Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
Q: Did you know that Janoris Jenkins was this good when you guys brought him in?
A: Well, I had a sense that he was. The best insight that we had and I believe this in this league – when you have coaches, personnel people, somebody that can give you insight on a player that has worked with that player and Tim Walton, who is one of our secondary coaches here, was in St. Louis with Janoris, so we had a wealth of information. Tim was convicted about Jackrabbit and he convicted us and away we went.
Q: He even said he has never played at this level, so are you a bit surprised?
A: I always thought he was pretty good. We like aggressive corners that press and fit what we do and thank God that it has worked out pretty good.
Q: When you graded Sunday's game, was that the most complete defensive performance you have had all season?
A: You know, it is funny, Kim. Here is what happens to me – the play that I remember is the 31-yard touchdown, that is just my nature. So when you ask me that question, I think more of the mistakes we made. I will say this, when I got in front of the guys on Tuesday, I did say this because I meant it, there was a lot of well executed defense on certain downs. I felt like there were things that were happening in the game that we had done in practice and it went from practice to the game and that is encouraging. It wasn't every play. We weren't perfect. There were things that we can clean up and we will, but there was some really good execution.
Q: What happened on that touchdown play?
A: It was just – we had a couple people who lost their eyes a little bit. It was more than one person, but it becomes an eye discipline thing and we talked about that there and it could have been prevented.
Q: What did you see from Romeo Okwara?
A: He did a nice job. Look, the guy came up, the guys had confidence in him, we had confidence in him and he played confident himself, which you just never know when you get thrown in that situation and the guys like Snacks and OV, they were over there encouraging him the whole game. JPP was outstanding. He was over there encouraging him and I think that helped.
Q: Do you think Matthew Stafford is going to be fine?
A: Yeah, and I am planning on seeing the guy that we have seen on tape. He is a good football player.
Q: After that game, how do you avoid a letdown in the next game?
A: Our goal now is to make sure that that game defensively is not our best game this year, so that has kind of been our focus, 'Let's not let that be the best game.' And that is just all about getting better, so each day we try to get better.
Q: We don't know what Keenan Robinson's status is going to be on Sunday, but how important has he been for you guys this year?
A: Yeah, he has been important in all those sub packages. He has kind of pieced it and glued it together. But look, if he can't go or something happens, then we just roll with Kelvin or roll with BJ or roll with somebody else going back in there or get a different personnel grouping in, but hopefully we get him back.
Q: Is your confidence in bringing pressure greater than it has ever been because of how well your secondary is playing?
A: There is a lot to that. I think those guys on the back end have done a nice job. But I have never had a problem bringing pressure and relying on guys. To me, when you bring pressure, then you rely on the pressure to do part of the covering, assuming that you have structured the thing right and the guys execute it properly, usually it works out pretty good. But, having said that, those guys back there making plays is encouraging. Janoris made a lot of big plays, but there are a lot of snaps over there where Eli is taking a guy out of the play. Now it doesn't get recognized because they don't throw it over there, but I thought he had a lot of good, productive snaps, too.
Q: You said the last couple weeks that you have to pick your poison. This is another one of those teams.
A: Yeah, another one of those. What is it about these teams that we are playing? Well, the quarterback is the catalyst, he makes it all go. I haven't faced Stafford in a while, but I see a mature quarterback that can do anything and everything all these other great quarterbacks can do.
He is managing the game, not managing, that is not a good word. He is controlling everything. He gets them in and out of good plays and bad plays and it is pretty impressive. We know how talented he is. He is a headache with his feet. When he runs the football, he runs like a fullback, so you have to be ready to take on a pretty big, thick quarterback, but I think he has been outstanding.
Q: Are they different? They don't have Calvin Johnson, but they almost seem a little bit more effective.
A: You know, I remember when we played Chicago back a few weeks ago and Cutler didn't have Jeffery, he wasn't going to play. I remember somebody saying to me that had some insight into Chicago was that they thought it would make Jay Cutler a better quarterback because now he wouldn't look for one guy, he would spread it around. I think that is what is happening in Detroit. They have a lot of guys catching the football. They have backs, they have receivers, they have big tight ends. It is a good unit now. It is a really good unit. It is going to be another test for us. If we let down at all, then it is going to be a problem.
Q: Why do you think you guys have been so successful with the blitz this season?
A: Talented guys, good assistant coaches that are getting to those guys and hopefully we are putting things together. We have always believed in attacking protections and if we can get lucky on a few of them and get a couple quarterback hits, especially early – I think it can help you as the game goes on and then I think it opens up things when you just bring four people.
Q: Will you really be watching his hand closely?
A: I will have some of the guys upstairs looking. If he is functioning differently, then maybe we will change things. But I am going to assume right now going in there that he can throw it every bit as good as we have seen him. Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan
Q: Why do you think Ereck Flowers has had some struggles?
