QB Eli ManningQ: You guys are 0-2. Where do you go from here?**
A: We can only get better. We just have to look at the game film and make corrections. I think there are some good things. I think there are some opportunities that we just missed yesterday. We were very much in the game and we caught a bad break from an interception off a heel and then we go down 15 points. They returned a punt and then the game kind of got out of reach, but for the most part we were right in there. We really did some good things in the first half. We just didn't execute a few times in the red zone where we should have had a couple of touchdowns. We had a fumble. We had a guy fall when he was open. We had a little high throw and a drop on a third and three. Just little things like that are keeping us from being in better situations, but I think we've just got to keep working the way we have been. Practices have been good. Our effort and concentration has been good. We've just got to keep doing those things and we'll start making those plays.
Q: How much does limiting the interceptions have to be a part of this team getting better?
A: Turnovers are going to lose you football games and so we've got to eliminate the turnovers. Every interception has its own story, but I have to be smarter with the football and throw the ball more accurately and we've got to make some plays.
Q: Without a running game, do you think you might be pressing a little bit out there?
A: No. The first interception was just a bad play, a bad decision by me. The second one was just a weird throw off a heel and then after that we were down 22 points. One was a fourth and 10 and probably pressing. The next one was just a bad play. But I think for the most part we've been throwing the ball well and doing some good things. We've been stuck in some second and longs, third and longs. We've got to get the running game, we've got to be more balanced and I think that will help things out.
Q: Do you see them honoring the play action at all?
A: We really didn't have much play action. The few times we had play action, they were just playing cover two and so we weren't getting the safeties down much. We didn't quite get the coverages we were hoping. We weren't getting those safeties down, but if you're not running the ball well, they can play two-high. They can keep the two safeties really deep and say 'don't let them get the big plays.' We've got to help out our offensive linemen. When you run the ball, it slows down the pass rush and you just get better in down and distance. Our third down wasn't really good. I think we had four third downs where it was third and 13 plus. You might get one of those a game, but those are hard to convert.
Q: You've been here before in 2007 when you were 0-2 and then rallied as a team. Does that give you hope?
A: I think we have hope just because I feel like we're doing some decent things. We've got to get better, but I think we will. I think we have great character guys. The season is very early. All you can worry about is this next game. We've got to go to Carolina. They've played a couple of close games. They seem to be playing good defense, so we've got to go in there and play better football and find a way to get a win.
Q: What do you see in the running game?
A: I think there were a couple of opportunities in some runs where we were very close. David Wilson almost broke a few of them and just got caught up by a defensive end. Early on, we had a couple of runs with David and Brandon on that first drive. It's a combination. The offensive line has got to do a good job and it seems like on the film with the tight ends and offensive line, it looks like five of the guys were doing great and then one guy messes up and that makes it a bad play. So in the run game, just like in most plays, everybody has got to be doing a great job. Everybody has got to be on the same page. If one guy misses a block or gets beat, that's the end of the play. I think we are close. It's not like everybody is messing up and we're getting out-physicaled. We are very close. We've just got to get it where everybody is on every play doing their job correctly and doing it at a high level and we'll get that going.
Q: Do you think you're getting away from the run too soon?
A: No. I don't think that's the case. In the games, obviously, we have gotten down, so in the fourth quarter we really didn't get to run the ball a whole lot, but I think we had 19 rushes. We only averaged a yard a rush, so when you're running the ball and losing two or three yards, it's tough. It's one thing if you get two yards. That's one thing. It's not great, but you don't want to be going backwards with the run game.
Q: Is it a little jarring to see your interception total through two games?
A: I don't think I can just get worried about the number. I've got to look at the plays and look at the decision-making on my part. I think the first one was a bad decision. The next two weren't bad decisions or weren't bad throws, it was just bad circumstances. Hopefully we just don't get in those games where you're down 22 points in the fourth quarter. At that point, I like to tell myself, 'don't throw interceptions, don't force things when you don't have to,' but I'm going to compete. If it's fourth and 10, I'm going to give a guy a shot to make a play and if it looks like it's double coverage… But I'm not going to lay down. So I think I've just got to look at each play and kind of see is it a bad throw? Is it a bad decision? Is it a misread? I'm not having many of those. Those aren't the cases. It's just sometimes you get some bad breaks, you get some unfortunate circumstances but I think I've just got to keep working and eliminate the ones that are bad decisions.
