Good morning. I would first say that it was an outstanding team win yesterday for our Giant team against a very physical football team in the St. Louis Rams, a team that had given up 9.2 points per game for the last five games and had played very, very well and won some big games at home down the stretch. Beating Seattle. They had defeated the 49ers. They had done some outstanding things. We are pleased as a team to go in there and get the lead in a tightly-contested game and to be able to come away from there with a win.
I would have to say I was very pleased with a lot of our young guys, to be honest with you. I would talk about Kerry Wynn for a minute, with an interception, a fumble recovery and playing a lot more in the rotation than he normally would have because of Damontré Moore's ejection. I also would recognize Nat Berhe, who did an outstanding job of recovering a fumble and making a tackle on the kickoff at the 10-yard line. Orleans Darkwa, who forced a fumble and then had an opportunity to play in the game and scored a touchdown on an outstanding run where he started one way and [the Rams] defense surrounded him and then all of a sudden, he broke out of the crowd and got in position to where he was able to score a touchdown there. You saw a couple of really good, young running backs. The Rams with [Tre] Mason and Andre Williams, who played well for us and displayed some powerful runs. He did an outstanding job there and, of course, Odell Beckham, who had eight catches for 148 yards and a long of 80. [He] continued his outstanding play. Then I would mention outstanding pressure on the quarterback. Of course, Jason Pierre-Paul continued his outstanding play. Then, Eli Manning, with an outstanding football game with a quarterback rating of 148.8, 25 for 32 for 391 [yards], three touchdowns and no interceptions.
For us in the game to be plus-three, that is an outstanding job. I just mentioned the young guys who contributed to the ability of us to be plus-three, takeaways with no giveaways. Our third down conversion rate on both sides of the ball was good. We were 47 percent as an offense and our defense held the Rams to 17 percent. We had a yardage day, 514 yards. The stat that I was very happy with was 32 passes and 34 runs, and we had 128 yards rushing. Our net punt wasn't as good, but they have an outstanding returner and he certainly was able to make some plays there. I thought they held our gunners up and gave [Tavon] Austin a chance to get started, and he certainly did come through for them in a strong fashion.
We did win the time of possession at 34:47, which is something that was very important for us as well. A hard fought game where obviously it was a game with penalties and a melee there at one point in the game. It was settled down. I thought the second half was played much better and we are pleased to come out of a physical game with a win.
Q: Could you elaborate a little bit more on Kerry Wynn and Orleans Darkwa given that Kerry went 10 weeks without playing and Darkwa was a pickup in the middle of the season, so he wasn't even with you in the summer time?
A: Kerry has been with us a long time, all through training camp. He impressed us all the way. Much of that was you never hear the guy say much. He just plays hard. He loves to play. He has a unique ability, in my opinion, to be in the right spot at the right time. That is what he displayed yesterday. It is a dream for a defensive lineman to have an interception and also to have that late fumble recovery. I was very nervous even then with two minutes to go. He did come up with that as well. He played solid for us in there. His presence is felt. He holds his gap. He is a powerful young man and he is just going to keep on getting better as he goes along. If you want to talk about Orleans Darkwa, here is a young man who impressed us very much right away when he came to us because I would continue to check with Craig Johnson, our running backs coach, about, what do you think about [Darkwa] and how is he doing. He picked things up very fast. I think the level of confidence was recognized by the fact that he was inserted many times in the game on third down against a team that has a very, very complicated pressure and blitz package and he was able to go in and help us in that regard as well. Those two guys have made nice contributions, as have a number of young guys.
Q: Those of us who are around Odell Beckham know him as a pretty respectful young guy and not of the taunting nature… I just wonder how you handle guys expressing themselves like he does after a touchdown… Do you feel like as he is in the league a little more, the refs will have a better recognition that he is not taunting?
A: I think the one thing is that every time Odell plays, he learns more about the National Football League and he learns about the way in which he is being interpreted, some good, some bad. He continues to try and want to do things the right way. We will continue to try to teach him, without taking away from his ability and his excitement and the obvious lift that he brings. Here is a kid that runs the entire length of the field with every ball in practice. It is one thing to see someone do that and then it is such an outstanding example for everyone else, but that is the kind of energy and excitement that he brings to the enjoyment of playing. That is there and it is there full-time. You want that. Now the exuberance, if it goes too far, obviously, it is not a good thing, so we will continue to work with him. I spoke to him on the way out on the plane about a couple of things I was interested in continuing to talk to him about and why I wanted him to learn as much as he possibly could and for me to help him going forward because I want everyone to realize the quality of the young man, and not be offset by some of things that he has done. He looked at me and said, 'Coach, stay after me.' He wants to learn and he wants to continue to improve and be better. I think he will and I think going forward, as he understands the professional game, that he will understand that some of the things that take place give the wrong message or send the wrong message.
Q: Do you also want him to continue to play with something of an edge without crossing whatever the line is?