A: I think as a younger player, there are always fundamentals that can be improved upon. There's the communication that takes place with the other members of the offensive line, particularly the left guard. I think it's something that he's continuing to work on and we're continuing to do the things we can to help him be successful. Like a lot of the players on our offense, there's a lot of area for improvement and he's certainly no exception.
Q: How much can the return of Justin Pugh help him?
A: I think when there's continuity, when you have someone who's played quite a bit, I mean Justin's played a lot of football, that communication is a big part of the success that can take place for the offensive line and that's certainly something that could help improve, we hope, and again, I think it's just a matter of continuing on a day-to-day basis, working the technique, working the fundamentals.
There's things that he's aware of that he can improve upon and it's a process. It never gets as fast or happens as fast as anyone would like but he's certainly putting the time in, his coaches are putting the time in and, again, we're hoping for the best.
Q: What about Bobby Hart? He looks like he's made strides, do you see an improvement in him?
A: Bobby's made some improvement. I think there's always going to be those clips that we can look at and see whether it was a matter of leverage or hand placement or technique that could have improved that'll be there as with all of those guys. He's certainly accepted the challenges he's had this year and has shown that he's making some strides and improving in certain areas, I think it's an accurate assessment.
Q: There's often an assumption that when a left tackle struggles that maybe he should go to the right side and that somehow that's less pressure that could help. Is it that simple and could that be something that could help a left tackle?
A: I've heard that as well and people talk about who's better suited for right tackle, who's a left tackle. He's our left tackle and our players are our players. We have to continue to work hard, there's no magic potion, there's no easy answer in terms of trying to do the things that we can from a technique standpoint, from a fundamental standpoint and schematically, trying to get him and all of our players to be successful.
If we can have more success in the run game, that certainly takes some of the pressure off the pass game component of it. While we've shown some progress, we've taken a few steps back, taken a few steps forward as far as the run game, but I think that's a part of it as well.
Q: What do you see from Eli on plays where the pressure isn't apparent and it doesn't seem like he's forced into some of the errors? Why is he making some of the mistakes that don't seem to be forced?
A: I think sometimes there may be coverage techniques that are played by the defenders that maybe move him from the first read to a second read, or to a third. Sometimes there may be instances where we don't quite have the precision that we'd like in the route itself and then other times, like all of us, prone to make mistakes and would like to have a few back and it really could be one of those matters that could come into play. I think he's someone that has a track record of being able to play high-quality, championship football in December and January and February and we're optimistic about where he's headed and what lies ahead for him with the rest of our season.
Q: Just going back to the tackles for a second, the technique, I know footwork is different but in terms of hand punch, hand placement, is it that much different on the left side than the right side?
A: I think the more familiarity an individual has in terms of...let me rephrase that, the more repetition. Obviously to go from one side to the other, there's different foot work, the hand placement, the leverage, the angles, it is different. So that is something that will have to be taken into account but as I mentioned, for us, we have our players and they're in their position, we just have to keep working hard and keep trying to find ways to improve and minimize the mistakes, minimize the penalties.
Those are the things that have negated...we had a heck of an explosive run there last game that was called back for penalty. Those are the things we can control with a here and now and that's what we need to focus on.
Q: Victor Cruz had one catch the other night. Is he getting open enough?
A: I think there was an opportunity also where he had a ball that I believe he dropped that he was open on. I think, we don't get zeroed in on, how can we feed Victor the ball, how can we feed Shepard the ball. We've got to make plays, we've got to get some consistency, we've got to eliminate the bad football, we've got to eliminate the turnovers.
When he has his opportunities, he has to make the most of them. He's done some good things for us. Obviously the week before he wasn't able to have any targets, but I think it boils down to when he does have his opportunities, he has to make the most of them and I think that applies not just to him but to all the other receivers and to the tight ends and the backs and really everybody in the offense.
Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn
Q: On the field goal try at the end of the first half, why was Janoris Jenkins back instead of Odell or Harris?
A: That is just the way we do it. We feel good with the ball in his hands. He scored a touchdown for us on a scoop and score and he has got really good speed, so it is the field goal block team and we just sub him back.
Q: Any thoughts of using him on punt or kick return?
A: Janoris? No, we have other guys.
Q: Can you talk about the day that Brad Wing had?
A: He did well. They weren't all pretty, but good result. I thought it was a really good job with the defense getting turnovers with the offense driving down, so we could punt it from that area and then when you punt it from that short of a field you have to try and get it down inside the 10 and we got it down inside the 5. So it was a good job by Dwayne (Harris) fielding the ball and getting it down because you have to work through the returner there, so it was a good effort to help with the field position.
