Head Coach Tom Coughlin
Well, I'll just say a couple quick things I think I mentioned last night as well. I tried to be as honest as I could. I mentioned no excuses. I mentioned that the disappointment, particularly, in all areas. The offense, being disappointed in our inability to do some of the things we talked about. Coming in, everyone wanted to know about, "well, coach, you said you were going to run the ball." Well, we did try to run the ball. I wish we would have had more snaps and I wish we would have tried even more. There were some things that the defense does that doesn't allow you to run. So you then have to go to what's next and what is best, so we tried do that as well. Had a couple things at the end of the game that were designed for the 'all up' look and they were okay, but it was too little too late. I just think a couple of things, for the most part we did a good job against the run defensively. The final stats were 30 for 76; I think 25 of those yards came at the end.
We still should have been strong but they did make some yards in their four minute offense. I thought we did do a decent job against the run, that is something we can build on. I think a lot of our coverage errors can be improved upon. I think we had some mistakes made back there that you just don't see. I was disappointed in that, the first play, the long play. We obviously had no idea where the receiver was and knocked our own cover guy down. Made it look pretty easy and we had a chance with a possibility of tackling and sacking the quarterback and he avoided that to make that play. Not taking anything away from them but I think we can improve on some of what is taking place in the secondary and I think we will be able to do that. I thought our punt return game showed a little bit of life, which I was pleased to see, and hopefully Preston Parker, we can continue to improve along those lines. We had just one kickoff returned and really they didn't have any, which early in the season both teams are kicking the ball out for the most part. I was disappointed in the one return we had because whether we expected it or not, we didn't do a very good job of blocking it.
We had four penalties, which is definitely an improvement and it would have been nice to say with the four penalties and had we won the turnover battle but we didn't do that. A disappointment there, of course, being the turnovers and the fact that we were excited to have the ball at the start of the second half of the 14-7 score. Came out and turned the ball over. Our defense did a good job in holding them to a field goal, but nevertheless, it wasn't the way that we wanted to start the second half. So we do have a lot of work to do. I am hoping that, despite the fact it is a short week, the players will jump right back in here tomorrow and we will get on with it against an Arizona team that is a very good team and a team that has won a key game for them in their debut this year.
Q: Any results from the tests on Steve Weatherford?
A: No, I don't have anything yet. He is getting the MRI's, but I haven't got anything.
Q: How about Jason Pierre-Paul? I know the x-rays were negative, obviously; he came back to the game, but is that neck something that you have to monitor now?
A: Well, I am sure we will monitor it, but he really felt good after the game and this morning, as well. We will list him as limited, but I think the fact he came back and played, played with good energy, finished the game, didn't seem to have any issues, I think that is a good sign.
Q: Would you consider a lot of those offensive problems a function of confusion? Perhaps terminology or communication?
A: No. I am not going that way. It would be an easy one to say at this point in time, but I don't see it. I think that a lot of the mistakes that you are seeing are technical things, more than just communication. I don't see the communication thing being the major problem. Right now I think that it is execution. Whether you are talking about running the ball, whether you are talking about scheme blocking, run blocking schemes, you are talking about pass protection; I thought that last night we anticipated the defensive scheme, for example. I think that they had a couple of wrinkles that we had seen throughout preseason. We just didn't execute very well into it, they did a better job at it than we did, and that is basically where we are. Again, we had a few things to be excited about and would like to certainly have more. We did convert the fourth down; we did convert some things down in close that gave us opportunities for touchdowns. It wasn't enough and it wasn't enough continuity or consistency and we left some plays out on the field. We had some dropped balls, which we cannot have and so I don't think it's that…anymore. I think there was one play that the running back didn't pick up on which left the quarterback exposed and he ended up throwing the ball away, but it was a wasted down, that happened. That was a lack of picking up on an audible that was made at the line of scrimmage.
Q: As you are looking at your offense, since they are learning a new offense, do you have to be patient with the technical issues? Does there come a point where you have to simplify things? Change things a little?