A: Absolutely, there is no way you want to take anything away from the guy on the field, except for some of the things you see. I am not trying to tell you that everything he does is intentionally directed at the opponent. It is not, but if it is being interpreted by the officials as it is, then we have to do something about it.
Q: Did you feel like [Beckham Jr.] went overboard on the spinning of the ball?
A: No, I do not think he did. I don't think he did. I think, obviously, the officials had probably talked about that and they were waiting.
Q: You were speaking to the official as he got back to sideline after the extra point… What were you telling him? Were you trying to state your case that the kid wasn't taunting?
A: What I said to the official, I am not going to repeat. What was the reason the penalty was called? They felt that it was taunting. There is some evidence that he looks one way and then he comes back and does it. Whether or not he knows who is even around him, that would be the question.
Q: One guy that you didn't mention was Rueben Randle, who had a rough couple weeks. Can you speak about what he showed you leading up to this game and the performance he had?
A: I think Rueben went into this game with the idea and the knowledge that we needed strong contributions from everyone. We needed to understand what may have likely happened from a defensive standpoint against us and that all people would have to make contributions, and he certainly did. The play he made in the middle of the field where he went up as high as he did and brought down the post ball, that was an outstanding start to his game. He had many plays, he had the play at the end of the game where he went a long way with the slant route and, in truth, I would've liked him to stay in the middle of the field and see if he could've scored with that. He played very well and he had the six receptions for 132 for a 22-yard average. He also blocked and that is a good sign. As I have said all along, Rueben Randle is very talented. The way in which he approached this game, I would hope he would stamp on the back of his hand to remind him of how he prepared for this one and how well he played. We need him to play like that; we need him to play at that capacity.
Q: You have seen a lot of very good games from Eli Manning. Where would you rate this one as far as the accuracy, the way he was able to put the ball in places where guys could catch the ball in stride and do something with it?
A: I think his focus was laser-like. I think he was very, very, much tuned only into what was going on, on the field. He was as focused and as zoomed in on what he was looking for in this game as any game we have seen this year. He prepares himself extremely well, he does that for every game. I thought his ability to get us into the right runs, his ability to check versus pressure, his ability to stand in the pocket and make plays, all of those things were there yesterday afternoon. He obviously played very, very, well.
Q: When you, Ben McAdoo, and the rest of your offensive staff got together and started putting this offense together, and you look at the evolution of it, was yesterday's performance about as close as what you wanted to put together for this team?
A: Well, we want more, we want more. We definitely, based on yesterday, we are on track, let's put it that way. We did a lot of good things. What you have to remember now is I thought our offensive line really accepted the challenge, our defensive line, our offensive line. They had to accept the challenge for a game of that nature. I really believe you win them upfront and I think that our guys did. It just goes along with the other things that we are able to do. It is a very good sign.
Q: You talked about wanting this offense to have an identity. Do you feel you guys have found that over the last three games?
A: Well, we have gone in that direction. I think we know what we want and we know how we want to play and how we have to play. We did some very good things yesterday and the idea is to be able to consistently continue that, to be able to recognize the quality. All teams are different in terms of how you have to prepare. It is not just what you take into the game, you have to have the flexibility to maneuver within based on what the opponent does and what the opponent's strengths are. We are headed into that direction.
Q: If I can bring you back to the conversation you had with Odell Beckham Jr. when he said, "stay on me." Can you tell me about what the means to you?
A: Again, it is a continuation of what I think I recognized and the coaches all recognized from day one is that this young man wants to be everything he possibly can be and he is not afraid to recognize the fact that he doesn't have all the answers, and wants to put himself in a position where he can learn as fast as he can. That is exactly what our role is. I look at this, I am a teacher and I can bring a wealth of experience to a young player like this and try to be in a position where I can help him go avoid some of the pot holes, if you will, that occur for young guys. The ability to establish who they are, what they represent, and the quality of player that they are, and also the quality of person that they are.
Q: Can you talk about the importance of a coach/quarterback relationship? I believe you and Eli Manning are second to Belichick and Tom Brady in terms of most games played, and what that means in terms of continuity and being able to kind of work though these difficult situations that occasionally come up.
A: We have been at this a long time. I do enjoy the opportunity to work with a young man of his quality and he has been the same type of individual through anything that has been thrown at him. The idea that we can start with that basis, the fact that he is the quarterback, and he has been able to play for as many years and as many start as he has, it is a heck of a starting point. Literally, and I said this along the way many years ago, you can throw whatever you want at him. We did it when he was a rookie, you remember back to the Dallas win when he checked to the run and we scored…to win that game. It is the idea that there is a tremendous amount of faith and trust that we have in him and the way that he has accepted the challenge of the new offense and has responded. I think it is a great plus for everybody around him, too. There is no question that it is a wonderful starting point.
Q: Do you have injuries coming out of that game?
A: Nothing that I am prepared to talk about today. The players are in at 11, so we will know a little bit more later on.