Q: You didn't have him as much with his role on the offense last year. Is that one of the values of having him on special teams?
A: Yeah, it has been good. He has been a little beat up, so we took him off some return duties, but he has really stepped forward as the coverage guy that we knew when we got him.
Q: Is a big part of that tracking the ball as he runs down as the gunner?
A: Well, you have to beat the corner and then you have to play through the returner because if the returner doesn't signal a fair catch, then he can hit him or block him, so there are a lot of different things going through. You have to know where you are and you have to track the ball. It is not always easy, but we have had some that are touchbacks, but he did a job getting those down.
Q: We saw another blocked field goal with the guy jumping over the center on Monday night. Do you guys have someone who can do that?
A: Yeah, everyone on every team has somebody that can do it. You do run the risk of getting a 15-yard penalty or five-yard if you are in an illegal formation, so it is a risk-reward type of thing. It is based on how their protection is and how their cadence is, so there are a couple different factors involved.
Q: Who is your guy?
A: We have a couple different guys that we use.
Q: Even if you just graze the center, is it a penalty?
A: There are a lot of different stipulations into it. You can't leverage. You can't use him to gain additional height, so if you step on him forcefully, then that would be leverage. You also run the risk of – we had it against New Orleans, is from a field goal perspective, you are trying to flip those guys and then when you flip those guys, they can end up on their head or neck, so it is a dangerous play. You have to make sure that your guy can get over.
Q: And if the guy comes up too quick, then he can get a flag for lining up over the center, right?
A: Yeah, if you mistime it. We did that against Carolina last year.
Q: Is Weston Richburg your third option for long snapper?
A: Yeah, Philly saw that you have to have three. It is a scary deal. Yeah, we are trying to develop as many guys as you have. Some years you have more and some years you have less, but we have a couple guys that we work there.
Q: You must not get a lot of time in practice to work on it, right?
A: No, we have a period afterwards where we get to work on it and Herz (Mark Herzlich) has been pretty diligent. He works on it every day and then before the games, he will go out there and get some snaps, so you hope you never have to get to him.
Q: How different is it snapping the ball as a center and as a long snapper?
A: It is totally different, yeah. (Richburg) did it in college as a backup, so he has got some experience doing it. DE Olivier Vernon
Q: For a team to be such a great comeback team like Detroit is, does it require another mentality to stop a team like that?
A: It's a good team. They've been having a really good year. The only thing we can do right now is just stick to Giant football. Make sure everyone is on the right page.
Q: How do you keep up the mentality of pedal to the metal after such a big win against Dallas?
A: Just being consistent. That's one thing a lot of people take pride in. Just being consistent one week at a time. That's the main thing and basically what we've been doing all year. Just trying to get better, get better overall. There are still a lot of things that we still have to correct. Make ourselves a lot better. We just look forward to this Sunday.
Q: What is it about them on film that makes them so good in the fourth quarter?
A: They can make explosive plays. That's one of the key things, just making explosive plays on third down. They're making plays when it counts. You do that, it's a dangerous team. That's why where they are right now is a good spot. It's going to be a good football game.
Q: From the outside looking in, their rushing numbers are not great. It almost looks like they're a very pass-oriented team. Do you still have to keep in mind to stop the run first?
A: They're still going to run the ball at a certain point in the game. We just have to know when they're going to do that. It's just studying and making sure you know your opponent.
Q: They play indoors a lot of times. The fact that you guys have played in the elements and played in a wet, slick element last week. Does that give you any advantage?
A: That's something that we're not even banking on. We're just preparing to play a good football team. We know they're coming in here and they're trying to win. They have the same goal in mind. We know it's going to be a good football team we have to face.
Q: What do you see from their rookie left tackle?
A: He's coming along. He's been able to keep Stafford clean. He's a rookie, but at the end of the day, he's getting this experience, which is a good thing for him. Just have to see come Sunday. It's going to be a good overall dog fight basically.
Q: Why do you think Stafford is having his best year?
A: I couldn't tell you. He's been pretty good throughout his career. He's a quarterback that can make plays happen and he can win games. CB Eli Apple
Q: How big of a challenge is it facing Matthew Stafford? He is having an MVP caliber season.
A: It is going to be a great challenge. We are looking forward to it and you just want to continue to get better every week.
Q: What have you seen on film?
A: Just his gutsiness out there, his confidence and his arm.
Q: Is he similar to anyone that you have faced this year? Do you think he is the best you have faced this year?
A: He is one of the best. He has a big arm, he is gutsy and he can scramble as well.
Q: Are they more one-dimensional than most of the teams you have played?
A: Well, yeah, they like to pass the ball. They know their strengths. They use the screens as a run type of thing, so we know they like to get the ball to the perimeter.
Q: Do you as a secondary go into this game knowing that it might kind of depend on us?
