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Quotes (9/22): Coach Coughlin, LB McClain

Head Coach Tom Coughlin

Opening Statement: I would like to say basically what I said last night. There is work to do; we've got a lot of things that we need to clean up. You saw some of the disappointments of the early part of the game in terms of the snap from center, the turnover inside the green zone, we've got a lot of young people playing. We had some unawareness with the punt fake; we do have some things that are troublesome. It was very, very good that we got Antrel's [Rolle] interception to go up 14-0 because that started to get close. That gave us a little margin there prior to kicking another field goal and extending the lead, all of those things prevailed. When Houston came in here, they were flying high without a doubt, playing very, very well. Had played very little time in the first two games of the year from behind and that was one of our objectives, and I was glad we were able to do that. The turnovers, the takeaways were huge, that was a big plus in going about our business. We got some field position. I think five or four times we took the ball over in their territory, scored, may have been four out of the five. That was a big plus too because our drives average were very long and it was good to see us have a little more of the short field. We were down there a lot of times, didn't score a touchdown as well as we had been when we've been in the green. We've got work to do in that area as well, but it was good to win, it was good for our players to win. There was one indicative stretch there which spoke to our team completely. It was 3rd and 8; they got 7 yards. That was the one we challenged. Right away there, punt team came on. We sent our group out. We did have a blocked punt, we had the opportunity, then we had a stop and a blocked punt, then we were able to take the ball over and take it down in for a score. That was indicative for what we're trying to do when talking about in terms of playing together.

Q: A lot of your players said keeping the mood light during what could have been an otherwise, "tense week" was important. Was that important to you? Do you think it was a factor that you kind of let them have fun rather than worry too much about their predicament?
A: It was meant to send a signal to them that I still believe in them and I wanted them to focus on what had to be corrected and accomplished. Rather than on something else. Keeping it positive was very important. Keeping it in terms of we wanted outstanding work, we wanted guys to relax and show us the kind of football players that they really were, to demonstrate their ability to play together as one, to perform with the athleticism that we knew they had and haven't seen a lot of. Yes, it was important.

Q: We made a big deal way back in 2007 when you kind of lightened things up on the team. Does that experience sort of linger in your mind every time you think about easing up on them a little bit and bringing the fun back?
A: When you are in a position that we were in with two losses and the world around our neck, I wanted to demonstrate always that we are all in it together and that we do stick together. Regardless of the circumstances, good or bad, we are about 'team,' we are about being there for each other and I want the message to go across very strongly. Certainly, some of the veteran members of our team felt strongly the same way. We got our work done, we worked well, but we were able to enjoy it a little bit, particularly with our Friday.

Q: Road teams haven't fared so well in these Thursday night games so far. How big a challenge is that and how do you sort of condense it and do you make any changes from the routines you have done in the past in regards to that.
A: We do have a set routine in our way in which we prepare for a Thursday night game. We experimented with this in the past; this is the one that we like, the schedule in terms of bringing guys in late today and having our normal Wednesday introduction in terms of meetings. Really the field work is very minimal. We want them to see everything but we don't want a lot of exertion in terms of…I want them to move around enough to help the soreness, work the soreness out, but we don't need to do anything with full speed at all today. This is the way we approach this week and will continue to do that. We have a plan which incorporates all of our learning, gives us a chance through the use of jog throughs or whatever, get as much on the field as we can without taking away from the fact that you just played a very physical game and it is a very short week and we want to be able to play come Thursday night.

Q: Is Tuesday the only day you are able to run at full speed?
A: Well even if I do that it will be limited.

Q: Justin Pugh allowed that one sack to J.J. [Watt] but it seemed like he had him for 40 snaps on Sunday…Did you see him take a big step forward in maturity as far as handling a player of that caliber?
A: I liked the way he prepared himself. He gave great respect to Watt, who is an outstanding player. A guy who has a great motor and they utilized him in a lot of different positions. He did have, whether you are right in your charting or not, I am not sure, but [Watt] did end up ,as predicted, with his alignment to the left. A lot of it was out there at the end position. Some was inside in the sub-package, but I liked the way Justin prepared. I like the competitor in him and I liked the way that materialized. I didn't like the sack so early in the game. Nevertheless he didn't let that get him down and he rebounded from it and played physical the whole day.

Q: Are you at a comfort level with this group [of starting offensive lineman]?
A: There were some new positions and new people deep into the training camp who were pressed into service at spots that we were in, so we heavily scrutinized that group. I do see us improving, little by little. So that being the case, we always try to create depth and have people that are ready to go, but this group has gone through some difficult times and some not so good times, and do have something to show for the other day and I was pleased with that.

