sunday.
Q: Defensively, they've had five or six interceptions in the last couple of weeks in the 4th quarter...[inaudible].
A: They do a nice job with their two shell coverage. They do a good job making everything look the same with the way they disguise. They'll bring a little bit of pressure there. They're not a big pressure team but they'll try to lull you asleep, make everything look the same and they'll hit it from depth. But they have good ball skills.
Q: Spags spent a little bit of time with Jim Caldwell in Baltimore. Does that give you guys a little bit of an advantage?
A: Their scheme, as long as they've been there, really tailors to the players that they have on offense now. I think the scheme has really changed. It's a combination of what they do in New Orleans, a combination of what they've done in Baltimore and a combination of the old Indy schemes.
Q: On the rush game.
A: It greases your opportunities for attempts at the plate. It moves the chains a little bit more. You don't have to rely as heavily on third down when you complete the ball on first and second and get a lot of rush attempts. It gives you a good opportunity, dating back to my time in Green Bay, to win the ball game.
Q: You mentioned one of the reasons you like rushing a lot is because that makes the Dallas defense have to play a full game. Didn't that not have more to do with your defense playing well and giving you drives than...?
A: It was a combination of three things: our defense playing well, our coverage teams playing well, defense getting off the field, our offense sticking to the rush game and the elements factor.
Q: Did Keenan Robinson get hurt on Sunday?
A: Keenan is working through his shoulder right now.
Q: Is this something he's had in the past, a shoulder injury? Is it the same thing? Connected to that?
A: It's chronic.
Q: Does it surprise you how well the defense is playing?
A: Defense had a good night on Sunday night and we look forward for the opportunity to prepare this week and play a quality team.
Q: Odell had a couple of drops in the game, a couple big plays. Do you look at them and examine what he did wrong or is that overanalyzing?
A: The biggest thing from a drop is you have to be able to rebound from the drop, learn from it, rebound and he did that on Sunday.
Q: Was there a reason for the drops?
A: You've got to look into the tuck, fundamentals. Q Is his thumb bothering him at all or contributing to that?
A: That's a better question for Odell.
Q: On the TV broadcast, Cris Collinsworth said you said the offense has to earn the no-huddle…
A: Earn the no huddle?
Q: Running a no-huddle offense, I think that's what he said.
A: I'm not sure. We have to sit down and talk to Cris.
Q: Brad Wing was given NFC special teams player of the week honors. How does it make you feel to see your special teams unit getting recognized?
A: I think the field position was big in the second half of the ball game. Ball on the 45-yard line for the offense for the starting field position and Dallas on the minus-15. Was big in the ball game. Obviously that last punt factored heavily into it. He downed the ball five times inside the 20 and two inside the five, that's big in the game, especially in the elements.
Q: What would say about him now that he's in his second season with the team?
A: He's a weapon.
Q: Cruz had one catch for four yards. Did that surprise you, the way the game went for him, or was that expected?
A: It was tough to complete the ball all night. That was a product of the environment and Dallas had a good plan, played good defense and we didn't execute at a high level in the pass game.
Q: I saw a number that Eli got rid of the ball on average in 2.25 seconds the other day. Is there a point where you view it as too quick? Is that possible?
A: You play each game as it unfolds.
A: We need to get better separation in the pass game. We need to protect better and we need to make great decisions in the pass game and we need to throw it better.
Q: Eli said several times yesterday that he needs to play better. When you hear your quarterback say that, what's your reaction?
A: I look in the mirror first. I need to call it better and everyone needs to step up their game a little bit.
Q: You used six offensive linemen on a few occasions. Is that something you may use more often?
Q: Do you think that's a package best reserved for specific situations, would you run that every down?
A: You have to be careful what you do every down when you limit yourself as far as the number of receivers you can get out, but maybe you've got to get a tackle out, too.
Q: Will Pugh be back this week?
A: He was limited today.
Q: In lieu of what happened with Philadelphia losing a couple longsnappers this weekend and with your injury report with Zak DeOssie, what's your depth chart at snapper?
A: We have some guys that we trust and we had a couple of reps in practice last week where we used some different players in that position and we're confident in our backups.
Q: After Mark Herzlich and Zak DeOssie, who's the third choice?
A: Weston (Richburg) did a nice job in practice last week.
Q: Chis Christie offered a critique of your haircut, any response to that?
A: Again, Matt Stafford does a nice job and he's someone that we really need to pay attention to, especially late in the ball game. He could get hot on us.
Q: Is Stafford your stylist?
