Coach Tom Coughlin**
Good afternoon. When we talked with the team today, we obviously were straight forward about the loss and about the fact that there were a lot of good things in this game. I felt good, as I told you last night, about the effort. That, quite frankly as I told the team, was the expectation. So where are we from here? What are the improvements we're looking for from here? I think there were some things in the game yesterday that would lead us to, we need to be a smarter team. We need to, again, get back on the penalty trail because initially, as I mentioned to you yesterday, the reason that I deferred was that I thought we could maybe stop them, get the ball in field position and have a good spot on the field for our offense. They made a couple of first downs, they punted the ball down, we ran the ball back to mid-field, and we had a bad penalty there. Not good use of judgment. I think there were other things in the game that would indicate that as well, that we can be definitely a smarter football team. The next thing is that all three phases somehow, some way, would hold their own weight, would contribute to the success of each other, and thus to our team. I think that's basically right where we're at. There were good things in all phases. I liked the position that our defense put us in. The majority of the day I did not like the third down conversions. Everyone wants to talk about the inequity there. In terms of snaps, officially it was 70-61. Had we taken some of those third downs and stopped them, then a number of those plays would not have been on the board, as least theoretically they would not have been. I felt good if we would have made the field goal at the half. We talked about having the ball to start the third quarter, which was the full intent, with the deferment. We came back out, did little or nothing with the ball, but to be honest with you, neither did the opposition. For the third quarter it was kind of back and forth without anything good happening at all. We had the very long yardage situation when we threw the ball to Victor. You can do with it what you want, but we gained 16 (yards) and two feet, rather than 17 yards, and forced us to punt the ball right there where we might have been able to convert a first down and keep the ball. With the punt return, the next time we had the ball was four or five snaps and punt the ball back. Then they had the long drive and the score, and we had the fumble etc. We didn't finish the game the way we wanted to finish the game. We talked about putting together four quarters instead of two. So we've talked about a lot of things today. The one thing that you always look at, the could'ves, should'ves, would'ves, we did have a punt that was partially blocked. To the young player, Damontre Moore, he played well. He had great aggressiveness. You see him being used in a lot of capacities on special teams. Had we gotten a good, solid block of that ball, rather than just a piece of it, that would have created some field position with some spark for us, also. There were those types of things within this game. Nobody's happy. I can understand that. You play to win, we did not win. I felt good about the position we were in. I'm not going to deny that. We just did not come through with enough plays in order to do that. We had the one long play, which was just like you draw it on the board, to Victor. Not enough of those kinds of plays. We had opportunities with the deep ball being one-on-one against their corners on a number of occasions. We really weren't able to bring the ball down, or in one case had we done it, which it looked like we very well should have, we had the holding penalty. Again we had some of the matchups we wanted. We weren't able to take advantage of them, and obviously you're not going to beat many people in this league with seven points.
Q: Tom, how much is your message about what's still possible in the division?
A: No question. That's the way I led the meeting off. Quite frankly, to show again as I did on Friday, I went through all of that on Friday, actually predicting the difficulties that a couple of our divisional foes would have in their games coming up and the situation we were in and had we won, we're one game out of first place. I did go over that scenario. It doesn't mean a whole lot unless you win. We are aware of the circumstances in the NFC East.
Q: Antrel Rolle said 'you haven't heard the last of us, yet,' or something like that. What has his message been?
A: He had a good message. He's had a good message. He's been a guy that has been very smart about what he said this year, if you listen to what he's saying. He's not just talking as if someone trying to provide some energy. He's trying to provide some strong leadership and I think he has done that. He's had a couple of messages today. One is that he feels tighter and more connected to these players right now than he ever has. That he knows our back is against the wall. He's not afraid of that circumstance. He's kind of put his arms around this team and asked the members of this team to accept and understand that as well and to know that when you take the field as a unit, you really do feel as if you represent one another and have each other's back. You have to totally believe that you have the ability to succeed. I thought that was a good message today.