A: It's difficult. We are doing some subtle things all along as we go forward. Things that you won't necessarily see unless you can grab ahold of either improvement or lack of. In the real world, we are just getting started here. Progress is going to be continuing to take the basic fundamentals of what we know as a game of football, call it whatever you want to call it, and get better at it.
Q: Do you plan on talking to the team about the feeling of "here we go again" after last year's 0-6 start to lose the opener? I know you guys invested so much in trying to get off to a fast start this year.
A: There was a thought in my mind as a motivational thing to talk about last year as we got into this week, and I decided it was for the best not to go there. Everybody is aware of what was last year. We showed our team the 10 years of stats and the one stumbling block is the 2013 season from getting off to a good start. We talk about "finish" all the time; we talk about not wasting your opportunities all the time. We deal with these things. Do I have to hit them right between the eyes with last year and what we certainly don't want to see happen? I don't think so. Quite frankly, this is a new year, it's a different team. I think one of the things you are seeing is that all of a sudden last night, in the start of the season, first game, you saw things occur which I think was a result of a lot of new parts. You saw things that you maybe hadn't seen before or hadn't seen on the practice field, hadn't seen on the game field, and some of that was a result of people just new to the program who one time or another had an issue that really confounded the intent. I think that was part of it but I am not going to go in to say that that is a reason we weren't productive. That is not going to be used as an excuse. It's perhaps a reality, but we need to perform better, no matter what the new parts are.
Q: You've had to make a lot of movement with your offensive line, especially the guards, up to the first game. How do you think the guards played last night and maybe the overall offensive line?
A: I think there is good, there is bad. No one wants to hear that, but that's what it is. There are some good plays, there are some bad plays. There are plays that I am sure the players would like to have over. I wish there was more continuity and consistency. You'd like to see it played like a veteran line that can look at each other, don't even have to verbalize and know exactly what the intent is as the guy you are lining up next to, but that is not the case right now. We are going to have to play our way through and there are probably going to be other changes and other things that take place along the way that perhaps even at that point will keep us from having that type of continuity. But it is an effort to get to the best we can be, so that is just way it is.
Q: In your years coaching the Giants, can you kind of recall or think of another year where you are in the regular season already and there is so much…with the offense and with the offensive line that so much change and now the games count already?
A: Do I think I have had that type of circumstance here in the years that I been here. I think it is safe to say no. No is the answer to that.
WR Victor Cruz
Q: From your standpoint, where do you think the offensive problems came from?
A: I think it just came from a lack of rhythm and a lack of continuity. You can't pinpoint one specific area, whether it is the O-line or the receivers or whatever the case may be. I think it is all of it in unison. It is us being able to get on the same page as an offense.
Q: Did you think after five preseason games that a lot of these problems would have gone away by now?
A: It is hard to tell, but I did think those problems would be over and that we would be able to get into a rhythm. Mainly because we were playing a full four quarters. We were playing more than we had in the preseason. It is unfortunate that we did not come out and have that rhythm that I thought we would have, but the great part is that it is only Week 1. We have time to fix this thing. We have a good practice week ahead of us and we will see what happens.
Q: Is there confidence in the locker room that this isn't going to be like another start of last year?
A: Yeah, there is definitely confidence. We have improved the talent on both sides of the ball from last year, and I think that is not the case here at all. I am definitely still confident we can do the things that we set out to do this season.
Q: How do you stop any worrying about 'here we go again' after last year?
A: It is just a matter of being clear with the team and my teammates and letting them know this is not something that we are going to be carrying ourselves like we did last year. [We] just have to keep the team in the mindset that this is correctable and that all these mistakes are correctable. We can come out of this with some positivity with a win now come Week 2.
Q: It looks like there was a concerted effort to get the ball to guys other than you [against Detroit]… How did they play to you and how important do you think it was to establish other threats in this offense?
A: They played very well. I think Larry Donnell had a great game and made some big catches for us on a third and long situation to continue to move the chains. I think Jerrel [Jernigan] caught the ball well in the situation where he was manned up from a one-on-one coverage and made the best play possible. I think it is important to increase those guys' confidence to let them know that we are going to need them this year and they are going to have to make some plays for us in order for us to win. I think it was important to get those guys started, as well as getting everyone else involved as well.