A: They're playing well on defense. They can get after the quarterback.
Q: With that injury to Stafford, isn't that a big deal for a quarterback?
A: Yeah, especially the middle finger and index finger, it's tough to spin it that way. The elements can factor, but he's a pro and he's had to play through some hand problems before and he's a tough guy.
Q: Compared to the Lions teams you faced when you were in Green Bay, isn't it almost addition by subtraction? With no Calvin Johnson, they seem to be spreading the ball around more now.
A: They're similar in a lot of ways. They do spread the ball out a little more than they have. They didn't force feed Calvin when he was there, they gave him so opportunities down the field on some shot plays and some back shoulders. But defensively, they're very similar in the way they deploy their front four, their coverages are little bit different. They are not as corners based as they used to be, but they are similar.
Q: More on the Detroit offense without Calvin Johnson
A: He's one of the best to play to the game. But they have filled in nicely, Marvin Jones has been a great addition for them, Golden Tate's a tough guy and Boldin is tough inside, too. They have plenty of guys to throw the ball to.
Q: What does Darius Slay do to give receivers a hard time?
A: He's really come into his own. I've been impressed with his play, he's very physical, he's competitive and he stays after it. He's good with his hands. WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Q: How do you look at this ballgame coming off the big victory with another pretty good test?
A: Right now, we have to focus on the next one. That's the most important game we've had all year. We just have to find ways to do better than we did last week and come out with a win.
Q: What do you see in this Lions defense?
A: The team is doing pretty nice. If I'm not mistaken, they're leading their division. They're doing pretty good. Their defense has a lot of talent over there. They have some guys up front that are game wreckers. We just have to control what we can control.
Q: How do you keep the pedal to the metal as a football team and keep it going?
A: I feel like the same way we've been doing it all year. You're going to be tested and go through trials and tribulations. You'll fail, you'll succeed. It's just a matter of staying in the moment, which is what we're doing right now.
Q: They've won five straight and are fighting for a playoff spot just like you. Do you expect this game to be even more intense this week?
A: I do. I expect this to be a very intense game between two hungry teams, teams that are trying to solidify themselves in making the playoffs. Right now, it's one game at a time. You never know what could happen.
Q: When you look at the game film, what do you see out of Darrius Slay?
A: I've gone against him in college, so I've known, seen and watched him for a long time. We've always competed. It's fun going against a guy that loves football. He loves to compete. It'll be a good matchup, so to say.
Q: What was the college experience like?
A: We ended up winning. We won. LSU won. From what I can remember, he's a lengthy, tall corner. He plays the ball well and is playing at a high level. I think just like everyone else, as you get older, you get better. You can definitely see that he's improved. He's playing at a high level right now. They're doing well over there.
Q: What is it like as an offensive player to see what the defense has been doing?
A: It's great. Whenever I'm in a game and I need someone to pick me up, I'll go watch the defense. The intensity that they play with, the tenacity, everything. 'Just not going to let someone beat us' is their mentality. They're not going to be scored on. It is just great to be on the other side. Just want to help them out more. Whether it's on special teams or offense, we just have to do more to help our defense out.
Q: Are you impressed with what they do?
A: I am very impressed. It's what they're supposed to be doing with all the guys they have over there. I keep saying, I think they're a championship defense, in my opinion. I've been going against them since training camp and it was never easy in practice. It doesn't look easy in the game for other people. I think other people feel the pain that the offense had to experience pretty much all of training camp going through the season.
Q: What do you guys have to do to be a championship offense?
A: Score points. That's really it. Score more points and execute. It's all going to come together. I was talking to coach Mac and he was telling me about an experience right before his team made the playoffs. He said they won the last game, 7-3. The offense was not exactly there, but they ended up making it in. They pretty much destroyed everyone throughout those games for the rest of the postseason. I truly believe in the timing of everything. I believe that it will all come together at the right time. As a matter of when that time is, I don't know if we know.
Q: Isn't it weird that we have not seen the best Giants offense yet this far into the season?
A: Yes. What's even weirder is that our record is what it is and we haven't done that. That's putting things in perspective. That's a good thing, I guess. We haven't lived up to our potential on offense and we're still finding ways to win games. A win is a win. We just keep it going.
Q: You said after the game that you would hit the JUGS machine on Monday. Were you serious about that?
A: No, I was just saying it for fun. I'm pretty serious about whatever I say for the most part. It's just tough. It's a line between wanting to get better and also trying to protect that thumb for right now because you can't keep taking too much contact to it for right now until it's game time. Just trying to find a way.