Q: Did you stand up and take …?
A: He did.
Q: Is that something you generally do on Mondays, or was that an exception?
A: No, he asked me if he could speak to the team for a moment. He did do a great job. After I finished, he came up and had a couple of minutes. He said, 'I'm not standing up here as if I have all the answers.' He just mentioned that I do have something I want to say and it is with all good intentions.
Q: Does it concern you that after the game yesterday, Victor Cruz saying …?
A: No. Come on. Not at all. The ball is at the minus-30. It's the third quarter and it's 10-7 and we've had little or no success with our short yardage. We're 0-2 for the year. I'm not concerned.
Q: Do you attribute that to maybe the frustration?
A: I would think. Sure. What else would you (attribute) it to? I gave him a chance to say something today and I won't tell you what we said. I asked him if he wanted to fight.
Q: Damontre Moore had a couple of good hits on specials, a partially blocked punt, he seems to be very energetic. How close is he to becoming part of your pass rush rotation?
A: Close. Thanks for asking.
Q: What did Victor say when you asked him if he wanted to fight?
A: Nothing. That's between he and I, but it was in good humor. I didn't ask him what his thinking was. I don't understand why you guys are making so much out of something like that. It's kind of comical.
Q: It's been rare in your 10 years here, other than maybe Tiki Barber, that there's been a player to question any of your decisions.
A: That circumstance, that quote there, you should have realized was frustration. I mean, raise your hands, who wants to go for it on fourth and one at the minus thirty, 10-7? Where are you? Where's the hands being raised?
Q: Tom, are you still confident in Josh Brown or would you think about bringing in somebody else?
A: I'll talk to Josh. That was obviously a play that could have helped us in a lot of ways. Any time you have as few points as we have, you need points. A couple of weeks in a row now we haven't been able to contribute and we'll visit.
Q: The Steelers are also 0-4 and their coach yesterday kind of lit more into his team. It doesn't seem as if you feel the need to do that with your team. Could you explain where your confidence is? Why that was different? He's almost threatening to bench people. What is it you seem to feel your team needs from you?
A: A win. That's what we need is a win.
*Q: Coach, what did you think of the offensive line and the job they did? *
A: Those two guys (Cordle and Brewer) that everybody speculated about, they did okay. They played against a very good front and, for the most part, they did a good job. We did have a holding penalty up there and there were some occasions where we could have obviously done a better job or finished a block better than we did. They scrapped and I was pleased with what they accomplished. I wish obviously, it would have been perfect, but they did okay.
Q: Do you have any sense that either Chris Snee or David Baas will be back?
A: I'm waiting to hear on those kinds of things. The treatment is being conducted today as usual. We'll see.
Q: Cullen Jenkins was in a boot and Mark Herzlich had a boot yesterday. Can you give us any update on them?
A: Not really. They're in a boot for ankle-type, toe-type reasons and hopefully it's just something to restrict movement and they can come back and work this week.
Q: Is this the week you get Will Hill back?
A: Yes it is.
Q: And will he have a period of time to work out …?
A: Yeah. He will, he has a few days.
Q: Could he be ready to help you next Sunday?
A: Well, as you know he's lifted and conditioned here since day one. … He's lifted, he's conditioned, he's done all of that, so I really expect him to just be ready to practice.
Q: Does having a division game this week emphasize your message and opportunity?
A: I hope so.
Q: Was Antrel the only one who spoke to the team today?
A: I did.
Q: Antrel was saying also that he's glad the first quarter of the season is over. Is that something you also try to stress, or can you not forget so easily?
A: Well, you have to learn from it. You can't dwell on it because you can't do anything about it. You must learn from it. It's not that easy. You don't just throw it away. There were things there that were good and bad and you have to learn from it. I am a firm believer and I can't go backward. I don't have the power to go backwards and change anything. What we stress is the only thing you can control is right now, so how about taking care of right now?