Q: Will the hard thing this week be trying to not make this game a must-win game?
A: I think in this situation you've got to have a little sense of urgency. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. If you make it a must-win, sometimes you need to be put in those situations. It is a big game. We're 0-2 right now. We're looking for our first win, but I think guys have got to keep their heads up, look at the good things and look where we've got to make improvements. Where are our mistakes? Why aren't we being as consistent as we need to be? I think everybody has got to look hard at that and come out and have a great week of practice, have a great preparation and go out there and just play our best football.
Q: What will it take for David Wilson to gain more snaps and to earn the coaching staff's trust?
A: I think David is going to have to play for us and play well. I think the circumstances of the game came into it with throwing it as much as we had to. I don't know how many snaps he had, but I think he's got their confidence and I think David did a good job last night running the ball, holding on to the ball, in pass protection and doing all the things he had to do. So I think they have his confidence and he'll play with whatever their game plan is to play him.
Q: Is his skillset different from the traditional Giants running back over the last several years and you might have to find other ways to give him the ball?
A: I think you can find ways to give him the ball and get him in the open field. I think we'll try to do that and use him somewhat differently, but he's still the running back. He's going to have to get handoffs and hopefully he can break some long ones for us.
DE Justin Tuck**
We always talk amongst ourselves.
Q: With any more urgency though?
A: Today is a day of sulking. We'll sulk today. We'll come back and win and get this thing right.
Q: What needs to happen to get this thing right?
A: Honestly, we have to stop beating ourselves. We have a lot of opportunities in these first three games to kind of rewrite what this 0-2 is, the reality of this 0-2. We have to stop beating ourselves. We had a lot of opportunity to win both of these football games and didn't do it. Granted we played two pretty good football teams, but like I said, we had opportunities to play better than what we did.
Q: After watching the film did you see anything that you didn't know last night when we talked to you?
A: Not really. Watching the film gives you that first perspective of it, but during the game you know what's going on. You know, for the most part, what's lacking or where your major mistake is at. The feeling was just a confirmation of what I said yesterday.
Q: Whenever we ask pass rushers about getting to the quarterback more, the answer we usually get is, yeah, we have to get there more. How do you do that? Obviously we know you want to, but what will change and what has to change in order for that to happen?
A: I don't think a lot of people understand the work as a pass rusher. Everything kind of has to work on your favor if you're a good pass rusher. You can have great rushes and if your secondary isn't in line, the quarterback is going to get rid of the ball. Obviously there's times where the secondary makes them hold the ball, but you don't even have a good pass rush so it works hand in hand in that, too. For some reason, we haven't had the opportunities. Peyton did a great job of keeping us off rhythm with the run and play action passes. He gets you to stutter your feet and obviously the ball is coming out pretty quickly. That's not an excuse. We still have to do a better job of getting to him and feeling the pressure even when we didn't sack him. We missed him a few times, too, which talks to how strong he is. We had people draped on him a few times when they couldn't bring him down, but I guess to answer your question, we have to get there.
Q: Is some of it that you guys had a chemistry with the defensive line with Canty and Osi and guys like that? With new faces, does it take time for you guys to kind of gel together?
A: That could be part of it. I think we've had enough time to gel. Moving forward, hopefully it starts working out for everyone.
LT Will Beatty
You see the openings but in the NFL, they close quickly. So we just have to keep them open a second longer. Some of those running plays, because you saw where the secondary is, we could have hit for big yardage. We're using that as you see what we ran, you see what we did and look what could have happened. As an O-line we're taking that, blocking a second longer, pushing them out knowing they would do the twist game because the first week it kind of hurt us, knowing what you're going against.