Q: How much is it bothering you?
A: It's only when there's contact or I try and grab someone. It's not like it's a regular finger, it's your thumb. It's the most important one you have. It's definitely difficult but I've dealt with it before and I'm sure it will happen again. You just have to play through it and rub some dirt on it.
Q: Is there a line between obsessing over a drop and then just looking at it and saying, okay, it's a drop I'm going to move on?
A: Yes. I have trouble just moving on. I'm pretty obsessive over, at least, that area of the game. It definitely bothers me, whenever I drop a pass. It sure won't be the first and it sure won't be the last.
Q: Did you study it?
A: Both of them.
Q: On the first one, the deep one, your assessment is what?
A: Just dropped it. Was trying to find the ball and I found it late. Tried to cradle it in instead of catching it how I would usually catch it. It just got up on me. The second one, I was just trying to make a play. I went to squeeze it and it shot out of my hand. You can't really worry about it. I've dropped a pass before. It's not the end of the world for me and it does not break my confidence. It's not going to deter me from doing what I'm capable of doing. I just don't want to have them. I don't want to have any more drops.
Q: Do you think you took your eyes off the second one? They were saying on TV that they saw your eyes move?
A: I'm sure you could see that from the TV copy. I don't know. I just didn't catch it. It doesn't really matter. It doesn't bother me.
Q: With your thumb, do you have to catch the ball differently to avoid the pain?
A: Yes, you look at it differently. You try and find the spiral and just place your hands around it the best way you can without having to go through that contact. It's something that crosses your mind but certain times it crosses your mind more than others when you're going to make a catch.
Q: Is playing at home this year different than it has been in the past? You're 6-1 there and your big plays?
A: I don't think it's any disrespect to the fans that we have out there but the past two years, I remember them leaving games. Specifically, I remember the Cardinals game my rookie year. They run a punt back and go up 26-14 with 9:22 left. I watched people in that stadium just leave like we're out of here, the game is over. We don't want to be caught in traffic. It was shocking to me at the time. You could tell that they're very into it and see what we have going on. Hopefully we give them some hope and something to cheer for. WR Victor Cruz
Q: From an offensive standpoint, you guys got on the board last week with the big play, but do you guys need to figure it out a little bit more and be a little more balanced?
A: I think so. I think as far as run and pass, we definitely need to be more balanced in order to put some points on the board and keep the defenses honest and make sure that they are not cueing in on (Odell) or cueing in on one specific guy, to make sure that they are worried about everybody and that is not an easy thing to do defensively, so we just want to make sure that we are handling our business and taking it one play at a time, but we definitely want to be a balanced offense.
Q: One thing that McAdoo has talked about with you guys is the Rule of 53. What does that mean to you guys and do you believe in that number?
A: I guess so. To be honest, that is more of a coaching thing to instill in us. It is not like we are thinking about that as the game is going on, we are just playing. But obviously that is a thing that keeps us balanced, to make sure that there is a sufficient amount of run and pass to make sure that we are a balanced offense and are doing what we need to do to be able to win.
Q: What is it about their defense late in games? It seems like they really clamp down late in games?
A: I think it is just their attention to detail in that moment or in those final closing moments that they are doing a good job of making a play. Defensively, they are making plays to end drives and to end games and they are doing a good job of that.
If you look at it, it is almost like looking in a mirror with our defense being out there and them closing out games and doing what they need to do in order to secure these wins and I think it is somewhat identical, but they are just doing a good job of paying attention to those details, those intricate details to put themselves in a position to close those games out.
Q: How does a team come off an emotional win like Sunday night and realize that you still haven't really accomplished anything yet?
A: By doing exactly that, getting back to work, understanding that that was just one game that we needed to have and now we have to move forward and on to a bigger game, an equally as important game as well. Although they may not be a division foe or rival, we still need this victory to keep ourselves where we want to be in terms of the playoffs and moving forward, so the Lions are a good team and we have to be ready for them.
Q: Do you feel like even at 9-4 we haven't really seen the best of this Giants' offense yet?
A: Absolutely. Obviously 10 points last week isn't indicative of what this offense is capable of and we just want to make sure that – coach is obviously putting in a great game plan together for us this week and we have to go out and execute and be able to put some more points up.
Q: Odell was talking about even though the offense isn't clicking yet, to be 9-4, how excited does that make you?