Q: Are you going to put yourself more involved in the offense? Are you comfortable with the way it's going?
A: I'm very confident in our offensive coaches. They've proven that over the years. We're all going like this (scratches his head). Why aren't our results better than they are and we'll spend a solid week trying to figure that out again and as much as I can be involved, I will, but I do have some other issues as well.
Q: How much of a step forward did the running game take yesterday?
A: I did think in the first half we ran the ball decently and David had some good runs and David was close a couple of times now. You've got to remember, there was a key run in the second half that had we finished a block right at the point of attack, he would have been on the safety. There are times when it looks as if we are really making good progress and other times where we're not, but to keep after it is the key. We had some good draws in the beginning. Da'Rel had a couple of nice draws. Brandon had a nice run.
Q: Is the hurry-up offense something you might consider mixing in a little more?
A: We've done a lot of that. It's not just before the half. We came back out in the second half and did it as well. We weren't as successful with it, but we always have it. We always utilize it at some point in the game, whether it's a true two-minute or whether it's just what we call 'rally,' when we're up on the ball and whatever the personnel is in, trying to decide what is the best play with run or pass. We have that capability. It is something that we talk about using a little bit more, a little bit less accordingly. It is a point that you make, which is before the half over the ball no-huddle offense was very productive.
Q: Did you see some opportunities for some flags to be thrown on the punt return touchdown?
A: I'm not saying that I did. I've heard from different people that there was quite a flagrant one right in the middle of the field that wasn't called. Again, no doilies on the field, so not much I can do about it.
Q: Do you sense that this team needs a win for its confidence and self-esteem?
A: Yeah. Why not? We all could use one, but this is a pretty resilient, tough bunch of guys and we've got to find a way to win. We win one and it will help get us started. Let's put it that way. We don't have to do this on Monday, which I can't stand.
Q: You were pretty harsh on Steve Weatherford's punt on the return. Did it look better on film?
A: No. Well, it traveled a long way and, to be honest with you, there wasn't much coverage. It was on the numbers, not outside the numbers. I like them outside the numbers, pinning it to the sideline. He did have a 40-yarder that went out of bounds. When I looked at it on tape today, I'd take it. I'll take a 40 to 42 net anytime.
Q: Do you need better blocking out of the tight end position?
A: The one key third-and-one, we didn't get much. Yeah. That would have helped a lot. We had good angles. We just weren't able to sustain it.
Q: What happened in the second half on defense and the coverage on Avery?
A: From a coverage standpoint, how did we do? We were able to tighten up a little bit. We were in good position. We didn't always get it done, but we were in pretty good shape and then all of a sudden, the play-action hurt us. It was first-and-25 and they get the first down on the first play. That hurt.
QB Eli Manning**
Q: Is it hard to believe the Super Bowl was less than two years ago and now you're 0-4?
A: No. We lost four in a row that year also. This is where we are right now and each year you have a new team. You have new players. We've got young guys. We've got different guys on this team and you can't draw comparisons or think back when. We're in this situation. We've got to figure out a way to play better. We need guys to step up. We've got to perform better and it's as simple as that. We've got a big game versus Philly. It's still early. We have 12 games left and we're two games back in the division. There are worse spots to be, but obviously we need to figure out a way to play better football. It's one thing to lose and it's another thing when you're not in the game in the fourth quarter, which has occurred the last three games.
Q: Is it crazy that as poorly things have gone that you are just two games out of the division?
A: It's early. Only four games have been played, but you've got to look at things as a positive and find things to kind of keep the team from going in the tank or getting frustrated. We know we're the only ones that can fix it and we've got to turn this thing around, but I think we still have a confident team and guys believe we can play better than what we are.
Q: How important is it to get a win?