Q: You come out of this last game healthy? What about the guys that have been out a little while [such as] [Jon] Beason and [Odell] Beckham? Any update on those guys for this week?
A: No, we are going to see to what extent Jon can be a part of our on the field work. I think that there is improvement in Odell and there has been every week. I don't believe he is there. We are trying to be as patient as we can with the idea being that when we get him back, we are going to have him.

Q: After the game yesterday you talked about the effect of the productive play-action passes and the versatility of the offense… Then you also said it is the safer way to throw the ball…Could you talk about what you mean by that?
A: That is because if the run fake is good enough, if your front makes it look legitimate enough, then you certainly get people to take one or so steps in the wrong direction or be out of position somewhat. If your timing is good, then you can take advantage of that. That is what I mean by it being a safer throw. If you do sell the run well enough, you pull people out of position and you can create some opportunities for some voids in the coverage.

Q: Was Stevie Brown injured yesterday?
A: No

Q: Was he off the field late in the game more than usual for performance reasons?
A: We had made a position change there, and that is all I am going to say about that. He is not hurt.

Q: Coming out of the game, you are relatively healthy…How important is that as far as recovery time with only a few days between games?
A: Well it is very important. Because we have to rise up and be prepared to go on short notice and because from a study standpoint, you have people whose minds are completely focused on the next opponent rather than on to what extent they feel like they can do this or do that based on whether it is a serious injury or not. It still may very well hold people back. You are going to have your normal bumps and bruises when you play a physical game, a game in which you have as much intensity and focus involved as I thought we did. You are going to have guys who are not even 24 hours after the game are still sore and what have you. That is the challenge is to get them back to the point where that's all behind them. If you do happen to stay away from injuries of any kind, even some of the muscular kind that people play with but doesn't make them a high percentage of health, you are better off.

LB Jameel McClain

Q: Can you talk about the challenge facing such a quick turnaround?
A: It is always a challenge to have this type of turnaround in the NFL, to go from a Sunday to a Thursday night. How I look at it is both teams are going through the same thing. It is more of a mental preparation style week because of the physicality [of the game]. Most people's bodies don't really recover until Tuesday or Wednesday. It is really going to be a mental preparation type week for us.

Q: How do you view the performance by the defense yesterday?
A: I saw a defense that was having fun. I saw 11 guys out there running around and enjoying the game and playing the necessary assignments. We did give up some yards, so there is room for improvement. Initially it was one of the better defensive performances this year. It shows that we have an even longer way to go and a lot of improvements to do. … still have things to correct. It is only uphill from here.

Q: You haven't been around long, but did you see a noticeable change in Tom [Coughlin's] attitude last week?
A: I actually did see a noticeable change. Obviously to start with the music. The music on Friday was a little different, but was something that gave people energy. I noticed that little thing, but other than that, I am more of a just keep my head down and work type of guy. I don't really see much of anything, but I can hear music from anywhere.

Q: You have been on some pretty good defenses in Baltimore…Is this the best group of starting cornerbacks that you have been around? What does it allow you to do as the rest of the defense?
A: These cornerbacks are phenomenal. From the top to the bottom. DRC [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie]. Prince [Amukamara]. Tru' [Trumaine McBride] comes in and does amazing things. And Z-Bo [Zach Bowman], I believe, is a great corner. When Walter [Thurmond] was out there we have so much depth and so much talent that these guys can just go out there and play ball. Our job is to make them look good as the front seven. So [the opposing team] can start to pass the ball and we can get our defensive backs with the ball in the air… It gets dangerous at that point because it is fair game at that point.

Q: Do you think you guys may have been playing a little tight as a result of so many new faces getting together and playing for the first time?
A: I think it is a mixture of everything. When you have a collection of so many people that are trying to get used to the standard or to get used to what exactly it is or how something is supposed to be done or what exactly a coach means, everybody has to get on the same page. I think what we are seeing now are players getting on the same page. Players and coaches speaking the same language. Not saying we didn't speak it before, but now we are speaking it clearer. This is only one game. We wanted to stack these games, so now I can consistently tell you this is what we are doing and how we are rolling better. I am not a person to jump the gun. Although I am excited about the performance like everyone else is, we still have to keep building on top of that.

Q: It seemed in the 4th quarter the coaches decided to go with the rookie Nat Berhe…When you looked at the film today, how did he do?
A: He did good. He was a rookie coming in and making plays. He handled it well. I have been a big believer in Berhe for a while. I like Berhe's abilities on special teams and what he brings to the defense. I always speak to him any chance I can and it was great to see him get an opportunity and go out there and show the coaches what he could do in the defenseive sets.

Q: What do you see that Nat Berhe brings to the table as a safety on this defense?
A: In my experience from seeing him play in training camp and seeing him in the preseason is that he is a hitter. I am a sucker for a hitter. Some people like certain things and I like people that come down and hit and that is one of the things I like about him. Obviously he has a lot good things to his game. What I like most is that he will come in and hit you.

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