HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN
I will just start out by saying as I looked at the tape today, what I said last night in terms of the defense having played well for four quarters, let me go back and say this: I don't think our team played very well in the first half. I base that on 18 minutes to 12 in time of possession. I base it on 16 first downs to seven [first downs], 265 yards to 95 yards is probably as far as I have to go to make my point here. The first half we did not play that well. In the second half we come out and if my math is correct, the Washington offense gained 107 yards in the second half and 61 of them are on one play. They had three points, so obviously we played a little better there. We gained 192 yards in the second half and had 17 points. That was a better half of football, certainly from our standpoint, than what we saw in the first half.
I think a couple of things stand out right away for me. Of course the excitement of the onside kick. That circumstance I kind of call historical because I have never seen it. I have never seen anybody kickoff from the plus-35-yard line before and the fact that we had practiced a couple different scenarios in terms of onside kicks and Josh [Brown] did an outstanding job in placing the ball after the shift. We worked against less people on that side. Chandler Fenner did an outstanding job of just going down and getting that ball. We had an opportunity with Adrien Robinson there. He didn't quite handle the ball. He had done a nice job anytime we had practiced that, but Fenner went down and got it. That was really a great start for us in the second half. We didn't follow it up with a touchdown. We had to follow up with a field goal, and that kind of put it back in the same perspective we were seeing in the first half. Thank goodness it got a little bit better.
On special teams, I was asked last night, heck we had five of six punts inside the 20, four of those were inside the 10. We had Zach Bowman make a couple of outstanding plays reminiscent of [Jeff] Feagles to [David] Tyree catching the ball in the air inside the 10-yard line, which we always preach. We practice it every week. It was nice to be able to see that happen, Steve Weatherford placing the ball down in there for us. We did have a 45-yard kickoff return and obviously we did recover the onside kick.
We did good things from a defensive standpoint other than the amount of yardage. We had seven sacks. We had 12 quarterback hits. We did those things very well. We gave up some rushing yards. We did a nice job on third down. They were 1-4 in the red zone, which is definitely a good thing and puts us back on track that way. We did some good. We went into the game believing our number one goal was to stop the run. That is a lot of yardage and we have to continue to work on that.
Offensively, we did not turn the ball over. We did not give it away from an offensive standpoint. We were 67 percent in the green zone, which is a good thing. We did not do the job we anticipated on third down. We had a very high third down conversion ratio in the first game against them, but obviously they did a much better job and we, perhaps, did not do as well a job. We did not rush the ball. That is an issue for me. We didn't rush the ball there. I do think we left a lot of points, we left points on the field. Those are the things that really as a coach you are going to strive to improve every week, but that is something that has to happen. Then I was really disappointed in the nine penalties because I thought five of them were penalties that could have been eliminated and did not have to happen. Even one of the penalties, the holding penalty, took points off the board for us, which we can ill-afford to have that happen.
I am very excited and happy to win and, of course, it gives us a couple wins in a row. It is a much better feeling in the office on Monday morning. I am glad it occurred at home and the fans had an opportunity to be involved in that game yesterday. Obviously a very close game at halftime, but with us able to stick our nose out a little bit in the second half and get a win in the division and that was very important for us.
Q: These last three games you have done a great job of getting pressure on the opposing quarterback… What is happening there?
A: I think we have some people that are playing very well. JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] is playing very well. Technically, early on, when he was doing some things that we could correct and help with and he has really adapted his game again to the way and manner in which we would like him to rush. We are getting contributions from a lot of people right now, Devon Kennard, and we are getting some help from Damontré [Moore]. We got help from [Johnathan] Hankins yesterday. We have some people that are contributing to that pressure and it definitely has helped in the coverage as well.
Q: Another player that you have been getting some contribution from as well is Kerry Wynn… Can you talk about what you have seen from him recently?
A: He has taken full advantage of his opportunity to play. He has been solid in there. He has been a guy that has defended on the run, he has gotten some hits in there on the quarterback, he has been very close in the sack area and so Kerry has done a nice job. He has handled it and gone on the field and played and he wants more. He is on special teams. He is on defense. He is rotating in and out of there. He really did help a tremendous amount yesterday.
Q: You talked about wanting to just get a win when you were on the losing streak… Now you have strung some wins together… How much do you look at it as building something moving forward and how much do you view it that these kinds of things can carry over from season to season, if at all?