A: I think a win would be big for this locker room and the morale and just get that feeling again. We work hard. We work hard each week and the reason you work hard is for that feeling after a game when you can celebrate and you can feel good about all the work you put in and when you don't have anything to show for it, it gets frustrating. We've just got to keep grinding, keep getting better and know that's the only way that wins are going to start coming is if we continue to work really hard and have great preparation and great understanding of what we're trying to do.
Q: Did you see enough out of the offense? The running game looked like it got started.
A: There were definitely some good things. I thought we had chances and I thought we had the right game plan. We said we're going to attack these corners, throw the ball down the field and try to get some big plays. We only hit one of them. I thought we had opportunities for some other ones and the defenders made some decent plays, but we still had some chances to make some plays that could have been game-changing. We've got to find ways to make some more plays when we have the opportunities to.
Q: Victor Cruz said he would have liked the coach to go for it on fourth down after the reversal of the call.
A: That's a tough situation. I don't think you can do it right there. I think we were down three points at the time. It's late in the third quarter. The defense was playing well. I think it's just bad circumstances. Everything that happened to put us in that situation earlier in the drive… We had a holding call and when we hit Hakeem down the sideline for a big play and then it gets called back. Tough circumstance with the way it turned out. If you knew they were going to return a punt the next play, you probably would go for it, but I think the smart play is not to go for it in that situation.
Q: You didn't think that was going to be your last chance.
A: You're down three. You're going to punt the ball away. Your defense is playing great. You're going to get the ball back and whatever happens, you've got plenty of time. You've got the whole fourth quarter, so no. I thought we were very much right in the middle of the game. It's just unfortunate.
Q: What went wrong after the punt return that you didn't answer back?
A: I can't think of our next drive with exactly what happened. I think we had a decent drive going. I don't know if we went for it on fourth down. We didn't convert and then they end up having a drive… They kick a field goal. I think there was going to be nine minutes left and we're going to be down 13 points. It's two touchdowns and you're still thinking we've been pretty good with the two-minute drive. We've just got to get another one and get a touchdown, but then we had the penalty. They take more time off the clock and score a touchdown to make it a three-score game and now we're in a bad situation.
Q: Would you like to see more no-huddle?
A: Maybe if we can get into our whole offense doing it and a lot of times when we do it, we're throwing the football a lot. I think you've still got to mix in the run, but if we can do something to get us an advantage, I'm up for whatever.
Q: Why do you enjoy the two-minute offense?
A: You enjoy it because we've been pretty good at it. The plays that you're running… A lot of them are your base plays and you run them all the time and you get great decisions. I think it slows down the pass rush. It confuses the defense a little bit. I get worried about doing it an entire game just because… If you do it a whole game, it will be a little slower. You have to be able to get into all of your plays. Do we have those capabilities of getting into every single play in a no-huddle situation? If you ran the same ones over and over again, eventually the defense would catch on.
Q: Have you wondered why the offense has been so unproductive?
A: This week, I thought we just didn't hit the big plays that we needed to. We threw the ball down the field and we've got to connect on those. That's me throwing it in the right spot and the receivers making the catch. I think we were attacking the right spots. We just didn't execute it well enough and that's what it came down to.
Q: Does it feel like an identity for the team is absent right now?
A: We've got to find out. Unfortunately in a lot of the fourth quarters with the last 10 minutes of the game in the last three games, we haven't been in the game. That's disappointing and that's frustrating. You like to be able to feel like you're going to be able to compete in the end when everything is on the line and put yourself in a situation to win the game and we haven't been there. In the Dallas game we fought back and kind of got back to that point, but we've just got to find a way to be more productive. We had too many third and longs, third and 12s and third and 15s. It's just hard to live in that world where it's a penalty… There are going to be plays were we might have an opportunity to be successful, but something goes wrong with it and not giving us a chance. We've just got to be more consistent, and overall everybody has got to play a little better.
Q: What does the team's identity need to be going forward?