Q: How much of the inconsistency is a result of seemingly everybody not being in the same spot they expected to be at the start of the year? You had Boothe at center instead of guard, you had Pugh starting when nobody thought he would be starting for the season opener.
A: We don't make excuses. It's whatever five we've got and today this is the five that we have to make work. As a player, you love being out there starting. In no way would I have said, "put somebody else in for me." That's what you want. I know Pugh wants to be out there, he wants to be starting and he has an opportunity. Wherever Boothe can go to help us, he's going to be there. He's going to be at that spot and he's going to take ownership of it. In no way do we ever say, "this five is not good enough to go out there and compete." So each game we go out there and compete and we're expecting to do better things next week. We cleaned up a lot of these little things; it's the little details in the run game that make the difference between the big plays and shutting it down.
Q: Have you ever been part of an offensive line that got 23 yards rushing in a game?
A: I don't keep track of stats. I move on to the next week. I know I've been a part of offensive lines that have had running backs go for 1,000-plus yards and I plan on doing that again. With a slow start it's an uphill battle but the season is far from being over. In no way are we saying, "we can't run the ball." We know that we can't make mistakes running the ball. If we get that out of the way, we can keep moving forward.
Q: Some of the plays the back was hit by the backside player, almost before he got the ball. What did you see on those plays?
A: As an O-line it's your job to take care of that line of scrimmage so the back shouldn't be touched in the backfield. We know that. We have to move that line of scrimmage, we have to get them openings so he can at least get, he should be able to fall forward and get four yards. That is our goal, that is what we are striving to do. We did not reach that last week but we have next week to move forward.
Q: How much more difficult is it when you don't have the running game? The other team seemingly knows you are going to pass.
A: It puts a lot on our receivers and they still did a tremendous job. Looking at it as, they keep doing what they're doing, and we get our running game to force the defense to respect it and it's going to open up a lot more for them. I'm looking forward to it. We had two games; yes, we didn't have the best running game but it's not over, it's far from over. I'm hopeful and I'm looking forward to it.
LB Mark Herzlich
You get a fire lit under you every now and then and I think now is one time we have a fire lit under us. There is a sense of urgency, and I think one of the big things in football is that you never want to lose two games in a row. That's something that obviously happened to us and we want to end that. We want to get in the winning habit because, you know, winning is like everything else – once you do it a couple times, you start to learn what it takes. I think each team gains that sort of sense. This is a new team, our 2013 team, we haven't had that yet and that's what we're working for this week.
Q: The preseason doesn't count but the play during the preseason was rather sporadic, too. If that winning feeling wasn't there then, hasn't that kind of carried over a little bit?
A: Yeah. The preseason doesn't count in terms of wins and losses but I think it counts in terms of team camaraderie and a feeling that we get towards that winning. There were good things that happened in the preseason, there are things that weren't good. The scores, we didn't have that overwhelming sense in the locker room after a game when you start to understand that winning culture and we didn't have that with the end results. So that's something we've got to get back to. There are guys on the team who know what it feels like but we don't know what it feels like together, as a group. I think that's something that we're very much looking forward to this week.
Q: One of the worst things that can happen when you lose is you start doubting yourselves. Has that at all started to happen?
A: No, we're not doubting ourselves. I think a lot of things that were talked about today, not only by coaches but by players, was that, yeah, we are very disappointed. We are disappointed in how we played but we're not discouraged about what our team can be, and when you stay encouraged and you want to keep pushing forward and know you can, you have to believe you can, then we still have a shot.
Q: Do you take any solace in the fact that the division is not running away from you? Nobody's 2-0, you guys are only a game out of first.
A: I think it's… we have those stats up there but when it comes down to it, it's the second week. We aren't even looking at Dallas, Philly and the Redskins we're just looking at Carolina right now. We walk out of this building and I think the meeting officially ended one minute ago, it's not the day after Denver, now, it's Carolina week. All our film is loaded up, we all have notes, we're all ready to go so we will be prepared on Wednesday when we come back in to practice.