A: You always want to be on a positive note. You would like everything to be with the arrow going up. We have talked an awful lot about improvement and ascending and it is the time of the year to do those things. The number of young people that are getting opportunities and having a chance to play, that all leads to thoughts about the future. Whereas we are preparing ourselves today for a very good [St. Louis] Rams team that is very physical. They have done a lot of very good things. They have done good things at home and we are going there to play at their place. These things are one game at a time, but again the encouragement, the positivity, the winning idea, the opportunity for young people to contribute in a very strong way, those are all positive things.
Q: Earlier this season you had some low moments defensively. Do you feel this is a change there?
A: The areas where the changes have come is that we are back to pressuring the quarterback. We are doing a good job in the last two ball games of reducing points; the opponent got 13 points yesterday. For the last three weeks I should say, we have done a good job with that, that has been real positive. We didn't get any turnovers, or we didn't get enough turnovers, we didn't get things done the way we truly wanted to do as compared to the game before. We are doing some good things. As I said, to start out our goal was to stop the run. I think we were a little bit better in the second half, but they did run for some yardage, they are a good run team, I think we all know that. Quarterback on the perimeter with the bootleg action, and we got hurt only once with the read option, but it was significant. It was the third play of the game and it gave them a chance to get out from a hole. We are playing better, we are doing better things, we are keeping people out of the end zone. As always, there are some things that have to be improved.
Q: Can you talk about that defensive improvement. How much of that do you think has to do with the Defensive Coordinator [Perry Fewell] changing anything? And don't you have to factor in the quality of competition?
A: You are asking me questions and you can answer half of those yourself. You look at who we play and we know what their records are. Certainly, the defense has been changed up; there are things that have to be done to be adjusted, no matter who you play based on their ability, the different individuals that you regard as the difference makers on the opponent's team. You do have to do some things of that nature. I thought that Dominique Rodgers Cromartie played well yesterday in those one-on-one situations in the pass game. That helped a lot, no doubt. There are adjustments made always.
Q: Rookies normally take some time to pick things up and Odell Beckham had a bit of a handicap by missing the summer and four games of the regular season. What is it about him that you think has allowed him to pick everything up so quickly so he can become a dominant player so fast?
A: He wants to be there, he wants to play, he is excited about the opportunity, he is a very competitive young man. Whereas, he was down from a standpoint that physically he couldn't do the things he wanted to do during that time, that didn't prevent him from being in every meeting and studying as he was allowed to do a little more on the field as the weeks went by. He would go and be in front of the JUGGS machine or jog through things just to make sure he understood the route, or the pattern, or the adjustment that he would have to make. He stayed with it, he stayed involved, he stayed informed, he stayed interested, he kept looking at the date in which he thought he would get the green light to go ahead and go. All of these things were pretty much calculated in his own mind, but he is a smart and intelligent young man, and he paid attention to detail because it is important to him.
Q: You have had a lot of good rookies in your career. Is this the best you ever had?
A: I am not going to go there; he certainly has made a tremendous mark. Again, there are a lot things that prevail here. You want to finish the season strong, you want to come back and have another one, you have to avoid having all the things that can bring you down. We are very excited to have him.
Q: Do you feel the running game took a step back after what it did last week, or was it something that Washington was doing that was different?
A: Washington is a very good front. They were 11th in the league against the run, and for the right reasons. They are very good, they are stout, and they have two outstanding outside backers. We didn't even see Keenan Robinson, a very good inside backer. They are a good defensive team against the run. There were times when we should have had more than what we got, but there were times when we were just flat out shut down. I give them credit and again we continue to work on being a better team that can have balance, etc.
Q: Can you shed any light on Rashad Jennings' condition?
A: Only that he did have a re-occurrence of the ankle and was not able to go back in the game. Where we are is whether or not we are all the way back to square one, I don't know yet, I don't have anything on that today yet.
Q: How is Eli Manning doing, the back? Did he hold up alright?
A: Yes, he did.
Q: Has anybody in management or the ownership talked to you about what is ahead, as far as next year, specifically, and do you want any clarity on that?
A: No. My concern is with our team getting ready to play the St. Louis Rams, and I am sure that will be dealt with at the right time.
Q: Is that something you think about at all?
A: No, no it doesn't. We've got two games to go and we've got to be the best we can be in these next two games.