A: Extremely excited. For us to be here where we are, standing at 9-4 with playoff contention right there on the horizon, it is definitely fun to be here and to understand that the offense hasn't reached that top pinnacle of where we want to be and we know it is coming. We know it is only a matter of time and hopefully it is this week and hopefully the consistency continues from here on out, so we will see how it goes, but we are definitely excited to be in this spot and this position and want to be able to capitalize on it.
Q: Last week we were talking about your zero target game. This week, you have four targets and one catch. How do you think that went as far as a getting the ball?
A: I just think it was an improvement from last week. All I can ask for is to just be where I am supposed to be and hope the ball comes my way and that is what I did and I got one and you just want to keep it moving. You just want to make sure that you are held accountable for what you do out on the field and you take it from there. But everything is fine. I just want to continue moving forward and continue winning games.
Q: When you look back at the film, are you more open than your stats would indicate?
A: There are some areas where I am open, absolutely and there are some areas where, whether it is due to the coverage or whatever the case may be, I am not open, so you have to take the good with the bad. There are always plays where (Eli) is going to find me and (Eli) isn't going to find me, so you just have to take it how it comes and take the balls how they come to you and go from there.
Q: Are you frustrated by it?
A: I mean, obviously as an athlete and as a competitor you want the ball as much as you can, especially when you feel like you are getting open in certain scenarios and certain areas. But like I said, you just have to be a professional and understand that some balls are going to come your way and some aren't and you just have to take it in stride.
Q: How much of an adjustment has it been playing exclusively outside?
A: It is a little different, but obviously, what is this? Week 14, Week 15 something like that? I am pretty accustomed to it now, pretty used to it and I have made some plays out there throughout the year, so it feels good. I am getting comfortable out there and I just want to continue to make progress.
Q: Ben McAdoo was talking about Eli's pick and was a little critical on you. He said that you could have come back to the ball better. What did you think about that play?
A: Just a play. I should have come back to the ball. Obviously there are different scenarios and different ways to come back to the ball and I should have at least gotten in the way of that other defender so that he wouldn't pick it off.
Q: There are some big games coming up. Hopefully a playoff game or two. Do you see yourself becoming an impact player during this stretch?
A: I hope so. I am there, I am waiting for the opportunity. I am just being exactly where I need to be and controlling what I can control and that is being in the right spot and the right position for Eli to hit me whenever he sees fit, so that is really all I can do. S Landon Collins
Q: You guys have done pretty well as a defense at the end of the games and they have done well coming back from 4th quarter deficits. How do you think you match-up in that regard?
A: We do well. We like to finish in the fourth quarter. Like I said, last year when we had the chances to finish in the fourth quarter, we didn't. Now we get to showcase that.
Q: What has made you able to do that this year?
A: Just the mindset that we have, the chemistry, the determination and just knowing the defense as a whole.
Q: When you hear all the positive things about the Giants defense coming off that win over Dallas, what is your reaction?
A: That is what we have been doing all year and just keep showcasing that all the time and playing our ball.
Q: What is it about this group coming together and how has it come about?
A: Like I always said, it always starts with our front line and Snacks gets us right. He stays on top of us and he is just a role model and a team leader and him being hard on himself makes us be hard on ourselves and he makes sure that we see that we need to do better in every circumstance.
Q: What do you see from Detroit on film?
A: Offensive wise, they have been great. They have a quarterback that knows how to get the ball to receivers and they have receivers who are going to get down field when they get the ball in their hands and you have got to tackle. You have got to tackle. You see a lot of missed tackles on their receivers and they get the ball downfield even more, so just make sure that when they get the ball they don't get extra yards.
Q: As a team leader, how do you keep these guys from being satisfied with one win in December?
A: As a leader, you take it to practice. We showcase where we could have been beat or where we need help at and we stay on top of that and make sure that we read our keys and be sound in those positons because any given moment, you can get beat.
Q: How big is the game this week in your mind?
A: We are treating it like it is a playoff game. This is a playoff caliber team, they have been there a couple times now and that is how we are treating it and we tried to do that against the Steelers and we didn't come out with the win that we wanted to, so we are trying to do that this week.
Q: Golden Tate is a receiver who plays bigger than he is. How do you deal with that?
A: You try to match his intensity and you hit him in the mouth like he is going to try and hit us in the mouth and you fight all the way until the end and the person who wins the battle at the end usually wins the game. G Justin Pugh
Q: Are you confident in playing this week?
A: I think this is the week. I felt good last week. They eased me back into it. As long as there is no hiccups this week, I think I'll be ready to go
Q: This time of year, the running game is crucial. How much would it mean for you to get back and how much would it mean for the running game?