Q: On the same token, how important is it that [Eli Manning] needs to look at you a little bit earlier in the game?
A: I think it is important. I think in order for us to be successful, there needs to be an increased number of targets in my direction and other playmakers' directions, just like Rueben Randle as well, in my opinion. That all comes with the continuity. That comes with getting the running game going. That comes with building what we want to build as the game continues. It is just a matter of once we find that rhythm early on, we can get into passing the ball and opening up the plays a little bit.
Q: Why was Rueben not much of a factor [against Detroit]?
A: I think it was just the progressions. I think it was just the way the game unfolded. I don't think it was anything deliberate or [Eli] wasn't looking his way. I just think it was the way the coverages panned out, and there were a lot of the plays we were calling that were being shifted over to JJ's side or if it was a two-high shell, then we had some seams and Larry Donnell would get the ball. It was just one of those things where that is just how the game unfolded. I do believe we have to make a concerted effort to get Rueben Randle the ball as well as myself and build some continuity.
Q: A lot of the offensive linemen said there is really no set time [for Eli to release the ball after the snap] but is there a clock in your head as far as when Eli should be getting rid of the ball and when you should be expecting it?
A: There is a clock. I obviously can't put a number on it because it varies from play to play. I think there is a clock as soon as you get out of your break or as you get to the top of your route and you cut in. You kind of think the ball is in the air or you are expecting the ball in the air at that point. So far that hasn't been the case. It has been a little up and down. The ones we hit that are the three-step, those balls are coming out on time. The ones that are down the field haven't been, so that is pretty much our clock and we just have to be able to understand that and continue to build on that type of timing.
Q: Can you go back to the touchdown by Larry Donnell… On that possession you had 1st and Goal from the 1-yard line and you didn't see the ball on any [of the four plays]…Does that surprise you at all to not be involved down there?
A: Not really. Obviously there were calls that I was in and pass plays that were called when I was in, but it doesn't frustrate me. I think that is just what the coaches wanted to do. He saw some guys on the outside he wanted to take advantage of and put our bigger guys on them and that is how it went down.
Q: Is there part of you that is looking forward to tomorrow… Now you get to see all the new guys come in and see how they respond to adversity and you have the [chance] to bond as a team?
A: Yeah, I am excited to see how we respond and to just get back on the field and shake off this game one and get on the field and run some routes and begin to feel good about ourselves and get our confidence back a little bit. I think we understand that we came into [the Detroit game] with such high hopes and for us to lose, it is tough for us, especially after the day after the first game. We want to get back out there and be focused and get our confidence back and be able to run some routes again and catch the ball and see football again, which is what we love to do and are excited about what we have to do, what is in front of us next weekend.
LB Jon Beason
Q: When you take a look at the tape what is the first thing that pops out?
A: A lack of collective execution. You play 60 snaps or whatever it was yesterday and if every guy who plays has one or two mental [mistakes], you can't win a game that way, unfortunately. That is a problem, but it is a problem that we can control. If there is one positive, that's it. We just need to do our job and trust that the man next to us is going to do their job and try to be consistent at it.
Q: Antrel [Rolle] said earlier he thought the team was too 'lax' and needed to find some more fight… Did you sense that?
A: I wouldn't say 'lax.' I think we need to have more fun, but it is only fun when you are making plays. Throughout the game, when you are out there and things are not going well… what you are trying to get across to the guys in front of you is somebody step up and make a play and let's have some fun. Once you make a play, we are going to get on a roll. Then we will start flying around and doing it together. When you make mistakes and you don't get off the field on third down, it is demoralizing. Maybe that is what he meant by a lack of fight. We needed more spirit, somebody to ignite the game through making a play. We had an opportunity in the high red to come away with a fumble, and unfortunately that ball bounces funny and it went back to [Joique] Bell. It could have been a huge turning point in the game. We gave up some third and longs that can't happen. You expected to get off the field and you finally get a stop and then the drive continues. It is demoralizing.