A: I'm not looking to establish an exact identity. That's what we've got to find out. We've got to give ourselves a chance to stay in some games to see how we'll respond to being in the game in the fourth quarter and that's usually how the games are won. You're going to have close games and it's how you're going to respond at the end.
Q: Is it frustrating that the turnovers continue to be a problem?
A: Yeah. We've got to fix those. I had two fumbles. I had an interception. I think we've been smarter with it. Some of the turnovers… It doesn't feel like it's putting us in a bad situation within the game, but we've got to fix that. We can't continue to turn the ball over.
Q: Do you think Victor questioned the coach's decision more out of frustration?
A: Every player wants to go for it on fourth down. You had a big play. You're close. You want to go for it. I have a lot of times where I'd say the same thing in the moment or afterwards you feel you could have gone for it. It could have been a big difference if you make it, but if you don't… It's a smart decision. You punt it in that situation every time and you don't think about it.
Q: What's your sense of the way the team is holding up?
A: I think the morale and the attitude is as good as you can expect. Obviously guys are frustrated. I feel like our defense has been playing well. Offensively, we haven't been doing our job. We've got to start moving the ball and getting some first downs. There's too many three and outs and it's not giving us a chance.
Q: What would it take to get the entire playbook into the no-huddle?
A: We could probably get into most of it. It's just something you need to practice. We do practice no-huddle some, but you'd have to go through the whole practice no-huddle and just make a dedication to it if you would want to do that. Sometimes we want to huddle up. We want to take our time. We want to call a number of plays. I don't know if that's the answer. We've been successful huddling up. It's not the plays. It's not the tempo. Our execution has got to be better.
Q: Has this been as down as you've been in a football season?
A: We've lost four in a row before.
Q: Not at the start of the year.
A: Not at the start, but I guess if it's going to happen maybe you'd rather have it at the start. You'd hate to be in that situation. You hate to say that we've lost four in a row before, but we've got a lot of time to fix it. We have some young players playing right now. We have some new guys. You hope that now we've got time for these guys to grow and they'll get better and they'll be stronger and we can make improvements and so there is time. Obviously we can't be too patient. We've got to get going. We've got to start getting some wins.
Q: Do you think people are buying into that or is it important to emphasize what is still positive?
A: Yeah. You have to look for positives. You have to look for stuff to keep you working and keep guys focused and understanding our situation and what we're in. A win can do a lot and this week in the division with a big game versus a team who has lost three in a row as well. We've got to get a win and hopefully get on a streak.
Q: Coach Coughlin urged you guys to stick together last week. Is he running out of messages for this week?
A: I think it's the same. It's not going to change right now. We've still got to stick together and just keep working through it.
Q: Did he point out that you guys are still only two games out of the division?
Q: Was that a good part of his message?
A: Yeah. With where we are in the division, obviously Philly has got one win and Washington has got one win and Dallas has two. Dallas is going to Denver this week, so we feel we've got to get a win here and hopefully we'll get a win and we can be one game back.
Q: The balls Hakeem dropped seemed to be vintage plays that you both usually hook up with. Why do you think you weren't able to connect as much last week?
A: It just didn't happen. You can look at the film. The DB has got his arm for a little bit or he gets a hand maybe in there for a second. So we just had a couple of those ones down the field we didn't convert. The one to Rueben Randle also… We were very close and you feel like almost everything was done right. We just didn't finish it and those plays can be differences in games. Those are third down conversions. Those are big plays in a game.
Q: How did Cordle and Brewer look to you?
A: I thought Jimmy competed hard and went against a good player and really did a good job. I think both of them played well under the circumstances. They're young guys. Hopefully we get guys back, but if they're in there, I thought they did a good job.
Safety Antrel Rolle
Q: Do you feel like there are still a lot of games to be played in this division?