A: For me, it's huge. I miss these guys and being able to be out there. Obviously the atmosphere in the last game, I was very jealous of those guys being out there. Just try and bring back some energy. Come back, I'm fresh. Just run around and keep spirits going and get a breath of fresh air. It'll be good.
Q: What do you think the atmosphere will be this Sunday with the playoffs within grasp?
A: It's going to be a playoff atmosphere. They're coming in with nine wins. They've been playing great. They have won eight games in the fourth quarter and we've won a lot of games in the fourth quarter. It's going to be a battle. We've played them before and I've played them throughout my career a few times. Stafford is an unbelievable quarterback. He's having a great season. We have to do our work to keep him on the bench.
Q: This team is 6-1 at home. Why do you think you've been so much better at home this year?
A: I think last year; we just didn't close out games. I really think it's the mentality of this team. We're going to go out and finish and find a way to win. I think it's our identity. Last year, we struggled to find our identity. That's the difference between the two teams.
Q: Do you sense in the last home game that you need to take advantage of being here one last time?
A: Definitely. I think our fans were awesome on Sunday. We have to go out and continue to give them something to get loud about. I think that will pay dividends for us.
Q: How much have you progressed over the last few weeks?
A: I feel good. I think I'm going to play this week. Obviously it's been a rough road for me trying to get back. Setbacks, thinking I'm playing last week and then not playing. I've been doing everything at practice so this is the week I'm going to come back for sure.
Q: Being out, have you seen things that you'll be able to use when you get back in?
A: Yes. I think you get a better perspective when you have to sit on the bench for a little while and see guys play and what works for other guys. Just been doing a lot of film watching and seeing how we're playing and how other guards are playing in the league. It gave me a chance to go back and look at my own play and evaluate, which you don't usually get a chance to do. Just make sure that I'm coming back fresh and ready to go. Just providing that spark for the offense.
Q: First time the dress code for home games is not what is? I would imagine you were happy?
A: Well, I bought a bunch of suits because I had to. I still wear suits. My first time for a home game, it's nice. You can just come in with a button on and a pair of jeans. That's good.
Q: On road games, too, right?
A: Yes, both, so it makes it a little easier. I still wear my suits because I bought all of these suits. I'm going to wear them.
Q: You wear them on the road games, too, the suits?
A: Yes, I wear them. It's just depending on if I feel like wearing a suit or not. I don't go tie now. I don't have to wear a tie ever now, so that's nice.
Q: We have to wear ties.
A: Make the team, then you won't have to.
Q: Do you look at the fact that you could clinch this weekend?
A: I haven't thought about it at all. We have to go out and win games. Obviously we want to win the division. We need some real help with that but we want to go out and handle our business. It's just playing quality football and putting the full game together because we haven't done that yet. That's the goal.
Q: What do you think of being in this position but the offense has not reached its full potential yet?
A: Yes. Imagine if we get the offense rolling and we put up more than 10 points. We haven't been putting up crazy numbers all year. We haven't put up more than 30 all season. I think if we get that rolling with this defense, watch out, we're going to be a scary team to play. I think we still are a scary team to play. I don't think a lot of people want to come and play the Giants come playoff time.
Q: Is this frustrating for you, not being able to be out there on Sunday's with the guys?
A: It was killing me. Obviously, I hear it from all the o-line. We're like brothers. All five of us are in there. We're the closest group on the team, in my opinion. I was hearing it from Weston and JJ (John Jerry). We want you back out there and blah blah blah. It's nice not to hear that from them anymore and to be back out there and playing. I was running around like a little kid today, having fun.
Q: Is there any thought that if you get back out there, you can help the team score 30-plus points?
A: I'm just going to play my role, do my job and let the chips fall where they may. You can't come out as an offensive lineman and guarantee that we're going to score more points. I'm going to go out there and help the five guys up front do their job. Help communicate better and help play my role. Everyone has to go out there and not try and press. If you try and press, you're going to hurt this team more than helping it.
Q: Do you think beating Dallas twice can put doubt in a team like that, their mind?
A: Dallas was the best team in the NFL and we beat them twice. I think it gives us confidence and it takes them back a little bit. There were some questions being thrown around. That's your job to make them doubt.
Q: Do you think it legitimizes you guys to the rest of the league?
A: We beat them once already. If you have to do it twice, then I guess. They're a really good team. They have one of the best offensive lines in the league. Our defense played unbelievable. You can win games in December when it's cold out with a good pass rush and shut down cornerbacks. Obviously we want to do a better job of making their job easier so they can just pin their ears back and go. That's something that we have to work on.