Q: How much of the [mental errors] could be attributed to the fact that those 11 were playing together for the first time because you obviously had not been in camp?
A: When you talk about being on the same page and having chemistry and being on the same wave length, however you want to say it, anytime you get a new guy in there, it is going to change it. It is going to ruffle the feathers. Hopefully going out there was a positive for our defense, which I think it was. For me, it just came down to trying to execute at a high level. Just doing my job and keep guys motivated and focused and confident in what we are doing and confident in our preparation in going out there and playing. The tape is not about the chemistry. I think we have that. I think guys understand what they are supposed to be doing and I think guys know the guys around them in terms of their strengths and weaknesses and how we all fit together. We just can't get on the big stage and not do the bare necessities of what the defensive call entails.
Q: You said you anticipated being sore today… Were you correct?
A: Yeah. It is a big transition. Plus, for me, it came down to the last test, which was running around on turf. It is extremely rigid and not really forgiving, whereas grass is, but it is still the time of year where we try to take care of our joints and our bodies by practicing on grass right now. So that is a plus. Getting out there and moving around full-speed on turf was definitely an adjustment and you could feel the impact of the turf versus the grass. I was able to come out, and being sore today was something the training staff anticipated. We are going to work to get it calmed down so I'm ready to go tomorrow.
Q: Do you anticipate being limited in practice this week?
A: I think, regardless of the outcome of the game last nigh,t that would have been the protocol. There was a set number of plays per half and I was aware that, if need be, I'd be able to come out [and say], 'I'm a little winded.' I felt great. [Jameel] McClain stepped in and played well. We had a rotation planned, but it was going to be based on how I felt. I felt good, but the plays kind of snuck up on us quick in the first half and [the coaches/trainers] wanted to stick with the game plan where we want to work Beason back in. We want to get him to the next game where he can get more and more comfortable conditioning, from a physical standpoint, foot work, orchestrating the defense, tackling and just all the things you get over the course of a training camp.
Q: Have you ever been, in your time with Carolina [Panthers], with so many unsettled pieces just with the offense and so many new faces on the defense?
A: Well, I think it is like that every year. If you look at a team in terms of what they do in the draft and free agency… If you don't do enough, then [the media] is always going to criticize us, saying, 'You guys should have done this or should have done that.' It is always hindsight, even though it is 20/20. It is always like that. No one knows what to expect the first game of the season. Everyone is gunning for the Super Bowl. Everyone wants to be undefeated at the end of the first game, and you never know what to expect. You could get hit with adversity and find out a lot about a team. That is why it is a 16-game season. Are we going to be a resilient group? How are the guys that you know and play next to, how do they handle making the corrections or owning up to mistakes? Are guys thick-skinned? 'Hey, that was on me I have to correct it.' All these things get answered when you get hit with adversity. It is easy when things go well. Right now the Lions are thinking, 'We are great.' And rightfully so, you can only measure yourself up to your last performance. That comes down to each play. That part of it is yet to be determined and we are going to go in tomorrow and be honest and look at ourselves, first individually, and say, 'can 5-2 get there' or 'where were my mistakes' or 'where was my consistency and execution.' Own up to it and let's fix it. Let's get it right because Sunday is going to be here. No one is going to feel sorry for us.
Q: In that regard, are you almost glad to get your first loss out of the way instead of going 6-0 and then be all excited but then [the team] would not have faced that adversity?
A: No, you never want to deal with adversity. The plan is to stop adversity from happening. It is inevitable. You are going to have a play, a series, a quarter or a game where things don't go well. And that is really how you define yourself, in those moments. Who are you when it hits the fan? That is how teams make runs in the playoffs and make runs late in the season and figure out a way to overcome that adversity in the Super Bowl and win. There are guys on this team that know how to do that and unfortunately it is happening a little sooner than we would like, but nevertheless, it is part of the game. You line up against a guy across from you who is considered the best in their profession and you get to see where you measure up. There is no greater occupation in my mind where you can come to work every day and see where you are as a man.