A: I think, at that point, that's helping us out, being that we are 0-4. And no one has really taken off with a huge lead in this division. But, more importantly than what's happening in our division, I think we need to fix ourselves and give ourselves a chance to even go in there and compete and to battle for winning that division title. You know, the first quarter is behind us right now. There's nothing we can do about it. I'm actually glad that it is gone. I think we played some pretty bad ball out there. We're not making any excuses, we understand what we put out there on the field and we also understand that we need to get better from it and we will get better from it. Just for new beginnings, this is a 12-game season for us at this point, nothing that has taken place matters. The guys just have to believe again, we have to get that good feeling again as far as winning. I like showing my face around New York. I've been in the house for a month now. If I lose, I'm not showing my face anywhere, that's just the way I am, that's just the way I've always been. We've got to get back to having that good feeling again. We will, we definitely will get back to it again.
Q: It sounded like Coughlin's message last week was to stick together. What was his message this week?
A: The same thing. We have to stick together. Like I said, we played some bad football out there. We need to come together more as a team. I thought we fought a little bit more in that game, our intensity was a little better that game, but that could even improve. As far as just making the plays when they present themselves, helping each other out. Defense helping the offense, offense helping the defense, you know, special teams helping both. That's something that we have yet to do as a team is collectively be in sync. As far as the season goes, disappointed? Absolutely. Discouraged, not at all. My head is definitely hanging high and I'm looking forward to bigger and better things for the rest of the 12 games that we have left.
Q: Can you mentally put that stuff behind you and start fresh?
A: Speaking for myself, I know that I can. I understand what this game holds and how many games we have left and, you know, we're never out of the fight until we're out of the fight. Four games have taken place, we've put the worst of the worst ball that we could on film for those four games. Once you understand, that then you can grow from that and can critique yourself and grow. I think we all understand that as a team. I think we can all come together better and just help our team out a whole lot more. Even the fans, the fans in the stands, bring us up, uplift us a little more because, you know, the little things like that help us out. Any time that we can get an edge we need that edge and that's what we're looking forward to.
Q: Do you sometimes forget how to win? You haven't won yet, didn't win in the preseason.
A: I think so. I really do think so. I think that's probably gone on the course of those four games. We haven't had that feeling. We lost the first one, we lost the second one… it's easier said than done to get yourself out of that frame of mind, but going out there and playing a game, it is tough. Even for a guy like myself. I consider myself as being extremely mentally tough and can pretty much overcome anything and I even find myself at times like, "man, again, are we going to do this?" I find myself doubting at certain times and, you know, I'm human. I wish I could tell my mind not to doubt but I'm human and it's going to happen. I know if it happens to myself, I know it can happen to anyone. From this point on, I told the guys today, "We just have to believe that we can do it. Once you train your mind and really believe it, not just tell yourself that you believe it but really actually believe it, that's when a lot of things are going to come together." The mind is a powerful thing and it controls everything within your body.
OT Justin Pugh
Q: You look at that game, if you guys make the field goal going into halftime, you're tied and you're getting the ball in the second half. Does that take the wind out of you or what?
A: You know, we've got to do our job on offense. You can't leave it up to special teams. If we had scored more touchdowns, it would have been a different story in the first half too. We just have to go out there… we have a big week this week.
Q: Obviously seven points in two games is not going to cut it in this league.
A: Definitely not acceptable. We have to put more points up and it will take us out of that late in the games where we have to pass the whole time.
Q: Is it a silver lining when you look at the standings and see that you're only two games back?
A: Yeah, that's something that coach brought up earlier today in the meetings. The leader of the division is 2-2 so we definitely have a shot. We have a big game this week and have to get a win.
Q: It's never easy for anybody to go through a losing streak but to have one at the start of the season when you haven't gotten a win yet, how much more painful does that make it?
A: It definitely is tough but we just have to go out there and get that first win, go out there and get that feeling of victory again. Going back to the preseason, we lost the last three, too, so it's really like seven games in a row. We just have to go out there and see us get a win on the board. I think once that happens a lot of things will start rolling for us.