A: Yeah, we always feel that if we do our job, then the chances of us winning are always great, so we just have to do our job.
Q: Do you think that is even more important this week because you are facing a team that loves to throw the ball?
A: At the end of the day, the game always comes down to who makes the biggest plays and we know we have to make big plays this week.
Q: Landon said that he thinks the glove may impact the amount of zip that Stafford can put on the ball. Do you kind of go into Sunday with that in your mind and thinking that you may be able to have a bigger impact?
A: We always go into every game being confident and thinking that we can make plays, of course, so that is the mindset we are going into it with.
Linebacker Jonathan Casillas
Q: Does the fact that they rely so much on the pass play into your hands?
A: Not really. They have strengths and we have strengths and we're going to put them to the test this Sunday. You can't take anything from these guys, they can run the ball even though they choose not to run the ball because they have such a good quarterback. People don't talk about him, but (Golden) Tate is one of the better receivers in the league. He can change the game with one play. He has the second-most break tackles in the NFL at receiver, so he's doing a really good job and they spread the ball around.
Q: On the confidence in the Giants secondary.
A: As much confidence as you can have in anything else. The guys are playing lights out. Landon Collins is probably defensive MVP right now. Guys are playing really great and we're complementing them with a great pass rush and linebackers.
Q: Did you know Janoris Jenkins was this good?
A: I did not, no.
Q: What's your reaction been? How did you realize it?
A: The first couple of days when I saw him strapping people up. He's a tremendous football player, such a great football IQ. From where he's from, those guys are bred to play football. You can see it in guys like that. He's just a baller, straight up.
Q: You've been around this league for awhile so what was your impression when they signed this guy to a big contract?
A: That he had to some type of player to get that type of deal. Within a few months, I realized that this dude is top tier, top 2-4 in league, and he's been proving that week-in and week-out. Dude is making incredible plays and shutting down some pretty good receivers.
Q: What does that do for the rest of the defense when you have a guy who...?
A: Makes it a lot easier, I can tell you that much.
Q: Coach Spagnuolo was saying that Eli Apple has been doing a good job too as far shutting down receivers.
A: Yeah, he has been. He had some rookie issues there like any other rookie would have, but Eli is doing very well and surprising me a lot. You're not really used to corners shooting up in there and sticking in there like that, but Eli gets up in there and hits somebody.
Q: Detroit is the definition of comeback kids and obviously they have to have a special mentality to be that way. Do you have to be aware of that and how do you count them?
A: Oh for sure. You've got to stay out there for four quarters-plus. You might go a little longer than four quarters because that's the type of team that they have. The offense they have, they can score points very fast and very late and they have the quarterback that's willing to do it. At the end of the day, it's going to come down to who wants it more; we want it a lot and you see that every game week-in and week-out, so you've got to tip off your hat to them and we've got to be prepared to play four quarters plus.
Q: The passing game must put a lot of stress on your linebackers right?
A: Yeah, Riddick is really good out of the backfield. I think he's got the third-most targets in the NFL. They find him a lot on third down and they find him a lot in the red zone. I think he had about five or six touchdowns in the red zone so he's definitely a viable option and he's willing to do as the quarterback is willing throw.
Q: As good as last week was, is there an attitude of not wanting to be satisfied coming into this week?
A: You can never be satisfied, you can never be content and every week gets bigger. We may not play a one-loss team this week, but it's a division leader and it means a lot when it comes to the playoffs. Every game is going to get bigger, whether the record of the team that we play against is one loss, two losses, three losses, whatever it is. The games are going to get bigger and this is the biggest game we have to date, is this one.
Q: On facing Stafford.
A: The competition in the playoffs, it's playoff level. All these guys have the potential to make it to the Super Bowl. So you have to take that mindset that every week is important leading up to it and then we get to the dance, that's it, it's the dance. You've got to come prepared and do everything you can to be prepared for every game.
Q: Because of how well Roethlisberger played against you guys, is there any motivation to face another elite level quarterback?
A: We're always willing to step up to the competition. Roethlisberger did what he did against us and if we had an opportunity to play them again, sometime in February, it'll probably be a little different. That's looking down the road and as of right now, we're worried about this elite quarterback that we have coming into MetLife on Sunday.
Q: If Keenan Robinson isn't able to play, how much would that affect you guys?
A: It's huge, Keenan has been a very productive player for us. He's huge and he's been doing a really good job and hopefully we can have him out there, but if not, everybody's got to step up. We missed Jason Pierre-Paul last week, but how much did we really miss JPP (laughs), and that's because everybody stepped up. Romero Okwara played lights out, Devon Kennard played inside as a defensive tackle, defensive end and everybody played lights out. But when you miss somebody that significant, like a JPP, like Keenan Robinson that does so much, everybody has to step up.